William R. Dickenson
(Submitted by Gail Komar)

Rosalyn D. Gibbs of Tampa, FL wrote to the following query in 2007:  “My great great grandmother Louisa Dickinson married George Davenport on 10 Feb 1820 as stated in the DAR records of Frances Davenport Gentle.  The marriage took place in Jefferson County and was performed by Methodist minister David McMasters.  Family records give the date of Louisa’s birth as 18 Aug 1802.  Louisa’s obituary says that she was born in Chillicothe, Ross County, OH.  The  book 20th Century History of Steubenville and History of Jefferson County, Joseph B. Doyle, Chicago, Richmond Arnold Publishing Co. 1910  p. 364 states, “William R. Dickenson came here about 1805 from Chillicothe…His banking enterprise and relations with Bezaleel Wells in woolen manufacturing are related elsewhere.  His first wife was a daughter of Dr. McDowell, the pioneer physician of this section; and the second, Miss Johnson, a niece of Dr. McDowell.  After the failure in 1830 he moved to Texas, where he died.  One daughter became the wife of Mr. Peebles of Pittsburgh, and another of Mr. Riddle, of the same place.  One of the latter’s daughters became the wife of Tomas A. Scott, president of the Pennsylvania Railroad.  From the Marietta Semi-Weekly Register, Friday, 31 Aug 1888 p 3 states “Mrs. Davenport, nee Dickinson, was born in Chillicothe, Ohio 1802 and died at the home of her son-in-law, Capt. A. B. Little, Newport, Ohio, August 22, 1888.  She was married in her 18th year to George Davenport, who had recently come from Virginia.  They lived a life of unbroken happiness and uninterrupted pleasure until death separated them a few years ago.  They had four daughters and one son, George Davenport, Jr., late sheriff of Washington Co., all of whom are still living; Mrs. Davenport was a consistent member of the M. E. Church for about 60 years…….”

Jefferson County Records

  • Louisa Dickenson’s marriage to George Davenport was found in Marriage Book 2 p. 186
  • William married Eliza McDowell on 23 Nov 1809 Marriage Book 1 p. 159 (I think that Eliza was his second wife, the first being the mother of Louisa Dickenson)

I found a total of 34 deeds by William Dickinson and William R. Dickinson (the same man) buying and selling land the first on 6 Mar 1807 from Bezaleel Wells.  The last sale was on 21 June 1826 to John Stith Lot #463 in Dickinson’s Addition to Steubenville recorded in May 1830.  There was never a mention of a wife in these deeds.

William R. Dickinson does not appear on the 1830 Census of Jefferson Co.  The above history says he went to TX.  The only Wm Dickinson in Texas on the 1850 Census states that he came from Ireland.  The 1850 Census of Todd Co., KY shows a Wm. Dickinson age 70 b. VA with a wife, Jane age 43 also b. VA.  The age and information is correct. It could be the right man.  I suggested that Rosalyn should look there.

A deed of great interest was from Deed Book Y p 208 dated 9 Feb 1839.  Basically it was a pre-nup between Mary Dickinson of Steubenville and Robert M. Riddle of Pittsburgh.  Mary was selling her property to her friend Benjamin Hutchinson in trust for the care & management of her after her marriage.  Hutchinson will pay for any debts she will incur in household furniture & other necessaries required for her comfort & her establishment after her marriage.  For the education of her children and if she dies before her husband her “nett” income from said estate will go for education of children of intended marriage and when children reach 21 all monies go to said children.  This is the child who married the Riddle.

Mary Dickinson was bpt. 18 May 1819 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Steubenville.

Wm Dickinson’s 1820 Census showed Dickinson plus one male under 10, 2 females under 10, 1 female 10-16, 1 female 16-26, 1 female 26-45 and 1 female over 45.  The history of Belmont and Jefferson Counties stated that he had two fine daughters and one son and listed these daughters.  Yet, he has more females living in his household especially 2 older females.

I think that William made a lot of money and gave some of that money to his children before he headed south.  Mary had a lot a property and she had the knowledge to keep it from her future husband and protect it for her future children!  This knowledge undoubtedly came from her father.

From the Western Herald Index 1806-1819 was found that Louisa Dickinson had a letter at the Steubenville Post Office.  Western Herald 28 Jan 1813 pg 4.

I suggested to Rosalyn that whoever wrote the biography for the 20th Century History of Steubenville and Jefferson County simply had lost contact with the daughters of William R. Dickinson’s first wife (mother of Louisa and most probably other daughters).  Unfortunately I found no PROOF that Louisa was William R. Dickenson’s daughter, but there is certainly circumstantial proof.