DIMMICK, Dr. Lewis Norton

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DIMMICK, Dr. Lewis Norton (1823-1884) was born in Bethany, Wayne County, Pennsylvania, where his father was a judge. In 1833 the family moved to Illinois, and Dimmick attended the Medical University of New York, becoming a physician.

In 1853 in Illinois, Dimmick married his Norweigan wife, Elsa J. Nilson (1830-1912). They had two children who died in infancy. From about 1857 to 1872, Dimmick owned a drug store in Ottawa with his brother, Philo J. Dimmick. In 1872, Dimmick and his wife settled in Santa Barbara.

In 1874, Dimmick, Henry Chapman Ford, and James W. Calkins began researching the story of Juana Maria, the lone woman of San Nicolas Island. They asked writer, Emma Hardacre, to write up the story, which she did. It was published in Scribners in 1880.

In 1876, Dimmick became a founding member of the Santa Barbara Society of Natural History, along with Reverend Steven Bowers, Mrs. Ellwood Cooper, Henry Chapman Ford and Sara Plummer. Great Register of Santa Barbara County 1877 shows Dimmick registered on April 20, 1875. In 1902, Lorenzo Yates wrote: “For many years some of the people of our city [Santa Barbara] were enthusiastic collectors and students of our algae, among them were the late Dr. Dimmick and Professor H. C. Ford who made extensive collections. Something over 20 years ago Dr. Dimmick had a list of the then known algae of this region printed for use as labels, of which the majority of the names were correct.” Elsa Dimmick remarried in Santa Barbara in 1892 to Alexander Grant.

May 31, 1884 [SBDI]: “Died. Dimmick. In this city, May 31st, 1884. Dr. L. N. Dimmick, a native of Pennsylvania, aged 60 years.”

In the News~

January 31, 1909 [SBMP]: “Professor Yates passes away… In 1881 at the instigation of the late Dr. Dimmick, Dr. Yates moved to this city and began the practice of dentistry. He named all the undetermined specimens embraced in the private collection of Professor H. C. Ford, Dr. Dimmick and Stephen Bowers, besides adding from his own duplication…”