When the Historic Homes Survey of the National Parks & Wildlife was done in Grimes County in 1936, photographer Henry Barnes photographically documented over a dozen homes of the earliest settlers in and about Anderson. Many were close to a century old and in poor condition.
Among them were the James Barnes’ home of the last Sandbar column. This week’s Sandbar column features the home of Dr. David Catchings Dickson. Dickson and Barnes arrived at Fanthorp, now Anderson, area about the same time in the very early 1840s.
Dr. Dickson also built a family home located along what is now FM 1774, only a stone’s throw from the east edge of Anderson nearly adjacent where the railroad depot was once located.
Born in Mississippi, the son of physician Dr. William Dickson, he followed his father into medicine studying at the Lexington Medical College in Kentucky. It was 1841 when he and his wife, Nancy Ann E. Magee and family, located on the farm at the eastern edge of what became Anderson. Dr. Dickson immediately became a dedicated Texas patriot. Following state-hood he served continuously in the First Legislature, including speaker of the House of Representatives in 1851. He vowed to wipe out the Republic of Texas’ debt.
In 1853 Dr. Dickson was elected Lieutenant Governor to then run against Governor Elisha Pease. Convinced to run with backing of the “Know Nothing Party,” Dr. Dickson reportedly lost by one vote, to then continued in the Eighth Texas Legislature through 1859.
During the 1867 yellow fever epidemic, Dr. Dickson who had served with the Confederate Texas Militia as an officer and surgeon, was serving as financial agent at the Huntsville Penitentiary. He stayed at the Penitentiary throughout the epidemic treating the ill prisoners. He remained politically active until his death at his desk in the Grimes County Courthouse in Anderson June 5th, 1880.
Mrs. Dickson remained at the Dickson family home until her death in 1911. Both are buried in a private family cemetery with other family members on the Dickson homestead.
In 1936, the Historic Homes Survey found and photographed the home in poor condition with a Dickson grandson living in the house. The Survey described the home as a “two story wooden frame and clapboarding structure with a three-bay front, gabled roof, chimney at each gable end with a two-story gabled front entrance porch.”
Today, there is no evidence of the Dickson home. The property no longer belongs to any descendants of the Dickson family, but the private property owner is gratefully cooperating with a Dickson descendant in preservation of the Dickson family cemetery. The gravesites have been cleared of brush and debris and a surrounding fence is underway to protect it from the possibility of grazing cattle.
Buried in the cemetery in addition to Dr. Dickson and his wife Nancy, are 10 known descendants of Dickson.
An effort is soon going to be made to locate the exact location of the Dickson home on the property.