Cdr RN John DICKINSON 1723 - 1783
Of the office of Ordinance and
one of the Elder Brethren of the Trinity House.
Son of Robert DICKINSON (dates not known) and (?) Sarah ASHE
(1) Alice Windenham QUIN 1725 - 1761
(2) Suzanna BERNARD (née LARDENT) d. 1763
John and Alice had four children
1) John DICKINSON b. 1746
2) Maria DICKINSON b. d.1748
3) William DICKINSON 1751 - 1828
Neglected Childhood, Lisbon Packet and Marriage
John DICKINSON was left as a child in the care of relatives who neglected him. He ran away to sea from school in Northumberland, and by 1742 was an officer on the Lisbon packet.
He fell in love with an Irish lady, Alice QUIN, who was governess to Lord Townshend's children at the Embassy in Lisbon and married her in 1745. She persuaded him to collect evidence of his identity, in order to lay claim to an estate in the North to which he believed himself entitled.
On 1st November 1755, Alice Dickinson was aboard the Lisbon Packet, which her husband then commanded. That night the great earthquake
overwhelmed the city of Lisbon and all John Dickinson's proofs of identity and hopes of wealth perished with their house. A broken silver teaspoon was all that remained of its treasures.
His career, however, prospered by his wife's influence and his own exertions. Through the patronage of Lord Townshend, her former employer, he obtained a naval commission, and fought the French on board the HMS Brunswick. Lord Townshend then became Master of the Ordnance and gave John Dickinson an appointment in his office as Superintendent of Transports. There he proved his capacity and was elected an Elder Brother of Trinity House.
Second Wife and the Huguenots
John’s second wife was a widow, a Mrs. BERNARD. Both by birth - her maiden name was LARDENT - and her first marriage, she belonged to that curious and interesting community of Huguenot refugees that had its centre in Spitalfields. Their forebears had come over from France in the years following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685; they had become naturalized in England, yet their descendants still formed a foreign community. It was a society with the intelligence that accompanies the easy use of two languages, with the piety of a persecuted race, and with the frugal wealth of Frenchmen who are, or have been, dependent upon their own exertions for a living.
One of his wife’s kinsfolk, John BERNARD, had married a Huguenot lady named Jane de BRISSAC. Her younger sister, Frances
, was still unmarried, and it was she whom John’s son, Thomas DICKINSON
, took to wife.
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