Dickinson, an enterprising and representative farmer residing
on section 5, Illyria Township, is of English birth. He was
born in Lincolnshire, England, April 23, 1832, and is a son of
Joseph and Sarah Dickinson. His father died when William was
quite young, and at the age of six years he was taken by a
very distant relative, in whose home near Boston, England, he
was reared. He received good opportunities for acquiring an
education and now his only regret is that he did not make
better use of them. When seventeen years of age, thinking his
master a little strict, he left him, but a short time
convinced him that the old man was right, and returning, he
remained with him until his marriage.
In the month of February, 1855, our subject wedded Miss Anne
Dickinson, a native of the same county, who is about four
years his junior. Being destined to form one of the social
class of laborers in his native land, he decided to come to
the United States, and embarked upon a sailing vessel, the 'Gerrick,'
which after seven weeks and three days landed him and his wife
safely in New York City. Soon afterward, however, they
continued their journey until reaching Cleveland, Ohio, in the
vicinity of which place he worked out for $13 per month. On
coming to Iowa, in the autumn of 1855, he settled in
Garnavillo, Clayton County, where two years were spent, after
which he located on a farm in Boardman Township, that county.
The financial panic of 1857, and a defective title, caused him
to lose his place, he having hardly anything left but some
valuable experience which would not lead him into a similar
error again. Not discouraged by his losses, he once more
purchased land and step by step worked his way upward.
In 1869 he purchased one hundred and ten acres
|of land, a
part of his present farm, and has here since made his home. At one
time he owned a quarter-section, but has since disposed of sixty
acres, retaining one hundred acres which are under a high state of
cultivation and well improved.
In 1875 Mr. Dickinson was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife,
who died on the 13th of December, leaving eight children, one a babe
two weeks old: William J., the eldest, is now a farmer of Custer
County, Neb.; Elizabeth A. is the wife of George Irish, who resides in
this county; Mary A. wedded Jackson Dye, a resident of Custer County,
Neb.; Frances J. is the wife of Elmer Davis, who lives in Clayton
County, Iowa; Joseph E. is engaged in agricultural pursuits in Fayette
County; Lillie M. is the wife of W. Conner; Cassie F. is at home; and
Ellen died in infancy. On the 9th of February, 1879, Mr. Dickinson was
again married, his second union being with Mrs. Martha H. Hammond, nee
McLond, a native of New York. Both he and his wife are members of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, and in the community are held in high
regard by many friends and acquaintances. In politics he is a
Republican, and cast his first Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln.
As every true American citizen should do, he feels an interest in
public affairs, but has never sought office. However, he acceptably
served as Justice of the Peace for nine years. Mr. Dickinson is
numbered among the successful farmers of his township, and in the
truest sense of the word is a self-made man, for he began life without
capital, and overcoming all difficulties and disadvantages, pressed
forward until he had at length acquired the competence which ranks him
among the well-to-do farmers of the community.