Jean Antoine Dibrell, Sr.

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Jean Antoine Dibrell, Sr.

Also Known As: "JEAN", "ANTOINE "ANTHONY"", "DU BREUIL", "Anthony Dibrell"
Birthdate: (70)
Birthplace: Manakintown, King William Parish, Henrico County, Virginia
Death: May 1, 1799 (70)
Buckingham, Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Dr. Christoffe du Breuil (DuBreuil) and Marianne DuToit Goss
Husband of Magdalene Dibrell and Elizabeth Dibrell (Lee)
Father of Charles Lee Dibrell, Sr.; Leanna Jones; Judith Patteson and Anthony Dibrell, II
Half brother of William Goss; Elizabeth Goss; Sara Bonne Goss; David Goss and Benjamin Goss, I

Occupation: Carpenter
Managed by: Erin Spiceland
Last Updated:

About Jean Antoine Dibrell, Sr.

A Patriot of the American Revolution for VIRGINIA. DAR Ancestor # A033489

The story of the life of Anthony Dibrell (Jean Antoine du Breuil) is an interesting story of a man who took what life had dealt him and made something of himself by hard work and perseverance and set a wonderful example for his children to follow.

Jean Antoine du Breuil was born on May 15, 1728 in Manikintown, Virginia. He was the son of the emigrant Christoffe du Breuil and Marianne. Christoffe had emigrated from France to England and then to Manikintown, Virginia which had been set aside by the Virginian government for the use of the French Huguenots. Christoffe died either a month before or a month after the birth of his son Jean Antoine. Marianne married a fellow Huguenot named either Labairira (Lubarier) or Subrais (Subrier). (Note: Since the letters "L" and "S" are involved, it is possible that Labairira is correct.). It is not known how long after that she lived. Some writers state that she had sons and daughters by this gentleman, but apparently they have never been proven.

Jean Antoine du Breuil was baptized and his godfather was named Benin. While Jean was still young he was given to a man named Benning to be raised. He was treated with great cruelty by this man over the years. When he was about eleven years old, Benning sent him with two African negroes (a man and his wife) to work on a plantation that he had purchased located on the Slate River in the county of Buckingham. This was a distance of about seventy miles. Jean was not adequately dressed for the work being without a hat to protect him from the hot sun and without shoes to protect his feet. The couple whipped Jean so often, and worked him so hard and otherwise treated him with cruelty, that when he was about thirteen years of age, he ran away from them and made his way back to Manakintown. After his return Benning moved his family to this farm on the Slate River where Jean continued to labor for him, half-clad and half-fed, during which time he received every kind of unkind treatment with many curses, until it was supposed that he must be over twenty-one years of age. And most likely a year or so beyond. He had made friends and they advised him to claim his freedom and leave.

After leaving Benning, Jean Antoine's first object was to work so that he could make enough money to purchase for himself some decent comfortable clothing. He had always been industrious and had learned the use of tools in making wood work for his employer's agricultural implements. He was competent to do the work of a rough carpenter, and this was how he acquired the means of procuring a suit of clothes. When he commenced work as a journeyman carpenter, he realized that it would be helpful to take care of educating himself so when he had earned enough money to give himself a year's schooling, he did that. He learned to read, to write, and to acquire knowledge of arithmetic. His desire to improve himself contrasted with that of many emigrants who never bothered to learn to read during their lifetime in this country. It also enabled him to lead an interesting and rewarding life as he acquired property and was able to marry into one of the more prominent families in the Virginia Colony.

It was probably at this time that he decided to Americanize his name so he changed it to Anthony Dibrell and become the first in this country bearing this name. Thus, anyone bearing the name of Dibrell has to have been connected in some way with the original Anthony Dibrell.

A description of Anthony was given by his first grandson, Charles Dibrell, who in writing about his grandfather described him as being about five feet seven inches in height, weighing about one hundred and forty pounds, with a dark complexion, dark eyes and hair, aquiline nose, and prominent forehead. Charles' grandfather died when he was about eight years of age, but his memory of him remained quite distinct. For this we are grateful because otherwise we would have no knowledge of what our early ancestor looked like.

In 1756 Anthony married Elizabeth Lee, the daughter of Thomas and Ann Lee of the Cobb's Hall branch of the Lee family. They were married at the home of her sister, Leeanna and John Fearn, in Albemarle County, Virginia where the Fearns had moved some years after their marriage in 1744.

Thomas Lee died just before Elizabeth was born but she was included in his will as the child his wife goes with now. She was later listed in the wills of her brother Thomas Lee in 1745 and her sister Lucy Lee in 1758. In her brother's will she was listed as "Betty." Their mother married James Scrosby on April 15, 1737. It appears from records that he treated the children of his wife fairly in the distribution of all property. Their home was in Urbana, York County, Virginia. It has been recorded that Elizabeth along with two of her other sisters went to live with Leeanna and her husband for a time before Elizabeth's marriage. The two sisters, Leeanna Fearn and Elizabeth Dibrell would remain close throughout their lives. According to records the terms of a gift by James Scrosby upon the marriage to their mother, both Leeanna and Elizabeth would each receive one negro boy or girl when they either reached the age of twenty-one or were married.

This branch of the Lee family were proud of the strong and honorable heritage that was a part of their family. Particularly the connection they had in tracing back to Richard Lee who was considered the first of their line to come to Virginia in 1640.

Anthony and Elizabeth lived in Buckingham County which had been made into a separate county from a part of Albemarle County where they had married. Here they raised four children, two boys and two girls: Charles Lee Dibrell born on October 24, 1757; Leeanna Dibrell born in 1759; Judith Dibrell born on September 15, 1761; and, Anthony Dibrell born on May 24, 1763.

Unfortunately Elizabeth died about 1770 leaving a young family for Anthony to raise. She had always been considered a respectable, educated, pious lady who had been born in 1734 and died about 1770 at the very young age of thirty six years.

Anthony and his family continued to live in Buckingham County. There have been no records to tell about his land purchases and so forth because the court house burned in 1869 apparently destroying all important land records and other records that had been accumulated over the past 100 years. So that was a tragic loss for the county, as well as genealogists.

With young children to raise, Anthony married Magdalene Burton perhaps around 1772. There was no success in finding out about her parentage. There are quite a few Magdalene Burtons, but none of those found were the correct one. It is assumed that she lived in Buckingham County.

Both of the boys entered service when the Revolutionary War began. Charles was the first and Anthony followed soon after even though he was only fifteen years of age. Anthony entered the service as a fifer in 1779-1780.* Anthony returned to Buckingham County following the conclusion of the War and lived for about another twenty years. He died in about 1800. His second wife Magdalene passed away in 1806.


3. GENEALOGIES OF LEWIS AND KINDRED FAMILIES. John M. McAllister. 1906. pp. 191-271. E. W. Stephens Publishing Company. Columbia, Missouri.

4. THE FEARNS OF VIRGINIA. Elizabeth Lee Fearn Cabell Ferneyhough and Elizabeth Lee Lusk. 1973. pp. 48, 50, 53, 55, and 57. Privately Printed - Graphic Experts. Richmond, Virginia

5. GENEALOGIES OF LEWIS AND KINDRED FAMILIES. John M. McAllister. 1906. p. 211. Stephens Publishing Company. Columbia, Missouri.

7. GENEALOGIES OF LEWIS AND KINDRED FAMILIES. John M. McAllister. 1906. p. 211. Stephens Publishing Company. Columbia, Missouri.


  • Unfortunately, we have been unable to locate the proof for the conclusion that Anthony was a fifer. We have also been unable to locate the documentation to show that Anthony, Sr. provided supplies to the Army. The Pension Application of Anthony, Jr. indicates that he may have been the one who provided those supplies.
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Jean Antoine Dibrell, Sr.'s Timeline

May 15, 1728
Manakintown, King William Parish, Henrico County, Virginia
August 1, 1728
Goochland, Goochland, Virginia, United States
October 24, 1757
Age 29
Buckingham County, Virginia, United States
May 4, 1759
Age 30
Albemarle, Virginia
September 15, 1761
Age 33
Albemarle, Virginia
May 24, 1763
Age 35
Buckingham, Virginia
May 1, 1799
Age 70
Buckingham, Virginia, United States