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Antique bicycle donated by Gibson family

Back in the late 1800s, it was a common sight to see Dr. Cicero Gibson making rounds to patients throughout Thomson, while riding his aluminum frame, free-wheel bicycle.

This past Saturday, the old bicycle - a large wheel on the front and a small one in the back - was returned to Thomson and presented by Frank Gibson and his sister, Betsy Yarborough, to the McDuffie Museum.

"I can't believe that Thomson has gotten this cherished treasure back after all of these years," said Rusty Lovelace, who serves as president of the McDuffie Museum. "It's a great day, because we have it back."

Mr. Lovelace said Mr. Gibson, a financial advisor now living in Lookout Mountain, Ga., recently telephoned him asking if he'd be interested in the old bicycle for display in the museum.

"I was delighted to hear that Frank wanted us to display this important piece of history in our new museum," said Mr. Lovelace. "I remember when Frank rode this old bicycle in homecoming and Christmas parades in downtown Thomson."

Mr. Gibson, who called his grandfather "Papa Cicero," said the Thomson physician purchased the bicycle back in the late 1800s.

"He liked the bike so well that he rode it to see his patients," said Mr. Gibson. "He really enjoyed that bike."

Dr. Gibson, who graduated from Emory University Medical School in 1887, later taught his grandson how to ride the bicycle.

"It was a rather difficult thing to learn," recalled Mr. Gibson. "I always had to be real careful, because if you hit a rock or something with the front tire, you could go right over the handlebars and wreck. I did that a couple of times - that's how I know."

He confessed that he had not ridden the bicycle in about 15 years.

"It had actually been leaning up against a wall in my garage all these years," said Mr. Gibson, a 1963 graduate of Thomson High School.

Mr. Gibson said it was his pleasure to donate the antique bicycle to the local museum.

"It makes me feel good to know that the bicycle is back in Thomson and on display at the museum where it can be seen by a lot of people," added Mr. Gibson.

His sister, a 1959 graduate of THS, and still living in Thomson, agreed.

"I think this was certainly the right thing to do with the bicycle," said Ms. Yarborough. "People visiting the museum will get a chance to see a little of our local history up close."

Mr. Lovelace said plans call for the bicycle, now rusty, to be mounted on a wall for viewing.

Dr. Gibson, whose son, Frank, also became a local doctor, later sold his practice to his first cousin, Dr. Will Gibson.

The elder Dr. Gibson later opened Gibson's Drug Store, which was located on Main Street. The drug store was operated by the family for a number of years.

Mr. Gibson and Ms. Yarborough's father practiced medicine in Thomson for several years. He passed away in 1971.

Web posted on Thursday, June 04, 2009

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