I give many thanks to Shirley Reeve and Janine Chadwick for sharing their research and for sharing a love of family history and genealogy. I also thank everyone at both Data Investigations and The Fairfield Foundation for sharing this find with the public. The Fairfiled Foundation has published a blog about the discovery of Lt. Dickson's name plate along with the other magnificient finds at the archaeology site at Gloucester Point on their webiste: www.Fairfieldfoundation.org
Lt. James Ronaldson Dickson, Esquire of Blairhall
3 April 1756-4 June 1829
James was fifth and final child born to the Reverend Doctor David Dickson of Kilbucho, Scotland and his wife the former Anne Gillon of Wallhouse on the 3rd day of April 1756 in Uphall, West Lothian, Scotland. James’ father Rev. Dr. Dickson first studied law and later was a writer in Edinburgh before settling on a life in the Ministry. He was married first to a Miss Hogg of Newliston who died without children followed by his marriage to Anne in Peebles, Peeblesshire, Scotland. The family was prominent yet not wealthy as reported in the history of Peeblesshire.
The first son of David and Anne, William Dickson is born.
The only daughter, Elizabeth Dickson is born.
Second son, John Dickson is born.
Third son David Dickson is born.
James is born, the fourth son and fifth child of David and Anne is born at Uphall, West Lothian, Scotland.
Oldest Brother William Dickson inherits all the Dickson family estates from his uncle William, who is the older brother of his father David. This includes the Dickson family estates known as “Mitchelhill”, “Parkgatestone”, “Kilbucho” and “Calzeat” William now is an officer who has been in the American Colony. He returns to Peeblesshire to recruit for the militia. He falls into debt and has to sell most of his inherited property to satisfy his debts.
1 February 1778
James Dickson, age 21, is commissioned a Lieutenant in the 80th Regiment of Foot. One thousand men from the city of Edinburgh, Scotland make up the regiment.
The 80th Regiment of Foot goes on detachment to the Firth of Fourth, Scotland and was reported fit for service.
17 March 1779
The 80th Regiment of Foot joins the 76th Regiment and leaves for Portsmouth, England to await transport to North America.
27 August 1779
The 80th Regiment of Foot landed in New York and encamped at Bedford, Long Island.
9 April 1780
James' father David dies. He leaves his estate "Coulter" to his son John.
5 January 1781
The 80th Regiment sailed from Richmond, Virginia, where they had destroyed the magazines, to Portsmouth, Virginia where they took their post on the Elizabeth River.
In the following weeks detachments from the 80th and 76th along with some Hessian troops moved up the James River. Their mission was to destroy enemy stores and stockpiles. The made it to Williamsburg and then moved on to Petersburg where they encountered large quantities of tobacco in which they were ordered to destroy.
2 May 1781
The deployed unit of the 80th Regiment was picked up at Bermuda Hundred and taken back down the river. On May 9th they returned to Petersburg and took possession of the city on May 10th.
6 July 1781
At the Battle of Green Spring in James City County, Virginia on July 6, 1781 it was reported that “Lafayette galloped back to the advance guard under Wayne, but it was too late. Wayne was advancing with several regiments of Pennsylvania Continentals, Light Infantry, and Virginia Riflemen. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Pennsylvania ran headlong into a brigade under Lieutenant Colonel Dundas consisting of veterans troops of the 43rd Regiment of Foot, as well as the Scots of the 76th and 80th Regiments of Foot. This brigade pushed back Wayne’s men as Lt. Colonel Yorke’s Light Infantry battalions pushed forward on the British right. A second line consisting of the battle hardened Guards, 23rd, and 33rd regiment of Foot was held back as a second line.”
The 80th Regiment of Foot landed at Gloucester Point also known at Tyndall’s Point. In the heights above Gloucester Point was a small village known as Gloucester Town which was made up of about a dozen residences that the British fortified. The 80th Regiment was joined at Gloucester by the Hessian regiment of Prince Hereditaire and the Queens Rangers. Cornwallis wants to maintain Gloucester Point as a possible means of escape. Illness and exhaustion are rampant throughout the camp.
22 August 1781
Fortifications at Gloucester Point are nearly complete ahead of those across the river at Yorktown.
1 October 1781
Reinforcements arrive at Gloucester Point.
2 October 1781
Lieutenant Colonel Dundas sends out members of the 80th to forage for food. American troops are heading towards Gloucester Point from Gloucester Courthouse.
3 October 1781
The Battle of the Hook takes place in Gloucester Point.
12 October 1781
Lt. Col. Dundas takes part of the 80th Regiment of Foot to Yorktown for duty.
15 October 1781
Hope of escaping the Americans through Gloucester had diminished. Most of the 80th Regiment made it back to Gloucester Point. Weather prevented the escape of most to Gloucester. The river came under the control of the American and French.
17 October 1781
The British wave a white flag and want to negotiate a surrender at Yorktown.
19 October 1781
The Articles of Capitulation are signed at Moore House in Yorktown
Troops at Gloucester Point surrender and are marched out in formation. They laid down their arms and returned to their camp as prisoners. Officers were allowed to keep their private property and their side arms. Approximately 1900 British troops were too sick to fight at the time of surrender.
Troops were removed to Winchester, Virginia and Maryland. The 80th Regiment of Foot was removed to Fredericktown, Maryland.
New Years 1782
The 80th Regiment of Foot was removed to Lancaster, Pennsylvania where they were kept in a stockade under strict guard.
Prisoners were marched from Lancaster, Pennsylvania to New York through Philadelphia. The 80th Regiment of Foot were sent to Kingsbridge, New York to await transport back to England.
In May James, age 27, goes on half pay from the military and marries Ms. Anne Ranaldson, of Blairhall on 22 August 1783 in New Gray Friars Parish, Edinburgh. James then takes on the name of James Ranaldson Dickson, Esquire.
James and Anne have their first child, a son, David Somerville Ranaldson Dickson.
Daughter Anne Ranaldson Dickson is born.
Son Andrew Ranaldson Dickson is born.
Son William Ranaldson Dickson is born.
Daughter Margaret Elizabeth Ranaldson Dickson is born.
Daughter Jane Ranaldson Dickson is born.
James and Anne welcome their seventh and final child, daughter Isabella Edwards Ranaldson Dickson.
1 February 1799
Anne and James inherit Blairhall from Anne’s brother who left no legitimate heirs. His illegitimate heirs sue Anne and James for promissory payments. The abstract of the court case states,
“Andrew Ranaldson executed a strict entail providing that when he died, his estate at Blairhall would pass to his eldest son John Ranaldson and John’s lawful male heirs; the entail also named substitutes who would inherit if John’s line failed. John succeeded to the estate but died without lawful issue. As a result, the estate passed to his sister, Defender Ann Ranaldson Dickson. Following this transfer, controversy arose concerning certain debts that John contracted prior to his death, including sums due to Barbara Nicholson for board of John’s natural daughter; an annuity in favor of Elizabeth Hutcheson; a bond in favor of Elizabeth’s son John Ranaldson, upon his achieving the age of twenty-one; and a bond to James Tait. Pursuer John Syme became the trustee for these creditors and sought to collect a portion of the debts from Ann and her husband James Dickson. Syme argued that although the deed contained a “resolutive clause”—which extinguished the title of any heir who attempted to contract debts against the estate—that clause was ineffective against the “institute,” or person to whom the estate was first given (i.e., John). Offering a different reading of the deed, Ann answered that the clause was effective against John, and therefore she was not liable for any of his debts.”
10 June 1808
James' daughter Margaret Elizabeth dies at age 16 at Blairhall.
12 March 1812
Anne Ranaldson deeds another family estate "Shiresmill" and some other family land to son David to satisfy the Chancellor of Ireland that he was suitable to marry Anna Crymble, a ward of the Irish Court.
29 June 1812
James' oldest son Lt. David Somerville Ranaldson Dickson of the Royal North British 2nd Dragoons married Anna Crymble of Ballyclare, Ireland in Edinburgh. David would eventually settle in Canada.
James' oldest brother William, now a Brigadier General, dies with no heirs. Brother John Dickson inherits what remains of the old family estate which is now only Kilbucho Place (the manor house) and a small amount of property called Calzeat.
The next time we see Anne and James is in 1818 when an ad is in the newspaper announcing to any creditors that a meeting will be held on the 19th of November where “matters of importance will be laid before them”. James had been named in some court records during some of his brother William’s troubles with his creditors.
Anne Ranaldson Dickson dies at age 69.
4 June 1829
Lt. James Ranaldson Dickson, Esq. dies at Torrie, Scotland at age 73.
13 February 1838
Son, David Somerville Ranaldson Dickson dies in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is this ancestor that Craig and Shirley are descended from.
Son, William Ranaldson Dickson, Lt 13th Regiment of Foot, upgraded to Major in 1841 and at his death he was Lt Col and Assistant Adjutant General of Forces in Canada died in Quebec.
 University of Virginia Law School “Scottish Court of Sessions Records, John Syme v. Anne Ranaldson Dickson” http://archives.law.virginia.edu/scos/node/15336
Chadwick, Janine. Personal Genealogy of the Dickson Family
Dickson, Charles Ranaldson Memo (Grandson of Lt. James Ranaldson Dickson) in the possession of Shirley Reeve.
The Fairfield Foundation www.fairfieldfoundation.org
Graham, James J. Colonel. Memoir of General Graham with Notices of the Campaigns in Which He Was Engaged From 1779-1801.Edinburgh: Printed Privately by R. & R. Clark, 1862.
Hatch, Charles E. Jr. "Gloucester Point in the Siege of Yorktown 1781" The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Apr., 1940), pp. 265-284
Reeve, Shirley. Personal Papers and Genealogy of the Dickson Family
Scottish Court. Revised Reports Court of Sessions, 1815-1825. Edinburgh: William Green and Sons, 1906
The University of Virginia Law School “Scottish Court of Sessions Records, John Syme v. Anne Ranaldson Dickson” http://archives.law.virginia.edu/scos/node/15336