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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
Renwick Dibbell

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[This information is from pp. 13-14 of Biographical Review Volume XXXIII: Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York (Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1899). It is in the collection of the Grems-Doolittle Library of the Schenectady County Historical Society at 920 BIO.]

Renwick Dibbell, general merchant, Tannersville, Greene County, was born at Platt Clove, in this town, July 5, 1861. His parents were Harmon B. and Deborah M. (Hummell) Dibbell, his father a native of Colchester, Delaware County, and his mother a native of Platt Clove. His grandfather, Amos Dibbell, who was a native of Holland, settled in Delaware County, New York, as a pioneer, and resided there until 1834, when he went to Platt Clove. He was a millwright by trade, following that occupation a number of years, and his death occurred at the age of eighty-four. His wife, formerly Charlotte Williams, of Colchester, died at eighty-nine years of age. They had a family of ten children.

Harmon B. Dibbell learned the trade of a millwright, which he followed at Platt Clove for a time, later moving to Kingston, where he engaged in manufacturing. Afterward he went to Elka Park, erecting there a mill, which he conducted for the rest of his life. In 1863 he raised Company E of the Fifteenth Regiment, New York Volunteers, engineer corps, and this company he commanded until mustered out at the close of the war. He was a Democrat in politics, acted as a Justice of the Peace for some time, and was a prominent man in the community. He died at the age of seventy-one. His wife, Deborah, was a daughter of Jeremiah Hummell. Her father was a farmer and an early settler of Platt Clove, where he resided until his death, which occurred when he was ninety years old. Harmon B. and Deborah M. Dibbell were the parents of six children, three of whom are living — Egbert, Renwick, and George W. Dibbell. Egbert is now residing in South Dakota. The mother still survives, and resides with her son in Tannersville.

Renwick Dibbell came to Elka Park with his parents when six years of age. He attended the common schools, and assisted his father in the lumber business until his father's death. Forming a partnership with a Mr. Goslen, he entered the contracting and building business at Elka Park, erecting a number of cottages there, also the Poggenberg Hotel, the Schoharie Mansion, and the Catherine Tower. This structure is built of stone and is fifty feet high. It is fourteen feet at the base, and has stone steps on the inside leading to the top. In 1888 Mr. Dibbell took up the profession of a civil engineer, and did considerable surveying in different parks, also laying out roads and running farm lines. In 1895 the firm purchased the store of C. F. Gray, one of the largest mercantile establishments in town, in which they carried a full stock of groceries, boots, shoes, notions, and other merchandise. This store was conducted in connection with their contracting business until October 14, 1898, when the partnership was dissolved. Since that time Mr. Dibbell has carried it on alone. Mr. Dibbell has resided here since his early boyhood, and takes an active interest in local public affairs. Through his efforts a post-office was established at Elka Park, and he has been Postmaster there for the past five years. He also succeeded in causing the extension of the telegraph and telephone lines to Elka Park and Schoharie Mansion, he being the owner of the telephone line. He has control of the switch office for the Catskill Mountain Telephone Company, and is local agent of the Western Union Telegraph Company. Having a long distance telephone, they can converse with New York, Boston, and other cities. At the present time he devotes his entire attention to his mercantile enterprise, the telegraph and telephone agencies, employing five assistants.

On October 17, 1883, Mr. Dibbell was joined in marriage with Miss Alice Bishop, of Hunter, daughter of Asa and Ann (Brown) Bishop. Her father spent most of his life as a farmer in Ulster County. He died in West Saugerties. Mr. and Mrs. Dibbell have four children — Flavius, Estella, Agnes, and Elmira.

Mr. Dibbell is a Democrat in politics. He has served on town, county, and State committees, has been a delegate to a number of county and State conventions, and was Tax Collector two terms. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias, in which he has held a number of the offices, and belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He and Mrs. Dibbell are members of the Methodist Episcopal church.

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