The Skelton Centenarian, who could remember the Crimean War.
Evening Gazette - 5th April 1948.
SHE'S 100 AND EVER SO HAPPY.
Propped in bed, Mrs Elizabeth Dickinson, of Skelton, waved a telegram at me.
"The King has sent me congratulations on my hundredth Birthday." she said proudly.
Then, her bright blue eyes twinkling, she added, "But I ought to have had a wire from Montgomery too."
That twinkle and her enthusiasm for "Monty" are typical of this alert-minded clear-complexioned old Yorkshire lady, whose life time spans the crowded century and who left
Cleveland to live in London with her daughter at the age of 99.
Born on April 4th 1848, Mrs Dickinson is the daughter of Mr David Thomas Petch, a well known Cleveland agriculturalist.
[There are numerous references to him in the pages of this website.
He was the organiser of the Skelton Agricultural Show, which ran for many years in the late 1800s and served on Local Boards.
He was Chairman of the Board of Guardians [the Workhouse]
Also a Church Warden for a long time, the pulpit in the High Street Church was a gift from him.
He died on the 16th November 1890.]
All this week-end messages, flowers and other gifts, including eggs have been arriving from relatives and neighbours of the Chingford, Essex home of her daughter, Mrs Richard
Hanson, wife of the prebendary of St Paul's with whom she came to stay last September.
Mrs Dickinson's earliest memory is of a brightly ribboned recruiting Sergeant enlisting Skelton lads for the Crimean War.
In 1870, - the year the Prussians laid siege to Paris - she married Coun Edward William Dickinson, a wines and spirits importer of Stockton.
On his death at the age of 40, she brought their five young children back to Skelton, where altogether, she has spend 85 years of her life.
[At the census of 1901, she is shown as head of the household, aged 52, living at 14 North Terrace, Skelton, with daughters Catherine A, aged 29 and Esther, 21, and sons,
Fred, aged 20, and Edward, 18, both Bank Clerks.]
While Mrs Dickinson rested, her three surviving children, Mrs Hanson, Mr Fred Dickinson, retired bank manager of Marske Mill Lane, Saltburn and Mrs Reginald Taylor, a widow,
also of Saltburn, told me how she became almost a legendary figure of Skelton.
"Mother was an ardent Conservative." said her son.
"She made a point of being the first to vote at elections. If anybody ws there before her, they would stand aside and let her enter the polling booth first".
"She was a great churchgoer. Her recipe for long life is hard work and faith in God."
The latest topics, like the "new look" are a mystery to Mrs Dickinson, but she knows her own mind on questions with which she is familiar.
"The modern girl," she said emphatically. "She's fine. I like her."
Then reverting to her Birthday, she took the King's telegram in both hands and in a voice, which emotion as much as old age made unsteady, said.
"I have never been so happy in all my life."