What the Dickins - !

My paternal Scaife grandmother, Mary Josephine, was the daughter and eighth child of Matthew Braithwaite Dickins and his wife Sarah, the daughter of Joseph Harbage of Wardington, Oxfordshire, England. Joseph and his wife Sarah Kiteley Kilgrove were married at Wichford, Northamptonshire, in 1831, and sometime between 1848 and 1860 they emigrated to the USA.

Matthew Braithwaite Dickins also went to America, and in 1860 at Madison, Ohio, married Sarah Harbage. Their first daughter, Annie E Dickins, was born about 1861 at Hudson County, Ohio. The next four years are missing in our family history. Family tradition, however, is that Matthew found himself on the wrong side when fighting broke out, and either had to, or chose to, return to England. This was accomplished safely and a further eight children were born between 1865 and 1882 at Shiptonthorpe, Nr Market Weighton, Yorkshire. Exactly what the fighting was has never been explained.

Matthew settled down as Innkeeper of the Black Swann at Shiptonthorpe. We know that he held this position between the mid 1880's and 1906, at which time he was aged 70. An old newspaper article has stated that he was licencee for 48 years, but this cannot be true. You would think that discovering all details of someone with the name Matthew Braithwaite Dickins (Dickins "with an i" as we have had drilled into us) would be easy, but not so. There were three Matthew Braithwaite Dickins, and it would not surprise me to hear of another. However, any information on this family mystery would be welcome, particularly on the American circumstances. My American knowledge and research is woefully inadequate.
John H Scaife