John R. Dickens, son of Jeremiah Dickens

Several months ago while searching for Dickens information I found a very interesting story. It is an autobiography written by John R. Dickens, born January 25, 1808 in TN, a son of Jeremiah Dickens. My first thought was that I had found some new information about the only Jeremiah Dickens that I knew of - the Jeremiah of  the Hurricane Creek Dickens family. After a couple of days searching and analyzing I realized that John R's father Jeremiah and the H. Creek Jeremiah are two different people.

As time passes, I've received several inquiries about John R., asking if I am in his family line. I would be honored to be in the family line of John R. Dickens but I am not one of his descendents. In order to save a lot of time and effort explaining individually through Emails, I thought I should write a few paragraphs which are accessible to all, showing why I know that John R. Dickens is not a son of Jeremiah Dickens of the Hurricane Creek Dickens family.

Before you read my comments about John R and Jeremiah, let me warn you that there is at least one other copy of this autobiography on the Internet that may not be entirely consistent with this one. Keep that in mind and remember that my purpose is not to make concrete statements about  John R's family and life - I don't know any more than what I've read. What I do know for sure is that the man identified in this autobiography as John R's father, Jeremiah Dickens, is not the Jeremiah Dickens of the Hurricane Creek Dickens family. My outline and assumptions below are based on the text as it is presented in the autobiography that shows John R's birth year as 1808. 
A  man who is a direct descendent of the Hurricane Creek Jeremiah Dickens, is Bob Dickens-Tobin. Bob has gathered all the currently known information about that Jeremiah and it is freely available for all to read on his Web site. 

Now lets compare some information from the John R. Dickens autobiography listed above with some of what we know about the Hurricane Creek Jeremiah.:

John R. said that he was born to Mr. and Mrs. Jeremiah Dickens in 1808 in southern TN.
The Hurricane Creek Jeremiah lived in northern TN.

John R said he was the oldest of 5 sons of Jeremiah. No daughters are mentioned. If John R was born in 1808 and he had four younger brothers, some, if not all of those boys would show up in the 1820 census if one was available for the area his father lived in.

The H.Creek, Jeremiah is counted in the 1820 census with six or possibly seven daughters. In the 1820 census no son was counted in Jeremiah's household. His one known son Bryant was born later.

John R. said he was 14 in 1822 when he began his travels along the TN/GA border and down to the GA/FL border and soon after, he was captured by the Indians. He escaped after seven long years
(that would be 1829). After escaping, he made his way back home through the wilderness and found that the old homeplace was abandoned, his father and mother were dead, and his four brothers were 'scattered to and fro'. So John R's father Jeremiah and his mother both died before 1829 when John R. returned home.

Bob Dickens-Tobin's documentation shows that Jeremiah of H.Creek died in 1846 or 47. Bob has a document naming the heirs of Jeremiah which is dated 1847. 

To continue the timeline recorded in John R's autobiography, he said he moved out west and worked while continuing his education. He was there five years and said that he was then 26 (that would have been in 1834).

The remainder of his autobiography tells of his life with the Creek Indians, his marriage, his success in amassing a large amount of wealth, his beautiful stately home in south Mississippi and the beginnings of his large family which grew to eleven children.

You can find a lot more information about his colorful life, his death, burial place, and a picture of his monument all posted on the Internet. 

Why haven't I located  John R's father, Jeremiah, in the 1820 census? Below is an 1821 TN county map. John R wrote that he was born in southern TN and he began his travels along the border of: TN and GA and down to FL. Look at the southeastern edge of TN in 1821, which is probably where John R's family lived in southern TN - near the GA state line. In 1821 that area was not a TN county - the dotted area was Indian land.

Much later, that dotted TN area became Bradley and Polk counties and the southern tip of  Marion and Hamilton counties. A search of the existing records on the Internet of that area and those counties up to 1840 produced no Dickens or variations of the name, nor did I find a record of Jeremiah's neighbor, a Mr. Jesse Dupree.

It is certainly possible that John R's family lived as unprotected settlers within an area of Indian lands where no records were possible. From John R's autobiography we learn of his trust of, and friendship with, the Indians - having lived among them when a young adult and eventually being honored as an Indian Chief of a Creek tribe. So having lived on Indian lands and learning their culture as a child is certainly a possibility. And if you'll excuse the vernacular - that took a lot of guts. 

TN Counties in 1821.
Thanks to My Tennessee -  visit their Web site for more information.

John R. closed his autobiography with a note about his brothers and their families. One brother lived in TN, and two of them lived in GA,  further strengthening the idea that Jeremiah had raised his family close to the TN/GA border in southeastern TN.

All of the above is based on the autobiography of John R Dickens that has his birth year stated as 1808. The only purpose of the above is to show that the Jeremiah Dickens in John R's document is not the Jeremiah Dickens of  Hurricane Creek. February 09, 2008.

Later: Bob Dickens-Tobin located census information that places John R. Dickens' family living in the central area of Georgia and not in Tennessee. Perhaps we've been looking in the wrong state for information about the family.