Captain John J. Dix:
An Inventory of Papers at the Texas State Archives, 1860-1928
Captain John James Dix had long and varied military and civilian careers in Texas. He was born in Michigan on March 24, 1826. His family emigrated to Texas, arriving in February 1834, and settled at Coles Settlement, renamed Independence in 1836, in Washington County. In 1845, during the U.S.-Mexican War, he went to the mouth of the Rio Grande and worked as a sutler's clerk and as a horse drover for the Army quartermaster. After the war, he settled in south Texas, west of the Nueces River.
In January 1860, Dix joined and was elected a second lieutenant in a special force of Texas Rangers under the command of Major John S. (Rip) Ford. The Rangers had been called out after Brownsville had been temporarily occupied by forces led by Juan Cortina during a local uprising. Dix and the Rangers fought a brief battle against Cortina in February 1860 before peace was restored in the Rio Grande Valley. In 1862, during the Civil War, Dix raised a company of men and served one year as their captain in the Frontier Regiment from 1862-1863. Dix then returned to his home and joined a company of the Home Guard for a year. In July 1864, he enlisted in the Expeditionary Force of Colonel John S. (Rip) Ford to serve in the Brownsville area. He was appointed quartermaster of the Expeditionary Force and also served as Colonel Ford's adjutant until the end of the war.
Returning to south Texas, Captain Dix settled in Duval County and began a long career as a land agent and surveyor. He was a surveyor or deputy surveyor for the Nueces Land District for over forty years and was first elected County Surveyor in Duval County in 1876, a post he was elected to intermittently over the next twenty-five years. Dix also served one term in the House in the 22nd Texas Legislature in 1891-1892, representing Duval and five other south Texas counties. In addition, Dix worked as a clerk in the General Land Office in Austin in 1894-1895. Dix died August 30, 1910 in Bexar County.
Records consist of personal papers, 1860-1928, from Captain John James Dix (1826-1910) and family descendents. The papers of Captain Dix include scattered business and family correspondence, military records, historical accounts and letterpress volumes. Papers of family descendents include political materials on Duval County.
Military records include quartermaster supply invoices and a muster roll of Dix's company in the Frontier Regiment. The muster roll has been filed separately as an oversize manuscript. There are two historical accounts handwritten by Dix on Indians and Indian raids in south and west Texas covering the period from 1846 to the 1880s. There is also a handwritten biography of Captain Dix, ca. 1907, possibly autobiographical.
There are eleven letterpress volumes covering the business activities of Dix as a land agent. Letterpress volumes are from 1872-1886 and 1898-1906, arranged chronologically. Many of the letters are illegible due to the ink fading and blurring.
Other records in the accession concern Duval County and Texas politics in the early twentieth century. These include broadsides and pamphlets, in Spanish and English, from the 1920s and an accounting report on the finances of Duval County from 1915. These records are from the files of John D. Sutherland, a grandson of John J. Dix, and a Duval County lawyer and member of the Republican party.
Restrictions on Access
Restrictions on Use
Under the Copyright Act of 1976 as amended in 1998, unpublished manuscripts are protected at a minimum through December 31, 2002 or 70 years after the author's death. Researchers are responsible for complying with the Copyright Law.
The letterpress volumes are not indexed and are too fragile to be photocopied.
The supply invoices are tattered and damaged by insects; extreme care must be used in handling.
(Identify the item), John J. Dix Papers. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession number: 1989/028
The papers of Captain John J. Dix were part of a donation by Dr. Roy Thompson to the Genealogy Department of the Texas State Library. Dr. Thompson gained possession of the materials when he purchased the filing cabinet of a family descendent of Captain Dix at a salvage sale. The Dix papers were transferred from Genealogy to the State Archives on November 2, 1988.
Paul B. Beck, November 1989
Detailed Description of the Papers