Dorsey Murdock Dixon was born in the mill town of Darlington, SC, in October 1897, the first son ‎in a family that eventually numbered seven....‎
Leaving school in the fourth grade, Dorsey Dixon began his long career as a textile worker at the ‎age of 12 in the mill where his older sister Nancy was already employed. Nancy had begun work as ‎a spinner at the age of eight. She earned less than half a dollar a week....
Howard, Dorsey's younger brother... followed him into the mills at the age of ten and remained a ‎fixer until his death in 1961. During World War I, both brothers were employed as signalmen on the ‎Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. Laid off in 1919, they were forced to return to mill-work.‎
Two years after he began work, Dorsey started to learn the guitar; and about the same time he began ‎to learn the violin... Later, when Howard was also playing the guitar, the brothers formed a fiddle-‎guitar duet and played at local functions around Rockingham, where the family were now living.‎
Surprisingly, it was not until he was 32 that Dorsey wrote his first song. This was "The School ‎House Fire"... based on a Cleveland, SC, tragedy in 1923, in which 76 children died. Howard set the ‎words to the tune of "Life's Railway To Heaven," and the brothers performed the song as a vocal ‎duet. Realising that he had a talent for composition, Dorsey began to create the songs which so well ‎reveal the feelings of a hard-working, God-fearing millhand.‎

fonte: MIKE PARIS, "The Dixons of South Carolina," Old Time Music 10, Autumn 1973, London, ‎GB, p. 13.‎

http://www.folkarchive.de/dixon.html