Charles Dickinson Killed in a Duel with Andrew Jackson

About 1980, my interest in genealogy piqued. Likewise, my husband Bob’s (Robert Joseph Dickinson) interest in his family roots also was stirred. Bob knew little about his Dickinson family. So we went to his dad, Robert Ditzler Dickinson for more information. Bob Sr. had talked little about his family and seemed not to keep in touch with his siblings. So when his son asked him about the family beginnings he said that he really didn’t know that much. We pushed him to tell us as much as he knew anyway. He replied; “You probably shouldn’t go snooping around because you might find a horse thief or the likes somewhere along the line down in Kentucky.” And that’s all he ever said about that.

And, in the 1980’s it wasn’t easy to do genealogical research because everything was done manually, not much was machinized. To do any research we had to travel to the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, and learn about their soundex system and how to wind through the voluminous reels of microfiche using microfiche readers. In 1980, the earliest and most information available was from the earlier Decennial Censuses records. The latest census data available was the 1900 census films (due to the confidentiality law that protects the data collected for 72 years). The 1890 censuses were lost in a fire, so this meant we needed to know something more about the family from 1880 or earlier to go any further.

With the advent of computers, the information age explosion of digitized data, and most everything being made available on the web, research can be done light years faster than 30+ years earlier. So since retiring, I have been back at it. Naturally, the research and family trees have exploded with new family members and information about their lives; thus, the birth of these blogs to inform and share interesting family history and stories with our younger generations. Which brings me to the topic of today’s blog, but before we go any further, I should let you know that the recent research into Charles Dickinson’s roots and descendants is not quite finished. It seems that I discovered about 150 more people dating back to the 1500’s and England and Wales. This new research spans into the late 1800’s, and our existing research is getting closer to revealing how the families migrated from England and Wales, the Atlantic coast of America and down into the southern and gulf states——a story for yet another time. So let’s look back about 10 generations to see how American culture was doing when Charles Dickinson and Andrew Jackson were alive.

Charles Henry Dickinson, II (1780 – May 30, 1806), American attorney, expert marksman, and famous duelist “Dead Shot” Dickinson

Charles Henry Dickinson

Charles Henry Dickinson

On May 30, 1806, future President Andrew Jackson killed Charles Dickinson in a duel because he accused him of cheating on a horse race bet and then insulted his wife, Rachel.

Charles Dickinson was born at Wiltshire Manor in Caroline County, Maryland, the son of Elizabeth Walker and Henry Dickinson, the grandson of Sophia Richardson and Charles Dickinson (1695–1795), and the great-grandson of Rebecca Wynne (daughter of Dr. Thomas Wynne) and John Dickinson. He studied law under U.S. Chief Justice John Marshall, who wrote formal letters of introduction and recommendation for his student. Dickinson owned a house in Maryland for 3 years before moving to Tennessee, where he became a successful horse breeder and plantation owner. Within two years of his arrival in Tennessee, he courted and married Jane Erwin, the daughter of Captain Joseph Erwin.

Unfortunately for Dickinson, he ran afoul of fellow plantation owner and horse breeder, Andrew Jackson. An argument over a horse race scheduled between Jackson’s horse Truxton and a horse owned by Captain Joseph Erwin named Ploughboy. When Ploughboy was not able to run in the race, Erwin was supposed to pay Jackson a forfeit. There apparently was a disagreement between Jackson and Erwin over the amount of the forfeit. In 1805 a friend of Jackson’s deprecated the manner in which Captain Joseph Erwin had handled the bet. Erwin’s son-in-law, Charles Dickinson, became enraged and started quarreling with Jackson’s friend which lead to Jackson becoming involved. Dickinson wrote to Jackson calling him a ‘coward and an equivocator.’ The affair continued, with more insults and misunderstandings, until Dickinson published a statement in the Nashville Review in May 1806, calling Jackson a ‘worthless scoundrel, … a poltroon and a coward.'”[1]

To add further context, the political atmosphere in Nashville was heated by ambition. Many American men in the early 1800s, particularly in the South, viewed dueling as a time-honored tradition. In 1804, Thomas Jefferson’s vice president Aaron Burr had avoided murder charges after killing former Treasury secretary and founding father Alexander Hamilton in a duel. John Coffee, a friend of Jackson’s, had fought a duel earlier in the year with one of Dickinson’s associates, and there were larger political and sporting interests involved. The Jackson-Dickinson duel, like that between Aaron Burr – another friend of Jackson’s – and Alexander Hamilton, had been developing over some time. Jackson and Erwin had scheduled their horse race in 1805. The stakes specified a winning pot of $2,000 paid by the loser, with an $800 forfeit if a horse was unable to run. Erwin’s horse went lame, and after a minor disagreement about the forfeit payment, Erwin paid.[2]:136–137 Although the forfeiture terms were disputed and settled, Jackson also confronted Dickinson over a report that Dickinson had insulted Rachel, his wife. Dickinson said if he had, he was drunk at the time and apologized. Jackson accepted his apology, but there were probably still hard feelings between the two.

Meanwhile, one of Jackson’s friends, while sitting in a Nashville store, shared what was probably a more lurid story about Erwin’s disputed payment to him. When Dickinson heard the story, he sent a friend, Thomas Swann, to act as a go-between to inquire about what Jackson said about his father-in-law. Whether the friend misinterpreted or even misrepresented what was said by the two men, this minor misunderstanding flamed into full controversy.[2]

In a confrontation at Winn’s Tavern, Jackson struck Swann with his cane and called him a stupid meddler. Dickinson sent Jackson a letter calling him a coward about the same time that Swann wrote a column in a local newspaper calling Jackson a coward. Jackson responded in the same newspaper saying Swann was a “lying valet for a worthless, drunken, blackguard” meaning Dickinson.[2]:138–139

That did it for Dickinson who in May 1806 published an attack on Jackson in the local newspaper calling Jackson “a poltroon and a coward.” After reading the article, Jackson sent Dickinson a letter requesting “satisfaction due me for the insults offered.”

Charles Dickinson-Andrew Jackson Duel

Charles Dickinson-Andrew Jackson Duel

Contemporaries described Jackson, who had already served in Tennessee’s Senate and was practicing law at the time of the duel, as argumentative, physically violent and fond of dueling to solve conflicts. (Estimates of the number of duels in which Jackson participated ranged from five to 100.)

On May 30, 1806, Jackson and Dickinson met at Harrison’s Mills on the Red River in Logan, Kentucky for the duel (dueling was outlawed in Tennessee) At the first signal from their seconds, Dickinson shot hitting Jackson in the chest next to his heart. Jackson put his hand over the wound to slow the flow of blood and stayed standing long enough to fire his gun. Dickinson’s seconds claimed Jackson’s first shot misfired, which would have meant the duel was over but, in a breach of etiquette, Jackson re-cocked the gun and shot again, this time killing his opponent. Jackson aimed and shot Dickinson in the chest. Dickinson died from blood loss. The doctors decided it would be too dangerous to remove the bullet from Jackson’s chest so they left it there. Although he recovered, Jackson suffered chronic pain from the wound for the remainder of his life.

Jackson was not prosecuted for murder, and the duel had very little effect on his successful campaign for the presidency in 1829. In fact, Rachel’s divorce and “bigamist” controversy raised more of a scandal in the press and in parlors than the killing of Charles Dickinson.

See Also – The Washington Post Newspaper Article from Sunday, March 8, 1914

Read more:


1Morris, Hal (November 11, 2005). “Andrew Jackson’s Duel with Charles Dickinson”. University of Groningen, Humanities Computing. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
2Remini, Robert V., Andrew Jackson, Volume One: The Course of American Empire, 1767-1821. (Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1977,1998) ISBN 978-0-8018-5911-3
4The New York Times.

Maternal “Lathrop” Family Notables, Who Knew?

Rev John Lathrop

Rev John Lathrop

If you recall from earlier “Our Heritage” blogs my maternal grandmother, Alice Lauretta (Loretta) Lathrop Ford’s family were Puritans who came from England and among the first settlers to land at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620.  In this blog I now share with you a direct line of descendancy from my 9th great grand parents–[Reverend John Lathrop (1584 – 1653), born on December 20, 1584, in Etton, Yorkshire, England; and his wife, Hannah Howse (1594 – 1634) born in Eastwell, Kent, England, who were part of The Great Migration]–to several American notables.

To contrast John and Hannah’s lives with our American notables families, I offer you this brief history: On 16 Oct 1610 when Hannah was 16, she married Rev. John LOTHROP, in Eastwell, Kent, England. John Lathrop and his wife Hannah were heroes in the struggle for religious freedom. They were arrested on 29 Apr 1632 and put in prison where Hannah died in 1634. Then King Charles I allowed Rev. John to leave prison and come to America with his children. In America, he became a distinguished leader for religious tolerance. You will learn below that three United States’ Presidents among other notables are descended from John and Hannah.

Many of our notable relatives you may have heard of, been in awe of, or at least know enough about them to be envious or proud of them and their skills, talents, and life’s accomplishments. There also is probably at least one that you may wish that I had not shared with you. Note, that I did however omit George W. Bush, George H.W.’s son. I just couldn’t bring myself to include him here…

Images of the American notable descendants from John and Hannah Howse Lathrop follow below in alphabetical order by their last names:


Benedict Arnold:  1741-1801
Patriot and Traitor

George H W Bush

George H. W. Bush:  1924 – 
41st  U.S. President:  1989-1993

Nick Carter: 1980 –
 Singer, Backstreet Boys Band
Nick Carter , Backstree t Boys
John Foster Dulles

John Foster Dulles:  1888-1959
Secretary of State (Eisenhower)

Ulysses S Grant

Ulysses S Grant: 1822-1885
18th US President

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne:  1804-1864
American Novelist
Short Story Writer

Olive rWendell Holmes, Sr.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Author, poet, physician, lecturer

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr
Supreme Court Justice

Ebenezer Huntington

Ebenezer Huntington
Revolutionary War Officer U.S. Congressman (CT)

Isaac Huntington

Isaac Huntington
1719-1799, Delegate
1788 Connecticut Convention to Ratify Constitution

George Parsons Lathrop

George Parsons Lathrop
American Novelist
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
American Poet

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Franklin Delano Roosevelt
32nd US President: 1933-1945

Plymouth, Pilgrims, Puritans, The Great Migration, Wampanoags, and The First Thanksgiving

Most of us envision Pilgrims and Indians peacefully sitting down to a feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts around this time of year in the early 1600s as the “first” thanksgiving.  However, the first official Thanksgiving holiday was  created  by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 during the American Civil War.  And actually, the new settlers were Puritans and only became known as Pilgrims during the 18th century when historians started to refer to them as such.
Puritans were a group of people (primarily English and Dutch) who felt persecuted by The Church of England and King James I.  They believed The Church had become a product of political struggles, man-made doctrines, and was beyond reform. To escape religious persecution from church leadership and the King, the Puritans set off to America.
The term Great Migration of 1620-1640 refers primarily to those Puritans who escaped England and Holland in family groups, primarily in search of freedom to practice their religion.greatmigrationmap1620-1640
The Wampanoag Tribe people are known mostly as the Indians who greeted and befriended the small group of families in 1620, bringing them corn, pumpkin, and turkey to help them through Plymouth’s difficult winter.  Unfortunately many arrived sick or became sick shortly after arriving.  In fact, about  half of all women and children got sick and died.  Between the years 1620 when the first families arrived and 1640,  more British colonists came to Massachusetts, displacing the Wampanoags from their traditional lands, souring the relationship between the Puritans and Indians.   The Wampanoag leader Metacomet, known as King Philip to the English, appealed to the British, but war ensued. The British won decisively, sold many of the Wampanoag survivors into slavery, drove the rest into hiding, and forbade the use of the Massachusett language and Wampanoag tribal names. It wasn’t until 1928 that the Wampanoag people reclaimed their tribal identity.   The surviving 2,500 or so Wampanoags still live in New England.
Among our family members aboard the Mayflower was Edward Fuller, his wife Anne Hopkins, and young son, Samuel.  Edward was born in 1575 in Redenhall, County Norfolk, England.  His father was a butcher and his brother Samuel, a doctor and church deacon.  Edward married Anne Hopkins about 1605.  They lived in Leyden, Holland, for a while and joined the Pilgrims at Southampton, first aboard the Speedwell.  When that ship beame unseaworthy, thePuritans transferred to the Mayflower–a cargo ship used to ship wine between England and France.
While anchored at the harbor near Cape Cod, Massachusetts in November 1620,  all 41 man aboard the Mayflower drew up a document known as The Mayflower Compact to establish  fair and equal laws of governing their New World  and for the general good of the settlement, with the will of the majority.

Signer of the Mayflower Compact

Signers of the Mayflower Compact

 Edward Fuller was the twenty-first signer.  He and his wife died soon after their arrival (1620-21), and are buried in unmarked graves on Coles Hill at Plymouth.   After being orphaned, Samuel was brought up by his uncle, Dr. Samuel Fuller, the physician of the Pilgrims.  Samuel was the only Mayflower passenger to settle permanently in Barnstable and was one of the last surviving Mayflower passengers. It was, in fact, Samuel Fuller,son of Edward and Ann who founded Barnstable, Massachusetts.   On April 8, 1635, Samuel married Jane Lothrop, daughter of Rev. John Lothrop.   They were married by the infamous Captain Miles Standish at the James Cudworth house. The Fullers had 9 children.  Samuel Fuller died there on October 31, 1683.
Jane Lathrop/Lothrop is my 8th great grand aunt–ancestor of my grandmother’s (Alice Lauretta Lathrop Ford) paternal “Lathrop” family.
It is my desire to collect, authenticate, analyze, preserve, and publish all relevant Family information to give my family an accurate accounting of its past.  Information within this article has been gathered throughout my 20+ years of ongoing genealogical research. I wish also to thank contributors from the public trees, the U.S. Census Bureau and’s historical facts compilations, and similar materials and web sites dedicated to promoting Americans’ heritage and religious, moral, and societal contributions.


malarkeyslangIf you have been around my mom (Norma Florence Ford Boling, picture circa 1943)NormaFFord for any length of time, it’s likely that you have heard her say “Malarkey” or sometimes “Baloney” instead of “bullshit” or some other expletive to disagree with what’s being said.  Several of us have always wondered where she picked up the word “Malarkey”.  Well, recently Vice President Joe Biden surfaced a new awareness of the word malarkey in his October 11, 2012 vice presidential debate with Paul Ryan.

 malarkeyslangmalarkeybiden His use of the word malarkey instead of nonsense or pack of lies, bullshit, or baloney  shot up searches for the word malarkey  by 3,000% on Merriam-Webster’s site, setting a record for searches for any word within a 24-hour period.  This spike in searches went on to make  malarkey one of the most popular word searches and words of 2012.  So,  like many others before me, I set out on my own search to see if I could find out where the use of malarkey was coined.  And, in keeping with my researcher and genealogist nature, I share below my findings– which may or may not be a bunch of malarkey:  Malarkey

Our Pocahontas Descendency

Yes, it is true that our Boling family descends from Pocahontas. pocahontas

I gleaned much of the following from various web pages:

Pocahontas (born Matoaka, and later known as Rebecca Rolfe, c. 1595 – March 1617) was a Virginia Indian notable for her association with the colonial settlement at Jamestown, Virginia. “Matoaka” was the beautiful and lively daughter of Chief Powhatan, ruler of the land that the English named Virginia. “Pocahontas” was her childhood nickname, translated as “little wanton,” meaning she was playful and hard to control.  Pocahontas became her father’s favorite child, “the apple of his eye”.

In a well-known historical anecdote, she is said to have saved the life of an Indian captive, Englishman John Smith, in 1607 by placing her head upon his own when her father raised his war club to execute him.

Pocahontas was captured by the English during Anglo-Indian hostilities in 1613, and held for ransom. During her captivity, she converted to Christianity and took the name Rebecca. When the opportunity arose for her to return to her people, she chose to remain with the English. In April 1614, she married tobacco planter John Rolfe, and in January 1615, bore him a son, Thomas Rolfe.  This marriage created the “Peace of Pocahontas”, six years of peace between the Jamestown colonists and Powhatan’s tribes.PochantasMarriesRolfe

In 1616, the Rolfes’ traveled to London. Pocahontas was presented to English society as an example of the civilized “savage” in hopes of stimulating investment in the Jamestown settlement. She became something of a celebrity.  In 1617, the Rolfes set sail for home, but Pocahontas died at Gravesend of unknown causes. She was buried in a church in Gravesend, but the exact location of her grave is unknown.

Many places, landmarks, and products in the United States have been named after Pocahontas. Her story has been romanticized over the years, and she is a subject of art, literature, and film. Her descendants through her son Thomas include members of the First Families of Virginia, First Ladies Edith Wilson and Nancy Reagan, and astronomer Percival Lowell.

The descendency chart below begins with Pocahontas’ marriage to Captain John Thomas Rolfe II, my tenth great grandather.  It spans 10 generations including  Rolfes’, Bollings’ Asburys’, Bowlings’ and Bolings’ and, of course, could continue now through the Dickinson and McDaniel families through my children.

10th great grandfather
Captain John Thomas Rolfe II
Princess Pocahontas Powhatan
b: 06 May 1585 b: 13 Nov 1595
Heacham Hall, Norfolkshire, Watk Jamestown, James, Virginia, US
d: 22 Mar 1622 (killed in Indian Mas d: 21 Mar 1617
Jamestown, Virginia Colony; kille Gravesend, Kent, England
9th great grandfather
Thomas Powhatan Rolfe
b: 30 Jan 1615
Richmond, Wise, Virginia, USA
d: 19 Apr 1675
Henrico, Virginia, USA
8th great grandmother
Jane Rolfe
b: 10 Oct 1650
Varina, Henrico, Virginia, USA
d: 1676
Charles City, Charles, Virginia, U
7th great grandfather
Major Robert Bolling Jr
b: 25 Jan 1682
Charles City, Charles, Virginia, U
d: 23 Jan 1749
Prince George County, Virginia,
6th great grandmother
Jean or Jane Bolling (Bowling)
b: 01 Apr 1722
Stafford, Virginia, USA
d: 23 Jan 1816
Harrison, Charles, Virginia, USA
5th great grandfather
George Asbury
b: 20 Jan 1756
Stafford, Stafford, Virginia, USA
d: 28 Aug 1819
Tazewell, Virginia, USA
4th great grandmother
Lavina Asbury
b: 1784
Tazewell, Tazewell, Virginia, USA
d: Jun 1858
Tazewell, Tazewell, Virginia, USA
3rd great grandfather
Thornton A Bowling
b: Abt. 1802
Spotsylvania, Spotsylvania, Virgin
d: 20 Jun 1863
Richmond, Wise, Virginia, USA
2nd great grandfather
Lawrence T “Larl” Boling
b: 26 May 1838
Spotsylvania, Spotsylvania, Virgin
d: 08 Feb 1910
Spotsylvania, Spotsylvania, Virgin
Great grandfather
Edward Bud Vincent Bowling Sr
b: 03 May 1872
Spotsylvania, Spotsylvania, Virgin
d: 1946
Spotsylvania, Spotsylvania, Virgin
Paternal grandfather
Jesse Burton Boling
b: 27 Feb 1902
Spotsylvania, Spotsylvania, Virgin
d: Sep 1978
Hyattsville, Prince George’s, Mary
Frank Burton Boling
b: 07 Dec 1928
Alexandria, Virginia, USA
Joanne Carol Boling
b: 05 Jan 1947
Washington City, District Of Colu