Memphis Moments
5:51 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

The Murder Of Colonel Thomas Dickins

The Grave Marker for Col. Thomas Dickins, Located Near the Statue at Wade Bolton's Grave
The Grave Marker for Col. Thomas Dickins, Located Near the Statue at Wade Bolton's Grave

In August of 1870, the brutal murder of Colonel Thomas Dickins was reported in the Memphis Avalanche. According to the article, Col. Dickins, returning to his farm near Raleigh, "was way-laid by some fiend, and his life destroyed, in daylight, on a public road."

The assassin had ambushed the victim and fired both barrels of a shotgun into Col. Dickins' body from close range. 

Col. Dickins had recently been acquitted of the murder or Wade Bolton, his former partner in the slave trade, and everyone assumed that the two crimes were related. A bitter feud between the men started over money Bolton had taken from their company to pay for his defense in yet another murder trial.

Relatives and associates took sides, and, according to the newspaper, there followed a "terrible catalogue of crimes linked to the Bolton and Dickins families."

The community had been terrorized by the feud and thought it might be over wen Dickins killed Bolton the year before. but the dispute took one last victim. 

The article ended on this hopeful note: "With the murder of Col. Dickins, it ought to surely end." 

To learn more about our region's history, visit the Pink Palace Family of Museums, or or their Facebook page, or at http://memphismuseums.org