J. E. Gibson: Attempted bribery stock in trade

Today’s post is picking back up where we last left J.E. Gibson(A grand jury set for Briber Gibson Oct. 2, 2013), the hustling contractor who attempted to subvert the construction bid process for Mississippi New Capitol building in the fall of 1900.  (Our introduction to this story can be found here: A Hustling Contractor and the Governor of Mississippi May 22, 2013, and here Briber Gibson, the Hustling Contractor REVEALED! May 24, 2013.

Last we heard of Gibson, he had been interviewed by the Louisville, Kentucky Courier-Journal.  This interview was likely a response to the following article about the case that ran in the Times-Picayune.  Today’s Times-Picayune article was especially damning to Gibson’s credibility and even contained an image of him so readers could recognize him and prevent him from bidding on any construction project they might have. The article also goes into more detail about other nefarious dealings that Gibson had perpetrated.  I will admit the choice of mustache style is a little reminiscent of Snidely Whiplash.  Maybe J.E. Gibson was an inspiration for some of the early cinema villains.

The Criminal Role is No New One for Contractor Gibson,


He is Wanted in Cass County, Mich., for Attempted Bribery.

213 Capitol Street
Jackson, Miss., Nov. 30, 1900

J.E. Gibson rendering from Times Picayune 12-01-1900

J. E. Gibson “The Indiana Contractor Who Attempted to Bribe Governor Longino.” rendering from The Times-Picayune December 01, 1900

The evidence is cumulative that the criminal role is no new one for J.E. Gibson, the man under a $5000 bond to answer to the grand jury here for a felonious attempt to bribe the governor to collude with him in the award of the million-dollar statehouse.

Attempted bribery evidently is his stock in trade, and he is a fugitive, it seems, from justice in Michigan.  The secretary and chairman of the Cass county courthouse building committee states that he tried to job that county and bribe the members of the building committee individually and collectively.

The following letter, which is fully self-explanatory, has been received by Governor Longino:

First National Bank,
Cassopolis, Mich., Nov. 27, 1900.
Governor Longino, Jackson, Miss.:

Honored Sir–We notice in the papers with great pleasure that you have succeeded in getting hold of J. E. Gibson, of Logansport, Ind.  We have just completed a new courthouse in this county.  The contract was first let to this man Gibson. He was discharged, however, before the first story wall were up, because of his disregard for the contract in many material features, and because he tried to bribe the individual members of the building committee.  We now have a suit with him in the federal court.  He dare not come into Michigan and let Cass county parties know it.  He has built several public buildings, and we are informed he has had trouble in every piece.  We consider him a tough character, and we trust and hope you may be able to land him in the penitentiary, where he belongs, on general principles.  Would like you to write us the particulars of the case and keep us informed as the matter progresses, and if we can help you in any way, will be kind to do so. Respectfully,

Secretary Building Committee

Chairman Building Committee

Gibson was running out of options and given his history of skipping town it was surprising that he returned to Jackson in January 1900 for his day before the grand jury.  The Times-Picayune reported that the very first act of the Hinds County grand jury was to indict J.E. Gibson for attempted bribery of Governor Longino.   Not surprisingly that night Gibson skipped town, forfeiting his $5000 bond and an order was issued by the Court to take him into custody.

So if you were Jordan Gibson where would you head? Certainly not to Michigan the place that said “he dare not come to Michigan” and that he belongs in prison on “general principles.”  The world is a big place and he could have gone anywhere.  Where did he go?


But to hear that story you’ll have to wait for another day.

Categories: Architectural Research, Historic Preservation, Jackson

2 replies

  1. Now, that was just downright cruel. This is like the Saturday matinee where the hero is hanging over the side of the cliff, the tree root is pulling out of the rock, and the rope his trusty horse has dropped for him is about to be cut in two while being strained across the sharp rocks that seem to be ubiquitous in those dangerous cliff-hanging scenes.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: