Born in Hatfield, Massachusetts, Dickinson attended the public schools and Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts from 1818 to 1821. He studied law with Gustavus Swan of Columbus, Ohio.
He was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Tiffin, Ohio. He was appointed prosecuting attorney for Seneca County in 1824, for Williams County in 1826, and for Sandusky County in 1827. He moved to Lower Sandusky, Ohio, in 1826.
Dickinson was elected as a Democrat to the Thirtieth and Thirty-first Congresses and served from March 4, 1847, until his death in Washington, District of Columbia, on March 20, 1849.
He was interred in Washington, District of Columbia He was reinterred in Oakwood Cemetery (Fremont, Ohio).
Member Ohio Board of Public Works, 1836-1845. Member United States House