Philo Castle Dix  
Philo Castle Dix

Philo Castle Dix: 
Born September 24, 1878, Winchester TN, 
Died December 12, 1961at Bethesda Hospital, Boynton Beach, Palm Beach County, FL

Philo died of Congestive Heart Failure, Arteriosclerotic Hypertension with old c.v.a. (from) Diabetes Melitis.  As we knew, he was born Sept. 24, 1878, in TN.  I don't know where he is buried; maybe Cave Hill in Louisville, with Bess. 
Married Elizabeth "Bess" Jean Hayes, on June 5, 1908, at Caldwell College in Danville, KY.

Bess was born 22 June, 1888,  in Hiwassee College, TN, where her father ran a school/college. She had just graduated from there, with honors, June 3, 1908 after two years.  After a trip south to visit his folks, they "will return to Kentucky and make their home in Louisville."  Bess died:  April 21, 1921, in the aftermath of the flu epidemic, and is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville.

Philo and Elizabeth had two girls:

Jean (Dix) Allaway:   Born  March 22, 1913   Died June 5, 2007

Ellen (Dix) Robinson:  Born,  September 5, 1916,   Died, February 16, 1995

Second marriage: Philo married Jean Doctor in 1934, presumably in Pine Grove, PA, outside of Harrisburg.  She was born 14 Feb 1890, I don't know where, and died in March 1984 in Providence, RI. 

Died 1983
Buried:   _________________
Philo and Jean Doctor married after Elizabeth's death.

1880 Census
1900 Census


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 donít have any information on the date of the photo

Photo Submitted by Alice Newman Shannon
L. Daniel Dix, James Hall (?), Philo Dix, Thomas Murrell Dix. 

Betsy Davis, daughter of Jean (Dix) Allaway, Philo's granddaughter sent this photograph:

Photo from Betsy Davis, scanned by Ed Sproles Jr.

Only partial names accompaning this photo have survived.  Here are the ones I could make out:

A C???, ?? Phillips, Bernard Gibbs, H Ha???
       J Malmrin?, P C Dix, E E Davis, L P Smith, J W Adams, ??, ??, ??,  William G Esc???
L J Darter, H O Kight, ? L Hess, H B Harrington, Wm F Bender, Geo E Burge, ? Allison, ???
       N W Benning, J P Stephens, L B Briggs, E R Pargellis, C S Pilkington, F W Prechtel, ???

And here's Ed Sproles' reading of the same:

A C ______  __  __illips, Bernard Gibbs, H Ha____
    J Mahurin, P C Dix, E E Davis, L P Smith, J W Adams,  G _____er, M H Maós, William G Esce_____
L. J. Darter, H O Kight, J L Hess, H B Harrington, Wm F Bender, Geo E Burge_  _ Allison, J _
    N W Benning, P J Stephens, L B Briggs, F R Pargellis, C S Pilkington, F W Prechtel, __

Philo is in the next to top row, second from the left.  I think this was his college class graduation picture.  Jean thought he attended The Y.M.C.A. Training School, later (1913) to become The Y.M.C.A. College, for one or two years about 1900.  Philo's Lifelong friend Lewey (Lewis) Darter was at school with him.  According to the label he is in the next row down, second from the left. 

Betsy writes again: 

On closer examination of the photo's label, I think Lewey Darter is the first on the left in the third row down.  I have the negative and two smaller prints of this photo.  According to a note by my mother [Elizabeth Jean (Dix) Allaway] I just found, "this was taken ca 1901 with his fellow students at the YMCA College in Chicago-".  According to, under YMCA, in 1893 the organization started building "a new 13-story building on LaSalle Street, the "Central" YMCA, which included a bowling alley, swimming pool, and gymnasium....which later became [The YMCA Training School, then College] the basis for Roosevelt University [1920s]. " 

My grandmother Bess (Elizabeth Jean Hayes) was born in Hiwassee College, TN, where her father ran a school/college, in 22 June 1888.  According to a newspaper clipping, Philo and Bess were married June 5, 1908*, at Caldwell College in Danville, KY.  Bess had just graduated from there, with honors, June 3, after two years.  After a trip south to visit his folks, they "will return to Kentucky and make their home in Louisville."

My mother Jean (Elizabeth Jean Dix) was born March 22 1913, and  Mary Ellen Dix Sept 5 1916.  Bess died April 21, 1921, in the aftermath of the flu epidemic, and is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville.

Philo remarried Jean Doctor in 1934, presumably in Pine Grove, PA, outside of Harrisburg.  She was born 14 Feb 1890, I don't know where, and died in March 1984 in Providence, RI.  Philo died in Dec. 1961;  I have written for his death certificate which I hope will have the exact date.

There's lots more, which I'll send as soon as I rework it. 

The date of the marriage challenges our previous assumption that Philo and Bess were married when they appeared together in the July 27, 1903 Dix family portrait below.

The last entry in the Montgomery City Directory for Philo was in 1898, and the article lists P. C. Dix (no wife mentioned) of Louisville Ky. 

We had assumed that the woman standing between Philo and Murray was Bess, but this seems more than a little odd to me, considering that Bess would have been only 15 years old in 1903 and that an unmarried couple would be traveling together from out of state in that day -- especially considering the rather conservative moral views of the family patriarch.  Do we have other photos of Bess that might corroborate or reject our assumption?

The photo below the 1903 photo, is a 1906 photo where Philo is "stag" -- unless we assume that Bess is the photographer.

See if you can help me resolve this apparent conflict.

Dix Family Portrait, 
July 27,1903

Front row, L-R:  Helen), Lillis, Nelle, Ruth, James Hall Jr., Francis,  Elhannon Winchester "Chester" Hall.

2nd row (Children in laps of adults), L-R:  Nina Hall, William Hall [standing], Dorothy , Winifred, and Issalee.

2nd row (Seated adults), L-R:  James Hall, Dimple (Dix) Hall, Alexander Franklin Dix Sr., Nellie Beach Dix, Albert Sidney Dix, Isadora Nicoles Dix.

Back row: Mary Vernon (Nix) Dix, Paul Finch Dix [holding Oliver Dix] Annie (Stakely) Dix  ? Lell Daniel Dix [holding daughter Annie Goulding Dix](1), Philo Dix, Unknown (Not Bess), Thomas Murrell Dix ? Frances (Gray) Dix.

Montgomery Advertiser, 1903-07-29

Head of House Celebrates 72nd

Rev. A. F. Dix of Montgomery, celebrated his 72nd birthday yesterday at his home, 414 Finley Avenue, and the occasion was one of great joy to his sons and daughters who gathered in Montgomery to do honor to their father and mother.

The sons and daughters who were present were: Rev. A. S. Dix and family,of Perry Ga., P. C. Dix of Louisville Ky., Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Hall of Pine Grove, and L. D. Dix, P. F. Dix, and T. M. Dix and their families of Montgomery.

Fifteen grandchildren of Mr. Dix were present at the reunion.

"Some of the Dix family after Christmas dinner at Mother's 1906" 
(414 Finley Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama)

1. Dollie - B. 12-23-04; 2. Annie Goulding - B. 10-22-02; 3. Madeline - B. 02-04-04; 4. L.Daniel Dix - 5. Annie Stakely Dix;
6. Nellie (Beach) Dix (Mother); 7. Frances; 8. Murrie; 9. Paul; 10. Oliver P. - B. 02-22-03; 11. Alexander Franklin Dix (Father)
12. Vernon; 13. Susie - B. 02-09-06; 14. Philo Castle Dix

Photo from Betsy Davis

Jean and Bess 1915 

Photo submitted by Mike and Caroline Lyon

?, Philo, and  ? (not Jean and Ellen.  Ruth? and ?) 

Here are the ages of the Dix girls in 1901

Nelle Ruth Lillis Helen Issalee
12 9 8 5 3

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.

Here is another photo from Mom's collection.  The original is in less than great condition.  Mom identifies the girls as Nell Dix and Ellen Dix.  She relates that one Christmas, after Philo Dix's wife died [Bess died in 1921], her mother took her and her sister Nell to spend the holiday with Philo and his two daughters, Jean and Ellen.  Philo lived in Lexington, Kentucky at the time.  Nell and Ellen were born in 1916, I shall let you estimate the date of the photo.[Christmas 1921?]  She remembers the address as 4 Hilltop Court, Lexington, KY

Photo from Betsy Davis

Jean, Bess and Ellen, dressed up for church ~1920 

Photo from Betsy Davis

Jean and Ellen 1922 

Photo from Betsy Davis

Philo, Ellen and Jean visiting Bess's Danville College 1924 

Photo from Betsy Davis

Portrait of Philo

Photo from Betsy Davis

Jean's wedding party (Philo, Alice Carver, Howard Allaway, Jean, Bob Allaway and the minister) 1938

Photo submitted by Mike and Caroline Lyon

Philo and his second wife, Jean

Photo submitted by Ed Sproles Jr.

 "Uncle Philo" and his second wife, Jean, at his home in Deerfield Beach FL, about 1955.

Is this Philo?

I have a recollection of my grandmother, Ruth Dix Whigham (left), having this framed photograph in her home.  I also recall that she said that this was "Uncle Philo".  The house appears to be on a body of water, but that's just speculation on my part.  Does anyone have any corroborating photographs?  RDW


The following is a letter from Philo's daughter, Jean Dix Allaway, to Mary Vernon Dix Sproles.
Ed Sproles Jr. has the original.

Canton Massachusetts 
February 2,1982 

Dear Mary, 

When my son Jim was home at Christmas, he asked some 
questions about the Dix family background which motivated me to 
try to write out what I know. My aim really is to describe Daddy 
whom my children never knew very well, although each of them 
reminds me of him in one way or another. I canít start with him,
however, so have first tackled the family in the 19th century, 
specifically his parents. 

Writing about them was fun, but confusing, and I would 
value any corrections to my account that you suggest. Iím sending 
you a copy, therefore, with the request that you read it and mark 
it up (Iíll do another draft, obviously). Iím making the same 
request of Frank. 

There are several items in the family history which worry
me specifically: Ozias and Lucy are buried in Vermont, as I know.
Do we know when they returned from western New York state? Are 
they really the parents of Daniel? Lucy would have been 48 yrs. 
(if the family tree dates are right), and 50 when Justus Hatch was 
born. Maybe the birth dates are wrong for Ozias and Lucy. What 
do you think?  Do we know of any other of the Dixes who returned to 
Vermont after the trek west?  Wasnít there an attempt by Alexander
 to purchase some land in Wilmington, Vt.? 

One of Frankís letters mentions Grandpaís purchase of a 
farm in Newfane, N.Y. Can you tell me more about that? And, 
incidentally, what was Grandpa called in his family...Alex or Alexander 
or what? They had such a penchant for nicknames that I find it hard 
to believe he didnít have one. 

Where are our Dix grandparents buried? 

Do you remember hearing about the familyís trip north after the 
Civil War? Any idea when it was? 

Do you have any supplementary material or recollections 
of what was told you about the Dix family life in Alabama, Tenn., or 
N.Y.?  If we got enough information, I could make this part of the
narrative a separate section, and send it to cousins who might be 
interested. I'm not sure how widely I will distribute the part about 
Daddy... I Ďd rather write that in an uninhibited manner for it to be 
pertinent to my own children.

Do you have any letters from Daddy or other information 
about him that you think I could use...that you would be willing to 
share? I'm embarrassed to admit that I have almost nothing.

[The following was a hand-written note appended to the typed letter above]

I hope you and Ed have been enjoying the sun room and not suffering 
from the cold.  Spring will come soon to you Ė somewhat later here!

Betsy and Ted are taking off for Australia ? since I know Jim [is] going to be very lonesome, Iím planning A trip or two, including one to Washington; probably in early March.  Will you be around?

Thanks very much for any additions or corrections you can make to my Dix narrative Ė Iíll be grateful.

Love to you and Frank,


P.S.  I will include copies of Grandpaís letters as an appendix to this  narrative.  I omit them now because I know you ? Frank both have copies.

Below is the narrative by Jean Dix Allaway, mention in the above letter.  Thanks to Ed Sproles for sending a copy.


My father, Philo Castle Dix, was very much a man of his times -- l878-l96l -- sharing in the idealism, the intellectual ferment, the upward mobility, and the disillusionments of the period. He was also very much a product of his upbringing, both in his deep religious convictions and in his rebellion against the way religion as interpreted and employed by his parents. As I try to explore my knowledge and memories of my  father I am always led back to his origins, and come at once to that other vigorous, strong-minded man, who was his father, Alexander Franklin Dix (1831-1921). 

Alexander was not really a man of his times, but a fiercely independent, individualistic Baptist who struck out against mainstream of his generation, and then was swept by the Civil War and its aftermath into a life at great disparity with others of his generation.

His wife, my grandmother, was also a strong-minded and very devout 
woman, who left her home and family to follow her husband in the way he had chosen. She was Helen Louise Beach, known as Nellie, born and raised in the northwestern corner of New York state, as was Alexander. When they were married, January 2, 1861, at Cheektowaga, just east of Buffalo, they said farewell to family and went south to live for the rest of their lives. How did such a move happen to take place? 

What sort of  newly weds would make such an improbable choice? The Civil War had not yet begun but secession had, and Alexander and Nellie made a deliberate decision to leave the North for the South. Both of them came from families with roots in New England. The Dix family traces its ancestors to settlers who arrived in Massachusetts Bay in 1630 in the fleet with Governor Winthrop. After a few years in Watertown, Mass, they joined the Rev. Thomas Hooker and his colleagues in moving west to the Connecticut River, to found the new colony of Connecticut. There the Dixes seem to have lived, in Wethersfield, for some generations, until about 1770. 


When the threat of Indian attack on frontier settlements was 
reduced by the Peace of Paris in l763, at the end of the French and 
Indian War, there was movement of colonists all along the frontier. 
The Dixes and a band of others moved north to the Deerfield River, 
then up that river to present day Wilmington, Vermont, where the 
Deerfield intersects the road from Brattleboro to Bennington. There 
they acquired farms and built houses, and undoubtedly a church. 
I feel confident that this band of people from Wethersfield were 
held together by religious practices. If they were Baptists, as 
the Dixes were in the early 19th century, they would have been an 
unpopular minority in Wethersfield or any other Congregational town, 
limited in many ways in what they could do. In a frontier settlement 
they could achieve an independence they had not known in Connecticut. 

With the coming of the Revolutionary War, the young men of  southern Vermont formed the Green Mountain Boys under Ethan Allen's, leadership. Among their exploits were the capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775 and the defeat of Burgoyneís men at the battle of Bennington in 1777. Ozias Dix, who had been born in Wethersfield in 1750, was a member of the militia from Wilmington, and like other Revolutionary War soldiers he was paid for his war service by a land grant in western New York state. The party of settlers who left Vermont for the west about 1800 included Ozias and his son Daniel, who had been born in 1796, who was my great-grandfather. 

Ozias and his wife Lucy are both buried in the old town cemetery 
in Wilmington, Vermont, so he obviously returned to his old home. 
The very old pre-Revolutionary house on the hill just east of 
Wilmington is still standing and occupied by Dorothy Turner, whose family bought it from the last Dix owner in the 1920' s. 


As for Daniel, he grew up in New York state and became a farmer 
in the little town of Wilson, on the shores of Lake Ontario. His 
first wife, Dyanthia Butterfield, bore him three daughters and a 
son, my grandfather, Alexander Franklin Dix. She died in l833, after
 which Daniel remarried and produced five more daughters and two sons, both of whom died in infancy. Both of the wives are buried in the cemetery in Olcott, N.Y., as well as the infant boys. But Daniel
himself died and is buried far away, in Gilbert, Iowa, where he was 
living when he died in 1892. 

Alexander Franklin, born in.183l in Wilson, was named for two of 
his motherís Butterfield brothers. On reaching manhood, he trained 
to be a teacher by attending the State Normal College in Albany, N.Y.  In 1853-54 he taught the school at Barrytown, N.Y., located on the Hudson River near Red Hook. Two letters he wrote to his sister Angelina Reynolds at that time have survived and give a glimpse of what his work was like as well as of his impressions and reactions to the community in which he lived. The "Frank" referred to in these 
letters is his sister, Frances, who was also attending The Albany 
Normal College. It was she who later married her first cousin, Philo 
Castle, for whom my father was named. 

In l855 Alexander was teaching in Williamsville, just east of Buffalo, 
as We know from two letters of that time addressed to Angelina's 
husband, James Reynolds. The final letter of that time extant is 
also written to his brother-in-law, from the University of Rochester
in 1857. Gloomy in tone, enigmatic in its content, that letter suggests
a young man in considerable inner strife. Though he was a student, he 
was also unemployed, and could find no job. 


Alexander's letters reflect a lively mind and strong opinions, 
but give no real explanation for why he should have decided to go 
South. They show that he was uncompromising in matters of religious 
belief, and proud of it. He was determined to teach well and be 
well paid ...only the best...but he was not sure that teaching 
should be his career. Yet in 1857 he was 26 years old, and probably 
eager to be married, and was without a job. Perhaps he found a 
promising job in the South and it was that which set his course. 

He was not the only northerner who sympathized with the South 
on the subject of states' rights, of course. The Copperheads, mostly 
Democrats, were politically and socially of real importance both 
before and during the Civil War.  Like Alexander, I think, they 
regarded the slavery issue as a red herring to divert attention from 
the real attacks by Republicans on the rights of the states. 

A third thread in leading to his decision must have been his 
religious beliefs. He was a Baptist, he was not tolerant nor 
broadminded about other religious ideas, and he must have found 
the Baptists to be the backbone of the South. 

Whatever his motivation, he made a big move in 1859: he went 
first to Union Springs, Alabama, where he taught at the Woodlawn 
Seminary, and then to nearby Midway, Alabama, Where he continued teaching.  At the end of 1860 he went north again, and on January 2, 1861, was married to Nellie Beach. The two of them then returned to Alabama for good. 

After the war, there was an effort to renew ties between the 
family members in north and south. Alexander and his family went to 
New York state for a visit, but, so my father reported, they were so 
offended by the attitudes of the northerners that they left in dismay.


When Nellie and Alexander reached Midway in early 1861, 
Alexander resumed his teaching, but when the war began later in 
the spring he volunteered as a private and went off to fight. He 
served throughout the war, for a time in Kentucky under General 
Bragg, later with the Army of Northern Virginia under Lee. He 
was present at the Battle of the Crater, and at Appomattox. He 
was reluctant to discuss his soldiering experiences, according to 
my father, and the children knew little of what he had done. He 
apparently served as a clerk (not many southern soldiers Were so 
literate), and if he had promotions, demotions, wounds or anything 
special we have no record of it. 

He acquired two children during the war. The oldest, Albert 
Sidney, was born in 1863, and the second, William Beach, 
Was born in March, 1865. From then until 1880, Nellie gave birth 
to a child about every two years so that there were finally ten 
children in all, of whom my father was the ninth. 

Alexander resumed teaching in Midway, and became a preacher also 
after he was ordained in 1869 in the Baptist Church. From 1871-1880, the family lived in Winchester, Tennessee (in the southeast corner of the state) where Alexander taught at Mary Sharp College. (In the collections of the Library of Congress is a delightful, large print from the 1870's showing the front of Mary Sharp College, with bevys of crinolined young ladies wandering about under tiny parasols.) 

From 1880-1883 he taught at Stevenson, Alabama, and then they went back to Union Springs, where he taught until 1887. That year the family bought a farm in Pine Grove, Alabama (just outside Midway), 
and Alexander gave up teaching, although he continued preaching for 
another decade. 


By 1897 Alexander and Nellie had grown and prosperous children 
who could and did give them financial support. So they retired to 
Montgomery to live. Nellie died of a heart attack in 1909, but 
Alexander lived another 12 years, dividing his time among his various
childrenís homes. He died in Decatur in 1921, at the age of ninety, 
in the home of Paul and Vernon Dix. Mary Vernon, who was then seven, recalls him as the "Downstairs Grandpa", more stern and reserved than the "Upstairs Grandpa" who was her mother's father. 

I have a glimmering of memory of Alexander also. He spent a 
month or so with us in Louisville a year or so before he died, probably in the summer of 1919. His appearance has been recalled to me by 
photographs, and I still recall my distaste, and even embarrassment at 
his snowy beard, which was very much out of fashion in post-war 
Kentucky. I also remember one incident:  the old gentleman bullied my father into going into a drugstore to buy a bottle of spirits of some 
sort (I've always assumed it was whiskey) over my fatherís strenuous 
objections. The way my memory runs, We were all setting forth in our Ford touring car (Model T, of course) for the trip to Camp Daniel 
Boone, a distance of less than a hundred miles, but a major excursion 
for that era of poor roads, flat tires, and inexperience. The furor 
attendant on our departure was heightened by my grandfatherís request (which was never explained to us), but finally the car stopped outside a drugstore. I believe at the corner of Third and Broadway, 
where our road turned from south to east; my father, looking furious 
and embarrassed, slunk inside and came out with a bottle which he 
handed to the old man. Apparently., Daddy was most afraid that some one who knew him would see him in the act. Poor Grandpa, he could not have had a very happy visit with us, and I never saw him again. 

From Betsy Davis (Jean's daughter):

Philo died of Congestive Heart Failure, Arteriosclerotic H...(I can't read the word)...with old c.v.a. (from) Diabetes Melitis.  As we knew, he was born Sept. 24, 1878, in TN.  I don't know where he is buried; maybe Cave Hill in Louisville, with Bess.  I hope to go there in about 3 weeks, to photograph her grave, and maybe see if the old house they lived in is still there. 

From Robby Robinson:  (Ellen's son)

The illegible word is probably hypertension (for which thanks to Google, which also points out that "stroke" has replaced 
c.v.a as the preferred terminology).


Jean Dix Allaway was the last surviving grandchild of Alexander Franklin Dix.  Below is her obituaty sent from her daughter Betsy Davis, via Ed Sproles:

Jean D. Allaway, June 5, 2007

Elizabeth Jean Dix Allaway died at the age of 94, in Blaine, Washington.  She was born in Louisville, Kentucky, moved to Pennsylvania, earned Bachelorís and Masterís degrees from Mt. Holyoke College and a Ph. D. in medieval English law from Yale University.  Jean married journalist Howard G. Allaway in New York and raised their family there and in Stamford, Connecticut. Jean taught English and history, became a librarian and was active in local politics.  When Howard joined NASA in Washington, D. C., Jean became Assistant for International Exchanges to the Assistant Librarian of Congress.  They retired to grandparent in Canton, Massachusetts, and were active in the Unitarian Church.  Jean was a great current events reader, citizen activist, gardener and bird watcher.  Most recently she lived in Walpole, Massachusetts and in Blaine, Washington at the Stafholt Good Samaritan Center.  She is survived by three children, Elizabeth Davis of East Falmouth, Massachusetts, James Allaway of Bellingham, Washington, and
Thomas Allaway of Goulais River, Ontario, six grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.

Philo Castle Dix (1878- 1961) married Elizabeth Hayes (Aunt Bess)  and had two daughters, Jean and Ellen.  He worked for the YMCA as state secretary of Kentucky and Pennsylvania.  His wife died when Ellen was a small child.  Mom, Nell and grandmother visited  them in Louisville, KY one Christmas when Mom was a child.  Philo married Jean Doctor when the
girls were in college.  After retiring, he travelled extensively raising money for hospitals and organizations.  In his later
years he lived in Deerfield Beach, Florida.

Jean married Howard Allaway and they had three children, Betsy, Jim and Tom.  Howard worked as a technical writer and editor, including serving as editor of Popular Science and later as editor of publications for NASA.  They lived in Stamford, Connecticut, Washington, DC, and the Boston area.  Jean graduated from Mt Holyoke College,  South Hadley, Mass.  Jean earned a PhD from Yale and was assistant to the Assistant Librarian of Congress as an editor in Washington, D. C.

Ellen graduated from Mt. Holyoke College and married Harlan Robinson. They had two sons, Harlan and John.  Ellen and Harlan divorced and Ellen married Art Cone.  She and Art lived in Southern California at the time of Art's death in 1992.  Ellen died about 1994.