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Edward E. Dix. The vocation of railroading continues to attract many ambitious young men when they enter upon life’s activities, and this field of activity has often proven rich in opportunity to those who have possessed the inclination to work industriously and faithfully, to scorn hardships, to face heavy responsibilities, and to give absolute devotion to the interests of the great systems which employ them. There is no place for those who do not thus prove themselves. Among the officials of almost every other line of business there are found men of sterling worth who would have succeeded well in almost any field of activity, but for railroading there must be natural inclination, and this must be supplemented by hard, practical experience. In this connection may be cited the career of Edward E. Dix, general agent of the Frisco Railroad at Fort Scott, Kansas, who has won promotion from the very bottom of the ladder through the possession of the qualities noted above as being necessary for success in the life of a railroad man.
Mr. Dix was born at Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas, March 21, 1860, and is a son of Ralph C. and Jette (Graham) Dix, the former born at Wethersfield, Hartford County, Connecticut, and the latter at Freeport, Stephenson County, Illinois. Ralph C. Dix had learned the trade of mechanic in the East but felt that his field was too restricted and therefore decided to try his fortunes in the great West. From his native state he went to Illinois, and, in 1855, in company with the father of Frank Faxon of Kansas City, Missouri, drove overland from Chicago to Kansas City, subsequently coming to Lawrence, Kansas, where he at once began the manufacture of plows. This was the first industry of the kind started in Kansas, and at first his principal trade was with the Indians, but the early white settlers were already beginning settlement and there is no doubt but that Mr. Dix would have built up a large and prosperous business had his life been spared. However, this was not to be, for when the notorious Quantrell and his band came to Lawrence, the family home, adjoining the Johnson house, was at the point of the fiercest fighting and was burned to the ground and Mr. Dix and one of his brothers were killed. Mrs. Dix was left with three small children: Edward E., and twin daughters, Belle and Lucy. Belle later married the Hon. George H. Edwards of Kansas City, and Lucy is the wife of W. S. Kinnear of Columbus, Ohio. Subsequently, Mrs. Dix married W. J. Flinton, editor of the Lawrence Gazette, and still lives in that city, in advanced years.
The public schools of Lawrence furnished Edward E. Dix with his educational training, but he was fatherless and it was necessary that he do something to support himself, and he therefore had no chance for an academic or college training. At the age of sixteen years he put aside his school books and began his connection with railroad work in the capacity of messenger boy in the employ of what was known as the Saint Louis, Lawrence & Western Railroad. This was but a modest start, but the youth possessed ambition and energy, and his employers soon recognized these traits, together with his inherent ability, so that he was advanced from time to time until he reached the position of telegraph operator. In this capacity he was stationed at different points along the line, each one of more responsibility than the one which had preceded it, and thus he secured practical and diversified experience which stood him in good stead in later years. When he was stationed at Carbondale, the railroad went into the hands of a receiver and the line between Carbondale and Lawrence was given up. Mr. Dix, disappointed, but not discouraged, returned to Lawrence, where he worked as an operator until 1878, and in that year transferred his services to the Frisco Railroad, with which he has been connected ever since. With this line he resumed his activities as an operator, taking various posts along the line of the road, and in 1882 came his reward for fidelity in the shape of an appointment to the office of agent at Fort Scott. During the next eighteen years he discharged the duties of this position faithfully and efficiently, and in 1900 he was advanced to the post of general agent, a position which he has continued to occupy to the present time.
Mr. Dix has made railroading his life work. That he has continued in the same vocation that he adopted in his boyhood shows him to be possessed of the true spirit of the trainman. Being a close student of railroading, he is justly accounted one of the best informed men upon the subject in the state, as well as one of the most competent and reliable. He has been constantly interested in the growth and development of Fort Scott, and as a helpful participant in local affairs has served as president of the Fort Scott Business Men’s Association, a position in which his progressive ideas as to the problems of the day did much to advance civic and commercial interests. He is prominent in Masonry, having reached the thirty-second degree and being a member of the Shrine, and also holds membership in the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Always a republican, he has been stanch in his support of that party, and in 1900 was appointed by Governor Stubbs as a delegate to the National Conservation Congress, which met that year at Minneapolis.
On October 21, 1900, Mr. Dix was united in marriage with Miss Sarah Miller, who, prior to her marriage, was superintendent of music in the public schools of Fort Scott. She was born and reared in Indiana, and is a lady of culture and refinement. One son has come to Mr. and Mrs. Dix: John Perry, who was born June 2, 1902.