The story of the Alabama Colony and its pivotal role in the formation of what is now Madera County is well known. Likewise, the history of Refuge, the Mordecai Ranch as it was later called, is similarly well documented.
The roles of the major participants in this slice of local history have also been abundantly explored with one exception — James Phillips Dixon.
We know that those pioneers who settled the Alabama Colony came in 1868. We know that among the first to arrive were two brothers from Mississippi, Harry and Jimmy Dixon, who founded Refuge and were joined by the rest of their family in 1870.
Harry, however, didn’t stay on the land long. Within a year he went to Millerton and got himself elected County Clerk. That left Jimmy to till the soil of Refuge until the rest of the Dixons arrived two years later...