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Jacob McGavock Dickinson Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Jacob McGavock Dickinson passes away in 1928.

Jacob McGavock Dickinson was an American lawyer.

Dickinson was born on January 30th, 1851 in Columbus, Mississippi. At the age of 14, Dickinson joined the Confederate Army as a private during the American Civil War. After the war, he moved with his family to Nashville, Tennessee where he enrolled and graduated from the University of Tennessee. After he briefly attended Columbia Law School. He then traveled to Europe where he studied in Leipzig, Germany, he spoke fluent German, and Paris, France. When he returned to the Untied State he was admitted to the bar in Tennessee in 1874.

From 1889 to 1899, Dickinson held a variety of jobs. From 1889 to 1893 he was President of the Tennessee Bar Association. From 1891 to 1893 he sat on the Tennessee Supreme Court. From 1895 to 1897 he was an assistant United States Attorney General and from 1897 until 1899 he was a professor of law at Vanderbilt University Law School. In this time frame he also served as attorney for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad.

In 1899, Dickinson moved to Chicago and worked in the railroad industry. He was the solicitor general for the Illinois Central Railroad from 1899 to 1901 when he became the general counsel for the railroad. He served in that position until 1909. He served as a counsel for the Alaskan Boundary Tribunal. Later he served as President of the American Bar Association.

In 1907, Dickinson helped to found the American Society of International Law. He served on it's executive board and later as it's vice president.

In 1909 Dickinson was appointed as Secretary of War by President William Howard Taft. During his tenure he proposed that foreign students be admitted to West Point. He also recommend that an annuity be given to retiring civil service employees. He suggested that the United States stop paying soldiers who were declared unfit for duty due to alcoholism or venereal disease. He saw this as a deterrent to those issues.

In 1913 Dickinson was a prosecutor against U.S. Steel for anti-trust law violations. The prosecution was ultimately unsuccessful.

Dickinson passed away on December 13th, 1928.

Dickinson was a member of Cumberland Lodge No. 8 in Nashville, Tennessee. He was also a member of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Masonic Jurisdiction. In 1910 he was present at the raising of Lawrence Washington, the last male of George Washington's family line.