Many homes in Granby are over a century old, with rich and complex histories reflecting the transformation of Granby from a solely agricultural community to a thriving suburb.
The plot of land itself has had 19 different owners, most land speculators, looking to make a profit by selling the land to someone else. Only six of the owners have actually lived in the house, first built in 1772 by Seth Griffin. The longest habitants of the house were Riley and Maria Dibble.
Riley Dibble was an ambitious 22-year-old when he bought the house plus 50 acres of land for $500 from Elihu Stow, a land speculator, in 1824. The next year, Dibble added a Federalist-style addition to the front of the house (pictured here). The next year he married Marie Spring and together they would farm the land. The Dibbles had two children: Seymour, born in 1829 and James, in 1837. Unfortunately, James only lived 15 months. This small family was unlike most in Granby, as large families were the norm to help with farm chores.
To operate his farm and make money for his family, Dibble was creative. In 1825, the Farmington Canal was being built, cutting through Granby and behind his house. Dibble obtained a tavern license to sell food and drink to those traveling on the canal.
With so much acreage, Dibble also rented some of his land to sawmill owners to gain more income. Riley’s son, Seymour, helped on the farm until he became the postmaster in 1853. Three years later, Seymour and his wife moved to Minnesota where he caught typhoid fever and died in 1856.
Riley Dibble was active in town government, serving as the Town Surveyor in the 11th District from 1827 to 1858. As Surveyor, he was in charge of maintaining the roads as well as collecting the taxes from people using those roads. Other town government positions Dibble would perform included working as a Lister, assessing the worth of people’s homes as well as their livestock and other assets farmers possessed; and a Gauger, where he measured people’s goods (cords of wood, bales of hay, nails, etc.) for tax purposes. Marie Dibble was not involved with town service, instead was occupied by farm chores, caring for the children, sewing, cooking and entertaining any guest who may stop by the house.
Riley and Marie lived two miles from the center of town and picked up their mail and bought goods at the Loomis Store. They were good friends with other important figures in town, such as the Loomis brothers, Ted Maltbie and William Case, and lived through important moments in Granby’s history. They saw the remains of the Loomis fire in 1877, and likely saw the dedication of the Civil War Monument in 1868. However, Riley Dibble would miss the parade for Granby’s 100th Anniversary in 1886 as he died the year before from pneumonia. Marie would outlive her husband by eight years, passing in 1893. Riley and Marie are buried with their children in the Granby Cemetery. They lived at 24 Notch Road for 69 years, after which the house and land were left to Marie’s nephew, Lewis Spring.
I highly recommend researching the history of your home, to learn not only about its occupants but also what changes were made and why people moved in or out. One such house is at 24 Notch Road in Granby, one of the oldest houses in Granby and also my childhood home.
To learn more about Riley and Marie Dibble or how to research your historic home join the Salmon Brook Historical Society by calling 860-653-9506, or visit salmonbrookhistoricalsociety.com