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Below is a family biography included in The History of McLean County, Illinois published by Wm. LeBaron, Jr. Co. in 1879.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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NORVAL DIXON, farmer; P. O. Holder; born in Clinton Co., Ohio, May 3, 1820; he, was raised to farm labor, and worked upon the home farm until 22 years of age, when he engaged in boating, making trips from Ripley, Ohio, to New Orleans, taking down pork, flour, meal, potatoes, etc., the above way at that time being the only route to the sea coast, stopping at different points from Memphis down the river and disposing of the cargo to merchants and planters upon the way, the trip consuming from sixty to ninety days; after following the above business some three years, in connection with farming, he engaged in the merchandise trade at Ripley, some four years, after which he was Constable and collecting agent until 1853, and the following spring came to Illinois, arriving in Bloomington in April, 1854; he then followed clerking for Ward & Gallager eighteen months, when, on account of ill health, he withdrew, and, in 1856, was appointed Deputy Sheriff under Sheriff Moore, and also engaged in the general collecting business, and, in 1862, was elected Sheriff of McLean Co. In 1864, he was appointed Rental Agent in the Treasury Department, with headquarters at Memphis, where he remained until the close of the war. In 1863, he associated with L. Burr in the real estate, general collecting and abstract business, under the firm name of Dixon & Burr, continuing the same until the fall of 1865. In the winter of 1867, he obtained from Springfield the charter for the Bloomington & Normal Horse Railroad; was elected President, and contracted to build the same. In the spring of 1870, he superintended the grading and building of the L., B. & M. Railroad from Bloomington to the State line, and the following year superintended the laying of the track of the same line, building the roundhouse at Bloomington, the different depots, water-tanks, etc. In April, 1874, he purchased his present place, upon which he then located, and where he has since lived; he owns 160 acres upon his home farm, with good farm buildings; he also owns land in different places in McLean Co., Iowa and Kansas. He was Vice President of the People’s Bank from its organization until his removal upon his farm. He was married in 1849, to Mary Knickerbocker; she was born in Ohio, and died in 1859, leaving two children — Emma L., now Mrs. John K. Wood, of Bloomington, and Frank, living at home. His marriage with Catherine Kline was celebrated in 1861; they have one child by this union — Charles, living at home.

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This family biography is one of 1257 biographies included in The History of McLean County, Illinois published by Wm. LeBaron, Jr. Co. in 1879.  View the complete description here: The History of McLean County, Illinois

View additional McLean County, Illinois family biographies here: McLean County, Illinois Biographies

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