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Dickerson, Mahlon (17 April 1770–05 October 1853), New Jersey political leader, secretary of the navy, and iron mine operator, was born in Hanover Neck, Morris County, New Jersey, the son of Jonathan Dickerson and Mary Coe. Dickerson’s father owned substantial property in Morris County, including an iron mine that Dickerson later inherited. The younger Dickerson grew up privileged. He enjoyed preparatory school near home, and further education at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University). Graduating from Princeton in 1789, Dickerson studied law in Morristown and in 1793 was admitted to the local bar. Although his political leanings were strongly favorable to the nascent Jeffersonian-Republican cause, Dickerson volunteered for duty in militias organized to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 in western Pennsylvania. Although perhaps motivated by visions of military glory, Dickerson saw no direct action....