William Gibbons was born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1794 to Thomas Gibbons 1757-1826 and Ann Heyward. Thomas Gibbons was a successful lawyer and was elected mayor of Savannah 4 times in succession. He owned plantations on the banks of the Savannah River, and, after moving north to New Jersey, became involved in the business of steamboat transportation. His ownership of a ferry from Elizabeth Point to New York put him at odds with the ferry operator, Aaron Ogden, whose steamboat had been granted exclusive rights to these waters by the state of New York. Aaron Ogden sued Thomas Gibbons, and in the Supreme Court case of 1824 Gibbons vs. Ogden, Thomas Gibbons won, with the result that no one could have a monopoly of interstate waters.
William Gibbons attended the College of New Jersey later Princeton, but discontinued his education early to assist his father with the operation of the Georgia plantations. Thomas Gibbons willed virtually all of his land, property, and businesses to William after his death in May 1826. William married Abigail Louisa Taintor 1791-1844 in 1826 and had four children: Isabel, Caroline Gilmour, Sarah Taintor, and William Heyward. Like his father, he purchased land in New Jersey and moved there with his family, placing the operation of the one of the Georgia plantations in the hands of William Dunham. William Gibbons funded the building of a mansion for his wife now Mead Hall at Drew University, the Morris County House, and the United States Hotel in Morristown. He managed the operation of his father's steamboat business until 1829, offered financial assistance to the publishing of at least one newspaper, and was interested in horse breeding and racing. He died on December 10, 1852, in New Jersey.
From the guide to the William Gibbons papers, Gibbons, William, 1804-1857, 1828-1845, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
James Peter Allaire was born in 1785, and began his working career as a brass founder in New York City around 1813. In 1815, Allaire founded the Allaire Works, the first steam engine factory in New York, and in 1831 founded the Howell Works. He proved to be a successful engineer, and also owned several steamship lines. Among his other accomplishments are his production of the first marine compound engine and the design of New York City's first tenement building. Allaire had two wives: Frances Roe and Calicia Tompkins. Allaire died on May 20, 1858.
Thomas Gibbons was born in Savannah, Georgia, on December 15, 1757. Though many of his family members supported the American Revolution, Gibbons remained a Loyalist during the conflict and was imprisoned until 1787 for his wartime sympathies. Despite his imprisonment, he became a prominent citizen after his release. He won a seat on the Georgia State Assembly, assisted in the drafting of Georgia's 1789 state constitution, and served several terms as mayor of Savannah. In 1811, Gibbons moved to Elizabethtown, New Jersey, where he continued to pursue his business interests. In 1817, he formed a steamboat company in partnership with Aaron Ogden. The partnership proved a strained one, and an 1819 suit made by Ogden against Gibbons went to the United States Supreme Court; the ruling dissolved the Livingston-Fulton steamboat monopoly on the east coast and had lasting implications for the interpretation of the Untied States Constitution's interstate commerce clause. Gibbons died in New York City on May 16, 1826. His son, William Gibbons (b. 1794), inherited his father's money and property, and continued to manage his father's steamboat business until 1829. William Gibbons died on December 10, 1852, in New Jersey.
From the guide to the Allaire-Gibbons papers, 1822-1963, 1822-1856, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)