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David Gibson Portrait 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.

They 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.

David 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.

During 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.

David 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 West. 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 Teviotdale.

Our firm has followed his work and has found amazing accuracy when comparing his work to today’s modern day standards.

Many 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.

David’s 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.

Peter’s 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.

Eldon 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 OLIP was 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.

As 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.

In 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.

© 2012 Derek G. Graham Limited