upload image

Fort Gibson

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 1808 to 1890
Location: New York, United Statesmap
Surnames/tags: Military Fort Ellis Island
This page has been accessed 169 times.

The island known to most of the world, called Ellis Island had a history before the area was ever called that.

As long as the land has been here, the island has been too. The Mohegan tribe that inhabited the area, called it "Kiosh" which means Gull Island. It got this name because of the constant bird population.

Many generations, when the Dutch colonists called the area home, it was called Oyster Island. This was due to the area being rich in oyster beds and plentiful shad.

The British took over and changed it back to Gull Island but it changed quickly. Gibbet Island was given as a nickname to the island, because of a post of gibbet that served to display deceased bodies of pirates and mutineers that had been hanged. Gibbet is another word for gallows.

At the time that Samuel Ellis bought it, there was barely more than a sandy lot of 3 acres that remained just slightly higher than high tide. It was turned into a picnic spot and then he tried to sell it. No one wanted to buy it.

When he passed away, it went to family. The family did not want it so, New York State bought the island. A year later, the United States bought it from NY state for the huge price at that time of 10,000.00 dollars, which today equates to $201,747.62.

It took a while but eventually it had so much soil, rocks and other debris dumped there that it was no longer 3 acres. It had grown to 27 1/2 acres.

Between 1808 and 1814, the U.S. War Department established a federal arsenal. With a 14-gun battery, mortar battery, and magazine was also barracks.

It was originally called Crown Fort. Colonel James Gibson of the 4th Regiment of Riflemen was killed in the Siege of Fort Erie during the war of 1812. By the end of the war, the name had been changed, by Governor of New York, Daniel D Tompkins, to honor him. Fort Gibson served well.

After the buildings were dismantled and the new naval magazine was set up, it was used for ammunition supply in the Civil War.

It had been a military post for about 80 years. It was then at that time, turned into the federal immigration station we know as Ellis Island

Later when the Immigrant Wall of Honor was being built, some of the fort’s foundation walls were uncovered. They have been preserved and put on display with a plaque.

Other Markers Nearby

All within steps from Fort Gibson Marker

Fort Gibson: Uncovering the Past

The American Immigrant Wall of Honor

Fort Gibson: Ammunition to Immigration

Fort Gibson: Oyster Banks to Batteries

Fort Gibson: Defending the Approaches

Fort Gibson: The New York Harbor System

The American Immigrant Wall of Honor

Delaware Indian Burials


Pre 1630s Island known as:

Kioshk Island

1630s-1663 It was called Oyster Island by the Dutch settlers

1664 The British briefly called it Gull Island but soon changed it to Gibbet Island, due to wooden post of gibbet on the island

Other names it went by

Dyre Island, Bucking Island, and Anderson's Island

1770s Samuel Ellis bought the island, as a private owner

January 20, 1785 Ellis tried to sell it to someone else

July 11, 1794 Samuel Ellis passed away

1807 New York state bought the island from Ellis' family

1808 The United States government bought it from New York

1808-1814 It served as a federal arsenal.

1812 Fort used as garrison and Prisoner of War camp.

1861 The buildings were dismantled. A new magazine was set up for the Navy.


They Used to Hang Pirates at Ellis Island: and Few Other Things you Didn't Know!: https://www.neilperrygordon.com/blog/they-used-to-hang-pirates-at-ellis-island

Ellis Island: Oysters, Pirates and Ammunition: the Early Days of Ellis Island:https://www.abcteach.com/free/r/rc_history_ellisisland_earlydays.pdf

Ellis Island, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellis_Island

Forts: Fort Gibson, New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center: NYS Division of Military and Naval Affairs: http://dmna.ny.gov/forts/fortsE_L/gibsonFort.htm

Fort Wood (Liberty Island) and Fort Gibson (Ellis Island), National Park Service: https://www.nps.gov/places/fort-wood-fort-gibson.htm

Fort Gibson: The other Ellis Island Story, HMdb.org, The HIstorical Marker Database: https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=49298

Fort Gibson (2), FortWiki Historic U.S. and Canadian Forts: http://fortwiki.com/Fort_Gibson_(2)

Fort Gibson (historical) - Historical Feature (MIlitary) in New York County: https://newyork.hometownlocator.com/maps/feature-map,ftc,3,fid,2359512,n,fort%20gibson.cfm

Fort Gibson: The New York Harbor System, HIstorical Marker Project: https://www.historicalmarkerproject.com/markers/HMX9W_fort-gibson-the-new-york-harbor-system_Jersey-City-NY.html

Fort Gibson (historical), Part of Statue of Liberty National Monument, AnyplaceAmerica.com: https://www.anyplaceamerica.com/directory/ny/new-york-county-36061/military/fort-gibson-historical--2359512/

This is an "orphaned" profile — there's no Profile Manager to watch over it. Please adopt this profile.

  • Login to edit this profile and add images.
  • Public Comments: Login to post. (Best for messages specifically directed to those editing this profile. Limit 20 per day.)

Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.