DICUS, George W., the present popular Postmaster at Rochelle, ILL., is one of the native born sons of Illinois who rendered courageous and capable service during the recent war with Spain. The family which he represents is of German origin, coming to America and settling in Ohio during the year 1810. On another side he traces his lineage directly to Captain Simpson, who led a company of Virginia soldiers during the Revolutionary war, later removed to Ohio and lived to a great age, dying at Dayton, the State, during 1842. As early as 1620 members of the Simpson family came from England to Virginia and identified themselves with the infant colony at Jamestown. From that period to the present era, they have given to our nation patriotic citizens in every generation.
The original immigrants of the Dicus family settled in Ohio and there died of cholera, in 1830, leaving their son, George W., Sr., an orphan of four years, he having been born in Ohio in 1826. George Goodrich took the orphan child into his home and gave him such advantages as his own limited means rendered possible. The Goodrich family came to Illinois and settled there, but a few years later George W. Dicus Sr., returned to Ohio and apprenticed himself to the trade of a blacksmith. At the age of twenty-one years he started the first shop at Winona, ILL. His wife, who bored the madien name of Hannah Lynch, was born in Ohio in 1829 and was first married to John R. Russell, a contractor who died in Texas of the yellow fever during 1853. At the opening of the Civil War Mr. Dicus enlisted as a blacksmith (with the rank of Sergeant) in the One Hundred and Fourth Illinois Infantry. After considerable experience at the front he was captured by John Morgan, and all traces of his whereabouts was lost to his friends and loved ones. In order to prosecute the search his wife became nurse and spent one year in hospitals in Nashville, Tenn. Eventually he was released and his return relieved the anxiety of relatives concerning his fate. After the war ended George Dicus Sr., became a blacksmith at Wenona, ILL., but later removed to Streator, there he died August 20, 1891.
George W. Dicus, his son and namesake, was born in Marshall County, ILL., December 18, 1862, and at the age of eleven years began to learn the printer's trade in the office of the "Wenona Index", later working as a journeyman printer. In 1888 he bought the "Free Press", at Milledgeville, Carroll County, ILL., and three years later he acquired the "Rochelle Register", which he published for a long period, selling the paper and plant May 13, 1907. Meanwhile he became prominent in editorial affairs and for three years served as First Vice President of the Illinois Press Association, and five times was chosen a delegate to the National Editorial Association. His appointment to his present office of Postmaster, May 11, 1898, came in recognition of his faithful service in the Republican party, and he has filled the position with efficiency. Fraternally a Mason, he has associations with the Blue Lodge Chapter and Conmmandery, and is also identified with the Nobies of the Mystic Shrine. His marriage, June 22, 1884, united him with Miss Mary Louise Johnson, born in Lancaster County, Penn., a daughter of George W. Johnson, who had unique record of serving in the Seminole, Mexican, and Civil Wars. The family has been prominent in military affairs, and a cousin, General Albert Sidney Johnson, was one of the most distinguished leaders of the Confederacy until he fell while leading his army at the Battle of Shiloh, Mr. and Mrs. Dicus have two adopted children, Mary and Elizabeth.
A review of the military history of Mr. Dicus shows that June 7, 1877, ne became a member of Company C, Tenth Battalion of Illinois National Guard, under Colonel Parsons. In 1892 he was commissioned Second Sergeant in Company M, Third Illinois National Guard from which in November, 1895, he was promoted to be First Lieutenant. Meanwhile he helped to quell the riots at Lemont and Chicago. After the outbreak of the war with Spain he volunteered in the service, and May 7, 1898, was mustered in as First Lieutenant, being sent with his Regiment to Chickamauga Park. On the 23rd of July his regiment was selected to accompany General Brooke to Puerto Rico and landed at Aroyo August 1st, under the guns of war vessels, Massachusetts, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Gloucester, capturing the place and holding it for three days. On the 5th of August the regiment captured Gnayama without loss, and on the 8th helped drive the enemy from the neighboring mountains. When ready for battle on the 13th, news came of the declaration of peace between the United States and Spain, and Lieutenant Dicus planted a flag of truce opposite the Spanish works. On the 11th of May, President McKinley had commissioned him an ordinance officer, and he handled the ordinance for the Puerto Rican Campaign. During November he returned to New York with his regiment on the Roumania, and January 17, 1899, was mustered out of the service. While at Springfield preparing to go to the front in 1898, he had been appointed Postmaster at Rochelle and was sworn into office at Chickamuga Park, his wife acting as Postmaster until his return, since which time he has devoted his energies to the careful management of the office and to the painstaking and prompt discharge of its duties. Under the management of Mr. Dicus the office at Rochelle has forged to the front. At the time of his taking the office he emplyed one clerk only, and at present has increased his force to thirteen men, three of whom are city carriers, a branch of the service just inaugurated June 1, 1908.
Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Ogle County, Volume 2 by Munsell Publishing, Chicago, IL, 1909
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