Paul Finch Dix  

Paul Finch Dix
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:

  • Oliver Paul Dix: May 22,1903 - July 31, 1981 Buried in Springhill Cemetery, Mobile AL
  • Susan Elizabeth Dix: February 9, 1906 - October 4, 1917
  • Alexander Franklin Dix:  June 26,1908 - August 13, 1998
  • Mary Vernon (Dix) Sproles: November 13, 1912 - September 26, 2006
  • Nell Beach (Dix) Wade: October 3, 1916 - July 16, 2001

Photo submitted by Frances Dix Chapman
L-R  Paul Finch Dix, Thomas Murrell "Murrie" Dix, Nellie (Beach) Dix, Philo Castle Dix, and Alexander "Allie" Franklin Dix Jr.

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.

Front row (L-R):  Paul, Lell, and Allie
Standing (L-R): Philo and Murrie

"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

Photo submitted by Lyn Smith Sminonton

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
Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.
As it looked in the late 1920s or early to mid 1930s
Photo submitted by Russell Dix Whigham
.January, 2003
"416 Finley Ave, Montgomery, Ala., Home of Vernon and Paul Dix.  All their children were born here:  Oliver Paul Dix, Susan Elizabeth Dix, Alex Frank. Dix, Mary Vernon Dix, Nell Beach Dix"

Mary Vernon (Dix) Sproles said that the photo was taken by her brother Oliver sometime after the family had moved away to Decatur.  The probable date is late 1920s or early to mid 1930s.  She also noted that the brick at the bottom of the columns was a later addition as the base of the original wood columns had rotted out.

Now, the wooden columns across the front porch have been replaced with wrought iron columns.  The house appears to be vacant now and the rest of the neighborhood is in decline. 

According to the Montgomery City Directories, Paul and Vernon lived here from 1903 through 1917, when they moved to Mt. Meigs, Alabama.  After Nellie died in 1909, both grandfathers (Dix and Nix) lived here too.  The Finley Ave. address is marked on the map at the top of this page with a blue stick pin.

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.

Oliver,  Susan, and Vernon (Nix) Dix
probably taken about 1907 as Susan was born in Feb 1906. 
Susan died of diphtheria in 1917.

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)

Douglas, Ga
Dec. 21 1969

Dear Mary Vernon and Ed,

Thank you for my History of Ala College received yesterday.

It convinced me, I am now “Ancient History.”

You may have been disappointed that my name is not mentioned in it, but I am not.

For the First President, whom I appreciated for what he did for the fine girls of Alabama was not interested very much in “Book Learning” but home making and money saving and making.

His lovely wife a widow, Mrs. Nelson had been my Sunday School Teacher in Montgomery First Baptist Church. 

I had just graduated from High school in June 1898 and was trying to plan for College at Judson, but when I talked with my Pastor, Dr. George B. Eager, he said I wish you would go to Montevallo and help that young to be College grow Educationally and you grow up with it.

You could assist in that Department so the girls minds as well as their hands will be trained.  I was to assist in English and Math.

I, with some of the girls who had been my Class Mates, but said they’ be glad to be my pupils, and were always loyal to me, took the L&N train to Colera and spent the night at the Hotel there (but didn’t sleep much for the Hotel was so near the Depot, that trains going and coming kept us awake.

Next morning we rode in a horse drawn double seated open vehicle over a very dusty local road to Montevallo.

I roomed with the art teacher, Miss Ella McCombs, in the King House where dear Mrs Nabors took teachers to board, and Miss Haley roomed upstairs.  She had graduated from Teachers College in Nashville Tenn and was Head of the Educational Department and always fought Capt. Reynolds to get any thing for our Department.

Of the many fine teachers in our Department I see Miss Kennedy and Miss Stallworth are the only ones mentioned.

I could write a book just on my First Year there.

I was surprised my next year that Capt. R. was out, but we were delighted to have Dr. Peterson and Family there.

When we met at that First Faculty meeting it was found that Miss Harwell a Graduate of Auburn had been elected Latin Teacher by Political pull.  She exclaimed Oh, No!  I Don’t know a word of Latin.  Dr. Peterson was shocked.  “I though I was to teach English” she said.   Miss Haley who had been teaching the Latin in her Pedagogy Classes spoke up and said “Give me Miss Nix who has done so well helping me in the Latin Classes and let Miss Harwell take Miss Nix’s English Classes.”  Dr Peterson, having been a Latin Teacher himself, and being quite a Christian Peacemaker and so interested in the School Welfare, agreed.

The first thought of Dr Peterson, Miss Haley and myself was that Montevallo be Christian, Happy, Useful and Educated Girls Home during the School Year.

Every month when he would hand me my check he would say I’m so ashamed that yours is what Miss Harwell should have and she has what you deserve.  But then as now it wasn’t the money I was most interested in, but a good life for us all.

Miss Harwell and I were always good friends.

The next year when he handed me my increased check He said I’m so glad to see the Trustees appreciate you as we all do.

Please don’t tell anyone about all this I haven’t.  Dr. Peterson and Miss Haley did most to make the Foundation of Montevallo Spiritual, Educational and Useful.

I studied, worked and prayed and saved most of my money to go to the University of Chicago that summer, but the Montevallo Bank, where my money was failed and all the plans failed.

But I found your Grandpa Dix a Graduate of Teachers College Albany N. Y. and Rogerster [Rochester?], N. Y. would teach me the advanced Latin I needed that Summer so I prepared with his help to go forward.

He had taught Greek, Latin and Hebrew at Mary Sharp Tenn, Mary Sharp College for Girls.

So I want my family of thirty just to live a good, useful Life that will bring Peace, Good Will to all the World.  Read and tare (sic) this up. 

Love to each of you.

(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.)

Photo submitted by Lyn Smith Sminonton

 Paul and Vernon's children, Frank and Susan, in about 1910
   [ Identifications confirmed by Mary Vernon Sproles] 

Photo submitted by Lyn Smith Sminonton
Susan, Oliver, Mary Vernon, and Frank in about 1913
          [ Identifications confirmed by Mary Vernon Sproles] 

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.

Frank, AFD, Nell, Oliver, Oliver Judson. Nix, and Mary Vernon

Photo submitted by Lyn Smith Simonton

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. 
Below is the back side of the post card.

Photo submitted by Lyn Smith Simonton

“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.

 Mary Vernon Nix (Mrs. Paul F. Dix) outside in Decatur, AL. 

Submitted by Ginny Tucker
Mary Vernon (Nix) Dix

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.

Mary Vernon Nix and Paul Finch Dix, in side yard of their Decatur home



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.

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.

Frank Dix

Photo submitted by 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.
Frank Dix squatting in gravel road, probably on a boy scout hike. 

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.
Frank Dix sitting on a settee outside in Decatur. Settee was from front porch of PFD house.

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.
Frank Dix standing outside

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.
Mary Vernon Dix and Frank Dix

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.
Buck, Arthur Dix’s dog. Arthur is Madeline’s younger brother.

MV47Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.
 Frank Dix, outside in partial shadow

 Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.
PFD children: Nell Dix, Frank Dix, Mary Vernon Dix, Oliver Dix.

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.
Frank Dix with bicycle. Small girl in white dress in right background probably Nell Dix. 

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.
Oliver Dix and Frank Dix in side yard of Decatur home.

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.
Frank Dix in boy scout uniform in side yard of Decatur home.

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.
Mary Vernon Nix Dix Christmas 1929 

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

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.
Oliver Dix Christmas 1929

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.
Frank Dix Christmas 1929

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.
Nell Dix Christmas 1929

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.

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.

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.
Oliver, Frank, Mary and Nell Dix Christmas 1929

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.
Frank's wife and son, Frances Dix and Keith Dix as an infant in Lakeland, FL

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.

Keith Dix and Frank Dix.  The photo is marked on the back Dec 24, 1933, in Lakeland, FL. 

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.

 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.  Keith Dix 1842 Bell Road Wooster, OH 44691 Phone: (330) 262-1842 


Transcription of Biographical Recordings Made by Mary Vernon Dix Sproles 
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. 
(Louis Darter, lives in Bethesda, Maryland, his relatives had the plantation in Mississippi.  Mr. and Mrs. O. C. Neil. They had two children, a boy and girl, Phillip and Francis.  We were all in that one room school house.  There was nothing there at Whaley except a general store, a house for a man that worked for the railroad.  And a little station.  There was a big sawdust pile so there must have been a sawmill.  Frank and I played in it with grandpa’s civil war sword, and we lost it.  We spent all our spare time looking for it in the sawdust, and we finally found it.  Floyd has it now.  Along with Grandpa’s civil war flintlock gun.  Oliver stayed in Greenwood, Mississippi, they had a son Oliver’s age.  We were just there 2 or 3 years.   Mrs. Neil was Louis Darter’s aunt.  He called the other day and his daughter brought him over.  He is Frank’s age.)

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.
In Maimi we were living in a little guest house at the end of driveway.  Ed got orders to come to Washington for 2 months about January 1947 for a class.  He came back to Florida, and in May we drove back to Washington and mother came with us.  We got a motel in Alexandria and started looking for an apartment.  Fortunately, Myrna Deason and her husband were sent to New Orleans on detail and they let us have their apartment in Park Fairfax.  We hardly slept because I went out everyday looking for an apartment.  We finally found one the week that they were coming back.  We found the apartment in Alexandria, the Abingdon apartments, a one bedroom.  It is a lovely location overlooking the river, I think that it has been made into condominiums.  We were there 3 years, in a one bedroom and then in a 2 bedroom.  They were going to raise the rent so Ed said we will just have to buy a house.  We had no money but we managed the down payment on this house in Arlington. 

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 off.

Photo submitted by Russell Dix Whigham

Bellinger Hill School

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

Andrew Carnegie Library Building

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 Whigham
The 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
Early Memories of Frank Dix

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 ( 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
Alexander Franklin Dix and Nellie Beach Dix.  If you have a copy of the often referred to, Dix Genealogy chart, you can find the
names listed below on the right-most side of the horizontal line near the bottom of the chart.  Here's the link and copied
information (with my comments in brackets).

Maidson County [Jackson Mississippi] Journal 
August 13, 1998


 Alexander Franklin Dix 

MADISON [MS]- Alexander Franklin Dix, 90, a retired executive with the Boy Scouts of America, died of congestive heart
 failure Friday, Aug. 7, 1998, at St. Catherine's Village in Madison. [Born 06/16/1908 (according to the Dix Genealogy chart)] 

Services were held Wednesday from the chapel at St. Catherine's with the Rev. Bruno Schroeder officiating. A private committal
service was held by the family at the Lena Cemetery in Leake County. Mark E. Seepe Funeral Directors and Crematorium of
Jackson [MS] handled arrangements. 

"He asked that we celebrate his long life, with its heartbreaks and joys, its failures and successes," said his brother-in-law [brother
of AFD's wife Frances Hendrick Dix], Dr. Jim G. Hendrick of Jackson, "But a life dedicated to the inherent worth and dignity of
every person - with concern for justice and compassion." 

A Montgomery, Ala., native, Mr. Dix's service in local, regional and national Scout roles dated from 1920, when he joined a
Scout troop as a tenderfoot. He received his Eagle badge in 1925. Following graduation from Berea College in Kentucky, Mr.
Dix attended the National Executive Institute of the Boy Scouts of America in Mt. Kisko, N.Y., and moved into national
leadership roles. 

He first served as assistant scout executive of a 16-county council headquartered in Little Rock, Ark. He served as scout
executive in Lakeland, Fla., and Greensboro, N.C., before becoming deputy regional executive in Cincinnati, Ohio, providing
some of the earliest national leadership for black scouts in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. 

For seven years, he served as special deputy regional executive in Atlanta, serving North and South Carolina, Georgia and
Florida. In 1948, he became assistant executive director of field operation of the Chicago Area Council before moving to
Spokane, Wash., as executive of the Inland Council. 

From 1958 until 1963, Mr. Dix served as executive of the Oakland, Calif., Area Council, giving leadership to the complex merger
of the Oakland and San Francisco operations into the San Francisco Bay Area Council. 

He then became assistant national director of field operations for the National Council BSA. For 18 months he was stationed at
Coral Gables, Fla., to address the great influx of Cuban refugees following Castro's rise to power. Later he worked with the
regional office in Oak Brook, Ill., serving Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan. 

In 1973, Mr. Dix returned as assistant regional executive. He and his wife, the former Frances Hendrick of Lena, moved to Gulf
Hills at Ocean Springs, where he became active in civic and environmental work. He was a member of the Ocean Springs
Chamber of Commerce; executive board, Pine Burr Area Council BSA; and the Jackson County Democratic Executive
Committee. An active member of the executive committee of the Gulf Coast Sierra Club, he was well-known for his forceful
letters to the editors of local papers. He attended First Presbyterian Church. 

An avid reader, Mr. Dix donated his large collection of books to the Ocean Springs Library when he moved to Madison. A
Rotarian since 1935, he belonged to the Madison Rotary Club. 

In addition to his wife, Mr. Dix is survived by his sons, Dr. Edward Keith Dix of Wooster, Ohio, and Paul Hendrix Dix, a
freelance photographer of Livingston, Mont.; sisters, Nelle Dix Wade of Jackson and Mary Vernon Sproles of Arlington, Va.;
four grandchildren and one great-grandchild. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Pine Burr Area Council, BSA, 6316 Highway 49, Hattiesburg, MS 39401.


Wades and Sproles at Douglas GA 1960s

Left to right:  Paul Wade, Davis Wade, Mary Vernon Nix Dix, Mary Vernon Dix Sproles, 
Edward Sproles, Sr, Edward Sproles, Jr., Nell Beach (Cissy) Wade, Floyd Wade

Mary Vernon (Nix) Dix Diaries

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
519 ½ Bank Street
Decatur, ALA
Phone 1438

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 Shoals
Feb 6  Madeline begins at the office today
Feb 9  Susie's 27th Birthday
Mar 2  Banks are closed for ten days in several states
Fri, Mar 3  Banks opened till twelve for deposit and to permit (entry ends there)
Sat, Mar 4  Madeline's Birthday.   President Roosevelt is inaugurated.  The wonderful speech of the President came clearly over radio  Grandpa wept as he heard
Mon, Mar 6  The surprise of our lives!  Jean Dix and Barbara Donalson stopped to see us on their way to New York from a trip West and South.
Mar 10  Earthquake in California
(few entries mid March – mid December)
Dec 25  Just Paul, Nell, Mary Vernon and I at home to celebrate Christmas.

1934, cover imprinted with TM Dix Company, Inc.
Same type of book as 1933.
Jan 1  Bill Dix left for Ohio State University where he is to teach.  Bill Dix our only New Year guest at breakfast.  Nix Grandpa, Mary V., Nell, Dad and I all at home for dinner.
Jan 15  Madeline came in and told me about her "date."  God bless and direct the dear girl.  Her happiness my first concern.
Mar 21  Annie Goulding arrived on the Pan.  She looks so well and we enjoy her so much.
Apr-May  (no entries until June)
June 15  Grandpa has had a hard night.  Beulah came in and helped me care for my precious Father  Grandpa breathes so hard   Oh! That he might have peaceful breath.  Peaceful is his breathing now.  Precious Papa Dad has closed his eyes in sweet sleep with no waking here.
Sat June 16  What a beautiful morning  How sweet everyone is to us  Grandpa is peacefully sleeping in the Living Room.
Sunday June 17  The friends have gathered to see Grandpa for the last time and hear the funeral service.  Harriet Irwin plays and Mrs Bailey, Mrs Todd, Mr Neher and Mr Norwood sing "What a Friend We Have in Jesus"  Mr Burkstresser (sp?) reads John 14 and speaks sweetly of Grandpa's Life.
Monday June 18  Mr Liston prays a beautiful prayer [the preceding  entry probably belongs with the previous day]  At three o'clock in Greenwood Cemetery Grandpa is laid to rest, while many friends gather around.  Dr Enzer of the First Baptist Church conducts the closing service.  Paul and I spent night with Dimple, returned to Decatur by way of Wetumpka and Elmore where Essie had lunch for us.
Tuesday June 19  Precious Grandpa's things must be given out.
Monday Oct 15  Wire just received from Oliver "Joan Carlotta arrived this afternoon all OK"

1936 Imprinted with
Dix Company, Inc.
519 1/2 Bank Street
Decatur, Alabama
Telephone 1438

1937  Imprinted with
Dix Company Inc
Insurance – Real Estate

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, etc.
extensive entries throughout

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. 
Sept 14  Had letter from Ruth Dix Whigham telling of the Centennial at the Union Springs Baptist Church.  Lell and Annie were there and WP provided [?] in a splendid way. 
[She was ill Oct 10 though end of December.  my mother said that a doctor in Mobile told the family that she would be an invalid for the rest of her life, a prediction that fortunately proved false.]


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?