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Dr. Frederick Dixon F.G.S.                1799-1849
Frederick was born on 16 March 1799, the son of Rev. Joseph Dixon and Anne Partridge, at Storrington, Sussex.   In 1810 Fred Dixon went to Eton where his brother Henry was a student. Fred was a Kings Scholar; Henry wasn't. Fred left Eton at Christmas 1814. In April 1815 his father paid 525 pounds and Fred became an apprentice surgeon through the Royal College of Surgeons to master Thompson Forster, at the latter's residence in Southampton Street, London. There was also a 10 guinea registration fee. Those present at the ceremony included Henry Cline, the famous surgeon at Guy's Hospital. Also apprenticed that day, to legendary surgeon Astley Paston Cooper, was Charles Aston Key, who would go on to become surgeon-in-ordinary to the Prince Consort, and father of Admiral Sir Astley Cooper Key.
  On January 5, 1821 Fred became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, receiving his diploma, London, for which he paid 11 pounds 10 shillings. In his father's will of 1824 he came into 1,000 from 3 percent South Sea stocks paid to him over the period 1824-26, as well as a sixth share of the antibilious pill business left to his father by Uncle George Dixon in 1821.
  Always into geology, Fred, in 1823, was at Findon, on the Downs, involved in a dig for Roman funerary wares. By 1825 he was living at Great Coram Street, Russell Square, London, and married Maria Grant, daughter of the keepers of Grant's (the boarding house facility at Westminster School). Maria was an amateur artist of some talent and renown. They went to Egypt on their honeymoon, for a dig at Thebes, stopping first at Corfu to see Fred's brother William. It was on this trip that Maria painted a portrait of William's wife, Cecilia Pierina Gironci. It was also at this
  time that Fred's friendship began with Edward William Lane, the great orientalist who translated "The Arabian Nights".
  In 1826 Fred and Maria bought land just off Chapel Road in Worthing. Actually Maria's father bought it (he would deed it over to Fred on March 21, 1833), and Fred built the house that would become the well-known Worthing landmark
Dr. Frederick Dixon
3 Union Place. He would live here for the rest of his life.
  Fred's life in the 1820s consisted of doctoring, fossiling, music, traveling, socializing, and civic duties for the town of Worthing. Given his tremendously affable nature and enormous talents he was a boon to the town, and rapidly rose to become one of its dignitaries.
  At a public meeting in Worthing, on August 20, 1829, with the Rev. Henry Dixon as chairman, it was agreed to create, by subscription, a dispensary in town [the Worthing Dispensary or Ann Street dispensary, as it was also known, was the forerunner of Worthing Hospital]. Fred was, aside from being the instigator of this, one of the two surgeons, and Rev. Henry was treasurer. In 1831 541 patients were treated here.

  On January 5, 1832 Fred requested two street lamps for Union Place, and on June 25 of that year was elected one of the Town Commissioners, a position he would hold until he died. On November 10, 1833 he drew up his will he became a lifelong friend of Louis Agassiz, when the Swiss naturalist came to Britain for the first of many visits. Indeed, Agassiz would name a species of fish for Fred.
  While in London proving his father-in-law's will in 1837 Fred added a codicil to his own will. On March 13, 1840 he applied to become a Fellow of the Geological Society of London (FGS), sponsored by his friend, fellow Sussex paleontologist Gideon Mantell. On April 18 he was proposed by Sir Roderick Murchison and Sir Charles Lyell and elected Fellow No. 1293 on May 13, 1840. On May 20 he paid his fees.
  That year, 1840, Fred and Maria "adopted" their niece Caroline (Capt. William Dixon's daughter), and she moved in with them. As Fred and Maria had no children Caroline became a daughter to them. Through Fred and Maria Caroline would meet her future husband, and would inherit Fred's estate when the time came.
  Paleontology was in its infancy then, in the 1840s, the leading British experts being Sir Richard Owen, Gideon Mantell and Fred Dixon. They were fossilers, or fossilizers, the men who were the first to dig up and recognize the remains of giant reptiles that had once roamed the earth.
  Owen it was who coined the term "dinosaur". Owen and Fred, and their wives, were very close friends for years.
  The last ten years of Dr Fred Dixon's life were more and more devoted to finishing and producing his great work, "The Geology of Sussex".
  In 1846 Fred was an active founder member of the Sussex Geological Society, serving zealously on the committee until his death. By the late 1840s he was donating parts of his by-now nationally-famous fossil collection to the Geological Society in London.
  Dr Fred Dixon was a pianist of some skill. In 1849 he published a work called "Romance: L'ombrosa notte vien, arranged for the violoncello with an accompaniment for the Piano Forte, by F. Dixon". This was based on the 1810 work "Mathilde von Guise - Geheimnisvolle Nacht", by the composer Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837). In fact, Fred would have many a musical soiree at his home in Worthing, and several famous singers and musicians performed in his living room
  Fred's pamphlet, the 12-page "Bronze and Brass Relics, Celts, etc, found in Sussex" was printed by C.J. Adland in London in 1849, re-printed from an article in Vol. 2 of the "Sussex Archaeological Collections, 1848". This article was the third that Fred had read for the Sussex Archaeological Society (of which body also he was a founding member).

The first was on "Roman Coins and British Gold Coins Found in Sussex", published in Vol. 1, 1848. The second, published in the same volume, was "On a British Sepulchral Urn Found in Storrington". In the one on celts Fred mentions, "I have had frequent opportunities of seeing collections of celts and weapons in Ireland; nor can I forget some very agreeable days passed in Dublin with my friend Professor Owen".   In 1848 Fred wrote the preface to his great book, "The Geology and Fossils of the Tertiary and Cretaceous Formations of Sussex" [abbreviated for convenience, and because it was the title of the 2nd edition, to "The Geology of Sussex"].
  In August 1849, during the dreaded cholera epidemic of that year, Fred was in London, overseeing work on the sewage system in some of his rental houses in Westminster. He contracted the disease and died in Worthing on Sept. 27, 1849. The doctor wrote "typhus fever" on the death certificate because, strangely, not one single case of cholera afflicted the town of Worthing during that notorious epidemic, and the good doctor was not about to break that record.
  Fred was given a eulogy (one of many) on December 8, 1849, in the "Medical Times", and Sir Charles Lyell used this as the basis of his eulogy for Fred at the Geological Society's address in London on February 15, 1850.
    However, the book had not quite been finished. Despite the fact that color photos of Fred's fossil collection formed the nucleus for the book, he himself wrote very little of the book, and served more as an editor, bringing together essays and other articles by his famous scientific colleagues (including himself).
  So these colleagues, as well as Maria Dixon, all anxious for the great work to be published, went through a lot of agonizing gymnastics in order to pull it off. Sir Richard Owen led the charge, while Maria fended off pillagers like Darwin (see that scientist's correspondence in any major library for his shameless attempt to rob Maria of Fred's cirripeds). Fred's will was a long time in the proving, and Maria was hurting for money. Owen and the other scientists helped her make it all happen.
  The book had cost so much that by the time it was finally privately printed (at Maria's expense) by Richard and John Edward Taylor, of Red Lion Court, Fleet Street, in early December 1850, she was pretty much broke. In those days the usual way for a book to be published was that the author took the financial risk, got subscriptions, and then handed the book out that way, hoping to make his money back by such sales.

But, things were changing in the publishing world, and in late December 1850 Maria signed a contract (good for a year) for Longman, Brown, Green and Longman, of London, to distribute the book. They even imprinted it with their logo, and spelled Frederick Dixon's name "Frederic". After their contract with Maria expired, all copies became hers. And Fred's will was finally proved in London, on February 15, 1850, thus relieving Maria of financial worry.
  Fred's collection of 4,000 fossil pieces, "Dixonia", was sold by Maria in 1850 to the British Museum for 500 pounds. She also sold Fred's rare collection of pre-Norman Sussex antiquities to the Duke of Northumberland. She kept some of the rocks in a cabinet, and these went to her niece Caroline, then to Caroline's daughter Annie, then to Annie's niece Betty Valentia Stewart, then to Betty's son Alex, who sold them in South Australia in the 1960s.
  On March 25, 1851 Jane Cholmley moved into 3 Union Place on a 21-year lease, and Maria moved with her mother (also Maria Grant) to 17 Bridge Avenue, Hammersmith, London. Mrs. Cholmley died in the winter of 1869, and in 1871 Mary Roy became the new tenant. Mrs. Roy bought
  the house from Maria's heir Caroline Webster-Wedderburn in 1877, and died in August 1895, and in 1896, in order to pay for Mrs. Roy's legacies, the house was sold to Edward Greenhill Amphlett. Mr. Ampheltt died in 1930, and his widow in June 1938, soon after which the West Sussex County Council bought it for 7,750 pounds.
  Maria's mother was buried at Barnes on October 25, 1862, and Maria herself, at the same place, on February 22, 1872. Her will was proved on March 12, 1872, in London.
  The first edition of Fred's book went out of print, and the second edition was printed by W.J. Smith of Brighton in 1878. It was now called "The Geology of Sussex, or The Geology and Fossils of the Tertiary and Cretaceous Formations of Sussex", written by Frederick Dixon and edited and revised by T. Rupert Jones, FRS, FGS. It was really a new book, with even less of Fred in there than in the original.
  Sporadically, over the decades, Fred has been the subject of articles in the press, as yet someone else re-discovers him. He will be famous one day, up there with Mantell and Owen, where he deserves to be.

Maria Grant                                       1799-1872
Maria was born about 1799, the daughter of Richard and Maria Grant, at St. James, London.
They had no children.

Birth of Parents
Frederick Dixon b: 16 Mar 1799  c: 6 Apr 1799,             Sullington Church, Sussex
son of Rev. Joseph Dixon and Anne Partridge, Storrington, Sussex

Maria Grant b: abt 1799         St. James, London
daughter of Richard and Maria Grant

12 Aug 1825
Dr. Frederick Dixon
Maria Grant
The Times, Saturday, Aug 13, 1825   MARRIAGES
  On Friday, the 12th Inst., at St. Margaret's, Westminster, by the Rev. George Preston, Frederick Dixon, Esq., of Great Ceram Street, Russell-square, son of the late Rev. Joseph Dixon, of Sullington, Sussex, to Miss Maria Grant, daughter of Richard Grant, Esq., of Dean's Yard, Westminster.

Dr. Frederick Dixon Died 27 Sep 1849, Age 50,  Broadwater, Sussex
Buried 6 Oct 1849, Sullington, Sussex

The Times, Tuesday, Oct 2, 1849   DEATHS
  On the 27th Ult., at his residence, Worthing, after a short illness, Frederick Dixon Esq., age 50.

1861 Census RG9-25 8 April 1861 Hammersmith, Middlesex
17 Bridge Avenue
Maria Dixon (Widow)
Maria Grant (Widow)
Plus 2 Servants
Age 62
Age 84
St. James
St. Martin
abt 1799
abt 1776

1871 Census RG10-61 3 April 1871 Hammersmith, London
17 Bridge Avenue
Maria Dixon (Widow)
Plus 1 Servant
Age 71 Fund Holder St. James London abt 1799

Maria (Grant) Dixon Died 17 Feb 1872,  Hammersmith, London
Buried 22 Feb 1872, Barnes cemetery, London

The Times, Wednesday, Feb 21, 1872   DEATHS
  On the 17th Inst., at Hammersmith, Maria Dixon, widow of Frederick Dixon, Esq., F.G.S., of Worthing.

SPECIAL THANKS  to John Stewart, a descendant of Capt. William Dixon, R.A, for the details provided above.