November 2019 Newsletter

Volume XVI, Number 4

President’s Message

Thanks again to everyone for an exciting reunion last summer in Essex, CT. I sincerely appreciate all the work and volunteerism in effort to hold this event.  This fall the DFA board has been busy planning for our 150th Reunion to be held in Deerfield, MA at Historic Deerfield on Saturday, June 27th, 2020.  We are holding the reunion in Deerfield due to the quality of venues, museums, historic homes, and content which is directly linked to our family’s history.  Historic Deerfield and PVMA’s Memorial Hall Museum are in possession of several buildings, original manuscripts, furniture, and other family items, i.e. clothing, dinnerware, weapons, tools, pottery and artwork.

For more information regarding these museums, please see the following website links:

We are planning to hold Friday’s dinner & social in Deerfield and conduct walking tours on both Friday and Saturday.  Further details will follow in the winter and spring newsletters.

Family Overview:

Per “History of Deerfield” and other sources there were several Dickinson families who resided in Deerfield beginning around 1740 until the late 1800’s.  The following is an overview of our family and key events which occurred in Deerfield:

Lt. Nehemiah Dickinson was one of the original surveyors who laid out the original Main Street and Commons in 1671. 

In 1704 there was a significant raid on Deerfield which devastated the frontier village.   Sarah Dickinson, from Hadley, was taken captive in this attack and later rescued.

Several ancestors served in both the French & Indian and Rev. Wars as noted below:

  1. Samuel: (2nd son of Nathaniel III) was born in Hatfield and settled in Deerfield.  At age 11, Samuel was captured and rapidly recovered from a raid of Native Americans in 1698.  He was captured again 25 years later in 1723 during combat in Northfield. In compensation for his service, he received a 200ac land grant in 1730.  His farm and mill were located in the “Bars” section of Deerfield.  His wife and youngest daughter drowned while crossing the Deerfield River in 1740.  Another raid took place at his mill in 1747 which he survived.  He was a successful farmer and served the Town in many capacities until he perished in 1761.  Three other children were raised in Deerfield:  Hannah, Nathaniel, and Samuel as mentioned below.
  • Nathaniel:  Served in the French and Indian War.  He was a friend of Col. Samuel Partridge of Hatfield, who influenced him to become a very active Tory.  He was harassed; however he successfully fled to Boston and served as a commissary for the British Army under General Gage in Boston, Nova Scotia, and NYC prior to his death in Gagetown, New Brunswick in 1788.
  • Samuel:  was a close friend of Rev. Jonathan Ashley of Deerfield.  He resided in Deerfield and rented his brother’s confiscated estate prior to his death in 1780.  
  • Hannah (3rd wife of Col. William Williams):  Lived in both Pittsfield and Deerfield.  She was very independent, obtained a large inheritance, and perished at age 91.

2) Capt. Thomas:  son of Lt. Col. John from Hatfield, who married Hepzibah Wells of Deerfield, and built a house along Main Street in 1752.  Thomas was a commissary during the French and Indian War and a Captain during the Rev. War.  Lived to age 96.

2a) Mjr. David (son of Thomas), built a house along Main Street circa 1765.  Owned a store and served as Town Clerk during the Rev. War.  Both Thomas and David served on the “Committee of Correspondence” during the Rev. War.  David married Rev. Johnathan Ashley’s daughter.

2b) Col. Thomas Wells (son of Thomas), was one of the original proprietors of Deerfield Academy.  His sons and daughters attended around 1800.  He led a Company to protect the supreme court house in Springfield during Shay’s Rebellion in 1786.  He also served a valuable role as Asst. Commissary under Col. Benedict Arnold in 1775. 

2c) Consider (son of Thomas),:

Consider was a noted hunter and trader; he lived in house of Rev. John Williams which was located on the Town Commons.  He was active in town affairs, served in the Rev. War, and lived to age 93.  His wife, Ester Harding Dickinson (whose mother was Lydia Dickinson), carried out his wishes to donate their house lot and his fortune to the creation of  “Dickinson High School and Free Library” in 1875.  This building was located on the campus of Deerfield Academy along Main Street, serving as a public school to Deerfield residents until 1931.

2d) Eliphalet (son of Thomas): served in Rev. War

3a) Rev. Rodolphus (son of Thomas Wells D.):  preacher, writer, publisher, attorney, Deerfield Academy professor, and graduate of Yale’s class of 1805.  He published and printed several books in Deerfield at the Wilson Printing Office on Main Street.

3b) Atty. David (son of Thomas Wells D.):  attended Williams College in 1812 and settled in McBean, GA by 1826.

3c) Thankful (daughter of Thomas Wells D.):  married Atty. Pliny Arms, who wrote “History of Deerfield”.  They lived in the Frary House, now owned by Historic Deerfield

3d) Thomas Wells, MD was a doctor and a farmer in Deerfield until he perished in 1849.

4) George (son of Eliphalet): served as a State Rep in 1841, eventually moving to Boston and later to Norwood, MA.  Worked at the Customs House in Boston.

I hope you enjoyed reading this overview and look forward to seeing everyone at our 150th reunion next year!

Please note: Due to reduced printing and publishing costs, the 3rd Edition of our family genealogy (hardcover book) entitled “Descendants of Nathaniel Dickinson” will now be offered at the reduced price of $75.00.


President:  Ken Dickinson

A Message From Our Genealogist

Lisa Butler, our Dickinson Genealogist, requests your inputs on Nathaniel Dickinson’s descendants.  You may send your births, marriages and death announcements to Lisa at

DFA Scholarship Alert

One of the most important functions of the Dickinson Family Association is the awarding of our annual scholarship.  The deadline for applications for this coming year’s DFA scholarship is the end of April.  Anyone interested in applying should go to the DFA website where you will find information and an online application form.  For more information contact scholarship chair, Lisa Butler,

For the year 2019, we again had applications from several outstanding Dickinson cousins. The Scholarship Committee selected Olivia Blake and Kylie Dickinson to each receive a scholarship of $1,200.

2019 Scholarship Recipients

Olivia Blake is a descendant of Nehemiah Dickinson. She graduated from East Forsyth High in North Carolina and will attend Wake Forest in the fall where she will double major in Neuroscience and Spanish. After college she plans to earn a medical degree and focus her career on providing quality health care to people in third world countries.

Kylie Dickinson is a descendant of Nathaniel Dickinson. She graduated from McIntosh High School in Georgia and will attend the Jacobs School of Music in the fall. She plans to study music and psychology while attending Indiana University. After college she plans to pursue a career as a professional musician, or potentially work as a music therapist.

E-Mail Changes Requested

We know e-mail addresses change frequently and it is easy to forget to update them.  So if you plan to change your e-mail address we would greatly appreciate your sending the new one to our membership clerk, Beth Landolina, at

If this newsletter was sent to an e-mail address that will soon be obsolete, please let us know.

New Website

If you’ve looked at our website ( very recently you will have noticed a whole new look.  Last spring the board hired a website developer to create a new website for us.  This was prompted partly due to our desire to digitize more of what we do and at the same time save the DFA some money in the area of mailings.  He worked on it for several months together with your webmaster, and in October we went live!

The new site contains all the content from the old site, but it is arranged and presented in what we think is a much more appealing and useful way.  It will allow viewers to order books online instead of the former “print out and mail in” order form method.  The survey forms we have sent out each January and the reunion reservation forms sent in April will now also be filled out and sent in electronically, greatly reducing the number of postal mail items needed.  With over 500 members now, the January and April mailings have become very time-consuming and expensive.  All purchases, reservation fees and donations can be made online using PayPal.  Another big advance is that scholarship applications will now be done online.

The new site is very interactive.  Viewers can do searches, send us messages and feedback and even join the association online.

Newsletters will be sent only by email to those members whose email addresses we have, so it’s more important than ever to keep us informed of any changes.  We will still send newsletters in January and April by postal mail to those members who do not have email, but we’re hoping that if any members have an email address we don’t know about that you will share it with us.  Be assured, we use these addresses only for sending the DFA newsletters.

So please go online and enjoy the new site!!

Webmaster:  Alan Dickinson

Be Thinking

The Dickinson Family Association is doing well, but change is always imminent.  We ask that you think about volunteering to help out.  We will elaborate on this and other opportunities to help in the January newsletter, but please be thinking positively about joining our operating team.

Newsletter Editor: Dale Williams

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