On Sept. 15, 2014, community members sat in the shade of two giant poplar trees at Riverside Park to honor Albert Douglas Dickson, pioneer of the Dickson family here in Morgan County, by adding his name to the pioneer monument at the park’s entrance. The memorial speech was given by David D. Dickson, a grandson. Albert was born while his parents were visiting his maternal grandmother in Porter County, Indiana. The Dickson family had been residents of Nauvoo, Illinois, at the time of Albert’s birth. Albert remembered his father, Billa Dickson, carrying him on his shoulders through the streets of Nauvoo. He also remembered his father helping build the temple there. Albert even recalled seeing the bodies of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum being carried in a wagon as they were transported back from Carthage after their martyrdom. Albert heard the speeches of Sidney Rigdon and Brigham Young when there was so much consternation about the process the church was going through after the death of Joseph. According to Albert, Sidney wanted the church to be governed by himself and built up to Joseph. Brigham was president of the Twelve Apostles, and knew the proper order of transition. On the day after these speeches, a second meeting was called by President Young. He recalled that this was the time when Joseph’s countenance fell on Brigham, leaving no doubt as to who Joseph’s successor would be. Albert’s family was chased out of Nauvoo in the cold spring of 1846. They made it to Kanesville, Iowa. Here President Young assigned Albert’s family to stay and raise vegetables for those who would follow. One can only wonder at this assignment, as Albert’s descendants have forever after taught the community how to grow our vegetable gardens. They have freely given of that produce over the years. Albert’s family finally made it to the Salt Lake Valley in 1852. Though only 12 at the time, Albert helped work on the Salt Lake Temple. And in 1857 he was assigned to help stop Johnson’s Army in Echo Canyon. In 1860-61 Albert became a Pony Express rider. His time with the resistance to Johnson’s Army took him through the beautiful Morgan Valley. He and his father later purchased a farm in Richville. It didn’t take the family long to become active in the community. While in Richville he became president of the Water Works Development Company that brought potable water to the community. He also supervised the saw mill that produced ties for the railroad as it came down Weber Canyon. This saw mill became the largest lumber yard ever in Morgan County. Even to this day the feat has never been equaled. Albert married Nancy E. Shipley on March 28, 1860. During the next 19 years together, they had seven children. In 1879 Albert was ordained bishop of the Richville Ward by Apostle Franklin D. Richards. At the time of his ordination, Richards told him to take a second wife. Albert did not take well to the idea. For days he was in a depressed spirit. Finally, his wife could tell something was disturbing him. When he finally told her she simply said, Well, we had a nice family, and we were happy; but if that was the will of the Lord, then you should follow the counsel. Albert then married Harriet Rosella Flint on June 26, 1879. Before Albert died, he had fathered 19 children between his two wives. Sometime after the second marriage the U.S. Congress passed legislation that forbade cohabitation with more than one wife. A mutual decision was reached among Albert, Nancy, and Harriet that their land would be split into two farms, and Albert would live with Harriet and her children. Albert served as bishop for 37 years. He had a keen spiritual gift of knowing when his ward members needed help. Once he was walking toward his fields with a hoe in his hand. At once he dropped the hoe and ran to the home of a neighbor. The neighbor, moments earlier, had noticed that his child was not breathing. He shouted to his older son to go and get the bishop. The bishop’s already here, replied the son. They anointed the child and he started breathing again. Morgan County residents have a great deal to be thankful to the Dickson family for beginning with Albert, but his legacy of community involvement continues with his descendents.
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