Dike, Charles Franklin Jr.

Charles Franklin (aka Frank) Dike, Jr., the son of Charles Franklin Dike and Fanny Hammond, was born on December 16, 1876 in Crystal Lake, Illinois.  He met and eventually married Ethel Matilda Wilcox shortly after he came east from Missouri to live with his uncle.

Charles and Ethel’s only child was Miriam Jennette Dike.

Frank’s mid-western family roots were in farming – they were sturdy, steadfast people with Dutch/English descent and hardy, stoic constitutions.  He, different it seems, preferred reading and study to nature’s bounty.  Growing up, Frank dutifully performed his chores alongside three sisters, but he hated farming and disappointed his father by fleeing the family legacy after high school, for job and college dreams in the east.

In Norwalk, he sold eggs door to door, saved his earnings, and took six years to work his way through and graduate from Yale as a mining engineer.

After Yale graduation, Frank took a position as a silver mine foreman and later as a manager/owner in several silver and gold mining locations, including a brief time in Mexico.  Frank and Ethel were engaged for four long years, an embarrassment to Ethel in those days when women were married young and life spans were shorter.  But he had hoped to save $10,000 before their marriage so he could ‘properly care for her,’ and she agreed to wait.  That sum was never realized when they married in July of 1909.

The Dike’s first move was to the wilds of northern Canada, where Ethel was the only woman in a mining camp of 125 men.  Miriam Jenette (Grammy) was conceived there, and Grandma came home to Norwalk to have her October baby (their only child) at the ripe ‘old’ age of 29.  Mother and daughter waited out the frigid winter of 1913-14 in Connecticut before returning to Canada, and shortly thereafter, his work took them to the mountains of Cripple Creek, Colorado.  After the Colorado years, they spent the remainder of their lives together in Joplin, Missouri, from which location he managed and shared ownership of mines in several states, until, in his early sixties, he became ill and died in Wallingford, Pennsylvania.

His granddaughter remembers little about her Grandpa, since she was so young when he died.  But knows he cherished lovely things and brought back to Grandma from his Mexico work-period some fine handmade table linens which remain perfect even now.  The story is also told that he was generous and kind-hearted to a fault – such that, by the time he died, he had loaned so much to his needy employees (without expectation of repayment) that Grandma was left financially, as well as emotionally, bereft.


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