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New Hero Search John Edward Dickson - Dec. 24, 1933 (287)

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Resided: FL, USA
Born: Aug. 09, 1892  
Fallen: Dec. 24, 1933
Race/Sex: Caucasian Male / 41 yrs. of age
Dept: Office of the Constable District 2
District 2 (downtown Miami 27t, FL   USA
County: Dade
Dept. Type: County/Police
Hero's Rank: Asst. Constable
Sworn Date: 1932
FBI Class: Homicide - Ambush
On The Job: 2 years
Bio: John Edward Dickson, 41, was born on August 9, 1892, in Rockledge, FL, to James E. Edward and Hattie Hall Dickson. His father was born in Quincy, FL, and his mother in Valdosta, GA. John was one of five children but only two (John and his older brother, Homer) were living in 1900 (according to the census).

John's father died at age 36 in 1899 of yellow fever when John was only 7. His mother, Hattie, who was 29 at the time of her husband's death, was the sole support of John and his older brother. Miami city directories indicate that she was a "clerk" and "saleslady" at various Miami department stores through the 1930's.

The Dickson family moved to the Miami area around 1895 from Rockledge, FL. Thus John Edward Dickson was a Miami resident for 38 years making him one of the earliest residents of the city. Miami High School yearbooks have no listing for John Dickson and thus there is no record if (or where) he attended high school. John Dickson was a veteran of World War I and apparently returned to Miami after the Great War. Miami city directories indicated his occupation from 1918 to 1933 as "cigars," "clerk," "clerk at grocery store," "real estate," and "salesman."

On March 31, 1915, John Dickson married Blanche Dawson, the daughter of Lemuel B. and Dora Dawson. The Dawson family arrived in Miami in 1914 and their daughter, Blanche, worked as a "trimmer" at a hat company before her marriage. The couple lived at 761 N.W. 1st St. (in what is now Little Havana) as did his mother, Hattie. Daughters Harriette and Caroline were born in 1918 and 1920. John E. and Blanche divorced sometime in the 1920's and Harriette and Caroline went to S.C. to live with their mother. Dickson ran against Dillon for constable in district 2 (downtown Miami and as far north as 27th St.) in the June primaries in 1932 and was defeated by only 20 votes (1,093 to 1,073). The Herald listed the candidate as John E. Dixon (rather than Dickson). Newspapers reported that Dickson "had been associated with Dillon for several months as an assistant" before the fatal shooting. John Dickson's death certificate listed his occupation as "deputy constable."

Survived by:
Homer Dickson - Brother

daughters - Harriette, 15, and Caroline, 12;

his mother, Mrs. James E. (Hattie H.) Dickson;all of Miami.

Fatal Incident Summary
Offender: Reedy Brown Corker
Location:   Miami, FL   USA   Sun. Dec. 24, 1933
Summary: John Edward Dickson, 41, a Constable's assistant, was shot and killed on Christmas Eve of 1933 when he attempted to serve an "order of dispossession" at a home in Miami. Constable Charles Fulwood Dillon was also shot and seriously injured by the homeowner. The Dade County grand jury refused to indict the man who shot Dillon and killed Dickson.

Around 2:40AM on Sunday, Dec. 24, 1933, Constable Dillon and two assistants, Dickson and Robert Bullock, "a soda dispenser," went to the home of Reedy Brown Corker, 51, "negro, of 1735 N.W. Second court" to find out why an order of dispossession served on Corker on Friday "had not been complied with." The three "happened to be in the neighborhood in connection with the killing earlier in the night of another man, a negro."

Constable Charles Dillon "was the brother of Joe Dillon, former assistant county solicitor, and of Raymond Dillon, former Miami police chief." Dickson had been his assistant for several months.

According to Dillon, Dickson went to the rear of the house while he and Bullock remained at the front. The Constable said he "called to Corker, giving his identity, and the negro answered, refusing to admit them." Dickson then knocked on the rear door and after a few seconds Dillon and Bullock heard a shot from the rear of the house. They ran to the back of the house and "saw Dickson stagger from the back porch and fall on the ground, his flashlight still burning and his pistol, unfired, in his hand." Dickson had been shot in the heart. Dickson "staggered off the rear porch and half-way to the front before he collapsed, dead."

Dillon then saw Corker run from the back door in an apparent attempt to escape and fired one shot from his pistol at the fleeing figure. He then sent Bullock to summon an ambulance and then ran over to where Corker fell. He "stooped over" Dickson.

Hearing the sound of movement from the negro's direction, he said he rose from his knees just in time to avoid being struck in the head by a second load of shot from Corker's shotgun. The charge struck him in the thighs, from which 55 shot were removed at Jackson Memorial hospital. (Miami Herald, 11251933)

Two other negroes, "attracted by the shooting, took Dillon to the hospital."

Corker surrendered a half hour after the shooting at N.W. Third Ave. and 16th St. to Police Chief S.D. McCreary and Det. E.W. Melchen. He had not been wounded. He was taken to the Dade County jail pending an inquest into Dickson's death to be set by Peace Justice Thomas S. Ferguson.

Constable Dillon was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital where doctors found that his "left leg above the knee suffered more than 50 shotgun wounds and several shots penetrated his right leg." The attending physicians first feared that his left leg would have to be amputated. However, the leg was not amputated and he recovered.

Disposition: The Dade County Grand Jury under the direction of N. Vernon Hawthorne, state attorney, considered the case against Corker on Jan. 19, 1934, and returned "no true bill" exonerating the killer of Constable Dickson.

Source: Book       Excerpted in part or in whole from Dr. Wilbanks book-


by William Wilbanks

Louisville: Turner Publications


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