Elisha Dyer

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This article is about the father. For the son, see Elisha Dyer, Jr.
Elisha Dyer
RI Governor Elisha Dyer.jpg
Official Rhode Island State House portrait by James Sullivan Lincoln
25th Governor of Rhode Island
In office
May 26, 1857 – May 31, 1859
Lieutenant Governor Thomas G. Turner
Preceded by William W. Hoppin
Succeeded by Thomas G. Turner
Personal details
Born (1811-07-20)July 20, 1811
Newport, Rhode Island
Died May 17, 1890(1890-05-17) (aged 78)
Resting place Swan Point Cemetery
Political party Whig
Spouse(s) Anna Jones Hoppin
Children Elisha Dyer, Jr.
Residence Providence, Rhode Island
Alma mater Brown University
Profession Merchant
Religion Episcopalian

Elisha Dyer (July 20, 1811 – May 17, 1890) was an American politician and the 25th Governor of Rhode Island.

Early life[edit]

Dyer was born in Providence, Rhode Island on July 20, 1811 to an old New England family which traced its Dyer ancestry back to William Dyer who came to Boston in 1635 from London.[1] Dyer's father was an extensive real estate owner also named Elisha Dyer, and his mother was Francis Jones.[1]

Elisha Dyer entered Brown University at age fourteen, and graduated in 1829.[1] After completing his studies, he worked in his father’s mercantile business, Elisha Dyer and Co.

Dyer married Anna Jones Hoppin, daughter of Thomas C. Hoppin, at the Beneficent Congregational Church in Providence, on October 8, 1833.[1] Anna came from a political family; her grandfather was Governor William Jones and her cousin was Governor William W. Hoppin.[1] Elisha and Anna had seven children, one of whom, Elisha Dyer, Jr. also became Governor.[1]

Dyer was a member of the Episcopal Church, and attended the Grace Church in Providence.[1]

Political career[edit]

During his life, he was variously associated with the Temperance Party, the Whig Party, and the Republican Party.[1] For example, he was a member of the Whig State Convention in 1851-1855.[1]

In 1840, Dyer was elected Adjutant General of Rhode Island. He held that position for five years. He then served on the Providence School Committee for over a decade.

He served as the governor of Rhode Island from May 26, 1857 to May 31, 1859, as a Republican.

Civil War service[edit]

During the Civil War, Dyer was the captain of Company B of the 10th Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry. He served on active duty from May 23 to September 1, 1862 in the defenses of Washington, D.C.

Post war[edit]

He was appointed Rhode Island’s commissioner to the International Exhibition at London in 1871. He also was President and Director of the Exchange Bank and Second Vice President of the Rhode Island Art Association, and a member of the United States Agricultural Society. Dyer became a member of the Rhode Island Historical Society in 1837, and served on their board of trustees from 1845-1848.[1] He was a director of the Swan Point Cemetery in 1860. He was a member and director of the Providence Athenaeum.[1] He was also an active member of the Freemasons.[1]

On March 5, 1884, Dyer was elected as a Veteran Companion of the Massachusetts Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States and was issued insignia number 3163.

In later life, Dyer became an invalid.[1] Still, he managed to travel extensively across the Atlantic, even visiting Egypt.[1] He also became a popular public speaker.[1]

He died on May 17, 1890 and is interred in Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island.[2]


"The Falconer" is a memorial to Dyer.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island. 1. J.H. Beers & Company. 1908. pp. 2–4. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  2. ^ "Notable Persons Interred at Swan Point Cemetery". Swan Point Cemetery. Retrieved March 26, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Self-Guided Tour of Notable Art" (PDF). Roger Williams Park. The Roger Williams Park Consevancy. Retrieved 19 April 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Sobel, Robert and John Raimo. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978. Greenwood Press, 1988. ISBN 0-313-28093-2

Political offices
Preceded by
William W. Hoppin
Governor of Rhode Island
Succeeded by
Thomas G. Turner