Chain Migration of the Dibben Family Part I – Alfred Dibben (1854-1908)

We have established that 2nd son George Dibben came to the United States by 1864 and John Dibben in 1873. But we have a mystery if the other siblings James, Alfred, Edwin, Richard, Walter and Fredrick may have come too. Luckily, one of these brothers was easy to prove so we will start with him.

(Reminder about the English Dibben Family – Reuben and Mary Ann (Boiling) Dibben’s children who made it to adulthood in order of birth: John, George, Mary Ann, James Clark, Alfred, Richard, Edwin, Walter, Frederick, Francis and Wilfred)

Dibben’s Chicago City Directory 1877 (Fold3)

John Dibben’s brother Alfred (Dibben Brother #4) joined him in Chicago as early as 1877 according to the Chicago City Directory. He was 23 years old and worked as a laborer (most likely at North Chicago Rolling Mills). He lived with his brother John at 97 Coventry for a few years but moved out by 1880 where he was a boarder with the Magnes England family:

Alfred Dibben 1880 Census (Family Search)

Alfred returned to England sometime between 1880 and 1881 which is both substantiated by disappearing from the Chicago city directories after 1879 and by a marriage record to Caroline Turner on 21 Aug 1881 in Worthing, Sussex, England.

Did he go home to marry his sweetheart? Probably. Because he returned to the United States via New York on 7 Apr 1882 on the Parthia.

Alfred Dibben 1882 Passenger on Parthia (Family Search)

Illinois Steel Works So. Chicago 1890
(Library of Congress)

He appears in the Chicago City Directories starting in 1890 through 1908 working as a “melter”, “steelworker” and “ironworker.” He lived in South Chicago and worked at the Rolling Mills/Illinois Steel South Works facility. Southworks was located on the Calumet River, near Pullman and railroads. It was by 1889  the “largest most modern plant in the Chicago region, covering 260 acres.” (City of the Century by Donald L. Miller)

Caroline and Alfred had seven children: Arthur R. Dibben (1884), James Edward (1886), Earl Dibben (1890), Caroline (1893), Fred (1894), Harold Raymond (1895) and Louise (1898). Because of the loss of the 1890 census, I may never have known about James and Harold because they died in 1892 and 1895 respectively. I was able to locate them at the Illinois Regional Archive Depository (IRAD) in the “Illinois Death Index Pre-1916” database.  Searching on only the last name, I found Dibben’s who died in the time period I was researching.

Dibben Deaths on IRAD

I ordered the death certificates using Chicago Ancestry again (reasonable prices and very quick response).  Unfortunately, these older death certificates do not tell the parents names….but they did have the address where they died which matched the address of Alfred Dibben in the city directory….have I told you how much I love city directories???

Alfred Dibben – 1892 Chicago City Directory

James Dibben Death Certificate – Chicago, IL

Alfred died on 11 Oct 1908 of stomach cancer and Caroline died on October 27, 1922, also of stomach cancer. Which makes you wonder about living and working so close to the steel mill….

Alfred Dibben Death Certificate – Chicago, IL

As much as I have found out about Alfred and his family, I feel like I am missing details of how much they interacted with the other part of the family. I don’t have pictures of this period and there were no stories passed down about them. I hope there is some descendant of Alfred (or any Dibben!) looking for information and they have a picture or information to exchange!

Next Time: Dibben Brother # 6 Edwin aka Edward and the steel mill accident.

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1 Response to Chain Migration of the Dibben Family Part I – Alfred Dibben (1854-1908)

  1. Pingback: Chain Migration of the Dibben Family Part II – Edwin/Edward Dibben (1858-1886) and Death at Rolling Mill | Ascending the Stairs

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