The Dibblees and the American War of Independence

This page refers only to my immediate ancestors, not other Dibbles or Dibblees. The American War of Independence (1775-1783), is, of course, also known as the American Revolutionary War.

Rev. Ebenezer Dibblee was the Rector of Stamford for 51 years, 1748-1799. He was Episcopalian, and loyal to Britain and King George III. The American War of Independence (also known as the American Revolutionary War) was from 1775 to 1783. Ebenezer's two sons, Fyler Dibblee and Frederick Dibblee (later Rev.) were also loyalist. It is said that his other son, Ebenezer Dibblee was on the other side.

Rev. Ebenezer Dibblee
Fyler Dibblee
Frederick Dibblee

Rev. Ebenezer Dibblee

Rev. Ebenezer Dibblee was an Episcopalian Rector at the time of the American War of Independence. The Sketches of church life in Colonial Connecticut describes how he travelled to England to be ordained. The Episcopalian clergy generally supported the British side in the war, and in their pre-war services there were prayers for the King. The Yale College sketch says "In the opening of the Revolution [Rev. Ebenezer Dibblee] was of course in sympathy with the British side; but there is no tradition that he suffered any indignities from the opposing party. The esteem in which he was generally held probably served to protect him. When the result became clear, he accepted the new government loyally, and was faithful to it."

This comforting description is contradicted by Ebenezer's letters, dated 1788/9, "I cannot see how Episcopacy & Republicanism can well coalesce. ... But I cannot see the wisdom of reviving those religious controversies, in our present unsettled state; unless with an evil design to prejudice Government here against the Church as unfriendly to the united States." He is quite distressed by the changes to the Episcopalian service, see Ebenezer's page. He also considered moving to Canada, but decided not to. "Can no method be devised for my relief, in consequence of my declining, in the winter of life, and cold climate of adversity, to remove to Nova Scotia. Necessity not choice prevents. Heaven forbids it, by my great age & Mrs. Dibble's, now in her 80th year; and in the want of health in the family, the effects of my persevering in that line of duty allotted me during the late Rebellion; out of Loyalty to my Sovereign, and to confirm & preserve his Subjects, and members of my Church in dutiful Obedience to Church and State; at the hazard of all that is dear in life." He also described "My Daughter Polly, who had never fully recovered the steadiness and tranquility of her mind, since by the terrour of our Sovereign Lords the Mob in the begining of our late troubles, she was thrown into a state of insanity." This does not sound like someone who readily accepted the new situation. Still, he is unable to move to Canada, and feels that he has a duty to remain in Stamford, looking after his parish as best he could, and keeping quiet about politics. His parishioners seem to have been genuinely fond of him.

Fyler Dibblee

Fyler Dibblee was a son of Rev. Ebenezer Dibblee. He was made Captain of the first company or trainband in the town of Stamford 5 Nov 1773 (see Public records of the colony of Connecticut Vol 14 page 168). He was certainly a loyalist.

In March, 1774, he was involved with a petition which showed an "excessive loyalty to the English government and a readiness to abide by almost any decision of the crown" (see History of Stamford, Connecticut page 205).

In March 1775, he was accused of preventing "the introduction of certain barrels of gun-powder into this Colony for the goverment's use, agreeable to the order and directions of legal authority, which conduct is inconsistent with the duty of their said office and of dangerous tendency" (see History of Stamford, Connecticut page 250). "A confession and recantation of toryism by Capt. Dibble, dated September 26th, 1775, was published in the newspapers. American Archives, III, 812." (see Public records of the colony of Connecticut Vol 14 page 388).

Also in September, 1775, Mr. Luke Raymond, Ebenezer Raymond aud Billy Saunders of Norwalk confessed to "attacking, beating and mauling William Budd Lucas of Stamford" (a noted patriot). "Furthermore, we, Prince Howes, Jas. Hoyt, jr. and Samuel Beebe aforesaid, having imprudently subscribed a certain paper said to be drawn up by Capt. Fyler Dibble, for which misconduct we are sorry" (see History of Stamford, Connecticut page 253). Unfortunately we do not know what this "certain paper" said!

Letter by Ebenezer Dibblee, 1783, about Frederick says "Your memorialist's elder son, Fyler Dibblee, about Christmas 1776, forseeing the storm and resigning his commission as Captain in the American militia, fled under the Royal banner to escape the violence threatened his person, leaving behind him a wife and five children who were soon turned out of doors and your memorialist obliged to take them under his care till the next spring when they were sent in a destitute condition to your memorialist's son at Long Island. Thank God they now, through the favour of the Government and your Excellency's pious and most charitable concern for the Loyalists, are settled at St. John's River to their unspeakable satisfaction."

The History of Stamford, Connecticut (page 263) states that Fyler Dibble "went over to Long Island and entered the service of the British. Here he was captured with other loyalists in '78, and his property in Stamford confiscated. In '83 he was a deputy agent in transporting loyalists from New York to Nova Scotia, in April of this year he went with his wife, five children and two servants to St. John's, New Brunswick, when in 1784 he was granted two city lots; and where some years later he put an end to his own life."

Click here for some of Fyler Dibblee's work for the Loyalists.

Frederick Dibblee

Frederick Dibblee was another son of Rev. Ebenezer Dibblee, also loyalist.

From Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online - the entry for Frederick Dibble

In 1775-76 the General Assembly of Connecticut passed increasingly harsh measures against tory sympathizers, and in November 1776 a number of loyalists from Stamford, including Frederick [Dibblee], were removed to Lebanon, in the eastern part of the state. In April, after he had been allowed home, Frederick's life was threatened and he fled to Long Island, where his brother Fyler had already taken refuge. There he engaged in trade in company with a Mr Jackson at Oyster Bay. Eventually he "acquired something considerable," in his father's words, and married a fellow refugee. Five times his business was raided by rebels, however, and the damages amounted to £1,200 or more. In November 1782 he and his wife were even stripped of their household goods and best clothes. Dibblee resolved to go to Nova Scotia with his brother Fyler and other loyalists in the spring fleet of 1783. Unable to settle his accounts in time, he was further delayed in moving there by his wife's pregnancy and then by his own illness with "a remitting fever." It was not until the following spring that he was able to leave.

Click here for a letter by Ebenezer Dibblee which seems to be the source of this information about Frederick. It gives a longer account, but I am suspicious about its accuracy, since it says that Frederick had a degree, and the "Centenary" account (below) denies this.

The Centenary of the Ordination of Rev. Frederick Dibblee gives more about the Loyalists settling in New Brunswick.

Click here for Places connected with Rev. Frederick Dibblee and others.