Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

THE MAYOR WHO WASNíT A U.S. CITIZEN

Morning Star, March 30, 1997, pg. 5

Occasionally while doing research I come across something by accident that I wasnít looking for. Recently while looking through naturalization petitions on microfilm at the State Archives in Lansing, I came across an amazing document.

Question: Which prominent Albion citizen served as Mayor of Albion in 1896-97, president of Albion College from 1901 to 1921, served as chairman of the National Prohibition Party which had its headquarters here in Albion, was active in the Methodist Church--but wasnít a U.S. citizen? The answer: Dr. Samuel Dickie (1851-1925)!

Dr. Dickie was born on June 6, 1851 in Burford Township, Ontario, Canada, the son of William and Jane (McNabb) Dickie, both Scottish immigrants. The family moved to Lansing in 1858, and young Samuel came to Albion in 1869, graduating from Albion College in 1872.

Because he had been born in Canada, he unfortunately was prevented from running for U.S. President, which he most definately would have on the Prohibition Party. However, Samuel assumed that he became a U.S. citizen during his youth as a result of his fatherís naturalization. This was accepted as fact through the years, and Dr. Samuel Dickie, the president of Albion College, ran for office, voted and participated in public affairs, etc.

In 1921 he made an amazing discovery, which is now recorded on microfilm and found out by yours truly. On June 22, 1921, Dr. Samuel Dickie applied at the Circuit Court of Calhoun County to petition the court for naturalization as a U.S. citizen! His affidavit of explanatiion stated, "In my childhood it was the common talk of the home that my fatherís naturalization accomplished the naturalization of his two sons. My fatherís name was William Dickie, and his address, Lansing, Michigan. However, I am unable to find record of my fatherís naturalization."

This particular form stated, "I continued to believe as above indicated until the date shown below when I became apprised under the following circumstances that my impression was erroneous." Dr. Dickie replied, "I made the discovery when seeking to secure a passport for foreign travel in 1921."

Dickieís petition form listed his occupation as a College Treasurer, and that his wifeís name was Mary A. Dickie. He renounced allegiance to "George V. King of Great Britain and Ireland," and that he had resided continously in the U.S. since September 15, 1858, having taken a ferry over to the U.S. from Canada.

The legalities were handled by legal counsellor William A. Lane and his secretary S. Louise Knickerbocker, both of Marshall. The application was accepted, and on September 28, 1921, Dr. Samuel Dickie took the oath of allegiance and became a citizen of the United States.

I have given a copy of this very interesting application to Nan Vulgamore for the Albion College archives. From our Historical Notebook we present a photograph of Dr. Samuel Dickie, Albion Mayor and president of Albion College.


Samuel Dickie

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