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Elisha Dyer
Born May 24, 1838
Died August 13, 1919
Place of Birth: Hunters’ Mill area near Vienna, Virginia
Place of Death: Herndon, Virginia
Buried: Chestnut Grove Cemetery, 831 Dranesville Road, Herndon, VA
How died: unknown
Military Service: Union Army
Military Rank: Private
Battles/engagements: Battle of Cold Harbor, First and Second Battles of the Wilderness

Elisha Dyer was the son of John Kinsey Dyer and Cynthia Ann Tuell, residents of the Hunters’ Mill area near Vienna, Virginia. In the 1860 census, Elisha was listed as 22 years old, a wheelwright, residing with carpenter Frank Smith.

Some interesting accounts of Elisha Dyer’s war experiences were recorded by his daughter in her book A Chronicle Of The Dyer-Johnson Family:

“One night when Father had been on picket duty for hours, he came back cold and wet. The Colonel said, ‘Well, did you see any rebels down there?’ Father said, ‘The woods are full of them.’ The Colonel laughed and replied, ‘You were just scared. There are none around here!’ This made Father indifferent and when the next day the Colonel took a few men and went into that section and was beaten by the 11th Alabama Regiment, Father said he felt glad of it.”

“In the first battle of the Wilderness General Howard commanded the XI Corps on the extreme right flank of the Union Army and in this corps were a large number of Germans who formerly were under the command of General Sigel, whom they admired deeply. This was the corps on which General Jackson made his surprise attack May, 1863, resulting in the defeat of General Joe Hooker. Father said the men in his company had lots of fun teasing these Germans. When they would meet one of them they would ask, ‘Why did you run?’ He would reply, ‘Me fight mit Sigel, but me run mit Howard.’”

Elisha Dyer “received the $100 bounty which was the award made for unusual bravery.”

Elisha Dyer was married to Mildred Harris Johnson on October 25, 1865 in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. by Reverend H. C. McDaniel of the Methodist Church. Elisha and Mildred had seven children.

Elisha Dyer served as both the Town Sergeant and the Mayor of Herndon for a number of years. Mr. Dyer was elected Mayor of Herndon (according to the September 6, 1907, Fairfax Herald). According to one of his daughters, he made trips to the market in Georgetown every week for eggs, butter and produce. For a time, he had a general store. (The 1880 census showed Elisha’s occupation as Huxter, which is a form of salesman or storekeeper. The 1900 census showed both Elisha and his son as Butchers.) The daughter reported that, at one time, her father owned half of the large central square in Herndon. Gradually he sold land to Mack Crippen and Dr. Ed Detwiler and others.

Quoting from the Fairfax Herald dated August 15, 1919: “Death of Mr. Elisha Dyer – Mr. Elisha Dyer an old and highly respected citizen of Herndon, died suddenly at 4 o’clock Wednesday afternoon, while sitting on the porch of his residence in that town. Mr. Dyer was a man of strong common sense, and had frequently been called to positions of honor and responsibility in his neighborhood. He was born near Hunter’s Mill, and had lived in the county all his life. He was 81 years old, and was the father of Mrs. Charles Cummins, of this town. He is survived by four children. His remains will be interred in the cemetery at Herndon, to-day, at 2 o’clock.”

Sources:
1. Schneider, L. M. (1963), A Chronicle Of The Dyer-Johnson Family, Radford, Virginia: Commonwealth Press.
2. Sprouse, E. (n.d.), Fairfax County in 1860: A Collective Biography, p. 584.
3. Unknown, (1919, August 15), “Death of Mr. Elisha Dyer”, Fairfax Herald , p. 3.
4. Ancestry.com

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Researched and written by Virginia Rita