Skip to main content

William Young Dixon diary

Identifier: SC-Cent. Misc. Mss. 387

Scope and Contents

This typescript excerpt of William Dixon Young’s diary documents his personal life and college activities in Jackson, Louisiana, from November 1867 to January 1870.

Many entries relate to Young’s student experience at Centenary College of Louisiana. He mentions participating in the college’s student literary societies, the Franklin Institute and the Union Literary Society (1867 November 24, 1867 December 14, 1868 January 25, 1868 February 29). He also notes speeches that he delivered at college events (1868 February 9, 1868 March 2-4) and describes commencement exercises (1868 July 12-13). Along with two other students, Young joined the Ku Klux Klan in an initiation ceremony held at the college (1868 June 16). His final year at Centenary highlights the college’s meager enrollment of ten to twenty students and being the only occupant in his dormitory building (1868 October 4, 1869 January 12, 1869 February 1, 1869 April 14, 1869 June 14). After his final days as a college student in July 1869, Young reports that Centenary’s board of trustees made arrangements to next open the college in January 1870 (1869 July 15).

Young’s diary also references his interactions with and opinions about African Americans. He votes in an election for Louisiana’s state constitution and parish officers, and he writes derogatory and racist comments about black voters and candidates (1868 April 6-18, 1868 June 13, 1868 August 22, 1868 October 18). Young also describes farming agreements with black sharecroppers Jacob Thompson and Jared Hays (1868 December 29, 1869 February 20).

Additional topics mentioned in Young’s diary include: fighting in the Civil War’s Battle of Atlanta that occurred in 1864 (1869 March 28), celebrating Decoration Day (1869 April 26), taking the steamboat Wild Wagoner on a pleasure cruise from Port Hickey to Natchez (1869 May 20-21), and helping organize a young men’s debating society (1869 September 11).

Other recurring general topics include: attending church services (Methodist, Baptist, and Catholic congregations), writing letters to friends and family, courting young women, attending political rallies, farming, and visiting friends and family in nearby Louisiana communities (Baton Rouge, Port Hudson, Bayou Sara, Clinton). He also mentions interacting with students and helping with tasks at Millwood Female Institute (Jackson, La.).


  • 1867 - 1870


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Physical rights are retained by the Centenary College of Louisiana Archives and Special Collections. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.

Biographical / Historical

William Young Dixon (1843-1874) was the son of Rev. Thomas Ferguson Dixon and Sarah Ann Simms Dixon. He was born in Clinton, Louisiana, and attended Centenary College of Louisiana before and after serving as a soldier in the Confederate army during the American Civil War. He was enrolled in Centenary’s preparatory department (1860-1861, 1865) and college (1866-1869). The college awarded Dixon his degree at the 1870 commencement exercises. From 1870-1871, Dixon taught school in Columbia, Louisiana. He later moved to California.


1 Folders

Language of Materials



Arranged chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection donated by Allan Colle Richard, Jr. circa 2005.

Existence and Location of Originals

Original diary is in the collection of William Y. Dixon papers, Mss. 3423, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Librarires, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Finding Aid to the William Young Dixon diary
Chris Brown
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Centenary College of Louisiana Archives and Special Collections Repository

2911 Centenary Blvd.
Shreveport LA 71104 US
(318) 869-5462