Gibbon, named for Gen. John Gibbon of Civil War fame, was established by a land agent, Col. John Thorp. He made a contract with the Union Pacific Railroad to establish a town "anywhere in Buffalo County, Nebraska." He chose the site at "Gibbon Switch" on the railroad.
The Baptist church was organized on January 16, 1872. Only 100 hours later, the Presbyterians organized, and using the rejected bricks from the courthouse project, they built the first church building in Gibbon. This was not only the first church built in Buffalo County, but also the first Nebraska church building west of Grand Island. Only one church in Colorado and another in Wyoming are older. There are now five churches in Gibbon.
Gibbon is the site of the first commercial feeding of sheep in Nebraska. Sheep were herded from ontana and Wyoming to Gibbon to be fed out. Several large homes have been built on the profits of this "sheep money."
Another local phenomenon was the race for Nebraska state legislature in 1872 between a Gibbon man, D.P.Ashburn, and Buffalo Bill Cody of show-business fame. Ashburn, the butter-maker, undertaker, postmaster, and later attorney, won the election.
Among Gibbon's native sons we note: nationally-known TV star Dick Cavett, and S.C.Bassett, writer of the History of Buffalo County, and who was a farmer, dairyman, and editor.
Today Gibbon has 50 businesses and a busy local trade. Two packing plants provide both market and employment for the town, still served by the railroad. The Norbest turkey plant, processing as high as 15,000 turkeys per day, is currently being enlarged to accommodate boned turkey products. The cattle processing plant, Gibbon Pack, can process 1,600 head per day and is also being enlarged. Gibbon, with a present population of 1,500, has had a steady and constant growth.