The Gibson Cannon
Born Thomas Jefferson Gibson in 1845, Don and Roger Beaty's great grandfather was a man of the times: soldier, farmer, merchant, entrepreneur, civic leader, family man, and part showman.
Mr. Gibson moved to Winnsboro, Texas in 1859. In 1861, he joined Company H, 10th Texas Calvary of the Confederate States of America and served in campaigns under Generals Bragg, Johnson, and Hood. He saw action in the bloody battles at Vicksburg, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga. He survived the war and in 1865 returned to Winnsboro to become a farmer.
Ten years later, 1875, he hung up his plow lines, put on a merchant's apron, and entered the mercantile business. Winnsboro was a growing community and Mr. Gibson was an active local and statewide leader interested in the progress and success of the place he called home. He built the town's first brick building at the northwest corner of Elm and Main where he conducted business for nearly 50 years. He was a member of, and chaired, many committees dedicated to the progress of Winnsboro.
Always the patriot, he was proud of Winnsboro heritage and felt that people should celebrate life with a BANG. So he ordered a small cannon from Cincinnati, Ohio, to help observe our nation's birthday on the Fourth of July...and other patriotic holidays. Gibson would load the cannon with black powder and fire it with a thunderous roar at the beginning of festivities. The crowd would cheer and celebration would be under way.
After Gibson's death in 1922, the Carnegie Library came into possession of the cannon where it was displayed for many years. Today, the cannon resides in a place of honor on the fireplace hearth in the main reception room at Beaty Funeral Home in Winnsboro.