Dickson (surname)

Dickson (surname)

Dickson or, as is common in England, "Dixon," is a patronymic surname, traditionally Scottish and thought to have originated upon the birth of the son of Richard Keith, son of Hervey de Keith, Earl Marischal of Scotland, and Margaret, daughter of the 3rd Lord of Douglas. "Nisbet in his Heraldry (Edinburgh 1722) says 'The Dicksons are descendants from Richard Keith, said to be a son of the family of Keith, Earls Marischals of Scotland' and in proof thereof carry the chief of Keith Marischal. This Richard was commonly called Dick and the 'son' was styled after him. The affix of son in the Lowlands answering the prefix Mac in the Highlands." As a result, Clan Dickson is considered a sept of Clan Keith. Richard Keith's son, Thomas, took the surname "Dickson," meaning "Dick's son" or "Richard's son." Thomas Dickson (1247–1307) himself has quite a history. He was associated in some way with William Wallace, and was killed by the English in 1307 in battle. Tradition states he was slashed across the abdomen but continued fight holding the abdominal wound closed with one hand until he finally dropped dead. He is buried in the churchyard of St Brides, Douglas, and his marker shows him with a sword in one hand holding his belly with the other. Robert the Bruce made him Castellan of Castle Douglas the year before he was killed.

The Dicksons/Dixons (and 30 other derivates) family name was first found in Scotland whilst the Dixons in England who are of Scottish descent from Thomas Dickson living in 1268 are of the same origin as the Scottish Dicksons. Early records show Thomas Dicson, a follower of the Douglas clan, at the capture of Castle Douglas in 1307.

The Dickson's coat of arms shew the Keith "pallets gules" and the Douglas "mullets argent", this is to shew their descent from these two ancient Scottish noble families. The family mottoes include "Fortes fortuna juvat", "Coelum versus", for Dickson: translated as "Fortune favours the brave", Heavenward"; whilst "Quod dixi dixi" Dixon, is translated as "What I have said I have said".

Other Landed families included the Dicksons of Bughtrig, the Clan Chiefs for hundreds of years, now extinct. The Dicksons of Westerbinning, whose descendants include the Dicksons of Kelso, Peebles-shire, whose descendants include James Dickson (1784–1855) and his brother Robert Dickson (1782–1858) who both settled at Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1807 and 1802, after emigrating from Montrose, Forfarshire, where they were born and raised. Their parents were James Dickson (1748–1826) merchant and bailie of Montrose, who was born at Kelso, and descended from the Dicksons of Westerbinning, and Christina Murray who was born at Montrose, where they were married in 1780. James Dickson who arrived in Sweden in 1807 founded in 1816 the firm James Dickson & Co as a trading house based in Gothenburg in 1816 Robert Dickson joined his brother in the company. Their youngest brother Peter Dickson (1786–1867) managed the British side of the business from London, business was good and continued in expansion with sawmills, shipping and the trading of both imports and exports of a variety of goods.

From these two brothers, James and Robert, descend the Swedish branch of Dicksons who became rich merchants, bankers, industrialists, philanthropists, politicians, and shipowners, the family were ennobled in 1880 and Oscar Dickson (1823–1897) was created Baron Dickson in 1885. Four members of the family were members of the Swedish parliament these were: Charles Dickson (1814–1902) M.D., M.P. for Gothenburg, in 1867 he was appointed a member of the government Committee, on the drafting of a new kind of poor relief. His son, Robert Dickson (1843–1924) was M.P. for Jonkoping County he also was governor of Stockholm between the years of 1902-1911. Axel Edwin Dickson (1850–1927) M.P. and landowner of the estate of Vikaryd, outside Alingsas, in Sweden. His son James Ivan Axel Dickson of Vikaryd (1899–1980) married his cousin Vanya Margaret Dickson (1903–2004) in 1923, and became an M.P. in 1941 standing as a Conservative. He was both a Knight of the Order of Vasa and Commander of the White Rose of Finland.

The French branch of the family was founded by David Dickson of Clocksbriggs and Rescobie J.P., Officier Légion d'honneur (1811–1869) who was born at Rescobie, by Forfar, Forfarshire, and married Elizabeth Lindsay of Almerieclose (1815–1855), by Arbroath, Forfarshire, she died at Tours, France, aged 40, in 1855. Their descendants include: David Dickson, Director of the Regional School of Agriculture, Arras, France, and later Professor of Agriculture, at Lille University, in northern France; Surgeon-Colonel Georges Dickson (1873-1938), Commandeur Légion d'honneur, Croix du Guerre avec palmes, the father of the brothers; Surgeon-General Jean Marie Dickson Commandeur Légion d'honneur (1912–2000) former Director of French Army Medical Services French-Indo China. Georges Marie Dickson (1915–2010) Controleur d'Etat, member of the French Conseill d'Etat, Chevalier Legiond'Honneur, Commandeur de l'Ordre National du Merite, and O.B.E. (honorary). Their great-grandparents were David and Elizabeth Dickson and it was David, who founded the Dickson Groupe, France, in 1836, (see www.dickson.fr) which celebrated it's 175th anniversary in 2011, of producing technical textiles at four French plants. Since 1998, it has been part of Glen Raven Inc. of North Carolina, America, and is now part of the largest manufacturing company of outside textiles e.g. awnings, upholstery fabrics, camping equipment, truck tarpaulins, marquees, and laminated materials for safety clothing, in the world.

David was the eldest son of Captain Alexander Dickson of Weymss (1781–1864) and his spouse Isabella Duffus Cargill (1787–1870) who were married on 25 January 1811 at St Vigeans, Arbroath, the nephew of Major David Dickson of Clocksbriggs (1779-1859) and the grandson of David Dickson of Clocksbriggs and Rescobie (1743–1803) Freeholder and Commissioner of Supply for Forfarshire who married Mary Cuthbert on 19 November 1776, at Rescobie Church, by Forfar, Forfarshire, the daughter of Councillor John Cuthbert merchant-burgess of Dumfries. These Dicksons of Clocksbriggs and Rescobie were the descendants of Bailie David Dickson of Forfar, who in November 1660 was elected to the parliament of the Three Estates, Edinburgh, as M.P. for Forfar burghs. This parliament was the Restoration parliament of King Charles II and is commonly known as the 'drunken parliament' which sat from 1 January to 12 July 1661.

The Dickson family were prominent in the East Marches as a Border, or Riding Clan, and were known as "The Famous Dicksons" and as such, their descendants were most numerous in the areas along the border of England and Scotland. On January 27, 2010, a tartan was registered the Dickson (Kirkudbrightshire) tartan, at The Scottish Register of Tartans for the name and family of Dickson. The tartan combines elements of the Clan association of the Scottish Dicksons with the Keith and Douglas tartans for the Dickson family name whom the Dicksons descend from.

Of this family of Dicksons descended from the Earls Marischal of Scotland, are many notable families, including Thomas Dickson (1247–1307), Baron of Symington and Hazelside, and Governor of Douglas Castle, the patriarch of the House of Dickson and the Dickson name; the Dickson baronies of Bughtrig, Belchester, Leitholm, the Peel, Sornbegg, Hardingham Hall, Glentoran, or Ballymenock (Dixon), Warford (Dixon), and Astle (Dixon).


The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames by Clifford Stanley Sims, published by Albany New York, J. Munsell, 78 State Street, New York; 1862. Dickson pp37, Douglas pp 38–39, Keith pp 61–62.

Collins Guide to Scots Kith and Kin, A guide to the Clans and Surnames of Scotland. Harper Collins, Publishers, London, 2008 New Edition. Dickson pp 14, Upper Clyde etc. 14th century; Keith. Keith pp 63, "The numerous Dicksons of the Borders and Dixons descend from one of the early Keith-Marischals".

The Surnames of Scotland, Their origin, Meaning and History, by George Fraser Black PhD, published New York Library, in 1947. Dickson pp 208.

The Border or Riding Clans and a History of Clan Dickson by B. Homer Dixon, KNL, Albany New York, Joel Munsells & Sons, Publishers 1889. Index of Dickson Landed Titles pp 109, Clocksbriggs pp 109, 169 and 173. Hazelside pp 109, 118, 120, 124. Bughtrig, pp 109, 133. Wester Binning pp 109. Dickson M.P's. pp 111, Dickson Arms, pp 111.

Nisbets System of Heraldry in two volumes by Alexander Nisbet, published in Edinburgh 1722. Dickson pp 74, Keith pp 74 and Douglas pp 69.

Lives and Livelihoods in Little London, The Story of the British in Gothenburg 1621-2001, by John R. Ashton, published by Warne Forlag, Savedalen, Sweden 2003. Dr Charles Dickson pp 109, 150, 152; James Dickson pp 87, 96-98, 104, 105, 107-110, 112, 113, 125, 128. Baron Oscar Dickson pp 111, 150, 152, 153, 155. Peter Dickson pp 108, 110. Robert Dickson pp 87, 93, 96, 97, 105, 108-110, 113-115, 125, 128, 146, 148.

Susan Carnegie 1744-1821 Her Life of Service by Alexander Allan Cormack, Aberdeen University Press, published Aberdeen 1966. James Dickson, Montrose, pp 180, 182, 220. James Dickson, Gothenburg, pp 334. James Fredrik Dickson, Gothenburg, pp 335. James I. A. Dickson, M.P. Stockholm, pp 140, 172, 182 and 334.

Angus or Forfarshire, The Land and People, Descriptive and Historical in 5 volumes, by Alexander Johnston Warden, published at Dundee in 1880. Volume 3 pp 289–291, and Volume 5 pp 82, 93, and 100, David Dickson of Clocksbriggs , merchant, Dunkirk, France.

An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland. 2nd edition, Edinburgh, 1903, by Sir James Balfour Paul K.C.V.O. David Dickson of Clocksbriggs and Rescobie (1811–1869)

Glen Raven Inc. North Carolina, U.S.A. (see www.glenraven.com/history) DICKSON The Dickson brand became part of Glen Raven in 1998 when Dickson, S.A. and Glen Raven merged. Dickson has long maintained a dominant brand presence in sun protection fabrics throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. With the addition of Dickson's business relationships, Glen Raven now has a significant customer base in more than 100 countries. While the Sunbrella and Dickson brands are associated with sun protection fabrics, this merger added other technical products to the Glen Raven product family: printable sign fabrics, tents, protective apparel, and numerous other industrial applications. With its international expertise in jacquard and dobby weaving, Dickson has also allowed us to enter new domestic markets such as residential and industrial upholstery.

Who's Who in France published 1997, Mon. Georges Dickson. (1915–2010).

The Scottish Register of Tartans www.tartanregister.gov.uk/dickson(kirkcudbrightshire)tartan. The information held within the Scottish Register of Tartans for the Dickson (kirkcudbrightshire) Tartan. Reference 10140. Designer Newsome, Mathew. Tartan date 01/07/2009. The registration date 27 January 2010. A tartan for the Dickson family name, it combines elements of the Keith and Douglas tartans, which reflects the clan associations of the Scottish Dicksons from the Borders who were descended from Richard Keith, son of the Marischal of Scotland (died 1249) and Margaret Douglas daughter of the third Lord Douglas.

Notable Dicksons

See also

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