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The Connecticut Years

All the evidence collected so far suggests that the first known male Dibble in our line was Jonathan/Jonathon Dibble, who was born in 1711 in Stamford, Fairfield County, Connecticut. (It is standard US geneological usage to give locations in the form town, county, state. This can be confusing when one of those items isn't known, because it is NOT standard to include "County" when giving a county name. This history follows standard usage, but will show whether a place is a county or town when all three items are not stated.)

Jonathan/Jonathon was christened (baptized) on October 28, 1711 or 1712 in East Hampton on Long Island, New York (to distinguish him from a later Jonathan who plays a central role in our story, we will continue the annoying use of both spellings). That raises questions, since East Hampton is a fair distance from Stamford whether by land or sea. On the other hand, it wasn't unusual in those times to delay a baptism until it seemed likely that the child would live beyond infancy. This would allow ample time for the trip, and as we shall see, some Dibbles lived in the Hamptons, and may have been Jonathan/Jonathon's relatives.

Our connection to this Jonathan/Jonathon is not conclusive, because the only sources so far obtained are a website that no longer exists--and whose author has so far eluded all attempts at location--and a handful of contributors to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS--Mormon) geneological archives.

Research to date offers two, and possibly three, competing fathers for Jonathan/Jonathon Dibble. Two of these connect our line to the ancient Robert Deeble family. At this point, none of these ancestors has been verified by official government records, which geneologists consider to be the most reliable source.

Scenario 1: The English Ancestor

Ora Conley Dreher wrote a book about her mother, Sarah Dibble Conley. (Sarah's father was Alonzo Dibble, one of the first migrants to Minnesota in our line.) Perhaps in preparation for this book, Ora produced Sarah Dibble Conley: Biographical Notes by Her Daughter. This document states that, "Alonzo's first ancestor came to this country from England in 1702. The record is in the book, 'The History of the Jessup Family'."

This source presents problems. The Minnesota branch of the family has a copy of a book entitled Edward Jessup And His Descendants, written by Rev. Henry Griswold Jesup, which was privately printed in 1887. This book has been cited by family members as the source of Ora's information. However, the titles do not match. This might have been a simple oversight, but the problem is complicated by the fact that other important sources of our Dibble line's history cite a document called "Edward Jessup Genealogy" as the origin of some records. Reverend Jesup's book is apparently not the "Edward Jessup Geneology", but Ora's source may or may not be the Reverend's book.

Scenario 2: The Deeble Connection

Van Buren Lamb, Jr. was a tireless Dibble family researcher. He compiled the best-known and most extensive geneology of the Dibble family/families in North America. While the accuracy of some of his work has come into some question in recent years, it remains a heroic and invaluable effort. Most of his research concerned the vast extended network of descendants of Robert Deeble.

Deeble probably arrived in Massachusetts in 1633. He and his son Thomas Deble, who was born around 1614 in Weymouth, Somerset, England, received a grant of land in Dorchester, Massachusetts on Jan. 4, 1635. Thomas came to the colony in the spring of 1635. He was "ordered" to build a house on the land grant, but probably never did, because he moved to Windsor, Connecticut, just north of Hartford, within a year. His father Robert may have remained in Massachusetts or may have returned to England. He probably had other sons, John and Abraham, who also lived in Connecticut.

Thomas, John and Abraham founded an impressive Dibble family line which was prominent in Connecticut and eventually spread out to upstate New York, the Carolinas, Michigan, Minnesota, California, and other places.

2A: John Dibble

Reverend Jesup's book says that one John Dibble "possibly may have been" the father of Jonathan/Jonathon. This John may or may not be the English ancestor mentioned by Ora Conley. The Reverend identified him as one of the early settlers of the northern region of the town of Stamford. In early America, "towns" were actually townships, and could consist of vast swaths of land that stretched, in some cases, for hundreds of miles. The original Stamford was quite large. However, possibly in around 1704, boundaries were redrawn between the colonies of Connecticut and New York, and the area where John settled became part of the New York town of Bedford.

This John Dibble was a major landowner whose holdings are described in detail by Rev. Jesup. According to the Reverend, he (not Jonathan/Jonathon, as Ora had it) appears in a list of the resident proprietors of the first land patent granted by Connecticut in 1697, made by Governor Cornbury of New York, presumably to confirm land ownership after the region was transferred to that colony. (This was the notorious Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury, for whom Hyde Park was named, and who has been vilified as, among other things, a "corrupt transvestite".) Unfortunately, Reverend Jesup does not provide any insights into why he believed this John may have been Jonathan/Jonathon's father, but other sources do, and also suggest a connection back to Robert Deeble.

2B: Israel Dibble

One of Thomas Dibble's children may have been Israel Dibble, who, according to unverified records, was born on August 29, 1637, in either Windsor, Hartford, CT or Dorchester, Suffolk, MA, and died December 11, 1697 in Windsor. Israel's mother may have been Mary or Miriam or Frances Grant.

Supposedly verified records show that Israel Dibble had a son named George Dibble, born on January 25, 1675 in Windsor, Hartford, CT. Unverified records submitted to the LDS archives by three different individuals show that George Dibble, son of Israel, married Mary Buel/Buell (b. 1682) on December 28, 1703, in East Hampton, Suffolk, NY. Mary died in January 1705 or 1706. Allegedly verified records show George marrying a woman named Abigail (b. 1679 in Windsor, Hartford, CT) in 1710 in Stamford, Fairfield, CT. The records then show this Abigail and George as the parents of our Jonathan/Jonathon.

Regardless of who his parents were, Jonathan/Jonathon was known as Lieutenant Dibble. He married Sarah Jessup on November 11, 1736. (Sarah's parents were Edward Jessup and Elizabeth Hyde.) Their children were:

Sarah Dibble, born October 11, 1737. (She later married Jacob Valentine.)
Deborah Dibble, born June 26, 1739, in Stamford. (She married James Varian, and died on April 12, 1823.)
George Dibble, born December 2, 1740, in Stamford.
Abigail Dibble, born March 31, 1743, in Stamford. (She later married Edward Jessup.)
Elizabeth Dibble, born April 25, 1745 in Stamford. (She married Ebenezer Jessup.)

Lieutenant Dibble owned land on the west side of Chatham Square in New York City and "held a lease of the premises in the Bowery, known as the 'Bull's Head Tavern.'" He also owned land on the Hudson River in Wallkill, near Poughkeepsie, NY. Jesup reports that, "In consequence of the small-pox becoming epidemic, probably about 1760," he sold his New York City holdings and bought a large farm that straddled the NY-CT line, with parts in Bedford, NY and parts in Stamford, CT. His official residence seems nearly always to have been in Stamford, as four of his five children are recorded as being born there, including his only son George (citation: "Edward Jessup Geneology" via Bernhard). However, Reverend Jesup says that George, from whom our line is descended, was actually born in the Bull's Head Tavern.

Soon after buying the farm, Jonathan/Jonathon...well, bought the farm, on April 17, 1760, and was buried in "Brush Cemetery, Stamford, Fairfield, Connecticut".

On June 20, 1762, his son George Dibble married Phebe (also spelled Phoebe) Jessup.

Now, a word needs to be said here, though it's not clear which word that should be. Phebe is reported to be George's cousin, and the Dibbles were apparently in very deep with the Jessups for at least two generations. However, this sort of thing does not seem to be unusual in geneology. In fact, over in the "other" Dibble line, we have a Thomas Dibbel/Dibell/Dibble marrying a Hannah Jessup in the Hamptons on Long Island around 1690 (about 20 years before Jonathan/Jonathon was baptized there).

George and Phebe's children, all born in Stamford, were:

Jonathan Dibble (10/11/1762 - 11/26/1784)
Samuel Dibble (born 8/2/1764, married Hannah Platt)
Sarah Dibble (born 10/17/1766)
Deborah Dibble (born 7/25/1768, married Robert Eames)
Abigail Dibble (8/20/1770 - 10/12/1819, married Joseph Feeks)
George Dibble Jr. (1/7/1773 - 9/9/1798)
Josiah Dibble (born 11/22/1774, married Catherine Smith)
Phebe Dibble (born 2/4/1777)
Elizabeth Jessup Dibble (3/4/1779 - 1/6/1852, married Solomon Ingersall)
John Dibble (6/26/1782 - 8/1/1840)
Mary Ann Dibble (born 1/1/1785, married David L. Palmer)
Jonathan Dibble (born 3/4/1788, married Mary D. Smith)
Grace Dibble (born 5/8/1790, married Simon W. Cooper)

According to Ora Conley Dreher, all of these children were baptized by the "Reverend R. Dibble" at St. John's Episcopal Church in Stamford. However, if they were baptized at St. Johns, the priest would have been the Reverend Ebenezer Dibblee, who was the pastor there for 51 years before he died in 1799. Reverend Dibblee, a descendant of Robert Deeble, changed the spelling of his name because he had heard that the origin of the name might have been the French word for "devil".

During the Revolutionary War, some of the Connecticut Dibbles, including Reverend Dibblee, were unquestionably Tories, supporters of the Crown. During Major General William Tryon's raid on Danbury, he used as his headquarters the home of Nehemiah Dibble, which, it was also said, was not burned later by the British because of the owner's pro-British sympathies. It is not known whether George Dibble's family was Tory, or if these views were held only by the Deeble/Deble/Dibble line. However, Ora Conley Dreher's manuscript says that the Jessups were "intensely loyal to the Crown" and that some of them had to leave the country as a result. Since families in those days were usually careful to make matches that reflected their political views, it's quite likely that our Dibble ancestors did not look with favor upon the Revolution. (If it's any consolation, recent research indicates that the majority of the citizens of the 13 colonies were pro-British at the time.)

George's sons Josiah and Samuel Dibble may have served in the War of 1812.

George Dibble died on April 19, 1817, and is buried in "Bush Yard, Stanwich, Fairfield, Connecticut". This is the same cemetery where his father Jonathon/Jonathon was buried, a private cemetery near the actual village of Stamford, which, as Reverend Jesup reports, later became part of the farm of one "John H. Brush of Stanwich".

George's son John Dibble married Sarah Elizabeth Howe (5/4/1799 - 1/16/1875; she was the daughter of Silas Howe and Abigail Fisk). Their first eight children were:

Silas Dibble (5/5/1816 - 8/23/1898)
Henry Dibble (9/7/1818 - 3/28/1901, married Harriet Searcey on 11/1/1841)
Charles Dibble (8/16/1820 - 5/14/1904, married Elizabeth Mary Searcey on 5/21/1845)
George Dibble (9/12/1822 - 1/2/1893, married Mary Ann Creig on 11/17/1846)
Harvey Dibble (born 11/10/1824)
Alonzo Dibble (12/12/1826 - 7/?/1891)
Sarah Elizabeth Dibble (born 2/4/1829, married Jacob Powell on 11/11/1847)
John W. Dibble (born 8/20/1831, married Malinda Hizer on 3/7/1850, then married Lydia Ann Bowman on 7/19/1853)

Map of the Middle Colonies, 1607-1760, showing western CT and New York

Postcard painting of Stamford Harbor

Color photo of Lt. Jonathan Dibble's headstone

Color photo of George Dibble's headstone in Stamford, CT

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Photo of a dibble, a gardening tool for making holes
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