Elizabeth Lord Cogswell Dixon 1819-1871


Elizabeth Lord Cogswell Dixon 1819-1871


Dixon, Elizabeth Lord Cogswell 1819-1871


Biographical details of Elizabeth L.C. Dixon


Caroline Welling Van Deusen, Project Archivist



Birth Date



Saco, Maine

Death Date



family matriarch

Biographical Text

Elizabeth Lord Cogswell Dixon was a great granddaughter of John Cogswell who arrived from England in 1635 on the “Angel Gabriel” after she shipwrecked off the coast of Maine. The family homestead was Cogswell’s Grant in Essex, Massachusetts.

Her parents were Reverend Jonathan Cogswell of Rowley, MA and Miss Elizabeth Abbott of Andover, MA. 

Elizabeth L.C. Dixon was born in Saco Maine.  She and her sisters lead a quiet life up till 1824 with the sudden death of her sister and opening of Saco's first manufacturing business. Along with industrial growth came new workers to work in the factory. With this sudden population growth a dozen new religious denominations sprang up in and around Saco. This proved to be  devastating for her father, who for the last 15 years served as the town religious leader. Rev. Cogswell worked himself to exhaustion until finally his doctor advised him to stop working or he would die.
In 1829 the Cogswell family moved from Saco, Maine to New York City; living Rev. Cogswell's brother, Nathaniel on Varick Street. Later that year Elizabeth began her formal education at Mrs. E. Smith’s school for young ladies located across from St. Johns Park.

In 1833, Mrs. Smith’s school moved to 3 Fifth Avenue, on northeast corner of Washington Square. Mrs. Smith’s brother, James Boorman of Boorman & Johnston had built the school for his sister, next to his residence at 1 Fifth Avenue. It was here Elizabeth L. Cogswell developed to a young woman, learning to play the pianoforte, to speak French, and admire the writings of Hannah Moore and Letitia Elizabeth Landon. Donald Grant Mitchell’s nineteenth-century bestseller "Reveries of a Bachelor" (1850) dedicated to Mrs. E.L. Dixon.

On October 1, 1840, Elizabeth Lord Cogswell married James Dixon at East Windsor Hill, Connecticut. These newlyweds soon boarded the Great Western steamer and spent the next year and a half traveling Europe for their honeymoon; arriving in England traveling over to France, Switzerland, and Italy, and then home again on the Great Western.  During this grand your the Dixons were presented to the King of France and the Pope.

As of 2016 their European honeymoon is being transcribed by their great great granddaughter for future publication. For updates of this diary visit: 

The Dixons had four children: Miss Elizabeth Dixon (1842-1939), Clementine Dixon (1844-1911), wife of Dr. James Clarke Welling (1825-1894), James Wyllis Dixon (1846–1913) and Henry Whitfield Dixon (1850-1933).

Her first impressions of Washington, DC as a young mother and wife of a junior statesmen may be found within complete transcription of Diary of Elizabeth L. C. Dixon published in 2013 in White House History, Issue 33, by White House Historical Association.
Portrait of Elizabeth L. C. Dixon
Photo credit: Elizabeth Welling Regan

1846-47 Diary of Elizabeth L.C. Dixon t
ranscribed and submitted for publication by Caroline Welling Van Deusen

Extracts of the Diary of Elizabeth Dixon

Journal Written During a Residence in Washington during the 29th Congress.Commencing with the first of December 1845. Diary of Elizabeth L. C. Dixon
Intro by editor, William Seale

Elizabeth Dixon is not remembered by historians for those early days in Washington but rather her final days as a friend of Mary Lincolns when she witnessed President Lincoln's death on April 15, 1865. 

Elizabeth L. C. Dixon had Cogswell Sisters.Louisa, who died young in 1824; Mary, wife of Franklin Sherwood Kinney Esq.; Louisa, wife of Algernon Ridgeway Wood Esq.; Anne Walter, wife of William Edgar Howland and Elizabeth Lord, wife of James Dixon, the subject of this bio. 

After the death of their mother, Rev. Cogswell married Miss Jane Kirkpatrick of New Jersey. Rev. Cogswell and Jane Kirkpatrick had two children: Jane, wife of James Grant Wilson and Andrew Kirkpatrick Cogswell who married, first, Miss Mary Van Rensselaer and after her death, Miss Virginia Latrobe. 

“Mrs. Senator Dixon, the most accomplished lady I have ever seen in Washington”  Hon. Richard Spofford





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Date Added
December 4, 2011
Item Type
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Caroline Welling Van Deusen, Project Archivist, “Elizabeth Lord Cogswell Dixon 1819-1871,” E - A r c h i v e s , accessed December 9, 2018, https://citizenarchivist.omeka.net/items/show/426.