Daniel Gibbons, son of James and Deborah (Hoopes) Gibbons, was born on the banks of Mill Creek, in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, on the 21st day of the 12th month (December), 1775. He was descended on his father’s side from an English ancestor, whose name appears on the colonial records, as far back as 1683. John Gibbons evidently came with or before William Penn to this “goodly heritage of freedom.” His earthly remains lie at Concord Friends’ burying-ground, Delaware county, near where the family lived for a generation or two. The grandfather of Daniel Gibbons, who lived near where West Town boarding-school now is, in Chester county, bought for seventy pounds, “one thousand acres of land and allowances,” in what is now Lancaster county, intending, as he ultimately did, to settle his three sons upon it. This purchase was made about the year 1715. In process of time, the eldest son, desiring to marry Deborah Hoopes, the daughter of Daniel Hoopes, of a neighboring township in Chester county, the young people obtained the consent of parents and friends, but it was a time of grief and mourning among young and old. The young Friends assured the intended bride, that they would not marry the best man in the Province and do what she was about to do; and the elder dames, so far relaxed the Puritanic rigidity of their rules, as to allow the invitation of an uncommonly large company of guests to the wedding, in order that a long and perhaps last farewell, might be said to the beloved daughter, who, with her husband, was about to emigrate to the “far West.” Loud and long were the lamentations, and warm the embraces of these simple-minded Christian rustics, companions of toil and deprivation, as they parted from two of their number who were to leave their circle for the West; the West being then thirty-six miles distant. This was on the sixth day of the fifth month, 1756. More than a century has passed away; all the good people, eighty-nine in number, who signed the wedding certificate as witnesses, have passed away, and how vast is the change wrought in our midst since that day!
Joseph Gibbons was so much pleased with the daring enterprise of his son and daughter-in-law, that he gave them one hundred acres of land in his Western possessions more than he reserved for his other and younger sons, and to it they immediately emigrated, and building first a cabin and the next year a store-house, began life for themselves in earnest.
It is interesting, in view of the long and consistent anti-slavery course which Daniel Gibbons pursued, to trace the influence that wrought upon him while his character was maturing, and the causes which led him to see the wickedness of the system which he opposed.
The Society of Friends in that day bore in mind the advice of their great founder, Fox, whose last words were: “Friends, mind the light.” And following that guide which leads out of all evil and into all good, they viewed every custom of society with eyes undimmed by prejudice, and were influenced in every action of life by a belief in the common brotherhood of man, and a resolve to obey the command of Jesus, to love one another. This being the case, slavery and oppression of all kinds were unpopular, and indeed almost unknown amongst them.