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The life and death of Joe Dickinson (1836-1881)

Joseph Dickinson was the brother of my 3rd great-grandfather, John Dickinson, which makes him my 3rd great-granduncle. He was born March 6, 1836, in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. At the age of five, he was counted on the census of 1841, living with his parents, William and Ann Dickinson, at Woodstock Bower in Kimberworth, a suburb of Rotherham, Yorkshire, England. He wasn't baptized until September 3, 1843, when he and his baby sister, Elizabeth, were both baptized at Rotherham. He was seven years old.


In 1851, when the census was taken, he was an apprentice, living in the home of Steel Tilter, John Allcroft in Wadsley Bridge, a suburb of Sheffield, but he was back home, living with his mother when the census was taken in 1861. In December of 1861, he married Matilda Broadhead at Pitsmoor and they left for America two years later, in 1863. There Joseph and Matilda had eight known children, although it was reported that Matilda had 11 total. The following is what little I know of the family:

  1. Ann Dickinson (1864-1886), born June 17, 1864, married William Lambert on Nov. 1, 1885, at Pittsburgh, but she died the following year, on March 21, 1886, from Eclampsia, with a contributing cause being "1/2 teaspoonfull of Chlorafoam administered by mistake". (Note: Joseph's brother, John, also died at age 58 from Eclampsia on May 25, 1889, and two months later John's infant grandson, Martin Proctor, son of Mary Ann, died at one day old on July 26, from Eclampsia.) Ann was 22 years old. Ann's husband, William remarried two years later to Annie Brown on July 11, 1888. It doesn't appear that William and Ann Lambert had any children together but he had a few with his second wife.

  2. William Dickinson, born abt. 1866, died sometime after 1904. Nothing further found.

  3. Joseph B. Dickinson (1868-1947), born April 7, 1868, at Pittsburgh, and in 1900, at the age of 32, he was a Railroad Laborer living with his grandmother, Matilda (Mrs. John Dixon at the time). Joseph married Martha "Mattie" W. (Barker) Parkinson, former wife of Sherman K. Parkinson. Joseph and Martha had no children, but Martha had a daughter named Edith Parkinson, born January of 1896, who married Gallagher. Mattie and Sherman were married in 1893, but by 1900 she was living back home with her parents in Pittsburgh, and by 1910, she and Edith were living with Joseph on 22nd Street in Pittsburgh, and they had reportedly been married for 3 years. He worked as a Signal Foreman on the Railroad then and continued working with the railroad until his retirement. He died at Homestead, Pennsylvania, on January 28, 1947, from "Shock following fracture of both legs" due to "being struck by an auto". He was buried with his father's family at Allegheny Cemetery. [Findagrave Memorial 54077241]

  4. Charles Sykes Dickinson (1870-1899) was born in Pittsburgh in 1870 and worked as a Chain Maker. He died single at the age of 29 on March 10, 1899, from Peritonitis and Appendicitis. [Findagrave Memorial 122291724]

  5. Jennie Baker Dickinson (1871-1872) was born around March of 1871 and died August 28, 1872 at the age of 17 months. The cause of death was "Chronic Diarrhea". She is buried in Allegheny Cemetery.

  6. John B. Dickinson (1873-1876) was born in 1873 and died from pneumonia at the age of 2, on January 4, 1876. He was buried in Allegheny Cemetery.

  7. Thomas Booth Dickinson (1876-1918) was born June 14, 1876, and in 1900 he was 23 and living with his grandmother, Matilda (Mrs. John Dixon at the time), and working as a Laborer at a Steel Works. He married Minnie Rufus in 1905. She was born Nov. 20, 1876, at Pittsburgh, a daughter of German immigrants, Louis & Agatha (Schell) Rufus. Minnie died in Pittsburgh, Nov. 16, 1940, and was survived by her two sons. They lived at 320 Main Street in Pittsburgh. Thomas B. Dickinson died in Pittsburgh from pneumonia, with Chronic Valvular Heart Disease contributing, on November 12, 1918. He was 42 and is buried with his father's family at Allegheny Cemetery, Sec. 33, Lot 222, Grave 1. [Findagrave Memorial 122291735]. Their two known sons were:

    1. Joe Rufus Dickinson, born Sept. 27, 1906. I believe he was the one who died Dec. 14, 1985, and is buried in Allegheny Cemetery, Sec. 63, Lot 270-A, Grave 2. [Findagrave Memorial 122291728]

    2. Thomas Lewington Dickinson, born July 6, 1909, at Pittsburgh, married Helen Klodocky in 1934 and were counted on the census in 1940, but his name was given as "Thomas L. Dickson". His occupation was "Typist" at the "U.S. Bureau of Miners" at the time and they had no children yet. His mother, Minnie, lived in the home, age 62, but she died later that year (Nov. 16, 1940). In 1950 Thomas was a "Scientific Aid" at the "Federal Bureau of Miners". They lived on 45th Street in Pittsburgh in 1950 and they had at least one son, Thomas R. Dickinson, born abt. 1947.

  8. Matilda Dickinson (1879-1881), born about 1879 at Pittsburgh, died on December 7, 1881, at the age of 2 years 4 months from Diphtheria. She was buried with her family at Allegheny Cemetery, Sec. 33, Lot 222, Grave 1. [Findagrave Memorial 122291732]

Joe and Matilda's youngest child, Matilda, died of Diphtheria at the age of 2 years 4 months, on December 7, 1881, and the family's greatest loss came 13 days later, on December 20, 1881, when Joe died from Consumption. He was 45 and left Matilda with a daughter, Ann, who was 17 at the time, and four sons, between the ages of five and fifteen. They were: William Dickinson (1866-?), Joseph Dickinson (1868-1947), Charles Sykes Dickinson (1870-1899), and Thomas Booth Dickinson (1876-1918).

Joseph was laid to rest in Allegheny Cemetery in Section 33, Lot 222, Grave 1. [Findagrave Memorial 122291730]


Matilda remarried to John Dixon, at Pittsburgh, on July 6, 1892. On the 1900 census, she indicated that she had a total of 11 children, of which only three were still living. Those were Thomas, Joseph, and William. Matilda died at the age of 65 from Pneumonia, on August 10, 1904, and is buried in Allegheny Cemetery [Findagrave Memorial 122292548]. Her obituary, published in The Pittsburgh Gazette, Fri., Aug. 12, 1904, is shown here:

Notice the critical error in the obituary, stating that Joseph Dickinson died in 1863. On the 1900 census, Matilda reported that she arrived in America in 1863 and we know that she and Joseph had at least 8 children between 1864 and 1878, so this is clearly a mix-up. Also, unless Lawrenceville was a neighborhood in Pittsburgh, that is incorrect as well.


At any rate, of Joseph's eleven children, only his youngest son, Thomas Booth Dickinson, is known to have had descendants, but it is possible that his oldest son, William Dickinson, may have also married and had children. If you have any information on William or any other descendants, please comment below or contact me.


If you've read this far, just for fun, take this poll...

Are you a descendant of Joseph & Matilda Dickinson?

  • Yes, I'm a direct descendant

  • No, but I'm related in another way

  • No, we're not related

  • I'm not sure

These Dickinson finds wouldn't be possible without the help of FindMyPast! Try a search for one of your brick walls, especially if they're in England! We may receive a small commission for purchases made and we thank you for your support, but the recommendation is made because FindMyPast is a great resource! Give it a try!

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