John Dix was born with an adventure-seeking spirit. Within a year after of his father's death, he shipped out at the age of 16 on a privateer during the War of 1812. That led to him joining the South Pacific merchant trade, and becoming Captain of his own ship. When it was accidentally wrecked in New Zealand, he returned to America, married a girl from Gloucester, Massachusetts, and founded Dixboro in Michigan Territory, and never went to sea again. Ten years later, Dix once more got the urge to move. He ended up in Stephen Austin's Texas Colony, where he fought in the initial battles of the Texas War for Independence at San Antonio de Bexar. During the Civil War, as loyal Unionists in secessionist Texas, Dix and his wife suffered until war's end. That was when he was sworn-in as the County Judge and became the Nueces County Assistant Agent for the Freedmen's Bureau, a position held until his death in 1870, where he helped former slaves make the transition to becoming useful American citizens.