LIFE HISTORY OF PHILO DIBBLE IN A CONDENSED FORM
PHILO DIBBLE, SR. was born June 6, 1806 at Peru, Pittsfield County, Massachusetts. He was the second son of Orator and Bulah Dibble. While Philo was quite young, his father moved to the town of Granby, where he (his father) died, and left his wife with a family of nine to care for. Philo was then ten years old. He and his elder brother Philander were taken by Captain Apollos Phelps to Suffield, Connecticut. Captain Phelps had no children of his own, and he treated Philo and Philander as he would have done were they his own. They were to remain with him until they were twenty one. Captain Phelps was a good man and taught the boys good principles.
Philo stayed with him five months after he became of age. He then went to Boston, Mass., where he visited the harbor, several islands, and saw the ship Java. He then returned to Suffield where he became acquainted with Celia Kent, daughter of Benajah Kent of Suffield. They were married by Rev. Calvin Phileo. Philo was then twenty-three years old.
Philo sold his possessions in Suffield, and they moved to Ohio, where his wife owned some property. While they were crossing Lake Erie from Buffalo to Fairport there was a great storm, but they landed safely. They passed through Chardon, Ohio and located three miles west of that city at a place called Kind St. This was about five miles from Kirtland.
One morning when he was standing at his gate, two men came up and asked him if he had heard the news. They said that four men had come to Kirtland with a Golden Bible, and one of them said he had seen an angel. They laughed and ridiculed the idea, but Philo did not feel inclined to make light of it. He made no reply but thought if angels had ministered to the children of men, he was glad. On his return home he told his wife and drove to Kirtland. On arriving there they were introduced to Oliver Cowdery, Ziba Peterson, Peter Whitmer, Jr., and Parley P. Pratt. He remained with them all day and became convinced that they were sincere. He asked Oliver what repentance meant and Oliver replied, "forsaking sin and yielding obedience to the Gospel." Philo attended a meeting held at Isaac Morley’s and Oliver spoke on the principles of the Gospel, repentance and baptism, and then bore his testimony. At the close of the meeting he requested all who wished baptism to rise to their feet. Philo was one of the five to stand up. He borrowed a suit of clothes and was baptized on the sixteenth of Oct 1830 by Parley P. Pratt. When he came up out of the water he knew he had been born of the water and of the Spirit, for his mind was illuminated with the Holy Ghost.
He stayed at the home of Dr. F.G. Williams. While in bed that night he felt what he thought was a hand upon his left shoulder, and a sensation like fibers of fire enveloped his body, he was enveloped in a heavenly influence and could not sleep for joy. His wife joined the Church soon after. Joseph Smith and his father's family came to Kirtland. Philo said that the Lord had sent him there and this was the first time he had beheld the Prophet Joseph. He held himself in readiness to assist the Smith family by means or by service. He sold land and his possessions many times to help the Prophet financially. He also at times rented his farm and spent all his time in the interest of the Church and took Joseph to different places he wished to go. Philo went to Hyrum's on a visit and arrived at Father Johnson's house just as Joseph and Sidney were coming out of a vision, which is recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants on the three degrees of glory. Joseph wore a black suit, but his face shone as if transparent.
In the year 1832, he sold his possessions in Ohio and was called by Joseph to advance money to purchase land in Jackson County. He gave $50 for that purpose and $50 to Parley P. Pratt. He gave three hundred dollars to purchase goods to take to Jackson County. He then went to Independence, Jackson County, and from there went to a settlement at Whitmer. He fenced twenty acres and built a house and planted a garden. In the Fall of 1833 a preacher by the name of MaCoy came buying guns and powder. He sold some to him but MaCoy acted rather suspicious. The Saints soon heard that they were going to be driven from the County. Philo and another man were selected to go to another County and gather guns. John Poorman went with him to Liberty, Clay County, and purchased ammunition. Soon after their return about one hundred and fifty men came in the middle of the night and tore down a number of their houses, whipped and abused a number of men. Philo was aroused from his sleep by the falling of houses and barely escaped in the woods with his wife and family. They were some distance away, but could still hear the lashes on the brethren who were being whipped. Philo helped to guard and protect a mill from the mob. The next day the mob gathered at the settlement of Whitmer and Brother David Whitmer said every man must go and take a man. They all responded and met the mob in battle in which Philo was shot in the right side of the navel. Several men were shot and some wounded. After the battle, he took his powder and gun and started home when he got about half way, he felt faint and stopped at Brother Whitmer's home but it was full of women and children. He continued on and arrived at his home that had previously been torn down by the mob. He found his wife and two children, and several other women who had found shelter in a house near his own. He told them that he had been shot and wanted to lay down. They got him on a bed, but his pain was so bad that his wife went out to call for some brethren, but in her search she was lost in the woods and was gone for two hours. She learned that all the men had gone to Colesville and had taken all the wounded men with them, except Philo. The next morning he was taken farther from the road to conceal him from the mob; he bled inwardly until his body was filled with blood and remained in that condition until five PM the next day. He was then examined by a Doctor that said he could not possibly live and was pronounced dead. David Whitmer sent Philo word that he would not die and after the Doctor left, Brother Newell Knight came to see him and sat on his bed. He laid his right hand on his head and never spoke, but he felt the Spirit before the hand touched him. He immediately arose, and discharged three quarts of blood and parts of clothing which had been driven into his body by the bullets.
He then dressed himself and went out side and saw the falling of the stars which encouraged the Saints and frightened away their enemies. It was the grandest sight he had ever seen. From that time not a drop of blood left his body or did he feel any pain from his wounds. (Some accounts of this incident state that the bullet was removed from his body, but he carried the bullet to the grave. His children and grand-children heard him relate his story and have felt with their own hands the lead pellet which lodged under the skin in the small of his back. Some wanted him to have it removed, but he said that he desired that the bullet remain with his body to the grave as a witness; his wish was granted).
The night after the battle, women and children were scattered over the prairie and anywhere to get away from the mob. The mob gathered and swore they would kill them all, but the heavens were lit up with the falling of the stars and frightened the mob away. This brought them a perfect redemption at that time. At the time of the battle, the mob gathered and stole his furniture and possessions, and he then crossed the river to Clay County; leaving behind a drove of hogs, three cows, and all of his crops which he never recovered. Here he enjoyed rest from persecution for awhile, and had two children, Emma and Philo, Jr.
In a Conference held in Liberty, Clay Co., Philo, Sr. was ordained a teacher by David Whitmer. While he was at a celebration of the fourth of July at Far West, a terrible thunder storm came over and lightening struck a liberty pole and shivered it to pieces. Joseph walked around on the splinters and said: "As that pole was splintered, so shall be the nations of the earth!"
Before he left Far West, he made arrangements with a man to bring his family through to Quincy, and he paid him sixty dollars on their arrival. On arriving at Quincy, he rented a farm of two hundred acres and a heavy crop was harvested. While on this farm he was taken sick, had the Elders administer to him. He was immediately healed and got up from his bed.
Some of the neighbors at Quincy wanted to hear more about Mormonism. Brother Greene was to be the speaker, but was sick and unable to. Brother Stewart undertook to take his place, but broke down and called on Philo Dibble to speak. He arose and spoke for two hours. It was the first time he had ever delivered a public sermon. After the meeting, a Brother Mills who was present, felt so well that he went home with Philo and declared that he had delivered the greatest discourse he had ever heard. Philo said, "Brother Mills, I don't know what I have said. It was not me; it was the Lord."
In the Spring of 1840, he moved to Nauvoo, which was then called Commerce, and had been appointed by Joseph as the place. During the next year his wife died and left him with five children, two daughters and three sons. He concluded to get his children homes and then travel and preach the Gospel. He decided that he had not only lost a wife, but also his children, and they had not only lost a mother and a father, but also each other's society.
On Feb 11, 1841, he married a second wife, widow Smith from Philadelphia. The Prophet Joseph performed the ceremony and Sister Emma Smith gave them a wedding supper. They had two children, David and Loren. They had dinner with Joseph one day when he came over to see them. After dinner, he told Philo that he must go away at once or he would die. They went immediately to a place in the south part of town. Later on, Joseph told Philo's wife that the Lord told him to tell Philo to go away from there, and if he obeyed he should live; if not, he should die. He said that if Philo had remained fourteen days longer, he would have been a corpse.
Philo Dibble, Sr. was the only one of his family to join the Church and come west. He crossed the plains in 1851, with Philemon C. Merril's Company and settled in Bountiful, Davis Co., Utah. At the time of the move south, he went and located in Springville, Utah.
He was the Prophet's body guard at the time he was martyred. Two days after the death of Joseph and Hyrum, he made casts of the death masks of each. The casts remained in his possession for four decades. After coming to Utah, he traveled through the country giving lectures and shows of the oil paintings and relics at the time of the Prophet Joseph. On Nov 21, 1885 he sold the casts to Harris Brown of Logan for $50 and they are now in the possession of Wilford C. Wood of Bountiful, Utah.