HISTORIC DEERFIELD ADMISSION

As noted in the September newsletter, those wishing to tour any of the houses or museums of Historic Deerfield must check in at the “Hall Tavern” (visitor’s center) on Old Main St. (across from Deerfield Inn).  Tell the front desk staff that you are with the Dickinson Family Association event to obtain a “membership card/group ticket card”.  Use this card each day to obtain a colored sticker at the visitor’s center (color changes daily).  This will admit you to all Historic Deerfield’s buildings, museum tours and demonstrations throughout the weekend.

Historic Deerfield Museum hours are 9:30am – 4:30pm.  Memorial Hall Museum from 11am – 4:30pm.

SAFETY CONCERNS

Historic Deerfield has decided to extend its indoor mask mandate to all of its indoor spaces, including the Deerfield Community Center, effective October 7th.   The requirement to mask indoors includes all individuals in any of their indoor spaces.  It applies to all people over the age of 2 unless the individual is actively eating or drinking.

If a visitor cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition, they will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of their visit to Historic Deerfield.

The Historic Deerfield COVID Task Force reviews current trends, infection rates, peer information, etc. no less than monthly.  “Of the highest priority in all of its decisions is the health and safety of our community.”

We will keep you posted on any changes.

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VOLUME XVIII, NUMBER 2

Frary House, Deerfield, MA

A Message from the DFA Board

Hello Cousins,

            Plans for the 2021 reunion in Deerfield, MA have been confirmed.  As discussed in the July newsletter, our reunion will commence at 3pm on Friday, October 22nd with museum tours at the “Memorial Hall Museum” (8 Memorial St.) conveniently located off of Route 5, approximately 5 miles due north of Interstate Route 91 (Exit 35).  See more details regarding this tour on page 2.  The museum tour will be followed by an informal board meeting, social hour and dinner at the “Deerfield Inn” (81 Old Main St.) which is a 7 minute walking distance from the museum.  Saturday’s events will be held at the Deerfield Community Center “White Church” 16 Memorial St. (located at corner of Old Main St. and Memorial St.) commencing at 9 am on Saturday, October 23rd

We are pleased to welcome our main speaker, Eric Gradoia (Historic Deerfield’s Director of Historical Preservation), who will utilize new computer technology to provide us a 3D photo imagery (drone style) walking tour of Major David Dickinson’s house and grounds.  This private house is one of the best examples of 18th century continuous colonial style architecture in Deerfield.  Built circa 1783, it has undergone several additions and renovations over the past 200 years, however much of the original construction remains preserved.  Mr. Gradoia, who performed historical structure reports for the Emily Dickinson and Austin Dickinson Houses in Amherst, will provide an update on recent restoration efforts both in Amherst and at Historic Deerfield’s Barnard Tavern / Frary House; amongst other properties where our ancestors formerly resided.  Mr. Gradoia will also discuss Capt. Thomas Dickinson’s house, the Wilson Print Shop (where Rev. Roldophus Dickinson published several books), Deerfield Academy’s original building (which is now the Memorial Hall Museum) and the former Dickinson High School.  This presentation will also cover information on the Dickinson and other related families that resided in Deerfield Village from the late 1600’s to the late 1800’s. 

Historic Deerfield will offer a reduced rate of $12 per person on museum admission for the weekend.  Please inform the staff at the “Hall Tavern” (Visitor’s Center) that you are with the “Dickinson Reunion” event.  We encourage you to tour both the “Frary House” and “Wells-Thorn House” on Saturday, as they’re located adjacent to the White Church.  Tours will be held at 10am and 4pm.  Maximum capacity of each house tour is 10 people.  Historic Deerfield has 7 house tours total, live demonstrations and other guided walking tours, etc.  Their “Flynt Center Museum” contains many items of Dickinson family furniture, art and other household items; therefore we encourage you to view them either on Sunday or Friday morning.

Included with this newsletter is a reservation card and return envelope.  Please observe the deadline of October 9th for submitting this form.

We continue to invite any interested DFA members to contact one of the current board members and come join us at a board meeting.  Our board meeting on Oct. 22nd is a less formal one, and is always open to any DFA member who wishes to attend.

Ken Dickinson, President

150th ANNUAL REUNION SCHEDULE

Friday, October 22

3:00 pm           Memorial Hall Museum Tour

4:30 pm           Museum closed

5:00 pm           Open Informal Board Meeting

6:00 pm           Social Hour

7:00 pm           Annual Reunion Dinner

Saturday, October 23

9:00 am            Gathering of cousins: registration, exhibits, sales & refreshments

11:15 am         Counting of Cousins, Presentation of Gifts, and Group Photos

11:45 am         Lunch

12:45 pm         Annual meeting

1:30 pm           Main Speaker, Erik Gradoia, Topic:  “Dickinson Houses in Old Deerfield”

2:30 pm           Q&A Session and Concluding Ceremony ending by 3:00 pm

4:30 pm           Historic Deerfield Museum / Memorial Hall Museum closing

Memorial Hall Museum
Deerfield, MA

MEMORIAL HALL MUSEUM TOUR

Museum Tours will be conducted at 3pm on Friday, October 22nd at the Memorial Hall Museum, 8 Memorial St., Deerfield, MA led by Ray Radigan (Curator), Tim Neumann (Executive Director), and other Pocumtuck Valley Museum Association (PVMA) tour guides.  Several items which have been in storage for years; have been polished off and displayed for this tour.  The Memorial Hall Museum, constructed in 1799, is the original Deerfield Academy.  All 3 floors of this historic brick building are ADA accessible.

Admission fee is $3.00 per person (paid on-site) for FRI/SAT/SUN.  Duration is approximately one hour.  Upto 3 tours will be led in groups of 12 or less, (maximum total of 36 people).  Please reserve in advance (see registration card) to ensure that we have enough guides for this very informative tour.  We look forward to your attendance on Friday.

To register for the 2021 Reunion, click on this link: https://dickinsonfamilyassociation.org/2021-annual-reunion-registration/

A MESSAGE FROM OUR GENEALOGIST

Please send your births, marriages and death announcements to: 

dickinsonfamilyassociation@gmail.com

A MESSAGE FROM OUR MEMBERSHIP CLERK

Please send your address and e-mail address changes to:  membership@dickinsonfamilyassociation.org

Web site: http://www.dickinsonfamilyassociation.org

Newsletter editor:  Dale Williams

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VOLUME XVIII, NUMBER 1

DAVID DICKINSON HOUSE, DEERFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS

A message from the DFA Board

Hello Cousins,

Our 150th Reunion will be held in Deerfield, MA on Saturday, October 23rd, 2021.  Saturday’s reunion will be held inside Historic Deerfield’s Community Center “White Church” an ADA accessible, air conditioned building located at the corner of Old Main St. and Memorial St.  We intend to have Friday’s dinner & social conveniently held at the Deerfield Inn, 81 Old Main St.

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, books, pottery, and artwork.

For more information regarding these museums, please see the following website links: https://www.historic-deerfield.org/ https://deerfield-ma.org/about/memorial-hall-museum/

We are planning to conduct guided walking tours on either Friday PM and/or Saturday AM (pending sufficient interest).  I encourage you to fill out the enclosed early response card as soon as possible, in effort to confirm tours, schedule, budget, etc.  We intend to have a well-spoken guest speaker.  Further details and schedule will follow in our Fall Newsletter.

Deerfield’s Involvement in Shays’ Rebellion:

Col. Thomas Wells Dickinson, who participated in several companies in the Revolutionary War, led a MA militia troop from Deerfield, MA to Springfield, MA on August 29, 1786.    His company assisted in successfully protecting the Court Session in Springfield prior to the battles ensued by Shays’ Rebellion which occurred later in 1786 and early 1787.  His brother, Major David Dickinson also served as a private in this company. 

Conversely on the civilian side, Capt. Reuben Dickinson of Amherst, who led several MA militia companies in 1775 and 1776, including very active duty at the Battle of Bunker Hill with Daniel Shays, served an important role in Shays’ Rebellion.  They led a large group of at least 400 farmers, many of whom had served in the Rev War, to the Springfield court house in rebellion of the taxes which were unfairly being charged.  They were struggling to survive in our new Republic and were losing their farms, as they previously had many years to repay their creditors prior to the Revolution.  Shays’ Rebellion ultimately caused Washington, Jefferson, John Dickinson and others to speed up their process of signing the Constitution in Philadelphia in effort to create a stronger republic on September 17, 1787.

Col. Thomas Wells Dickinson, as a younger man, was commissioned by Col. Benedict Arnold at the Barnard Tavern in 1775.  He was summoned to lead a troop from Deerfield to Ticonderoga during the Rev War in 1775.  He and his brother Consider Dickinson led cattle to Ticonderoga in effort to feed the troops.  Thomas continued to serve an important role as a deputy commissioner during the war.

Ken Dickinson,  President

JULY SURVEY CARD

The card enclosed with this mailing serves several purposes.  Primarily it is to give us a rough idea of how many to expect at the reunion in October.  We know that plans may change between August and October, but if you are hoping at this point to attend, please send the card back to inform us.

The survey also gives you a chance to volunteer to help the DFA in a meaningful way.  For those of you who live within a reasonable distance of the area where we usually meet, we would like to invite you to come to a board meeting.  In a normal year we usually meet in October, January and April, starting with lunch and in January and April concluding with the assembly of a mailing.  If you come, you can get a “behind-the-scenes” look at how the DFA operates, have an opportunity to participate in our discussions, and maybe even find a niche for yourself on the board.  Please consider that possibility, and let us know if you’re interested.

Whether or not you can volunteer to work on the DFA board, all can help financially.  As you know, we do not have dues, but we depend on members who are able, to make a contribution for operating expenses and/or for the scholarship fund.  Any amount you can contribute is gratefully welcomed and will help the association.

PLEASE NOTE: ADDRESSES – POSTAL & E-MAIL

Newsletters are now sent only by email to those members whose email addresses we have.  If you are receiving this newsletter by postal mail and you have an email address, we ask you to send your email address to our membership clerk, Beth Landolina at membership@dickinsonfamilyassociation.org. This will help save the association time and money. Be assured, we use these addresses only for sending the DFA newsletters and do not share them with anyone.

A MESSAGE FROM OUR GENEALOGIST

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

Check out our NEW WEBSITE!

The new site is very interactive.  Viewers can do searches, send us messages and feedback, order books, donate and even join the association online. Newsletters that do not have inserts 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. Our typical newsletter schedule will temporarily change in 2021 to accommodate our reunion plans for October; however we will still send newsletters containing response cards or reservation cards, via US postal mail only to members who do not email addresses.

Here is a reminder to please return the Survey forms.

Website:  www.dickinsonfamilyassociation.org

Newsletter editor:  Dale Williams

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Service to the public has been found among Dickinsons in America from the beginning.  Nathaniel Dickinson himself served as town clerk, selectman, and juryman for the town of Wethersfield, CT, and was a representative to the “House of Magistrates” in Hartford.

Many descendants of Nathaniel’s children have continued his example.  Below we present images and some biographical information of seven Dickinsons whose lives spanned two centuries and who have served in national office.  We hope to expand on the accomplishments of one or more of these people in a future reunion.

JOHN DEAN DICKINSON (1767-1841)

John Dean Dickinson was descended from Nathaniel’s son, Hezekiah.  He was born in Middletown, Connecticut, and died in Troy, New York.   He was a judge and a member of Congress.  John Dean Dickinson was also one of the original trustees of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

RODOLPHUS DICKINSON (1797-1849)

Rodolphus was descended from Nathaniel’s son Samuel.  He was born in Whately, Massachusetts, died in Washington, D.C. and is buried in Fremont, Ohio.  He was a member of the U.S. Congress.

CAPT. EDWARD FENWICK DICKINSON (1829-1891)

Edward Fenwick was the son of Rodolphus (above).  He was born and died in Fremont, Ohio.  He attained the rank of Captain in the Civil War.  Edward was a judge in Sandusky County, mayor of Fremont and served in the U.S. Congress.

DANIEL STEVENS DICKINSON (1800-1866)

Daniel S. Dickinson was born in Goshen, Connecticut, a descendant of Nathaniel’s son Thomas.  He died in New York City.   He was a state senator in New York, Lieutenant Governor of the state, and from 1844 to 1851 a U.S. Senator. A book on Daniel S. Dickinson may be found at this link: D.S. Dickinson book.

Also, James Thunder has written an article on Daniel S. which you may access at the link: Thunder.

EDWARD DICKINSON (1803-1874)

Edward Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts and died in Boston.  He was a descendant of Nathaniel’s son Samuel.  Edward was elected as a representative to the Massachusetts General Court in 1838 and 1873 and as a State Senator in 1842 and 1843.  He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1853 to 1855.  Edward was the father of poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886).

LESTER JESSE DICKINSON (1873-1968)

Lester was a descendant of two of Nathaniel’s sons, Nehemiah and Joseph.  He was born in Derby, Iowa and died in Des Moines.  He was an attorney, served six terms in the House of Representatives and was a U.S. Senator from 1930 to 1936.

The Senator’s law practice was in Algona, IA.  Lester’s son, L. Call Dickinson, set up a practice in Des Moines in 1937, which his son, L. Call Dickinson Jr., joined and it continues to this day.  L. Call Jr. has written an article which tells about all three generations, the Senator’s career, and many aspects of operating a law firm through the years.  The article may be accessed with this link: L. Call Jr. article.

FRED DICKINSON LETTS (1875-1965)

Fred Letts was a first cousin of Lester Jesse Dickinson.  Fred’s mother, Hannah, was a sister of Lester’s father, Levi.  Fred was born near Ainsworth, Iowa, and died in Washington, DC.  He practiced law in Davenport starting in 1899.  He served for 13 years as a judge until elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1925.  In 1931 he was appointed an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia and served until 1961.

Reference: Descendants of Nathaniel Dickinson, 3rd ed., Dickinson Family Association, 2006.

Acknowledgements for use of images:

John Dean Dickinson. From: Library of Congress, public domain.

Rodolphus Dickinson. Courtesy of: Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museum, Spiegel Grove, Fremont, OH 43420.

Edward Fenwick Dickinson. Courtesy of: Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museum, Spiegel Grove, Fremont, OH 43420.

Daniel Stevens Dickinson (Photo, 1855). From: Library of Congress, public domain.

Edward Dickinson.   Portrait by: Bullard, O.A. (Otis Allen), 1816-1853.  Edward Dickinson, 1840. Courtesy of:  Dickinson family artifacts, Dickinson Room. Houghton Library, Harvard College Library.

Lester Jesse Dickinson. From: Library of Congress, public domain.

Frederick Dickinson Letts. Courtesy of: Curator of U.S. House of Representatives Collection.

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2020 HISTORICAL GRAVESTONE PRESERVATION PROJECT

The Laurel Hill Cemetery is a historic burying ground in Deerfield, MA.  Its location is east of Old Deerfield Village, across U.S. Route 5.  The postponed 150th reunion of the Dickinson Family Association will take place in Deerfield, and since the DFA has contributed toward a major cleaning and restoration project undertaken in the summer and fall of 2020, we are posting here a few photos of the cemetery showing the work that was done and some of the Dickinson gravestones and monuments found there.

BEFORE

AFTER

The work was carried out by Chris Harris, and a more detailed description can be found at this link: Project Report.  Chris and his crew are to be commended for a magnificent and important job done.  As members of one of the prominent families buried here, we of the DFA are grateful to them for this outstanding preservation project.

Maps of the cemetery may be found at the cemetery website.  Dickinson graves are found in the West section, in rows 10, 16 and 18. We hope to arrange for some guided tours during the 2021 reunion, but all attendees are welcome to visit the cemetery and explore it on their own.

IF STONES COULD TALK

Notes on some of the Dickinsons buried at Laurel Hill

[More information on several of these people is available in Ken Dickinson’s articles in the DFA Newsletters of November 2019, and January, April, and December 2020]

Thomas Dickinson (1718-1814) was born in Hatfield and moved to Deerfield around 1753.  Several of his nine sons have gravestones in Laurel Hill Cemetery.

             Eliphalet Dickinson (1749-1827)

Eliphalet Dickinson served in the Revolutionary War and was called “Uncle Liff”.  He and his brother,  Thomas Wells Dickinson (b. 1751) were among the 15 “Proprietors of the New School” which met in 1787 to establish a school for Deerfield.  The schoolhouse was built by 1788 and opened in that year.  This school was the seed for Deerfield Academy, which was founded in 1797.  Four men from the original proprietors (not the Dickinsons) were among the first trustees of Deerfield Academy.

Two of Eliphalet’s sons, Jackson and William are buried in Laurel Hill. Their stones are pictured below.

Thomas Wells was a colonel in the Revolutionary War.  One of his sons, Rodolphus, is the subject of an article by Ken Dickinson in the December 2020 DFA Newsletter.  Another son, Thomas Wells Dickinson, M.D. (known as “Wells”) was a farmer and physician.  His gravestone and that of his wife, Lucy, are pictured below.

Lucy Hoyt Dickinson (1799-1854) Thomas Wells, M.D. (1784-1849)

Another brother of Eliphalet and Col. Thomas Wells was Consider Dickinson. He was the youngest of the nine children born to Capt. Thomas Dickinson.  A large granite monument stands at the gravesites of Consider Dickinson (1761-1854) and his two wives.  One side of the monument tells of his first wife, Filana Field, and another of his second wife, Esther Harding.

Consider was a farmer and fur trader and served in the Rev. war.  He had no children.  His widow Esther lived until 1875 and when she died she left her land to the town of Deerfield. The inscription on the fourth side of the monument describes her bequest:

“The large property of this family, acquired by years of careful industry and frugality, was given for a High School, Library and Reading Room, free to the inhabitants of Deerfield.”

The private school, Deerfield Academy, had done very well financially in its early years, but by the time Esther died it was not prospering.  Therefore, funds from Deerfield Academy were transferred to Dickinson Academy and a new building was built on Esther’s property.  It was known as Dickinson Academy and Deerfield High School and included a free library and reading room for the town.  In time, Dickinson Academy faded, and Deerfield Academy re-emerged and grew to its present prestigious state.

[Currently, the high school for local youth, and those of some surrounding towns is Frontier Regional H.S. in South Deerfield.]

refs. A History of Deerfield Massachusetts, vol. 2, George Sheldon, 1896;        Descendants of Nathaniel Dickinson, 3rd ed., Dickinson Family Association, 2006.

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Volume XVII, Number 3

A message from the DFA Board

Hello Cousins,

I understand that this year has been a challenging one for most.  Despite our reunion postponement (we hope now that the 150th Reunion can be rescheduled for September or October 2021) we have made a few strides as follows: 

  1. The first round of edits was completed to our “Descendants of Nathaniel Dickinson” 3rd Edition genealogy book.  These edits were mostly limited to blank and/or incomplete information.  For the second round of edits we look forward to both continuing this process and building upon our database by adding new information as possible.  We are anticipating that the 4th edition will be offered in at least two volumes (or a supplemental volume offered on a thumbdrive), as there are many new descendants to add to our database.  We anticipate that this will be a multi-year project, as the 3rd Edition took many years to complete. 
  • Earlier this year, we were contacted by Chris Harris, a member of the Laurel Hill Cemetery Association, located in Deerfield, who requested donations for a Historical Gravestone Preservation Project.  As a result of reviewing their work scope, the DFA Board contributed $100.00 towards their 2020 project.  We look forward to seeing the results of this recent work at next year’s reunion. 

The following is a brief project update provided by Mr. Harris:

“Summer 2020 conservation work has been completed.  We’re already seeing fairly remarkable results; prior to seeing the long term effects of gradual environmentally-safe stone cleaning techniques.  In addition to the restoration of Dickinson Family gravestones and monuments, other related families, i.e. Wright, Sheldon, Barnard and Stebbins have been restored, reset level, and repined.  Thank you for your continued interest and support.”

Chris Harris

Rev. Rodolphus Dickinson –

son of Col. Thomas Wells Dickinson from Deerfield, MA:

(June 27, 1786–October 30, 1862) 

Highlights of his interesting life and prolific career:

Rodolphus Dickinson was an attorney, author, teacher, and Episcopal minister, born in Deerfield, MA.  He was in the first graduating class of Deerfield Academy attending in 1799, graduated from Yale in 1805, and was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1808 in Northampton.  In 1809, he married Nancy Hoyt, daughter of David Hoyt of Deerfield. They had two daughters and one son all of whom were born in Greenfield, MA.  He practiced law in Springfield, MA until 1811.  In 1815, he was initiated as a Mason in the Republican lodge.  He was clerk of the Franklin County courts from 1811 until 1819, when he accepted Episcopal orders and began serving two parishes in South Carolina.  He allegedly traveled over 7,000 miles by horseback during 1820 and was an early abolitionist preaching against slavery.

Excerpt from online posting at St. Peter’s Church in Greenville, SC:

Between April and June of 1820, he established three missions in the Piedmont of South Carolina.  As a result, he was advanced to priesthood in 1822.  At 34 he entered the Episcopal ministry and chose” … to explore the inland hills and mountains, where life was a test of man’s industry and ingenuity… and where the Episcopal Church was emphatically not, as in the coastal areas, “the Church.”  The three missions that Dickinson established in upstate South Carolina were St. Paul’s in Pendleton; St. James in Greenville (which was later renamed Christ Church); and St. Peter’s at the South Carolina Armory (near Greenville).

By 1829, Dickinson had returned to Deerfield, and he officiated at Trinity Parish in Montague for six years.  He lived in a stately Georgian-style house constructed in 1768 by Joseph Barnard located directly across from The First Church of Deerfield (northeast corner of the original stockade).  He also rented the former Ephraim Williams House on the corner of Old Main St. & Albany St. (now owned by Deerfield Academy). Rodolphus eventually built his own house on Pine Hill, located north of the village center.  In 1836, Rodolphus’s first daughter, Nancy, married John Campbell, a printer who resided in Deerfield.  In 1860, Rodolphus’s second daughter, Jane, married Rev. George A. Williams.  Per an 1871 map, both families resided on Pine Hill (now Old Ferry Road). 

Rodolphus ran an unsuccessful bid for congress in 1839, however he continued teaching for decades at Deerfield Academy.  His literary endeavors included geographical, legal, and several religious works including “A Description of Deerfield” , printed 1817 in the Wilson Print Shop that is currently owned by Historic Deerfield,  “A Compilation of the Laws of Massachusetts”, 1811; “A Compendium of the Religious Doctrines, Religious and Moral Precepts, Historical and Descriptive Beauties of the Bible”, 1815; “A Digest Of The Common Law Supreme Court MA”, 1818.

References: 

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/03-06-02-0040

www.stpetersgreenville.com/about-us/our-history-mission/

“Family and Landscape: Deerfield Homelots from 1671” (Susan McGowan, Amelia F. Miller), 1996 

“History and Proceedings of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association” Volume 2, 1898

I intend to provide more updates and stories in subsequent newsletters.  I wish everyone the best during this challenging year.  We are all making history as we persevere in 2020. 

Best Regards,

Ken Dickinson,  President

2020 SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS  /

 2021 SCHOLARSHIP FORMS NOW AVAILABLE

The 2020 Scholarship Committee has selected Ashley Butler (Denison Univ.) and Sarah Hannaway (CA Poly Tech State Univ.)  to each receive a scholarship of $1,200. Please note that application forms are now available for the 2021 DFA scholarship.  Applicants must be descendants of Nathaniel Dickinson and must be accepted to a four-year college or university.  The deadline for submission is April 30, 2021.  Full information on requirements and an application form may be found on our website.  For additional information you may contact our scholarship chair, Lisa Butler, 12 Cove St, Noank, CT 06340, dickinsonfamilyassociation@gmail.com. As always, we rely on contributions from DFA members to sustain and increase the scholarship fund.  If you are able, we would appreciate your help.  Indicate “scholarship fund” on the 2021 Survey form if you wish to make a donation.

Check out our NEW WEBSITE!

The new site is very interactive.  Viewers can do searches, send us messages and feedback, order books, donate 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. Please send changes to our membership clerk, Beth Landolina at membership@dickinsonfamilyassociation.org.  Our typical newsletter schedule will temporarily change in 2021 to accommodate our tentative reunion plans for October, however we will still send newsletters containing response cards, via US postal mail, to those members who do not have email.

Website:  www.dickinsonfamilyassociation.org

Newsletter editor:  Dale Williams

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Dickinson Family Association

Volume XVII, Number 2

Brushmill at the Waterfall, Chester, CT
Site of Friday Dinner, 2019 Reunion

A message from the DFA Board


Hello Cousins,
 

** 150th Annual Reunion to be Re-Scheduled **

  2020 has proven to be a challenging year for the majority of everyone worldwide.  Due to increasing health issues, travel restrictions, and economic concerns our 150th Annual Reunion will need to be rescheduled.  Historic Deerfield and PVMA are temporarily closed; however we are coordinating with them to hold our reunion events in June 2021.   In the interim, the DFA will continue to work on other projects.  We apologize for any inconveniences and look forward to seeing you next year!
 

The Fate of Nathaniel Dickinson
An account of a Loyalist from Deerfield, MA:

 
Nathaniel, first son of Samuel Dickinson and Hannah (Field) Dickinson, was born on October 7, 1734 in Deerfield.  Samuel owned a house on Old Main Street; sawmill and a large 300 AC farm in “The Bars” section of Deerfield amongst other lots in the area. Nathaniel lost his mother and a sister when he was only 5 years old.  He later served as a solider during the French and Indian War and became closely aligned with Col. William Williams, who had moved to Pittsfield and married Nathaniel’s sister, Hannah, in 1765.  Both Nt’l and his brother Samuel continued to acquire several properties in Deerfield, Conway, Shelburne, and Barnardstown.  Nt’l continued to be a highly regarded, trusted citizen of Deerfield until the Revolutionary War period when he became a very outspoken Loyalist.
 
Nathaniel was connected with other “high tories”; i.e. Col. Israel Williams, nephew of Col. William Williams, who fled from Hatfield to Pittsfield during the Rev War.  Nathaniel was mobbed, tied up to be hanged, and his life threatened; however he remained a Loyalist.  After a trip to Pittsfield in Jan. 1775, he traveled to Boston where he was mobbed again three times and sent back to Deerfield.  He was found with letters from Col. Williams to Gen. Gage; eventually being charged with treason.  On Jan. 26th, Nt’l was in Hatfield when another mob drove him into Sunderland.  The mob couldn’t find him, and he fled to Boston joining British Troops with Gen. Gage where he served active duty in the Battle of Bunker Hill.  On March 17, 1776 along with Gen. Gage and others, Nt’l retreated to Halifax, NS.  In Boston, Nova Scotia, and NYC he held key positions as a commissary, conductor of artillery, and lieutenant.
 
Meanwhile, back in Deerfield, the Committee of Correspondence confiscated his estate. It was initially auctioned on Dec. 17, 1776.  Nathaniel’s brother, Samuel, was allowed to rent a portion of the farm; however this decision changed per a MA General Court session in 1779 and a subsequent Council Order issued on Feb. 29, 1780.  The “Committee” was directed to manage the farm for purposes of pasturing cattle for the use of the Army.  On Nov. 30th Samuel Dickinson, age 44, perished in Deerfield.  He left no will; however his sister, Hannah, inherited his property.
 
Nathaniel continued to be “loyal to the crown” throughout the remainder of his life.  By 1778, he was permanently banished from MA; however he continued to serve as a commissary in NYC where he met and married Hannah Cock on Jan. 27, 1781.  After the British evacuation, they were granted land in St. John’s, N.B. and had two children.  Within a few years, Nathaniel had purchased properties in several towns throughout New Brunswick and began to improve them. In 1786, he eventually returned to Boston and Deerfield for a short period; however he was unsuccessful in a trial to reclaim his lost property which was valued in excess of 1,000 lbs.  NH Governor, John Wentworth amongst several other notable men, served as a witness for Nathaniel’s claim testifying that he was a “man of good character”. 

His sister, Hannah, had retained possession of the majority her brothers’ property.  She offered to split ownership; however Nt’l could not stay in Deerfield as he remained banished.  Nt’l was allowed to sell some of his remaining property before his return to Canada and eventually was compensated for a portion of it.  Hannah (Madame Williams) continued to rent out the farm and other properties in Deerfield until her death on May 21, 1821 in Pittsfield.  Hannah was a strong willed woman who was respected locally for her wealth and influence.  Several articles in the Berkshire Eagle have been written about her.

Nathaniel was a resident of Westfield, N.B. when he suddenly died in Gagetown, N.B. on May 6, 1788.  Per N.B. probate records, his entire estate was inherited by his wife Hannah and their daughter Amelia.  Their son, Samuel, perished in 1790 in St. John’s, N.B.  Unfortunately very little is known about either Amelia or Samuel.  Nathaniel selected his friend, Major Benjamin Woosley, and Hannah as executors of his will.  Benjamin and Hannah married in 1789 in St. John’s Trinity Church; however they eventually resided in Bridgeport, CT and had four children.  In essence, Nathaniel paid a high price for his allegiance; however everyone respected him for his persistence. Both Canadian/British online records and MA Archives documents were sourced for this article.  We will focus on another Deerfield descendant’s story for our Summer Newsletter.  In the interim, continue to stay safe, practice social distancing, and avoid mobs.  Genealogical research can offer reprieve during these challenging times.

Ken Dickinson,  President

Williams House, Deerfield, Massachusetts

2020 SCHOLARSHIP – LAST CALL

Application forms are available for the 2020 DFA scholarship.  Applicants must be descendants of Nathaniel Dickinson and must be accepted to a four-year college or university.  The deadline for submission is April 30, 2020.  Full information on requirements and an application form may be found on our website.  For additional information you may contact our scholarship chair, Lisa Butler, 12 Cove St. Noank, CT 06340, dickinsonfamilyassociation@gmail.com.

PLEASE NOTE: ADDRESSES – POSTAL & E-MAIL

Newsletters are now sent only by email to those members whose email addresses we have.  If you are receiving this newsletter by postal mail and you have an email address, we ask you to send your email address to our membership clerk, Beth Landolina at:  bethland719@yahoo.com.  This will help save us time and money.
Be assured, we use these addresses only for sending the DFA newsletters and will not share them with anyone.

Check out our NEW WEBSITE!

The new site is very interactive.  Viewers can do searches, send us messages and feedback, order books, donate 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.

Web site:  www.dickinsonfamilyassociation.org
  Newsletter editor:  Dale Williams

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March 25, 2020 –

Due to increasing health issues, travel restrictions, business closings, and economic concerns it is with a heavy heart that we are formally announcing that our 150th Annual Reunion will need to be rescheduled.  Historic Deerfield is closed until May 15th; however we are currently coordinating with them and PVMA to hold our reunion events in June 2021. In the interim, the DFA will continue to work on other projects.  We apologize for any inconveniences and look forward to seeing you next year. Further information will be provided in our Spring Newsletter.  Stay tuned and be safe.

Sincerely, DFA Executive Board Members

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Dickinson Family Association

Volume XVII, Number 1
Thomas Dickinson House – Deerfield, Massachusetts
Now owned by Deerfield Academy

President’s Message

Hello Cousins,
 
Our 150th Reunion will be held in Deerfield, MA on Saturday, June 27th, 2020.  Saturday’s reunion will be held inside Historic Deerfield’s Community Center “White Church” located at the corner of Old Main St. and Memorial St.  Friday’s dinner & social will be conveniently held at the Deerfield Inn, 81 Old Main St.  Both historic buildings were recently renovated, are ADA accessible and air-conditioned.  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, books, pottery, and artwork.

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

https://www.historic-deerfield.org/ 
https://deerfield-ma.org/about/memorial-hall-museum/
 
We are planning to conduct guided walking tours on both Friday PM and Saturday AM (pending sufficient interest).  I encourage you to fill out the enclosed early response card, in effort to confirm tours, schedule, budget, etc.  Guest speakers (TBD) will be provided by Historic Deerfield.  Further details and schedule will follow in our Spring Newsletter.
 
Early Dickinson Settlers of Deerfield:
Per Sheldon’s “History of Deerfield” and as outlined in our Fall Newsletter, there were several Dickinson families who resided in Deerfield beginning around 1730 until the late 1800’s.  The majority of these families were descendants of Capt. Thomas Dickinson, who was son of Lt. Col. John Dickinson from Hatfield, and grandson of Nathaniel Dickinson, II.  Capt. Thomas’ mother was Hepzibah Wells of Deerfield, who was tomahawked as a child during a raid in 1693, but recovered to live a long life.  In 1752, Thomas built a house along Old Main St on a portion of the original Wells homestead lot.  It remains in excellent condition and is currently owned by Historic Deerfield.  Thomas was a commissary during the French and Indian War and a Captain during the Rev War.  Several of his sons also served in the Rev War in various capacities.  Thomas lived a long productive life to age 96, as he was able to see his grandchildren attend the Deerfield Academy!
 
Prior to Thomas, his 1st cousin Samuel Dickinson (2nd son of Nathaniel III) married Hannah Field of Deerfield in 1729.  They also owned a house on Old Main Street; sawmill and large farm in “The Bars” section of Deerfield.  Three of their children lived to adulthood; however they remained as Tories during the Rev War.  This fact and other issues created a conflict between Thomas’s family and Samuel’s family; an interesting study, as indicated in our Fall 2019 Newsletter.  The saga continues in our Spring Newsletter!

Ken Dickinson
President

Barnard Tavern – Deerfield, Massachusetts

2020 SCHOLARSHIP FORMS AVAILABLE

 One of the most important functions of the Dickinson Family Association is the awarding of our annual scholarship.  Application forms are now available for the 2020 DFA scholarship.  Applicants must be descendants of Nathaniel Dickinson and must be accepted to a four-year college or university.  The deadline for submission is April 30, 2020.  Full information on requirements and an application form may be found on our website.  For additional information you may contact our scholarship chair, Lisa Butler, 12 Cove St, Noank, CT 06340, dickinsonfamilyassociation@gmail.com.
 
As always, we rely on contributions from DFA members to sustain and increase the scholarship fund.  If you are able, we would appreciate your help.  Indicate “scholarship fund” on the January Survey form if you wish to make a donation.
 
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.
 
Vintage photograph courtesy of
Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association’s
Memorial Hall Museum, Deerfield, MA.

JANUARY SURVEY CARD 

The card enclosed with this mailing serves several purposes.  Primarily it is to give us a rough idea of how many to expect at the reunion in June.  We know that plans may change between January and June, but if you are hoping at this point to attend, please send the card back to inform us.

The survey also gives you a chance to volunteer to help the DFA in a meaningful way.  For those of you who live within a reasonable distance of the area where we usually meet, we would like to invite you to come to a board meeting.  We usually meet in the Worcester, MA, area in October, January and April, starting with lunch and in January and April concluding with the assembly of a mailing.  If you come, you can get a “behind-the-scenes” look at how the DFA operates, have an opportunity to participate in our discussions, and maybe even find a niche for yourself on the board.  Please consider that possibility, and let us know if you’re interested.

Whether or not you can volunteer to work on the DFA board, all can help financially.  As you know, we do not have dues, but we depend on members who are able, to make a contribution for operating expenses and/or for the scholarship fund.  Any amount you can contribute is gratefully welcomed and will help the association.

January Survey

PLEASE NOTE: ADDRESSES – POSTAL & E-MAIL

Newsletters are now sent only by e-mail to those members whose email addresses we have.  If you are receiving this newsletter by postal mail and you have an email address, we ask you to send your e-mail address to our membership clerk, Beth Landolina at membership@dickinsonfamilyassociation.org.  This will help save the association time and money. Be assured, we use these addresses only for sending the DFA newsletters and do not share them with anyone. 

NEW WEBSITE! 

If you’ve looked at our website (dickinsonfamilyassociation.org) 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!!

Here is a reminder to please return the January Survey form.
 

Donations are always appreciated. Consider donating to the Dickinson Family Association today.
 

Web site:  www.dickinsonfamilyassociation.orgNewsletter editor:   Dale Williams

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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:

https://www.historic-deerfield.org/

https://deerfield-ma.org/about/memorial-hall-museum/

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.

Regards,

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 dickinsonfamilyassociation@gmail.com.

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, dickinsonfamilyassociation@gmail.com

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 bethland719@yahoo.com

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 (dickinsonfamilyassociation.org) 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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