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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - Joshua Dickerson

SOURCE: "History of Champaign County, Illinois with Illustrations," 1878

SURNAMES: DICKERSON, BECK, FAGAN


Hon. JOSHUA DICKERSON was born in Washington county, Penna., December 17th, 1819. His father was also a native of the same county and State. The grandfather emigrated from Wales with two brothers and settled in new York but afterward removed to Western Pennsylvania. They were closely related to the Dickersons famous in the early history of New York State. The father of Joshua came to Illinois in 1851 and engaged in sheep-raising, and a year later moved with his family to this county and settled in Mahomet township, on the Sangamon river, where he remained until the time of his death, which occurred in October, 1865. His mother, who was of German descent and a resident of Washington county, Pennsylvania, at the time of her marriage, died on the farm near Sangamon, in 1872. The family consisted of five children, of whom Joshua was the oldest, and who remained upon the farm at work and attending school until twenty years of age, when he went to learn the carpenter trade, which occupation he followed for some time. In the fall of 1849 he married Miss Lucinda W. BECK, of Washington county, by whom he had one child. She died in the winter of 1856. In the fall of 1854 Mr. Dickerson settled on and improved Sec. 16, Town 21, N.R., E. On the 7th day of June 1857, he married Elmira FAGAN, by whom he has had five children, all living. This brings us down to the ever-memorable year, 1861, that witnessed the inauguration of the great rebellion, that taxed to their utmost the mighty energies of a mighty nation to subdue, and that also tested to the utmost limit, the patriotism of a patriotic people. It was equally an important point in the history of the subject of this sketch. He responded to the call "to arms!" and enlisted in Co. C 38th Regiment Illinois Infantry as sergeant. The regiment was ordered to Pilot Knob, where it joined General Steel's command, department of the Missouri. In March of the following year it marched to Pocahontas, Arkansas, and from thence to Jackson Port, and on the 19th and 20th of October participated with his regiment in its first battle. The next important point the regiment reached was Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, where it joined the army of General Buell, department of the Mississippi, and took part in that memorable battle. From thence the regiment moved with its command to Corinth, in whose siege, lasting thirteen days, it participated. The 38th, under Jeff. C. Davis, took part in the battle of Stone River. This regiment was, for the greater part of the time, attached to the 20th and 21st army corps. After the battle of Chattanooga, he was taken sick and sent to the hospital, and shortly after detailed for special service in the Refugees' home, Nashville, where he remained for nine months and until discharged from the service in December, 1864. Having served his country three years and nine months, he returned home and resumed his occupation. Mr. Dickerson may be claimed as one of the old settlers of this county and Champaign city, and as one of its representative men, having been frequently honored with offices of trust in the municipal government. He was the first marshal of Champaign City, and was elected mayor three times, and at the present time holds the responsible and honorable position of chief magistrate. He possesses, in a high degree, the esteem and confidence of his fellow-citizens, and is regarded as a gentleman of unblemished character and integrity. The narrow limits to which we are necessarily confined by the nature of the work of which this sketch forms a part, forbid us entering more elaborately into Mr. Dickerson's history. We have but barely given a rough outline of it and merely touched upon its most prominent points. But we think the portrain sufficiently full to give an insight into his private and public life, and to mark him as a man of ordinary force of character - one of Nature's noble men.


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