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Andrew Harold Gibson


    Andrew Harold Gibson was born on December 22, 1882, in Perth, Ontario. He was the seventh of nine children born to William and Jessie Gibson.

    In 1901, he moved to Lacombe, Alberta, but in 1907 returned to the east to attend Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. He graduated from the law school, and in 1912 was called to the bar in Edmonton. On July 13, 1913, he married Lena MacPherson Paton.

    The photo to the right was shot by Edmonton photographer Gladys Reeves in about 1935.

    He served as Northern Affairs Officer in Ottawa and the Northwest Territories before moving on Dawson City in 1950 and being appointed as Commissioner of the Yukon Territory on August 15th of that year.

    The subject of moving the capital of the Yukon from Dawson City to Whitehorse had been a topic of discussion for many years. As one of his first duties, Commissioner Gibson had a report prepared on the matter.

    In 1951 he was informed that the move of the capital to Whitehorse would take place, and he was given the job of informing staff and politicians. He resigned as Commissioner of the Yukon on October 15, 1951, shortly after announcing the move.

    Andrew Harold Gibson died in Whitehorse on Monday, January 28, 1957, and is buried in the 6th Avenue Cemetery (now called the Pioneer Cemetery).







The Whitehorse Star

    Thursday, January 31, 1957

Magistrate Gibson's Death Brings End
To Long And Distinguished Career

    A long and distinguished career that had touched many aspects of life ended here early Monday morning with the death of Magistrate Andrew Harold Gibson, QC. Active in the legal profession for more than 40 years, Magistrate Gibson had turned his hand to many pursuits, ranging from Commissioner of the Yukon Territory to prairie cowboy, before making his final move to Whitehorse.

    Born 74 years ago in Perth, Ontario, Magistrate Gibson received his university training at Queen's. During his undergraduate years he was an all Canadian football player. This rugged background helped to put him in shape for some of the jobs he found out west. Soon after graduating in law from Queen's, the Magistrate came to Alberta wehere one of his first jobs was as horse wrangler. One of his favourite stories concerned the experience of rounding up horses at 60 below zero on the Prairies.

    Before setting up in private law practice, Mr. Gibson taught school for a short time in Ponoka. Following his marriage to the former Lena MacPherson Paton, the young lawyer opened an office in Edmonton. Then from about 1917 until the middle 1930s, the Gibson family lived at Fort Saskatchewan. During these years the energetic lawyer made a trip down the Beaver in 1926, and another trip down the Saskatchewan River on a raft made from telephone poles.

King's Counsel

    On January 1, 1930 Mr. Gibson received the appointment of King's Counsel. As Crown Counsel and later Police Magistrate, he practised in Edmonton from 1935 until 1942. After two more moves, one to Fort Smith, the next to Yellowknife, the family came in 1950 to Dawson City when Mr. Gibson was appointed Commissioner of the Yukon Territory.

    In this post he was succeeded by Frederick Fraser. Mr. Gibson remained in Dawson as Police Magistrate until 1952. Mr. and Mrs. Gibson moved to Whitehorse when the capital was moved here, and he remained as Police Magistrate until his death.

Real Student

    Everyone who knew him had the greatest respect for the magistrate. Said one local barrister, "He was a real student. He was a prodigious reader and had a most remarkable memory. He really should have been a professor." The Magistrate's main hobby was reading, chiefly biographies and history. He was also interested in educational problems and the welfare of the Indian population. While living at Fort Saskatchewan he took an active part in Indian affairs, and continued this interest during his years in the Yukon.

    Besides liking to read, the Magistrate also enjoyed curling and up until last year he was active in that sport.

    He is survived by his widow, two sons and three grandchildren. Mrs' Gibson now lives in Vancouver where she has been confined to a nursing home because of ill health. The elder son, John, also lives in Vancouver and the younger son, Murray, lives in Edmonton with his family.

    At the funeral, held this afternoon at the Presbyterian Church, pallbearers were George van Roggen, N. V. X. Wylie, Inspector J. T. Parsons, RCMP, Murray Macfarlane, Dean Smith ad James Whyard.

    As a mark of respect for the deceased, law firms in Whitehorse were closed today.