The Dickey Family came to the Springfield Missouri area from Virginia during the Civil War after Mr. Dickey had died in Springfield. The story is that Mr. Dickey was captured in Springfield and sentenced to be hung as a spy for the South. He wrote to Mrs. Dickey, who was a school teacher, and asked her to come to Springfield and save him. She arrived too late and had no money or will to go back to Virginia, so she settled near Springfield and opened a school for girls.
Sam Dickey, the builder of this Mansion, was 14 at the time. He did not like it here and joined the Wagon Trains going west. The son of a school teacher, Sam could read and write, and was also a sketch artist.
He journaled his travels between St. Louis and the West, sketching scenes as well. He met Wyatt Earp, and many other colorful folks along the way. The local Historical Society has one of his journals on display in thier museum.
At the age of 19, his sister had married a local Marshfield man, who owned the pharmacy. He became ill and Sam's sister wrote him in St. Louis in care of the wagon train outfit asking him to come to Marshfield to help her run the pharmacy while her husbank recouperated. Sam came to Marshfield, read all the books on pharmacology and ran the store for 2 years while his sister's husband nursed his health. At the end of 2 years, the first territorial judge, Judge Fyan, took a shine to this bright young man and began feeding him law books. Mr. Dickey (Sam) eventually became a lawyer and later the county prosecutor. In 1905, maybe 1906, Mr. Dickey was approached by a boxer from Lebanon, 28 miles east of Marshfield. The boxer came home off the boxing circuit and found his wife with her lover. He shot them both, and wanted Mr. Dickey to represent him. Mr. Dickey turned him down twice, however the thrid time was the charm. The boxed offered Mr. Dickey $10,000.00 to defend him, which in 1905 was a huge sum of money. Mr. Dickey took the case, and lost! The boxer went to jail, and Mr. Dickey received his $10,000.00 payment.
Mr. Dickey had purchased the land back in 1873, and decided to build himself a proper home similar to the grand southern homes of his childhood. It took 3 carpenters 3 years to complete the home, which according to courthouse records, was completed in 1908. The Grand Pillars at the front of the home took an additional 2 years to construct and were added in 1910. Mr. Dickey did pro-bono law for many Confederates as he thought they had received a bad deal at the hands of the Government. He was very political, and the home was host to seven Missouri Senators and Governors during his lifetime, including the Governor who brought the World's Fair to St. Louis. He was also a personal friend of William Jennings Bryant, one of the lawyers from the Scopes Monkey trial...which was about Evolution vs. Religion or the Biblical account of creation.
Mr. Dickey passed away in 1925. We are not sure when Mrs. Dickey passed, however the home eventually was left to their daughter, Ms. Ella Dickey. At eighteen, Ms. Ella wrote the Carnegie grant for the first Marshfield Library, and was Librarian until she retired late in life. She passed away in 1970 or 1971. The home was left to her two nephews, Sam and John Dickey. The house and most of the furnishings were put up for auction. It is our understanding that all the light fixtures, door knobs, anything that could be removed was auctioned. The home then went thru several hands and then sat empty for many years.
In 1987 a couple from California were on vacation and fell in love with the old unkept house and property. They purchased it and saved it from total destruction, and tried to run it as a Bed and Breakfast until 1998, when my wife and I purchased it from them. We have fully restored the entire home and all its systems. New electrical, plumbing, sewers, roof, painted the home, put in the driveway and many of the gardens and pond. We hope that when we finish this chapter of our lives that the next owner will take care of it and preserve this wonderful piece of American history.
Larry & Michaelene Stevens
The Dickey House Bed & Breakfast