(Editor's note: This is the second story in a series that highlights some of Philomath's most prominent people).
Ezra L. Dixon tried his hand at several different types of occupations through his years in the Philomath area. Carpenter, farmer, hotel proprietor, livery stable operator, postmaster ... he even got into politics as a member of the Philomath Common Council and in later years, the mayor.
Dixon, described as "genial" in David Fagan's 1885 book on the history of Benton County, fit the profile of a prominent businessman in Philomath.
A native of Indiana, Dixon was born there in the spring of 1851. As a young man in his early 20s, Dixon headed west to Oregon in 1872 and settled in the Yaquina River vicinity. In October 1873, he married Emaline Bethers and together they had four children.
Interestingly, a newspaper account shows that in late December 1874, Emaline saved a child from drowning in the creek. Living on Yaquina Road, the story reveals that she went in to save a little girl who was going under the water for a third time.
Emaline had been born on the donation land claim of her parents, which today is the site of the Corvallis Country Club.
By the early 1880s, Dixon had set up shop as a livery stable operator in Philomath.
"No excuse now for you to allow our horses to stand out in the storm since Ezra Dixon has his new feed and livery in order," the Dec. 15, 1882 edition of the Corvallis Gazette reported. "Ezra is the right man in the right place and will have things in good shape."
Dixon's services operating a livery stable in Philomath seemed to be going well with one published account stating that "his obliging nature is exceptionable, and has something to do with his merited success."
Dixon expanded beyond the livery stable, however, and also operated the Dixon House, which appears to have been a popular spot in Philomath.
"This house is complete in all its appointments and the traveling public will find a generous reception and the best of treatment at very reasonable rates," the Corvallis Gazette reported in 1885 when Philomath had a population of 380. "Mr. Dixon is also the owner of a well-furnished livery and feed stable, and conveys travelers with dispatch and at moderate price. We are sure you will be pleased if you give him a trial."
Dixon ended up in later years as Philomath's mayor before moving to Portland in 1902 to work as a carpenter. A few years later, he moved to Yamhill County.
Dixon met his demise in Unionvale, a community south of Dayton, on Feb. 8, 1913. The previous evening, the 62-year-old Dixon had been kicked in the head by a horse, fracturing his skull. According to a McMinnville newspaper account, he lived until the following morning.
Dixon was buried Feb. 11, 1913, in Newton Cemetery, an earlier name of what we now know as Mount Union Historical Cemetery.