How Rich a Foundation

Wesley with my Grandpa's cousin (would that be my third cousin?!)

I have been trying to think of how to share about the family reunion in a way that will be interesting to those that aren't family.
I'm not sure that I've figured out how to do that.

My grandfathers cousin - Mert - has spent a lot of time researching our family history (along with many other family members contributing, including one who started it as a project as a Junior in High School 53 years ago!!) This weekend was rich in family history and stories. Complete with photographs, letters and books.

I was struck by what a rich spiritual background I have come from.

One relative - John Townsend (I believe he was a great, great, great, great grandfather)- wrote to Queen Victoria, concerned about her salvation, and she wrote him back saying it was because of his letter she came to Christ. There is a tract that has been written based on that story (which I am trying to get a copy of!)
John Townsend's wife, Caroline, is said to have prayed for her future children, grandchild and great children that they would come to know Christ as their Savior.
John Townsend was also good friends with George Muller.

The recorded history of the Dibble family starts in the early 1800's in Germany, where the family name was actually Diebel.

John Dibble

In 1858 John Diebel left Germany for America and arrived in New York in 1859. It was there that he changed his name to Dibble before serving in the Civil War.
At some point he built a farm, a settlement grew around the farm and the people wanted to name the town after John Dibble but he wouldn't let them
so it was called Derby instead.
That was my great, great, great grandfather.

My great, great grandfather, Merton, was a Millwright, farmer and store owner during his lifetime. He lived in New York and died in 1946.

Raymond and Julia

My great grandfather, Raymond, was married to Julia in 1921 and shortly after that they left for Nigeria, West Africa as missionaries. They were the only white people in the area. Raymond learned the local tribal language - Igala- just by trying to communicate with the locals and he made it a written language for the people. He made several of the tribal languages written languages and before his death he translated the Bible and several other books, including Pilgrims Progress into Igala.
Raymond spent his life in Nigeria, leaving only when his wife died (1927) and then during World War II when he was required to leave. (Raymond remarried in 1931.) During World War II he served as Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Transport Command.
While serving as a missionary in Nigeria Raymond died of a heart attack in 1967, he was buried there.Raymond's tombstone

In order: My great grandfather Raymond, my grandpa Spencer, my great great grandpa Merton

My grandpa is Spencer James Dibble, born in 1925 in Nigeria. He has spent most of his life in Nigeria as a missionary (and he and my grandma are still there.)
He enlisted in the Coast Guard in World War II in 1943 and received the Purple Heart after he was wounded in the back, February 26, 1943, in the Pacific. He took part in the invasion of Okinawa, April 1, 1945. He was a Machinist Mate, 3rd Class and a Gun Captain.

He married my grandma, Phyllis. I'm not sure what year that was. On their wedding night he slipped a necklace and matching bracelet underneath my grandma's pillow (at least that is how I remember the story going!) My grandma gave my mum the necklace and bracelet on her 16th birthday and my mum gave me the set on my 16th birthday. I don't wear it often but I absolutely love it and the history that is behind it!

Anyways, my grandparents had 4 children and raised them all in Nigeria and one of those 4 children was, obviously, my own momma!

My grandparents

So that is a very brief run down of the family history - so much more was covered at the reunion and there was a beautifully done Power Point presentation shown illustrating the narrative of the family tree.

It is amazing to me that my great, great, great, great grandma spent time praying for her future grandchildren - people she never met and yet she has so greatly influenced by her prayers and her example.

As a relative (I think second or third cousin...) said so well in a comment on Facebook yesterday:

"I am also aware that these were just as human as I, with the same potential to make a difference that I have. I pray that even if no one ever remembers my name, that I will live with the level of faith of my forefathers."

The mountains in Tennessee, near where the reunion was held.

Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God
Job 37:14


Jaimie Kylene said...

What an awesome family history. Thanks for sharing!!

Jessica said...

Just beautiful, Jessica! Thanks for sharing that with us - that's AMAZING! What a great legacy for your boys.

And that Queen Victoria story has me starry-eyed! How awesome!

Di said...

Wow! That is sooooo fascinating!! How cool that you know so much about your ancestors!!!

Kristin said...

Beautiful Jessica. I just linked to this in my latest blog post. What a lovely heritage of faithfulness that I know you are passing on to your boys (and maybe someday a girl to give that necklace to!).

Bethany said...

I love that you know so much about your Christian heritage. I wish I knew more of the stories of my own... I know there are pastors in mine and also William Brewster. (Not to mention two bank robbers... ) We have been thinking a lot about our Christian heritage these days and what a blessing our Grandparents have been to us. God is so good to us, isn't He?

Joyce Furman said...

Thanks, Jessica. You said it all so well. I, too, was struck by the comment that Mert told us that our ancestor spoke of praying for her children's children. As I looked around the room, along with thinking of others that weren't there, how impressed I was, once again, of the importance and responsibility we have in praying for our family. Her prayers certainly were answered. What a woman of God she must have been.

Jenny-Fair said...

So, since I actually AM a Diebel, I wonder if we are related?

Rachel said...

I love hearing stories like these and looking at old pictures. :)

LCGreen said...

Hi There!

I decided to take a peek after seeing your comment on Thrifty Decor Chick's page...LOVE her!
Anyhoo...the family history is wonderful information and very interesting. I spent the latter half of my recent maternity leave doing the same kind of research on my maternal side (my mom is adopted). Crazy stuff comes to light!

Pop on over sometime and say hello!

Rachel said...

This is all so awesome, Jess!! Thanks for posting!

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