Tom Hyer

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Tom Hyer

Tom Hyer (January 1, 1819 – June 26, 1864) was an American bare-knuckle boxer. He was a champion of boxing in America from September 9, 1841 to 1851.

Hyer was born in New York in 1819. His father Jacob had also been a prizefighter. Hyer was recognized as a champion of boxing after a 101-round victory over Country McCloskey at Caldwell's Landing New York on September 9, 1841. He did not fight again for nearly ten years.

Hyer defeated James Ambrose, also known as "Yankee" Sullivan in the 16th round at Still Pond Creek, Maryland on February 7, 1849. The fight lasted 17 minutes, 18 seconds and Hyer won a $10,000 purse. This was a widely publicized boxing match at the time and helped to ignite the sport's popularity. Hyer retired in 1851. While he challenged other fighters, he never fought again. Yankee Sullivan claimed Hyer's title in 1851 based on Hyer's retirement.

Hyer died in 1864, with a reported cause of death as "cardiac dropsy".[1]

Tom married Emma Beke (b abt 1818-d. Aug.1898) of Maine and had one daughter, Charlotte (b Sacco, Maine, March 9, 1849—d. March 1909), who later married a Floyd Grant (d.Aug 1916). Charlotte and Floyd had a daughter May Rankin Grant, (d.Mar.1934) who married Charles R Davis (d. Oct, 1946). All are interred with Tom at the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (27 June 1864) Death of "Tom Hyer", The New York Times, Retrieved November 8, 2010
  2. ^ "The Life and Times of Tom Hyer, by Peter Gammie, New York History, April 1994, New York State Historical Association
  • Washington Post; November 26, 1905; "Tom Hyer the Great Pug. Monarch of the Prize Ring Fifty Years Ago. John Morrissey Feared Him. Endeavors to Bring the Two Together in a Fistic Combat Failed. Hyer Would Have Taken All the Heavy-weight Champions Up to and Including Sullivan Into Camp. There has recently been some discussion of the merits of the fighters who graced or disgraced the war time era of the United States and the early Victorian era of England. This discussion has borne largely upon the merits of Tom Hyer, Yankee Sullivan, and John Morrissey."
Preceded by
Heavyweight boxing champion
Succeeded by
Yankee Sullivan