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Account of the Rev. Ebenezer Dibblee


From the webpage From Site of George Arthur Dibble III - this page includes an account of Rev. Ebenezer Dibblee.


From "Dibblee~Perry and Allied Families", CALIFORNIA STATE LIBRARY SUTRO, CS71.D544.1983:

REV. EBENEZER DIBBLEE: This Ebenezer Dibblee became the first member of the Dibblee family to become well known far beyond his own community. He was one of the ultra-Tory members of the Anglican clergy in Connecticut, and as a result, his life was far from tranquil. He was graduated from Yale in 1714. Like the rest of his family, he was first a Congregationalist; after he left college, he was first licensed as a candidate among the Dissenters and actually preached in their churches. However, he became converted to Anglicanism, and in 1747 went to England for Holy Orders. Here he was ordained a priest in the Church of England 7 Aug. 1748, by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Parish Church at Kensington. That year he became minister of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Stamford, CT and held that post fifty-one years, until his death in 1799.

Ebenezer was the one who introduced the second "E" in the spelling of the name. In his early days he was well thought of and a hard worker. He had severe financial problems, and although he was offered other parishes at a larger stipend, he remained true to his first parish in Stamford all his life. The flollowing letter, written to Thomas Sacker, the Archibishop of Canterbury, in 1759, is illustrative: "...Mr. Dibble of Stamford, who is worthy and laborious minister with a large family, is not able to subsist there unless his salary can be enlarged, and I know of no man that better deserves it. I should be humbly grateful on his behalf if the Society could add twenty pounds to the thirty he has already."

Mr. Dibblee feared the approach of American Independence and its effect upon the established church. Without a doubt, the War for Independence fulfilled his worst expectations. He was a devoted Tory. Two of his sons were banished from Stamford, then from Connecticut, and were eventually hounded off to New Brunswick. He himself was shot at by a rebel while going to conduct a funeral. Troops were quartered in his house; his parish was scattered; his land plundered; and he was saddened by "the ruin of one of my daughters by frights, for a long time wholly insane, and to this day (1785) not wholly recovered of here former composure and tranquility." Even by 1792 this daughter, Polly (Mary), was still badly off, and his wife’s health remained shattered.

Peace brought its problems, too. Mr. Dibblee was extremely conservative in his approach to change. At first he refused to change anything in the ritual of the Episcopal Church. It took him five years to become reconciled to adapting his prayers to the substitution of "for the Governor and rulers of the State" instead of "for the King and the Royal Family." He was horrified at changes in the baptismal, matrimonial, burial and other church services. He continued in his old ways; it took a letter from Bishop Seabury, the first Anglican bishop in the United States, to soothe him. In Easter Week, 1792, the new liturgy was adopted by his parishoners "provided it is agreeable to the Rev. Mr. Dibblee".

Rev. Ebenezer Dibblee was awarded an honorary doctorate by Columbia University (King’s College) in 1793, and was made one of the first four doctors of the College of Doctors of Divinity, established by the Bishop of Connecticut. In the first United States Census in 1790 Ebenezer’s household is listed as containing one free white male over 16, five free white females over 16, and two slaves.

Mr. Dibblee was b 16 Apr. 1715 at Danbury, CT he d at Stamford, CT 9 May 1799, age 84 years. He died of cancer of the lips. According to the "Churchman’s Magazine", he was a venerable man, of dignified appearance, his long white locks flowing gracefully over his shoulder, and he died "old and full of days, highly respected and much lamented by his congregation." His funeral was attended by a large concourse of people and he went to the grave "like a shock of corn fully ripe for the garner". The inventory of his estate amounted to 312 pounds, and included seventy-five volumes of books. H m about 1736 at Stamford Joanna Bates, daughter of Jonathan and Joanna(Selleck) Bates. We have no birthdate for Joanna; she died at Stamford 1796.

He is definitely placed by Windsor land deed given in 0-1-2-2-5. He was missionary of Christs Church, Hartford, Conn. to Stamford, class of 1734 Yale, to England 1748 where he was ordained, and preached for 50 years at Stamford.