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 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 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.


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 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 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 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 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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