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Dixson

Gravestone of Thomas Dixson, in front of Fort Beauséjour Museum, Aulac, N.B.

THOMAS DIXSON
1732-1809

Born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1732, Thomas Dixson came to Norfolk, Connecticut, with his parents when he was a young boy. Later the Dixsons moved to Norwich, Connecticut. At some point prior to 1761, Dixson travelled to Massachusetts and met Catherine Wethered (or 'Weatherhead'), whom he married in King's Chapel in Boston on April 9 that year. That same year, Dixson received a land grant at Fort Cumberland. He served in Fort Cumberland during the 1776 siege, during which he, along with three companions, sailed in a small open boat across the Minas Basin to warn the authorities in Halifax and bring reinforcements to the loyalists' aid. For this effort, Dixson was named a Person of National Historic Significance in 1938. Later he moved to Point de Bute, New Brunswick. He was 77 years old when he died and was originally buried in Jolicure, N.B.

In mid-November, 1776, a poorly armed band of American sympathizers under Jonathan Eddy invested Fort Cumberland, hoping to capture it and induce Nova Scotians to join the rebelling colonies. Captain Thomas Dixson and three volunteers sailed across Minas Basin and went to Halifax to warn the authorities, securing the assistance of a force which helped rout the invaders. Dixson later represented Cumberland Town in the Nova Scotia Assembly (1777-1785) and Westmorland in the New Brunswick Legislature (1792-1802). He died at his Point de Bute farm.

À la mi-novembre 1776, un groupe de sympathisants américains mal armés, sous le commandement de Jonathan Eddy, investit le Fort Cumberland, pour le capturer et pousser la Nouvelle-Écosse à se rallier à leurs révolutions. Le capitaine Thomas Dixson et trois volontaires traversèrent le bassin des Mines et alertèrent les autorités de Halifax. Celles-ci détachèrent des soldats pour chasser l'envahisseur. Plus tard, Dixson fut député de Cumberland Town à l'Assemblée de la Nouvelle-Écosse (1777-1785) et de Westmorland à l'Assemblée du Nouveau-Brunswick (1792-1802). Il mourut à Pointe-de-Bute.

Dixson

Plaque placed by Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, in 1938, on exterior wall of Fort Beauséjour Museum, Aulac, N.B.

On Sunday 24 July 1938, Thomas Dixson's disintered ashes were reburied with full military honours on the site of the old parade ground of Fort Beauséjour. During the ceremony Dixson was praised as "a soldier who saved the Maritimes for the Empire." Speakers at the ceremony recalled "how he had braved the Bay of Fundy in an open boat to bring reinforcements when the fort was besieged by American rebels." More than 500 uniformed troops participated in the ceremony which was "transmitted . . . to all parts of the Dominion by the Canadian Broadcasting network" (quotations from The Springhill Record , 28 July 1938).

See "A Hero Takes His Place," The White Fence , #16, October 2001.

See also leaflet, Memories of the Marsh: Burials at Fort Beauséjour National Historic Site available from Fort Beauséjour.

On Dixson's role in seeking help from Halifax, see Clarke, Ernest, The Siege of Fort Cumberland, 1776: An Episode in the American Revolution (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1995), pp. 134-152.


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