Newman Nighton Gibson was born in Peola Mills, Rappahannock County, on May 10, 1897, to Lee Brown and Harriet Gibson. He began farming at age 12. In 1917, he was a member of Company K, 370th Infantry, in the First World War, where when fighting alongside the French in trench warfare he and his fellow soldiers were gassed.
As a result, he had only one functioning lung. He married Fenton Frye in 1921 at age 25. The couple had six children, and Newman continued to farm. On March 10, 1937, at only 39 years old, he died of double pneumonia. He is buried in the Nazareth Baptist Church cemetery in Slate Mills.
Editor’s note: The story of Newman Gibson and other African Americans with rich histories in Rappahannock County are contained in the new book, “Images of America: African Americans in Culpeper, Orange, Madison and Rappahannock Counties,” by Terry L. Miller (Arcadia Publishing, 2019).