A DNA match relevant to this line is one of 11 cM between Ruth Margaret (Daniels) Davies, granddaughter of John and Jessie (Wilson) Dixon, and a descendant of Joseph and Mary (Dixon) Hodgson. Ruth also has matches of 15 cM and 11 cM with two descendants of John Dowthwaite, baptised at Castle Sowerby in 1786, son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Dixon) Dowthwaite. However, the connection of Elizabeth Dixon to the family covered below is not currently known.


The origins of Sarah Wheeler, mother of George Dixon (1815-1861), are not known, but there are a group of DNA matches which may be relevant. Ruth Margaret (Daniels) Davies, granddaughter of John Dixon (1870-1938) has several matches with descendants of William Willan or Willen and Sarah Hodgson who were married at Dufton, Westmorland, in 1829, and later migrated to North America. A descendant of Alfred James Dixon (1875-1942) shares these matches, so it appears that the link is through either Edward Wilson Dixon or Margaret McNeil. The ancestry of William Willan and Sarah Hodgson has not been traced. Joseph and Mary (Dixon) Hodgson mentioned in the account below had a daughter called Sarah of approximately the right age to be the one who married William Willan. However, this possibility appears to be ruled out by Joseph and Mary’s daughter Sarah appearing unmarried in the census returns for Cumberland long after the marriage and migration of William and Sarah (Hodgson) Willan. Ruth also has a match of 11 cM with a descendant of George Willan and Tamar Dargue who were married at Dufton in 1804.


A possible link is John Willan of Kingston, Jamaica, merchant, who died on 6 March 1794, when he was said to be aged twenty-eight,[1] who would be around the right age to be the father, legitimately or illegitimately, of Sarah Wheeler (whose name in connection with George Dixon is only known from one baptism entry). The will of John Willan[2] does not name any children. However, it was witnessed by Colin MacLarty and Charles MacLarty and the MacLartys were closely involved with the running of Clydesdale plantation,[3] later managed by George Dixon,[4] which is suggestive of a connection of some kind. John Willan’s will names his mother Margaret Willan of Great Britain, widow. It seems likely that he was baptised at Kendal, Westmorland, in 1767, son of John and Margaret (Stephenson) Willan. No relationship with the William Willan married at Dufton in 1829 has yet been found and the relevance to the DNA matches and the ancestry of Sarah Wheeler is unclear at this stage.


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1          JOHN DIXON of Southernby, Castle Sowerby, Cumberland, yeoman, was born ca 1712[5] and died on 11 May 1790.[6] He married on 20 December 1773 at Castle Sowerby, NANCY BROWN,[7] daughter of John and Ann (          ) (Lawson) Brown (see here). Nancy was born ca 1744 and died on 10 May 1787.


                            Children of John and Nancy (Brown) Dixon:

                                i               MARY DIXON, bap 6 Nov 1774, Castle Sowerby;[8] m 4 Mar 1795, Castle Sowerby, JOSEPH HODGSON.[9]

                                ii              JOHN DIXON, bap 29 Oct 1775, Castle Sowerby.[10]

                                iii             ISAAC DIXON, bap 27 Mar 1777, Castle Sowerby.[11]

                                iv             FANNY DIXON, bap 18 Oct 1778, Castle Sowerby;[12] m 9 Jun 1800, Castle Sowerby, JOHN BROWN.[13]

                                v              THOMAS DIXON of Keswick, land steward, b Castle Sowerby, bap 31 Dec 1779, Castle Sowerby,[14] d 8 Jun 1859, Keswick;[15] m 15 Dec 1804, Caldbeck, ISABELLA JAMES.[16]

                                vi             ANN DIXON, b Castle Sowerby, bap 17 Feb 1782, Castle Sowerby,[17] d 11 Sep 1857, Caldbeck;[18] m(1) 23 Mar 1805, Caldbeck, THOMAS BARNES;[19] m(2) 21 Apr 1816, Caldbeck, JAMES BURNEY.[20]

                                vii            WILLIAM DIXON, weaver, bap 18 Jun 1783, Castle Sowerby,[21] bur 25 Apr 1849, Caldbeck.[22]

                            2 viii           GEORGE DIXON (1784-1867).


2          GEORGE DIXON of Clydesdale coffee plantation, Port Royal, Jamaica, and of Caldbeck, Cumberland, planter,[23] was born at Castle Sowerby, baptised on 11 June 1784 at Castle Sowerby,[24] and died on 9 January 1867 at Gaitsgill, Cumberland.[25] George and SARAH WHEELER had the following illegitimate child.[26]


                            3 i               GEORGE DIXON (1815-1861); m MARY WILSON.


3          GEORGE DIXON of Keswick, stationer, printer and bookseller, was born on 28 March 1815 in Jamaica[27] and died on 15 November 1861 at Keswick.[28] He married on 16 April 1838 at Crosthwaite, Cumberland, MARY WILSON,[29] daughter of Isaac and Mary (Wilson) Wilson (see here). Mary was born at Keswick, baptised on 5 February 1816 at Crosthwaite, and died on 25 February 1879 at Ireby.


                            Children of George and Mary (Wilson) Dixon:

                                i               THOMAS GEORGE DIXON, b Keswick, bap 28 Feb 1839, Crosthwaite,[30] d 27 Nov 1858, Keswick.[31]

                            4 ii             EDWARD WILSON DIXON (1842-1929); m MARGARET McNEIL.


4          EDWARD WILSON DIXON of Wavertree, Lancashire, school master and manager in a galvanizing works, was born on 9 June 1842 at Keswick[32] and died on 19 February 1929 at Leeds.[33] He married on 24 December 1864 at Ireby, Cumberland, MARGARET McNEIL,[34] daughter of John and Hannah (Sewell) McNeil (see here). Margaret was born at Liverpool, baptised on 27 June 1837 at St Peter, Liverpool, and died on 31 October 1908 at West Derby, Lancashire.


                            Children of Edward Wilson and Margaret (McNeil) Dixon:

                                i               GEORGE DIXON, bap 6 Feb 1865, Ireby,[35] d Feb 1865.[36]

                                ii             EDWIN DIXON of West Derby, commercial cashier, b Queniborough, Leicestershire, bap 29 Sep 1867, Queniborough,[37] d 15 Nov 1928, Fazakerley, Lancashire;[38] m 26 Aug 1895, Fairfield, Lancashire, ELEANOR MORPHET.[39]

                                iii            JOHN DIXON of Wallsend-on-Tyne, Northumberland, journeyman joiner, b 22 Feb 1870, Lowick, Northumberland,[40] d 22 Nov 1938, Leeds;[41] m(1) 6 Sep 1899, Wavertree, ESTHER WILSON;[42] m(2) 26 Jul 1911, Tynemouth, Northumberland, JESSIE WILSON[43] (see here).

                                iv             MARGARET DIXON, bap 29 Sep 1872, Everton,[44] d 8 Apr 1876, West Derby.[45]

                                v              ALFRED JAMES DIXON of Ben Rhydding, wine and spirit merchant, b 13 Jan 1875, Liverpool,[46] d 21 May 1942, Ilkley;[47] m 1901, ANNIE ELIZA JONES.[48]

                                vi            THOMAS EDWARD DIXON, shopkeeper, b 25 May 1877, Liverpool,[49] d 25 Jun 1949, Marin County, California;[50] m 17 Mar 1913, Toronto, Ontario, CATHARINE POWER.[51]

[1] J.H. Lawrence-Archer, ed., Monumental Inscriptions of the British West Indies (London, 1875), 120.

[2] National Achives, PROB 11/1309/92.

[3] See the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery entries for Colin MacLarty and Alexander MacLarty.

[4] James A. Delle, An Archaeology of Social Space (New York and London, 1998), 92

[5] The entry for his marriage in the Castle Sowerby parish registers states that he was 61. As well as Southernby in Castle Sowerby, John’s will mentions property at Lamonby in the parish of Skelton, which may be a clue to his origins (Cumbria Archive Service, PROB/1801/W541).

[6] Monumental inscription at Castle Sowerby. His age appears to be given as 78, supporting the age given in his marriage entry.

[7] Castle Sowerby parish registers (Cumbria Archive Service).

[8] England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 (www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J3X7-5W5).

[9] England, Cumbria Parish Registers, 1538-1990 (www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:7R17-RVW2). Their son John Hodgson appears to be the one of that name who registered the death of George Dixon in 1867.

[10] England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 (www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N54K-ZB1).

[11] England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 (www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N54K-8YJ).

[12] England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 (www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JWFZ-M4D).

[13] Castle Sowerby parish registers (Cumbria Archive Service).

[14] 1851 census returns, Keswick, HO 107/2434, fol. 79; England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 (www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J7S7-FVN).

[15] Grant of probate.

[16] Caldbeck parish registers (Cumbria Archive Service).

[17] 1851 census returns, Caldbeck (HO 107/2433, fol. 409); England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 (www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J3X7-5RD).

[18] Death certificate.

[19] Caldbeck parish registers (Cumbria Archive Service).

[20] Caldbeck parish registers (Cumbria Archive Service).

[21] England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 (www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N54K-DXG).

[22] Caldbeck parish registers.

[23] Marriage certificate for George Dixon and Mary Wilson; James A. Delle, An Archaeology of Social Space (New York and London, 1998), 92; The Carlisle Patriot, 18 Jan 1867. There was also a Robert Dixon of Clydesdale who married Ann Richards of Industry, Port Royal, in 1839 (www.jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Members/rw_c-d.htm).

[24] 1861 census returns, Caldbeck (RG 9/ 3930, fol. 53); Castle Sowerby parish registers (Cumbria Archive Service).

[25] The Carlisle Patriot, 18 Jan 1867. George’s death certificate gives his date of death as 10 Jan 1867 but The Carlisle Patriot and the grant of probate give it as 9 Jan 1867.

[26] St Andrew, Jamaica, parish register transcripts; will of George Dixon (Cumbria Archive Service, PROB/1867/W69). In the 1830s and 1840s are recorded some baptisms of children of a George Dixon of Clydesdale and his wife Ann. However, the father in these entries was different from the plantation manager George Dixon as he is described as a labourer and was still in Jamaica in 1843, by which time the manager George Dixon had returned to England. It is possible that the father in these later entries was “Ludlow, alias George Dixon” who is listed in an 1817 slave register for Port Royal (National Archives, T 71/119).

[27] His places of birth given in the 1851 and 1861 census returns were “Kingstown Jamaica” and “Jamica Kingston” respectively (HO 107/2434, fol. 59 and RG 9/3932, fol. 5). It is uncertain whether this was George’s actual place of birth or whether Kingston was simply the nearest large place to where he was born. George was baptised on 15 Apr 1820 at St Andrew, Jamaica, the parish registers giving his date of birth. The parish of St Andrew surrounded Kingston.

[28] Death certificate.

[29] Marriage certificate. The Carlisle Journal, 21 Apr 1838, notes that Mary was niece of Thomas Wilson, boot and shoe maker.

[30] 1851 census returns, Keswick (HO 107/2434, fol. 59); Crosthwaite parish registers.

[31] The Carlisle Journal, 7 Dec 1858.

[32] Birth certificate.

[33] Death certificate.

[34] Marriage certificate.

[35] England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 (www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JWFV-KZ9).

[36] England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 (www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JWFV-KZ9).

[37] 1871 census returns, Lowick (RG 10/5189, fol. 4); 1901 census returns, West Derby (RG 13/3499, fol. 73); Queniborough parish registers (online at www.findmypast.co.uk).

[38] National Probate Calendars.

[39] Fairfield parish registers (online at www.ancestry.com); 1901 census returns, West Derby (RG 13/3499, fol. 73).

[40] Birth certificate.

[41] Monumental inscription at Lawnswood Cemetery, Leeds; Yorkshire Evening Post, 24 Nov 1938.

[42] Marriage certificate.

[43] Marriage certificate.

[44] Emmanuel, Everton, parish registers (online at www.ancestry.com).

[45] The Liverpool Weekly Albion, 15 Apr 1876.

[46] 1939 register; 1911 census returns, Ben Rhydding (National Archives, RG 14/26023); Emmanuel, Everton, parish registers (online at www.ancestry.com).

[47] Grant of probate; Yorkshire Observer, 26 May 1942.

[48] National civil registration indexes; manuscript pedigree compiled by Henry R. Daniels with the assistance of Edith (Dixon) Timmins.

[49] 1911 census returns, West Derby (RG 14/22647); U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index (online at www.ancestry.com).

[50] California Death Index (online at www.ancestry.com).

[51] Ontario Marriages, 1869-1927.