Portraits from our Past:
William Dickenson

1827 - 1907

William J. Dickenson was born on December 3, 1827 in Russell County. He was a lawyer by profession. In 1856, when Wise County was established, there were no lawyers in the county. Six lawyers from surrounding counties were given the oath to practice law in Wise County. William Dickenson was one of these first six. At age 32, Dickenson lived in Lebanon.

Dickenson was a delegate to the General Assembly from Russell County in 1880. He was part of the Re-adjuster Party. The Re-adjusters key political proposal was to re-adjust the existing state debt, rather than pay it in full. The Re-adjusters stretched out payments, rather than paying off previously incurred debts. This allowed them to fund new schools, roads, etc. Most of the debt was incurred prior to the Civil War. As a delegate, Dickenson played a major role in establishing a new Southwestern Virginia County. Due to his efforts, the county was named Dickenson County.



The Southwest Virginia Museum is a member of the American
Association of Museums, the American Association of State and Local History, and the Virginia Association of Museums.