Friday, February 25, 2011

The Life of "Steel Arm" Dickey

"Steel Arm" Dickey's name was Claude. Or Claud.  Or Walter.  Many of the documents I've seen call him Claude.  In searching on I was able to find a Claud Dickey in the 1900 Census.  He's listed as the grandson of Ben and Frona Dickey.  They were living in Fannin County, Georgia.  That is on the northern Georgia border.  Ben and Frona had only been married for nine years.  Claud is three years old at the time the census was taken, so let's call his birth year 1897.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Morganton, Fannin, Georgia; Roll: T623_195; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 23. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, 
USA: Operations Inc, 2004.

The 1910 Census finds the Dickey family no longer in Georgia.  I found them in McMinn County, Tennessee, two counties removed from Fannin County.  Claud is now 13.  And it appears that his grandmother's name is really Franie.  Claud hasn't been to school lately.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Civil District 3, McMinnTennessee; Roll: T624_1510; Page: 30A
Enumeration District: 0111; Image: 1143; FHL Number: 1375523. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006.

In 1918 Claude Dickey registered for the Armed Forces Draft.  The United States was at war with Germany.  We find a birth date and location.  Blue Ridge, Georgia, is in Fannin County.  Claude is working in the aluminium business as a day laborer.  The business was probably the Aluminum Company of America, based in Blount County, Tennessee, which is two counties away from McMinn County.

Registration Location: Blount County, Tennessee; Roll: 1852921; Draft Board: 0 World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.

I cannot find Claude in the 1920 Census.  Ben and Franie are still in McMinn County. lists a "Fland" Dickey, their grandson.  I think that this is a census taker's transcription error and "Fland" becomes "Claud".  Fland/Claud is a laborer in a Rail Road Shop.  Claud's age fluctuated since he registered for military service.  A year and a half later he's lost a year.  He's now 21.  Claude will be pitching for the Knoxville Giants a few months after this census was taken.

Year: 1920;Census Place: Civil District 3, McMinnTennessee;
Roll: T625_1753; Page: 24B; Enumeration District: 57; Image: 307. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.

I have not traveled to McMinn and Fannin Counties to look for more information on Claude and the Dickey family.  Hopefully there will be some records that will provide a more complete look at the man who would soon loose his life in a tragic manner.

1 comment:

  1. Nice researching and writing. I couldn't wait to see what happened to Dickey so checked which cited Riley's Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Leagues (which I was going to suggest to you as a possible source of Dickey's birthdate. Knox County public library has a copy). Looking forward to reading more.