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DICKEY, Ernest M.

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DICKEY, Ernest M. (Leaf River, IL, Sept. 10, 1855--Chicago, IL, Apr. 10, 1924). Dickey worked as a young office boy in 1868 with the DIAMOND JO LINE when it was still located at Fulton, Illinois. He rose in the company by 1874 to being a bookkeeper and then cashier before becoming general freight agent in 1878. In 1883 the business was incorporated with Joseph "Diamond Jo" REYNOLDS serving as president and Dickey being the secretary and treasurer. (1)

Around 1883 railroads were cutting into the grain trade along the MISSISSIPPI RIVER. In 1886 Reynolds and Dickey decided to broaden their grain activities west of Dubuque in the territory of the ILLINOIS CENTRAL RAILROAD. The E. M. Dickey Company was organized with Reynolds being a major stockholder. (2)

He remained in the position until 1889 when he purchased the IOWA IRON WORKS, a giant in Dubuque's BOAT BUILDING industry. The property was sold at a sheriff's sale at the front door of the DUBUQUE COUNTY COURTHOUSE. Peter KIENE bid $15,000, John GLOVER bid $20,000 and finally Delos E. LYON bid $50,000. It was believed at the time that Lyon was working for the GERMAN BANK, but it was later found that he was employed by Dickey who had arranged for the bank to turn the property over to him for $18,000 and costs. It was believed that Dickey was working for Joseph "Diamond Jo" REYNOLDS. (3)

When Reynolds died, Dickey moved to Chicago. (4) Due to his position as administrator of Reynolds' estate he became president of several corporations included the Congress Gold Mining Company of Arizona, Hot Springs Railroad Company, and the DIAMOND JO LINE. (5)

At the time of her death, the announcement was made that Mrs. Joseph "Diamond Jo" REYNOLDS had secretly signed a document. The agreement stated that Mr. Dickey was to deduct from the estate and pay to the University of Chicago cash securities or properties in the amount of $250,000 as soon as possible after the affairs of the estate could be settled in Illinois. Nothing was said of the document during Mrs. Reynold's life as she did not want the publicity. (6)



1. "Ernest M. Dickey Had Interesting Career on River," The Telegraph-Herald, May 18, 1924, p. 15

2. Ibid.

3. "Mr. Dickey's Deal," The Herald, December 31, 1889, p. 4

4. "Diamond Jo's Estate," The Dubuque Daily Herald, March 12, 1891, p. 1

5. Ibid.

6. "Mrs. Reynolds' Estate," The Herald, October 3, 1895, p. 4