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Mini Bios of People of Scots Descent
James H Dickson

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.



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