Moss Kent Dickinson

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Moss Kent Dickinson
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Russell
In office
Preceded by John O'Connor
Succeeded by William Cameron Edwards
Mayor of Ottawa
In office
Preceded by Henry J. Friel
Succeeded by Robert Lyon
Personal details
Born (1822-06-01)June 1, 1822
Denmark Township, Lewis County, New York
Died July 19, 1897(1897-07-19) (aged 75)
Manotick, Ontario
Political party Conservative
Children George Lemuel Dickinson

Moss Kent Dickinson (June 1, 1822 – July 19, 1897) was a Canadian businessman, mayor of Ottawa from 1864 to 1866, member of the Canadian Parliament from 1882 to 1887 and the founder of Manotick.

He was born in Denmark, New York in 1822 to parents Barnabus and Lydia Dickinson. A descendent of the Mayflower Pilgrims, the Dickinson family had been settled in the United States for generations. His family moved to Cornwall, Ontario in 1827. By 1847, he had established a business transporting goods on the Rideau Canal between Ottawa and Kingston. By 1850, Moss owned 16 steamers and 60 barges. Locals started to call him the 'King of the Rideau'.[1]

Dickinson saw promise on Long Island in the middle of the Rideau River. He purchased seven acres of land in the town he named Manotick. Dickinson chose the name 'Manotick' from the Algonquin word for 'island'.[1]

In 1860, with Joseph Merrill Currier, he completed construction of the Long Island Flouring Mill in Manotick, Ontario. He also built a sawmill, carding mill and bung factory. This served as the economic basis for the formation of the village. The grist mill is today called Watson's Mill and is open to the public as a museum.[2]

Dickinson served as mayor of Ottawa from 1864 to 1866. Under his leadership, the Ottawa City Passenger Railway was incorporated. It was the first public transit system in Ottawa. The system consisted of horse-drawn tramcars that rode on iron rails.[1]

His home in Manotick near the mill served as campaign headquarters for Sir John A. Macdonald in the 1882 and 1887 election.[2] Dickinson was also elected in the riding of Russell in the 1882 federal election. (Dickinson was the last non-Liberal MP for Russell County until Pierre Lemieux was elected in 2006, a span of 124 years.[1]) His son George Lemuel also served in the House of Commons.[3]

Together with his wife Elizabeth, Dickinson had five children: George, Charlotte, William, Lydia and Elizabeth. He also had another son, Alpheus, who died in infancy. Lydia died at age 15 of tuberculosis. None of Dickinson's children ever married, leaving him with no descendants.[1]

He died in Manotick in 1897. Dickinson is buried in Beechwood Cemetery beside his wife. Dickinson Days are celebrated in Manotick on the first weekend in June, to coincide with Dickinson's birthday.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Ellis, Larry. "Looking Back"
  2. ^ a b "Moss Dickinson". Watson's Mill. 
  3. ^ Moss Kent Dickinson – Parliament of Canada biography
  • Carroll, Catherine L (1992), Moss Kent Dickinson, King of the Rideau. Bytown pamphlet series, Ottawa, Ontario: The Historical Society of Ottawa 

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