At the age of eighty years and after seventy-one years of incessant activity, Mr. Dixon is still effectively active in business as the head of a company founded by him more than forty years ago for the manufacture and distribution of one of his inventions. Though he has always given the major share of his time and attention to this business, he has never permitted it to absorb him to the exclusion of other interests and for many years he has taken a very active part in civic and fraternal affairs. Indeed, in every respect, he represents the highest type of upright, useful, and patriotic citizen.
Ezra Dixon was born at Spencer, Massachusetts, December 12, 1849, a son of the late Dwight J. and Susan A. (Bixby) Dixon. His father was born at Dudley, Massachusetts, and, with the exception of the time during the Civil War, when he served with Company E, 36th Volunteer Infantry, he was engaged in the textile business until his death. Mr. Dixon’s mother was a native of Schenectady, New York. Ezra Dixon attended the public schools until he had reached the age of nine years. Then, in common with a practice much more frequent then than now, he went to work in a mill at Quardick, Connecticut, where he remained for one year. Next he spent a similar period in another mill at North Oxford, Massachusetts, then worked for two years in a mill at East Brookfield, Massachusetts, and for a short period in still another mill at Leesville. Though still in his early ’teens when the Civil War broke out, Mr. Dixon enlisted in the Quartermaster’s Department of the Federal Government and on December 1, 1863, was sent to Hilton Head, Port Royal, South Carolina. In the following year, 1864, he returned to Massachusetts, and enlisted at Stoneville in the 42d Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, in which he served with Company F, until he was mustered out of service in November, 1864. Returning again to Stoneville, Massachusetts, he remained there about six months and then once more enlisted in the Quartermaster’s Department, in which he continued to serve until the end of the war, when he received his honorable discharge. At that time he again came back to Stoneville and worked in a mill for half a year. During the years following he was connected for varying periods with different other mills, including the Albert Curtis Mill at Worcester, Massachusetts, also a mill at Whitinsville, Massachusetts, the Manchester Print Works at Manchester, New Hampshire, a mill at Three Rivers, Massachusetts, the Lyman Mills at Holyoke, Massachusetts, and the mills of George Draper & Sons Company at Hopedale, Massachusetts. In 1874 he located in Bristol and for the next twelve years worked for the Namquit Mills. While working in this mill, he invented and patented a saddle used on machines for spinning cotton yarn. In 1886 he left the Namquit Mills and from that time on he has devoted his entire time to the manufacture and distribution of his invention. The name under which he conducts the business is the Dixon Lubricating Saddle Company and its headquarters are located at No. 182 High Street, Bristol. From the organization of the company Mr. Dixon served as president and treasurer until January 1, 1930, when the company was incorporated as the Dixon Lubricating Saddle Company. He was then elected chairman of the board, and Ezra Dixon, Jr. became president; William G. Dixon, treasurer; and F. M. Dixon, Jr., secretary. Mr. Dixon is also a director and a member of the executive committee of the Industrial Trust Company, Providence, and chairman of the board of the Bristol Branch of this financial institution. At one time he served for fifteen years as a member of the Rhode Island State Welfare Board. Politics, too, have claimed his attention and in 1907 he was a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives and during 1909-16 of the Rhode Island State Senate, representing in both of these the town of Bristol. The town of Bristol has also benefited by his thirty years’ service on its sewer commission, and it was Mr. Dixon who organized its modern sewer system. He is chairman of the executive committee of the Rhode Island Soldier Relief. For many years one of the most active members of Babbitt Post, No. 15, Grand Army of the Republic, he has also served as Department Commander for the State of Rhode Island of this organization, while the 1st Light Infantry of Providence elected him to honorary membership. Prominently active in Masonic affairs since his young manhood, he is a member of numerous Masonic bodies, including the following: St. Albans Lodge, No. 6, Free and Accepted Masons; Hope Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; Webb Council, Royal and Select Masters; St. John’s Commandery, Knights Templar; Rhode Island Consistory, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite; and Palestine Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. He is also a member of the United Brothers Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of which he is a past grand, and of Wampanaug Encampment. His clubs include the Rhode Island Country Club. In politics he is a supporter of the Republican party, while his religious affiliation is with the Methodist Episcopal Church of Bristol, of which he has been a trustee for many years. He is also greatly interested in the local Young Men’s Christian Association, of which he was president for nineteen years.
Mr. Dixon married, in 1872, Annie Prest, now deceased, who was born at Blackburn, England. Mr. and Mrs. Dixon were the parents of five children:
- Fred M., now deceased.
- Ezra, Jr.
- Annie R.
- William Garfield.
- Fern Dixon.
Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.