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Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 04:06 PM   #1
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The Dillon sisters

A while back Newmark gave us this excellent post regarding the Dillon sisters:

Early sports and tennis publications such as "Lawn Tennis and Badminton" and "The Field" rarely gave the first name of a tennis player. Instead they provided just the initial of a player's first name or names. This is one of the main reasons why it is so difficult to find players' first names, let alone more detailed information on them.

Two early British tennis players, who took part in tournaments just before and after World War One, were almost always referred to as E. Dillon and M. Dillon. Sometimes E. Dillon is also referred to as "Miss E.D. Dillon". Some draws for the women's singles event at early tournaments also feature a player referred to only as "Miss A.M. Dillon". The latter player usually features in draws also featuring E.(D.) Dillon, so it can be assumed that these two players were related in some way.

The censuses of England and Wales are quite helpful and reliable where tracing early lawn tennis players is concerned, especially when it is a question of siblings. The Census of England for 1891 features the family of Robert Dillon and Minerva ("Minnie") Margaretta Dillon (née Mills). They had married in Canada in 1862. Margaretta Mills was a native of Hamilton in Ontario, while Robert Dillon had been born on the Mediterranean island of Corfu. Robert Dillon was a soldier in the British Army and appears to have travelled a good deal in this capacity.

Robert and Minnie Dillon had at least seven children – six daughters and one son, also called Robert. One of the daughters was also called Minerva ("Minnie"). Two of the daughters, Evelyn Drake Dillon and Alice Maud Dillon were twins, and had been born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in 1880. Another of the daughters was called Melita E. Dillon. It is clear that these daughters, or at least three of them, are the tennis players in question. However, it is not clear if "M. Dillon" was Minerva ("Minnie") or Melita.

Although each of the daughters was born several decades before World War One, it was relatively common for early lawn tennis players to take part in tournaments until quite an advanced age.

The following is some more detailed biographical information on the four abovementioned Dillon daughters:

Dillon, Alice Maud

Born circa November 1880 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
Died 3 July 1949 in Saint Mary Abbots Hospital, London, England

Did not marry.

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Dillon, Evelyn Drake
Born circa November 1880 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
Died 8 October 1951 in Kensington, London, England

Married Lancelot Joseph Hicks on 3 November 1916 in Rangoon, Bengal, India; he died on 21 April 1922 in India.

--

Dillon, Melita Edith Almeria
Born 1867 or 1868 in Saint Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands
Died 11 January 1956 in Folkestone, Kent, England

Did not marry.
--

Dillon, Minerva (“Minnie”) Marguerite
Born circa November 1870 in Clifton, Bristol, England
Died 23 April 1962 in Harold’s Cross, Dublin, Ireland

Did not marry.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 04:10 PM   #2
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Re: The Dillon sisters

Up to now we have been able to fill in "Evelyn" for E. Dillon. M. Dillon has been problematic due to the many candidates.

My question is this-are we sure there were three Dillon sisters who played tennis? Could it have been only two?

I ask because Alan Little's book gives us "Maud Dillon" for the lady we had as "M. Dillon."

It seems to me that this=Alice Maud Dillon, who must have preferred her middle name to her first. The other strong factor going on are the ages of the ladies. As twins Evelyn and Alice Maud would have been matural companions.

Melita and Minnie were considerably older.

Is my theory plausible-or do we have an event with 3 Dillons in it? Thoughts?
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