James T. Dibble was born on March 27, 1837 in Yankee Springs, Barry County, Michigan, the son of Benjamin S. (1812-1880) and Sarah (1817-1884).
It appears that New York native Benjamin was living in Yankee Springs, Barry County, Michigan in 1830. He apparently returned to New York where he married New York native Sarah in 1836, and the two of them moved to Michigan in October of that year. According to one family historian Benjamin was the third settler in the Yankee Springs area, and first owned and operated the “Silver Creek House” tavern, not far from present-day Middleville. Benjamin he subsequently operated a non-alcoholic tavern called “The Washington,” about a mile south of his former tavern.
Benjamin was elected one of four constables for the newly organized Thornapple Township in 1838, and appointed the first township postmaster the following year. In 1850 James was attending school with his younger brother William and living with his family in Yankee Springs, where his father was a farmer. By 1860 James was working as a farmer and living in Yankee Springs. Indeed, except for his time in the army James probably lived in Yankee springs all his life.
James stood 5’11” with gray eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion, and was 26 years old and probably still living in Yankee Springs when he was drafted in February of 1863 for nine months from Yankee Springs. (He was possibly related to Austin Dibble who was also from Barry County and who enlisted in Company K; he may also have been related to John Dibble who enlisted in Company H.)
James joined Company H on March 10 at Camp Pitcher, Virginia. He was reportedly being treated for “bloody dysentery” at Camp Curtin, Virginia, in April of 1863. He recovered, apparently and was probably with the regiment when he was reported missing in action on May 3, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia.
In fact he had been severely wounded and taken prisoner. He was confined at Libby prison in Richmond on May 9, paroled on May 15 at City Point, Virginia, reported to College Green Barracks, Maryland on May 16 and was admitted to the hospital in Annapolis, Maryland on May 17, suffering from dysentery and kidney disease. He was officially returned from missing in action on October 26 at Catlett’s Station, Virginia, and was mustered out on November 10, 1863 (his nine-months’ term having expired).
After he left the army James returned to Michigan.
Sometime in 1865 James married New York native Cynthia Alvina Garrett (1845-1923). Known generally as “Alvina,” and they had at least four children: Afton Alrick (1866-1931) and Estella Sarah (1867-1946), Wallace S. (1870-1873) and Elsie Cecile (1879-1937).
In 1870 James was working as a farmer and living on a farm (he owned some $3000 worth of real estate) in Middleville, Barry County; by 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife Cynthia and their children in Thornapple, Barry County. James’ parents were still living in Middleville, Barry County in 1880.
James was still living in Middleville in 1885 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and was in either Middleville or in Thornapple, Barry County in 1890.
In 1882 he applied for and received a pension (no. 349179).
James died on December 2, 1890 in Middleville, Barry County and was presumably buried there.
Alvina was living in Michigan in 1891 when she applied for and received a pension (no. 345764). She eventually remarried, to one H. L. Osborne, in 1900 in Michigan and they resided for a time in Grand Rapids. Her second husband was killed in an automobile accident in 1909.