Dyer, Thomas (Chicago Mayor)

Born: 1805-01-10 Connecticut

Died: 1862-06-06 Middletown, Connecticut

Flourished: 1836 to 1858 Chicago, Illinois

Thomas Dyer, merchant and public official, was born in Canton, Connecticut. He left home at a young age to seek his fortune, and eventually settled for a time in Augusta, Georgia, where between 1825 and 1836, he traded in manufactured goods from his native state. In the latter year, Dyer relocated to Chicago and continued in the mercantile line, as well as packing and shipping grain. Following nomination by President James K. Polk, Dyer was confirmed as receiver of public monies at Chicago early in 1846. He served as president of the Chicago Chamber of Commerce in 1848 and was also a director of the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad Company. Politically, Dyer was a Democrat and a friend and political ally of Stephen A. Douglas. He represented Cook County in the Illinois House of Representatives, 1851-1852, and served a single one-year term as mayor of Chicago beginning in 1856. Dyer was a delegate at the 1852 and 1856 Democratic National Conventions. In 1858 he ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House of Representatives. Dyer was in Washington, DC when the Civil War began, and as a supporter of the Union, he quickly joined Cassius M. Clay’s volunteer force defending the capital. Dyer was married twice, first to Adaline Hopkins in 1827 and second to Elizabeth Sebor de Koven Hubbard in 1844. He was survived by one son from his first marriage.

A. T. Andreas, History of Chicago (Chicago: A. T. Andreas, 1884), 1:622; Connecticut, U.S., Town Marriage Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection), 19 July 1827, Harwinton (Lehi, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, 2006); Helen Beach, comp., The Descendants of Jacob Sebor 1709-1793 (n.p.: n.p., 1923), 18; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Ward 1, Chicago, Cook County, IL, 147; Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America(Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1887), 7:19, 25-26; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 218; Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 11, 142; Chicago Daily Tribune (IL), 11 June 1862, 4:2; Hartford Daily Courant (CT), 11 June 1862, 2:3; Gravestone, Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, IL.