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This research contains information regarding the family of three brothers (Henry P. Harding, John Wesley Dickens and Lucius Dickens) that served in the 27th Iowa.

Additional information on this family can be found at Doug's website,


Research submitted by Doug Dickens

While researching the family of Edward Glover (Ned) and Ann Drusilla Dickens, I have noticed a few references to Ann Drusilla's twelve children. Ned was the father of eleven of these children but I've found no reference by name to Ann Drusilla's first child, Henry P. Harding. So I began a search for whatever information I could find about him.

Ann's first marriage and son are mentioned in Dr. Van Sickle's 1880 book.

5. Peter Van Sickle, was born in (Readington Township) Hunterdon County, in the State of New Jersey, about the year 1749. He was the only son, and youngest of four children (Anna, Mary, Elizabeth, and Peter). His father was taken from him by death when he was about five years old, and, leaving no other son to share with him the affection of his mother, her fatherless boy became the absorbing object of her doting fondness. But at the age of ten his mother died; and he was left an orphan indeed. After the death of his mother, he lived in a family that treated him very badly. To satisfy his hunger, it was no uncommon thing for him to gather the crumbs from the table, after the family had finished their meal. His uncle, Renear Van Sickle, hearing of his ill-treatment, took him away, and he (Peter) was so destitute of clothes, that his uncle wrapped his own coat around him to keep him from perishing with the cold. After living with his uncle awhile, he was "bound out" to learn the trade of a tanner. Left an orphan at such an early age, it was hard to battle with the world; yet he always maintained that personal dignity which characterizes most of his descendants.

About the year 1774, he married Catharine, daughter of Jacob Huffman (whose ancestors came from Holland), from which union there were eight children: namely,

  1. Abraham;
  2. Sarah (who died at about the age of two years):
  3. Andrew
  4. Margaret
  5. Cornelius
  6. Elias
  7. Peter
  8. Catherine.

None of his children were educated; for "the young people of those early times were far from having the educational advantages enjoyed at the present day. There were no public schools, and often in large districts no schools of any kind for the greater part of the year. Public libraries were almost unknown." He and his children spoke the Dutch language until about the year 1790. After the birth of his oldest son, Abraham, he served as a private under General George Clinton in the Revolutionary War: he served his country faithfully; and as a soldier and patriot, had few superiors. We find this couple setting out in life during the period of the American Revolution, when the country was in a very unsettled state, with the world before them, and honesty and industry their only stock in trade. Though a tanner by trade, he was also a farmer. In his latter days he was a pensioner. He was a man of great intelligence, a strict Presbyterian, and held a good place in the estimation of the public.

He removed from Hunterdon to Sussex County, New Jersey, where he resided on one of the best farms in the county, now (1880) known as the "Old Bog Meadow," which was doubtless at one time the bottom of an extended lake. He removed back and forth several times from New Jersey to the State of New York; the last time he removed was in the month of January, 1805, when he settled in Western New York. In the autumn of 1817, he, in company with his wife, his sons Andrew, Cornelius, Elias, and Peter, his youngest daughter, Catharine, and their families (in all, with others, thirty-seven persons) emigrated from Cayuga (now Tomkins) County, New York, to the State of Ohio, traveling in flat-boats down Oil Creek, the Alleghany, and the Ohio rivers. This was before steamboats were generally introduced upon the western rivers. Cornelius Van Sickle and his family left the Ohio River at Steubenville and, traveling across the country in a wagon, settled in Delaware County; while the remainder of the company settled in Gallia County, near Gallipolis ("the city of the French") when the country was yet a wilderness. "In the Indian ware, prior to the treaty of Greenville, many boats descending the Ohio, were attacked by the Indians, and the white people in them cruelly massacred. After the war had closed, wrecks of boats were frequently seen on the shore to remind the traveler of the unhappy fate of those who had fallen a prey to the rifle, tomahawk, and scalping-knife."

At this time emigration was so rapid that it was difficult to procure boats for the emigrants. This company took precaution to procure boats before leaving Oil Creek. They went over mill-dams in their boats, after landing the women and children. At one dangerous place an Indian offered to run the boats through for all the "hog-meat" that he could eat and all the whiskey he could drink; but they first extracted a promise that he would keep sober until past all danger. He (the Indian) piloted the boats safely through, and received his "fire-water" and "hog-meat" of which he ate voraciously. The company landed at night, and encamped on the banks of the river. One night they encamped in a deserted Indian village, although each hour expecting the return of the Indians who were supposed to have gone on a hunting expedition. The company was four weeks floating down. During a part of the time the water was very high and the river was strewed with drift-wood. After a long and fatiguing journey, they arrived at their destination in the month of October (1817) and thus they commenced a pioneer life in the wilderness. This little colony, like all others which settle in new countries, endured many hardships and privations in the first few months of their residence among the hills in the wilderness.

In the autumn of 1823, he (Peter Van Sickle) and his wife (Catharine), his grand-daughter Catharine (Abraham's daughter, who came with the company from New York State), and his son-in-law, Ira Finch, and his family, removed to Central Ohio, and settled in Delaware County, where he (Peter) resided until his death, which occurred on the 27th of January, 1843, at the advanced age of 93; while it is said by some that he was in his 96th year. He died an easy death; after visiting some of his relatives, he returned home, and went out to get some wood to build a fire; after he came in, he fainted and fell back in his chair. His daughter, Catherine, and her husband (Ira Finch) ran to him and assisted him upon his bed, when he partially recovered; he opened his eyes, put his arms around them, and said "Children, I am going home!" Those were the last words he every uttered. His wife, Catherine, who was also of Low Dutch descent, died about the year 1833. He and his wife were of sturdy, healthy stock, and they, as well as many of the descendants furnish instances of unusual longevity. Of their eight children, seven of them, -- five sons and two daughters -- lived to rear families. Their descendants are very numerous and are found in many of the States. "Life in these degenerate days is so short that he who has reached four score and ten, is looked upon as a relic of the past, a long oak of the primitive forest. Children look upon him with reverence; young men and maidens with respect; and the middle aged with just consideration.

8. VII. Andrew Van Sickle, the third child of Peter and Catherine was born in Sussex County, New Jersey about the year 1779. He was married in the same county, on the 8th of Sept. 1800, to Sarah, daughter of Solomon Courtright, of Sussex County, New Jersey, by whom he had thirteen children:

  1. David, who died at the age of 15 years
  2. Thomas
  3. Jacob
  4. Martin
  5. Hannah
  6. Eliza
  7. Almira
  8. Catharine, who died young
  9. DeWitt Clinton
  10. Moses E.
  11. Sarah Ann
  12. Ursula
  13. Ann Drusilla

About the year 1805, he removed to Western New York, and settled in Cayuga (now Tompkins) County. In the autumn of 1817, he emigrated to Southern Ohio, and settled in Gallia County, where he remained about three years, thence removing to Indiana and settling in Vermillion County, where he resided until his death, which occurred July 17, 1822 or August 24, 1824. He was a farmer, wheelwright and shoemaker by occupation. His wife, Sarah, was a doctress (mid-wife) and a successful practitioner. In 1827 she removed to Jo Daviess County, Illinois, where she resided until her death, which occurred in September 1849. All their children were large, strong, and well proportioned, and hence well calculated to endure the privations and hardships of pioneer life, of which they all know more or less.

Ann Drusilla Van Sickle, the thirteenth and youngest child of Andrew and Sarah, was born in Vermillion County, Indiana, August 19, 1822. She was twice married; first, in Jo Daviess County, Illinois, July 6, 1835, to Isham S. Harding, farmer, son of Isaac Harding, of Kentucky, by whom she had one son, Henry, born March 10, 1837, who was a soldier in the Union Army, and died at Fort Snelling, Dec. 10, 1862. In 1836, they removed to Clayton County, Iowa, where her first husband, Isham S. Harding, died.

Following are the notes by Doug Dickens:

Jo Daviess County Marriages, Book 1.
August 21, 1828 - Nov 1, 1840

Van Sickle, Druezilla - Hardin, Isham
July 5, 1835. Page 30

I found Ann's son, Henry P. Harding in the Clayton County Census in 1850 and 1860:

1850: 41 Hardin Henry P. 18 M Iowa (he was 13 or 14). Henry was living in the home of Henry and Sarah Redmond. (grandparents -- mother and stepfather of his mother Ann Drusilla)

1860: 710 Harding H.P. 23 M . Laborer . . Iowa (his age is correct here).

Henry P. Harding Pension Index RecordExcerpt from a 1909 newspaper clipping (copied from my Page 5). "Mrs. Dickens ... has been the mother of twelve children, seven of whom are still living. Three of her sons served in the northern army during the civil war. One lost his life in a southern hospital, and because of his death in the service she has drawn a pension for many years."

 I knew from earlier reading that Ned and Ann had two sons in the Union Army. I knew (from Dr. Van Sickle's book) that Ann's first son Henry P. Harding also served in the Union Army. I was very happy to find that all three of these sons were in the same "Company B of the 27th Iowa Regiment." Sadly, Henry's Army career was cut short by his untimely death. The two Dickens sons, John W. and Lucius Dickens survived the war - but barely.

It is always possible that descendants of Isaac Harding who lived in KY in the early 1800s, the grandfather of Henry P. Harding, may search for information about this missing relative. If so, I'm pleased to say, you have found him having been raised among his Iowa Dickens and Van Sickle relatives and Resting in Peace with Military Honors in the National Cemetery at Fort Snelling, Minnesota!

(My note: after Henry died, Lucius and John W. continued their military service for the duration of the Civil War.)

(My note: dictionary definition, "Ague is a fever with alternating chills and sweating, especially associated with malaria.")

In paragraph #8 of this section of the book we find that after Ann Drusilla's father Andrew died in Indiana, her mother Sarah moved with her 11 living childrento Illinois in 1827. Ann Drusilla, born August 19, 1822, would have been 5 years old at the time of moving to Illinois.

Paragraph #39. Ann married her first husband, Isham S. Harding in 1835, in Illinois.They moved to Iowa in 1836, where her husband Isham died soon thereafter. She would have been 14. Her first child, the son of Isham, was born March 10, 1837.The book author said she married Edward Glover Dickens on May 27, 1837 and they were the parents of eleven children. In 1880, when this book was written, they were living on their farm in Clayton County Iowa .Ann Drusilla Dickens died September 5, 1909 just a few years after her husband died.

The photos below are Ann Drusilla Van Sickle Harding Dickens and her husband Edward (Ned) Glover Dickens.

Ann Drusilla Van Sickle Harding Dickens Edward (Ned) Glover Dickens

Children of Ann Van Sickle and Edward Glover Dickens:

  1. William M., born March 26, 1839, who married (Nov. 22, 1864) Mary F. Baulear;
  2. Lucius N., born Jan. 8, 1841, who married (1st) (Dec. 6, 1866) Eunice E. Mead (who died March 22, 1877), and (2nd) Kate Clark, on the 18th of June, 1878;
  3. John W., born March 4, 1843, who married (Oct. --, 1872) Alice Luce;
  4. Moses E., born May 28, 1845, who married (April 15, 1872) Eveline Glover;
  5. Saphroni C., born Aug. 28, 1847, who married (Oct. 13, 1867) Lawrence Jennings;
  6. Charles C., born Dec, 12, 1849, who married (March 5, 1872) Lucinda Glover;
  7. Harriet E., born Feb. 29, 1852, who married (Dec. 10, 1872) Clarence A. Luce;
  8. Robert R., born Aug 19, 1854, who married (Jan. --, 1872) Sarah Foote;
  9. Alice Josephine, born Feb 16, 1857, who married (Nov. 14, 1877) William Lee;
  10. Mary J., born Oct. 31, 1859; and
  11. Lillian M., born Oct. 22, 1862.

Her second husband, Edward G. Dickens, was born July 15, 1815. They now (1880) live on their farm in Allamakee Co., Iowa. P.O., North McGregor, Clayton County, Iowa.

Most of Ann's siblings also moved to Iowa in the early to late 1830's. All five of her brothers and at least one sister were early Iowa settlers. So Edward G. Dickens lived among relatives and friends at least from 1832 to the turn of the Century.


Information regarding Edward (Ned) Glover Dickens
(father of John Wesley Dickens and Lucius Dickens of Company B, 27th Iowa):

Below is a listing of all persons who served in the United States Army, Navy or Marine Corps during the years 1812 to 1884 who were living in Iowa in 1885. The following list of men served from states other than Iowa.

Dickens, Edward: Infantry, Illinois; Company A; Private; McGregor; Black Hawk War

Iowa State Gazetteer, 1865
Clayton county
pg. 126-132

In the Spring of 1838, the Governor of Wisconsin Territory appointed John W. Griffith the first Sheriff of Clayton county, who proceeded to summon the grand and petit juries for the first term of the "District Court appointed to be holden at Prairie La Porte, in and for the County of Clayton, in the Territory of Wisconsin, on the fourth Monday of May." When the time arrived, the Court was organized by Hon. Charles Dunn, District Judge, in a log house, the residence of Herman Graybill. Dr. F. Andros, was appointed Clerk, William Banks, United States Attorney, and James Churchman, Posecuting Attorney. As Grand Jurors, the following named persons who had been summoned, appeared and were empannelled: Elisha Boardman, foreman; David Springer, Dean Gray, Eliphalet Price, Edward Dickens, Henry Redmon, Solomon Wadsworth, George W. Jones, Daniel Rugby, Luther Mead, William Rowan, Horace D. Bronson, Allen Carpenter, William W. Wayman, E.R. Hill, Wm. D. Grant, and Ava Durrin. *

Some contemporary researchers think Edward Glover Dickens, aka E.G., was buried in Pleasant Grove Cemetery then for some reason moved to Council Hill Cemetery. There was - and is - an Edward Dickens buried in Pleasant Grove Cemetery. Some think E.G. died Jan. 17, 1894, some say Jan. 17, 1904. Whichever his death date, it has nothing to do with confirming his birth identity.

The difference in the date of Edward's death is probably a typo. The dates are identical except for the year which is two center figures off: Jan 17, 1894 vs. Jan 17, 1904.

Later note: old publications that people have sent to me, all list his death date as: Jan 17, 1894. It's obvious that the year of 1904 is a WPA typing error that has been carried forward since the 1930's.

Clayton County Cemetery Records:
DICKENS Ann 1822 -05 Jun 1909, Council Hill Giard Twp. Clayton
DICKENS E.G. 1815- 17 Jan 1904 (1894), Council Hill Giard Twp. Clayton
*DICKENS Edward - no marker, veteran Pleasant Grove McGregor Clayton

1930's WPA Records.
Search 650,206 records within 82 Iowa counties. WPA Record Search...
Surname Given Name Born Died Cemetery Location County
DICKENS E.G.1815 17 Jan 1904 (1894) Council Hill Giard Twp. Clayton
DICKENS Edward no dates or marker, veteran Pleasant Grove McGregor Clayton

* "The Edward Dickens that is buried in Pleasant Grove Cemetery at McGregor is a g-grandson of Edward Glover Dickens." Chuck Runneberg, 5/14/07.


Thanks to all the family, friends, and acquaintances of the descendents of these two Iowa Pioneers, Edward Glover (Ned) and Ann Drusilla Dickens, for making the current generation of Dickens' aware of their contributions toward establishing a stable civilization in what was then, an untamed land. And thanks to the historians of Clayton County Iowa who have furnished me with enough information about the settling of that area to fill a book if I were so inclined.

The entire account of Ned and Ann Dickens that I have amassed into this Web site would not exist were it not for their great-great-grandson Chuck Runneberg of Iowa. Chuck wrote to me inquiring about his Smith County TN relatives, specifically about his great-great-great-grandfather John Dickens, Sr. the father of Edward Glover (Ned) Dickens. That same John Dickens, Sr. is also my great-great-great-grandfather - but I had never heard of Ned Dickens. Thus began my study.

Recently Chuck sent a copy of a manuscript which is filed in the McGregor Public Library of Clayton County, Iowa that contains many memories dictated by Zilla Ellyson Rutherford Flagg, a granddaughter of Edward Glover (Ned) and Ann Drusilla Dickens. Zilla mentiond events that were told to her about the Dickens family from the late 1700s in Carolina through the 1800s and well into the 1900s in Iowa and Tennessee; some are her own experiences and some were told to her by others. I have chosen to copy some paragraphs that directly mention Ned in order to acquaint his many Dickens kin folks with him and a few of his activities as a Pioneer in the early settlement of the state of Iowa. Don't let me lead you into thinking that this is all that is written about Ned and Ann. There is much more on file in Clayton County, Iowa (and in my computer files).

The following is from the Manuscript.

"FOREWORD: The 11th and last child of Edward and Ann Druzilla Dickens was my grandmother, Lillian Dickens Ellyson Gill. Lillian had two daughters, Zilla and Ila. Zilla had one daughter Mary Jeane, and Ila had Ila Jean and me, Olivia.

Lillian was widowed when my mother was only 2 years old. Charles Sumner Ellyson died of "galloping consumption", now called tuberculosis, or TB. She became a milliner, raised her girls, sent my mother to college, was a talented gardiner and an excellent cook. She married Joe Gill, Sheriff of Sibley, Iowa. Lillian was born Oct. 22, 1862 and died June 18, 1921.

In the 1960s when Ila and Zilla were in their 70s we all wanted Zilla with her retentive memory to write or dictate the family's history. Jeanne typed it all, included her mother's other works and mailed them all to us. These are the pages that follow"

From Page 11: "Ned Dickens was an upright and honored citizen, not only respected, but loved and not only by those who knew him but by many who had just heard of him. When he lay 'in state' at North McGregor, his friends had found it necessary to commandeer the 'Opera House', a large public hall used for theatricals and all large public meetings or dances. People by the hundred and of all ages --- scores of children --- came to see him. Some of them driving in from the country for miles around." (My note: Ned died in 1894 - Ann died in 1909. They are buried in Council Hill Cemetery, Giard Twp. Clayton County, Iowa.)

From Page 3:"The Dickens family from which Ned Dickens descended were Carolina tobacco farmers. ... Sometime after the Revolution, these Dickenses, having worn out their Carolina tobacco land, moved over the mountains into Tennessee in the low hills southeast* of Nashville, taking ... several households of the family. They cleared the land and built great tobacco barns, which Grandpa could remember from his childhood. But before 1830 they were all ruined, for the thin soil, when the forest was removed, washed off the rocky slopes and down into the rivers ... I saw it in 1931." (My note: Actually the location is a little*northeast of Nashville.)

Continuing Page 3: "Grandpa had been orphaned and adopted by a Dr. Griffith, who was the great grandfather of the Quigley girls we knew in McGregor. Dr. Griffith's young daughter, (who, in 1832, was a child of grandma's age (11) was supposed to become Ned Dickens' bride when old enough to marry. So Lola Quigley told me. ... But Grandpa took off into the paradise of the Iowa hills, and when he was 20, married grandma, Ann Drusilla VanSickle, just 15.

From Page 2: (Spring of 1832) "Grandpa also came across the river during this time ... . He was a merry soul, chiefly concerned with the present. ... . A direct quote from his old age,'It was a paradise. A man could go into it with only a gun and an axe and make himself a living.' And at sixteen he did start out alone --- in the fall of 1832 --- with an axe and a gun, and made his way."

" ...autumn of 1832 ... from an old diary that Lola Quigley turned up ... . a small group of families who had built themselves a little settlement in the hills ... and then discovered when winter approached that there wasn't a hunter among them. They faced starvation. But one day, so the diary relates, a strange gun shot was heard echoing in the hills. Next day it was heard again. ... Ned Dickens, (grandpa) the sixteen year old with his gun and axe, turned up one evening --- and he stayed the winter with them, killing game for their food. He was a Tennessee boy, a good shot, a competent hunter. In exchange for shelter he brought in game for the whole settlement. I suppose one of the reasons he became so much loved and revered as an 'old settler' in the county was because the descendents or perhaps even survivors of this settlement were his neighbors till the end of his life."

From Page 11: "... Grandpa Dickens... could communicate with the Indians in their own language; eat with them and visit with them; enjoy a practical joke with them; yet maintain himself and his family in a highly civilized state. One example was the fact that no quarrelling or fighting was ever permitted and thus never developed in this large family of children."

From Page 13: "Ned Dickens was very friendly with the Indians that were being displaced in their own country. There were Winnebago, Sac, and Fox. He was one of those people who quickly pick up any language with which they come in contact. So it was inevitable that he should become an interpreter, and he did in fact act as such for various Astor Fur company buyers."

From Page 17: "In the fall of 1860, Ned Dickens had gone down to Tennessee to visit his people. I vaugely recall that the troubled political scene (pre-war) was part of his reason for going. When he returned he brought with him, his nephew Felix Dickens. Aunt Phrone described Felix as a blue eyed blond,'the most beautiful man' she ever saw (she was 13 going on 14). He was so charming that all the girls for miles around were smitten, and pursued him. I think he came north with the intention of staying, but when the war came he hurried back home, and never returned. I may have even talked to his son. I met a Will Dickens at Springfield, Tennessee in 1932, who was a grandson of Ned Dickens' brother Joel --- but didn't ask him who or what Felix was to him.

From Page 15: In the summer of 1861 two sons of Ned and Ann went to fight in the Civil War, Lucius and Wesley.

Page 17: "They were with Sherman in the march from Atlanta to the sea. I remember a pewter tea spoon that was Wesley's souvenir of this march. During all the skirmishes and battles in which the boys were involved in that region, Grandpa suffered agonies. I heard said that he really never was the same after those war days. When a battle was on, he walked the floor all night. For he had two sons in the Union Army and two nephews and a brother on the Confederate side. I seem to recall hearing that all of the Rebels were chaplains and some of the Southern family were Federals and chaplains. Very devout Methodists; and they still were when Aunt Joe was down there in 1919."

From Pages 30 and 31: "...When quite young I posed a question to some older person ... 'Why did Grandpa stay in the hills along the river, and not go on to the more valuable land to the west?' The answer was that he didn't like the open prairie --- was really afraid of it. We can now understand that --- he was not only a frontiersman, but a mountaineer also. Although raised, not in the mountains, but in the hilly country southeast* of Nashville; nevertheless, he was still not able to face a treeless prairie."

Page 29: "It was during those years just before and after our father and Grandfather Dickens died --- about 1893 that Grandma told us so many stories of her early days in Iowa."

(My note: These excerpts are just a little of the exploits of Ned and Ann Dickens. Several of Ann'sstories are available as they were printed in Newspapers of the time. You can find them mentioned on the Clayton County Iowa Web site.)