Hiram Bingham led the first Calvinist missionaries to Hawai’i, who arrived in 1821, The task of teaching industry and guilt to millions of carefree natives was a big one, and so Bingham sent for reinforcements. Among the Fourth Company were the newlywed Reverend and Mrs. Sheldon Dibble, who arrived in Honolulu after a voyage of 161 days, on June 7, 1831.
Born in the Village of Skaneateles in 1809, Sheldon Dibble studied at Hamilton College and the Auburn Theological Seminary, and was ordained in Utica, New York. He married Maria Tomlinson three weeks after his ordination and less than two months after that the Rev. and Mrs. Dibble sailed from New Bedford, Mass., bound for the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) to heed the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19), to go and make disciples of all nations.
During his Hawaii tenure, he taught at the missionary school, the Hawaiian College, in Lahainaluna. He played a key role in committing the islands’ oral history to paper, publishing its first written history, “A History of The Sandwich Islands,” in 1834, which included the Lahainaluna map, engraved and printed by Dibble’s students from copper sheeting. The maps printed at Lahainaluna were some of the first maps of Hawaii to be printed in Hawai’i by Hawaiians.
Dibble died in the islands on January 22, 1845, at Lahainaluna, Maui. His wife and four surviving Dibble children returned to the mainland. Mrs. Dibble died in Washington, D.C., in 1897.
Map of the Hawaiian Islands, Lahainaluna, (Quan Carthiginian)