Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Civil War Soldier: 1st Lt. Wallace William DICKINSON (c. 1831 - 1897)

Source: Dickinson, Wallace William. Photograph. C. 1863. Digital image found at Newaygans in the Civil War [http://ncha.ncats.net/data/Civil_War_Veterans/]. Whereabouts of original photo unknown. 2008.

How Related: Brother of my 3rd-great-grandmother, Lucy May DICKINSON

Born: c. 1831 in Johnston Twp., Trumbull Co., Ohio

Parents: Ezra DICKINSON (1800 - 1886) and Cynthia PHILLIPS (1802 - 1852)

Siblings: Wallace was one of 12 children:

  • Elizabeth (b. c. 1822)
  • John F. (b. c. 1825)
  • Philip Reuben (1827 - 1912)
  • son (b. c. 1828 - 1830)
  • son (c. 1833 - c. 1848)
  • Sherman S. (b. c. 1836)
  • Mary E. (1838 - 1924)
  • Harriet Anna (1840 - 1918)
  • Lucy May (c. 1842 - 1872) - my ancestor
  • Sarah Ann "Sally" (1846 - bef. 1900)
  • child (dates unknown)

Married: Elizabeth GARRISON (c. 1845 - 1940) on 8 January 1870 in Eastmanville, Ottawa Co., Michigan

Children: William (b. bef. 1897) and a daughter DICKINSON (d. bef. 1897)


Source: Sergeants of the 3rd Michigan Infantry. Photograph. C. 1861. Original photograph in the possession of Archives of Michigan Digital Collection [http://haldigitalcollections.cdmhost.com/]. 2008.
Sgt. Dickinson is believed to be the man squatting on the left.

Enlisted in: 13 May 1861 in Co. K, 3rd Michigan Infantry at Grand Rapids, Kent Co., Michigan; sergeant. Enlisted 25 July 1863 in Co. A, 10th Michigan Cavalry at Newaygo, Newaygo Co., Michigan; 2nd lieutenant. Enlisted 18 October 1863 in Co. A, 10th Michigan Cavalry at Newaygo, Newaygo Co., Michigan; 1st lieutenant.

Source: Officers of the 10th Michigan Cavalry. Photograph. C. 1863. Original photograph in the possession of Archives of Michigan Digital Collection [http://haldigitalcollections.cdmhost.com/]. 2008.
Lt. Dickinson is in the middle of the three men sitting on the ground.

Side Served: Union

History of Units: 3rd Michigan Infantry (here and here) and 10th Michigan Cavalry

Discharged: 24 January 1863 in Washington, D.C. due to disability; re-enlisted (see above)

Mustered Out: 11 November 1865 at Memphis, Tennessee


Biography or Information of Interest: (from his obituary) "Lt. Wallace W. Dickinson, a former resident of this county, and for 4 years county treasurer, died at his home in Grand Rapids on Thursday morning, June 10. Nearly the last request made by Mr. Dickinson was that his remains should be laid in the Newaygo Cemetery and the brethren of Newaygo Masonic Lodge of which he had long been a member should have charge of the services. When Mr. Dickinson was in Newaygo last fall attending the reunion, his friends felt that he had not long to stay and his old comrade, Lucius Gates, requested of Mrs. Dickinson to let him know of the death in order that the G.A.R. might attend his funeral in a body. Mr. Dickinson also requested that notice of his death be sent to John H. Simmons of this village who was county clerk at the time. Mr. Dickinson was county treasurer, a brother Mason and a life long friend Mr. Simmons, was notified of the requests and under his direction arrangements were made for the funeral and the family of the deceased are profoundly grateful to him and the citizens of Newaygo, the Masons and the G.A.R. for the tributes of respect and esteem paid his remains by his old friends, his brethren and comrades.

"Lt. Dickinson was born in Trumbull County, Ohio in 1831. A portion of his childhood days were spent in Indiana. He was educated in Hiram, Ohio and was a classmate of James A. Garfield. He came to this county in 1855 and settled near Croton. He was a pronounced anti-slavery man and at the first call to arms after the breaking out of the rebellion he enlisted in the Third Michigan Infantry, being, if we are correctly informed, the first man in the county to enter the service. After the expiration of his term of service he returned to Newaygo County and engaged actively in recruiting for the 10th Michigan Cavalry, being afterwards appointed to a Lieutenancy in the regiment. Judge Woodward, Lucius Gates and others who still reside here were members of this company. At the close of the war, he again returned to Newaygo and in 1868 was elected county treasurer which office he held for 4 years. At the expiration of his term of office, he engaged in lumbering and removed to Ludington to be nearer the scene of operations. After closing out his lumbering interests he removed to Grand Rapids which was his home until his death. About 1870 he was married to Miss Elizabeth Garrison of Eastmanville who survives him. Two children, a son and daughter came to them, the son is still living, the daughter having passed over a few years ago.

"For nearly 29 years, the writer enjoyed the friendship of Wallace W. Dickinson and his pure-hearted, unselfish and noble character impressed itself upon him at the beginning of that acquaintance. Guileless himself, he believed all men the same and on that account, he was sometimes imposed upon, but a man never lived that knew of a wrong thing intentionally done by him. Single-hearted and true to those he believed to be his friends, loyal to his country and his family, he leaves behind him that of which any man might be proud, the record of a pure and blameless life."

For further information, see Newaygo in the Civil War by John A. Braden and my cousin Terry Wantz. Use the Find feature of your browser and look for Dickinson in the text. More on the Dickinson brothers can be found in the Portrait and Biographical Album of Newaygo Co., Michigan. Chicago, Illinois: Chapman Brothers, 1884.

Died: 10 June 1897 in Grand Rapids, Kent Co., Michigan

Buried: Newaygo Cemetery, Newaygo, Newaygo Co., Michigan


Lisa / Smallest Leaf said...

I'm enjoying reading all the bios of your Civil War ancestors. I'm commenting on this one in particular because of these amazing photos that you have found. What a great treasure and such a visual look back at this man's life - posing along with the men with whom he served.

Keep up the good work... You've got me inspired again to do some digging for my own family members' Civil War photographs, if they exist.

Small-leaved Shamrock
A light that shines again
100 Years in America

Miriam Robbins said...

Hi, Lisa,

Google Images has been kind to me. I have searched for photos online for each of my soldiers and sailors, and this was the first successful result I had, probably because Wallace was an officer. I also believe that the man squatting next to Wallace in the photo of the sergeants of the 3rd Michigan Infantry may be his brother Philip, but I'm not certain. Apparently there is information on the back of this photo, which was not added to the database, so I'll have to contact the Archives of Michigan to discover more.

Thanks for your kind words.

John Braden said...

Dear Lisa,
I am coauthor of Newaygo County, Michigan Civil War Soldiers along with Terry Wantz (who recently died). The source of the photo of Wallace Dickinson in that book is the University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library. I believe it was on a board of portraits of all officers of the Tenth Michigan cavalry.
I was aware of the photo of third Michigan sergeants, but was not aware that wallace was one of them. Where did you get that info?
Finally, you may not be aware that Wallace liked to write letters to the newspapers during the war. Many of his letters appeared in the Grand Rapids Eagle, the Newaygo republican, and the Mecosta County Pioneer. Unfortunately, many of these letters are unavailable because of missing issues of the Eagle (including an entire six months of 1861) and the fact that the Newaygo Republican was never microfilmed. I have copies of the letters that survive.
John Braden

Dale Niesen said...


This is Dale Niesen I own both of the original images.



Dale Niesen said...


This is Dale Niesen I own the original images of the 3rd Michigan Sgts and the 10th Michigan Cav.