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Old Chester, PA: Biographical Sketches
Oliver Booth Dickinson
(A biographical sketch taken from One Hundred Years, The Delaware County National Bank Chester, PA 1814-1914)
Booth Dickinson (July 21, 1890-1914), son of E. W. and Mary (Vassar)
Dickinson, was born at Dayton, Ohio, September 25, 1857. When his son was
nearly five years old, his father accepted a call to the pastorate of the Marcus
Hook Baptist Church, and in the schools of that borough and the
Chester Academy, Mr. Dickinson received his primary education, preparing
for college at the Peddie Institute, Hightstown, N. J.
entered the Sophomore class of the University of Lewisburg, now Bucknell
University, in the fall of 1874. His father died in December, 1875, and
Mr. Dickinson, whose inclination was for a journalistic career, was
assured by Charles A. Dana that upon the latter's return from Europe, he
would find a place for the young man on the editorial staff of the New
Dickinson came to Chester, and his brother, the late William H. Dickinson,
suggested that, in the meanwhile, O. B. Dickinson could read law in his
office, which he did, and was admitted to the Bar of Delaware County,
December 3, 1878. He rose rapidly to the front ranks of the profession.
When only twenty-seven, he was the nominee of the Democratic party for the
President Judgeship of the District, and notwithstanding the overwhelming
Republican vote in the county, he was defeated by a small majority only by
Judge Thomas J. Clayton. In 1913, Mr. Dickinson was a candidate for the
Superior Court bench, and while not nominated throughout the State, he
carried the City of Chester and County of Delaware by over ninety per cent
of the total vote cast at the State-wide primaries.
1886, he was the candidate of his party for Congress, and in 1892 a
delegate to the Democratic National Convention at Chicago, which nominated
Cleveland for the third term. Again, in 1894, he was nominated for
President Judge, and received a large Republican vote. Mr. Dickinson's
opening for the defense in the celebrated Pfitzenmeyer murder trial in
1891 is regarded as one of the most brilliant forensic efforts in the
judicial history of the county.
1914, President Wilson appointed Mr. Dickinson a Judge of the United
States Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. When he was sworn
in to his office, almost the whole Delaware County Bar attended the court
in Philadelphia, and that body afterward tendered him a complimentary
banquet May 16, 1914, and later the like compliment was extended to him by
the Bar of Philadelphia.
Dickinson is a member of the Penn
Club, of Chester, Chester Club, Springhaven
Club, Wilmington and Ridley Country Clubs, Delaware County Institute
of Science, American Academy of Political and Social Science, Pennsylvania
Academy of Fine Arts, National Geographical Society, and Delaware County
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© 2002 John A. Bullock III.
This page last updated 02/24/07