William  Dickson







W.L. Dickson died Monday March 6, 1933

'W.L. Dickson, colored, age 68, died at the home of his niece at Hearne, Texas, Monday at two thirty. he had been in ill health for many months, seeking relief at Hot Spring, Dallas and other places. In the summer of 1932 his white and color friends of Gilmer and Upshur County made up a purse to bring him home from Hot Springs and take care of him here. Several weeks ago his niece came up from Hearne and took him home with her and it was at her place he died. 

Dickson was one of the most prominent men of his race in Texas . he was born in Grimes County 68 years ago and came to Gilmer forty four years ago and was the pastor at the Gilgal colored Baptist church. In 1889 he 

The Trustees of Dickson Colored Orphanage met in Dallas and on Dec. 14, 1929 made the following statement "Dickson Orphanage Board of Trustees ends work and have accepted the resignation of the Rev. W.L. Dickson, president of the Board and for the last 30 years manager of the orphanage he founded, with resolution of regrets and commendation.  

There was one half brother R.H. Boyd and five Dixon brothers. These brothers scattered early and were unlearned. In later years when they were all brought together again by their half brother who had become prosperous in Nashville, Tennessee, the boys and three girls in the family had assumed three spellings of their name Dixson, Dickson, Dixon. Dr. Boyd got them to settle on the name of Dixon, all but the brother W.L. Dickson, who by that time had several legal papers carrying his name as Dickson.



Richard Henry Boyd, Baptist leader, publisher, and entrepreneur, was born into slavery as Dick Gray on March 5, 1843, at the B. A. Gray plantation in Noxubee County, Mississippi. His mother, Indiana Dixon, had six other boys and three girls. In 1849 Gray began a plantation near Brenham in Washington County, Texas. Boyd worked there until the outbreak of the Civil War and then accompanied Gray as a servant in one of the Confederate armies fighting around Chattanooga, Tennessee.

  Notes extracted from

Historical Markers 

Marker Title: Gilgal Baptist Church

Marker Text: In 1865 the Rev. John Baptist led the founding of this congregation. The members built a brush arbor here and chose the name "Gilgal" after the site of the Israelites first encampment in the promised land. Tom Littlepage gave two acres for the church grounds and for a black school. Later, three acres were purchased from Judge J. R. Warren. The first frame church building was erected here in 1872 during the ministry of the Rev. J. H. Hill. In 1900, after serving this fellowship, the Rev. W. L. Dickson founded an orphanage, fulfilling his lifelong dream. The Dickson Colored Orphans Home, near Gilmer, operated for years before the state government took charge and moved the facility to Austin. The Rev. S. H. Howard served longer and baptized more members than any other pastor of this congregation. About 1905, during Rev. Howard's ministry, this structure was completed. The building was veneered with brick during the pastorate of an evangelist, the Rev. H. W. Gray. The first full-time minister, the Rev. Floyd D. Harris, led in the building of the educational annex. A parsonage was constructed during the pastorate of the Rev. U. L. Sanders.


1880 U.S. Census
 Name  Relation Marital Status Gender Race Age Birthplace Occupation Father's Birthplace Mother's Birthplace
 Mary Dickson  Self      Female   B   43   Tennessee  Keeping House   Kentucky   North Carolina 
 Anthony Dickson, JR.   Son      Male   B   19   Texas  Laborer   Alabama   Tennessee
 Isaac Dickson  Son      Male   B   17   Texas  Laborer   Alabama   Tennessee
 Wm. Dickson  Son   S   Male   B   13   Texas  Works On Farm   Alabama   Tennessee
 Frank Dickson  Son   S   Male   B   11   Texas  Works On Farm   Alabama   Tennessee
 Thos. Dickson  Son   S   Male   B   8   Texas  At Home   Alabama   Tennessee
 Mary Dickson  Dau   S   Female   B   6   Texas  At Home   Alabama   Tennessee
 Charley Dickson  Son   S   Male   B   4   Texas  At Home   Alabama   Tennessee
E.D. 66, Courtney, Grimes, Texas