Male 1815 - 1878

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  • Name  Billa DICKSON 
    Born  8 Mar 1815  Elizabethtown,Upper Cannada (L,Ontario) Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender  Male 
    Location of Home  1844  Billa Dickson Homestead in Nauvoo, Il Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died  31 Jan 1878  RICHVILLE,MORGAN,UT Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried  3 Feb 1879  Porterville,MORGAN,UT Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Billa Dickson, second son of John Dickson, was born March 8, 1815, in upper Canada.
      Billa married Mary Ann Stoddard about 1837. He, in company with his father's family, traveled with the saints until they arrived in the Valley of Salt Lake in 1852.
      Their first son, Albert Douglas Dickson, was born January 26, 1840, at Porter County Indiana. Judson Dickson was born April 20, 1843. Alvira Dickson was born January 26, 1846.
      Billa Dickson and his family moved to the Wisconsin Lead Mines. They remained there a couple of years until they had the means to come to Utah. From Wisconsin they moved to Monroe County, Iowa, near Eddisville, on the Desmond River, where they stayed for two years. It was there that William H. Dickson was born in 1850.
      In 1850 they moved to Pig Pigeon, Iowa, and the next summer, 1851, Billa raised seventeen acres of corn. That fal1, after the harvest, they moved to Kanesville, Iowa and bought a farm the following spring. He then sold this farm and bought two yoke of oxen and two yoke of cows. They then went to the Missouri River bottom where Ezra T. Benson was organizing the 14th company of Saints. This company started to Utah in the spring of 1852.
      They crossed the Missouri on a large flat boat; two wagons to a trip, three men to the oar, and one at the rear to steer it. The current carried them about a quarter of a mile downstream. Oxen then towed the boat upstream and it recrossed for another load until all had landed on the western bank.
      Their company consisted of fifty wagons and five extra teams, and was organized after Brigham Young's original plan with a captain over each ten, and another captain over each fifty. David M. Cowley filled the former job in their company.
      Under this organization they made the westward start, and continued on to the Elk Horn River in Nebraska. Here they chanced upon an old flat bottom boat of about four or five ton capacity, and concluded that it had been the property of fur traders who had lost or left it there.
      The second night camp was on the Platte River where cholera broke out and two of their company succumbed to this dreaded disease. Cholera continued to make inroads into the camp as far up the river as Loup Fork, taking a total of ten more lives. At Loup's Fork someone threw out a buffalo robe that caused fifty wagons to be stampeded. This caused one woman to be thrown out and killed, and others to be badly shaken.
      From there to Grand Island they trailed without anything out of the ordinary happening. The first buffalo were sighted two days later. There were six or eight in the herd. Billa Dickson, along with others, tried to get one for meat and succeeded in wounding a bull. The children's dog took up the chase of the injured buffalo trailing him until he melted himself. The children mourned more over the loss of their noble dog then the men did over the buffalo making his escape.
      Two days later more buffalo were sighted. William Lindsey killed one and distributed the meat among members of the company. Buffalo became a daily sight and they shot one every time they needed meat. There were thousands of them and often the wagons stopped to let a vast herd pass by.
      They saw many buffalo bones that were bleached white and it was not uncommon to find some little message written by an advance company. They would, in turn, leave messages for the companies still to come.
      While traveling up the north side of the Platte they saw thousands of buffalo on both sides of the river. Since the supply of buffalo meat was exhausted it was necessary for Billa, Ephriam Lindsey and George Ricks to cross the river to get meat. While they were across the river, night overtook them and they dared not return to camp. When they did not return when they were expected, the rest of the company was greatly alarmed.
      The next morning a search party was organized, but before they were ready to start in came the three heavily loaded men with choice strips of meat across their shoulders. This caused much joy to the tired, and worried company.
      Further up the river small bluffs were seen. Cedar was sighted on the other side of the river. The cedar was a welcome sight since many of the wagon tires were getting loose and needed resetting. Accordingly, camp was made by a small bluff and the men with their shovels soon had crossed the river for the cedars. Upon their return a pit was dug and by setting the wood on end in the form of an Indian wigwam, covering it with grass and dirt, and burning it, charcoal was obtained. The next morning the tires were cut and by use of the charcoal fire they were welded and set.
      After traveling several days they passed Ash Hollow and Chimney Rock. Twelve miles later they came to Scott's Bluff, and sixty-four miles from there arrived at Fort Laramie. There they crossed the Platte River to the south side. At Deer Creek a halt was called for the day.
      Billa went hunting with his son. They located a herd of about fifty buffalo. Two members of a Welsh company were after the same buffalo, but on the opposite side and out of sight. The Welshmen shot! The buffalo ran up a small hill, charging toward Billa and his son! When they were within fifty yards, Billa shot and dropped one. The other buffalo came on in a mad rush, not seeing them until they were almost upon them. The herd parted just enough to keep from killing the two men. One animal ran between them, though there was only a yard or so separating them. They went down to where the buffalo lay and found that it was not dead. Billa had to finish him with a butcher knife. At this time the two Welshmen came up. Billa cut out all the meat that he could carry, and gave the rest to them. This was the first buffalo meat that the Welsh company had on their trip. Billa and his son arrived back at camp after dark.
      After traveling a few more days they again stopped for repairs. After setting wagon tires, shoeing oxen, etc., they then continued on up the Platte until the last crossing. This brought them back to the north side of the river. A few days further travel brought them to the Sweetwater River.
      Here a man overtook their ten who belonged to a ten in the rear. He told then that he had broken a wagon tire. Billa, being a blacksmith, was sent back to make the repair. He took a piece of wagon tire, a drill, and with four rivets made the mend. He then made a fire and set the tire, which held until their arrival in the valley.
      The next landmark they passed was Independence Rock. Upon arriving at Devil's Gate the tar supply ran short. They obtained a supply in the following way; in a large kettle were driven strips of split pitch pine as tight as possible, the kettle was then turned bottom side up on a large flat rock, and a fire was made over it. Thus a sufficient quantity of tar was obtained to grease the, wooden axles and linch pins till the end of the journey.
      The next camp was made at the three crossings of the Sweetwater. These crossings are less than a half mile apart. Here Billa, with the others, killed the last buffalo to be seen on the trip. However, some antelope were killed and Billa Dickson had the distinction of killing the only deer on the trip.
      The next place was Ice Springs where there were several bogs. There is said to be ice year around if it is dug for. From Ice Springs they passed over Rocky Ridge, forded several small streams and made the last crossing of the Sweetwater. Going over South Pass they camped on Pacific Creek, the first stream to empty into the Pacific. On they went to a place called Dry Sandy, then to Little Sandy. In this vicinity they came to two roads, one led to Oregon and the other to California. The latter was known as the Sublette Cut-off. They followed it until they came to the Big Sandy which followed to the Green River. After crossing Green River they continued on to Black Fork. A few days travel up this stream brought them to Fort Bridger. They traveled from Fort Bridger to the Muddy, then over Pioneer Ridge to Wold's Creek, on to Bear River and Yellow Creek.
      A young man named Sherman was buried there. He was the last to die on the long and wearisome march. They then came down a fork of Echo Canyon. This was a region filled with brush, beaver dams, and mud holes that afforded them much difficulty in driving their sheep. Continuing up East Canyon they passed up a small hollow to the right, over Big Mountain, and later the same afternoon over Little Mountain into Emigration Canyon, then finally into the Salt Lake Valley. They arrived there October 3, 1852.
      The first glimpse of the Valley with its few scattered houses led most to exclaim, "Do I have to live here the rest of my days?" Whatever doubts Billa Dickson might have had at that first view, he did just that.
      The family went up to Centerville and visited with their mother's Uncle Stoddard for two or three weeks, and then moved to American Fork. That fall they built two houses and a blacksmith shop with logs that were brought from Alpine Canyon by their father and John Meyers. During the winter they made their living from blacksmithing.
      The following spring in 1853 they broke some land and raised their first crop. Bill and Mary Ann's last child, John, was born that fall, at American Fork.
      In the spring of 1854 their father, John Meyers and Alva Nickles made some chaff pitters. Alva Nickles did the wood work, Meyers the iron work, and Bilia made the cogs. That fall they moved up to Davis County and with their machine threshed nearly all winter. At times they shoveled snow from the stacks. This was one of the first threshing machines in Utah.
      In the spring of 1855 they rented a farm from Henry Dalton in Centerville, but a scourge of grasshoppers ate nearly all the crops. In 1856 they moved to Kaysville. They raised a good crop on some land that they rented there. This was the hard year for the people in Utah. They nearly starved before the harvest came.
      In the spring of 1857 one of Billa Dickson's sons was called to build a station for the B. Y. Express Co., thirty-three miles west of Fort Laramie. On the 24th of July, 1857, word was received that Johnston's Army was coming to Utah. This news interfered with the plans of B. Y. Express Co. and consequently everyone tending the various stations was recalled.
      Gov. Young sent the militia to go to meet the army and find out what they were coming for. Billa's son was at Fort Bridger when Lot Smith picked a company, under direction of General Wells, to go to meet Johnston's Army. This son was one of that company.
      In 1859 Billa Dickson bought a small farm in what now is Layton. In the spring of 1863, Billa and his son bought a farm in Richville, Morgan County, Utah. Billa Dickson helped to build the first school house in Richville. It was made of logs. He was County Attorney in Davis County for some time.
      Taken from the Journals of: Asa L. Dickson Albert Douglas Dickson

      Went to the the same church as Henry Stevens-or at least married by the same Reverend: Rev. Wyatt E. Chamberlain, Methodist Episcopal church
    • George Kirkham, another member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, kept a nice journal. During his travels, he stayed with Billa Dickson. The following are his journal entries from that meeting. The full journal can be found at:

      And more information about George Kirkham can be found at:

      Printed with generous permission from Rich Kirkham. Thank you!

      Sunday Nov 28, 1875: The morning was rather fine. After breakfast we settled up and started out on our way. We arrived at Richfield. We stopped. Brother Billa Dickson, many would think that was a nick name for William, but that was not, for they said it was Billa. After dinner Brother Rowley and myself went to meeting. We heard some good instructions. We gave out our notice for our exhibition. We returned to Brother Dickson's. There were a lot of young folks assembled there and some of the language they made use was very much unbecoming Saints. But we now and then come across such people. Well after a long evening of this kind, and the name of the Lord was taken in vain, which I did not like to hear, for I know that the Lord had said that He would not hold him guiltless who taketh His name in vain. Brother Rowley and myself made our bed on the floor. We had to go to bed. Then when the boys had gone, we got up and bowed before the Lord in humble prayer. We thanked Him for His kindness toward us.

      Monday Nov 29, 1875: The weather was pretty fine. I was requested by the brother who was afflicted in his head and blind in one eye to consecrate a bottle of olive oil, which we tended to in the fear of the Lord. After, he wished me to anoint him with the oil, which I did and prayed God to forgive him his sins, for I believed that the Lord was not pleased with the conduct of his family, and did hold him to a great extent for the wrongs which they did, for the language they made use was wicked and grievous to the Lord I felt sure. At night we showed our exhibition. We had quite a crowd. We returned home again to Brother Dickson's. After a long conversation we retired to bed. During the night I was disturbed by the groans of the gentleman who was suffering with a severe pain in his head. I called and asked him if we should get up and administer to him, but he did not say anything, so I did not say any more. After a short time he got up and made a fire and sat by the stove groaning and saying oh dear, oh dear. I told him I was willing to do anything to help him. He said that he could make the fire and light the lamp. After laying a long time hearing his crying, I fell to sleep and had a dream.
    Person ID  I153  Jacobson/Dickson
    Last Modified  14 Sep 2009 

    Father  JOHN DICKSON,   b. 24 Aug 1781, Cambridge,WASHINGTON,NY Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1860, American Fork,UTAH,UT Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother  MARY HENDERSON,   b. 11 Apr 1785, GEORGE,Ontario,Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1851, Kanesville,Potwtt.,IA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  1810 0r 1809 
    Family ID  F89  Group Sheet

    Family  MARY ANN STODDARD,   b. 18 Oct 1817, WASHINGTON,LITCHFIELD,CT Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Aug 1903, RICHVILLE,MORGAN,UT Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  10 Apr 1837  Bastard,Johnstown Distri,Upper Can (Leeds,Ontario) Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. SAMANTHA JANE DICKSON,   b. 26 Feb 1838, Prescott,Ontario,Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1919/1920, Ogden,Weber,UT Find all individuals with events at this location
    >2. ALBERT DOUGLAS DICKSON,   b. 26 Jan 1840, Pleasant,PORTER,IN Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Feb 1923, RICHVILLE,MORGAN,UT Find all individuals with events at this location
     3. JUDSON Stoddard DICKSON,   b. 20 Apr 1843, Camp Creek,Hnck,IL Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Nov 1912
     4. Alvira Aurilia DICKSON,   b. 26 Jan 1846, Camp Creek,HANCOCK,IL Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Jan 1924, Cannonville,Grfld,UT Find all individuals with events at this location
     5. WILLIAM HENDERSON DICKSON,   b. 22 Mar 1850, Morse,Monroe,IA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 5 Apr 1936, Ogden,Weber,UT Find all individuals with events at this location
    >6. JOHN HENRY DICKSON,   b. 13 Nov 1853, American Fork,UTAH,UT Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Nov 1940, Tacoma,PIERCE,WA Find all individuals with events at this location
    Family ID  F82  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsLocation of Home - 1844 - Billa Dickson Homestead in Nauvoo, Il Link to Google Earth
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  • Photos
    Billa Dickson
    Billa Dickson

    Land Plots in Nauvoo, Illinois
    Land Plots in Nauvoo, Illinois
    Where Billa and Mary Ann Dickson lived in Nauvoo, Ill
    1870 Morgan County Utah Census
    1870 Morgan County Utah Census

    Headstone of Billa Dickson and Mary Ann Stoddard
    Headstone of Billa Dickson and Mary Ann Stoddard


    » Slide Show
    Autobiography of Albert Douglas Dickson
    Autobiography of Albert Douglas Dickson
    This is a fascinating story and well worth reading. It tells of wagon stampedes and killing buffalo and buffalo stampedes and entering the salt lake valley. Also tells that he was a huge fan of baseball and watched his children play until his 80's.
    John Myers: Blacksmith and Pioneer of 1852
    John Myers: Blacksmith and Pioneer of 1852
    History of John Myers written by Lois Dickson Anderson, a descendant of Billa Dickson. John Myers was brother-in-law to Billa Dickson and son-in-law to John Dickson and Mary Henderson
    History of Morgan County
    History of Morgan County
    One in a series of articles written by Mrs. William Chadwick to commemorate the centennial of Morgan County.
    History of Morgan County Continued
    History of Morgan County Continued
    Second in a series of articles written by Mrs. William Chadwick to commemorate the centennial of Morgan County.
    Billa Dickson-The Indian Peacemaker
    Billa Dickson-The Indian Peacemaker
    A short story of Billa Dickson negotiating with some Indians in Utah.
    From the book: A Compilation of personal histories of Morgan County's founding ancestors: Morgan Pioneer History Binds Us Together, published by Daughters of Utah Pioneers-Morgan County.
    Short History of William Henderson Dickson
    Short History of William Henderson Dickson
    From the book: A Compilation of personal histories of Morgan County's founding ancestors: Morgan Pioneer History Binds Us Together, published by Daughters of Utah Pioneers-Morgan County