Dixon, Samuel Houston (1855–1941)

By: Keith L. King

Type: Biography

Published: December 1, 1994

Updated: January 26, 2017

Samuel Houston Dixon, editor, author, and fruit grower, son of Shadrach and Judith (Covington) Dixon, was born on a farm in Hays County, Texas, on August 4, 1855. He attended Coronal Institute in San Marcos and received his baccalaureate degree from Baylor University in 1878. He taught school for four years before joining the staff of the Galveston News. In 1880 he married Baylor classmate Jennie Alice Wagner of Robertson County. They had five children. Between 1885 and 1888 Dixon served in a series of state appointments that included committee clerk for the state legislature from 1889 to 1891, journal clerk for the Twentieth Legislature, and chief clerk of the Department of Agriculture.

In 1889 he became the editor of the Southern Mercury, the official paper of the Farmers' Alliance, published in Dallas. During this period Jennie Dixon served as the secretary of the state Woman's Christian Temperance Union and edited the Texas state temperance journal, the White Ribbon. Mrs. Dixon also managed the women's department of the Southern Mercury. The Farmers' Alliance ousted the Dixons from the Mercury when Sam supported Gov. James S. Hogg's opposition to the subtreasury and an elected Railroad Commission. In 1891 the state House of Representatives elected Dixon chief clerk. After the legislative session he served as inspector of state penitentiaries and edited Farmer's World, an anti-subtreasury newspaper organized by the pro-Hogg faction of the Farmers' Alliance to oppose the alliance's drift toward the People's party.

In 1895 Dixon moved to a farm in Montgomery County. After four years he became an immigration agent for the Houston, East and West Texas Railway. Between 1903 and 1913 he held a series of state agricultural offices including horticultural representative to the St. Louis World's Fair, chief of the orchard and nursery inspection division, chief clerk of the agricultural department, and collaborator for the United States Department of Agriculture. In 1915 Dixon served in the state House of Representatives.

In 1906 he moved to Houston to edit Texas Farm and Fireside. In his career as an agricultural journalist he contributed to the development of the peach and citrus industry in Texas. His agricultural publications include Money Crops (1901), Texas Fruits at the World's Fair, 1904 (1905), A.B.C. of Truck Growing (1909), and A.B.C. of Fruit Growing (1914). He was a prolific writer in other fields. In 1876 he published Ten Nights with Big Foot Wallace, which was followed by Robert Warren, the Texas Refugee (1879) and Agnes Dale (1882). In 1885 he produced an anthology of Texas verse, Poets and Poetry of Texas. In 1924 he published two historical works, The Men Who Made Texas Free and Romance and Tragedy of Texas History. In 1932 he and Louis Wiltz Kemp coauthored The Heroes of San Jacinto.

Besides agricultural associations, Dixon belonged to the Houston Press Club, the Southern Benevolent Association, the Texas Progressive Club, the Knights of Pythias, the Loyal Order of Moose, and the Knights and Ladies of Honor. He died on October 23, 1941, and was buried in Houston. He was survived by two daughters and three sons.

S. W. Geiser, Horticulture and Horticulturists in Early Texas (Dallas: University Press, 1945). Houston Post, October 24, 1941. Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County (Chicago: Lewis, 1892; rpt., Dallas: Walsworth, 1976).

  • Agriculture
  • Journalism
  • Politics and Government
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Publications, Journals, and Magazines
  • Scholars, Editors, and Critics
Time Periods:
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
  • Progressive Era
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Keith L. King, “Dixon, Samuel Houston,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/dixon-samuel-houston.

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December 1, 1994
January 26, 2017

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