Major William H. Dike was born in 1813 at Pittsford, Vermont. From age 13 to 18, he lived with two uncles in Crown Point, New York, where he clerked in their business. Dike was entrusted to oversee the lumbering and mercantile part of their business for several years. In the spring of 1857, he moved to Faribault, and commenced banking, real estate and milling businesses with other businessmen. In April 1861, at the onset of the Civil War, Dike raised a company in two days for the First Regiment, was made Captain of Company H, and was made Major before leaving the state. His company fought at Bull Run. He resigned in October 1861 to tend to his private business. For a brief time starting in 1868, Dike was cashier of the First National Bank.