Hugh Dickson was the son and only survivor of old Doctor Dickson. His mother, according to Gurner, was a McConnico of the family prominent in the early history of the Mississippi Central Railroad and Water Valley.
"He got himself a job with the I.C. as most young men in Water Valley did in the 1890's. He was firing and looking forward to moving to the right side of the cab in a couple years.
One night in Durant while handing a lantern to a brakeman, Dickson fell from the gangway of the engine and both his hands were cut off."
Since medical facilities were unavailable, Dickson was taken to a drug store where a Dr. Howard treated his wounds.
Gurner says this must have been a terrible period of depression for Dickson. "When things looked blackest a miracle happened. Jim Cahill (a fellow railroad worker) and other friends came up with a plan to open up a completely new career. They would put together what little money each could spare and send Hugh to the University of Mississippi to study law."
Dickson became a lawyer and even learned to write with his stubbed arms. One success followed another and by the teen years he was a judge in California.
When Jim Cahill became ill with TB and was forced to move with his family to California, Hugh Dickson was in a position to help. "Cahill died, but the burden of his illness and the problems that Miss Madge and the four little Cahills faced were lessened by their friend from home, Judge Dickson."
Copyright © 1998 Jack Gurner