Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Independent-Walter Dickerson 1763-1855 (52 Ancestors #27)

This week’s challenge was to write about “Independent” in honor of the 4th of July.  My great-great-great-great grandfather is the most researched of my ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War.

Walter Dickerson was born in New Jersey on 17 June 1763. He served as a private in his uncle Thomas Dickerson’s company during the war. According to service records, Walter joined in July of 1780 for a six month service term, and was wounded in the ankle during his service.

Walter married Penelope Heaton 2 March 1785 in Morris County, New Jersey.  They traveled the Cumberland Gap to Washington County, Pennsylvania for a few years, then on to Butler County, Ohio.  They had 11 known children, the last being born in 1804. Walter and Penelope were listed in the 1820 and 1830 Censuses for Butler County, Ohio. In 1832, Walter was issued $20 for his pension.

By 1835 Walter and Penelope Heaton Dickerson and most of their family had moved to Vigo County, Indiana.  Walter was about 72 years old when they moved. 

According to Revolutionary Soldiers of Vigo County:

“Here they settled down, worked, built their home and reared their children.  They built log houses, log school houses, roads and bridges using a saw mill on what was later the Paul Kuhn property.  In 1822, a son-in-law Graham built the Otter Creek bridge at a cost to the county of less than $300.  The lumber was prepared at the Dickerson saw mill.  The early Dickersons were school teachers, county commissioners, store keepers, judges, postmasters, postmistresses and road supervisors."

Penelope died in November of 1849 (at the age of 86), and Walter remarried in August of 1850 (at the age of 87) to Sarah, widow of Garthwait.  Sarah was about 20 years younger than Walter and was listed as a physician in the 1850 Vigo County Indiana Census.

In 1855 Walter applied for a 160 acre land grant based on his war service. He died in October of that year, but the land grant was issued to his widow Sarah.

Walter "married twice after Penelope's death in 1849 at the age of 86. He attained the great age of 92 years, three months and 21 days."

"Walter Dickerson (1763-1855) died at the home of my grandparents Martha Dickerson and James Ferrel."  from Bessie Ferrel Ballard, 1959. (See Wabash Courier-Vigo Co.IN-Oct. 13, 1855)

Walter and his family are buried in the Dickerson Cemetery, which is now in the Hulman Links golf course.  Cemetery records state that he died at age 92y 5m 21d.  (NOTE: it has been written that Walter and his wife are buried on what was their old homestead.)

"On May 27, 1929, his grave was officially honored with a white marble government tombstone.  Ceremonies were conducted by Fort Harrison Chapter, DAR.  The grave location was described then as 'on the Paul Kuhn farm, directly across the road from the Glenn Orphan Home'".


  1. Hello! I joined DAR over a year ago and Walter Dickerson in my Patriot, too. I would be curious to know if you have gone farther back in the genealogy to see if he is connected to John Dickinson.
    It would be fun to connect sometime as I have relatives in the Peoria area.

  2. Walter was my third-great grandfather. I grew up on part of the land a son, John Dickerson, bought in Seelyville, Ind., when the family moved there in 1835. The initial post mentions the Scofields; a Scofield family also bought land in Lost Creek Township, Vigo County, Ind., in the homesteading times.

  3. Sorry, had my posts wrong. Walter did convey land in Butler County to a Scofield, who was likely a relative by marriage and a Scofield did move to Indiana at the same time Walter did.

  4. Hi! I am a descendant of Walter and Penelope (Heaton) Dickerson. I have seen several write-ups that indicate it is necessary to receive written permission to visit the Dickerson Cemetery in Lost Creek Township, East Glenn, Vigo County. Does anyone know to whom I need to write to gain access to visit the graves? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    Terri Dickerson Foster

    1. Terri - I thought I had replied to your post, but don't see it here. I think Indiana law requires landowners to allow descendants access to family cemeteries. Try calling the Lost Creek Township trustee's office in Seelyville for best information.PHONE NUMBER: (812) 877-3415. I believe Rick Long is still the trustee.

  5. I, too, am a DAR and Walter is my Patriot.