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Cemeteries: Text

From "Dickson" to "Dixon"

Dickson Family from Silveyville Township – Donated 10 acres to the California Pacific Railroad – Dixon established in 1868

Thomas Dickson owned land on the eastern outskirts of Silveyville. In 1868, Dickson donated 10 acres of his land for the California Pacific Railroad to expand its route. The residents of Silveyville discovered that the tracks would be situated far (3.5 miles) away from their town, and therefore, chose to move the town of Silveyville to be closer to the tracks. Travel by railroad was faster than by stagecoach, and it was faster and less expensive to send grain to market by railroad than by boat. As a result, what is now known as Downtown Dixon was established in 1868 as “Dicksonville.”  This picture of the Dickson family was taken in 1899.  Back Row Left: Jane Dickson, wife of Thomas Dickson, born 1813 (86 years old).  Front Row Left: Thomas and Jane Dickson’s oldest child, Elizabeth Dudley, born 1834 (65 years old). Back Row Right: Earl Delmar Dudley, Grandson of Thomas and Jane Dickson and son of Elizabeth Dudley, born 1859 (40 years old).  Front Row Right: Hazel Bea (Bedelia) Dudley, great-granddaughter of Thomas and Jane Dickson, granddaughter of Elizabeth Dudley, and daughter of Earl Delmar Dudley, born 1890 (9 years old).  Note the two dogs riding with the family. 

Dixon’s Second Train Station – Jackson St. and West B St. – 1884 -  “Name change from “DICKSON” to “DIXON” due to a misspelling.

On August 24, 1868 – construction was completed in Dixon on 10 acres of land donated by Thomas Dickson and his family to the California Pacific Railroad. The 10 acres started at 1st and A Streets, went out to H Street, over to Washington Street, and back to 1st and A Streets. As the tracks neared completion, a train station was built to the east of the tracks on the corner of North Jackson and B Streets. Passengers would board the train and there was a platform for loading luggage. Milk cans were also loaded and unloaded here. The station was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1883, along with buildings located between A and B Streets. A second train station was built in the same location in 1884 and is featured in this picture.


There are varying stories as to how the name “Dixon” came to be.  The Railroad Superintendent in San Francisco requested to have a sign placed at this newest station, called “Dickson.” But when he came up to inspect the sign, he noted that the sign had been misspelled “Dixon.” By this time, literature, timetables and even a rail shipment of merchandise addressed to William Ferguson in 1872, were all mistakenly written, “Dixon, Cal.” A letter dated 1866 was addressed to “Dixon,” William Ferguson was the postmaster.  Since the trainmen knew the town by “Dixon,” and in 1874, after nearly a two-year push to have the town named “Dicksonville,” the county recorder filed the name “Dixon” on the new maps, stating that “Dixon” was simpler. Thomas Dickson agreed to let the name stand.  Dixon was officially incorporated in 1878.


In 1865, the California Pacific Railroad, under the supervision of Col. Haskin, was laid between Sacramento and Vallejo. Passengers wishing to continue to San Francisco could board a ferry at Vallejo. Railroads served to transport people, freight (farm crops, meat, and animals), and mail. The Central Pacific Railroad bought the California Pacific Railroad in 1871. The Southern Pacific Railroad leased the Central Pacific Railroad in 1885 and bought it in 1898. Steam trains would stop in town to get water from the water tank on Jefferson and A Streets. Most railroads were run by steam until the end of WWII.  The Transcontinental Railroad, California Pacific Railroad, and the Western Pacific Railroad hired Chinese immigrants who made up 90% of the total labor force.


As more and more people traveled by car, the trains no longer stopped in Dixon.  Tom Kilkenny hung the last U.S. Mail Pouch for train pick up in Dixon in 1958. Dixon’s second train station, as featured in this picture, was demolished in 1968 due to the lack of funds for its upkeep. In 2007 a third train station was built, as a replica of the second station, and still stands today. It is located on the west side of the tracks at Jefferson and B Streets.

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