On This Day – 8 June 1938

2007-12-23-619
Susan Louise Bailey Dickson and Robert Harrison Dickson, Jr.  2007

This is is one of my favorite pictures.  Grandmother and Granddad, Susan Louise Bailey and Robert Harrison Dickson, Jr, always looked in love.  Sure, there were good times and hard times. But, they always looked in love.

Born in 1919, they married pretty young by today’s standards: early in 1940 at the age of 20. Not long after that, they had two young sons. They moved from Arkansas to California for a year or two, but pretty quickly came back to Arkansas.  Grandad went off to war in the Pacific near the end of WWII and stayed for the Korean occupation. Along the way, they always were quick to help out anyone who needed help, quick to strike up a conversation, tell stories, and smile a lot.

I am not sure I ever saw Grandmother wash a dish.  She cooked, baking fresh breakfast biscuits in a toaster oven right at  the table so they were as fresh as possible.  But I remember Granddad always doing the dishes.  Anything at all for Sue.  And the same way with Grandmother.  Anything at all for Robert.

Grandmother and Granddad moved from Arkansas to Pittsburgh when they were past 75.  My step-mother invited them to come live near them while everyone was healthy.  They said yes without having to consider it more than a minute.  But that’s another story.

Grandmother died about ten years after they moved to Pittsburgh.  I was visiting Granddad not too long after that, after his health was failing, and his memory fading.  He and I went out to run errands, have dinner at Eat-n-Park, and to go to the community Thanksgiving service at church.

At dinner, I asked him to tell me again about how he and Grandmother met.  “Oh, that was June 8, 1938.  We both went to a youth meeting at church and met there.  I asked if I could walk her home.  And neither of us ever dated anyone else after that night.”  Around then, he might get flustered and not really be sure of the day of the week or what we had for dinner, but that was a moment that he would never forget.  Because Robert and Susan were always in love.

Chipping Away at a Dickson Brick Wall – Part 3

In the last two posts (part 1, part 2), we have established fairly well via the census that John H. Dickson, my great-great-grandfather is the son of David Dickson and Eliza Johnson Dickson.

But, the census is not terribly compelling evidence.  In this post, I will share a more compelling circumstantial reason for believing this to be true.

In the family of David and Eliza Dickson, John H. has a hypothetical sister, Mary E. Dickson who is one or two years his senior.  To be complete, let’s look at Mary’s family.

Sometime prior to 1854, Mary married Lorenzo Dow Williams from Carthage, Leake County, Mississippi.  Other researchers have told me that Lorenzo went away to the Civil War and was killed near Franklin, Tennessee.  I have not yet found his service record.  The two Lorenzo Dow Williams records I found were for the Union Colored Troops (not him) and for a man from Greene County, Mississippi who was discharged in Fernandia, Florida due to injuries (also not him).  However, in any case between the 1860 1 and 1870 2 census, Lorenzo disappears from the census record.

Mary and Lorenzo have four children together:

  1. George Collier Williams, born June 1854, Leake County, Mississippi, died 26 August 1945, Fort Smith, Sebastian County, Arkansas
  2. Mary Catherine Williams, born 1856, Leake County, Mississippi, died 1916 in Arkansas
  3. William David Williams, born 25 Feb 1861, Leake County, Mississippi, died 1 Mary 1928, Senatobia, Tate County, Mississippi
  4. Frances Dow Williams, born 1863, Leake County, Mississippi, died before July 1916

After Lorenzo died, Mary lived with her parents for a time, since she and her children were with them in the 1880 census.  In 1876, Mary married again to Andrew J. Gates and they moved to Arkansas.  They settled first in Lonoke County 3 and then moved in to Prairie County. 4 5

Interestingly, John H. Dickson, Mary’s presumed brother, moved to Prairie County, Arkansas around that same time – just prior to 1880 – and lived there (I believe) until his death before 1889.  Another researcher has shared that he believed that David Dickson (Mary and John’s father) had a brother who had moved to Prairie County sometime before the Civil War.  This would be one of the few close relations outside Mississippi and a good reason for these children to move on to Arkansas.

The clincher to me in connecting John H. Dickson to Mary E. Dickson, and therefore to David and Eliza Dickson was a picture I found in my grandfather, Robert H. Dickson, Jr’s belongings.

This is a photo of Robert H. Dickson, Sr. (on the right), my great-grandfather who died in 1942 in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  With him is a George Williams.  The names are in my grandmother’s handwriting.  But, my grandfather wrote on this “cousins”.  That’s the key I have been looking for.

As I look through all of Robert Dickson’s relations, the only person who could be a cousin, of roughly his age, named George Williams, is George Collier Williams (1854-1945), son of Mary E. Dickson and Lorenzo Dow Williams.  The only way for George and Robert to be cousins would be for George’s mother and Robert’s father to be sister and brother, and therefore have the same parents.

So, while this is still circumstantial evidence and not quite bulletproof proof, to me it solves the mystery of who my great-great-great-grandparents on the Dickson line are and points me to a new line of research.

In the next posts in this series, I will start to document Mary and John’s parents, David Dickson and Eliza W. Johnson.

 


  1. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Leake County, Mississippi, pop. sch., Carthage, Page 67, Dwelling 634, Family 634, L. D. Williams. 
  2. 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Desoto County, Mississippi, pop. sch., Township 5 R 7, page 52, dwelling 365, family 365, David Dickson. 
  3. 1880 US Federal Census, Lonoke County, Arkansas, pop. sch., Totten Township, ED 188, Page 6, Dwelling 53, Family 54, Gates, A.J. 
  4. 1900 US Federal Census, Prairie County, Arkansas, pop. sch., Hickory Plain, ED 74, Page 10, Dwelling 172, Family 172, Gates, Andrew. 
  5. 1910 US Federal Census, Prairie County, Arkansas, pop. sch., Hickory Plain Township, ED 104, Sheet 9A, Dwelling 158, Family 160, Andrew J Gates. 

It’s Official

I must be a real Genealogy Blogger now.  Wrenacres is listed in Thomas MacEntee’s GeneaBloggers registry.  He keeps a list of known blogs about genealogy.

New Genealogy Blogs 19 March 2016

Welcome to Wrenacres!

As much as anything, maintaining a site like this is for the writer as the reader.  I hope that we can both enjoy and get something out of this effort.

Starting out, I have some ideas as to what I might like to write about, but I am sure that things will change as we go along.  So, let’s go along for the ride.

 Who am I?

I’m Scott Dickson.  I’ve been interested in my family and my family history since the late 1980s.  In all of that time, I have found out a lot and come to a lot of brick walls.  I’ve sort of become the archivist (and chief hoarder) for my family.  I maintain my own family tree at my personal site, wrenacres.com.

By profession, I am a tech guy, a sales engineer with Oracle, specializing in private cloud management, OpenStack, operating systems, virtualization, and system management.  I am a product specialist and travel extensively around North America, working with a variety of large and small companies.  If you want to know more about this, check my LinkedIn profile.

I have been married to Kathleen, my wonderful wife since 1997.  She is the sweetest, most caring, most creative and boldest person I have ever met.  She is a fabulous cook, teaching classes at our local Whole Foods Market.  She helped establish and oversees the food pantry at her church. She has been very involved with The Global Soap Project, working to recruit new hotels to save their leftover soap to be used in impoverished areas to provide basic sanitation.  This is really a cool organization.  She also manages volunteers and recruits new providers to share their leftover food with Feeding America, formerly Second Harvest.  As you can tell, I’m pretty proud to be Kathleen’s husband.

Kathleen and I are crazy about Hawaii, especially Kauai and travel there as often as we can.  So, that will tend to crop up from time to time.

What’s Wrenacres?

I am sure that this will come up again in more detail, but here’s the basics.  My grandfather,  Hudson Wren, was a farmer in northeast Arkansas, around the town of Wilson.  He was farm manager and Executive Vice President of Lee Wilson & Company, one of the largest privately held cotton farms in the nation.  In addition to running the Wilson farm, he had his own farming interests, part of which he named Wrenacres.

So, I’ve used Wrenacres as my web site and as my blog address as a tribute to my grandfather.

What will we cover here?

Some of the things that you might find here over time could be:

  • My family lines and stories
  • Artifacts and stuff that I have collected from the family
  • Pictures, letters, documents about my family
  • Research topics that I am working on
  • Dead ends where I wish I could find some help breaking through
  • Whatever else strikes my fancy

Families and Lines

Just to get things started, here are some of my main lines:

  • Dickson – I know the least here.  Tennessee to Alabama to Mississippi to Arkansas, 1820-present.  It took me 25 years to be able connect John H. Dickson, my great-great-grandfather to any family at all.
  • Wren – George Wren, George Washington Wren, Alonzo Dossey Wren, and their descendants.  Virginia to South Carolina to Georgia to Louisiana to Arkansas, 1770-present.
  • CasonJeremiah H. Cason and his ancestors and descendants.  J.H. Cason is one of my favorites – missionary to Africa, Captain in the CSA, preacher in west Texas
  • HudsonWesley Hudson, who lived primarily around Atlanta from 1830, has been one of the great mysteries to me.
  • Bailey – The Bailey line goes all the way back to Jamestown in 1610 and is a fascinating story.   Francis Baker Bailey came from Virginia to Kentucky to Arkansas prior to Arkansas statehood.
  • Lots of others.  Check my tree at wrenacres.com for details.

So, let’s get on with the show!  Thanks for stopping by!