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Ezra Dixon

Birthplace: Spencer, Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States
Death: March 22, 1936 (86)
Bristol, Bristol County, Rhode Island, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Pvt. Dwight J. Dixon (USA) and Susan Ann Dixon
Husband of Annie Dixon
Father of Fern Leahy

Managed by: Tamás Flinn Caldwell-Gilbert
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Ezra Dixon

Men of genius, power and business ability belong in a sense to the public, and it is no invasion of their rights to minutely chronicle their lives, as it is from the biographies of successful men that the young man learns how he may direct his efforts in order to attain success. Hon. Ezra Dixon, of Bristol, R. I., is a man whose years, sixty-nine, have been years of fruitful endeavor and high attainment, and a rich lesson may be drawn from a study of his career. He came from one of the oldest of New England families, his American ancestor, Nathanial Dixon, coming from Ely, Cambridge, England, prior to the year 1634. Ezra Dixon is a son of Dwight James and Susan Ann (Bixby) Dixon, of York county, Maine, the memory of his parents there cherished in the hearts of their many friends of the region in which they lived prior to their coming to Spencer, Mass., where their son, Ezra, was born. Dwight James Dixon was a son of John Dixon, a highly esteemed citizen of Dudley, Mass. From both maternal and paternal ancestors he inherited a sound mind and a healthy body, and from them he inherited the fine physical and mental equipment which shows as yet no sign of deterioration.

Ezra Dixon was born in Spencer, Mass., December 12, 1849, and was there educated in the district school and through home study. He was interested in machinery from boyhood, and much of his time was spent around the mills of Spencer, when not in school. In 1857 he began his career as a mill worker, he entering the employ of John L. Ross, at Quadic, Conn., and for twenty-nine years he was employed in all the operations of cotton manufacture as back-boy, cleaner, frame spinner, mule piecer, and doffer in mills of East Brookfield, North Uxbridge, Leesville, Stoneville, New Worcester, Linwood, Three Rivers, Lymans Mills, Hopedale and Manchester. During most of the Civil War period he was too young to enlist, but on December 1, 1863, he did enlist in the quartermaster's department in South Carolina, and served until April 6, 1864, when he was mustered out. He re-enlisted July 15, 1864, in Company F, Forty-Second Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, and served until mustered out with his regiment, November 10, 1864. He enlisted a third time, was assigned to the quartermaster's department, at Nashville, and there served until honorably discharged at the close of the war.

With seventeen years of cotton mill experience, minus the time spent in the army, he came to Rhode Island, and on July 8, 1874, entered the employ of the Nanquet Mills at Bristol, R. I., there continuing twelve years in the operating department. From boyhood Mr. Dixon had given full rein to his inventive genius, but it was not until 1876 that he founded The Dixon Lubricating Saddle Company, the culmination of years of thought and hard work. The saddle was an instant success, and was quickly adopted, and is yet in constant demand wherever cotton goods is [sic] manufactured. This was his first important patent, but since that time nineteen others have been issued to him, all valuable additions to cotton mill machinery. The Dixon Lubricating Saddle Company is located in Bristol, Ezra Dixon, president and treasurer, this company with offices in Bristol and Providence, R. I., manufacturing under the Dixon and other patents: The Dixon Lubricating Saddle; Dixon Patent Locking Saddle and Stirrup; Potter's Patent Rowing Guide Motion; Peterson's Patent Pick Shaft; Cumnock Patent Thread Board Shifter, as well as a general line of spinners' supplies. Upon passing from the ranks of the employed to those of the employer, Mr. Dixon carried with him the best wishes of his associates, and in the years which have since intervened he has kept in close touch with the mill worker and his welfare, pursuing policies just and equitable to both owner and worker. To his own manufacturing business he has given his greatest effort, but his labors have extended to other industries and corporations. He is a director of the Industrial Trust Company of Providence, and chairman of the board of managers, Bristol branch, and is now a director of the National India Rubber Company, the Kilburn Mill of New Bedford, Mass., of the Warren Manufacturing Company, and the Fort Drummer Mills of Brattleboro, Vt. The foregoing but outlines the activities of an unusually busy and successful career from a business standpoint. From boyhood a worker, Mr. Dixon has exerted every resource of body and brain to working out the problems which confront the manufacturer. His personal experience as a textile worker was varied and broad, and to this he has added extended tours of travel and study of the conditions which effect or would affect manufacturing interests. Many positions of responsibility and trust offered him have been refused, from the fact that to accept them would be equivalent to a surrendering of those things which had become his very life, his manufacturing interests. But from his coming to Rhode Island, nearly half a century ago, he has manifested a deep interest in the welfare and advancement of his community, and is one of the potent forces responsible for the good which has attended the passing of the years.

His work in purely local affairs may be told quickly, but the good accomplished cannot be told. As a Young Men's Christian Association worker, he has given liberally of his time and means, succeeding to the presidency of the Bristol branch, October 1, 1883, and ever continuing his interest. He was chairman of the committee in charge of the erection of Hydraulion Engine House, the Walley and the Oliver street school houses, and the purchase of the town waterworks. He was appointed sewer commissioner in 1900, and Bristol's fine sewage system is due largely to his public spirit and interest. He serves as a trustee of the Public Library, and has kept in touch with his army comrades through the medium of Babbit's Post, No. 15, Grand Army of the Republic, with which he has been connected since its organization. Mr. Dixon is very prominent in Masonic circles, being a member of Saint Alban's Lodge, No. 6, Free and Accepted Masons, of Bristol, the Council of Warren, St. John's Commandery, Knights Templar, of Providence, R. I., Consistory; also member and past noble grand of United Brothers Lodge, No. 13, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of Bristol. He is a past department commander of Rhode Island and there is no better known or more highly respected member of the Grand Army in the State. Politically, Mr. Dixon is a Republican, was elected in 1907 to the House of Representatives from Bristol, and in 1908, he was elected state senator from Bristol. His senatorial career was marked by close attention to committee and floor work, his votes prompted by a careful consideration of each question submitted to him. Personally he is a man of agreeable manner and genial disposition, a friend to every man who will be friendly, upright and just in all his intercourse with his fellowmen. He is a member of the Country Club, at Barrington, Turk's Head Club of Providence, and various other organizations, also a member of the Southern New England Textile Club.

Mr. Dixon married, August 14, 1872, at Uxbridge, Mass., Annie Prest, daughter of William and Rebecca (Morton) Prest, both born in Blackburn, England. Mr. and Mrs. Dixon are the parents of three sons and two daughters: Fred Morton, born March 12, 1874; Ezra (2), Oct. 12, 1877; Annie Rebecca, Sept. 28, 1879; William Garfield, July 4, 1883; Fern, Jany. 13, 1888, the wife of Edward J. Leahy, of Bristol. The eldest child was born at Hopedale, Mass., the other children at Bristol, R. I. Nearing the age of three score and ten, Mr. Dixon can review a successful and happy life, and is a self-made man in every sense of the word.

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Ezra Dixon's Timeline

December 12, 1849
Spencer, Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States
January 13, 1888
March 22, 1936
Age 86
Bristol, Bristol County, Rhode Island, United States