120 Years Of The Giffords

One of Vero's earliest pioneer families is still giving back to the city it helped create.
Friend Charles Gifford, named for his grandfather, became a pioneer Vero settler at age 9; he came to be known as “Uncle Charlie” to the whole town. Here, he sells fruit and jellies at a stand outside the Indian River Citrus Bank (now a furniture store) at the corner of Route 60 and 14th Ave. Known for his sense of humor, he sometimes wore a bow tie made from a dollar bill.

Anyone who is casually acquainted with the history of Indian River County is familiar with the Gifford name. Even our newest residents are aware of the Cox-Gifford-Seawinds Funeral Home and of the town of Gifford to the north of Vero Beach. In our area and beyond, the Gifford name is associated with service to the community and a pioneer spirit. The reputation is well deserved, for the story of the Gifford family is a fascinating one.

It was William Gifford who first brought the family to the American colonies in 1647 when he sailed from England and settled in Massachusetts. Several generations later, in 1792, John Gifford and his wife Cynthia Kimball traveled on horseback from their home in Connecticut to Randolph, Vt., where they settled on a spot that has forever after been known as Gifford Hill. Among their nine children was a son named Friend Gifford, who was born in 1802. His unusual name was to lend itself to one of Vero’s most prominent citizens.

In 1827, Friend Gifford married Armida Smith and the couple produced five children, among them sons John, Horace and Henry. Their grandson John Pearl Gifford, born in 1871, graduated from Dartmouth College Medical School and became a surgeon.

Read the entire article in the March 2008 issue