The Albany Hand-book of 1881 reported that not only was State Street then a crowded market, but it was home to all sorts of auctions.
“The principal auction houses are on State st., and many sales are conducted in the middle of that accommodating thoroughfare, the city ordinances providing that bulky articles may be so disposed of, provided they do not interrupt travel, are not placed within ten feet of a cross-walk, and are removed one hour after the sale. The auction ‘audiences’ are always interesting to the student of human nature. The leading auctioneer in the city is Mr. John S. Dickerman, who, for over twenty-one years, has followed the business, winning, by tact peculiarly his own, a reputation by no means confined to the city of which he is a prominent citizen. His salesrooms, 83 State st., under Tweddle Hall, are commodious and convenient, and well adapted to the display of any goods, wares or merchandise which are usually sold in leading auction houses in large cities. The General, by long experience, has a thorough knowledge of his business, which, by honorable dealing, good nature and courtesy, has been made a success. Fine works of art, in the shape of oil paintings, statuary, bronzes, &c., are sold periodically. Imported goods from Eastern countries are also disposed of, and large sales of first-class new furniture are made in the season. Real estate, stocks and city bonds, help to make up the variety of sales made by Gen. Dickerman. Quite often he is called to other cities to officiate at important important sales, and several of the city churches here avail themselves of his experience in making annual sales of pew rentals.”
General John Dickerman served in the National Guard of the State of New York for many years; in 1877 he was involved guarding the West Albany yards during the Great Railroad Strike. He appears to have resigned his commission the following year. He is, of course, buried in Albany Rural Cemetery.