By J. K. Gurner
Hugh Dickson was the son and the only survivor of old Doctor Dickson. His mother was a McConico of the family prominent in the early history of the Mississippi Central Railroad and Water Valley.
Young and high spirited, Dickson got a job with the Illinois Central Railroad, as did many young men did in 1890s Water Valley. He was firing and eagerly looking forward to moving to the right side of the cab as an engineer in a few years.
It was not to be, however. For one night at Durant, while in the act of handing a lantern to a brakeman, young Dickson fell from the gangway of his engine in such a way that his hands were cut off by the moving train. He was taken to the drug store where a doctor named Howard treated his wounds.
This was a period of a terrible sense of loss and depression for Dickson. But, when things looked the blackest, a miracle happened. Jim Cahill and other friends came up with a plan that was to open up a completely new career for the hard working young man.
They put together what little money each could spare and sent Dickson to the University of Mississippi to study law. Dixon learned to use what was left of his arms and was able to hold a pen and write a fine hand.
One success followed another and by beginning of the new century Hugh Dickson went to California and was first a lawyer and then District Attorney of San Bernardino County.
When Jim Cahill became ill with tuberculosis and was forced to move with his family to California, Hugh Dickson was already in position to help. Cahill died, but the burden of his illness and the problems that his wife, Madge, and the four little Cahills faced were lessened to a great degree by their friend from home, Hugh Dickson.