Dixon Illinois

The city of Dixon saw its beginnings when a French-Indian by the name of Ogee built a cabin where the current city of Dixon now stands in 1828. At this time the entire area was actually in Jo Daviess County. Mr. Ogee operated a Ferry across the Rock River for a couple of years. In 1829 a Post Office was established with Ogee was the first postmaster. John Dixon (known as "Father Dixon") bought the establishment of Mr. Ogee in 1830 and the name of the settlement of Dixon's Ferry was established. The area became known as "Fort Dixon" during the Black Hawk war in 1832. It was after the war ended that the migration to Dixon first began. It was 1836 when this part of Jo Daviess County became Ogle County. It was February 27, 1839 before Dixon finally became Lee County. It was May 31, 1839 when Dixon became the County Seat and is yet today a thriving, vibrating city.

Dixon officially became a city in early 1859. On Feb. 19 of that year, the General Assembly passed on act to incorporate the city of Dixon; Section 17, thereof providing that "This Act is to take effect and be in force from and after its passage." Two previous attempts to incorporate had been defeated at the polls.

On March 19, 1859 an election was held to select the first mayor and city council. John Dement was elected mayor but failed to qualify. During the period intervening between the date of the first election and the date set for the election of mayor to fill this vacancy, Joseph Crawford served as acting mayor.

At the special election on April 4 of the same year, Amos C. Stedman was elected and took office. The aldermen chosen at the first election were; Joseph Crawford, Anson Holisington, William Peacock, Andrew A. Benjamin, William Barge, William H. Van Epps, Harvey E. Williams and Robert P. Robinson> The city council appointed James L. Camp as clerk, and Amos P. Curry, marshal.

The city organization continued under the speical charter of 1859 until March 7, 1904, when it was voted to incorporate uner the terms of the general act of the State of Illinois concerning the incorporation of cities and villages. An attempt had been made at the election held in March 1891, to organize under the general law, but the proposition had been defeated.

Although Dixon's record as a city began in 1859, the earliest records of municipal affairs date back toMarch 20, 1843, when an election was held to determine whether or not a village should be organized under the general statutes of the state permitting organization of villages.

The first record that can now be found concerning the Town of Dixon begins iwth the election of five trustees under the terms of the Act of Feb. 10, 1853, in force March 1 of the same year. On March 7, at the court house, John Dixon, P.M. Alexander, Lorenzo Wood, Legrand Wynkoop and A.L. Porter were elected trustees for the term of one year. These trustees elected John Dixon president and A.B. Judd as clerk of the board.

In 1854 J.B. Brooks was elected president; Fitch R. Dana in 1855; John H. Cropsey in 1856; Lemual W. Atherton in 1857 and Nathan W. Abbott in 1858.

Between the time Dixon became a town in 1853 and te time the town became a city in 1859, six men served as president of the town board of trustees, an office equivalent to that of mayor. They were:

1853 - John Dixon, the town's first settler, who arrived in Dixon April 11, 1830. He was born in Rye, N.Y. Oct. 9, 1784 and died in Dixon July 6, 1876. He served as Peoria county circuit clerk in 1825, Dixon postmaster from 1830-37, member of the state board of public works in 1838, Dixon street inspector in 1854 and was a delegate from Lee county at the Republican state convention at Bloomington 1856.

1854 - Joseph Barker Brooks, a Dixon merchant. He was born in 1820 at Castine ME, and died Dec. 19, 1855 in Dixon.

1855 - Fitch R. Dana, an attorney and member of the firm of Dana and Soule.

1856 - John H. Cropsey, a general contractor who built the first dam at Dixon, and as a member of the firm of Cropsey, Kimball and Williams, assisted in building the Illinois Central railroad from Freeport to LaSalle. He was a member of the town board in 1855. Born in 1825 at Sullivan NY he died May 23, 1897 in Dixon.

1857 - Lemuel W. Atherton an attorney and graduate of Bowdoin college. He was corporation attorney for the town of Dixon from 1853-55, and was associate editor of the Dixon Advertiser in 1858. Born in Castine ME in 1829, he died in DIxon Aug. 6, 1859.

1858 - Nathan W. Abbott a physician who was also a member of the board in 1856. A surgeon in the Union Army in the Civil War, he refused to leave his wounded soldiers and was taken prisoner by the Confederate Army. Born in Auburn NY in 1822 he died in Chicago Aug. 19, 1879.


The First Dixon Inhabitants