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Dickerson Family in America

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The Dickerson Family in America Research Notes and References : a work in progress


Harrison County, Ohio

Thomas Dickerson and his wife Mary Curry came to Harrison County, Ohio in 1802 from Fayette County, Pennsylvania. He famously founded the Dickerson Church, which stands to this day as a historic building.

Genealogical Tourism in Cadiz, Ohio

Before the days of the internet, my parents and I traveled to Ohio during August to spend our time walking through graveyards and cemeteries and researching records in town halls, genealogical and historical societies, and local libraries. On our trip, I brought my copy of Hanna's "Historical Collections of Harrison County, Ohio" which listed the locations of cemeteries and the names of those buried in each one. The locations were specified similarly to this one, 'Dickerson graveyard is situated near the center of section thirty-two, in Cadiz township, about half-way between Cadiz and New Athens.(Hanna, p. 313)[1]

Using Hanna as our guide, we managed to find the Dickerson Church and it's graveyard and we spent quite a few hours locating our ancestors graves. Unfortunately, the church was not open for us to look inside and we couldn't extend our trip long enough for the next planned event.

The Dickerson family has many descendants, especially in Harrison County. Talking to one of my new found relatives who worked at the genealogy library (novel in the days before the internet!) she said, oh, yeah, many of the people in town are related to the Dickersons.

I've had several trips to Cadiz and further south to McConnelsville over the years and learn something new or meet a new relative on every trip.

Dickerson Church, Cadiz, Harrison County, Ohio

The church has an associated graveyard where many members of the Dickerson and related families (for example: McFadden, McCoy, Worley) are buried.

  • Fall 1802
    • Thomas Dickerson moved to about 4 miles SE of Cadiz, Ohio.[2]. **Thomas Dickerson settled on the farm where the church is located.[1]
    • Dickerson organized a weekly prayer meeting circle where he gave religious instruction to attendees. Meetings moved from house to house.[1]
  • 1804
    • Society of Methodists organized with Thomas Dickerson appointed leader.[1]
    • Among the first members were:
      • Thomas Dickerson and wife
      • Joseph Holmes and wife
      • William Walraven and wife
      • William Scoles and wife
      • James Worley and wife[1] ([[[Figley-57|Elizabeth (Figley) Worley]])
      • Abraham Holmes and wife
      • Eli Dickerson and wife
      • William Welling and wife
      • James Jones and wife
  • Summer 1805: first quarterly meeting conducted by Rev. Asa Shinn and "Methodists and others" from Cadiz and beyond came to the meeting. Hanna specifically mentions attendees from "around Wellsburg on the Ohio river, the Holmes Church on Short Creek"

Side Note: Asa Shinn Mercer, son of Aaron Mercer and Jane Dickerson was no doubt named after Rev. Asa Shinn as the Mercer family was living in Harrison County before Asa and his brother Thomas Dickerson Mercer emigrated to Seattle in the 1850s. Jane was the daughter of Thomas Dickerson and Mary Curry.

The meeting was held in the grove . The seats were made of rails, logs, and puncheons. A few puncheons were used for a platform. In each of two trees, standing about six feet apart, a notch was cut, and in those notches was placed a puncheon about sixteen inches wide, and on this the preacher laid his Bible, and this was the make up of the preacher's pulpit . The meeting was one of great spiritual power , and several persons united with the church."[1]
  • 1806: location for church selected.
  • 1807:
    • First burial in the cemetery.[1]
    • Second quarterly meeting was held on Thomas Dickerson's farm in a similar manner as the first meeting.[1]
    • Preaching services more frequent. Itinerate preachers included Asa Shinn, James B. Finley, Bishop Roberts, and Rev. McElroy.[1]
  • 1813: Quarterly meeting in Thomas Dickerson's barn by Rev . James B . Finley.[1]
  • Date? The ground was conveyed by Thomas Dickerson and wife to Joseph Holmes, William Scoles, William Welling, James Worley, and Abraham Holmes, as trustees of the M. E. Church.[1]

1817: First church built

The organization of the Dickerson Church is clearly traceable to the labors of Bishop Asbury and Bishop McKendree , from the fact that the first members of the church came from Virginia and Pennsylvania , direct from the fields of labor of these great and good men .

But directly to Thomas Dickerson , more than to any other , belongs the honor of the organization of the church at this place . He was blessed with a fine so cial nature , and a vigorous constitution . His piety was deep and uni form

. . . . From 1817 to 1828 , the church moved steadily forward .

In 1928 , Thomas Hudson and S . R . Brockunier were appointed to the West Wheeling Circuit , and this circuit included the Dickerson appointment . During this year , there were some accessions to the church , and the membership was greatly revived . But the year 1829 is especially remarkable for its great spiritual prosperity at Dickerson's .

During this yvear , Thomas Hudson and William Tipton were travelling the circuit and Joshua Monroe, Presiding Elder. At the first meeting of the Quarterly Conference that year, a resolution was passed to hold a camp - meeting on the farm of Thomas Dickerson.

The meeting was appointed, and was largely attended . In the “ Life and Times of Rev . Thomas M . Hudson , " he says , as the meet ing progressed , the work of revival greatly increased , awakenings be coming more general , and conversions more frequent every day . . . He tells us , that among the numerous subjects of that great revival that he received into the church at Cadiz , were many interesting young men ,

    • Thomas Dickerson and Mary Curry deed land to the Methodist Society.[2]
  • 1817: log church built[2]
  • 1854: larger church built [2]
  • Civil War: 28 young members joined the war[2]
    • At [a] Camp meeting on the Dickerson Church grounds seventeen year old Matthew Simpson from Cadiz went to the altar to publically[sic] give his life to the Lord. Matthew Simpson then became a preacher in Cadiz, and later went on to become one of the youngest Bishops of the Methodist Church. In 1865 Bishop Matthew Simpson had become a famous orator and one who often spoke in defense of the Union. He was a friend of Abraham Lincoln, and in 1865 the sad duty fell upon his shoulders to preach the funeral oratory for President Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois."[2]
  • 1888: Third (present day) Church built.[2]
  • Early 1940s: loss of church membership to Cadiz Drummond Methodist Church or New Athens Methodist Church. [2]
  • 1942: Church closed by NE Ohio Conference. Property transferred to Drummond Methodist Church (now Scott Memorial United Methodist Church). [2]
  • Property is kept as a memorial to Bishop Matthew Simpson.[2]
  • Historic old church is maintained by The Dickerson Church Trustees (all of whom are members of Scott U.M. Church). [2]
  • Cemetery grounds maintained by Cadiz Township Trustees[2]
  • At 2PM on the second Sunday in August of each year is a summer reunion at the Church. [2]

Dickerson or Dickinson/Dickenson

The last names "Dickerson" and "Dickinson/Dickenson" are often confused.

S X 11 Jul 2020 --

There may be some confusion between this record and Joshua Dickinson born in 1740 in Monmouth, New Jersey, who is listed as having wife Susannah (Whitted) Dickinson.

In S X's ancestry.com records[1][3] show:
Joshua Dickerson's parents:
John Dickerson (1720–1785)
John's Parents: Henry Dickerson and Susannah Surratt
Born 11 Feb 1720/21, Frederick, Maryland
Died between Jan and Feb 1785, Morris, Washington, Pennsylvania
John married in 1739:
Ruth (Unknown) Dickerson (1719 or 1723–1807)
Born 1719 or 1723
Died before Dec 1870, Morris, Washington, Pennsylvania
Children of John (including Joshua)
  • Drusilla Dickerson, daughter
  • Gideon Dickerson (? - Bet. Sep–Nov 1789), son
  • Henry Dickerson (? - Bet. Sep–Dec 1823), son
  • Joshua Dickerson (1740-10 Oct 1827 in Fayette, Pennsylvania, USA), son
  • Baruch Dickerson (Aft. 1740-?), Son
  • Margaret Dickerson (Abt. 1742 in Fort Hill, Somerset, Pennsylvania, USA-?), daughter
  • John Dickerson Jr. (Abt. 1744 in Fort Hill, Somerset, Pennsylvania, USA-1832), son
  • Sarah Dickerson (1746 in Fort Hill, Somerset, Pennsylvania, USA-1829 in Washington, Pennsylvania, USA), daughter
  • Richard R Dickerson (Abt. 1748 in Fort Hill, Somerset, Pennsylvania, USA -1836 in Guernsey, Ohio, USA), son
  • Rachel Dickerson (1750-1826), daughter
  • Susannah Dickerson (1752-1826), daughter
  • Asa Dickerson (1758 in Pennsylvania, USA-Jan 1794), son

Hanna, Charles. Historical Collections of Harrison County, Ohio[1] This key secondary source appears to have mixed up some of generations of Dickerson family because so many of the first names were reused across generations, e.g.

Hanna, p.485: John settled in Amwell (now Franklin) Township, Washington County, PA before 1780, having apparently come from Dunbar (now tyrone) Township, Fayette County, PA, where his name is on the tax list for 1772 and where Joshua (1740-1827) had settled in about 1770. [Joshua and John were doubtless brothers and Henry may have been a 3rd brother, but probably a son of John.]
  • Note: Per other published records, it seems that Hanna's conclusions were wrong, and Joshua and Henry were both SONS of John. This is evidenced by their birthdates. The family uses the names Joshua and John quite often in their tree.
  • Per Hanna, John's will, written 7 years before his death, lists the following children: Gideon, Baruch, Henry, Susannah, Drusilla, Asa.

Will Transcription:

Family and Personal Recollections


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Hanna, Charles. Historical Collections of Harrison County, Ohio. New York, 1900: Privately Printed. Accessed at Cadiz Public Library Genealogy Room. Now available at URL: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=V-ouAAAAYAAJ&rdid=book-V-ouAAAAYAAJ&rdot=1
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12
  3. Jones, Jerry. Unpublished Family History in the files of Shelby Eaton
  • Historic Dickerson Church[2]
  • Hanna, Charles. Historical Collections of Harrison County, Ohio[1]

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