Notes and Documents
The Rancho RamireiaJournal of
John James Dix, a Texian
TRANSCRIBED, COMPILED, AND EDITED BY DAN R. MANNING*
OHNJAMES DIX WAS BORN ON MARCH 27, 1826, IN DIXBORO, WASHTE-
naw County, Michigan Territory. This was a village founded two years
earlier by his father, John Dix (1796-1870), a veteran of the War of
1812. Despite being town founder, postmaster, storekeeper, and miller
(saw and grist), the elder Dix was unpopular among most locals, who re-
sented his haughty attitude.1 In the winter of 1833, after liquidating all
assets, he took his wife Mary Eliza (Hayes) Dix, three sons, and a daugh-
ter from Michigan toward opportunity in the Mexican state of Texas.
The family arrived by schooner at Matagorda Bay on February 14, 1834.2
The Dixes took up farming in Austin's Colony near Coles Settlement
(later named Independence), twelve miles west of Washington-on-the-
Brazos. They remained in the vicinity nearly twenty years. John Dix
(somewhat experienced in military operations) soon felt compelled to
join fellow Texians in a war for independence from Mexico. He was
honorably discharged after one month of active duty under Capt. James
G. Swisher with furloughs signed by William Barret Travis and Stephen
Private John Dix of the Texas Cavalry Guards had participated in the
campaign against San Antonio de Bexar in the autumn of 1835, earning
* Dan R. Manning is board chairman of the Fair Grove Historical and Preservation Society,
Fair Grove, Missouri. He edited '"The Mexican War Journal of John James Dix- a Texian," pub-
hshed m Milhtary Hstory of the West (Waco: University of North Texas, Spring 1993). He would
like to thank his wife and her two brothers for introducing him to the interesting character of
their great great grandfather, Capt. John James Dix of Texas.
History of Washtenaw County, Michigan (Chicago: Chas. C. Chapman & Co., 1881), io66.
2 Diary of John James Dix (1895), John James Dix collection, 1847-1902 (Archives Division,
Texas State Library, Austin; hereafter cited as Dix collection).
3 Three handwritten papers, each dated November 4, 1835, and signed, Dix collection.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101216/. Accessed April 21, 2015.