If you've followed this site for any length of time you'll hopefully recognize the mustachioed man above......Auxencico Maria Pena Venezuela Hildreth Dickeson!!!! Dickeson (nicknamed Oxie and "Alphabetical Dick") was a 19th century New Jersey State Assemblyman who hailed from Salem County, and it is he who holds the honored title of "the strangest name" out of the great many politicians I've collected and profiled over the years. Mr. Dickeson's site profile is the most viewed article out of the 170 or so that I've done thus far, with over 180+ views to its credit. You might also remember reading the two updates I wrote for "Oxie" and his article centering on the help of two wonderful blog readers (Frank and Hildy) who volunteered their time to correspond with me and send me the portrait of Oxie above!
While many new pieces of information on Oxie came to light, many others remained a mystery, especially in regards to his burial site. Dickeson died at the young age of 36 in 1879 but no available source gave notice as to where his final resting place might be....that is until now!
Earlier this week I developed some correspondence with Salem County Librarian Beverly Bradway, who related to me that Oxie is buried in the Society of Friends Burial Ground in Salem City, New Jersey. This cemetery (which contains graves that date back to the 1690s) is also home to the famed Salem Oak tree, shown in the picture below. I owe a great debt to Beverly for all of her help, and without her aid I might never have known where Dickeson was interred!
In addition to the above information, I also received a death notice for Oxie, the closest thing to an obituary that could be found. Beverly found this rare article in a June 20, 1879 edition of the Salem Sunbeam, which states that Auxencico M.P.V.H. Dickeson died "at the residence of his father, Dr. Thos. P. Dickeson, in Hancock's Bridge on the 15th inst." This newspaper is located in the archives of the Salem County Historical Society and is in all likelihood the only "obituary" for Oxie that you'll ever see. While the mysteries of his burial site location and place of death have been solved, only one question remains......what illness claimed A.M.P.V.H. Dickeson's life at the young age of 36?
From the Salem Sunbeam, June 20, 1879.
The above mentioned question centering on Oxie's illness/death may never be sufficiently explained, but I can rest easy knowing that over the course of a year a plethora of research was done in regards to the life of this infinitely obscure man, and with the help of Frank, "Hildy" and now Beverly Bradway, more people can now learn of the life and exploits of this wonderfully named (and sadly obscure) New Jersey resident! And in case you may want to read more, here is a link to the full article on Oxie, originally published (with various updates included) in July of last year. http://politicalstrangenames.blogspot.com/2011/07/auxencico-maria-pena-venezuela-hildreth.html