Honoring a new Scotland doctor and congressman

To the Editor:

On July 10 at 5:45 p.m. outside the New Scotland Town Hall on Route 85, a new historical marker in honor of Samuel Dickson will be dedicated.

Samuel Dickson is the only person born in what is now the town of New Scotland to serve in the United States Congress.

Dickson was born on March 29, 1807, in a house that no longer exists that was close to this marker. His father had emigrated from Scotland to the hamlet of New Scotland when it was still part of the town of Bethlehem. He worked as a wheelwright and owned a farm.

Samuel Dickson resided in New Scotland until the time of his death May 5, 1858. He graduated from Union College in 1825 and then studied medicine in Albany, receiving a diploma in 1829. He practiced medicine in town throughout his adult life. 

Dickson was elected and served in the 34th Congress (1855 to 1857). This was a time of great turmoil nationwide as pro-slavery and anti-slavery supporters battled it out politically in Congress and with guns in the “Bleeding Kansas” territory. It was a time of great political polarization, not unlike our own time. 

Dickson opposed slavery and was in favor of repealing the Kansas and Nebraska Act. He was elected as an Opposition Party candidate to represent New York’s 14th Congressional District.

Unfortunately, an accident near the close of Dickson’s first congressional session forced him to resign from Congress in 1856. He became paralyzed because of the accident and died in New Scotland on May 3, 1858.

He was succeeded in Congress by Erastus Corning, Albany’s mayor from 1834 to 1837, and great-grandfather of Erastus Corning 2nd, who was Albany’s mayor from 1942 to 1983.

Samuel Dickson is buried in the cemetery of New Scotland’s Presbyterian Church, close to this marker.

This marker was made possible by a grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation.

The New Scotland Historical Association invites the public to attend this dedication in honor of a town of New Scotland native and statesman.

Judy Kimes


New Scotland

Historical Association

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