John C. Dix b. May 1, 1863 – d. Sep. 20, 1922
John C. Dix was born on May 1, 1863 in Quincy, Adams County, Illinois to Henry A. Dix.
The 1880 US Census lists him in Quincy, Illinois, occupation ‘apprentice to carriage trimmer’
John H. Dix (b.1814 in Hannover, Prussia), Annie Dix (b. 1819 in Prussia), John Dix (b.1863) Minnie Dix (b. 1861)
Married Bertha Kolker Dix (b. Feb. 17, 1869 in Missouri – d. Jul. 29, 1956) and to the blessed union was born one son, Arthur Joseph Dix (1888 - 1918) and two daughters. The 1910 US Census lists Arthur J. as an employee of the carriage works.
The 1892-1895 Memphis directory lists John C. Dix as a ‘trimmer’ at the Lilly Carriage Co. (Owen Lilly, pres & mgr., John A. Denie vice-pres, W.W. Bierce, sec-treas, 325-329 2d.
The 1896 Memphis directory lists Boutall & Dix (Harry Boutall & John C. Dix) for the first time at 114 Poplar St.
Harry Boutall (b. Sept. 29, 1855 - d. May 26, 1908)
Henry/Harry Boutall was born September 29, 1855 in St. Neots, Huntingdonshire, England to James (b.1812-d.1865) and Eleanor (Squire, b. 1820 –d.?) Boutall.
James Boutall (a tailor) was born 3 March 1812 Sutton Isle of Ely Cambridgeshire; he died 1865 St. Neots Huntingdonshire. He was the son of Thomas Boutall and Sarah Thurston. He married by license Ellen/Eleanor Squire 4 April 1838 in St Giles Cambridge.
Harry’s siblings included: Elizabeth (b.1839), James (b.1841), Charles Squire I (b.1844-d.1844), Charles Squire II (b.1845), John (b. 1846), George Squire (b. 1848), Harriett (b. 1850), Alfred (b. 1857), Walter Squire (b. 1862) and Frederick (b. 1864) Boutall.
Ellen/Eleanor Squire was born about 1820 St. Neots, Huntingdonshire; She was the daughter of William Squire. Ellen went to the U.S. with her sons Alfred and Fred on the Nova Scotian. They left shortly after the British census of 1881 and arrived in Baltimore 26 April 1881. Their destination was Memphis Tennessee. Her son Charles and daughter Elizabeth Bowden had arrived in Tennessee earlier.
Harry emigrated to Shelby Tennessee in 1880 and lived with his sister Elizabeth Bowden and her husband for a short time. He married Louise Lamarque 1890 in Memphis Tennessee. She was born Sept 1861 in France and died 20 April 1951 in Memphis Tennessee. They had four children. In England Harry was a whitesmith apprentice. In Memphis he was a blacksmith.
1896-1902 Memphis City Directory:
“Boutall & Dix, (Harry Boutall, John C. Dix) carriage & wagon mnfrs. 114 to 122 Poplar, Cum tel. 1126”
Harry Boutall passed away in 1908
1908 –‘Brighter Side Of Memphis’:
“Henry Cotton, Mechanic with Boutall & Dix, Memphis, Tenn.
“Mr. Cotton is a mechanic of superior ability and holds a very responsible position with one of the leading wagon factories of Memphis. He is an intelligent man and knows his business all the way through.
“J.W. PATTON, Finisher and Rubber Tires with John C. Dix & Company, Memphis, Tenn.
“Mr. Patton is a mechanic of the highest class and is as bright as two silver dollars. He is a sort of mechanical genius and is connected with a company that has been organized and chartered for the purpose of manufacturing automobiles, etc., in Memphis.”
September 9, 1908 issue of Municipal Journal and Engineer:
“FIRE AND POLICE - Proposed Combination Salvage and Chemical Wagon
“Memphis, Tenn.—Another effective piece of fire-fighting apparatus has been added to the department in the shape of a combination salvage and chemical wagon, built by the local firm of Boutall & Dix. In the course of construction several departures were made from the ordinary run of salvage trucks and the result is apparent from the fact that the local corps has the handsomest as well as the most durable truck in the South. The best material that could be secured was used by the constructors, and as the brake now in use has given more or less trouble the wagon was fitted with an apparatus known as the friction brake, being similar to the ones used on racing cars and other vehicles where quick action is essential. The trial held in the yards of the wagon shop have demonstrated the usefulness of the new brake and it is expected to meet with great success. The axles are roller bearing and are of the best material obtainable. The springs used were constructed by special order and are of a pattern which has been found entirely successful in doing away with all unnecessary jolting.”
The ‘New Incorporations and Changes’ column of the January 1, 1909 issue of the Lumber Journal:
“John C. Dix Son & Co., Memphis, Tenn., $10,000 capital by J.C. Dix, Harry Hurst, Henry Getz and others.”
The ‘New Incorporations’ column of the February 1909 issue of the Hub:
“John C. Dix, Son & Co. have incorporated in Memphis, Tenn. with a capital of $10,000 to deal in vehicles.”
May 1, 1912 issue of Iron Age:
“John C. Dix, Son & Co., Memphis, Tenn., are erecting an addition to their wagon and carriage factory.”
December 1912 issue of the Spokesman:
“Boutall & Dix, wagon and carriage builders, of Poplar Street, were visited by your correspondent. They report the autumn trade as having been very satisfactory, and the winter outlook good. Not long ago they erected a new building on this street for their home. They send a representative to the associations and keep abreast of the times.”
An ad for the King automobile in the August 19, 1915 issue of the Automobile lists John C. Dix & Son as its Memphis distributor.
The October 10, 1918 issue of Motor Age listed the firm as an exhibitor at the Tri-States Fair:
“Truck exhibitors at the Fair were: John C. Dix, Autocar;”
1921 - Dix, Son & Co , J. C. 235-39 Poplar Ave. John C. Dix and Arthur J. Dix, part.; John C. Dix, gen'l mgr.
The firm’s founder passed away on September 20, 1922 due to complications related to an infection of the mastoid bone of the skull, the November 1922 issue of The Spokesman reporting:
“John C. Dix head of the J.C. Dix and Son, Co., of Memphis, Tenn., large carriage manufacturers, died at the Baptist Memorial Hospital September 20 after an operation for mastoid. He was 59 years of age and had lived in Memphis for many years. He organized the J.C. Dix and Son, Co., as a small concern and which later became a large industry. He is survived by a widow and two daughters. The interment was in Elmwood cemetery.”
1924 Memphis Directory -
John C. Dix & Son, Inc., Mrs. B.K. Dix pres., C.M. Henderson, sec-treas., auto bodies, 235-239 Poplar Blvd.
In 1925 Alfred B. Goldfarb (b. as Alexander Bohne Goldfarb, Oct. 4, 1886 in Buffalo, New York) purchased a controlling interest in the firm from John C. Dix’ widow Bertha. He was the son of Bernard J. and Rose (??) Goldfarb, his father’s occupation was listed as ‘tobacconist; in 1900 census (in Buffalo, N.Y.), ‘cigar maker’ in ‘cigar store’ in 1910 census (in St. Louis Missouri) and attorney in the 1920 Census (in Memphis, Tenn.)
Al’s family included a wife Melba (b.Mar. 18, 1899 in Oklahoma City., Oklahoma) and two sons; Wesley (b. 1925) and Martin (b. 1929) Goldfarb.
The 1910 US Census lists him in St. Louis, Missouri, his occupation as ‘salesman’ in a ‘cigar store’ – most likely his father’s. His June 5, 1917 Draft Registration Card lists his dob as Dec. 4, 1886, Buffalo, NY; address as 265 N. Watkins, Memphis; occupation, proprietor of ‘Restaurant 29’ located at 78 S. Front St., next of kin ‘invalid wife and father’.
August 8, 1925 issue of Automotive Industries:
“John C. Dix & Co. Expands
“Memphis, Tenn., Aug. 20 - The John C. Dix & Son Co., Memphis, manufacturer or automobile bodies, announces an increase in the company’s capital from $50,000 to $120,000, and plans for expanding the facilities of the plant. A two-story building has been acquired here and equipment is being installed, giving the company an increase of about 100,000 sq. ft. in its floor space.”
1926-1928 Memphis Directory -
J.C. Dix, Son & Co., Inc., Alf Goldfarb mgr., 235 Poplar Blvd.
Alf Goldfarb (Melba), mgr. John C. Dix, Son & Co., Inc. h.2084 S Parkway E
1928 The Packages:
“John C. Dix & Son Co. a few days ago purchased the plant of the James & Graham Wagon Co., building and five acres of ground on S. Dudley street at a reported consideration of more than $150,000 and will move there soon, with their vehicle building business. The James & Graham Wagon Co., after more than fifty years in the farm and log wagon trade here, was thrown into the courts early in the summer.”
1930 – “JOHN C. DIX, SON & COMPANY, INC., South Dudley Street, 40,000 square feet Bus and Truck Bodies.”
1931 employees included Ed Heffernan, Frank Hudson, James Degnan, John Slattery and Albert Slater (all were members of the firm’s Knights of Columbus bowling team).
1933 - John C. Dix Son & Co., 738 South Dudley Street, Memphis, Tenn.
1934 - Al. Goldfarb, president of John C. Dix Son & Co., Inc., Memphis, Tenn.
On February 11, 1935 L.E. Peebles, owner of Peebles Garage in Portland, Arkansas, commissioned John C. Dix & Sons to construct a funeral coach and ambulance body on a 1935 Dodge light truck chassis, including certain equipment, consisting of floor covering, one cot, one folding seat, one driver 's seat and one electric fan, for the total sum of $1,585. The vehicle had been ordered by a Mr. Downey, a Portland, Arkansas funeral director. When delivered, Downey was unhappy with the vehicle and after repeated attempts to get satisfaction without result, took Peebles to court which ordered him to return Downey’s down payment. Peebles appealed the Chicot Chancery Court’s (Ark.) decision and on November 15, 1937, the Arkansas State Court of Appeals affirmed the original Court’s decision. Dix was not part of the proceedings and it is unknown if they made any adjustments to the vehicle, or returned any monies to Peebles, however a description of the work is included in the appeals court transcripts, Peebles Garage v. Downey, case 4-4799, opinion delivered November 15,1937:
“We think the evidence, although sharply in dispute, supports the court's finding that the hearse and ambulance sold and delivered to appellee by appellant was not as represented and that the defects were of such nature and character as to justify appellee in rescinding the contract.
“The court found - and the proof justified - the holding that appellant practiced a constructive fraud on appellee in the sale of said property. It was definitely shown that the standard length of such a hearse and ambulance is 91 inches and that the inside measurements of the property in question showed it to be only 85 inches in length.
“Appellee testified very positively and was supported by other witnesses that the first attempt to use the hearse for the transportation of a dead body in a casket and box disclosed that the hearse body was not long enough to permit the rear door to be closed after the casket and box were placed therein, and several undertakers testified that a hearse which was not long enough to receive the box containing a casket for an ordinary sized person would be useless to an undertaker as a hearse. It is true that this was a combination hearse and ambulance, but if it is useless on account of its length, for the principal purpose for which it was bought, we think the buyer would be justified in rescinding. The court so held.
On February 18th Peebles wrote a letter to the John C. Dix & Son Company of Memphis, Tennessee, advising them of the complaints made by appellee as to the length thereof and as to the doors, etc. In this letter he said: ‘The doors do not fit at all, the body sags in the middle and there are several things that look very bad in the workmanship on this job and I am sure it is an oversight on your part. Mr. Downey is not pleased at all. I think some adjustments should be made on the job. I am sure you will agree with me if you would look it over.’
Peebles was ordered to take back the vehicle and refund the money to Mr. Mooney. Peebles appealed, but the court affirmed the original award. Dix was not part of the proceedings and it is unknown if they made any adjustments to the vehicle, or returned any monies to Peebles.
January 18, 1936 of Automotive Industries:
“Dix & Sons of Memphis To Build Bodies for IHC
“John Dix & Sons, Co., of Memphis, Tenn., has received an order from the International Harvester Co. for 500 truck bodies. Officials of the Memphis concern expressed the opinion that this orders is the largest of its kind ever placed with a Southern manufacturing plant. A. Goldfarb, manager, said the order amounts to approximately $60,000.”
1934 Memphis Directory - John C. Dix & Son, Alf Goldfarb, pres., auto bodies, 738 S. Dudley.
1935-1938 Memphis Directory – John C. Dix & Son, Alf. Goldfarb, mgr., auto bodies, 738 S. Dudley.
April 30, 1938 edition of the Commercial Appeal (Memphis):
“Manufacture of all-steel school bus bodies will start in Memphis in about 10 days when John C. Dix & Co. on South Dudley, headed by Al Goldfarb, begins operating a new department employing about 30 men.”
1938 Power Wagon: A solid carbon dioxide refrigerator truck recently put into service by Abraham Bros., Memphis, was constructed by Dix:
“Trailer is mounted with body by John C. Dix Co., of Memphis. This body is well insulated, and, suspended from the top, is a cast-aluminum bunker for holding the solid carbon dioxide (dry ice). The small size of this bunker emphasizes the high refrigerating effect of dry ice. It is only 33 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 9 inches deep. The dry ice is put into the bunker through a door in the rear end. At the front end, there is a vent which allows the cold carbon dioxide gas formed by the evaporation of the dry ice to escape into the body of the truck. This gas not only helps to maintain low temperatures within the truck, but is beneficial to and assists in preserving the meat. If desired, however, the gas can be vented into the air through openings in the roof.”
1940-1941 Memphis Directory - John C. Dix Son & Co., (Alf Goldfarb, pres. Doris Jones, sec-treas.) Auto Body Mfrs., 738 South Dudley Street, Memphis, Tenn.
According to the June 7, 1940 edition of the Memphis Commercial Appeal John C. Dix Son & Co. was closing due to a labor dispute between Goldfarb and his employees, and its South Dudley Street plant was put up for sale.
1940 issue of Fleet Owner:
“Among other prominent trailer manufacturers who are already members are John C. Dix Son and Company, Memphis.”
1942-1943 Memphis Directory - John C. Dix Son & Co., Inc. (Alf Goldfarb, pres.) trailer mfrs., 4 S. 2d R414
The closure of the Dix plant coincided with the establishment of J. Tom Moore & Sons, the well-known Memphis-based constructor of armored truck bodies (which is also covered in the encyclopedia). Moore had worked for Dix since 1935, specializing in trim and upholstery work.
Sadly only one of Dix’ creations survives today, a 1935 International C-35 armored truck. The 16 ft. 11 in. long, 6 ft. wide, 7 ft. 9 in. tall vehicle bears a narrow 4 ft. 8 in. wide composite body constructed using sturdy oak framework to which 3/16-in. steel plates were fitted, the panel gaps bridged by hand-forged riveted steel moldings. Added security measures include 5 brass gun ports and 1 ½-in thick laminated glass windows. The hefty 9,200 lb. vehicle was fitted with four-wheel hydraulic brakes and powered by a 241-cid 27-hp FAB-3 inline 6 engine mated to a 4-speed stump-puller gearbox. Placed into service on April 30, 1936 by the Little Rock, Arkansas branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, it remained in service for the next eleven years, when it was replaced by a 1947 Diamond-T armored truck, constructed J. Tom Moore & Sons. Once retired, the International passed through numerous hands before it was acquired by Frank and Karen Howell in 1991. The Howells treated it to a multi-year frame-off restoration, at which time it was painted blue. In 2003 the truck was acquired by Bruce Barrow, who after submitting it to a repaint and cosmetic restoration offered it for sale at several automobile auctions, the last being Mecum’s December 2014 auction in Kansas City.
Both Alfred B. Goldfarb and John C. Dix Son & Co. Inc. are missing from 1945 Memphis Directory
July 23, 1964 edition of the Congressional Record:
“Mr. Harvey R Adams, of West Memphis, Ark., and Memphis, Tenn., passed away on Friday July 17, 1964. He at one time served as manager for the John C. Dix Corp. later serving as manager of the truck and commercial division of the Ford Motor Co., in the city of Memphis.”
© 2014 Mark Theobald for Coachbuilt.com