David Gibson, Derek Gibson
Graham’s great, great grandfather articled to a surveyor in 1820 in a
small Scottish rural area near Glamis Castle, the late Queen Mother’s
family home. Included in his term of articles during which time his
father James, a weaver, had to guarantee his room and board, was the
requirement that he pick potatoes for his master. Having mastered the
mathematical skills required and the extraordinary penmanship that he
would need in later life in Upper Canada, he left Scotland and headed
to York County where he met his wife, Eliza Milne.
owned property in Elora where he carried on a practice for a period of
time when this area of Ontario was being rapidly developed and opened
up. He received instructions throughout his life from the Crown to
perform works on its behalf as surveyor of highways in the Home District and other Districts in Upper
Canada. After a period of time his wife wished to move closer to her
relatives in Markham, Ontario so they purchased a portion of farmland
in the Township of York.
and Eliza’s house, “Gibson House”, circa 1851, is still standing in its original
location at 5172 Yonge Street and is designated as a building of
historical significance. It is in the present day City of Toronto in
the former City of North York and is located on the west side of Yonge
Street above Sheppard Avenue north of the Novatel Hotel Complex. The
land for the hotel came from the original Gibson farm.
the Rebellion of 1837 in Upper Canada David Gibson
was one of the two right hand cohorts of William Lyon Mackenzie. When
the Rebellion met with a disquieting non-success, David, who had a 500
pound sterling reward on his head, had to quickly leave Canada for a
period of time and worked on the Erie Canal where he was employed as an
engineer for the Erie
Canal. William Lount, the other cohort, was, according
to ‘family’ lore, not as fit a runner and, unfortunately for him, was
hanged. During the time the “Rebels” (we in the family tend to think of
them as that era’s Freedom Fighters) were being excoriated by the
Family Compact, David’s original house was burned. While working on the
Erie Canal, his letters to his wife indicated with great detail how the
present base for the Gibson House ‘new’ house was to be built with
lists of materials carefully catalogued.
came back to Canada, having been pardoned in 1843. He returned to his
farm and was hired as a provincial land surveyor. In 1853, he was given
the post of inspector of crown lands agencies and superintendent of
colonization roads in Canada
During that time he surveyed many townsites, townships and roads. Three
areas in Wellington County we know he surveyed are in Puslinch, where
he surveyed the Ellis Chapel for free [located behind the service
station on the north side of Highway 401 between Cambridge and
Kitchener], the Arkell settlement and the Elora Road between Alma and
firm has followed his work and has found amazing accuracy when
comparing his work to today’s modern day standards.
of David’s sons and cousins, whom he sponsored from Scotland to Canada,
became surveyors in Upper Canada. A cousin, William Gibson Morison,
under the supervision of David, prepared one of the first plans of
subdivision in the Town of Palmerston. David had as a colleague W. H.
L. LaPenetiere to whom Mr. C. D. Bowman OLS, one of the pioneer
surveyors of Wellington County, articled. Mr. Bowman’s excellent work
and that of his son, E. P. Bowman OLS, form an important backbone of
the cadastral fabric we use today in this geographic area. We all
benefit today from the patient care they took during their work.
son, Peter Gibson PLS, P.Eng., was York County Surveyor and Engineer
for many years, providing the base for the network of present day
transportation corridors in Metropolitan Toronto. There are old
newspaper reports of Peter’s “smiling face” being seen laying out lots
in the Village of Yorkville.
son, W. S. Gibson OLS and his two sons S. Eldon Gibson OLS and Charles
W. Gibson OLS took over Peter’s surveying practice as Toronto grew and
changed from farm land to residential, joining together the many small
settlements in York County into the 19th and 20th century.
and Charles carried on the family practice until Charles retired and
the direct Gibson family company connection passed to other hands with
the merging with another firm of high reputation Speight, Van Nostrand.
Derek G. Graham OLS
fortunate to have two very brave uncles, Eldon and Charles. Charles
took on his nephew, Derek under articles with the benevolent assistance
of many persons including probably one of the best urban retracement
surveyors in Ontario, the late Harold S. Bradstock OLS, Eldon and
Charles’ business partner.
indicated on another page, there was a family decision made by Alex and
Derek to move out of Metro Toronto. It happened in 1974 that we were
fortunate to have the late S.W. (Fred) Black OLS be a portion of the
guiding light into Wellington County. Mr. Black was the son-in-law of
E. P. Bowman OLS previously mentioned.
1979, like David Gibson, we ventured forward in Wellington County and
formed the present day firm of Derek G. Graham Limited. We intend to
continue the over 188 years of traditional service with today’s
technology with the highest professional integrity.