DICKSON FAMILY HISTORY

Part 1
up to Robert Dickson's emmigration to Gothenburg.

Sources: Mainly my father in law, Allan Dickson's (2:6:11 5) stories.
Robert Dicksons stiftelses arbetarbostäder av Thorsten Rinman (a book)

Ulla Dickson (born Stiernsten 2.6:11 5:2 P married to Lars Dickson)


Bataviska sammansvärjningen av Rembrandt på Nationalmuseum
http://www.abcgallery.com/R/rembrandt/rembrandt53.html

The Swedish National Museum has a very famous painting by Rembrandt called “The conspiracy of Julius Civilis”. Under the leadership of Julius Civilis the Batavian people gathered to rise against the roman conquest, which had been completed. In the middle of the painting you can see the head of Bobinus Chatti. According to the legend, Rembrandt, when he did the painting,  had a model in an enambel picture, that earlier was attached to a sword-hilt, owned by Bobinus son. He had gotten it from his very good friend Sir Alexander Dickson of Westerbinning, who himself was a late descendent of Bobinus Chatti.

Bobinus was chief over a Germanic tribe, the Chatti (eller KATTERNA) who lived in today’s Hessen, or as then called, Turingia. Even though the conspiracy of Julius Civilis was quite successful, Bobinus Chatti, who would not yield under the roman law, choose some parts of his tribe and left, in the year 76, ending up in the north of Scotland, at Caithness (then Chattiness). Scotland was not under roman law, as the rest of Great Britain was. The Chatti people left in Hessen, later on played a fairly dominating role, for instance under the Chatti Riot. Bobinus, who at first was an intruder in the north of Scotland, acclimatized himself and his tribe rather quickly and so well, that he got married to the Pictkings daughter.

Under pressure, most from outside, the tribes came to unite under a Scottish king. Scotland became christened fairly early. Under the 8th and 9th-century there were many conflicts with the Vikings. Mainly they came from Norway, first to rob and plunder, but gradually they established themselves as merchants there. They where also in some ways “culturespreaders”. The Danish people also came over to plunder. Under the Danish king Sven Tveskäggs time, two Danish armies were sent to conquer Scotland. They were lead by a common commander, named Camus, whom year 1010 tried to land at Firth of Fourth. Malcolm II of Scotland where in a terrible despair, and the battles did not go so well.

At the battle of Barry, the head of the family Keith, (the name Chatti had gradually changed in to Keith), Robert, succeeded in killing the Danish herald, Camus. Robert himself was fatally wounded and when he late at night lied in the battlefield unable to leave, Malcolm II walked out into the battlefield and found Robert Keith, who through his courageous efforts had saved his life. The King then dipped three fingers in Camus blood and stroke, partially over Keiths forehead, partially over his shield and said: “You are a real Keith”. Because of this, Malcolm II appointed him to “Great Marshal of Scotland”. That meant that the eldest son, always in every bloodline, would be Marshal of Scotland.

The shields of the Chatti's, had been silvercoloured with a top field of gold. After the battle of Barry year 1010, the ancestors of Robert Keith, has added three vertical lines of blood ( heraldic term beam) on the Chattishield’s golden field.

During the following centuries the Keiths did Scotland some extraordinary favors, primarily under Alexander I, Alexander II, David I and Robert de Bruce.

Robert Keith was given some domains in East Lothian and they expanded under Harvey Keith with Keith Marshal, as gratitude for extraordinary services. Even through marriages the Keiths acquired gradually great domains in East Lothian, the Grampainland and as far as northeast of Scotland, towards Caithness. It has been said, that once a Keith could start at the Border (southeast of Scotland) and ride to Caithness and every night sleep in his own bed. Rumour has it that a Scottish king once said that his Great Marshal were more powerful than him self.

In those days large areas of England and the main part of the Scottish hills where covered with forests. The expanding population and foremost the shipbuilding, had not yet demanded very large quantities of the lumber supply.

Around year 1240,  Richard Keith was the Great Marshal of Scotland. He was a great folk hero and where called “Dick”. His children where called “fils Dick” or “Dickson”. The eldest son came to inherit the title as Great Marshal and kept the weapon and the name Keith. After a couple of generations “Great Marshal” where elevated to the title “Earl Marshal of Scotland” which remained for ten generations. After that the title “Earl Marshal” was abolished. The last Earl Marshal died in 1788.

To raise and broaden the education of the Scottish people, the fifth Earl Marshal (George), paid the for the expenses of the university in Aberdeen, the so called Marshal College. Numerous Keiths has been Bishops or Deans of Abbeys.

The pressure from and the conflicts with the English were under the centuries, until 1746, very hard. On one occasion the regalia were saved and brought to the Keith stronghold Dunottar, southwest of Stonehaven and where kept there, to be protected against the British. At an other occasion the Keith family archives were loaded on to a ship at Edinburgh, to be saved from British destruction, but unfortunately the ship sank.


Dunottar Castle
A magnificent ruined castle where Richard was staying when news came in of the shipwreck in Ringed Castle. The Scottish Crown Jewels were sent here during the English Civil War when Cromwell swore to melt them down. The castle was beseiged but they were smuggled out and buried under a church until the restoration made it safe to return them to Edinburgh. Dunottar was used by Mel Gibson for his filming of Hamlet.

The head of the family Keith, as of today, is the Earl of Kintore, who lives at Keith Hall in Aberdeenshire. (http://www.vsd.cape.com/~beachbum/keithinfo7.htm). The last Earl George's, total possessions were confiscated by the British, when he served as a mercenary for Fredrik the Great. His younger brother, James, was very successful. He became field marshal for Fredrik the Great and contributed strongly to the fact that Fredrik could be called “the Great”. James Keith’s statue is located in Peterhead.

Another field marshal, Andrew Keith, who was in Sweden during Erik XIV’s period, got married to Gustav Wasa's cousins daughter, Sigrid Birgersdotter. He became a count of Finsta and Eka and founded a family in Sweden, but had no male offspring. Numerous count themselves as relatives on the female line of the family.

Andrew Keith was sent by Erik XIV to the British court, to arrange an engagement between Erik and Elisabeth I, which did not succed. He was in favor at the British court and became appointed  Lord Dingwall. He got some fiefs, amongst other, a farm, that was called Uppland. It still exists and is located at Invenshire.

When Karl XI reigned there was another Andrew Keith, who came to Sweden. He was a major and he paid the expenses for some mercenary troops from Scotland. Neither he had any male offspring.

We now return to the descendants, who from year 1247 called themselves Dickson. Richard Keith’s second son Thomas Dickson, became a champion against England. This made him Govenor of Douglas Castle. Through heroic successes he also  became Lord Symingstone.

 Sir Walter Scott has described his last battle against the British at Mary St. Bride in Lanmark. He fought with a two hand sword. He was fatally wounded in his abdomen. With his left hand he had to hold his intestines back, so they would not fall out.

He then continued the battle with the two hand sword in his right hand, until he fell. A monument has been raised there, and because he was a folk hero, people who came took pieces of the monument as relics. Today the monument has disappeared totally, just as the octopus in Wartburg disappeared after Martin Luther.


Mungo Parks Surgery, Peebles,
Photo by McKnaught & Son

Looking to neidpath from church spire, Peebles, ZI6/49

The rest of the Dickson family mainly settled close to the border, in Peebles and Kelso. They were known to be extremely dangerous to the British. Since they were trusted by the people, the Dicksons were often majors and judges. After a couple of generations of being mainly merchants and silversmiths in Kelso, some of the Dicksons moved to Montrose and worked as silversmiths there. One James Dickson married a Christiean Murie (Christina Murray). They had three sons and a daughter.


James Dickson, Montrose

Even if the industrialism had started both in England and Scotland, with coal, steel and texture, the Scotish had been poor for centuries. It was hard to make a living, as anything else than a mercenary. The oldest son, Robert Dickson [1], therefore left, with a very small capital from Montrose to Gothenburg, where he arrived in 1802. He traded mainly in textures and grain, and to some extent in ore and pig-iron.

 

 

Webmistress: Maud Dickson