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magazine cover 1916

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Lawrence C. Earle,
Distinguished Artist,
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Garfield Gives
Reminiscence of
Artist L. C. Earle

Dutch Boy Painter
Vol. XV Number 2
March 1922




Aaron Dikeman

The Dikeman family was a close neighbor of the John E. Earle family on
Lafayette Avenue in early Grand Rapids.

Water Color: Lake Macatawa || DIKEMAN Genealogy

Aaron Dikeman    Aaron Dikeman lived in his native town of Norwalk until reaching his majority, when he moved to New York City, and embarked in the jewelry business. He carried on this business in that city for twenty years, with uninterrupted success.

Closing up his affairs in New York, he emigrated to Michigan, and settled in what is now Grand Rapids, arriving there in May, 1837. Here he again engaged in the jewelry business, opening the first establishment of that kind in the state north of the Michigan Central Railroad.
Dikeman continued in this occupation in Grand Rapids until 1867, and during this long period was seldom absent a day from his bench. During this time he built up a large trade, established a high reputation for an honorable businessman, and after fifty years of unremitting toil, he retired in May, 1867, with a fair fortune and hosts of friend as his reward. At the time of his retiring he was the oldest jeweler working at the trade in the United States, being seventy-one years of age.

In 1855, Mr. Dikeman became largely interested in the steamboat navigation of the Grand River. In that year he built the steamer "Empire," and run her on the lower river line between Grand Rapids and Grand Haven.

Mr. Dikeman was elected county treasurer of Kent County, in November 1838, and the abilities with which he performed the duties of that office can be best adduced from the fact that he held for three successive terms. In 1849, he was elected supervisor of the township of Grand Rapids, which then included the village of Kent, now the City of Grand Rapids. He was chosen alderman of the third ward of that city in 1852, and his public life closed with the expiration of his term of as alderman.

Mr. Dikeman became a member of Phoenix Lodge, No. 4, Free and Accepted Masons of New York city, in 1823, and he was one of the first officers and charter members of Grand River lodge, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has been identified with this order for over fifty years, and enjoys the full esteem of his brother Masons.

Being one of the pioneers of northwestern Michigan, he had unbounded faith in the future growth and prosperity of the Grand River valley, and he has ever worked with both his mind and means for its development. In its infancy, he prophesied a glorious future for it, and time has proved how correct his foresight was, as he now finds himself surrounded by as beautiful and prosperous a country as our truly great State can boast of.

On the 14th of February, 1822, Mr. Dikeman married Miss Susanna Butler, of Norwalk, CT, and on the 14th of the same month, 1872, they celebrated their golden wedding, at their residence on Fulton Street, Grand Rapids.

Now at the advanced age of seventy-nine, Mr. Dikeman, in a happy home, with a fair fortune and surrounded by his children, grand children, and hosts of friends, is enjoying the closing years of an active and prosperous life.

!Tuttle, Charles Richard, General History of the State of Michigan with Biographical Sketches; (1874) pp. 413-415

Below is a scan of a portion of the painting in my collection. It was created by Aaron DIKEMAN's grandson, Aaron Butler DIKEMAN:
dikeman_painting.jpg (21862 bytes)

Aaron Butler Dikeman (1868-1942)
Water color, 12-1/2" x 22"
Private Collection

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*Thanks to Dr. J. Gray Sweeney for permission to use material from
Artists of Grand Rapids 1840-1980, J. Gray Sweeney; Grand Rapids, 1981:
The Grand Rapids Art Museum, The Grand Rapids Public Museum

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Common Corners