Yuma County, Colorado

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Yuma County Pioneers

Matthew M. and Indiana (Harmon) Dickson

Matthew M. Dickson was of Irish descent and was born in Beatystown, New Jersey, in 1853. His early years were spent in Beatystown and Hacketstown, New Jersey, where he learned the ways of farming in the New England upland region of the Garden State.
As a young man Matthew was raised primarily by his mother who had lost her husband, a Union soldier, in the American Civil War. The family that remained consisted of Matthew, Eliza, Jacob and May who were no doubt seasoned at an early age to be independent, self-sustaining individuals equipping them well for pioneering futures.
Romance entered Matt's life in the form of Indiana Harmon, a young lady from Switzerland County, Indiana. Indiana, like Matthew, had lost her father, a Confederate volunteer, during the American Civil War. After a customary and proper courtship, the two joined in Holy matrimony on Feb. 24, 1880, in La Moille, Illinois.
During the early years of the marriage the couple resided in Switzerland County, Indiana, and on a farm in Illinois where two of their five children, Myrtle and Jess, were born.
In early 1886, news of bright futures in the west enticed the couple to make preparation for emigration to new land that is now a part of Yuma County, Colorado. Arriving on Christmas Eve, Dec., 24, 1886, Matthew Dickson on behalf of his family filed a preemption claim on a parcel of land seven miles northeast of present day Yuma.
As one might suspect, the twilight years of the nineteenth century on the plains of eastern Colorado were often incredibly harsh and unpredictable, but to this family the realization of a dream had been accomplished and returning to the east was unthinkable.
Their family prospered with addition of three more children, Maude, Lester and Benjamin, and as so many other pioneer families after 20 years of occupying the land that had originally been claimed in 1886, Matthew and Indiana moved to a residence in Yuma during the month of October 1906. Fl 14 Upon locating in Yuma, Matthew engaged in self-enterprise. He was involved in local politics and served as one of Yuma County's earliest commissioners. Upon his death, in 1941, Matthew had been a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for more than 60 years.
Indiana survived Matthew by a decade and continued her civic involvement with the Sunflower Rebecka Lodge No. 129 where she was a faithful member, and noble grand with the degree of chivalry bestowed upon her.
Of the five children born to this union, all remained native to Yuma County, with the exception of daughter Myrtle who made her home in Oregon. Today, one daughter remains, Maude, who is celebrating her 103rd year.
Ben Dickson added these memories ...When I was very young, probably about 5 or 6 years old, I remember going with my father Ben Dickson Sr. over to Grandma and Grandpa Matthew and Indiana Dicksons. Dad would walk around behind the head of the bed, step up on the lower rail of the bed, and reach over and pull grandpa up in bed! Dad had two brothers that would go and help grandpa too. Back then they did things a lot different. Today people go to a nursing home. Grandma Indiana lived about half a block down the alley from us. I remember going over to visit her, as do my sisters and brothers. We would go to the pantry and get a tin can that had some wooden curtain rings and a few other items that we would take into the living room and play with on the floor, and talk to grandma. The folks gave us kids strict orders to pick everything up, and put it away before we left. We always did. Grandma played a lot of cards in the 11 years after grandpa passed away. She didn't have a card table but would lay a board or piece of card board across the arms of her chair. She must have played a million games of solitare. One of the things I liked about going to grandma's was hearing the chime clock. I thought that was great.......

By Ron McNichols

Matthew cash-claimed a quarter in 24, 3N 48W in 1891, near a number of other 1890-1891 cash claimants.

The Hammond school opened in 1892 "John McDermott was Hammond's original teacher in 1892. He received $30 a month. Pupils of the first class were Jay Ingersoll, Eddie, Johnny, and Claude Tribbett, Willie and Evelyn Bermond, Mary and Lissie Ziegler, Evelyn Hammond, and Jesse, Myrtle and Maud Dickson."

June 2, 1899 "A horse being driven by Mrs. M. M. Dickson one day last week became frightened in some manner and ran away, throwing Mrs. D. out of the buggy and painfully injuring her right shoulder."

In 1900 Yuma County, Matthew born October 1853 in New Jersey, married 19 years to India Feb 8163 Indiana, have Jessie July 1882 Illinois, Myrtle May 1886 Illinois, Maud April 1887 Colorado, Lester Januay 1891 Colorado, and Ben Feb 1895 Colorado.
February 1903 "Mr. and Mrs. Matt Dickson will give a dance at their home this evening."
June 26, 1903 "Arrangements Being Made to Celebrate at the M . Dickson Ranch Seven Miles North of Town

We heard something yesterday evening that will please the people and that is that preparations are being made to celebrate the glorious Fourth at the Dickson ranch north of town. Every one will take their dinners and go prepared to spend the day. Foot races, horseraces, sack races and in fact a regular Fourth program of amusements will be pulled off on that day for the pleasure of the visitors. A dance will run day and night for those who enjoy the dizzy whirl. Mr. and Mrs. Dickson extend to all citizens of the county a cordial invitation to be present and help them celebrate.

November 1903 "Matt Dickson returned from Denver this week with a car load of cattle for his ranch ."

August 1904 "Mat Dickson is cutting wheat with his 7-foot Champion for Alex Ludlum this week."
September 3, 1904 "Mr. Gardiner Lett and Miss Myrtle Dickson, Two of Our Popular West End YoungPeople, Were United in Marriage Last Weddesday.

We have the pleasure this week of announcing the wedding of a couple of our popular west end young people.
Wednesday at 2:00 o'clock p. m. Rev. W. P. Dickey united in marriage Mr. Gardiner Lett and Miss Myrtle Dickson at the home of the bride's parents.
The relatives and a few friends of the happy couple were present at the ceremony. A sumptuous dinner was served and those present enjoyed eating an abundance of the good things always to be found at the Dickson home.
The bride is the elder daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. Dickson and is an estimable young lady who has a host of friends throughout the neighborhood.
The groom is the son of E. G. Lett and is one of those upright young men of moral fibre and principle of whom we can well say, that he has not an enemy.
They start housekeeping on their ranch northeast of town accompanied by the good wishes and good will of all who know them."

July 1906 " For Sale or Trade—A two-seated spring wagon with top, nearly new; also one header outfit. Enquire of M. M. Dickson, Yuma."

In 1910 Yuma, Mathew is a retail merchant, 57, India 47, Jesse 28, Lester 19, and Ben 15.

March 1911 "Take notice that the partnership heretofore existing between the undersigned in the name of Klein-Dickson Lumber company is this day dissolved by mutual consent. All assigned Notes and accounts of the said Company are payable to M. M. Dickson and those not assigned are payable to E. S. Klein.
The business will be continued in the name of the Klein Lumber Co, M. M. Dickson retiring from business.
Dated at Yuma Colorado, the 1st day of March A. D. 1911.
E. S. Klein
M. M. Dickson."

In April 1911 W. A. McNichols, Matt Dickson and B.M. Wear, Jr., attended the funeral of Mrs. J.Y. Eckman, in the north part of the county, Sunday.

May 1913 "All kinds of seed corn for sale at $1.25 per bushel. Also fine seed oats at 45c per bushel. — M. M. Dickson."

April 1914

October 1914 "While in Denver M. M. Dickson bought a Hupmobile touring car. Ben Dickson drove it home Monday."

Fred H. Cole, Sr., Alfred Itten, H. E. Woolsey, M. I. Stebbins and M. M. Dickson and each of them, late of the County of Yuma and State of Colorado, on or about the 20th day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and thirty-one at and within the County and State aforesaid being then and there officers and directors of The Union State Bank of Yuma, Colorado, a bank duly incorporated, organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Colorado and carrying on a general banking business in the Town of Yuma in the County of Yuma and State of Colorado, did then and there fraudulently, knowingly and feloniously receive and assent to the reception of a certain deposit of money, to-wit, the sum of $21.79 in money, of the value of $21.79 and a certain deposit in bank checks, to-wit:" (A description of the several checks enumerated is omitted here.) "The said The Union State Bank of Yuma, Colorado, a banking corporation, being then and there insolvent and that they, the said Fred H. Cole, Sr., Alfred Itten, H. E. Woolsey, M. I. Stebbins, M. M. Dickson, and each of them, at the time and before the reception of the deposit had full knowledge of the fact that the said The Union State Bank of Yuma, Colorado, a banking corporation, was insolvent; and so the said Fred H. Cole, Sr., Alfred Itten, H. E. Woolsey, M. I. Stebbins and M. M. Dickson and each of them in the manner and form aforesaid then and there did wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously steal, take and carry away the money and other valuable things of the said The Equity Cooperative Oil Company, a corporation, of the total value of $59.64 as aforesaid, contrary to the form of the Statute in such case made and [67 F.2d 736] provided, and against the peace and dignity of the same People of the State of Colorado." 

Following their conviction by a jury, appellant Cole was sentenced to a term of not less than five nor more than seven years in the state penitentiary and appellant Stebbins received a like sentence of not less than three nor more than five years. They appealed the case to the Supreme Court of Colorado and it was affirmed.

Matthew M. Dickson 1853-1941 # 48944631 and India A. Dickson 1862-1952 are buried in Yuma.

"M.M. Dickson, a resident for more than half a century, died Saturday night at the Community Hospital. He had been an invalid since he suffered a stroke more than five years ago. Services were held at the Ritchey Funeral Home and burial was in the Yuma Cemetery.

Matthew Martin Dickson was born October 18, 1853, at Beatystown, New Jersey, and was 87 years and 3 months old. His boyhood was spent in New Jersey, but at the age of 17 he went to Bureau County, Illinois. He was married to Indiana Harman at LaMoille, Illinois on March 24, 1880.

In 1886 he came to Colorado and located on a ranch seven and one half miles northeast of Yuma. In 1906 he sold his ranch and moved to Yuma where for a number of years he was engaged in the lumber business. After his retirement from that business he was identified with several other enterprises until a few years ago. In the early days of Yuma County he served as a county commissioner.

For more than 60 years he had been a member of the IOOF. He was also a member of Sunflower Rebekah Lodge.

Survivors are his wife and three sons, Jesse L., Lester and Ben H. Dickson, all of Yuma; two daughters, Mrs. Myrtle Story of Omaha, Nebraska and Mrs. Maude Nitzen of Yuma; 24 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.

August 7, 1952 "Last rites for Indiana Dickson were held at the Ritchey Funeral Home last Thursday. Interment was in the Yuma Cemetery."

Indiana Harmon, daughter of John and Elizabeth Harmon, was born Feb. 6, 1863 in Switzerland County, Ind and passed away July 29, 1952 in Yuma, Colorado. Her father was killed in the Civil War and the death of her mother left her an orphan at the age of 13. At 19 she married Matthew M, Dickson. They had five children; Jesse L, born in Indiana; Myrtle, born in Illinois and three, Maude, Lester and Benjamin, who were born in Colorado.

In April 1886, her husband came to Yuma and took up a preemption five miles north and two miles east of Yuma which was their home until 1906 when they moved to Yuma. Since the death of her husband Jan 19, 1941 she has continued to live in Yuma.

She leaves five children: Jesse L, Lester M, Benjamin H and Mrs. Maude Nitzen all of Yuma and Mrs. Myrtle Storey of Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Maud Elizabeth Jones, born April 6, 1887, died September 23, 1997 in Santa Barbara County, California.

Maud Dickson Nitzen Jones was born in Yuma on April 6, 1887. Her father, Matthew, had arrived in Yuma on Christmas Eve 1886 and filed for a homestead on land five miles north and two east of Yuma. Her mother, Indiana, (she was named for the state in which she was born) and their children Myrtle and Jess soon joined him. At that time the town of Yuma, Colorado wasn’t on the map and the man selling her a train ticket tried to send her to Yuma, Arizona. Besides Maud, two more children, Lester and Benjamin, were born after the move.
Maud went to school at what was later to be known as the Hammond School. In those days the school term was only five or six months long. After finishing the eighth grade, Maud attended a Teachers Institute in Akron for one year. When she was almost 100 years old, Maud could still remember the names of all her teacher and even the names of two of the teachers who taught at the school before she started. How many of us could do the same today?
In 1905, at the age of 19, Maud married a rancher from Burdette. His name was Jess Nitzen. The first year they lived on his father’s place at Burdette Springs and the next year they homesteaded their own place next to Burdette Springs. Maud taught school at Burdette the first year they were married. Jess and Maud had six children—Grace, John, Lloyd, Earn, Dan, and Judy.
Nineteen-sixteen found the family moving to Otis where they farmed and fed cattle. Their son, Dan, was killed in a fall at their home in 1924.
In 1939, Maud and Jess were divorced. Maud and her youngest daughter, June, moved to Yuma where her parents lived. The older children were already gone from home by this time.
Maud made a living by working in restaurants, doing housework, and remodeling homes. She also made quilts for other people and for family and friends. Her niece, Maxine, has a beautiful quilt made by Maud from strips of corduroy. These strips were sewn together by hand and then sewn on top with a feather stitch. In later years, after she could no longer quilts, she wove potholders and sold them for pin money from Colorado to California. As her parents grew older she took care of them. Maud was never afraid of hard work and even when she was getting up in years-if her house needed shingles – she was the one who was up on the roof replacing them. She also cut the wood to burn in her heating stove.
In 1959, Maud married Minor Jones. He died in 1962. She lived in her house on North Main until 1981 when she went to live with her daughter Grace and husband in Prescott, Arizona. In 1984 they moved to Santa Maria, California where they reside today.
Some of Maud's early day memories are of hoeing the garden, milking cows and the three mile-walk to school. She was always glad when her father had to haul water to the school because she got to ride on the wagon with him instead of walking. In a recent interview she said, “The storms were the worst part, though. Blizzards swooshed across the prairie, and there were times when I got home and thought my hands and feet had turned to ice.”
She was not sorry to see the horse and buggy era replaced by cars. Her comments on this were: “Women had to ride sidesaddle in those days and, I didn’t think that was any fun. It was too easy to fall off”. She remembers when a neighbor bought a Sears Roebuck Motor buggy. It didn’t have a steering wheel; just a lever and it didn’t always go where he wanted it to.
In letters to her niece, Maxine Eastin, Maud tells of enjoying the California sunshine and going for walks. She told of pushing her wheelchair and when she got tired she would sit in it until she w as rested and ready to walk some more. She always mentions her Yuma friends and family and how much she misses them. All of Maud’s children, except Dan, are still living. Earn lives in Oregon and the rest in California. Daughter Grace is 81 years old. She taught Spanish for 2+ years at C.U. John worked with tractors and Lloyd with building houses and cement work. June took after her mother in remodeling houses. She would buy a house, remodel it – doing most of the work) except for the electrical work) herself, and then sell it.
Today, Maud is confined to the wheelchair for the most part, but her memory is good and she loves visiting with people.

(Source: Nitzen Story, Yuma Pioneer, January 16, 1992, Museum Column)

1911 "Lester Dickson and John Steffens are new clerks at the R.A. Fisher store."

Lester 1891-1963 "PFC Co 341 Field Artillery" and Margaret M. DIckson 1900-1990 are buried in Yuma.
March 28, 1963

Jerald Keith Dickson Feb. 7, 1922 — March 19, 2012

Longtime Groveland resident Jerald Keith Dickson died March 19 at Sonora Regional Medical Center. He was 90.
Mr. Dickson was born in Yuma, Colo., to Lester and Margaret Dickson on the family farm where he was raised.
He graduated as valedictorian of his high school class and attended Colorado A&M (now known as the University of Northern Colorado). Mr. Dickson graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering and an ROTC Commission.
He married Johnnie Grace Dodson in 1944. During World War II, he served in China, Burma and India.
Upon returning home, Mr. Dickson settled in Palo Alto and later moved to Los Altos and began his career at NACA (which became NASA later) at the Ames Research Laboratory at Moffett Field in Mountain View. He worked with many astronauts including all of the original seven Mercury astronauts.
Mr. Dickson retired in 1977 and moved to Pine Mountain Lake. He enjoyed camping in the Emigrant Basin Wilderness, golf, bowling, bridge, woodworking, and writing the monthly rain totals column in the Pine Mountain Lake News.
Mr. Dickson is survived by his wife of 67 years, Johnnie Grace Dickson; his son and daughter-in-law, Jerald L. and Karen Dickson; his daughter and son-in-law, Janet L. and James Cox; grandchildren Daniel W. Cox, Matthew D. Cox, Erin G. Vujasinovic and her husband Robert, of New Jersey, Christy Buhler and her husband Michael, of Enumclaw, Wash., Brian Parker, of Chico, and Emily G. Parker, of Pacifica; one great-granddaughter; and his older sister, Marjorie Timbrook of Denver, Colo.
Mr. Dickson was preceded in death by his oldest daughter, Judith D. Parker.
A memorial will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Grove-land Evangelical Free Church, followed by a celebration of life at the Pine Mountain Lake Grill. The Neptune Society is handling arrangements. Union Democrat, 26 Mar 2012


Benjamin Harrison Dickson 1895-1980 and Eleanor (Meier) Dickson 1896-1976 are buried in Yuma.


Jesse L. Dickson 1881-1959 and Ruby E. (Woodward) Dickson 1893-1981 are buried in Yuma.


In 1910 Yuma, J. Gardner Lett is 32, married 5 years to Myrtle 24 Illinois. Letitia is 4, Elizabeth 3, and Robert 1. They have a hired man, Roy Spencer.

Myrtle L. Lett married Roy Chaney May 8, 1918, recorded in Arapahoe County, but this doesn't look like our Myrtle.

In 1930 Omaha, Nebraska, Myrtle L. is 43, married to Fred C. Story, 42. Robert L. Lett 21 is with them, with no occupation. Albert M. Story 52 is listed as a son.

1942 "Mrs. Myrtle Story, who had been visiting with Yuma relatives for several months, left Wednesday for an extended wvisit with her daughter, Mrs. Ward Roberts, at Klamath Falls, Oregon.
1975 "House guestes of Mrs. Maude Jones are Mrs. Letitia Roberts and Mrs. Myrtle Story of Klamath Falls, Oregon, and Mrs. Sylvia Coad and children of California."

Myrtle L. Story 1886-1978 is buried in Klamath Falls, # 37141246 - the same cemetery as daughter Letitia.

In 1920 Yuma, Letitia Lett is 83, widowed, born in Ireland, Joynt 42 in Ireland, divorced. Letitia is 14, Elizabeth M. 12, and Robert 11 were all born in Colorado.

Robert L. Lett a glass blower, age 29, born at Yuma, married Marjorie Ann Daykin, 25 October 18, 1936 at Dubuque County, Iowa.
Robert is divorced in 1940 La Crosse, Wisconsin, 31., a glass blower.
April 25, 1940
July 14, 1949

1978 "Mr. and Mrs. Charles Piper of Wray, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lett of Fontane, California, and Letitia Roberts of Klamath Falls, Oregon were callers on Ruby Dickson."
(Zella (Monk) Piper was a niece of Ruby (Woodward) Dickson, Robert a nephew of Ruby's husband Jess Dickson, and Leitia a niece.)

Elizabeth Marie Cone, born April 17, 1907, died November 18, 1994 in Los Angeles, buied in Hollyywood # 6441787, with Harry J. Cone 1906-1978.

Letitia Maud (Lett) Roberts was born November 20, 1905 to J.G. and Myrtle (Dickson) Lett on her grandfather Dickson's farm a few miles northeast of Yuma, Colorado. Later in the Pleasant Valley Community her sister, Elizabeth and brother, Robert joined the family. When Letitia was eleven years old the family moved to Yuma where Letitia continued going to school, graduating from Yuma High School in 1925. On November 29, 1928 Letitia and Ward Roberts were married in Wray, Colorado at the home of a friend.

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