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It is named after its founder, George Washington Dickinson. Dickinson was founded in 1837 by George W. Dickinson on land he purchased from the Austin Colony's "Third Preemption Act" of 1831 and settled by John Boddie, who arrived in Galveston aboard a ship carrying immigrants from Ireland to Texas. The town was originally called "Boddie", but it changed its name to "Dickinson" when the post office opened in 1840 because there were already several other towns with that name across the state of Texas; including one near San Antonio and another near Nacogdoches (the latter now known as Roby). In 1850, William Hildebrand bought out most of his partners' shares for $10 each; this included all but two lots owned by Mr. Richard Ellinger (who had also been a partner) and Mr Dickerson himself who sold his interest for $100 cash plus an additional lot valued at $50 which he retained ownership over until his death years later at age 90+.