TNFlag TNFlag
Biographies (p4)


How to search this page
Main
Goodspeed Menu


G. G. Dibrell.  Of the prominent men who have lived in White County was Hon. John Catron, afterward judge of the United States Circuit Court, under appointment from President Jackson. Thomas K. Harris, the first representative White County ever had in Congress was a citizen of Sparta. He was killed in a canvass he was making for a re-election near Shellsford, in Warren County, by his competitor, Gen. John W. Simpson of White County. Gen. Simpson lived in White County until he died in 1862. He was a lieutenant-colonel in the war of 1812, and distinguished himself for his gallantry in the battle of New Orleans on the 8th of January, 1815. Gen. George W. Gibbs, the first president of the Union Bank of Tennessee, at Nashville, and afterward the founder of Union City, Tennessee; was for many years a citizen of Sparta. He was a senator in the State Legislature at Knoxville, Tenn., when he resigned, came home, and raised a company during the war of 1812, and made a fine record. His wife was a sister of Anthony Dibrell who located in White County in 1811. Mr. Dibrell was born in Buckingham County, Va.; moved to Wayne County, Ky., when a youth; married Mildred Carter, who was raised in Wythe County, Va, and located in White County, where he died in 1875 aged eighty-seven years. Anthony Dibrell was a descendant of Christopher Dubray, who was a Huguenot refugee from France in the year 1700, and settled on the James River thirty miles above Richmond, Va. He was said to be an eminent physician, and died about the time of the birth of his first born, a son, Anthony. His widow married again, when Anthony was apprenticed to a farmer, who afterward moved to Buckingham County, Va. After Anthony obtained his majority, he changed the name from Dubray to that of Dibrell, and from him all of the Dibrell family have sprung. He married a Miss Lee, from a noted Virginia family, and raised a large family, and he was the grandfather of Anthony Dibrell of White County, Tenn, who was for many years receiver of the land office at Sparta; was twenty-two years clerk of the circuit court; was a director in the Bank of Tennessee; member of the Legislature, and ten years treasurer of the State of Tennessee. He raised a large family in White County. His only son, now in White County, is Gen. George G. Dibrell, who was born April 12, 1822, was raised upon a farm, and educated in the common schools of the county, except one session at the University at Knoxville. Before he was eighteen years of age, he was elected clerk of the branch of the Bank of Tennessee at Sparta, which office he held for six years, when, having married Mary E. Leftwick, the daughter of a merchant in Sparta, he retired from the bank and engaged in merchandising and farming until 1848. He was elected clerk of the county court, and was three times re-elected, until he voluntarily retired in 1860. He continued his mercantile business and farming interest. In February, 1861, he was the Union candidate for the State convention, and was elected by a very large majority. He opposed secession, but always declared his adhesion to the South, but said that secession was not the way to settle the impending difficulty, and declared if war was forced upon the country, he would fight for the South. in 1861 he was elected to the Legislature without opposition, receiving every vote polled in the county except one. He assisted in raising and organizlng the Twenty-fifth Regiment of Tennessee Infantry, and at the organization, August 10, 1861, he was elected lieutenant-colonel; S. S. Stanton, colonel, and Tim H. Williams, major. This regiment was afterward assigned to Gen. Zollicoffer brigade. At Mill Springs, Ky., he was given control of all the outposts and picket lines, and cavalry officers of equal and superior rank ordered to report to him. His first hard-fought battle was at Fishing Creek, when, Col. Stanton being wounded early in the engagement, he assumed command of the regiment, which made a gallant resistance to the overwhelming forces of the enemy, and was the last to retire from the battlefield, and in the retreat across the Cumberland River the night following at Mill Springs, he and his regiment were the last to leave the fortifications, and the last to cross the Cumberland River just before daylight next morning. In front of Corinth, Miss., May 7, 1862, he commanded the outposts that had an engagement with Gen. Pope's advance, who telegraphed that he had routed the rebels and captured 4,000 prisoners, when Dibrell had only 200 men engaged, out of which his loss in killed, wounded and captured was forty-one. At the reorganization of the regiment he was defeated for re-election as lieutenant-colonel for local caucus, and returned to his home, intending to enter the cavalry service He had only a letter from Gen. John S. Marmaduke and Gen. W. I. Hardee, who had witnessed his fight with Pope's advance, when he went to Richmond for authority to raise his cavalry regiment. That letter was so complimentary, that he was informed by the Secretary of War (Randolph) that he could have all the troops he wanted. He returned and raised his cavalry regiment (Eighth Tennessee) within the lines of the enemy; was assigned to the brigade of that great cavalry leader, Gen. N. B. Forrest; was engaged in several battles around Nashville, Franklin and in West Tennessee; at Parker's Cross Roads, at Spring Hill, Triune. On the retreat from Tallahoma, he assisted in the command of Gen. Forrest's old brigade, after the wounding of Col. Starnes, and commanded that brigade until the close of the war; was in two battles on Wild Cat Creek, inWhite County; began the fight at Chickamauga on Friday morning, September 18, 1863; was at Cleveland, Sweet Water, Philadelphia, etc., and then in many engagements under Gen.Wheeler on the retreat from Dalton to Atlanta; was under Gen. Longstreet in his East Tennessee campaign; won a battle at Philadelphia, and various other places, including Dibrell's Hill, and moved back to Georgia; was with Gens. Wheeler and Hampton, in the campaigns through Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, and had many hard fights, such as Waynesboro, Buck Head Church, Averysboro, Barkerville, Stony Point and others; was ordered from Raleigh, N. C., to report to President Davis at Greensboro after the fall of Richmond; made the march, eighty-five miles, in two nights and a day, and escorted President Davis with all the archives, to Washington, Ga., where they surrendered, and were paroled May 19, 1865. After furnishing the President with an escort, he marched his men in a body back to Tennessee; found his home devastated, and his family almost suffering for the necessaries of life. He at once, with his son who had stood all the hardships of war with him, went to work on the farm, to try to build up his lost fortunes. When the war came on, he was in easy circumstances, clear of debt, or nearly so, and had good prospects. Now his property was all gone, debts unpaid, involved largely as security for friends, and $70,000 damage suits brought against him by unprincipled loyalists, but he never faltered, and was never sued upon a debt of his own in his life. Kind friends furnished him supplies upon which to raise his crops, and to engage in a small mercantile business again. His friends stood by him, and he prospered; was elected to the Constitutional Convention, in 1869, which framed our present Constitution; was the author of several clauses in it; was elected president of the Southwestern Railroad Company in November, 1869, and through his efforts and good management secured the completion of that road to Sparta, and has now succeeded in having it again extended to the Bon Air coal mines, one of the finest coal properties in Tennessee. While president of the Southwestern Railroad Company he held $78,000 of State bonds issued to said road, which he refused to use or expend, and turned them back to the State, being the only railroad official in the State that ever returned a bond issued to a company. In 1874 he was elected to Congress by a majority of over 4,600 and four times reelected, voluntarily retiring in 1884, and giving his whole attention to his farm and developing the Bon Air coal mine. He has seven sons living; his only daughter married and died, leaving two children he is now raising. He has been a member of the Methodist Church for forty-four years; twice sent as a delegate to the conference of that church.

 


Typo Reports
Main
Goodspeed Menu