Born: November 1, 1875, in Winchester TN
Married: Mary Vernon (Nix) June 19, 1902, in Montgomery AL
Died: October 8, 1939, in Decatur AL
Buried: Decatur, AL
Mary Vernon (Nix) Dix was born October 22,1878 in Loackapoka AL and died Feb 4, 1974 in Douglas, GA, and is buried in Decatur also.
Uncle Paul and Aunt Vernon had five children:
Photo submitted by Frances Dix Chapman
Front row (L-R): Paul, Lell, and Allie
"Livingston & Moore Successors to J. W. Blyth, 10 Court Square,
Montomery, Ala" is on the border that has been cropped here. Since
Alex is in the photo, it was obviously taken before his death in September
1899. Otherwise,we don’t have any information on the date of the photo
Studio portrait of Paul Finch Dix. The matte (not included in this cropped image to save space and to allow a larger image) is embossed with “W. J. Chambers, 17 Dexter Ave., Montgomery Ala". On the back is written , again in the hand of Ruth Dix Whigham, “Uncle Paul, Aunt Vernon’s husband (your grandfather’s brother)”
Paul Finch Dix circa 1900
Oliver, Susan, and Vernon (Nix) Dix
Letter written by Mary Vernon Nix Dix, transcribed by Ed Sproles, her
grandson. Apparently it was written in response to the gift of a
book on the history of the college at Montevallo where she taught Latin
for several years before her marriage to Paul F. Dix. (transcribed
September 7, 2003)
(A note in the upper left corner of the letter reads: “Yes, Miss Leo Sanders became Mrs. McMath and Miss Haley, Mrs. Alex Moore. I can’t see the picture well enough to tell who they are.”)
(Mrs. McMath was the home economics teacher, and was a wonderful cook,
according to my mother, Mary Vernon Sproles. Mrs. McMath lived in
Decatur as did PFD and MVN after about 1920. Mrs. McMath, the home
economics teacher, had no children, while MVN, the Latin teacher, had five.
Mrs. McMath was in charge of getting the communion wine at their church.)
Paul and Vernon's children, Frank and Susan, in about 1910
Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.
Nell Beach Dix, left, and Mary Vernon Dix, right; daughters of Paul Finch and Vernon (Nix) Dix. The hand written caption reads: "Just arrived in Decatur. The little Dixes are delighted to watch the people go by." This is the front side of the postcard.
Ed Sproles Jr. writes: The older girl certainly looks like my mother, and the younger one could easily be Nell Beach.After consulting his mother, Mary Vernon Sproles, he wrote:
Mom enjoyed the pictures. She remembed the photo of Nell and her in Decatur--that was taken on Uncle Murrie's front porch, that is Arthur's bicycle in the background.
“Just received your card – so sorry you’ve been sick, have a fellow feeling when you say teeth. Wrote to you from Whaley after your last letter – wonder why you didn’t get it. I expected to write many letters while I was with Frances, but her cook was away and we had our hands full. Then M.V. [Mary Vernon] took chicken pox and we piled into our home without time to put things right, before she was out, Nell Beach had a swollen gland under her arm that has made her and the rest of us restless night and day for three weeks, is up now after having to take chloroform twice to have it opened. The doctor says no telling what she has suffered. We are not quite straight yet, but are still well pleased with Decatur. Lovingly, Vernon”
Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.
The photo of the Eagle Scouts in grandfather's troop includes my Uncle
Frank (second from right) and other boys from the neighborhood that my
mother can identify. Grandfather (PFD) was the scoutmaster for many
years, I have his silver beaver award that he received for his service.
Ed Sproles Jr.
Buck, Arthur Dix’s dog, sitting in chair with Boy’s Life magazine. The
chair was from front porch of PFD home. Note that Frank Dix’s interest
in Boy Scouts stimulated his father to be the scoutmaster of the troop.
Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.
This is a scan of a photo taken in front of the 'new' high school in
Decatur, AL, probably in late 20's or early 30's, well definitely before
Oct 1932 when Arthur died. Front row: Mary Vernon, Nell, Frances
Hendrick (Frank's wife or future wife, depending on the date); Middle:
Madeline Dix; Rear: Arthur Dix, Mary Vernon Nix Dix, Frank Dix
Paul F. Dix home in Decatur at 304 Line Street. The front porch
was removed later. The home remained in the family until after Mary
Vernon (Nix) Dix died, providing her with rental income in her later years
when she lived with her children. We suspect that snow was an unusual
enough event that one of the family was stimulated to take this photo.
Keith Dix and Frank Dix. The photo is marked on the back Dec 24, 1933, in Lakeland, FL.
Frank and Frances's sons, Paul Hendrix Dix and Edward Keith Dix.
Paul was born in 1935 so you can guess an approximate date from there.
KDIX814@aol.com Keith Dix 1842 Bell Road Wooster, OH 44691 Phone:
Based on tapes made March 29, 2000
Transcribed by Edward Sproles Jr.
Born Montgomery Alabama, 416 Finley Ave, Montgomery, Alabama the house my father and mother bought, they did not even go on a honeymoon, they went right to this house that daddy had bought. We lived there, I was the fourth child. My oldest brother Oliver, my sister Susie, my brother Frank then I was born.
Susie died when I was 4 years old after we had moved out to Mt Meigs, which is out from Montgomery, on a farm. Daddy wanted to try living on a farm. So we , Nell was born in Montgomery, there at home, she is 4 years younger than I am. When we moved out to Mt Meigs, my mother’s father, O. J. Nix he was known as, Oliver Judson Nix, moved out with us, he bought a model T Ford. We moved about 1916, the War had started or was going on. We lived out there, Grandpa Nix drove into Montgomery, Oliver and Frank went to school in Montgomery and they waited at the library until Grandpa picked them up to come home every evening. Grandpa Nix did office work and collections at Vesuvius Lumber Company. We have a picture of him with stacks of lumber, he was a good looking man. While we were living at Mt Meigs, my sister Susie had diphtheria and died and I well remember all of us going to have the shot, the antitoxin.for diphtheria. No one else in the family had it. I remember faintly the funeral, she was buried in Montgomery in the plot of my Grandfather Nix where his mother and mother’s aunt were buried. I don’t know where my mother’s mother was buried because she died when mother was 4 years old. Grandfather’s sister, Aunt Sue Nix had lived with my mother and grandfather to look after mother. As mother said they didn’t have a home, I guess it was almost a boarding house, they lived at Mrs. Shaw’s house in Montgomery which is a historic house that has been restored. The Shaw house was where grandfather and Aunt Sue lived. We were always friends of the Shaw family. I slept in that house many times when I went back to Montgomery. My father thought that he was going to have to go to the war [WWI]. I faintly remember standing on the sidewalk in Montgomery watching a parade of soldiers who were going to have to go to war. Daddy was marching in the parade carrying a flag which we had for many years, but I don’t know whatever happened to it. But the war ended in time that he did not have to go.
This friend of the family in Whaley, Mississippi, wanted daddy to come over there and run his plantation. So we moved to Whaley, MS, when I guess I was 5 years old because the one room schoolhouse needed me to start to school at 5 years old because otherwise they did not have enough children to get a teacher. So I started to school in this one room school. We had a nice house. The river was right across the road from our house. The river would get up almost to the road. Mother was very nonchalant about us. Having been a Latin teacher and having no brothers and sisters she just let us run wild. Frank and I built a kind of tree house in this tree across the road from the house in the woods. Also when the river got up, we would go swimming in that river. I well remember that I could not swim, but Frank said just get on my back and I will swim. Frank was 11 at that time. I got on his back and we went down to the bottom but we got out.
Mother said that the bottom dropped out of the cotton market. We moved to Decatur Alabama where Daddy’s brother Murray was in the insurance and real estate business. When we moved to Decatur my cousin’s grandparents had a house that we rented next door to Uncle Murray, and Aunt Francis and Madeline and Arthur , our cousins. I was in the 3rd grade then. This was very different from the one room school in Mississippi where I was the only one in the 3rd grade. Mother said that I came home one day and said that I didn’t need to know all the answers all you had to do was hold up your had for the teacher to call on you. So that was the end of my studious education. We lived in Decatur until I finished High School. Daddy had bought a house further down on the same street where we had been renting. We moved further down the street on Line street in Decatur. Oliver had finished high school in Greenwood, MS , about 14 miles from Whaley. He stayed with a family that had a son his age in the same school.
I finished high school when I was 16 years old and in the fall I went to Montevallo, Alabama College for Women, where my mother had taught before she was married. Evidently the president of the college knew that mother had taught there and One day I got a note to come to the president’s office. And went down and he talked with me about mother teaching there. Then the depression came along. I finished high school in 1929 and it was all we could do to send me to college. So I went 2 years to Montovallo, then I went back home, since we did not have the money, seems like it was just $150 per term. But I went back home and lived at home. My Uncle Murray died and Arthur his son graduated from college and came into the business and I worked in the office. (Uncle Murray reportedly died from Bright’s disease.) Then Arthur died and Daddy bought out Madeline and made it an incorporated business. I was president, and mother was vice president and Daddy was secretary and manager or something like that. Nell had graduated from college and was teaching school in Demopolis AL and she was not getting paid. They gave them certificates so Daddy was having to send her money to live on. So she resigned and came home and we both worked in the office. We collected rents, there was not any buying and selling of real estate because no one had money to buy anything. We did have the insurance business, fire insurance and car insurance. That carried us through. When Daddy died in 1938, I believe, (actually Oct 1939) Nell and I took over the business as partners. (P. F. Dix died of liver disorder, suspected to be the result of damage suffered years earlier when he had malaria.)
In the meantime, I had known Ed Sproles when he worked for TVA there in Decatur. He was working in Philadelphia for the weather bureau. He came down to see me in 1941?, we went to Birmingham to the Alabama-Tennessee football game and on the way home we stopped and overlooking the river, he asked me to marry. I told him that I would have to confer with Nell because that would leave her holding the bag. She said go ahead, which was very magnamous, so we married May 10, 1941 and Ed was stationed in Philadelphia. When we married we went to Honeymoon Island in Florida for our vacation. You did not have to pay anything, you just applied to the person that owned the island. We went there for week, it was a beautiful place. It is located off of Duneiden, FL, near Tampa. There was no one on the island except honeymooners and the couple that was running it. There were just little cabins, separate cabins along the beach and shower and bathhouse, kind of like camping. Then we drove up through Georgia and Williamsburg, VA and it was so hot that we practically ran in and out of the houses. So we got to Philadelphia where Ed had had a room with a Mrs. Richer in Sharon Hill, a suburb of Philadelphia. And Ed was stationed at the Philadelphia airport. Since he worked odd hours we had a lot of daytime when he was on midnight shift we went to daytime to go sightseeing so we covered a lot of Philadelphia. We enjoyed going to Fairmont Park, at that time there was a tea house at valley green and we would stop and have a cold drink. Sometimes the people at the airport were given tickets to the baseball game and we would go to the game. Also, the concerts in the park. We went to hear Gertrude Lawrence and some of the other famous people at that time. Ed was informed that we would be sent to Laguardia airport in New York, but he could not be released from Philadelphia because they did not have anyone to take his place. Finally, we thought that we were going, but he got orders to go to Atlanta instead., the regional office. We were delighted because it was like a raise in salary because it would not cost as much to live there. In the meantime, we had gotten a lovely third floor apartment in Landsdown, PA, we were just in from May to Dec. A lovely apt, living room, big kitchen with eating space, and a bedroom and bath, furnished in antiques. The lady who owned the house, husband was in the army in Trindad. She was French, he had brought her back from WWI. So we moved to Atlanta the 16 th of December, 1941. We had to find an apartment. Our wedding presents were still in Decatur. We managed to drive to Decatur at Christmas 1941 and bring back these barrels of wedding presents. I have left out so much. It was nice to get back and see everyone in Decatur. We found an apartment, I put an ad in the paper the way we got the one in Landsdown. Apartment in house on St Charles Ave. A few years ago a friend sent an article from the paper that this house had been made into condominiums. We lived there for four years.
We moved to Miami in December 1945 and Edward was born in January 1946.
Our good friends, Clark and Margaret Farber, good friends from Atlanta
found us a place in Miami. I transferred to a doctor in Miami.
Edward was born in St Francis hospital, Allis Island, Miami beach.
The doctor had all his patients go there , a Catholic Hospital that required
you to stay there 10 days or you had to pay for it anyway.
I doubt that there is much at Whaley. The Neil’s house burned sometime later. We heard from the 2 children for sometime from Francis over the years, mother did. Everybody loved mother, especially the children. Mary Louise Garate, on my Christmas card in Decatur, said I will always remember mother and how sweet she was to me. Doug Hayes Sr. said Mrs. Dix is my idea of a southern gentlewoman.
The move from Miami to Washington.
We moved in the fall, October probably because we met the neighborhood
at Halloween at trick or treat. You had your fifth birthday in the
house on Vermont Street in Arlington because we arranged the birthday celebration.
We took your friends down to Roslyn, to ride the train. There was
a commuter train that ran beside the house on Vermont street, where I-66
is now. Ed rode the train with the children. I had called the
railroad office and asked how to get the train to stop at our house.
The man said just get out on the track and flag them down. So the
children rode the train to the house and the train stopped and all got
Photo submitted by Russell Dix Whigham
Located at the intersection of South Lawrence St. and Finley Ave. This building is now used by the Montgomery Public Schools as administrative offices. The date of this photo is June 08, 2003.
Photo submitted by Russell Dix Whigham
Located at the intersection of South. Perry St and Adams Avenue. It is now used as office space for the Montgomery County Tax Assessor's office. The date of this photo is June 08, 2003.
Photo submitted by Russell Dix WhighamThe Shaw House
Known in Montgomery as the Ordeman-Shaw House, it's located at the intersection of North Hull St. and Jefferson St. in the historic district called "Old Alabama Town".
|The following is from the hand-written memoirs of Frank Dix, second son of Paul Finch Dix and Vernon (Nix) Dix and namesake of his paternal grandfather, Alexander Franklin Dix. Ed Sproles has the original. Transcribed by Russell Dix Whigham|
416 Finley Ave. Montgomery Alabama – a two story house built on a slanted lot so there was room for Daddy’s workshop in the basement, which was open.
Grandfather Dix (Alexander Franklin Dix) had a room upstairs. His room was lined with bookcases filled with books. Grandpa Nix had a room on the main level. His name – Oliver Judson Nix. He smoked cigars and read the Argosy magazine. He worked at the Vesuvius Lumber Co. in Montgomery. Finley Ave. was lined with Chinaberry trees and crossed Hull St. which carried the streetcars that carried us into downtown Montgomery. Down the gentle slope from our house on Finley, was Bellinger Hill School where I started school in 1915 when I was seven years old. I gather that both Oliver and Susie started school there. My special friend was Lewis Darter who lived around the block from us. Next door the Johnsons lived. To our chagrin, Mother constantly pointed to their children as models. Across the street was Judge Holloway and family. Joe was Oliver’s friend; Ruth, my age; and Lamar, older. Also across the street was the Streets – two daughters. Mr. Street was an attorney who had been involved with writing laws when the Philippines became independent.
Our father worked for M. Sable and sons, as a bookkeeper. Apparently his dream was to have his own farm. A Montgomery friend, Ed Branch, and Daddy bought a thousand acre plantation near Mt. Meigs – some 14 – 16 miles from Montgomery. This must have been in 1915 or 1916 – during World War I. So we moved to a very small primitive house near Mt. Meigs Station which was three or four miles from the village of Mt. Meigs. We lived there until our very nice two-story was built.
I changed to the Decatur Street School in Montgomery simply because its location was closer to my Nix grandfather’s route to his place of business and I rode to school in his Model T Ford. After school, I waited at the public library for grandpa to pick me up and take me home. I did a lot of reading.
On November 11, 1918, I was left at the school at the usual time – well before the doors opened. As I sat reading on the steps, the principal came out and announced to the children gathered below, “No school today – holiday for the war has ended, an armistice has been signed.”
Apparently, the end of the war brought a serious slump in the market for cattle – our plantations chief asset. It was 1919 or 1920 that we moved to Whaley Miss., where daddy went to work for the W. H. Neil Co., owners of a 10,000 acre plantation. O.C. (Occian) Neil was the brother who worked with Daddy and whose adopted son and daughter attended the one-room school where Frank and Mary Vernon went. The other students were Jack and Mary Cortner, whose family owned the adjoining plantation.
The Neil plantation had its own cotton gin, sawmill, commissary & post office. Whaley was on the Yazoo and Mississippi Railroad, not far from Greenwood.
The Yallerbusha River runs through the plantation. The plantation’s main crop was cotton. Corn was raised to feed the mules to plow the cotton. Some of the land was farmed by share-cropper blacks. There was no provision for the schooling of black children.
When the crops were “laid by” in late summer, black workers moved into the woods to provide firewood for the white families. I was the “water boy”. On horseback, carrying kegs of water, I circulated among the workers, responding to the call “water boy”.
The long staple Delta cotton which brought top prices during and following the end of the war, suddenly had competition from other parts of the world. The price dropped dramatically. So again, Daddy was without employment.
His brother, our Uncle Murray in /Decatur, Alabama invited him to join him in the real estate and insurance business. So we moved back to Alabama.
I do not know the year. There was some difficulty in deciding what grade
I would fit in. I do know I graduated from high school in May 1925
before my 16th birthday.
|I came across this while searching (www.google.com)
the Internet for "Alexander Franklin Dix".
Alexander Franklin Dix -- Not ASD's father, but his nephew. Son
of Paul Finch Dix and Mary Vernon Nix, grandson of
Maidson County [Jackson Mississippi]
Alexander Franklin Dix
MADISON [MS]- Alexander Franklin Dix, 90,
a retired executive with the Boy Scouts of America, died of congestive
Services were held Wednesday from the chapel at St. Catherine's with
the Rev. Bruno Schroeder officiating. A private committal
"He asked that we celebrate his long life, with its heartbreaks and
joys, its failures and successes," said his brother-in-law [brother
A Montgomery, Ala., native, Mr. Dix's service in local, regional and
national Scout roles dated from 1920, when he joined a
He first served as assistant scout executive of a 16-county council
headquartered in Little Rock, Ark. He served as scout
For seven years, he served as special deputy regional executive in Atlanta,
serving North and South Carolina, Georgia and
From 1958 until 1963, Mr. Dix served as executive of the Oakland, Calif.,
Area Council, giving leadership to the complex merger
He then became assistant national director of field operations for the
National Council BSA. For 18 months he was stationed at
In 1973, Mr. Dix returned as assistant regional executive. He and his
wife, the former Frances Hendrick of Lena, moved to Gulf
An avid reader, Mr. Dix donated his large collection of books to the
Ocean Springs Library when he moved to Madison. A
In addition to his wife, Mr. Dix is survived by his sons, Dr. Edward
Keith Dix of Wooster, Ohio, and Paul Hendrix Dix, a
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Pine Burr Area Council,
BSA, 6316 Highway 49, Hattiesburg, MS 39401.
Left to right: Paul Wade, Davis Wade, Mary Vernon Nix Dix, Mary
Vernon Dix Sproles,
During a week (January 26-30, 2004) that I (ESS Jr) spent at my mother's home in Arlington, I looked through the set of diaries that my mother had saved. Most of them were written by my grandmother, Mary Vernon Nix Dix, from 1933 to 1949. I believe that all entries were written by MVN unless otherwise indicated. Here is a summary. In particular, I was looking for any more information on the death of great-grandfather Nix as R. Whigham did not find a stone for him in Greenwood Cemetery, Montgomery. See entries June 15-19, 1934. Confirms his burial there, but no information on stone. My mother says that she went to Montgomery with her parents for the burial, she is not mentioned in the diary. As noted, they visited Dimple after the burial. Mom says that this was the occasion when Dimple gave her the woodcut cross that hangs in her hall, and William Dix, the preacher who died so young, reportedly made it. Also see 1949 for mention of Ruth Whigham.
1933, cover imprinted with
T M Dix Company, Inc
Book of type given away by businesses, with page or half page for each day of the year. Some typical entries are:
Jan 21 President Elect Rosevelt arrived in Decatur on way to Muscle
1934, cover imprinted with TM Dix Company, Inc.
1936 Imprinted with
1937 Imprinted with
1938 no Dix Company imprint, wire bound. Owner unclear. There are entries in first half of January relating to school assignments, handwriting is not MVN very few entries after January.
1938 Imprinted with Mrs. Paul F. Dix and Dix company name, address,
1939 Dix company imprint and extensive entries throughout. entry on Oct8, 6:30pm records Paul's death with "My dear Paul has gone home without me. Oh Father give me strength"
1939 no imprint, probably diary of Paul F Dix. Early pages badly discolored, but fairly extensive entries. Last entry in his hand in August, some entries in Sept about his condition, probably written by MVN
1940 Dix Company imprint, extensive entries
1941 no Dix Company imprint, extensive entries. Little notice of Dec 7 events. Dec 14 entry includes "Nell has gone out for her flying lesson."
1942 no Dix Company imprint, extensive entries.
1943 Dix Company imprint, extensive entries.
1944 Dix Company imprint, extensive entries. Address is now 524 Bank Street
1945, 1946 not present in group
1947 Dix Company imprint, 524 Bank Street. occasional entries
1948 Dix Company imprint, now 521 Bank Street. Occasional entries. From the entries I surmise that she started the year staying with the Wade family, stayed with Oliver and Jo in March. In May she was apparently in her home in Decatur, then spent summer with Sproles family in Alexandria, VA
1949 Dix Company imprint, sections of daily entries and
gaps at other times.
A book that apparently belonged to great-grandmother Nellie B Dix was
stored with this group of diaries. The book is "across the Chasm"
by Julia Magruder, copyright 1885 Charles Scribners Sons, 1901 edition.
book is in very poor condition. Has "Nellie B. Dix" written in pencil
on the front fly leaf, possibly in her hand. I don't think that the
book has any particular significance, it appears to be a popular novel.
If someone knows otherwise, I would be interested in hearing. Anyone
want to see it?