WITH SOME NOTICES OF
FAMILIES OF COCKBURN, DALLAS, FRASER, HOWARD,
HOMER, MAYNE, McKEIGE, PENNAZZI, ROBINSON AND SMITH.
NOW TRANSFERRED TO
THIS SECOND PART.
As I am now over
three score, and all my children are minors, I will commit to
writing some account of my family, in case when I am gone some of my
children should take an interest in the matter; a subject which, I
regret to say, neither my father nor my grandfather cared about.
My grandfather, who
was an only son, left home when a young man, and was thrice burned
out, viz.: twice in the city of Westminster and once in Ostend;
besides which his houses, both in Ostend and Flushing, were sacked
by French troops. One of the fires in England occurred before the
year "786, when he and his wife were in the country, and it was at
this time all his papers were lost, and he had had one or two family
lawsuits before this date.
He married at the age
of twenty-two, resided twenty years in Westminster, and then went to
the Continent in 1788; and when his widow died in 1824, the silver
plate, etc., and a box of papers was sent to us in Boston, but the
latter was consigned to the cellar, and I remember cutting up some
of the parchments to strengthen my kites, which almost every boy
played with in those days. Some years after I overhauled the box
again and found only a few papers left, principally referring to
When my grandfather removed to Ostend my father was only seven years
old. The first French Revolution broke out four years after, in
1792, and soon after the French invaded the Austrian Netherlands,
and England and France were at war; and from that time, for nearly a
quarter of a century, there were no mails nor hardly any
communication between the two countries, except by fishing boats and
smugglers, until 18J5, when my grandparents were not far from four
score, and too old to think of returning home. My father went to
England in 1814, and remained about a year, principally in London,
but all his relations of his own name were then dead.
HENRY DICKSON, born
circa A. D. 1712, married and had issue (I) William, born in
Dunblane, county Perth, Scotland, in 1737, died young; (2) THIOMAS,
of whom next, (3) Margaret, born 1740, died young; (4) Margaret,
born 1744. The only son,
THOMAS DICKSON or
DIXON was born in Dunblane, Nov. 6, 1739, and married at Inveraray,
in 1762, Elizabeth Mann (born 1738), daughter of Alexander Mann or
Mayne, of Renny, county Ross, by his wife Katharine, daughter of the
Hon. John Fraser, Master of Lovat, [Master in the Highlands is the
title of the eldest son of the chief, or of the eldest brother if
the chief has no son.] second son of Thomas Fraser, Lord Lovat,
Chief of the Clan Fraser.
Sir WALTER MAIGN,
Knight, is the first of this family on record. He had a
charter of lands in Aberdeenshire in 137o, and from him descended
families of the name, written also Mayne, Mane, Main and Mann who
settled in the shires of Aberdeen, Forfar, Perth, etc. Michaelis de
Mane is mentioned in a Charter of King; Robert III (1390-1406). They
may have been of Norman origin from the province so called.
ALEXANDER K. MAIN of
Renny or Rhynie (House), county Ross, died in 1735, and was buried
at Fearn in the same county. He was father of
ALEXANDER MANN of
Renny, born 1706, died 1802, aged 96. He is called an Officer in the
Army, and was probably a subaltern in one of the Independent
Companies raised in 1730, as his wife's uncle, Simon Lord Lovat, who
was Lord Lieutenant of the county of Inverness, was Captain of the
first company (there was no higher rank), and the privates were
almost all of them men of good families, many of whom had joined as
the carrying of arms had been prohibited, and this service relieved
them of that law.
General Stewart of
Garth, in his "Highlanders of Scotland," says five of these privates
dined and slept at his father's house at Garth, and the following
morning they rode off (although infantry) in their usual dress, a
tartan jacket and truis, ornamented with gold lace embroidery, or
twisted cords, as was the fashion of the time, while their servants
carried their military clothing and firelocks.
There were six of
these companies and a captaincy was considered equal to a
lieutenant-colonelcy in the line. Each company wore the family
tartan of its captain, but when regimented a dark tartan was given
them, and they were then called the Black Watch, in distinction from
the scarlet-coated troops of the line, who were known in the
Highlands as the Red Soldiers. They were embodied in a regiment,
against all law, in 1740, at which they were very indignant and
mutinied, but order was soon restored, and they were sent to
Flanders where they took part in the battle of Fontenoy. Mr. Mann
was in this engagement but retired soon after. The family was not a
Rosshire one. I think I heard that they came from Nairnshire.
GILBERT DE FRASER was
living letup. Alexander I. (1107- 1124), and was ancestor of (I.)
Sir Simon Fraser, the friend and companion of Wallace and Bruce, who
was taken prisoner by
the savage monarch Edward I., and executed together with Wallace in
1306; (II.) Sir Alexander Fraser, who married the Princess Mary,
sister of King Robert Bruce, and was killed in 1332, and (III.)
Simon Fraser of Inverness, first Chief of the Clan Fraser, who took
from him their Gaelic name of MacShimi, or Sons of Simon. He also
was killed in battle in 1332. His grandson, Hugh Fraser, was the
first Lord Lovat. The seventh Lord married a daughter and heiress of
the Earl of Athol, at whose death s. m., King James VI. offered the
Earldom to the late Earl's nephew Simon eighth Lord Lovat, and the
King's Privy Councillor, who however declined it "as a sinking of
his own title of Lord Lovat."
Simon Lord Lovat,
decapitated in 1747, has been painted by the Hanoverian party in the
blackest colors, but he was no worse than many of his
contemporaries, English as well as Scotch.
Double facedness was
by no means uncommon among the ruling families, and with all his
faults Lovat was not to be contrasted with many whom the country
were delighted to honor. [As, for instance, John Churchill, of whom
historians say that he was an `almost indescribably profligate
statesman; a lover of pelf; as miserly as he was rapacious. He
recoiled before no infamous action when he had a purpose to serve.
He was the favorite of two Kings, both of whom he shamelessly
betrayed. For years he dabbled in army contracts, and meanly
swindled the State by drawing the pay of soldiers who were dead"-
and he was created Duke of Marlborough!]
By the Jacobites, who
judged him by his good qualities, he was called " The Last of the
Martyrs." He is too often judged by his portrait, or rather
caricature of an old man of eighty, for Hogarth knew what the mob
wanted, and painted a picture that would sell! Lovat's portrait by
Le Clerc, painted about the year 1715, shows him to have been then a
fine looking man. lie preferred Prince Charley (the gallant young
Chevalier, as he was then; not the disappointed man of later years,
who might almost have been compared to the fourth George)) to the
house of Hanover, and who can wonder. Not that the Stuart was
perfect; but what were the Georges? Any other but a George would
have pardoned an old man of four score, or at least have left him to
die a natural death in prison. Lovat was so weak that he was brought
down from Scotland in a litter, and so feeble that two men had to
help him up to the scaffolcl. [After the battle of Culloden, King
George's second son, the bloody Duke of Cumberland, also styled the
Butcher, gave `orders to kill all the wounded; and not only were the
fugitive Jacobites slain without mercy, but the wounded were knocked
on the head like so many cattle, and this not in the heat of the
battle, but in the days that followed it. A number had huddled
together into a barn, and it was set on fire as the easiest way of
getting rid of them, while strings of helpless captives were
fusiladed without mercy.]
JOHN FRASER, master
of Lovat, was born at Tanich, Urray, county Ross, circa 1674. The
record of his marriage is lost, but my cousin, the late Capt. Thomas
Fraser of Balnain (who served during the Peninsular War, but retired
in 1815, and died in 1860), believed that he married Elizabeth,
daughter of Alexander Fraser of Balnain by his wife, a daughter of
Fraser of Foyers.
The Hon. John Fraser
was a consistent Jacobite to the last, and often resided in France.
When in Scotland he bore assumed navies, as John MacOmas (son of
Thomas), John Dubh, or Dhu (dark haired or complexioned), and John
Corsan, which was necessary as he was outlawed, for he was a
faithful adherent of both the old and the young Chevalier. To check
pursuit or to prevent suspicion, therefore, Lord Lovat always gave
out that his brother John was dead.
The Frasers of
Balnain were cadets of Erchitt, who in their turn were descended
from the house of Farraline, the oldest offshoot of the house of
The youngest son of
above Alexander was Brig. General Simon Fraser younger of Balnain,
who was killed at the battle of Saratoga in 1777. He was the officer
who answered the challenge of the sentry at Quebec in French, and
made him l believe the troops who scaled the Heights of Abraham were
the French Regiment de la Reine. They were suddenly challenged, but
Fraser, who had been educated in France and spoke the language
-fluently, without losing his presence of mind exclaimed, "Hold your
tongue, you fool, have you seen the English?" The sentry not being
able in the dark to distinguish the uniforms and fearing to offend
one of his own officers hesitated before demanding the countersign,
and in that moment his musket was seized before he could fire and
give the alarm. A few years after at Saratoga the American General
perceiving that General Burgoyne (who was afterwards
court-martialled) had lost his head, called two of his best riflemen
and said, "You see that brave officer on the white horse. It goes
against my heart to do it, but you must pick him off or we lose the
battle." They succeeded, and the Americans won the day, Fraser being
the second in command under Burgoyne.
Elizabeth Dixon, nee
Mann, was goddaughter of John, fourth Duke of Argyle, and generally
spoke of him as her uncle, his sister having married her granduncle
Simon Lord Lovat in 1733. She told my mother in Amsterdam that the
Duke was very kind to her, and that she had been a guest more than
once at Inveraray Castle. The Duke was Hereditary Grand Master of
the Household in Scotland, and had some influence also in England,
for there was a vacant office at St. James', which he offered, but
it required residence at or near the Palace, and my grandfather who
did not like Court life, declined it.
My grandfather was a
very kind-hearted man and was robbed by his friends (! ), and
decided to go to the continent where living was much cheaper. About
this time however (1786)) my grandmother's uncle, General Thomas
Fraser, died in London. This was Brig. General Thomas Fraser,
Lieut.-Colonel of the Royals and Lieut.-Governor of Chester, and
previously Lieut.-Governor of the Island of St. Christopher, who
died Nov. 5, 1786, a bachelor, aged 75, and was buried in the Church
of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields. His tombstone is still in the crypt
bearing all the above titles, and at the foot the words, "F. Dixon,
lapid libens tosuit."
During his last
illness the General ordered his servant to send for his niece, my
grandmother, as lie wished to give his Commission as Lieut.-Colonel
(then worth £4,000 or £5,000) to my father, for whose benefit it
could have been sold as it was usual then to dispose of them, even
on death beds. The servant however said that our family had already
left the country, and no sooner was his master dead than he ran off
with about one thousand pounds in money and the most valuable
effects. Officers were sent after him and recovered the gold watch
(which I still possess) and about £250 in money which was all lie
had left. My grandparents were however only out of town and were not
aware of his death until one of his brother officers, a General,
came down to offer Five thousand pounds for the Prize money due the
estate, as Gen. Fraser was one of the commanding officers at the
capture of St. Eustatius in 1781, where the prize money was
estimated at Four millions, and his share, which had not been
distributed, was valued at Twenty thousand pounds. The offer was of
course refused. My grandmother took out Letters of Administration
Dec. 29, 1786, soon after which sundry claimants appeared, and she
had to oppose quite a number, and after gaining her case before the
Courts of London and Edinburgh found she had expended nearly all she
had received from the General's bankers, etc. At this time a new
claimant appeared, and by bad advice of her proctors she gave up
some papers which were afterwards withheld, and she was prevented
from recovering the Prize money which was placed in Chancery.
When my father was in
England in 1841, I persuaded him to look up this affair. He learnt
then that early in the present century, I think he said in i8o6, a
certain Major Fraser of Newton laid claim to this sum, and as our
family were then, as it were, locked up, on the Continent, and
ignorant of what was going on, as there were then no mails between
England and the Continent, so that even if advertised they never
heard of it, and there was, therefore, no one to oppose him, he
succeeded in establishing his claim and the money was paid over to
About January, 1788,
my grandparents went to Ostend, then a much more important place
than at present. In 1792, the French Revolution broke out, and not
long after the French invaded the Austrian Netherlands, now called
Belgium. Mr. Dixon had invested some money in real estate which he
could not sell, and was afraid to leave the country for fear it
would be confiscated. He, however, raised as much money as he could
and gave it to his wife who, with her son Thomas (my father), went
to England, where she invested some of her money. Strange to say, I
found a certificate for part of it between the leaves of an old
book. It is a printed government certificate or receipt for £1,089
sterling, received of Mrs. Elizabeth Mann to pay for £1,800 consols,
dated July 22, 1796. The receipt is in her maiden name, but Scotch
women often retained their maiden name after marriage. It appears
she bought consols at about sixty for one hundred. During the mutiny
at the Nore, however, the year following, they went down to £45, the
lowest point ever reached. Mrs. Dixon was afterward allowed to
return to Ostend to join her husband.
The French had
entered the city the day after she left, and Mr. Dixon was soon
imprisoned and remained confined some weeks, until his Belgian
friends obtained his liberty by giving bonds that he should not
leave the country. On his release, he found his house had been taken
possession of by General Beaufort with his wife and about fifteen
officers and servants, and with difficulty obtained permission to
occupy an upper room in his own house! Not long after the house
caught fire and was entirely consumed, and moreover the French
general claimed damages, conceiving the fault to have been in the
chimney, for which he claimed that Mr. Dixon, as owner, was liable!
And yet, as before stated, the general had quartered himself there,
and of course without paying rent. The case was tried before the
Tribunal of Bruges, and Mr. Dixon gained it, but had to pay his own
I have an official
copy of the decree of court: "Citoyen Beaufort, General de Division
et Adelaide Barthelemy David son 6pouse vs. Citoyen Thomas Dixon,"
dated Bruges, 21 Vendemiaire l'an 6," i. e., A. D. 1798.
There were no
Monsieurs in those days. It was Citizen Dixon, and even the general
was Citizen Beaufort.
Mr. Dixon was
continually called upon to pay "emprunts forces," or forced loans,
and threatened with the guillotine if he refused. As a foreigner he
was not spared, and was supposed as an Englishman to be rich. During
these troublous times, he was again imprisoned, and was several
times threatened with the guillotine.
About the year 1803,
he removed to Flushing to be near his son Thomas, who was then
engaged in business there, principally with the West Indies. He
remained there until 1818, when he went to Amsterdam, where he died
in 1824, aged nearly 85, and his widow died in 1826, aged 87. My
father was then in Boston, and could not leave his wife and four
young children for an indefinite period, especially as it was in the
days of slow sailing vessels, when a voyage of two and even three
months was not uncommon. His parents were, however, carefully
attended to by their eldest son's widow. They had twelve children,
all of whom pre-deceased them excepting only the youngest son. Nine
died young. The eldest son,
1. HENRY DIXON, born
in Westminster in 1768, was imprisoned two or three times by the
French, and his sufferings so undermined his constitution that he
died of consumption. He married Sarah Watkinson and died in Ostend
in 1802, leaving an only son, Henry, who died coelebs at Manilla, E.
I., in 1823.
2. THOMAS, of whom
3. Elizabeth, born in
Westminster in 1766, married Eaton, of Craven St., Charing Cross
(then a fashionable West-end quarter), and died in I i9o, leaving an
only daughter, Charlotte, born 1787, died in Ostend, 1799, aged 12
Thomas Dickson, who
altered the spelling of his name to Dixon, was succeeded by his only
THOMAS DIXON, Knight
of the Order of the Netherlands Lion and of the Order of the Lily,
born Westminster, Jan. 26, 1781. He accompanied his parents to the
Netherlands, and when about fifteen years old a commission in the
British Army was sent to him by Sir Henry Dundas, afterwards
Viscount Melville, then Secretary of State, but it was intercepted
by the French Police and he was imprisoned and sentence of death
passed upon him, but a Law had lately been passed that no executions
should take place in the Departments unless countersigned by the
Minister of Police in Paris, and by the fortunate changes of
Ministers of Police~ez_mdash~three changes in about as many months ~ez_mdash~and the
intercession of his father's friends, he was released upon bail that
he should not leave the country.
In 1800, he left
Ostend for Flushing, then like the former place a much more
important city than now, and went into business.
While there another
letter to him from England was seized by the Police. He had assisted
a friend and fellow-countryman to escape, and this gentleman on his
safe arrival in England unwisely wrote a letter of thanks, giving it
to the captain of the smuggler who had taken him over. This skipper
was like most of them, doubly a spy, taking pay both from English
and French, and after undoubtedly first opening the letter to see
that he himself was not implicated, he gave it to the French Police.
Mr. Dixon was arrested and only escaped by bribing the Chief of
Police with a purse of Fifty Napoleons or One thousand francs.
A few years after
this he petitioned the British Government for reimbursement of
certain losses, and among sundry certificates which he then procured
was one which referred to the year 1804, and which I copy here "This
is to certify that in the year 1804, I comrnanded the British brig
called the `Eve,' of North Yarmouth was captured in the North Sea by
the French privateer the Admiral Bruix, and was conducted into
Flushing, where, immediately on my arrival, Mr. Thomas Dixon,
merchant at Flushing, rescued me from on board the privateer,
conducted me to his own house and kept me there in private for three
weeks, after which he conducted me on board a Dutch schuit going to
Rotterdam, which put me on shore at Brouwershaven, according to the
directions of Mr. Dixon, with letters of recommendation to his
friends there, who procured me a passage over to England
"All which services
Mr. Dixon did gratuitously, and even furnished me with ten pounds in
money, as when Mr. Dixon rescued me out of the privateer all I
possessed was a few shillings, which I had previously communicated
to Mr. Dixon. It is and was well known that Mr. Dixon frequently
assisted other British masters in the same way, for which every
British subject ought to be acknowledging to him.
"Master of the Brig Liberty of this place."
[Mr. Dixon's friends probably bribed some smuggler or fisherman to
Scott a passage to England.]
Between the years
1798 and 1807, he rescued from different prisons between thirty and
forty English captains and seamen, and procured their passages home
at his own expense, and at great risk to himself had it been found
In 1808, he was
appointed Magistrate of the city of Flushing, and when King Louis
(Bonaparte) visited the city he had the honor of a long conversation
with him, and accompanied him on horseback around the batteries,
navy yard, etc.
When the Island of
Walcheren was taken by the English in 1809, he was ordered to
continue in office by the Earl of Chatham, Commander-in-Chief, and
when the English evacuated the city he was continued in office.
When the Emperor
Napoleon visited Flushing in May, 1810, he presented to him the keys
of the city and subsequently delivered an address as Chairman of the
Chamber of Commerce; but on the day following (May 12), was arrested
by special order of the Emperor, taken to Paris and confined as an "Otage
Hollandais" (Dutch Hostage)) in the Prison La Force, where he
remained more than fifteen months, three of which was in a dungeon,
charged with having served the English during the occupation of
Walcheren, until by the unceasing efforts of his friends van Royen,
Bijleveld and Baron van Doorn, Dej5utes de la Hollande, Bruys de
Charly, Deputy of the Department of the Saone and Loire; Reverchon,
old Member of the Council of Five Hundred, and Count Emmery,
Senator, he was released from prison and sent into exile at Macon in
Burgundy, sous caution el surveillance. He was, moreover, ordered to
sell all his property in Holland and re-invest it in Burgundy, he
being exiled there for life, as legal copies of all the documents
still in my possession will prove.
The Deputy (or, as we
should say, Member of Parliament) Bruys de Charly gave him letters
to the Baron de Roujoux, Prefect of the Department of the Saone and
Loire, and to others in Macon, and although my father did not say so
in his memoirs (privately printed), still I think that Count Emmery
must also have introduced him both to the Governor and to a brother
Senator, as in a letter dated Paris, 28 Xbre, 1811, he says: "Dans
votre Prefet, dans un de mes Collegues, vous avez la des protecteurs
The Prefect invited
him to dine once a week regularly and gave him invitations to all
his assemblies, and they were all very kind to him. He was an
excellent whist-player and frequently took a hand at the Prefect's
own table, so that he became quite intimate with him, and therefore
passed the time not unpleasantly, except that as he was an exile, he
had no passport and could not go beyond the city, for the country
swarmed with gendarmes (military police) who would have demanded his
passport, and not having the same he would have been arrested and
At length after two
and a half years, in January, 1814, the Baron sent for him at ten
o'clock at night, and saying that he trusted to his honor, for if
the Emperor heard of it he would be undone, told him that the German
Army would soon be in Macon and all the exiles and Spanish officers,
prisoners of war, were to be removed into the interior the next
morning. That this was his only chance of escape, and from his
friendly feelings towards him he could not bear to think of his
being marched off by the gendarmes, and advised him to change his
lodgings, promising not to order a particular search.
The next day, from
his place of concealment, an attic of an unoccupied house, he beheld
the prisoners marched off, and the following morning saw the
Douaniers (officers of customs) running away. He then ventured out
and met a detachment of Austrian Hussars, told the Colonel who he
was, and in reply was informed that they were only an advanced guard
with orders to retreat at the ' first resistance. The Colonel
advised him to take lodgings opposite the bridge where he could give
him warning. The next night the Colonel sent for him and they
galloped off, pnrsued for some distance by a French mob, arriving
the following morning at Bourg L'Ain, the headquarters, where the
Colonel introduced him to General Count Bubna, Austrian
Commander-in-Chief, who invited him to dinner, where he sat next to
the General's aide-de-camp, Prince Leopold, afterwards King of the
A few days later he
arrived at Basle in Switzerland where he met an old acquaintance,
the Chevalier de los Rios, [He was brother to the Duke of Fernan
Nunez, and was afterwards Spanish Minister to the Congress of Vienna
in 1815. I have two letters from him written at Vienna at that
time.] whom he had formerly known at The Hague, and who told him
confidentially that the King of France's brother, the Count d'Artois
(afterwards King Charles the Tenth), was then in Basle incognito
under the name of Count Leu, [Louis Bonaparte afterwards assumed the
very similar name of Count de St. Leu.] and upon his saying he might
give the Count some news from Burgundy, the Chevalier asked
permission to present him, which was granted. He enjoyed the honor
of His Royal Highness' acquaintance about eleven days, and was able
to give him much useful information, and became quite intimate with
him. The Count wrote a Proclamation in the name of his brother Louis
XVIII., which my father got privately printed and contrived to
smuggle a few hundreds into France. I have two copies of it. He then
left Basle and eight days after arrived at Nijmegen, where he
presented himself to the prince of Orange, afterwards King William
of the Netherlands.
Soon after he arrived
at The Hague and passed three months at the house of his friend van
Royen, then Minister of the Navy, and until the island of Walcheren
was evacuated by the French, when he returned to Flushing, arriving
there May i8, 1814, and was reinstated in his office of Magistrate.
Shortly after the
return of the Bourbons he received a letter from the Mayor of Macon,
who with three Deputies had waited upon King Louis to congratulate
him upon the Restoration,~ez_mdash~ informing him that he had barely finished
his address when the King's brother said "Apropos, you had a
Monsieur Dixon in exile with you a long while. It was he who first
informed me of the good disposition of the Maconnais to the
Bourbons, and it was in consequence of this assurance that I showed
my favors to Macon in particular on my return. If you write Monsieur
Dixon tell him from me that I remember him with affection."
Not long after the
Baron de Vinck, a Dutch nobleman, was presented at the French Court,
and the Count d'Artois asked him if he knew a Monsieur Dixon living
in Holland, and upon his replying in the affirmative said if he
would take charge of it he would send him a Decoration for his
friend, and accordingly sent him the Patent (dated Paris, August 25,
1814) and Decoration of a Knight of the Order of the Lily.
About this time King
William visited Flushing and my father accompanied him in a two
hours' walk about the fortifications, and was listened to with
interest as he had previously accompanied King Louis and the Emperor
Napoleon on the same route. A dinner was given to the King and my
father was seated directly opposite to H. M. who sat at the side of
the table, in the middle. He then placed his resignation into the
King's hands and soon after went to England where he remained about
a year. [In 1839, King William I. granted me a private audience just
before I was returning to Boston, having finished my education in
Holland. After a few words (speaking Dutch) he said "But your father
has lived here, has he not, I forget where?" "Yes, Sire (I replied)
he was in Flushing when your Majesty first visited that city." "Yes
(said the King) I remember, I dined with him there and he was then
one of the Magistrates."]
During his stay in
London he petitioned the Lords of the Admiralty to refund the losses
he had incurred at the time of his imprisonment, amounting to nearly
£15,000 sterling, and especially because he may be said to have
saved the British feet from destruction, the suspicion of which was
probably one of the reasons of his arrest. Had the French been able
to prove it it would certainly have cost him his head.
The facts were that
in 1809, a French officer's wife who had remained in Flushing and by
some means had obtained the information, told my grandmother as a
great secret that the French had prepared fire-ships in the Upper
Scheldt and intended to burn the English fleet. My father did not
return home until nearly ten o'clock P. M., when his mother told
him. He immediately took a boat and went on board the ship of his
friend, Captain Campbell, who without losing a moment took him to
the Commander-in-Chief. The fleet were then lying in close order,
but orders were immediately given to weigh anchors and prepare for
fire-ships, and the French seeing this gave up the undertaking.
In 1814, Campbell,
who was then a Rear Admiral, gave him the following Certificate,
endorsed by Vice Admiral Otway :~ez_mdash~
"These are to certify
that, shortly after the surrender of the town of Flushing to H. M.
Land and Sea Forces in 1809 (I, at the time, in command of H. M.
Ship Audacious) I became acquainted with Mr. Thomas Dixon, then
merchant and acting as one of the magistrates of the said town of
Flushing under H. M. Government, and found him on all occasions
animated with the greatest zeal for the interest of H. M. Government
and service, always furnishing H. M.'s officers with such private
information as he could collect of the movements and plans of the
"On one occasion, I
think to the best of my recollection, about the end of November in
the above year, H. M. squadron and a number of transports then
anchored at Flushing roadstead, he gave me for the information of
the Commander-in-Chief certain and correct intelligence that the
enemy were using the greatest exertions in preparing fire-craft and
rafts in the Upper Scheldt, to send down the river for the
annoyance, and if possible, the destruction of H. M. said squadron
and transports, and this intelligence was afterwards proved to be
entirely correct, and the arrangements made and orders given in
consequence by the Commander-in-Chief had in my opinion (and indeed
it was the general opinion)) alone prevented the enemy from putting
their plans in execution.
"Given under my hand,
the 23rd Nov., 1814,
"I recollect the circumstances as stated in Rear Admiral Campbell's
certificate. The Admiral was then Captain of the Audacious and
communicated to me, who then commanded H. M. ships in the Scheldt,
in the absence of Sir Richard Strachan, the intelligence of the
enemy's motives and intentions agreeably to information received
from Mr. Thomas Dixon.
"Wm. A. Otway,
Vice Admiral Otway
also wrote the following official letter to J. W. Croker, Esq.,
Secretary of the Admiralty.
"Bath, 10th April
1815" " Sir,
"I request that you
will lay before the Lords the Commissioners of the Admiralty, the
enclosed letter from Rear Admiral Donald Campbell, with the
certificate therein mentioned, stating some important service
rendered to the public by Mr. Thomas Dixon of Flushing, about the
month of November, 1809, at which time I commanded the ships in the
Scheldt in consequence of the absence of the Commander-in-Chief Sir
"I have a perfect
recollection of the circumstances as stated in Rear Admiral Donald
Campbell's letter and certificate, who was then Captain of the
Audacious, and I had no reason to doubt the authenticity of Mr.
Dixon's intelligence; in justice to whom and at his particular
request I make this statement for their Lordships to determine how
far Mr. Dixon is entitled to any remuneration for the sufferings he
has, according to his narrative, sustained in consequence of his
attachment to the British Government.
"I have etc.,
"W. A. Otway,
"J. W. Croker, Esq."
The reply my father
"That the Board of Admiralty cannot enter into such claims as you
have set forth unless founded on documents forwarded officially to
the Board at the time when such services may have been rendered."
This was shamefully
unjust, for the very documents accompanying these papers proved that
my father was imprisoned soon after this event and had only just
escaped from France, and even had he intended originally to have
made any claim, it would have been then impossible; but he never
dreamt of doing so at the time, and it was only after the
confiscation of part of his property and his imprisonment that he
thought of it.
He also applied for
the post of British Consul at Antwerp, then worth /2,000 a year.
General Sontag gave him the following letter:
"14 Buckingham St.,
"30th Nov., 1814.
"Lieut.-General Sontag being very dangerously ill, has desired me to
inform you, in reply to your letter of 24th inst, that on hearing
the circumstances stated in your letter, he perfectly recollected
the very zealous and useful services rendered by you, and the
applause you merited for the particular care and attention you
afforded to the wounded English prisoners during the blockade and
siege of Flushing, in furnishing them with all possible comforts.
Sontag hopes that this testimony given by me in his name may be
found conducive towards the granting of your application for the
British Consulship at Antwerp, which will afford him much pleasure.
"I have the honor to
"Your obedient and humble servant.
"David Ragay, Lt.-Col.
"Assist. to Lt.-General Sontag."
"Thomas Dixon, Esq."
Earl Bathurst, Acting
Secretary of State, promised the Consulship to my father, but Earl
Castelreagh, who was at the Congress of Vienna, gave it to the Hon.
Mr. Annesley, son of the Earl of Annesley.
It will be observed
that Admiral Campbell states the certain and correct intelligence
was afterwards proved to be perfectly correct. My father said there
were some three or four hundred sail in the harbor, great numbers of
which would have been destroyed had it not been for his information.
Papers (papers relating to the expedition to the Scheldt, Jan.,
1810), it appears that in July, 1809, the fleet consisted of one
ship of eighty guns, thirty-three of seventy-four (one of which was
the Audacious), three of sixty-four, twenty-eight of from fifty to
twenty guns, and ninety bombs, gunboats, etc. In all 155 sailing
vessels of the navy. On the iith Oct. the transport tonnage then in
the Scheldt was 120 ships measuring 24,265 tons, and in November
nearly 20,000 tons of empty transports had proceeded to Walcheren, a
large proportion of which reached their destination on the evening
of the 21st November.
One can hardly
conceive what would have happened had such a number of vessels,
lying quietly at anchor and suspecting nothing, been surprised by a
fleet of fire-ships.
After the battle of
Waterloo, Mr. Dixon returned to Holland and joined the house of van
Baggen, Parker & Co., doing business principally with the United
States of America. The style of the firm, which was of very old
standing, was changed to van Baggen, Parker & Dixon. The following
year he embarked for the United States to visit the correspondents
of the firm, traveled through the country leisurely, and on his
return to Boston to sail for home, he became acquainted with and
married Mary B., daughter of Benjamin Perrott Homer, Esq., of No. 3;
Beacon St., May 26, 1818.
Thomas de Homere,
Lord of the Manor of Homere, county Dorset, A. D. 1338, is believed
to have been the founder of this family, especially as the name does
not occur again there at that time, and in the same century a Homer
settled at Sedgely, co. Stafford, and built the house of Ettingshall,
which was occupied by the family until the last century, when it was
sold by John Homer, who removed to another family property, Bromley
Hall, in the same county, where he died in 1788. In 1626, Edward
Homer erected a pew [At this time pews were generally confined to
the lords of the manor or leading families.] in the old church of
Sedgley, which was retained by the family until the church was taken
down in 1829. The oaken seat of the pew is however still preserved
and bears the following inscription:
"This : sete : setvp
: at : the : proper : cost : and : charis : of : Edward Homer : anno
: domni : 1626."
The grandson of this
Edward was father of Captain John Homer, who emigrated to Boston,
Mass., and was ancestor of Mary B. Homer, wife of Thomas Dixon, to
whom we return.
On the 4th June Mr.
and Mrs. Dixon sailed for England, remained a month in London and
then went to Paris where they staid six weeks, and were most kindly
received by the Royal Family, who only returned to the city the day
before that on which they intended leaving. One of the Royal
carriages was sent for them, and when introduced into the Presence
Chamber the Count d'Artois met them at the door, embraced Mr. Dixon
and kissed Mrs. Dixon, and then presented them to King Louis XVIII.,
who also kissed Mrs. Dixon and shook hands with Mr. Dixon. The Count
then presented them to the Dukes and Duchesses d'Angouleme and de
Berri, by whom they were also most kindly received. The Count
charged Mr. Dixon to apply to him if ever he could serve him, and
when leaving told them to make what use they pleased of the Royal
carriage. They accordingly took a drive in the Bois de Boulogne and
meeting a Boston friend (Mr. Joseph Joy) gave him a seat. This
gentleman as it was supposed (although it was headed "Letter from a
lady") after his return home wrote an account of the presentation to
a Boston paper, and I have still the slip which was cut out of the
paper of April 20, 1819.
They then left Paris
for Flushing to see their parents, passed a week at Ypenburg, van
Royen's seat, and then went to Amsterdam where they remained about
four years, when Mrs. Dixon, desiring to see her father, and Mr.
Dixon wishing to make some business arrangements, they returned to
Boston, intending to stay at most a very few years, but this was
before the days of steam when it was not so trifling a matter to
cross as it is row, and as the old couple died in Holland and Mrs.
Dixon did not like to leave her father, who was a widower, they
remained, until they finally determined to settle in Boston.
On the death of the
Netherlands Consul in Boston in 1833, Mr. Dixon received the
appointment. There was no Consul-General in the United States at
Three or four years
after the opening of steam navigation on the Atlantic they crossed
again in 1841, and met many old friends.
At The Hague, which
they visited two or three times, the King created Mr. Dixon Knight
of the Order of the Netherlands Lion.
Baron van Hall was
then Minister of Justice and his father was President of the High
Court of Justice, and at a grand dinner given by his old friend van
Royen, uncle to Baron van Hall, to which all the Cabinet were
invited, my father was placed at the host's right hand, and the
first toast given which was by the venerable President, was "The
health of Mr. Dixon, who thirty years ago saved the life of my son,
then in France as one of the Garde du Corjp (Body Guard) of the
Emperor Napoleon, and now meet him again for the second time as
Minister of Justice of the Netherlands."
They returned to
Boston, where he died at his house No. 1 Walnut St., Corner of
Beacon St., Sep., 15, 1849, aged 68. His widow removed to Toronto on
the occasion of her eldest son's marriage in 1858, and some years
later was thrown from her carriage, the horses having run away, and
died July 16, 1875, aged 83.
They had three sons, one of whom died unm. in Paris, and one dau.,
1. BENJAMIN HOMER, of
2. Fitz Eugene, born
Amsterdam, 1821, married Philadelphia, 1849, Catherine Chew,
daughter of the Hon. George M. Dallas, Vice-President of the United
States of America, the first on record of which family was Sir
William de Doleys, Knight, living in 1286. In 1442 John de Dolas
held the barony of Cantray. From him sprang William Dallas, Laird of
Cantray in 163o, ancestor in the third degree of Robert Dallas of
Dallas Castle, Jamaica, grandfather of (I) Sir George Dallas, Bart.
(2) Sir Robert Dallas, Lord Chief Justice, C. C. P. (3) Charlotte,
who married Capt. the Hon. George A. Byron, father of George Anson,
Lord Byron (the poet)~ez_mdash~(4) the Hon. Alexander James Dallas, Secretary
of the Treasury of the United States of America, ob. 1817, father of
Vice-President Dallas, who filled also the offices of Envoy
Extraordinary and Minister to the Court of the Czar and afterwards
to the Court of St. James.
Elizabeth Mann, born Boston, 1825, married 1846, William Henry
Boulton of Toronto, M. P. P., and Mayor of Toronto. Of the Boultons
of Moulton, county Lincoln, England. He died 1874, s. j5. She
married secondly, Professor Goldwin Smith, D. C. L., Oxon. of the
Grange, Toronto, son of Richard Prichard Smith, Esq., M. D., of
Mortimer, near Reading, England, by his wife, the daughter of
William Breton, Esq., and sister of Gen. Henry W. Breton, Governor
of Malta. Dr. Smith married secondly, Katherine, daughter of Sir
Nathaniel Dukinfield, Bart. Of the Smiths of Hough, county Chester,
and anciently of Peel House, Farnworth, county Lanc. Randle Holme,
who visited Farnworth church in 1635, mentions a pre-Reformation
inscription on a broken painted glass window "Orate pro Will Smyth"
(Pray for William Smyth~ez_mdash~not the bishop however, for he was not
buried there). Robert Smith of Peel House was father of William,
born circa 146o, Lord Bishop of Lincoln, Chancellor of Oxford and
President of Wales (which had then a Parliament of its own) who was
one of the founders of Brazenose College in 1509. Another son, Sir
Thomas, who removed to Cheshire, was one of the executors of the
bishop's will. He purchased Hough in 1517. His grandson, Sir Thomas,
Sheriff of Cheshire, died 1614. One of his descendants was cr. a
Baronet in 166o. From another sprang Dr. Smith above mentioned.
We now return to the
eldest son of Thomas Dixon, K. N. L., K. L.
BENJAMIN HOMER DIXON,
K. N. L., Consul-General of the Netherlands in Canada, who was born
in Amsterdam in 1819. He was appointed Consul of the Netherlands in
Boston after his father's decease, but resigned on his removal to
Canada in 1858. He was created Knight of the Order of the
Netherlands Lion by King William III, and in 1862, was appointed
He married firstly in
Toronto, in 1858, Kate McGill, daughter of the Hon. Chief Justice
Sir James B. Macaulay, C. B., who d. s. J. in 1863, and secondly,
Nov. 29, i866, Frances Caroline, daughter of William B. Heward,
Esq., of Toronto, and Mary M. Cockburn, his wife. Frances C. Heward
was born in 1838, and named after her two godmothers, her mother's
aunt Frances, Countess dei Pennazzi, and her mother's friend, Lady
(Caroline)) Cunningham, both of whom were represented by proxies.
THOMAS HEWARD, Esq.,
of Friar Wingate, county Cumberland, England, had issue four sons
and one daughter, viz.: (1) STEPIIEN, of whom hereafter; (2) Thomas,
married and died s. p. m.,~ez_bull~ (3) J. Elder, died circa 1872, leaving
f8o,000 in chancery. He had an only son who left home and has never
been heard of. (4) Sir Simon, who was knighted in 1837 and died
unmarried. The only daughter, Sophia, married Captain John O'Brien,
Royal Navy. The eldest son, Lieut.-Colonel STEPHEN HEWARD, born
1777, emigrated to Canada and commanded the Queen's Rangers during
the war of 1812. He married in Toronto, 1806, Mary, daughter of
Christopher Robinson, Esq., M. P. P., and died 1828, aged 51. He was
HEWARD, who married Mary M., daughter of James Cockburn, Esq., M.
D., and had issue two daughters, (I) Frances Caroline, above. named,
and (2) Mary Ann (Minnie), married James Henderson, Esq., of
The Hon. CHRISTOPHER
ROBINSON Of Cleasby, county York, England (brother of the Rt. Rev.
John Robinson, Lord Bishop of London and First Plenipotentiary of
the celebrated Treaty of Utrecht in 1713), was appointed Governor of
Virginia, where he died 1696. His descendant in the fourth degree,
Christopher Robinson, M. P. P., had among other issue a son, the
Hon. Chief Justice Sir John Beverley Robinson, Bart., C. B. (father
of the late Lieut.-Governor of Ontario), and a daughter Mary, wife
of Lieut.Col. Stephen Heward.
ALEXANDER COCKBURN of
that ilk, county Berwick, Scotland, was living temp. Robert Bruce,
and numerous families claim descent from him, two of whom signed the
Band of 157r, and two Lairds are on the Roll of Clans of 1590.
JAMES COCKBURN, M.
D., Surgeon British Army, married Dorothea, daughter of Clotworthy
McKeige, Esq., and died at sea in 1819, leaving one daughter, Mary
Margaret, born in Quebec, in 1839, and married William B. Heward.
Esq., of county Antrim, Ireland, and afterward of Halifax, N. S.,
and Jamaica Plains near Boston, Mass., nephew of Clotworthy, Earl of
Massareene [The Earl died 1805, s. p., and the title became extinct
by the death of his brother s. p. m. The present Massareene is a
Viscount only.] and a relative of the Earl of Ellesmere, married
1st, Isabel McDermot, by whom he had two daughters, viz.:
1. Frances married
Count Louis dei Pennazzi (son of Count Louis de' Pennazzi and
Princess Pallavicini his wife) of Parma, Italy, Grand Cordon (now
called Grand Cross) of the Order of the Legion of Honour, Knight of
various Italian Orders and Lord Steward of the Duke of Parma. The
Countess died a widow at her county seat Corte Maggiore in 1874. He
died 1861, leaving (with a daughter Isabel, de/lo Ida, who died
unmarried in 1866, aged 18 [Although christened Isabel, the young
Countess was always called Ida. ]) a son, the present Count Louis
de' Pennazzi, who married in 1862 Countess Albertine Ferrari (ob.
1876) and has issue.
2. Dorothea, married
Dr. James Cockburn, before mentioned.
He married secondly
Eliza Church, by whom he had
William, who d. s. ft. in Mexico, where he had a sugar plantation.
2. Ellesmere Edward, married Louise Spinola, and d, s. ft.
3. Mary Louise, married Ernest B. Schneidler, British Consul at
Cardenas, Cuba, and died a widow in 1875 leaving a son Charles, now
in Hamburgh, and two daughters, viz.: [I.] Mina, married Louis B. C.
Will, Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic, Commander
of the Order of the Royal Crown in Prussia, German Consul-General in
Cuba, now residing in London, and [II.] Nellie, married Senor Don
Ordonez del Campo, and resides in Havana.
4. Eliza, married Dr. H. Hoyt.
5. Augusta, died young.
died in 1823, and his wife then took a house in Beacon street,
Boston, but after a few years went to Parma to see her step-daughter
and died there in 1837.
We return again to B.
HOMER DIXON, K. N. L., who has issue:
1. Thomas Fraser Homer, born 1871.
2. William Mayne Homer, born 1872.
3. Henry Eugene Homer, born 1874, and three daughters, viz.:
I. Mary Frances
II. Harriette Kate Macaulay Homer.
III. Ida Louise Homer.
Family of FITZ EUGENE
DIXON (born 182I) Of Philadelphia, who died in 1880, aged 58.
I. Alexander James
Dallas, born 185o, m. Margaretta, daughter of Col. William Serjeant,
United States Army, son of the Hon. James Serjeant, M. C., whose
father, the Hon. J. D. Serjeant, was the first Attorney-General of
Pennsylvania after the Revolution.
2. Thomas Fraser, born 1852, married Emma, daughter of Lieutenant
Colonel C. J. Biddle, United States Army, and niece of Hon. Craig
Biddle, Judge C. C. P., sons of Nicholas Biddle, President of the
Bank of the United States.
3. George Dallas, born i 857, married Mary Frances Quincy, daughter
of William H. Allen, Esq., LL. D., President of Girard College, by
his wife Mary Quincy, granddaughter of the Hon. Samuel Quincy,
Solicitor General of Massachusetts before the Revolutionary War.
4. Thomas Henry, born 1859, married Florence, daughter of William
Henry Trotter, Esq., of Philadelphia, retired merchant and director
of several banks, trust companies, etc. Of Scotch origin and
descendant in the 7th degree from William Trotter, who settled first
in Essex county, Delaware, but removed to Philadelphia in 1690 and
died there in 1699.
5. William Boulton, born 1860.
And six daughters,
I. Sophia Dallas,
married Francis John Alison, barrister, son of Robert Alison, M. D.,
grandson of the Rev. Francis Alison, D. D., of Donegal, Ireland,
Vice Provost of the University of Pennsylvania.
II. Mary Homer, married Brigadier General Russell Thayer (graduate
of West Point Military Academy), Commanding Second Brigade first
division Pennsylvania Militia, son of the Hon. Martin R. Thayer,
President Judge, C. C. P., of Philadelphia.
III. Catharine Eugenia, married Joseph Percy Keating, barrister, son
of William V. Keating, M. D., whose grandfather, John Baron Keating,
Knight of the Order of St. Louis (ob. 18-6, aged 96) emigrated to
the United States after the first French Revolution. He was grandson
of Sir Geoffrey Keating, of Adare, county Limerick, who went to
France after the siege of Limerick, and was created a Baron by the
King of France.
IV. Harriette (Rita), married Arthur Emlen Newbold, barrister, son
of John S. Newbold, Esq., of Philadelphia, a descendant of Godfred
Newbold, of Newbold Abbey, county York, England, who emigrated to
America in 1678, and settled at Newbold's Island, Delaware River,
and afterward at Mt. Holly, N. J., where the homestead now is.
V. Susan Dallas, married Thomas Wilson Sharp-less, son of Samuel J.
Sharpless, Esq., of Philadelphia, a descendant of John Sharples of
Sharples, county Lanc, England, who emigrated to Pennsylvania in
1682, and received a grant from William Penn, of i,000 acres of land
in Chester county, a great part of which is still owned by his
VI. Matilda Wilkins. She was named after her aunt Matilda Dallas,
wife of the Hon. William Wilkins, Secretary of the Navy of the
United States America, and Envoy Extraordinary and Minister
Plenipotentiary to the Court of Russia.
Catherine C. Dallas,
wife of F. E. Dixon, died in 1878, ag 51.
Mr. Dallas Yorke, of
Walmsgate Park, near Louth, Linc., and Cadogan Place, who assumed
the additional name of Yorke upon inheriting the estates of his
maternal uncle in 1856, is the present chief of the Dallas Family.
He was for some years Master of the Southwold Hounds. He has one
son, born in 1875, and one daughter, who married His Grace the Duke
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