Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 134] is one of the young men of Mahoning township who has taken up the line of work laid down by a most honorable line of ancestors, and is most ably prosecuting the many duties which fall to the lot of the modern tiller of the soil who wishes to make a success of his vocation. He was born April 29, 1867, on what is now known as the Duff farm. He spent his younger days in school after the usual manner of American youths, and after his home education had been completed, he lived two years in the far West on a ranch. There he became familiar with the ranchman's mode of life, and attained great skill in the many arts of the cattle men, such as "breaking" the broncos, "rounding up" cattle, "branding" them, etc., and being especially proficient in the manipulation of the lasso, that most important adjunct to the cowboy's outfit. Returning home, Mr. Dickson bought the old homestead, where he has since continued to reside.

Mr. Dickson's parents were Captain John C. and Mary R. (Crider) Dickson, and his grandparents were Joseph and Rachel (Shipley) Dickson. The great-grandparents were William and Jane (Dickson) Dickson.

William Dickson was born in Scotland in 1722. He removed in his early years to the northern part of Ireland, where he married, and from where about 1768 or 1770 he immigrated to America, locating at Red Stone settlement in Allegheny County, east of Pittsburg. There he bought a small but very desirable place, which he later on traded for 850 acres of new land, lying one mile east of Dixmont. To this tract he repaired in 1795, made a small clearing, built a rude log-house for temporary shelter till he could improve upon it, and sowed a little grain. The next year he brought on his family, and began hewing down the giants of the forest in earnest. As time passed, he sold off portions of the original tract, but at his demise, which occurred in 1825, at the age of 103, he left a fine estate, which was in much better shape than the average farm of the new country. To William Dickson and his wife, who reached the age of ninety, six children were born: Joseph; William; Jane; Sarah; Hannah; and David. Mr. Dickson in his religious views was first a Seceder, and later a Presbyterian. In the teachings of the latter church was his family reared.

Joseph Dickson, the grandfather of the subject of this sketch, entered the new country with his father, and purchased a farm of 252 acres about one mile from his father's homestead. He cleared some of the land, but did not do much farming, as he had learned the millwright's trade and could not well spare the time when it was needed. In 1816, he built the first mill ever erected on Rock Island, and followed the milling business as a chosen occupation. Being of a decided mechanical and ingenious turn of mind, he was ready to adapt his talents to the varying needs of the community, even to the making of coffins, and the carving and sculpturing of headstones. He was a great advocate of temperance, and being a man of ready speech and of wide information, his influence for the cause was far-reaching. Politically, his affiliations were with the Whigs, and in religion he was a Presbyterian. Always alive to the affairs of the commonwealth he was especially interested in the State Militia, and in 1811 was commissioned a captain by Gov. Finley. Joseph Dickson came into the world in the year 1772, and departed this life in 1845. His loving wife, born in 1800, passed away in 1866. Seven of the twelve children born to them lived to an adult age; they were: David; Joseph; Matilda; John; Sarah; William; and James. Rachel died when five years of age, and four were removed in infancy.

Captain John C. Dickson was born in Allegheny Co., Pa., May 3, 1832, where he received his education and began his life as a farmer. Alive to new opportunities, which the opening of the State canal system gave, he removed to Moravia, Pa., and with two boats began carrying freight on the canals. This he followed for two years, and then returned to farming, also dealing heavily in horses and cattle. Branching out in the latter line, he soon became known all over Lawrence and Beaver Counties as one of the most extensive and most reliable dealers of the day. Having gained a wide knowledge of men and affairs, his judgment in all matters was good, and his counsel was sought and depended upon by a large circle of friends. A man of his word, whose promise was as good as his bond, he was always considered a representative citizen. His success in life proved the correctness of his ideas and ways. In 1872 he purchased the farm of ninety acres, where our subject now resides. This place, which he rendered more valuable by many improvements, he retained until his death, May 30, 1894. Besides rearing a large family, Mr. Dickson accumulated a large amount of property. His wife, Mary R., daughter of Henry and Amanda C. (Sheets) Crider, was born in Allegheny Co., Pa. Her father, Henry Crider, was born in the same county in 1811, and lived until 1887; while his wife, born April 22, 1816, is still alive. Mary R. (Crider) Dickson, widow of Captain John C. Dickson, and the mother of the subject of this writing, is living and residing at the old home. Her children were: Josephine, who married William F. McCormick of Montana; John C., of Mahoning township, who married Margaret Wills, and is the father of two children—Reuben C. and Wiley F.; David H., who married Elizabeth B. Gilmore, and has one child—Frank G.; Rachel Ann, the wife of Willis Ripple, and the mother of two—James W. and Anna B.; William J. Amanda K.; Joseph O., our subject; Mary B., deceased; Cora V.; Byron C.; Benjamin, W.; and Mary Belle.

Joseph O. Dickson, the subject of this article, though not a married man, is very much alive to the interests of his native section. He possesses a home place that any man might well be proud of. The farm is well stocked, and is adapted especially to the raising of grain. It is in the heart of the best farming region of the keystone State, and with good buildings, all kept in perfect repair, it is the kind of an estate that would gladden the heart of anyone who loves the free, hearty and independent life of an agriculturist. Mr. Dickson's church lines are laid with the Baptist denomination, and in politics he is one of the best known and most popular of the young Republicans of his section. In business affairs, he is clear-headed, shrewd and upright. His methods are those that have come down to him from an honored ancestry, and it is safe to predict that his life's history will in no way suffer when compared with their bright record.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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