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Thomas J. Dibble

The proprietor of the Dibble House, in Flint, is one of the veterans in his line. He was born in Steuben County, N. Y., April 14, 1828, and is a son of Clark and Huldah (Bailey) Dibble, both of Steuben County. Our subject's father came to Michigan with his family in 1830, coming hither by boat to Detroit and thence by team to Whigville and to the township of Grand Blanc, and their located on a new farm, where he kept a tavern in a log house. In 1833 he was one of the two settlers who went to Fenton. He there purchased a mill site, comprising forty acres, and built the first mill and made the first dam, and was there engaged in the manufacture of lumber until 1836, when he sold and located in Tyrone Township, Livingston County, where he improved a farm and kept an hotel and store.

In those early days our subject's father brought all his goods from Detroit by team. He carried on considerable trade with the Indians. His decease was caused by the falling of a tree, June, 1841. He held several local offices and was a man much esteemed at that time. His wife was a daughter of Elisha Bailey, a farmer in Steuben County, who took part in the War of 1812 and who came to Michigan about 1833, locating first in Fenton and then in Jackson, where he died. Our subject's mother died in Lapeer County at the age of sixty years. Of the six children that she left, our subject was the second in order of birth.

He of whom we write spent the first five years of his life in Whigville, then received his education in a log schoolhouse in Fenton, and was later engaged in farming. When fourteen years of age he drove five yoke of cattle to break a new tract of land, and he remembers odd games that he used to play with the Indian papooses. His father's death left the family eighty acres of land and our subject was the eldest of four surviving children. The family scattered and Thomas went out too work by the month, receiving $3 or $4 for his services. When eighteen years of age he commenced teaming, his route being from Fenton to Detroit, via Pontiac. Three years later he began teaming for himself, and in 1854 he was the proprietor of a dray business, the owner of two drays and a double team. He carried the mail and express.

In 1861 our subject went to East Saginaw and for three years prosecuted his business successfully. In 1864 he located on a farm in Metamora Township, Lapeer County, and was there engaged in farming for two years. This he sold to his brother and located in Oxford, where he was engaged in teaming, but later opened a meat market and went into the stock business. He continued his work until October, 1882, when he sold out and located in Flint and was variously engaged until 1885, when he bought the site upon which his hotel is now located and built upon it the brick part of the Dibble House. He enlarged his business and has given his attention wholly to his hotel. He has a fine trade, his place being conveniently located at the corner of Second and Harrison streets.

December 25, 1853, our subject was married in Fenton, to Miss Cordelia Olmstead, who was born in Romeo, Macomb County, this State. They have become the parents of three children--Amelia, who was married to Frank Gillespie, and who died in 1882; Clark B., in partnership with his father; and Fred T., engaged at Skinner's carriage factory as painter. Our subject and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.In politics he is a Democrat.



1892 Portrait & Biographical Album of Genesee, Lapeer & Tuscola Counties, Chapman Bros.

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