Dean, William John, 1870-1941.
William Blake Dean was born on September 28, 1838 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Captain William and Aurelia Butler Dean. He received his education in the Pittsburgh public schools, at Bolmar's Boarding School for Boys in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and at Washington and Jefferson College, Washington, Pennsylvania.
Dean arrived in St. Paul in 1856, and became bookkeeper for the wholesale iron and hardware firm of Nicols and Berkey. In 1860 he succeeded Berkey in the partnership and the firm became Nicols and Dean (later Nicols, Dean and Gregg). Dean also served as a director of the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railway Company (1895-1901), Great Northern Railway Company (1901-1922), St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company, Oakland Cemetery Association, and the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York; as president of the Second National Bank of St. Paul (1912-1913) and the St. Paul Plow Works; as trustee of the St. Paul, Stillwater and Taylors Falls Railroad Company (1878-1885); and as a member of the National Monetary Commission (1897).
Dean, a Republican, not only served in the Minnesota state senate (1891-1895), where he was instrumental in passing legislation for construction of a new capitol building (1893), but was also appointed commissioner to visit and receive the votes of all Minnesota soldiers serving west of Virginia and the Carolinas (1863); served as presidential elector in 1884; and was a member of the St. Paul city charter commission (1897). He was also a captain in the 31st Regiment of Minnesota state militia.
Dean was very active in St. Paul's religious, social, and cultural organizations. A member of the House of Hope Presbyterian Church (1864-1922), he was elected trustee in 1863 and was ordained an elder in 1874. He was clerk of the board of trustees (1863-1878), three times St. Paul Presbytery's commissioner to the Presbyterian General Assembly, and delegate to the Pan-Presbyterian Council in Aberdeen, Scotland (1913). He was also a member and officer of the St. Paul School Board, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul Library Board, St. Paul Institute of Arts, St. Paul Chamber of Commerce, St. Paul Jobbers Union, Ramsey County Pioneers, St. Paul Businessmen's Association, and the Minnesota Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.
Dean married Mary Katherine Nicols, daughter of his partner John Nicols, on October 18, 1860. The couple had eight children: Caroline Nicols (1861-1930), Aurelia Butler (1863-1920), Alice M. (1866- ), Mary Katherine (1867- ), William John (1869- ), Georgia (1873- ), Sidney Butiel (1879- ), and Helen (1881- ).
Dean died in St. Paul on December 5, 1922.
For additional information on the Dean, Nicols, and Winter families, see the John Nicols and Family Papers and the Edwin W. Winter Papers.
From the guide to the William Blake Dean and family papers, undated and 1813, 1851-1937., (Minnesota Historical Society)
|creatorOf||William Blake Dean and family papers, undated and 1813, 1851-1937.||Minnesota Historical Society|
|creatorOf||Dean, William B. (William Blake), 1838-1922. William Blake Dean and family papers, undated and 1813, 1851-1937.||Minnesota Historical Society Library|
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Saint Paul (Minn.)|
|World War, 1914-1918--Campaigns|
|Antietam, Battle of, Md., 1862|
|Young Women's Christian associations|
|Spotsylvania Court House, Battle of, Va., 1864|
|Lectures and lecturing|
|Banks and banking--United States|
|Iron industry and trade--Minnesota|
|Presbyterian Church--United States|
|Land titles--Registration and transfer--Minnesota--Saint Paul|
|World War, 1914-1918--Children|
|World War, 1914-1918--War work|