Biography of Ralph Chester Dixon
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Ralph Chester Dixon. While many of the successful men represented in this publication have found their work as farmers, eattle men, merchants, bankers and in the professions, Ralph Chester Dixon had directed his energies practically along one line since leaving college and had made a notable success as a fruit grower and horticulturist in the vicinity of Arkansas City. He had a splendid fruit farm three miles northwest of the city, and is one of the leading commercial apple growers of the state.
Mr. Dixon is a native of Kansas, born at Caldwell August 5, 1875. His people have lived in America for a number of generations. The Dixons came originally out of Ireland and were colonial settlers in Maryland. Until the Civil war the Dixons were slave holders. Mr. Dixon’s grandfather, Benjamin Harrison Dixon, was born near Church Creek, Maryland, in 1812, grew up and married there, and then came West and settled near St. Joseph, Missouri. He was there before the railroad, and St. Joseph was chiefly Important as a river town and a supply point for the West. He acquired a large estate and became a shipping contractor, sending freight across the plains to the Rocky Mountains and further. He owned slaves, and early in the Civil war, because of that fact and because of his pronounced Southern sympathies, was driven out of Missouri and went to the vacant prairles of Nebraska. He died at Caldwell, Kansas, in 1884. He married Aurelia Wilcox, who died near St. Joseph, Missouri. Five of the children of these grandparents are still living, namely: Charles B., a farmer near Ponca City, Oklahoma; Sarah B., who lives at AIhambra, California, widow of Dr. James Shepard, who was a physician; Alma is the wife of Dr. M. B. Vawter, a dentist at Alhambra, California; Carrie married H. H. Davidson, a shoe merchant at Los Angeles, California; and Dorcas resided in Arkansas City, the widow of William Stewart, a farmer.
N. J. Dixon, father of Ralph C., was born near St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1842. He grew up near that city, and as a youth he enrolled in an organization of Confederate soldiers, was captured early in the war, and soon afterwards paroled. He went with his parents to Nebraska, was married at Fall City in that state, and took up his active career as a merchant. In 1871 he removed to Caldwell, Kansas, where he was the pioneer merchant, and also served as the first mayor of the town. He subsequently held the office of county commissioner of Sumner County. He died at Caldwell in 1879. Politically he was a democrat. N. J. Dixon married Julia A. Leaf. She was born in England in 1849, but was brought to Ameries when one year old by her parents, who settled in Michigan and afterwards in Missouri. She died at Caldwell, Kansas, in 1879, the same year as her husband, and her two younger children, Benjamin Harrison and Julia A., aged respectively two and one year, died at the same time as the result of an epidemic of typhoid fever. The only two children to grow up were James L., who died at Arkansas City at the age of nineteen, and Ralph Ohester.
Ralph C. Dixon was educated at Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, and Kemper Military School at Boonville. He was graduated in 1895, and since that year had been engaged in the fruit business at Arkansas City. Mr. Dixon’s fruit farm comprises 400 acres. It is chicfly devoted to apples, and during the ordinary season he is one of the chief shippers of fruit from this point. He and his family live on the farm and he gives it the closest of his personal supervision from early spring until the crop is gathered in the fall. His winter home is a modern residence, complete in all details, which he built in 1917 at the corner of North B Street and Chestnut Avenue in Arkansas City.
Mr. Dixon is closely allied with the interests of Arkansas City, is a member of its Commercial Club and a director in the Security National Bank. He is a Democrat and is affiliated with Creecent Lodge No. 133, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Bennett Chapter No. 41, Royal Arch Masons, and Arkansas City Lodge No. 956, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He married in 1906, at Arkansas City, Miss Marie Ware, daughter of J. M. and Sarah (Adams) Ware. Her father is now living retired at Lawton, Oklahoma.