American soldier; born at Alzey, Germany, Oct. 9, 1807; died in Louisville, Ky., 1883. At an early age he went with his parents to Baltimore. Dyer was self-educated. In the early part of his career he worked in his father's beef-packing establishment (the first in America). As a young man he enjoyed great popularity with the citizens of Baltimore, and filled a number of minor public offices. When the great Baltimore bread riots broke out, he was elected acting mayor, and through his intervention order was soon restored. While Dyer was engaged in business in New Orleans in 1836, Texas called for aid in her struggle for independence. Dyer was at that time quartermaster-general of the state militia of Louisiana. With several hundred citizens of New Orleans he embarked at once on a schooner bound for Galveston, arriving two days after the battle of San Jacinto. He received a commission as major in the Texas forces, signed by the first president, Burnett. The Louisiana contingent was assigned to the force of Gen. Thomas Jefferson Green, and saw active service clearing western Texas of bands of plundering Mexican troops. When Santa Anna was taken from Galveston to Washington, Major Dyer accompanied the guard, and Santa Anna's autograph letter thanking Dyer for courtesies received on the journey testifies to the general's gratitude.
Dyer's natural talent and strong patriotic feeling won him the confidence of ante-bellum statesmen, and in Van Buren's administration he was chosen to be the bearer of despatches to the Prussian government. Dyer saw extended service in the United States army. He was on General Scott's staff in the Florida campaign against Osceola, the Seminole chief, and was wounded in the neck in the final battle which ended in Osceola's defeat and subsequent capture. During the Mexican war Dyer, then with the rank of colonel, was appointed quartermaster-general by Gen. Winfield Scott.
In 1848 Colonel Dyer crossed the plains to California, and settled in San Francisco, where he founded a congregation—the first on the Pacific coast. Before his departure from Baltimore he had been presented with a medal by the community of that city (1847).
- Records of the City of Galveston, 1888;
- Encyclopedia of the New West, 1886;
- Publications Am. Jew. Hist. Soc. No. 2, 1894.