John & William Dix

Capt. John Dix and his son Col. William Dix were distinguished patriots in early Pittsylvania County. John Dix’s ferry on Dan River played a vital role in the American Revolution, especially in the aftermath of the 1781 Battle of Guilford Courthouse. The Pittsylvania County court of claims reimbursed him after the war for the ferriage of nearly 1500 men and numerous wagons, horses, & cattle, as well as for providing provisions for the troops and animals.

Prior to the war, Capt. Dix placed this very interesting ad in the May 2, 1771 issue of the Virginia Gazette, offering his ferry and ordinary for lease and describing his property in great detail:

Capt. Dix died on November 28, 1783 according to this notice published in the Virginia Gazette on January 3, 1784.


In an 1854 pension application, John M. Dix (grandson of Capt. John Dix) related the following account of his father, Col. William Dix, at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse:

“…in which battle, while discharging the duties of a field officer, by order of his commander General Lawson, he had a very valuable nag, called the English mare, said to have been worth one hundred guineas, killed under him by a british cannon ball” and that his “father continued with the Army during the whole period which elapsed from the Battle of Guildford till the close of the siege of York Town & the surrender of Cornwallis”

John M. Dix also stated that his father, Col. William Dix, died at his house in Pittsylvania County in March of 1799, leaving his mother, Rebecca Dix, a widow, and that she died on August 24, 1836.

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