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Maj. Tilman Dixon,
Patriot, Soldier, Explorer, and
"Dixona", located at Dixon Springs, Smith County,
Tennessee is the home of Revolutionary war veteran Maj. Tilman Dixon. It
served as a pioneer home, as Smith County's first Courthouse and as a Tavern.
(Later became home of Col. James Vaughn of Mexican War
fame, who added the two brick wings). Photo by Scott
Listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.
Oldest House in Middle Tennessee.
"Dixona is one of the few houses
in Tennessee having been built in North Carolina, and having to not move one
Dixona (1787-1789) is older than the
State of Tennessee, created 1796)
"On his magnificent 3840
acre estate, ...Dixon built between 1787 and some time in 1789, a substantial
log house of eight or more rooms, outhouses, barns and
quarters."It was here that Dixon
served as the "first Post Master, first merchant, and first tavern keeper in
"this part of the Cumberland country." Dixon also built the first school house
in the immediate area. In addition, he served as "one of the first magistrates
of the County, and a member of the Court of Common Pleas and Quarter
Smoke house at Dixona
North Carolina State flag
This Webpage is dedicated to Maj. Tillman Dixon, whose
memory shall not be forgotten.
Lest We Forget.
Highway 25 from Gallatin to Carthage has officially been named by the
State of Tennessee
as the "Tilman Dixon Highway"
Another highway marker in front of Dixona reads, "Here the former
Captain of the Revolutionary Army from North Carolina made the first
settlement in this section about 1788-1798. He is buried north of the
house. The spring to the southeast, a noted immigrant camping place,
gave Dixon Springs it's name. Smith County's first court was held here in this
house Nov 16-17 1799."
Maj. Tilman (Tilghman) Dixon was born 26 Jun
1750 in what is now Caswell County, North Carolina. His parents are Henry Dixon,
Sr. (b. abt. 1723, Virginia) and Elizabeth Abernathy (d/o of Robert
Abernathy, Jr). Henry Dixon, Sr. died in October 1795, and it is believed
to be buried in Caswell County, North Carolina. More on Dixon family Genealogy
can be found on the Lt. Col. Henry Dixon
Webpage. No picture is known to exist of Maj. Dixon and the only description
of him available is that he was that he frequently wore deerskin clothes and was
fond of playing cards. According to Gen. George Washington, he was "a Captain
who served till the end of the war". Tilman's brothers and sisters (not
necessarily arranged in birth order) are the following:
1. Tabitha Dixon (1734- ) m. John
Susannah Dixon (1738- ) m. John Turner, Jr. 3. Lt. Col.
Henry "Hal," Dixon (1740-1782) m. Martha Frances Wynne. Died of battle
wounds while serving in the Continental Army.(GGGG Grandparents of Scott K. Williams, author of this
Webpage) 4. Lt. Charles
Dixon. (-1806) did not marry. Also served in the North Carolina Line
of the Contitnental Army. Wounded at the Battle of Eutaw
Robert Dixon, (1748-1793) m. Ann Bacon 6. Betsy Dixon, m. Mr.
Jane Dixon, m. Joseph Bracklin
In 1782, Capt. Tilman Dixon was one of
three North Carolina Continental officers elected to accompany a party,
commissioned by the North Carolina Assembly, to survey "bounty lands for it's
soldiers along the Cumberland River" (in the present State of Tennessee). In
addition to Dixon, elected were Lt. Col. Selby Harney, Maj. John Nelson, Capt.
Alexander Brevard and Dr. Thomas Bull ( "included in the party, not only for his
medical skills but because he could speak Spanish fluently and much of the land
to be surveyed was along the borders of land where Spanish-speaking people
Following his service of exploration,
Tilman Dixon, apparently was awarded the rank of Major Tilman Dixon.
According to Tilman Dixon researcher, Mr. Billy Young, Dixon "In the early part
of 1787...Came up the Cumberland River by canoe from Mansker's Station with Col.
William Walton...to stake out their Revolutionary War grants" This was
apparently after Dixon's initial visit to the area approximately four to five
years earlier.It is very
possible that among the "Spanish speaking people" who resided near this area,
that Capt. Dixon came to know Maria (Mary) Don Carlos (b. 16 May 1767; d. 26 Aug
1806), daughter of Archelous Carlos (reportably of an aristocratic Spanish
family that had settled first in Virginia.). A marriage bond was obtained
in County of Sussex, Virginia, dated Nov. 16th 1789, by Tilman Dixon with a
co-bondsman, Robert Booth.
Maj. Tilman Dixon and Mary Don Carlos had
atleast six children and three known
1. Americus Vespucius Dixon, b. 1790; married Lucy J.
Jeffreys. 2 Don Carlos Dixon, b. 10 Mar 1792, d. 22 Nov 1841; married 1st
Mary Jouett Allen (d. 21 Sep 1815); married 2nd, Elizabeth Harriet Bilbo (b. 21
Jan 1800, d. 16 Oct 1825). Three children born to 2nd
a. Americus Vespucius Dixon ( b. 26 Aug 1820; d. 19 Aug 1826) b. Charles William Dixon
(b. 22 Mar 1825, d. 3 Sep 1856); married
Virginia Bashaw (b. 19 Mar 1833, d. 15 Aug 1853)
c. Elizabeth Mary Dixon ( b. 10 Oct
1822, d. 13 May 1892); married
3. Polly Greenway Dixon (b. 1794, d. abt 1855 at age 61); Married Col.
Archibald Overton. 4. Tilman Tennessee Dixon (b. 1796, d. ? ) 5. Betsy Henry Dixon (b. 1799, d.
?) 6. Eliza
Henry Dixon (b. 1802, d. 1871)
According to Mr. Billy Young (Tilman
Dixon researcher and present day owner of
Maj. Dixon's home was "a long favored
stopping place for the owner's friends, and those inclined to more luxurious
surroundings than the camp afforded; and many notables were entertained
It was here in 1797, that Dixon entertained the
future King of France,
Louis Philippe, Duke of Orleans during the famous, "Tour of
America", planned by Gen. George Washington. Other Royal guest included the
Counts de Montpensier and Beaujolais (plus a servant), who reported that they
"Had at Major Dixon's, the luxury of coffee, and two beds for four." King
Louis-Philippe I ruled for eighteen years from 1830 to 1848, before he was
forced to abdicate the throne.
In 1792, Gov.
William Blount, signer of U.S. Constitution and then Governor of "The
Territory South of the Ohio" during a overland journey to Nashville reported
visiting Maj. Dixon. On the trail from Knoxville to Nashville, Blount
came across a stray pack horse carrying a "featherbed and trunk filled with
hats and shoes. On arriving to Dixon's Spring the next day they found the
horse belonged to Dixon. By this, it may be reasonably inferred that he
(Dixon) was already a merchant, and the shoes abd hats were being brought
across the mountains for his trade."
It is also reported that Gov. John Sevier (not
pictured) frequently visited here when court were held during the time
when Dixona served as a courthouse for Sumner County.
To see a better image click on the picture. To return to this page,
select "back" on your browser.
Above is pictured the grave site of Mary Don Carlos Dixon.
(Stone is engraved as "Mrs. Mary Dixon") It consists of an empty "stone box"
erected over the ground where the body is buried. It is an old pioneer tradition
to construct graves in this fashion, in order to prevent animals from digging
into the grave. This is probably an Old World tradition that gradually stopped
being practised, as the newer graves (of the Col. Vaughn family) are the
conventional upright stones. I was not able to read a stone reading Tilman
Dixon, but there are atleast two other "stone box" type graves present
(unreadable names) inwhich one undoubtably is his. The nearest one to Mary's
grave is a "stone box" that has been badly damaged, with the top caved in,
probably from a tree falling down at some time. Many other graves lie here (Col
James Vaughn, ect.), unfortunately due to my limited time I was unable do a
thorough inspection of the cemetery.
Tall weeds, numerous vines (including Poison Ivy) and small
trees will proove a challenge to any clean up effort here. It is my hope
that some civic or veteran group (DAR, SAR, ect.) will adopt this as a project
and restore this historic cemetery before it becomes lost forever. Personally, I
would be willing to assist in this project if there is others in the area (which
I am not, being from St. Louis, Mo.) that would want to take an active
part. In the very least, a new stone or marker should be installed for
Maj. Tilman Dixon, a veteran of the War of
"Appointed Lieutenant in the first
North Carolina Regiment 20 Oct. 1775. He first served at the battle of Moores
Creek Bridge. He became Captain Feb 15 1777 in the North Carolina Line,
Continental Army. He along with his brothers (Lt. Col. Henry Dixon, Lt.
Charles Dixon) and nephew, Wynne Dixon participated in the Battles of
Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, not to mention suffered at Valley Forge. At
the fall of Charleston (May 12 1780) he was taken prisoner . Exchanged on 14
June 1781 and retired 1 Jan 1783. After his exploration of bounty lands
along the Cumberland River he obtained a rank of
"The first Tribunal held in the County convened in this
residence on December 16, 17, 18, 1799, in pursuance to chapter 16 Acts of 1799
General Assembly, designating that the Court should be so held at Major Dixon's
house. The accuracy and diligence with which the Clerk of the Court of Common
Pleas and Sessions was required to function can best be shown by the amount of
the clerk's bond. "The said Sampson Williams then entered into bond with Tilman
Dixon and Garrett Fitzgerald for securities in the penal sum of $10,000---for
faithful discharge of the duties of his office". This bond at present
values would be a bond equal to or greater than a quarter million dollars.
The Court of Nine Justices was ranked between the Justice of Peace Courts and
Superior District Courts (The Supreme Courts) and has power to do a great many
things, some unusual today, such as the appointment of all County Officials and
Public Prosecutor. However they could not give the death penalty. The records
are still preserved in the present Smith County Court House at Carthage,
Tenn. At the time of the meeting of the first Court the boundaries of the
county were far flung, bounded on the East by the Cherokee Boundary, which was
run and marked agreeably to the treaty of Holston. The General Assembly of 1801
extended the boundary of Smith County over the Creek lands to the south boundary
of the state, making a county of some 135 miles by 110
source: "Dixona, Frontier Home, Court House and Tavern",
article by Billy Young, reprinted from Nashville Tennessean.
"Dixona, Frontier Home, Court
House and Tavern", by Billy Young; article published by Nashville
"The North Carolina
Continentals", by Hugh F. Rankin; University of North Carolina Press, Chapel
"The Patriots at Moores Creek
Bridge", by Bobby Gilmer Moss; Scotia-Hibernia Press, Blacksburg, SC;
Jim Allen Smith, of Champaign, Illinois (also gggg
of Lt. Col. Henry Dixon) for sharing information about Dixona with
Animated North Carolina and
Tennessee flag from Riad
I am especially indebted to Billy and Faith
Young for their courtesy and hospitality to which much of the information
and pictures for this Website would not be possible. Also for their
excellant work has Dixona been preserved for us to visit
Dixon Family Mailing List ("A mailing list for the discussion and sharing of
information regarding the DIXON surname and variations (e.g., Dixson, Dickson)
in any place and at anytime.") . How to Subscribe ? "It's easy -- just
click on the list you want. When the "mail-to" window pops up, write just the
single word "subscribe" in the body of the message. That's all."
If you want to unsubscribe from a list, click on it and write just the
single word "unsubscribe" in the body of the message.
(firstname.lastname@example.org) for regular mode. Postings come immediately
as separate e-mails.
(DIXON-Demail@example.com) for Digest mode. Postings for that day come
alltogether as one e-mail. (My personal favorite)
To Post messages to the Dixon Family Mailing List, send posts to
Only Send "subscribe" and "unsubscribe" requests to
ROOTS-Lfirstname.lastname@example.org or DIXON-Demail@example.com (depending if you
have regular mode or digest mode)
This Website owned and managed by Scott K. Williams,
Florissant, Mo. Email: Showmemule"at"earthlink.net
(delete "at" and replace with @ ). Sorry about the inconvenience but due to
email harvesting software that spammers use, I have to post it like this.
Copyright 1998, All Rights Reserved
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