ZIMRI DIXON, deceased, was for many years one of the most prominent farmers of Shawnee township, Cherokee County, and to a marked degree commanded the respect and esteem of his fellow men. He was born in Parke County, Indiana, November 2, 1840, and was a son of Eli and Esther (Kelley) Dixon.
Eli Dixon, whose parents came from North Carolina, lived most of his life in Parke County, Indiana, where he followed farming, and where he died when the subject of this sketch was an infant. He married Esther Kelley, who had formerly married Nathan Hunt, and they became the parents of three children,--John, Rhoda and Zimri. Religiously, both were Quakers.
Zimri Dixon was reared on a farm and followed the occupation of a farmer throughout his life. In 1861, he enlisted in Company K, 43d Reg., Indiana Vol. Inf., and served with his regiment about nine months, when he was honorably discharged on account of disability caused by sickness. He returned to Indiana and farmed a place owned by his half-sister, Mrs. Mary Ann (Hunt) Rawlings, until two years after his marriage, when he moved to Kansas and located in the Cherokee Neutral Lands on the place now occupied by his widow. Subsequently, after extended litigation, he was obliged to purchase it of the Kansas City & Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad Company, which had a prior claim to it. He farmed on an extensive scale, and with continued success was enabled to add to his holdings from time to time until at his death he was the owner of 720 acres of valuable land. He probably raised more hay and corn than any other farmer in the township, and also oats, in large quantities. He kept on an average 35 head of cattle and 60 hogs. In 1870 he built a fine, stone residence of seven rooms, the only stone house in Shawnee township. About two years later, he built the fine, large, stone barn, 46 feet square, with a capacity for 100 tons of hay, and 1,000 bushels of grain.
On March 12, 1865, Mr. Dixon was joined in marriage with Emily Atkinson, a daughter of Robert and Polly (Curl) Atkinson, of English origin. Her father was born in Randolph County, North Carolina, where he lived until after his marriage and the birth of his first child, and then moved to Indiana in the fall of 1831. He took a homestead in Parke County and farmed there until 1869, when he came west to Cherokee County, Kansas. He purchased a government claim of 160 acres in Shawnee township, and continued to live upon it until his death, September 23, 1890, at the age of 88 years. He married Polly Curl, a daughter of George Curl, of Chatham County, North Carolina. Five children were born to them, namely: Sarah Ann, widow of Dempsey Mills, who lives with Mrs. Dixon at present; George who lives in Parke County, Indiana; John, who lives in Shawnee township; Emily, widow of Zimri Dixon; and Jared, of Roseburg, Oregon. Mr. and Mrs. Atkinson were of the Quaker faith.
Mr. and Mrs. Dixon became the parents of nine children, eight of whom grew to maturity, as follows: Ella, wife of J. E. Lane, of Empire City, Kansas; Cora, wife of John Wellman, of Shawnee township, Cherokee County; Anna, deceased; Joel, of Scammon, Kansas; Alice, wife of John Isley of Los Angeles, California; Charles, of Shawnee township, Cherokee County; Morton, who lives at home; and Rosa, deceased, who was the wife of J. M. Bass. Religiously, the subject of this sketch was a member of the Society of Friends until he went to the war, and his widow is still a member of that society. Politically, he was a strong Republican, but was never an office holder.