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Monday, March 3, 2014

52 Ancestors: #7 Michael Dyer

My 3rd-great-grandfather Michael Dyer was born about 1829 in County Roscommon, Ireland. On 23 March 1853 in Nashville, Tennessee, he renounced allegiance to Queen Victoria (Davidson County Naturalization Records 1803-1906, abstracted by Mary Sue Smith. Nashville, Tennessee: Byron Sistler & Associates, 1997, page 43). Two other men from Ireland, John Duggan and Michael Allen, also renounced allegiance to Queen Victoria on the same day; I wonder if the three of them went to the court together. By 1859, Michael Dyer was living in St. Louis, Missouri. In the 1860 United States census, he was enumerated with his Irish-born wife Mary and baby daughter Mary. He lived at south side Cooper, at the corner of Pratte Av. and Summit, and was a laborer. In the same household were Martin Wallace and his wife Anne, who were also born in Ireland, and their children Sarah, William, Ellen, and James. I do not know if the families were related, but I suspect that Mary Dyer and Anne Wallace may have been sisters, based on their ages and the names of the children.

By 1863 Michael Dyer was back in Nashville with his family. His daughter Sarah Claire "Sadie" Dyer (my great-great-grandmother) was born there on 8 October 1863. In January 1866, he left Nashville. His wife Mary placed a "Missing Friends" advertisement in the Boston Pilot on 6 October 1866. This advertisement provided me with the information about his county of birth. He eventually returned to Nashville; his son Michael J. Dyer was born about 1868, and he is listed in the 1869 Nashville city directory. He ran a saloon on S. Market and also worked as a blacksmith.

On 3 June 1870, Michael Dyer committed suicide. He had been drinking heavily, and he shot himself in the head. An account of his death in the Nashville Republican Banner, 5 June 1870, stated that "Dyer was known as a hard case and treated his family with great severity." However, I think it is worth noting that before he committed suicide, he drove his family to a neighbor's home. His family did not have to witness his suicide, or hear the gunshot. If they had, surely they would have been even more traumatized.

There was a coroner's inquest. I am hoping that the record of this inquest survives, but I have not yet been able to locate it.

An account of Michael Dyer's death is available online:
Nashville Union and American, 5 June 1870, image 4

Nashville Republican Banner, 5 June 1870, page 4

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