From land grants to settlement, Dickinson’s early pioneers

Dickinson is named for John Dickinson, who in 1824 received a Mexican grant for land north of the community’s present site. A settlement called Dickinson existed on Dickinson Bayou shortly before 1850.

The earliest owners of the parcels of land comprising present-day Dickinson were James L. Perry, Emily Austin, Mary Austin, Alexander Farmer and William K. Wilson.

Stephen F. Austin gave Farmer title to his league in 1831. Farmer sold property to John J. Bowman and George Cook in 1859. In 1884, Charles Nolan acquired this tract.

Nolan’s neighbors were W.S. Deats, his wife Jane, and their thirteen children. The Deats family moved to Galveston from Montgomery, Alabama, in 1850. The family moved to Dickinson in 1871.

In 1843, James Perry sold four tracts to George Hammerkin, who in turn sold 484 acres to a German immigrant, Herman Benson.

Other early settlers to the area include Gustav Schmidt, George Cook, William Giesler, William Nelson, Henry Satchell, Norbert Edwards, Frank McMahan, Allen and Stacy Lewis, Ed McLean, Clarence Thayer, Robert Hughes, Sr., and Henry Ahlers.

John G. Tod, an early settler, purchased 3,728 acres of the original Wilson League. Tod raised cattle in the 1840s, 50s and 60s. The cattle market at that time was mostly for the tallow and hides. However, a “Beef Packery” was built in Dickinson sometime in the 1860s, and it served as the location of “The First Annual Ball,” held on the 21st of April, the 26th anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto. There is no record of “The Second Annual Ball.”