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Jacob M. Dickinson


Jacob M. Dickinson

Jacob McGavock 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
Personal details
Born (1851-01-30)January 30, 1851
Columbus, Mississippi, U.S.
Died December 13, 1928(1928-12-13) (aged 77)
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Martha Overton
Alma mater University of Nashville
Columbia University
Profession Politician
Military service
Allegiance  United States
 Confederate States of America
Service/branch  Confederate States Army
Rank Private
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.


  • Biography 1
    • Early life 1.1
    • Career 1.2
  • References 2


Early life

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.

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 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.


Political offices
Preceded by
Luke E. Wright
U.S. Secretary of War
Served under: William Howard Taft

March 12, 1909 – May 21, 1911
Succeeded by
Henry L. Stimson
Business positions
Preceded by
Henry U. Mudge
President of Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad
1915 – 1917
Succeeded by
James E. Gorman
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