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Ernest Willard Gibson Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Ernest Willard Gibson passes away in 1940.

Ernest Willard Gibson was an American politician.

Gibson was born in Londonderry, Vermont on December 29th, 1872. He graduated from Black River Academy where one of his classmates was future United States President Calvin Coolidge. He went on to graduate form Norwich University in Norwich, Vermont in 1894. He received his Masters degree from the school in 1896. He read law with two local attorneys before going to the University of Michigan Law School. He was admitted to the bar in 1899.

From 1894 to 1898 Gibson also worked as a high school principal in Chester, Vermont. In 1899 he became a trustee of Norwich University serving until 1909 and again from 1919 to 1935. From 1904 to 1911 he was a Lecturer of Constitutional Law at Norwich University. It was also in 1899 Gibson joined the Vermont National Guard. He enlisted as a private and within two years was commissioned as an officer. He served during the Pancho Villa Expedition and during World War I. When his unit was scheduled to rotate in at the front, the Armistice was signed and he never saw combat. Gibson remained in the National Guard until he retired in 1923.

As a Republican Gibson was elected to the Vermont state House of Representatives in 1906. In 1908 he was elected to the Vermont State Senate where he served as President pro tempore. He also served at various times as a Municipal Court judge.

Gibson was also active with the Republican party in Vermont and became a leader of the Progressive movement in the state. He was so successful a wing of the party, the Aiken-Gibson Wing, was named for him. He was more liberal than the party establishment and worked hard to make sure like minded Republicans stayed in the party.

In 1923, Gibson was elected to serve in the United States House of Representatives. He served in the House for 10 years. During the time the state of Vermont lost one of it's two seats in the House of Representatives due to the 1930 Census. Gibson won the election in 1932, in part due to the fact the other incumbent Congressman had already been elected to fill a vacant United States Senate seat.

In 1934, Gibson was elected to fill a vacated Senate seat. In 1938 he was elected to his own full term. Gibson passed away in office on June 20th, 1940.

Gibson was a member of Brattleboro Lodge No. 102 in Brattleboro, Vermont. He was also a member of Fort Dummer Chapter No. 12, Royal Arch Masons, Connecticut Valley Council No. 16, Royal & Select Masons and Beauseant Commandery No. 7 Knights Templar, all in Brattleboro.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.