PE Adds To Memorial With Special Ceremony

Published 6:25 pm Thursday, September 19, 2013

PRINCE EDWARD — Sheriff Thomas Harris Dickinson may be forever in the faded pages of the County’s past, but he has not been forgotten.

Dickinson, who was struck and killed by a train on Thursday, September 30, 1915, is the latest name added to the County’s In The Line of Duty memorial. The County’s current and former living sheriffs—Howard Simpson, Gene Southall, Travis Harris, and current Sheriff Wesley Reed—formally unveiled the additional plaque to the memorial on September 11.

“On this eve of September 11, it’s appropriate that we take this opportunity to recognize and express our appreciation to our community first responders, our law enforcement officers, our volunteer firefighters, emergency medical personnel and emergency service workers,” County Board of Supervisors Chairman William “Buckie” Fore commented in the brief ceremony. “The men and women—most of whom are volunteers—who routinely offer their invaluable services to our community and who, when necessary, place our lives ahead of their own.”

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September 11 is the National Day of Service and Remembrance and honors those who lost their lives on that date in 2001 and encourages citizens to participate in community service activities in honor of those who lost their lives.

County supervisors authorized the In the Line of Duty memorial in 2011 to honor the County’s first responders and to remember those who gave their lives in the line of duty to the County’s citizens. Initially, the memorial honored Virginia Game Warden Frank Hatchett Gilliam, State Trooper Robert Wright Smith, Prospect Volunteer Firefighter Joel Frank Coleman Jr., and Hampden-Sydney Volunteer Firefighter David Paul Bruce.

“Despite our best efforts, extensive research and help from the community, we regrettably overlooked one individual whose service to the citizens of Prince Edward County must be honored,” Fore commented.

With the latest addition, the County now has plaques on two walls on the third floor of the County’s courthouse. One wall honors the emergency service workers; the other law enforcement officials.

“On September the 30th, 1915, based on news accounts of that day, Prince Edward County Sheriff Thomas Harris Dickinson was struck and killed by a…passenger train in Pamplin,” Fore detailed. “It is said that he was on his way to Appomattox to serve…an arrest warrant and had stopped in Pamplin when the train came through and struck him.”

Dickinson’s obituary stated, Fore further detailed, that he had served as County sheriff for approximately 25 years, was buried in College Church Cemetery at Hampden-Sydney and was survived by his wife and a daughter from a previous marriage. The newspaper articles, he further cited, state that Sheriff Dickinson was popular and efficient and discharged the duties of the office faithfully and well.

“We certainly pray that this memorial remains unchanged for many years to come.” Fore said. “On this eve of September 11, the National Day of Service and Remembrance, I invite the citizens of Prince Edward County to take a moment to remember Thomas Dickinson, Frank Gilliam, Robert Smith, Frank Coleman and David Bruce, and to keep their families in our thoughts and in our prayers.”

Fore further encouraged those present to take every opportunity to thank community law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel “for their integrity, their courage, and their selfless service to all the citizens of Prince Edward County.”