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John Q. Dickinson Papers

Identifier: mss-511

Scope and Contents

Collection contains the Civil War letters of John Q. Dickinson, a captain in the 7th Vermont Infantry during the Civil War. Includes letters written by Dickinson during service in Louisiana, a memo book containing a refutation of General Ben Butler's accusations against the 7th VT Infantry, diaries, and letters from Florida after the Civil War, where he was killed by the Ku Klux Klan.


  • 1854-1886


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

Biographical / Historical

John Quincy Dickinson was born to Isaac and Cornelia (Coleman) Dickinson in Benson, Vermont on November 19, 1837. Dickinson graduated from Middlebury College in 1860 and then served as a reporter and correspondent for the Rutland Herald. On November 12, 1861, Dickinson enlisted, and on February 12, 1862 was appointed 2nd Lieutenant of Company C of the 7th Regiment of Vermont Volunteers. His regiment was sent to Florida, Louisiana, and Alabama. During his military service, Dickinson was promoted to 1st Lieutenant of his company (October 9, 1862), Quartermaster of the regiment (September 13, 1864), and Captain of Company F, still with the 7th Regiment (August 22, 1865). He resigned from the last two positions in 1865 due to illness. After leaving the army, Dickinson established a saw mill in Florida with a few partners, including a colonel from his regiment, but the business ultimately failed.

Dickinson then turned to politics as part of Florida’s Republican Party, aiding in Florida’s Reconstruction. In 1868, he became the County Clerk of the village of Marianna, in Jackson County. In 1869, as the Republican Party made efforts to register and transport black voters, the Ku Klux Klan began a series of attacks across Jackson County, including attacks on two other government officials, one of whom, Dr. John L. Finlayson, was killed. This began what would be known as the Jackson County War, in which 150-200 people would be murdered by the Klan and its allies in a struggle over Reconstruction politics. Following Finlayson’s death, Dickinson took on the newly vacant role of court clerk, and became the head of the Republican Party in Jackson County. On April 3, 1871, after months of violence and intimidation by the Klan, John Quincy Dickinson was shot by a group of men hiding outside his home. He was buried in Benson, Vermont.


0.3 Linear Feet (1 box, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

Library Research Annex; contact for access.


Wickman, Donald H. Letters to Vermont: From Her Civil War Soldier Correspondents to the Home Press: Volume II. II, Images from the Past, 1998.
Hemenway, Abby Maria. The Vermont Historical Gazetteer: A Magazine, Embracing a History of Each Town, Civil, Ecclesiastical, Biographical and Military, Volume 3, Orleans and Rutland Counties. 1877.
Weinfeld, Daniel R.. The Jackson County War: Reconstruction and Resistance in Post-Civil War Florida. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2012.
Morgan-Palmer, William. “Assassination in Jackson County.” Military Images, Atavist, 4 Dec. 2015,
Guide to the John Q. Dickinson Papers
2018 May
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Vermont Libraries, Special Collections Repository

Silver Special Collections Library
48 University Place, Room B201
Burlington Vermont 05405 U.S.A. US
(802) 656-2138
(802) 656-4038 (Fax)