Dixon Family of Sapelo Island, McIntosh County, Georgia

Dixon Family of Sapelo Island
by Amy Lyn Hedrick

The Dixon family of Sapelo Island can be traced back to Perault "Paro" Dixon and his wife Priscilla Sams who were the parents of at least twelve children. So far, it is unknown by me who Paro's parents were or if he had any siblings, however, it appears that some researchers are trying to attach a Dixon family of Washington County, Georgia to Paro's family. As far as public records show, there is no connection, which doesn't prove anything and I've tried to ask family descended of the Washington County family how they made the connection, they just ignored my question. I understand that reading emails can be easily misunderstood, that you may think someone is angry when they are not, but I asked an honest question, "what is your documentation that proves the connection" because I honestly want to know. I'm not disputing their research, I would like to know the source so I can correct my research; but I got shut down and ignored.

I am completely lost with this family! Let's start with how I got confused in the first place. I have found obituaries for several members of the Dixon family of Sapelo Island who list surviving siblings and each obit lists a few of these siblings but not all and the same siblings should still be alive in some of these obits. For example, someone who died in 2015 lists surviving siblings therefore, a sibling that died in 2004, should list the same siblings; but they don't! To top this off, I find records that list the parents, and they don't match!

This all started with a request to do research for a Lee Dixon of Washington County, Georgia. Apparently, his descendants are trying to connect him to Sapelo Island and I can't find any kind of connection from this man to Sapelo. I have recently been made aware of a property record that my good friend was mentioned on as an heir, for Leslie "Lee" Dixon, which seems to be the reason for finding the connection to Sapelo Island. This made me want to sort out Leslie's family, but, this family member doesn't really know who his people were so she can't help with the genealogy. I have a feeling that the Washington County family is trying to connect their Lee Dixon to Leslie Dixon, and that seems to fit; however, neither man has a connection to Sapelo Island as far as records show and there were two Lee Dixons living at the same time who were the same age.

But, let's go back to these obituaries. The first one is for a Phillip Franklin Dixon, Jr. and in his obituary, his surviving siblings are listed and they match many of those mentioned in the obituary for a Richard Lavon Hillery and for a Herbert Jerome Dixon. However, Phillip's social security claim tells us his parents were Phillip Sr. and Celia Gardner and Jerome's obituary says his parents were Harold Dixon and Ella Hillery and that he was raised by his maternal grandparents and that he had a brother named Harold Dixon, but, Harold's social security claim application says his father was, guess who? Phillip Dixon. His mother, however, was not Celia, his mother was Lizzie Green; it seems as if Phillip had several children between at least three different women so far, Celia Gardner, Lizzie Green, and Flora Bailey.

I can only assume that Phillip Dixon, Sr. and Harold Dixon may have been brothers and their children were raised all together as a blended family and instead of calling each other "cousins" they called each other "siblings". The problem, however, is that neither Phillip Dixon, Sr. nor Harold Dixon, Sr. can be found in census records for Glynn, McIntosh, or Washington Counties which means one of two things. One, they changed their surname to Dixon, or, they were from somewhere other than McIntosh County. Phillip Sr. is in the census for 1930 and 1940 McIntosh County, showing him married to Celia and their son Phillip Jr. is listed in the 1940 census, but, I can't find Phillip Sr. as a child in his parents' home or with any other family members. Phillip Dixon Sr.'s death certificate lists his parents as Samuel Dixon and Lucy Roberts; I have no idea who Samuel Dixon was and I'm not sure, but I think, Lucy was the daughter of, confusingly enough, Samuel Roberts and Lucy Bannon.

Now, let's go back to Lee Dixon of Washington County. Apparently, there were two men of the same name and approximate age living in Washington and surrounding counties, however, one man was then married to his second wife, Clara Bell (maiden name unknown), the other Lee had two different wives too, and was listed with his second wife, Leona Gilmore, starting in the 1910 census. They were living in Washington County, Georgia without any children; however, Lee had children from a previous marriage and  these children were living with their mother in 1910.

During this same census year, Lee Dixon born in 1879 was living with his wife Nancy Turpin, whom he had been married to for 12 years and she was the mother of 9 children with 6 living and all six were in the home: Jimmie age 10, Robert age 9, Thomas age 6, Lula M. age 4, Julia age 2, and an unnamed child of either four or nine months of age.

Researchers on Ancestry.com have combined these two men together and, it can be possible that he is the same man and he is listed in the 1900 and 1910 census in two different homes with two different families; possible, yes, but not likely. Generally, when a person led a double life, they led them in separate towns, I doubt Lee Dixon had, what amounts to, three different families all living together at the same time. He would've had to have had a family with Jennie Edwards, Leona Gilmore, Nancy Turpin, and Clara Bell (whose maiden name is unknown at this time).

But, here's the kicker, I searched through the computer and the deed books in McIntosh County and there is no property record for Leslie Dixon in McIntosh County. There's no property record for Lee Dixon in McIntosh County and there's no property record listing my friend or any of her siblings, there's no property record for Paro Dixon; there is only records for his wife and their children. So, where is this interest in property records concerning the Dixon family of Sapelo Island coming from?

I had two different persons contact me regarding Lee Dixon of Washington County, Georgia asking to find his parents. Census records show him as the son of an Augustus Dixon, but, that's only one of the Lee Dixons and there's no telling which one. The death certificate for Lee Dixon who died on 5 August 1929 in Jefferson County, lists his father as Sam Dixon, no mother. Ironically enough, Perault Dixon of Sapelo Island had a son named Samuel, therefore, it could be possible that Lee Dixon of Washington County was descended of the Sapelo Island Dixon family. [link for death certificate source: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3VY-D6LQ-SG?i=483&cc=1385727]

But, with the records on hand, it's NOT the Lee Dixon who was the father of Leslie Dixon, it was the other man who was married to Clara Bell. Her name is another issue, she was listed as Clara Bell Dixon on Lee's death certificate so I don't know if the Bell is a middle name or a maiden name.

When I started asking questions so I could sort out things, I just got shut down. The person asking for help said they solved the problem and when I asked how, it was as if I offended them. I wasn't disputing the research, I wanted to know how they figured things out so I could sort things out correctly because the information they responded with did not make any kind of sense.

So, here are the emails minus the contact information; the first few emails I didn't copy because they were just empty emails with attachments, or they had a few lines of text with the attachments but the text didn't state a question. I had no clue what the person needed to know. Then, one month later, someone else contacted me with an actual request.

You will notice that the person requesting information seemed to think Perault and Paro Dixon were two different men, but they are not; his name is spelled Perault, but pronounced Paro, so his name was spelled that way (or Parro) in some census records. Odder still was a statement that said there were over 1500 Dixons in Georgia and they were all related. There's not that many families of the same surname that have 1500 persons living at the same time, meaning, for example, John Doe has parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc., no one family would have 1500 persons living at the same time unless each couple had over ten children, and even then, you would need 150 people of the same surname living in order to do that. If you consider everyone descended from Paro, then, yes, you might have 1500 persons living, but, they wouldn't all have the Dixon surname.

The requestor also says that her ancestor, Lee Dixon, was raised in the home of a Gilbert, Hillery, or a Bell, which are all families of Sapelo Island. This is entirely plausible as families raised the children of other families during this time period and those children took on the adoptive family's surname for a while, eventually reverting back to their birth name in adulthood. If this is the case, then this happened in between census years because Lee is always listed in Washington County and all of the persons in McIntosh County with the first name of Lee, all retained the surname they were found under as a child. For example, Lee Underwood as a child, remained Lee Underwood until he died; he never changed his surname. Lee Dixon would've had to change his first and last name because he was not listed with either name in McIntosh County at any point in his life.

On the first email sent, two census records were attached. One was the 1930 Washington County census for Lee Dixon who was married to Clara Bell; who, as you've read above, were not the parents of Leslie Dixon and, if this is the Lee Dixon this person wants to know more about, it is entirely possible he could be from Sapelo, but, I don't think he is due to the geographic patterns of the Sapelo Island people. I believe he was born in raised either in Jefferson or Washington County; that doesn't mean he's not related to the Sapelo people, but he is certainly not Leslie's father.

The Sapelo people as a whole, stayed on the island, only a few families branched out to St. Simons Island or the mainland of Glynn and McIntosh Counties. Then, come the 1900's and later, the families started to migrate further north to places like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York. During the Civil War, many stayed on the island but most were evacuated or ran away across the Altamaha River into northwest Glynn County to the Pennick area and into Wayne County. It's entirely possible that Paro was separated from his siblings during this time and instead of coming back to Sapelo his siblings stayed away. Samuel Dixon seems to be the key and I don't know if he was Paro's son or a brother. Regardless, as the records show at this moment, Sam Dixon was not the father of Lee Dixon who was the father of Leslie; he was the father of the other Lee Dixon.


Sent: Wednesday, March 7, 2018 3:18 PM
To: Amy Lyn Hedrick
Subject: LEE DIXON

Hey my name is [deleted] , I'm looking for Census around 1880 ~ 1900 for Young Lee Dixon , from Sapelo Island , I'm his great grand daughter from Leona Gilmore Dixon From Sandersville Ga ... I came across one night the young lee Dixon Census for that time frame .. my grand daddy was raised under either a Gilbert , Hillery , or bell in the same house hold & we don't know if Perault or Augustus Dixon from sapelo can you please please pretty please connect the dots for me or exchange some information to me please my family need this information about my great grand pa lee Dixon for a case

[within the message body were two screen shots of the 1920 Washington County census showing Lee Dixon with wife Clara and the 1870 McIntosh County census for Perault "Paro" Dixon.]



From: Amy Hedrick
Sent: Thursday, March 8, 2018 3:18 AM
To: [deleted]
Subject: RE: LEE DIXON

Do you know someone named [deleted]? He sent me an email with one of these census images and really, no other information. I tried asking him for further information and what he was trying to accomplish, but, he never answered me in return.

I'm a bit lost, you are showing me census records for a Lee Dixon in Washington County, Georgia but you say he's from Sapelo?

This Lee Dixon from Washington County can still be found in 1880 in Washington County with his family.



For some reason, this family is listed twice in the 1880 census. Also, something that isn't proven true, but I haven't proven it wrong yet either, the listing of the children in the 1880 household goes down to a 9-year-old then next is an 11-year-old, then Lee at 7 yrs., and a 2-year-old.

Usually, when the ages "start over", it suggests a different family, like, maybe these are grandchildren to Augustus, or, children he took in from another family.

You have to search for more than just Dixon, try Dixson, Dickson, etc., but, this man living in Washington County is from there from what I see.

Paro Dixon is from Sapelo Island, but, Augustus, I have no proof he even lived on Sapelo Island, let alone in McIntosh County. The only Dixon family on Sapelo was Paro's family. Here is what I have for Paro Dixon:


I would suggest getting a copy of Lee's death certificate to see if the informant entered his parents' names. It appears that a Lee Dixon, aged 77 years (born 1871) died in Washington County, Georgia on 23 October 1948.

Unfortunately, GA death records are online only up to 1940 for free, so you will have to purchase a copy from either the county health department or courthouse (whichever place holds vital records in that county; it varies) or through the state health department. It costs the same no matter what.

It's been my experience, with Sapelo Island families, that they didn't leave this area until about 1900 or later, searching for work. The fact that your Lee Dixon is in Washington County his entire lifetime, suggests to me that this is where he was from and that he was the son of Augustus as the 1880 census suggests. Augustus was in Burke County, Georgia in 1867 according to a voter's registration book, whereas Paro was still on Sapelo. Then by 1870 he was listed in Washington County.

The children are vastly different from 1870 to 1880, suggesting, maybe, very few of them were biological children; it's possible, Augustus just took in kids whose parents either died or were sold away during slavery. We had a man in Glynn County that did this after the Civil War too.

You won't find any definitive records proving Lee's parentage due to the time period in which he was born; birth records just weren't kept for anyone in Georgia during this time, white or black. Some counties do have records prior to the 1919 mandate, but not many; and most especially, not birth records.

The only other place to find a record of birth for this time period would be a church.

If you need this for a court case, you will need legal documentation, and a census record is not a legal document to prove parentage; nor is someone's say-so; therefore, I would suggest getting the death certificate and then any other documents that need a birth date, like a military record for example. Also, try property and estate records for Augustus Dixon.

From the records at hand, I see no connection between Lee Dixon of Washington County to Perault Dixon of McIntosh County.

Get Lee's death certificate, start from there.



From: [deleted]
Sent: Thursday, March 8, 2018 7:03 AM
To: Amy Hedrick
Subject: Re: LEE DIXON

Yes I know [deleted] that's my dads first cousin , my grand daddy lee Dixon stayed in Washington county but he was wasn't born there , Augustus dad Thomas is from sapelo, Perault Dixon is a relative indefinitely, paro Dixon is a different person who are also relatives in the family there are 1500 Dixon in the state of Georgia and we are all kin ... thanks for your input though



From: Amy Hedrick
Sent: Thursday, March 8, 2018 8:50 AM
To: [deleted]
Subject: RE: LEE DIXON

Paro and Perault are the same person.

What proof do you have that Augustus and Paro are related?

I'm not disputing this, just want to know the connection and your source since this family doesn't seem to have a connection after slavery with the McIntosh County family.

Also, as I mentioned about Augustus, with the way the children are listed in the 1880 census, it would suggest that Lee Dixon and two other children might not be Augustus' children.

Again, I'm not disputing the connection, it's just that the records on hand don't prove a connection, therefore, if proof is needed for a legal case, there isn't any proof to connect Lee with Sapelo Island.

Have you gotten a copy of Lee's death certificate?



From: [deleted]
Sent: Thursday, March 8, 2018 8:58 AM
To: Amy Hedrick
Subject: Re: LEE DIXON

Paro & Perault are buried on sapelo two different people Perault is older paro is siller Dixon's Dad But thank you very much for your time we gave the information that we have already to the lawyers and the linked it back to lee Dixon we are related to the Dixon on sapelo thank you very kindly


This last message I don't really understand, Paro and Perault are two different people, which they aren't, they are saying Perault is older and Paro is Siller Dixon's dad; but, that's not true either. Perault "Paro" Dixon was married to Pricilla "siller" Sams.

I really wish they would've shared the proof they found because I couldn't find it and would honestly like to know. It appears, as always happens with the written word, that maybe they took my queries out of context, as if I was accusing and trying to push my will upon them and tell them they were wrong, which is not the case, I would love to know the truth and sometimes that can only be found within the family and when they don't share, the secrets die.

Right now, I'm trying to sort out the Dixon family of McIntosh County, trying to sort out the survivors listed in all of these obituaries. So, let's start with a listing of those obituaries found and how they listed the survivors.




1900 Washington County 1910 Washington County 1920 Washington County 1930 Washington County 1940 Washington County
Lee Dixon (Dec 1871)
Jennie (Jan 1873) wife
Leola (Apr 1890)
Sanford (Jan 1894)
Lizzie (Apr 1892)
Lee Dixon (1874)
Leona Gilmore (1891) wife

Jennie and the 3 children from 1900 are living elsewhere under surname Scott.

Lee Dixson (1873)
Leona Gilmore (1892)
John M. (1911)
Mary L. (1913)
Susy (1915)
Willie L. (1916)
Mamie B. (1919)
Lee Dixon (1876)
Lenore (1891) wife
Johnnie M. (1911)
Mary L. (1912)
Susie (1914)
Mamie D. (1918)
Willie L. (1916)
Edgar (1921)
Lessie (1922)
Roger (1925)
Bessie (1926)
Lee Dixon (1875)
Leona (1895) wife
Jonnie (1912)
Susie (1919)
Willie Lee (1920)
Edgar (1921)
Leslie (1925)
Bessie (1927)
Roger (1929)
Mae (1931)
Thelma (1932)
Leona (1936)
Lee Dixon (Sep 1874)
Nancy Turpin (Dec 1879) wife
James L. (Oct 1899)
Rachel Turpin (May 1841) mother-in-law
John L. Turpin (Jan 1893) nephew

This family was living in neighboring Johnson County

Lee Dixon (1879)
Nancy Turpin (1880) wife
Jimmie (1900)
Robert (1901)
Thomas (1904)
Lula M. (1906)
Julia (1908)
Not Named (1909)
Lee Dixon (1870)
Clara Bell (1893) wife
Robert (1903)
Thomas (1906)
Lula (1908)
Zeal (1909)
Willie (1911)
Dora (1913)
Lizzy (1914)
Cavilla Gilmore (1908) stepdaughter

Lee Dixon died 5 Aug 1929 in Jefferson County death certificate says his wife was Carrie Bell and he was born about 1874 in Washington County, father was Sam Dixon mother unknown, buried in Moxley Cemetery the next day.

found Thomas and Zeal in Jefferson County.

This clearly shows two different Lee Dixon families, which is not an issue as concerns Leslie Dixon; however, researchers have merged these two Lee Dixon's into one family, which is an issue.


Dixon / Hillery Obits of Sapelo Island

Phillip Franklin Dixon 27 Jul 2003
s/o Phillip Franklin Dixon, Sr. & Celia Gardner
Richard Lavon Hillery 16 Feb 2004
s/o Phillip Franklin Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery
Myra A. (Hillery) Alford 04 Dec 2007
d/o Phillip Franklin Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery
Herbert Jerome Dixon 28 Jan 2010
s/o Harold Dixon & Ella Hillery raised by Ella's parents
ALFORD, Myra (d/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
DIXON, Herman E.(s/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
DIXON, Howard E.C. (s/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
DIXON, Joseph L. (s/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
DIXON Michelle (d/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
DIXON, Richard L. (Hillery?)  (s/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
DIXON, Ronald (s/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
DIXON Samuel E. (s/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
GRANT, Emma Lee (d/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
RACKLEY, Karen (d/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
STEVENS, Inez (d/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)


ALFORD, Myra (d/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
DIXON, Herman E. (s/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
DIXON, Howard E.C. (s/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
DIXON, Joseph (s//o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
DIXON, Michelle R. (d/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
DIXON, Ronald (s/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
DIXON, Samuel (s/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
GRANT, Emma L. (d/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
RACKLEY, Karen L. (d/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
STEPHENS-PALMER, Inez (d/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
DIXON, Herman E. (s/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
DIXON, Howard E.C. (s/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
DIXON, Joseph L. (s/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
DIXON, Ronald R. (s/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
DIXON, Samuel E. (s/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
GRANT, Emma L. (d/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
RACKLEY, Karen L. (d/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
STEPHENS, Inez (d/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
WALKER, Michelle D. (d/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)

mother listed as Sadie B. Walker on cemetery info

DIXON, Allen (first time listed)
DIXON, Harold (s/o Phillip Dixon & Lizzie Green) (not listed previously)
DIXON, Melvin (not listed previously)
DIXON, Ronald (s/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
DIXON, Terry (not listed previously)
FIELDS, Shelia (not listed previously)
RACKLEY, Karen (d/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)
SANDERS, Laura (not listed previously)
WALTHOUR, Robert (not listed previously)
WILLIAMS, Lelia (not listed previously)

Ella (Hillery) Dixon Sneed/Snead 26 Sep 2012
d/o Herman Hillery & Anna L. Johnson

      DIXON, Harold F. (s/o Phillip Dixon & Lizzie Green)
RACKLEY, Karen (d/o P.F Dixon, Sr. & Sadie B. Hillery)

Ella was presumably the mother of all of these children; her obit only lists two and, ironically, Harold's social security says his parents were Phillip Dixon and Lizzie Green and family trees say that Karen was also her niece, however, she was biologically a niece, whereas Harold was a nephew through marriage.

So, why wasn't Harold listed as a surviving sibling to Phillip in the first column and why wasn't he listed in Richard Hillery's column?



Who is Allen Dixon? He is not listed in any of the previous obits and appears in 2010 in Herbert Jerome's obit and Herbert is not listed in any of the others' obits, and two persons are listed in Herbert's obituary that were listed in the others, they being Ronald Dixon and Karen Rackley.

Harold Dixon was listed as a sibling of Herbert and a son of Ella yet social security said his parents were Phillip Dixon and Lizzie Green.







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