could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:

Ray Gibson Story

Request for Information:

Wanted to know what we could find about her Grandfather
Family did not talk about him much
Married twice, first wife is her grandmother
2nd wife liked nice things
Might have operated a whorehouse
What could we find out about him?

Online –

Federal Census Records
Social Security Death Index
Kearney Daily Hub Newspaper

In Archives –

Kearney Cemetery Records
Kearney City Directories
Kearney Police Court records – 1928-1929
Buffalo County Court records – 1928-1933

Also checked marriage licenses – no information there


Mother Ida Mae (last name unknown but probably Gibson) born in Iowa
        Feb. 12, 1894 (not quite 18) – gave birth to a son - named Ray Gibson.
        His father was listed as unknown in census records.

January 1900 – Ida Mae married Barney Rainwater

        Lived in Des Moines, Iowa until 1906 when they moved to Nebraska

1910 – Rainwater family living in Lincoln, Nebraska.
        Barney was working as a roofer.
        Ray Gibson, now 16, was not living with them.  Probably living elsewhere and working

Sometime after 1910 – Rainwater family moved to Kearney.

Oct. 23, 1918 Ida Mae Rainwater died on age 43.  Buried in Kearney Cemetery

June 22, 1924 – Barney Rainwater drowned in a gravel pit on south 9th Avenue in Kearney.
        He was 48 years old.  Buried beside Ida Mae in Kearney Cemetery

About Ray

Married Edith in about 1913 or 1914

Three Children
            Son – Donald Ray, two daughters – Edith and Betty

        Started a roofing business
        Ran an ad during the first week in July 1920 advertising the Kearney Roofing Co
        Operated this business for the rest of his life

Family Life & Finances – court records show:

(1928) – not a good year
        February - Edith - at Ruter’s wrote $15 on the Kearney Roofing business account
            Check was returned because of insufficient funds

        June - Ray and Edith divorced.

        September - Lost two lots of property [home & business headquarters] in a sheriff’s sale


(1929) – not much better
        3 Bad check charges –
            For work and labor services. (no show, guilty and ordered to pay)
            For room rent. That case was dismissed.
            For “necessaries of life.” Guilty, ordered to pay the bill with interest.

        Brought to court for Non-payment of child support
            January, February and March, 1929 @ $50/month

Alcohol Related Incidents
This was the prohibition period.  Ray managed to acquire liquor but apparently he did not handle it very well.

(1929) – besides the bad check charges & non-payment of child support

        Ray and friend arrested following a police chase through southeast Kearney.
                Police found about a pint of liquor in the car.
                They were officially charged
                    1) with being in a state of intoxication
                    2) with “having one pint and more of hootch commonly known as moonshine, at his dwelling.”
        Ray pled guilty to the first charge and was fined $10 plus court costs
                The second charge was dismissed.

        Ray and another friend were charged with of intoxication.
                2nd offense for each - given 30 day sentences by the Kearney police court.

        Ray was again charged with intoxication and speeding
                Pleaded not guilty
                Judge found him guilty based on evidence of four witnesses and was fined $50.

        At least one incident per year for the next 3 years

(1930) Ray and friend convicted of receiving seven automobile tires

Stolen from the Union Pacific freight car by another man
The tires were valued at $50.
Ray pleaded guilty but claimed they were worth only $30.
Each fined $50 and court costs
Man who stole the tires received a two year sentence.

(1931) Ray again charged with nonpayment of alimony since last August

Now reduced to $40 per month
Arrested in September 1931.
He pleaded not guilty
Judge ruled there was probable cause that Ray was guilty.
He was to remain in jail until his appearance before the District Court.

        Unfortunately that record was not found.

(1933) January - Ray and a lady friend were arrested for chicken stealing.

Accused of stealing four chickens, one fountain pen, knives and other items
totaling $8.60 from a man on November 27, 1932
        (Could this have been for Thanksgiving dinner?)
Charges were dropped and the case was dismissed.

(1944) Feb – Ray - Charged with driving an automobile while under the influence of intoxicating liquor.
                Fined $5 & costs & his driver’s license suspended for 60 days for pleasure driving

          May – Firemen were called to his home at, 1228 12th Avenue
                    davenport caught fire from a cigarette and smoke filled the house.


Ray’s 2nd marriage
1939 Kearney City Directory - lists Ray Gibson, wife, Leone, son, Donald living together

            July 20, 1940 - Kearney Hub news from Franklin, NE –
                    Marriage license issued to Mrs. Leone Mae Bruson & Ray Gibson, of Kearney.
                    Leone became the office manager for Kearney Roofing.


March 1929 - Donald, now 14, and two friends caught stealing gas.
        Committed to the State Industrial School until he turned 21 (Oct 1935)

Lived briefly in Omaha about 1935 [after release?] and then moved back to Kearney

Joined his father in the roofing business where he worked for the rest of his life
        Lived with his father until he married in late 1939 or early 1940

Ray and Donald operated Kearney Roofing through the 1940’s and 1950’s
        Roofing business expanded to include sheet metal

1966 – Ray retired

        Donald began operating the company by himself under the name Gibson Co.
                Advertised “residential, commercial, built-up roofing, tar and gravel, [and] aluminum roof coating”

Ray died on January 14, 1972. He was 76 years old.
Donald died on October 8, 1975 at age 60.
        Both died of heart attacks.

Ex-wife, Edith
        Edith and children lived in Kearney.
                Worked for Dr. Wallace Rose, who specialized in children’s diseases.
        Lived in several different places in the Central Avenue area.

        Betty attended Kearney High School
                Spent a year at the St. Ursula academy in York, Nebraska
                Graduated in spring 1939
                Had gained recognition in typing
                Had also joined the Catholic church.

        1940 - Working part time as a stenographer at the Kearney Post Office

Edith married Percy Ronan in June 1935.
        He was from Aurora
        Working for Central Power Company of Shelton, living in Kearney for 15 years.

        Marriage lasted 6 years.
        Percy moved back to Aurora
        Marriage dissolved in July 1941 on grounds of cruelty.


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