JAMES H. DICKSON, one of the leading citizens of Scotland, Bon
Homme county, is a native of the old Empire state, having been born on a farm in St. Lawrence county, New York, on the 4th of September, 1844,
a son of John and Catherine ( McGregor) Dickson, both of whom were born
in Scotland, of stanch old Scottish lineage, while both came to America as children, their respective parents having emigrated to this country
and taken up their abode in the state of New York. The father of the subject passed, his entire life in the northern part of that state,
where he was a successful farmer. He passed away at the age of seventy-four years, having been a man of prominence and influence in his
section and having held various local offices. He identified himself with the Republican party at the time of its organization and ever
afterwards remained a stanch advocate of its principles, while both he and his wife held membership in the Presbyterian church, the latter
having been summoned into eternal rest at the age of forty-two years.
The subject was reared under the invigorating discipline of the
home farm and after availing himself of such advantages as were afforded in the common schools of the locality and period he completed
a course of study in the Eastman Business College, at Poughkeepsie, New
York. He continued to assist in the work and management of the home farm
until he had attained the age of twenty-three years, when he went to the town of Gouverneur, St. Lawrence county, New York, where he engaged
in the dry-goods business in company with George P. Tait, under the firm
name of Tait & Dickson. This partnership continued about five years, at
the expiration of which the subject retired from the firm and engaged in
the merchant-tailoring business in partnership with James Brodie, under the title of Brodie & Dickson. Four years later, in 1879, Mr. Dickson
established himself in the same line of enterprise at Adams, Berkshire county, Massachusetts, being there a member of the firm of Dickson &
Legate. In 1882 he came to South Dakota and located in Scotland, Bon Homme county, where he has ever since maintained his home. Here he
opened a general mercantile establishment and engaged also in the buying
of grain and hogs, in each of which lines of enterprise he built up an excellent business within a short interval. Upon the completion of the
Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad through this section Mr. Dickson
built and operated a chain of grain elevators from Lesterville to Armour
and Parkston, while later he erected a large elevator in Geddes, and several of these monuments to his enterprising spirit are still owned
and operated by him. He is a heavy shipper of hogs and grain, and in connection with the latter branch of industry he handles agricultural
implements and coal in the various towns in which he buys grain. These statements clearly indicate that he is a man of affairs and one of
marked capacity in an executive way, but he has proved equal to meeting all exigencies and is known as a careful, able and upright
business man and as a citizen of value to the county and state. In 1894 his
mercantile house and stock in Scotland were entirely destroyed by fire, but a fortnight later he had installed a new and comprehensive stock in
his present attractive quarters, so that his large trade suffered but slight interruption.
In politics Mr. Dickson gives an unqualified allegiance to the
Republican party and has been a prominent figure in its councils in the state, having been repeatedly a delegate to state and other conventions,
while he has been strongly importuned by his party friends to permit the
use of his name in connection with candidacy for the state senate, but he has no ambition for official preferment, realizing that the demands
of his business are exacting and require his undivided attention and believing that he has discharged his civic duties in his efforts to
promote the cause of his party and to further the ends of good government. He is one of the prominent and valued members of the
Presbyterian church, in which both he and his wife are zealous workers, and he has held the office of elder in the church since the age of
twenty-eight years, having been elected to this office while a resident of
Governor, New York, and having been chosen incumbent of the same office in Scotland soon after identifying himself with the church here.
Fraternally he is affiliated with Scotland Camp, Modern Woodmen of America.
On the 14th of February, 1872, was solemnized the marriage of Mr.
Dickson to Miss Mary J. Tait, who was born and reared in Rossie township, St. Lawrence county, New York, and they are the parents of one
son, Cyrus J., who is associated with his father in business.