The Dikeman family was a close
neighbor of the John E. Earle family on
Lafayette Avenue in early Grand Rapids.
Aaron Dikeman lived in his native town of Norwalk until reaching
his majority, when he moved to New York City, and embarked in the jewelry business. He
carried on this business in that city for twenty years, with uninterrupted success.
Closing up his affairs in New York, he emigrated to Michigan, and settled in what is
now Grand Rapids, arriving there in May, 1837. Here he again engaged in the jewelry
business, opening the first establishment of that kind in the state north of the Michigan
Dikeman continued in this occupation in Grand Rapids until 1867, and during this long
period was seldom absent a day from his bench. During this time he built up a large trade,
established a high reputation for an honorable businessman, and after fifty years of
unremitting toil, he retired in May, 1867, with a fair fortune and hosts of friend as his
reward. At the time of his retiring he was the oldest jeweler working at the trade in the
United States, being seventy-one years of age.
In 1855, Mr. Dikeman became largely interested in the steamboat navigation of the Grand
River. In that year he built the steamer "Empire," and run her on the lower
river line between Grand Rapids and Grand Haven.
Mr. Dikeman was elected county treasurer of Kent County, in November 1838, and the
abilities with which he performed the duties of that office can be best adduced from the
fact that he held for three successive terms. In 1849, he was elected supervisor of the
township of Grand Rapids, which then included the village of Kent, now the City of Grand
Rapids. He was chosen alderman of the third ward of that city in 1852, and his public life
closed with the expiration of his term of as alderman.
Mr. Dikeman became a member of Phoenix Lodge, No. 4, Free and Accepted Masons of New
York city, in 1823, and he was one of the first officers and charter members of Grand
River lodge, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has been identified with this order for over
fifty years, and enjoys the full esteem of his brother Masons.
Being one of the pioneers of northwestern Michigan, he had unbounded faith in the
future growth and prosperity of the Grand River valley, and he has ever worked with both
his mind and means for its development. In its infancy, he prophesied a glorious future
for it, and time has proved how correct his foresight was, as he now finds himself
surrounded by as beautiful and prosperous a country as our truly great State can boast of.
On the 14th of February, 1822, Mr. Dikeman married Miss Susanna Butler, of Norwalk, CT,
and on the 14th of the same month, 1872, they celebrated their golden wedding, at their
residence on Fulton Street, Grand Rapids.
Now at the advanced age of seventy-nine, Mr. Dikeman, in a happy home, with a fair
fortune and surrounded by his children, grand children, and hosts of friends, is enjoying
the closing years of an active and prosperous life.
!Tuttle, Charles Richard, General History of
the State of Michigan with Biographical Sketches;
(1874) pp. 413-415