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R.M. Dickson


Posted By: Fran Hunt, Volunteer
Date: 10/6/2001 at 13:26:12

From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties – 1890
R.M. Dickson is the proprietor of the pottery, of Vernon, Iowa, and one of the leading business- men of Van Buren County. He has carried on operations in this line for some thirty-eight years. It was in April of 1852, that he came to the county and purchased an old pottery located in South Bentonsport, now Vernon. Repairing the same, he embarked in business as a manufacturer of stoneware and soon had a flourishing trade, which continued with him until 1864, when his establishment was destroyed by fire. As soon as he had rebuilt, which he immediately did, his old customers returned to him, and many new ones added their names to the list of his patrons. Fair and honest dealing won him the confidence of the public, and the excellent quality of his ware has secured him the trade, which yields him a handsome income. This pottery is one of the leading business enterprises of Vernon and furnishes employment to five men.
Mr. Dickson is a native of York County Pennsylvania, his birth having occurred in 1826. The parents of the family of eleven children, of which he was third in order of birth, were Robert D. and Susanna P. McCall Dickson. His father was a native of Scotland, and ere he left that country for America served under the British flag in the famous battle of Waterloo as one of the Scottish Grays. It was during the early years of his manhood that he crossed the Atlantic to America and located in Pennsylvania, where he became acquainted with and married Miss McCall. Her father James McCall, was a native of Ireland, and came to this country during the Revolutionary War to aid England in her attempt to bring the Colonies under subjection to her rule, but his sympathies were enlisted with the brave soldiers who were struggling for freedom and, deserting the British service, he donned the blue and buff worn by the American troops and continued to aid them until independence was achieved. He then began arrangements for making a home in this country. He entered land on the banks of the Susquehanna River in York County Pennsylvania, soon afterwards married and settled upon his farm, where he continued to reside until his death in 1833. To that farm came Robert Dickson to woo his bride. They began their domestic life in the Keystone State, but about 1828 removed to Muskingum County Ohio, where he purchased and improved a farm. His wife died on the old homestead in that county in 1849, and ten years later Mr. Dickson crossed the dark river to meet the loved one gone before.
Our subject was a babe of two years when his parents immigrated to the Buckeye State. His boyhood days were spent in assisting his father in the labors of the farm and in attendance at the district school of the neighborhood, which was taught in a log house, such as were common at that day, and such as many of the most famous men of the nation acquired their rudimentary knowledge in. He left Ohio in 1850, going to Winchester, Scott County Illinois, where he engaged in the pottery business. It was there that in 1852 he was united in marriage with Miss Melinda J. Hanback, a native of Kentucky and a daughter of John and Deborah Edmonson Hanback, who were born in Hopkinsville Kentucky. At an early day, however, they removed to Scott County Illinois, where the mother spent her last days, dying in 1852. Four years later Mr. Hanback came to live with his daughter, and in the home of our subject his death occurred in 1870.
Immediately after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Dickson came to Vernon Iowa and their home has here been blessed by the presence of seven children, but only four are now living—Robert Leslie, who was killed in the clay mill in 1863, at the age of ten years; John Howard, who was killed in a railroad accident near St. Marys, Wyoming, while en route to California in 1875, he being then eighteen years of age; Mary A., now Mrs. Moore, of Pierce City Missouri; Charlie T., who wedded Miss Susie Gaston in October 1887, and is employed as general agent on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad at Luzerne, Missouri; Anna V., now Mrs. Folker, of Vernon Township, Van Buren County; Blanche, now Mrs. Fulton, of the same township; and William Clayton, who died in infancy.
When Mr. Dickson came to the county traveling was done by way of the river and by wagon trains. It was not until about 1857 that the railroad was built. Prior to that time there was comparatively little intercourse with the outside world, for it was then no easy task to accomplish a journey, as the roads were poor, being almost impassable during the rainy period of spring and fall. The nearest market at that time was some miles distant, and the work of improvement was but just begun. In all possible ways he has aided in everything pertaining to the advancement of the community, especially has he been instrumental in bringing about the present excellent school system. He, for some years, was a member of the School Board, and has also served as Justice of the Peace. In political sentiment he is a stanch Republican, and socially is a Master Mason, holding membership in Bentonsport Lodge, No. 49, A.F. & A.M. and La Fayette Chapter, No. 61, R.A.M. In this organization he has held a number of offices and is one of the prominent members. Both he and his wife are members of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Dickson was one of the founders of that church in Bentonsport, and for thirty-seven years has served in the official capacity of Elder. He gives liberally to the support of the church, is an active worker for its interests, and lives a consistent Christian life in harmony with his professions. Charitable and benevolent, he is a friend to those in need, and his sympathy and material aid have cheered many hearts.
I am not related, and am only copying this for the information of those who might find this person in their family.


Van Buren Biographies maintained by Rich Lowe.
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