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Jacob McGavock Dickinson
Jacob M. Dickinson

44th United States Secretary of War
In office
March 12, 1909 – May 21, 1911
President William Howard Taft
Preceded by Luke Edward Wright
Succeeded by Henry L. Stimson

Born January 30, 1851(1851-01-30)
Columbus, Mississippi, U.S.
Died December 13, 1928 (aged 77)
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Martha Overton
Alma mater University of Nashville
Columbia University
Profession Politician
Military service
Service/branch Confederate States Army
Battles/wars American Civil War

Jacob McGavock Dickinson (January 30, 1851 – December 13, 1928) was United States Secretary of War under President William Howard Taft from 1909 to 1911. He was succeeded by Henry L. Stimson.


Dickinson was born in Columbus, Mississippi and enlisted at fourteen as a private in the Confederate Army cavalry. He moved with his family to Nashville, Tennessee, graduated from the University of Nashville in 1871, and received his master’s degree in 1872. He studied law briefly at Columbia Law School and continued his studies abroad in Leipzig and Paris. He was later admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1874, and married Martha Overton in 1876.

File:1808 - 1810 Connecticut Avenue, N.W..JPG

Dickinson's former residence (right) in Washington, D.C.

From 1889 to 1893, Dickinson served as president of the Tennessee Bar Association. He served as Assistant Attorney General of the United States from 1895 to 1897, and afterwards served as attorney for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad from 1897 to 1899. In 1899, he moved to Chicago, Illinois and became general solicitor for the Illinois Central Railroad, a position he held from 1899 to 1901. Dickinson later became general counsel for that railroad, a position he held from 1901 to 1909. He was a counsel for the Alaskan Boundary Tribunal in 1903, and was president of the American Bar Association from 1907–1908. Dickinson helped organize the American Society of International Law, served on its executive council from 1907 to 1910, and was its vice president in 1910.

From March 12, 1909 to May 21, 1911, Dickinson served as United States Secretary of War. During his tenure, he proposed legislation to permit the admission of foreign students to West Point, and recommended an annuity retirement system for civil service employees. He also suggested that Congress consider stopping the pay of soldiers rendered unfit for duty because of venereal disease or alcoholism as a means of combatting those problems.

After his tenure as Secretary of War, Dickinson served as a special assistant attorney general and helped to prosecute U.S. Steel in 1913. He also acted in several important labor cases in 1922. He later was receiver of the Rock Island Lines from 1915 to 1917 and was president of the Izaak Walton League from 1927 until his death in Nashville in 1928.


Template:S-offTemplate:U.S. Secretary boxTemplate:S-bus
Preceded by
Henry U. Mudge
President of Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad
1915 – 1917
Succeeded by
James E. Gorman

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de:Jacob McGavock Dickinson it:Jacob McGavock Dickinson ja:ジェイコブ・マクガヴォック・ディキンソン