John S. Dwyer


1860 United States census records show John Dwyer (age 8), living with his parents Timothy (age 40) and Bridget Dwyer (age 26), in Silver Creek Township of Greene County, Ohio. His siblings were Thomas (age 6), Dennis (age 4), and William (age 2).

1870 United States census records show John Dwyer (age 17) living with his mother Bridget Dwyer (age 33), in Silver Creek Township of Greene County, Ohio. His siblings were Thomas (age 15), Dennis (age 14), Timothy (age 10), James (age 6), Andrew (age 5), Mary (age 3), and Bridget (age 5 months).

1880 United States census records show John Dwyer (age 27, farmer, born in Ohio) living with his mother Bridget (age 45, born in Ireland) in Silver Creek Township of Greene County, Ohio. His siblings were Thomas (age 25, born in Ohio), Dennis (age 23, born in Ohio), Timothy (age 19, born in Ohio), James (age 17, born in Ohio), Andrew (age 15, born in Ohio), and Bridget (age 11, born in Ohio).

Wedding Chimes. This morning at 10 o’clock, in St. Michael’s church, Mr. John S. Dwyer and Miss Mary Hogan, both of East Grand Forks, were united in the holy bonds of wedlock, Deputy Sheriff Dennis Dwyer, a brother of the groom and Miss Katie Sullivan accompanied the happy pair to the altar. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Father Lawlor, of Fisher, Minn. The newly married couple are well and favorably known here, the groom being a successful farmer in Medford township (Walsh County, Dakota Territory), and is also the senior member of the firm of Dwyer Bros., of East Grand Forks. The bride is a sister of Mrs. J. E. Sullivan, is young and comely, and a general favorite in a wide circle of friends. After the ceremony the bridal party repaired to the home of James E. Sullivan, where the marriage feast had been duly prepared by loving hands. The couple left on the afternoon train for Moorhead, where several days will be spent in visiting friends of Mr. Dwyer. The HERALD extends its best wishes. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Wednesday Evening, July 1, 1885, Volume 7, Number 204, Page 1)

John S. Dwyer reached the city on Saturday last from his farm in Medford (Dakota) township, and notwithstanding the fact that he was soon to be immolated on Hymen’s altar, he wore the same placid smile he was wont to wear before he succumbed to the inevitable. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Friday Evening, July 3, 1885, Volume 7, Number 206, Page 4)

Mr. and Mrs. John S. Dwyer returned from their wedding tour on Monday last, and will be the guests of James E. Sullivan for a few days, when they will move out to Medford, Dak. By the way, John now advises all his bachelor friends to go and do as he has done. For our part, we’ll think the matter over, but would like to hear from the happy groom on this subject again – when the honeymoon is o’er. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Friday Evening, July 10, 1885, Volume 7, Number 211, Page 4)

John S. Dwyer was the first mayor of East Grand Forks, Minnesota, from 1887 to 1888. The mayoral term was one year.

Page 260. JOHN S. DWYER, who is engaged in the livery business in East Grand Forks, Minnesota, is a native of Ohio. He was born in Green county, Ohio, on the 10th day October, 1853, and is the son of Timothy and Bridget (Kavanaugh) Dwyer, natives of Ireland. Mr. Dwyer, the subject of this article, spent his early life on his father’s farm and attended the public schools. At the age of twenty-one years, his father died, and he was appointed executor of the estate and was engaged four years in clearing up the accounts. At the expiration of the four years, Mr. Dwyer engaged in farming and trading until 1881. On the 2d of September, 1881, he removed to Minnesota and settled in Moorhead, Clay county, where he remained four months, engaged in various occupations. He then returned to Ohio, and in 1882 again returned to Minnesota, accompanied by his brother Dennis, of whom a sketch appears in

Page 261. another department of this ALBUM. They both settled in Grand Forks, Dakota Territory, and remained for a few weeks, and then took government land in Walsh county, Dakota Territory. They remained on their farms until December, 1882, and then settled in East Grand Forks, Polk county, Minnesota, where they found employment in a livery stable, remaining at such work for a year or two. During that time they also engaged to some extent in farming, and then went into the livery business. In addition to their livery interests, they are now handling all kinds of farming implements and heavy machinery and are doing an extensive and successful business. John S. Dwyer, of whom this article treats, was married in Grand Forks, Dakota Territory, on the 1st day of July, 1885, to Miss Mary Hogan, and this union has been blessed with the following children – Timothy Joseph, born August 18, 1886, and Mary Villa, born on the 26th day of September, 1887. Mr. Dwyer is one of the successful business men of East Grand Forks, and is highly esteemed by all who know him. In political matters he affiliates with the democratic party. East Grand Forks was incorporated as a city in February, 1887. On the 1st of April following, the first municipal election was held and the subject of this sketch was elected mayor after a hot contest. Declining to run for office the following spring, left him at liberty to accept the office of city justice, to which he was appointed in June, 1888. Mr. Dwyer is a strict temperance man and a capable business man. (Illustrated Album of Biography of the Famous Valley of the Red River of the North and the Park Regions, Alden, Ogle & Company, Chicago, 1889)

The Grand Forks Directory for 1889-92 showed John S. Dwyer and Dennis Dwyer as business partners called Dwyer Brothers. Other directories showed Dwyer Brothers, dealers in agricultural implements, at ten and twelve North Third Street, Grand Forks. (Charles Pettibone & Co. Directory)

1895 Minnesota census records show John Dwyer (age 40, justice of the peace, born in Ohio) married to May (age 34). Their children were T. J. (age 8, born in Minnesota), Vilba (age 7, born in Minnesota), Della (age 6, born in Minnesota), Pearl (age 4, born in Minnesota), and John (age 1, born in Minnesota). The family resided in East Grand Forks, Minnesota.

J. S. Dwyer, of East Grand Forks, is at the Clarendon. (The Saint Paul Globe, Wednesday Morning, March 24, 1897, Volume XX, Number 83, Page 2)

1900 United States census records show John Dwyer (age 46, widowed, Polk County register of deeds, born in Ohio) living in Crookston, Minnesota. His children at time were Timothy J. (age 15, born in Minnesota), Vilba D. (age 12, born in Minnesota), Della M. (age 11, born in Minnesota), and John P. (age 6, born in Minnesota).

In 1886-87, largely through the efforts of W. C. Nash, the state legislature passed an act providing for a special charter, under which the city was incorporated in March, 1887. The first election was held April 5, 1887. (History of the Red River Valley Past and Present, Volume II, C. F. Cooper & Company, Chicago, 1909, Page 647)

First Mayor of EGF Took Office in 1887. A 29-year-old man, John S. Dwyer, was elected the first mayor of East Grand Forks in the election of April, 1887, 75 years ago. He defeated W. C. Nash, his opponent, by 76 to 46 votes. Dwyer was a native of Jamestown, Ohio, and came to East Grand Forks in 1882. He farmed and was in the implement livery business for a number of years. After serving only one year as mayor, he was a city justice for seven years, then was county coroner for four years and finally county register of deeds. Dwyer, the city’s first mayor, also moved to the West Coast and lived in Washington. (Grand Forks Herald, Wednesday, August 1, 1962, Volume 82, Number 275, Page 16)

Death Notice. John Dwyer, 73 years old, King County Home, May 22. (The Seattle Daily Times, Tuesday, May 31, 1927, Page 24)


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