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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Thomas Danforth Dixon

Thomas Danforth Dixon was once considered a suspect in the murder of Wm. D Taylor. He was a graduate of Yale & a captain in the Aviation Corps during WW1. It was claimed that he was the heir of Dixon pencils and linked romantically to Mary Miles Minter.

Thomas Dixon was born in Pueblo, Colorado to John Roman Dixon, a lawyer and judge and Clara McCoy (Dixon), a music teacher from McLean County, Illinois. Thomas' paternal grandmother was Mrs. Virginia William White (Dixon, Duer) of Baltimore, MD. She the mother of 11 children & known for her philanthropy.

Connection to the pencil company? The beginnings of the pencil company occurred when Joseph Dixon made his 1st pencil in 1812 & established his pencil business, The Dixon Crucible Company at Salem, MA in 1827. He married Hannah Martin (daughter of a cabinet maker) on 28 July 1822. In 1847, Dixon moved his company to Jersey City, NJ in 1847 where he died 17 June 1869. When Dixon died his son-in-law Samuel D Tillman (husband of Frances) took control.
Dixon Pencil Line
Frances Dixon (Tillman) (b. 1825 MA)
Joseph M Dixon (founder) (b. 1799 in MA & d. June 1869)
Joseph Dixon (b. 1769 MA)
Thos' Paternal Line
Thomas Danforth Dixon
John Roman Dixon (b. 1856 in MD)
George Corbin Dixon (b. 1823 in MD)
Nathaniel Dixon (b. abt 1780 in MD)
Nathaniel Dixon
Ambrose Dixon
Conclusion: There has yet to be seen even a remote connection to Thomas Dixon and the Dixon Pencil Company.

Thomas Dixon Findings:
Pueblo, CO- Called Danforth, he lived with his parents and uncle, N. Walter Dixon (lawyer)
1910: Denver, CO- Thomas at age 15 lived with his parents and his maternal grandmother, Lydia McCoy.
23 Feb 1914: Thomas' father, John Roman Dixon was mentioned in his mother's obituary as living in Riverside, California.
1917: Thomas claimed to have met Mary Miles Minter in NY.
WW1 Draft Registration (5 June 1917):

6 Jan 1920: Lafayette Street in Denver, CO- The census listed Thomas as a bookkeeper with a Trust Company, living with his parents.
1920: The year Thomas Dixon claimed to have a secret engagement with Mary Miles Minter.
Dec 1921: Thomas arrived in Los Angeles as a guest at the Ambassador Hotel. It was in December Thomas & Mary's engagement was called off.
Jan 1922: Thomas visited Mary at the studio
Wed 1 Feb 1922: Thomas checked out of his hotel
Thursday 2 Feb 1922: Thomas departed Los Angeles
1930: 1049 Park Ave, Manhattan, NY- Thomas, a stock broker, lived with his widowed mother Clara.
Thomas Dixon's Obituary (1943):


  1. Very interesting. But since the Minter/Dixon newspaper items referred to him as Thomas E. Dixon, I'm wondering what led you to the conclusion that Thomas Danforth Dixon is the man who was linked with Minter?

  2. Most of the information I gleaned referred to Thomas E Dixon being a Yale grad and captain in the Aviation Corps during WW1 and the heir to Dixon pencils. The descriptions of Dixon said he born between 1893 and 1895 and referred to as a broker. There was a previous mention of Minter having met Dixon in New York in 1917 while she was touring in the Liberty Loan Campaign.

    What I did first was exhaust all the Thomas E. Dixons who could possibly fit the profile (age primarily) and attended Yale. I also worked through the Dixon pencil genealogy and found it improbable for the Thomas Dixon in the Taylor case to be an heir to the company. After this, I expanded the search for Thomas Dixon and found one that attended Yale, was in the Officer's Reserve Corp in Aviation. He also matched the physical description, particularly the age. He had financial means to travel (wealthy grandma), lived in New York (with his mom), and was a retired stock broker (his obituary).

    I've thought for a while(speculation) there might be a link between Thomas' lawyer father & lawyer uncle to Ben Lindsey, as they were all lawyers in Denver at the same time.