Biography of William Gibson Dickie
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William Gibson Dickie. Though he began his career on a Kansas farm with very few advantages in the way of schooling and has had to work for his own support and for that of others since boyhood, William G. Dickie has acquired a very honorable position in business affairs at Topeka, and has a record embodying many useful years spent in public office, in manufacturing lines, and in connection with several Kansas corporations.
A native of Kansas, he was born six miles west of Olathe, Johnson County, January 21, 1870. His parents, William Holmes and Charity (Gibson) Dickie, had moved to their farm in Johnson County only a short time before his birth. William Holmes Dickie, as was his wife, was a native of Pennsylvania. He gained his education in district schools while working on his father’s farm, afterwards acquired a place of his own, was married, and in 1856 brought his family to Illinois. There at the outbreak of the war he enlisted in Company E of the One Hundred and Second Illinois Infantry, going in as a musician and immediately being assigned to the hospital corps, with which he served through the war. Released from the army he rejoined his family in Illinois, and they soon afterwards decided to move to Kansas, locating first on the farm in Johnson County above mentioned. Here they had the usual vicissitudes attending Kansas agriculture in those days. The first crops were entirely destroyed by grasshoppers. However, they were better off the second year, and in the course of time by the labors of all members of the household they were making a comfortable living.
On account of his military service William H. Dickie was never in robust health after the war, and the burden involved in the support of eight children had to be shared proportionately by all the younger members of the household as strength permitted. Thus William G. Dickie began to feel the serious responsibilities of life when only a child. He was ambitious to secure an education, but he had to study as opportunity presented itself in the intervals of work, and some time after leaving off from attendance at the district schools he was able to complete a course in the Spaulding Commercial College at Kansas City, Missouri.
His first position after leaving this school was as bookeeper with the Farmers’ Co-operative Shipping Association at Beloit, Kansas. This was an organization of the farmers of Mitchell County. In the meantime the Dickie family had moved to Mitchell County. The association of which Mr. Dickie was bookkeeper was one of the first of its kind and was the forerunner of the Farmers’ Union. After two years he was offered and accepted the place of deputy county treasurer of Mitchell County, and was engaged in the creditable performance of the duties of that office for three years. He then resigned to become assistant cashier of the Beloit State Bank, a post he also held three years. His next promotion was as manager of the state printing establishment under John S. Parks, state printer. That called him to Topeka, with which city he has since been identified. He was with the state printing office six years, two years under Mr. Parks and four years under W. Y. Morgan, now lieutenant-governor of Kansas.
In the meantime on June 19, 1902, Mr. Dickie and Miss Bertha Morris of Lancaster, Wisconsin, were married. To their union was born one child named Margaret.
In 1903 Mr. Dickie organized and became president of the Jensen Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of creamery supplies. The plant of this company was built at East Eighth and the Santa Fe Railroad tracks, and is now occupied by the Pierson Transmitter Company of Topeka. Mr. Dickie’s associates in that enterprise were W. F. Jensen, J. S. Parks and A. Jensen, and later George A. Clark. In 1912, after having operated successfully for nine years, the business of the company was purchased by the J. G. Cherry Company of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Mr. Dickie then removed to Cedar Rapids to become supervisor in the manufacture of articles formerly made at Topeka. He lived at Cedar Rapids two years. While there, in October, 1912, he suffered a great loss in the death of his wife. She was laid to rest in Lancaster, Wisconsin, her former home.
On February 1, 1914, Mr. Dickie returned to Topeka and became president of the Kaw Paving Company. This is one of the large industries of Topeka, and his other associates in the executive management are H. A. Kingsley, vice president; H. L. Shire, secretary and treasurer; and Miss Cora Green, assistant secretary.
Mr. Dickie is one of the organizers and the vice president of the Kansas State Employers’ Association. This association has relations with all lines of interest and industry in the state, and its purpose is to promote proper legislation indiscriminately for the good of employer and employe alike, and it has already accomplished a large amount of wholesome good. Mr. Dickie is on the board of directors of the Topeka Title and Bonding Company, is a member of the Commercial Club, is a Mason, and politically is independent in local matters, though a republican when it comes to national issues.