Dean, William John, 1870-1941.

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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)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Allen, Laura. person
associatedWith American Field Service. corporateBody
associatedWith American McAll Association corporateBody
associatedWith American National Red Cross. corporateBody
associatedWith Battley, F. S. person
associatedWith Butler family. family
associatedWith Butler, John, 1759-1819 person
associatedWith Clark, George Crawford, 1845-1919 person
associatedWith Clark, Greenleaf, 1835-1904 person
associatedWith Clemens, Samuel Langhorne, 1835-1910 person
associatedWith Davis, Cushman Kellogg, 1838-1900 person
associatedWith Dean family. family
associatedWith Dean, George W., 1841-1920 person
associatedWith Dean, Laura Cannon Winter, 1870-1968 person
associatedWith Dean, William B. (William Blake), 1838-1922. person
associatedWith Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870 person
associatedWith Fatherless Children of France (Organization). corporateBody
associatedWith Fish, Stuyvesant, 1851-1923 person
associatedWith Fraternité Franco-Americaine, Paris. corporateBody
associatedWith George, VI, King of Great Britain, 1895-1952 person
associatedWith Graves, Charles Hinman, 1839-1929 person
associatedWith Guest, Edgar A. (Edgar Albert), 1881-1959 person
associatedWith Haupt, John Nicols, 1903-1917 person
associatedWith Hepburn, A. Barton (Alonzo Barton), 1846-1922 person
associatedWith Hill, James Jerome, 1838-1916 person
associatedWith House of Hope Presbyterian Church (Saint Paul, Minn.). corporateBody
associatedWith Howells, Elinor Mead, 1837-1910 person
associatedWith Howells, Mildred, b. 1872 person
associatedWith Howells, William Dean, 1837-1920 person
associatedWith Ireland, John, 1838-1918 person
associatedWith Jones, Herschel V. (Herschel Vespasian), 1861-1928 person
associatedWith Kurtz, Jane Blair Miller. person
associatedWith Lowry, Thomas, 1843-1909 person
associatedWith McKinney, Roderick. person
associatedWith Miller family. family
associatedWith Minnesota corporateBody
associatedWith Nicols, Dean & Gregg (Saint Paul, Minn.). corporateBody
associatedWith Nicols, Henry, 1678-1748 person
associatedWith Nicols, John, 1811-1873 person
associatedWith Nicols, John Ross, 1849-1910 person
associatedWith Peabody, George Foster, 1852-1938 person
associatedWith Pillsbury, J. S. (John Sargent), 1827-1901 person
associatedWith Porter, Sarah, 1813-1900 person
associatedWith Republican Party (Minn.). corporateBody
associatedWith Second National Bank of Saint Paul. corporateBody
associatedWith St. Paul High School (Saint Paul, Minn.). corporateBody
associatedWith St. Paul Jobbers Union (Saint Paul, Minn.). corporateBody
associatedWith St. Paul Plow Works (Saint Paul, Minn.). corporateBody
associatedWith St. Paul, Stillwater, and Taylor's Falls Railroad Company. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Army corporateBody
associatedWith United States. National Monetary Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith Whittier, John Greenleaf, 1807-1892 person
associatedWith Winter, Edwin W. (Edwin Wheeling), 1845-1930 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Saint Paul (Minn.)
Hardware--Minnesota--Saint Paul
World War, 1914-1918--Campaigns
Antietam, Battle of, Md., 1862
Young Women's Christian associations
Spotsylvania Court House, Battle of, Va., 1864
Schools--Minnesota--Saint Paul
Lectures and lecturing
Education--United States
Banks and banking--United States
Soldiers--Suffrage--United States
Iron industry and trade--Minnesota
Child welfare--France
Railroads--United States
Presbyterian Church--United States
Presidents--United States--Election--1884
Reconstruction (1914-1939)
Land titles--Registration and transfer--Minnesota--Saint Paul
World War, 1914-1918--Children
World War, 1914-1918--War work


Birth 1870

Death 1941

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Ark ID: w6wt6c91

SNAC ID: 46871578