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William Channing Gibbs

February 10, 1789
February 24, 1871
Home Town:
Newport, RI
Mary Kane Gibbs (1822)
Biographical Notes:
William Channing Gibbs was descended of James Gibbs who emigrated from England to Bristol, RI around 1670. His father George Gibbs was known as a 'merchant prince' in Rhode Island. Gibbs was also active in the military, attaining the rank of Major General in the Rhode Island Militia. He was a representative in the Rhode Island General Assembly from 1816-1820 and served three terms as Governor of Rhode Island from 1821-1824. He married Mary Kane with whom he had 10 children.
Additional Notes:
In February 1811, former Litchfield Female Academy student Elizabeth S. Wolcott, accused Gibbs and fellow students Thomas Sowers Aspinwall, and James Gore King of eating her sister Laura Wolcott Gibbs' wedding cake. Elizabeth wrote to her uncle Frederick Wolcott asking him to detain the men in jail and, if necessary, impose a sentence on them for the offense.

The letter is considered an excellent parody of legal procedures being studied at Litchfield Law School and shows the familiarity of young women with legal terminology.

Elizabeth S. Wolcott, NYC
[Uncle] Frederick Wolcott, Litchfield
24 Feb 1811

Dear Uncle,
I sent by Mr. W. Gibbs a small trunk containing pieces of Laura's wedding Cake, directed to Aunt Wolcott Mrs. Reeve & Miss Pierce ...

Years at LLS:

Profession / Service
Military; Political Office
State Posts:
State Representative (RI) 1818-1821
Governor (RI) 1821

help The Citation of Attendance provides primary source documentation of the student’s attendance at the Litchfield Female Academy and/or the Litchfield Law School. If a citation is absent, the student is thought to have attended but currently lacks primary source confirmation.

Records for the schools were sporadic, especially in the formative years of both institutions. If instructors kept comprehensive records for the Litchfield Female Academy or the Litchfield Law School, they do not survive. Researchers and staff have identified students through letters, diaries, family histories and genealogies, and town histories as well as catalogues of students printed in various years. Art and needlework have provided further identification of Female Academy Students, and Litchfield County Bar records document a number of Law School students. The history of both schools and the identification of the students who attended them owe credit to the early 20th century research and documentation efforts of Emily Noyes Vanderpoel and Samuel Fisher, and the late 20th century research and documentation efforts of Lynne Templeton Brickley and the Litchfield Historical Society staff.
Ledger. "Journals of the Barr - Litchfield County." Litchfield Historical Society; Bond, William Key. "Lectures on law by the Honable. Tapping Reeve and James Gould esquire at Litchfield, Connecticut, An. Dom: 1811 & 1812 …" Rare Book Collection, Lillian

Litchfield County Bar Association Records, 1810, Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library.

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