Soldier of fortune.
Dickson appeared out of nowhere at the end of 1835, having spent some time in Texas. George Simpson described his face as “covered with huge whiskers and mustachios and seamed with sabre wounds.” By 1836 he talked of creating an independent Indian state encompassing most of the western part of the continent. He recruited about 60 men around New York, and some Canadian leaders, many of whom had considerable experience in the fur trade. This expedition headed west for Red River, where it fizzled out under the confusion of Dickson’s plans, leaving behind only a folk memory of potential “liberation.” Dickson himself disappeared across the border in 1837.
“Documents Relating to James Dickson’s Expedition,” edited by Grace Nute, Mississippi Valley Historical Review 10 (1923-24): 173-81.
“The Diary of Martin McLeod,” Minnesota Historical Bulletin 4 (1921-22): 351-439
“General Dickson and the Indian Liberating Army in the North,” by M. E. Arthur, Ontario History 62 (1970): 151-62.
James Dickson, Dictionary of Canadian Biography VII, 249-50.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 6 September 2014
This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.
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