John Dix was born with an adventure-seeking spirit. Within a year after of his father's death, he shipped out at the age of 16 on a privateer during the War of 1812. That led to him joining the South Pacific merchant trade, and becoming captain of his own ship. When it was accidentally wrecked in New Zealand, he returned to America, married a girl from Gloucester, Massachusetts, and Dixboro in Michigan Territory, and never went to sea again. Ten years later, Dix once more got the urge to move. He ended up in Stephen Austin's Texas Colony, where he fought in the initial battles of the Texas War for Independence at San Antonio de Bexar. During the Civil War, as loyal Unionists in secessionist Texas, Dix and his wife suffered until war's end. That was when he was sworn in as the County Judge and became the Nueces County Assistant Agent for the Freedmen's Bureau, a position held until his death in 1870, where he helped former slaves make the transition to becoming American citizens.
This biography is the result of Manning’s genealogy research into his wife’s great-great-great grandfather. He has written two books: this one about Captain John Dix and the other about his son John James Dix. I have been doing genealogy research on my own family. I’ve noticed the various organization keep telling people to do a written narrative of the relative and include not only the information found on the relative, but also add key historical information so the relative can be easily placed in his time in history. This is exactly what Manning has done with this book.
John Dix was born in Gloucester, MA where his father was a minuteman in 1775. They moved to Michigan and when his father died Dix went to sea at age 16 on a privateer during the War of 1812. Manning includes a great deal of information about privateers of that timeframe. He eventually owned his own ship and was a freighter owner on the Pacific trade route. He quit the sea and settled with his family in Stephen Austin’s Texas Colony. He fought in the battles of the Texas War for Independence. He became a county judge later in life.
The book is well written and is an interesting view of a man’s life in the late 1700’s and into the 1800’s. There was a great deal of interesting United States’ history during Dix’s lifetime. My only minor complaint was the narrator, Bob Rundelle. He had a pleasant voice but slowed up and slowly pronounced people or place names very carefully. It became a bit annoying but the book is short at about six hours.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful