Biography of Hon. Melvin Nathaniel Dyer
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HON. MELVIN NATHANIEL DYER. Prominent in the ranks of the fore-most of the brilliant circle of lawyers of Baxter County, Arkansas, stands the name of Melvin Nathaniel Dyer, who has a most thorough and practical knowledge of the complications of law. He was born near Lawrenceville, Gwinnett County Ga., in 1833, and reared in Walker County, Ga., a son of Edwin Dyer, who was a native of Virginia, and was reared on Blue Grass soil.
His father, Wiley Dyer, made fifty-three moves during his lifetime and died in Texas. He was a farmer by occupation, was quite a Nimrod in his day, and while in Kentucky, developed some salt wells, from which he netted a good income while boating up and down the Big Sandy and Ohio Rivers. In 1849 he went to Texas, where he was called from life in 1850, at about the age of seventy years. Edwin Dyer was a minister of the Missionary Baptist Church, became well known as an eminent divine, and when the subject of this sketch was a boy preached at Lafayette, Ga., Rome, Ga., and Chattanooga, Tennessee He afterward came to Arkansas and for some time preached at Mountain Home, after which he removed to Texas and died at Breckenridge in 1876, at the age of seventy years. His wife, Nancy Austin, the mother of the subject of this sketch, is still living and has attained to the advanced age of eighty-eight years. She resides in Rome, Ga. There were born to her marriage with Mr. Dyer five sons and three daughters, and four of these sons took part in the great Civil War as members of the Confederate Army. Edwin belonged to the First Arkansas Rifles, Churchill’s old regiment, and was at the battles of Oakhill, but later died from exposure. He was a graduate of the Macon Medical College. Wiley, another son, was inspector general with the rank of captain of Reynold’s brigade, was for some time a prisoner of war at Johnson’s Island; he is still living. Simpson was a member of the Dalton Guards, served in the Army of Virginia and died during the war.
In 1862 Melvin N., the subject of this sketch, joined Company E, Fortieth Georgia Infantry, but after serving with that regiment one year went into the Third Georgia Cavalry, which was a part of Wheeler’s command, and saw some hard service. At the close of the war he surrendered at Kingston, Ga. In 1856 he graduated from Mercer University, at Penfield, Ga., and after some preparation he was, in 1858, admitted to the bar, and from that time until the opening of the Civil War he was engaged in teaching school and practicing his profession. When hostilities ceased he located in Gordon County, Ga., where he taught school and operated a sawmill until 1870, when he moved to near Salem, Fulton County, Arkansas Since 1874 he has been a resident of Mountain Home and has since been a successful legal practitioner and farmer. In 1882 he was elected prosecuting attorney for the Third Judicial District, when this district was among the largest in the State, and this position he filled with marked ability until 1886. In 1861 he was married to Miss Annie Field of Georgia, by whom he has four children: Wiley M., who is an attorney and is associated with his father in the practice of law. Mr. Dyer is a Royal Arch Mason, has represented his lodge in the Grand Lodge of the State, and also belongs to the I. O. O. F., in which he is a member of the Encampment and has served as noble grand. He and his wife are members of the Missionary Baptist Church and he was very active in the organization of the Baptist College of Mountain Home. He is an excellent citizen, a shrewd lawyer and a man of much intelligence and force of character.