Biography of Dudley R. Dickey, M. D.

Dudley R. Dickey, M. D., is a California pioneer of 1850, and the longest in the medical practice of all physicians in San Bernardino County. He is a Buckeye by nativity, born in Washington County, Ohio, January 11, 1829. His paternal grandfather, who had been a soldier in the Revolutionary war, settled in Athens County in that State soon after the birth of our republic, and there the Doctor’s father, Thomas Dickey, was born.

He moved from Washington County and settled in Fairfield, Jefferson County, Iowa, in 1836, when that State was a part of Wisconsin Territory. Dr. Dickey was educated in the schools of Iowa; studied medicine and graduated from McDowell Medical College, University of Missouri, in 1849. His father having come to California the previous year, the Doctor started from Fairfield in the spring of 1850 to cross the plains, and arrived at Hangtown in July of that year. From there he went to Oskaloosa bar, on the middle fork of the American river, where he joined his father in some mining interests. In the spring of 1851, he went to Rough and Ready mine near Shasta City; that summer he went to Monterey, and in the fall came down to Los Angeles, reaching there in October, 1851.

He settled in El Monte and there divided his time between the practice of his profession and farming until October, 1855, when he located in San Bernardino, which has been his home ever since. The first two years of his practice here was largely among the Mormon settlers, a majority of whom returned to Salt Lake in 1857 in obedience to a summons from Brigham Young. Since settling in San Bernardino Dr. Dickey has alternated the practice of medicine with other lines of business. He has considerable land interests; owns a ranch three and a half miles east of the city on City Creek, and owns a half interest in what is known as the Harrison Ranch, of 113 acres, about six miles north of the city and a mile from Arrow-head springs. This place is in the warm or thermal belt, and is admirably adapted to the cultivation of semi-tropic and small fruits. Bananas flourish and bear without extra attention, and the Doctor and Mr. Harrison are trying the experiment of growing pineapples, with promise of success. A portion of the place is being cultivated to strawberries, and ripe fruit is picked from the vines every month of the year. Mr. Harrison reports that there has been but one killing frost there in twelve years.

During the war of the Rebellion Dr. Dickey was an ultra Union man, and to his shrewd tactics and timely action more than any other man’s, perhaps, was due the averting of a bloody civil war on the Pacific coast, by exposing and thwarting the plot laid by the Knights of the Golden Circle for precipitating an outbreak on the 9th of May, 1862, the avowed purpose of which was to rob and pillage all Union men and turn over the property to the authorities of the Southern Confederacy.

Dr. Dickey and a few loyal men who possessed the courage of their convictions averted this calamity by a timely effort and at considerable expense, especially in the Doctor’s case, as the expose cost him between $400 and $500. His radical loyal sentiments and active interest in behalf of the Union cause came near costing him his life, as a desperado named Henry watched his house six nights for the purpose of assassinating him. This Dr. Dickey learned afterward from a friend of Henry, who advised the latter to desist from committing the bloody deed. Henry was afterward killed while resisting his arrest by the sheriff for some crime of which he had been guilty. During the early part of the war of the Rebellion Dr. Dickey was employed by contract as assistant surgeon for the troops sent down to San Bernardino to avert the threatened outbreak. He was relieved by the arrival of Dr. Prentis, the regular army surgeon.

Dr. Dickey married Miss Crandall in El Monte in 1854. Her father, J. W. Crandall, c tine to California and settled in San Diego in 1851. Four children, three sons and a daughter, comprise the Doctor’s and Mrs. Dickey’s family. Their eldest son, Dr. Clarence Dickey, is a practicing physician in company with his father, having been graduated M. D. from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1886. He is now filling the office of county physician. The subject of this sketch expects to retire from active practice the coming year and take life easier. He is a fancier of tine horses, and owns a number of promising thoroughbred colts. In 1887 Dr. Dickey built the elegant brick residence the family occupies on Fifth Street between B and C streets. It is one of the finest dwellings in San Bernardino.


The Lewis Publishing Company. An Illustrated History of Southern California embracing the counties of San Diego San Bernardino Los Angeles and Orange and the peninsula of lower California. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois. 1890.

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