Select Dickinson Surname Genealogy

Here are some Dickinson stories and accounts over the years:

Early Dickinsons

The first Dickinson mention was a William Dykouson who appeared in the Lancashire subsidy rolls of 1366.   Subsequent Dickinsons with their different spellings were:
  • John Dykonesson, in 1388 in Yorkshire
  • Henry Dicason, in 1518 in Yorkshire
  • Gilbert Dychenson, in 1585 in Yorkshire
  • and Nicholas Dikersone, in 1598 in Norfolk.

John Dickinson the Stationer

John Dickinson the stationer was the holder of many patents relating to paper and its use in the early 19th century.. 

His first was for a non-smouldering paper for use in rifles called Cartridge Paper; said to have been particularly helpful to Wellington’s Peninsular campaign and at Waterloo by increasing the British firing rate whilst simultaneously reducing premature firing accidents. 

His next was for a means of making paper in a continuous sheet in what has become known as the Cylinder Mould machine.  Dickinson arranged financing to buy Apsley mill in 1809 and the nearby Nash Mill in 1811 where he installed and developed machines of his design which were producing some of the best and most consistent paper in the country.

He was involved with the development of the Penny Post, producing a paper containing silk threads for security purposes.  He also patented a method of slitting paper with sharp bevelled wheels, still used on machines today and from which office guillotines in common use have evolved. 

In addition to his factories at Apsley and Nash he built two brand new mills at Home Park and Croxley in 1825 and 1828.  Other sites in Manchester, Liverpool and elsewhere were created for distribution.  He retired in 1858, handing over the running of the business to his nephew John Evans.

Dickinson & Morris of Melton Mowbray

Mary Dickinson is considered the creator of the hand raised Melton Mowbray pork pie.  In the 1790's she and her family was already well known as pork pie makers and Stilton cheese merchants. 

Mary's grandson John, the son of a painter, was born in Melton Mowbray in 1828 and began making pies as a young grocer.  In 1851 he rented a shop for his pies in Nottingham Street.  A year later he married Sarah Collet, a farmer's daughter, and they were to have nine children. 

Surprisingly none of them entered the family business.  But an apprentice, Joseph Morris, was taken on in 1886 and he became like a son to John Dickinson. In 1901 a partnership between John Dickinson and Joseph Morris was formed and the business became Dickinson & Morris.  It still flourishes today.

Captain John Dickinson's Antecedents

The ancestry of Captain John Dickinson who settled in Long Island has been traced back a long way in England.  His forebears seem to have lived from an early time near Hull in Yorkshire.  The early spelling here may have been Decaen. 

The first properly recorded in 1502 was William Dickinson of Kenson manor in Leeds, John’s great great grandfather.  The line then extended to Bradley Hall in Staffordshire, where Richard Dickinson served as a magistrate, and to the Portsmouth Navy Yard, where Thomas Dickinson was a Chief Clerk, and then to Ely in Cambridgeshire where Captain John Dickinson was born in 1602. 

Early accounts of this Dickinson line in England were covered in Wharton Dickinson’s 1883 book Record of the Lambert-Dickinson Family.

Emily Dickinson's Lineage

The poet Emily Dickinson was in the eighth generation of Dickinsons in America.  The following were her American forebears:
  • Nathaniel the immigrant (1600-1676), born in England (Lincolnshire), died in Hadley Mass
  • Samuel (1638-1711), born in Wethersfield Conn, died in Hatfield Mass
  • Ebenezer (1681-1730), born and died in Hatfield Mass
  • Nathan (1712-1796), born in Hatfield Mass. died in Amherst Mass
  • Nathan (1735-1825), born and died in Amherst Mass
  • Samuel (1775-1838), born in Amherst Mass, died in Hudson Ohio
  • Edward (1803-1874), born in Amherst Mass, died in Boston, Mass
  • and Emily (1830-1886), born and died in Amherst Mass.
The Homestead where Emily was born and lived most of her life and The Evergreens, home of her brother and his family, share three acres of the Dickinson property in the center of Amherst.  They have now been preserved as the Emily Dickinson Museum.

Alpheus Dickinson and His Six Wives

In the Congregational burying ground in Randolph township, Ohio lie side by side the six deceased wives of Alpheus Dickinson. 

The first wife on her deathbed recommended to her husband Mary Roberts who, like herself, was a native of Middletown, Connecticut.  After a proper time had elapsed, Alpheus started for New England, making the long journey on horseback, and brought back with him his second wife.  That lady soon died.  But she did recommend another lady from Middletown, Mary Johnson.  So he again made the long journey to Connecticut to return with his third wife.  She died in 1832.  These ladies, it transpired, were all cousins. 

Giving up on Middletown, he then married Maria Curtis of Charlestown, Ohio and she stayed with him until her death in 1864.  His fifth wife was Martha Sears, her niece from the same town who lived for less than two years after they married.  The name of his sixth wife was not reported, except that she existed. 

Alpheus Dickinson, notwithstanding the great afflictions he had been called upon to endure, used frequently to remark:

 “I have never been placed in circumstances so distressing and hopeless but that I could not think of someone whose situation was worse than mine."


Dickinson College

Dickinson College is a liberal arts college in Carlisle, Pennsylvania originally established in 1773 as a grammar school.  The College was chartered in 1783, five days after the signing of the Treaty of Paris, making it the first college to be founded in the newly recognized United States.

Dickinson was founded by Benjamin Bush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and named in honor of a signer of the Constitution, John Dickinson, who was later the President of Pennsylvania.  Dickinson College is America's 16th oldest college.

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