Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
John Gibson (Indiana)
John Gibson was the Territorial Secretary of the Indiana Territory.
Gibson was born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In 1758, he participated in the Forbes Expedition under General John Forbes against the French at Fort Duquesne and remained at Fort Pitt after the war to engage in trade with Native Americans. He was captured in Pontiac's Rebellion and escaped death when he was adopted by an old Indian woman whose son had died in battle. He remained with the Mingo tribe in southwest Virginia for several years. He allegedly married the sister of the warrior Chief Logan.
In 1764, after being released he returned to Fort Pitt. In 1774, he participated in Dunmore's War and produced a written translation of Chief Logan's famous speech suing for peace: "I appeal to any white man to say if he ever entered Logan's cabin hungry and he gave him not meat. . . . "
In the early stages of the American Revolutionary War, Gibson was active in Indian negotiations. He fought under General George Washington and eventually commanded his own regiment. He was left in command of forces at Fort Laurens during the harsh winter of 1778-1779, during which the fort was subected to a seige by British and native forces. After the war he was a judge in Allegheny County, major-general of the militia, and a member of Pennsylvania's constitutional convention in 1790.
U.S. President Thomas Jefferson appointed Gibson to be secretary of the Indiana Territory in 1800, despite his being 66 years old. He served in that office he served until Indiana achieved statehood in 1816. Gibson is sometimes known as Indiana's second territorial governor, but he was really only acting governor during the absences of Governor William Henry Harrison. After Indiana became a state in 1816, Gibson returned to live in Pennsylvania.
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