Sunday, March 1, 2015

William & Charlotte Dwyer

March 7th marks 127 years since the death of Charlotte (Reister) Dwyer, and March 25th marks 145 years since the death of her husband, William Dwyer.
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them and shall lead them into living fountains of waters and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. Forty years a member of the Methodist Church

He sleeps in Jesus and is blessed
How sweet his slumbers are
From suffering and from sin released
And freed from every care
William Dwyer was born on October 9, 1790 in North Carolina, the son of Dennis and Winefred Dwyer.  During the War of 1812, he served as a private in Captain John Montgomery's Company of the Baltimore Union Artillery, enlisting on August 19, 1814.  From his pension file, William was described as being about 5 feet, 6 inches tall, with blue eyes, black hair, and a dark complexion.

In April of 1818, William married Ann Susannah Hughes.  The couple had one daughter, Elizabeth, who was born circa 1827.  Elizabeth was barely a teenager when Ann passed away, on November 21, 1840.
Charlotte Reister was born on October 9, 1802, the daughter of John Reister III and Helen Chapman.  Along with several of her unmarried sisters, Charlotte lived with her parents on land passed down in the Reister family.  In 1822, "in consideration of the natural love and affection" and "for the better maintenance support livelihood and preferment of them," Charlotte's father in turn deeded property to his seven children: Charlotte, Elizabeth, Margaret, Caroline, James, Jesse, and Annie.  Their house on Main Street likely dated back to the late 1700s, shortly before John and Helen were married.
William Dwyer and Charlotte Reister were married on August 26, 1845.  By then, William was nearly 55 years old, and had been a widower for almost five years.  In the 1850 census, William was a farmer, and owned $1,200 worth of real estate.
On May 28, 1855, William applied for bounty land for his service during the War of 1812, which he later sold.  By the 1860 census, William's real estate was valued at $1,600, and he was still listed as a farmer.  Also living in the household with him and Charlotte was his granddaughter, Emma Thomas (see the blog post from August 2013), who was apparently counted twice in the census that year;  she was also listed in her parents' household.  The family employed a servant, Rebecca Bristol.
William Dwyer passed away on March 25, 1870 at the age of 79.
William Dwyer's Signature
The following year, Charlotte sold 45 acres of William's land to the Emory Grove Meeting Association and moved back to the Reister home on Main Street.  Only her younger sister Margaret was still living there;  sisters Caroline and Annie had passed away, sister Elizabeth had married and moved away, and brothers James and Jesse had moved out west.  The 1877 map of Reisterstown labeled the house as the residence of the "Misses Reisters", even though Charlotte was a widow.
Charlotte's sister Margaret passed away later that same year, on December 20th, so the 1880 census shows Charlotte living on her own, and even described her that way, in place of listing an occupation - "widow living alone".
Two years prior, on June 10, 1878, Charlotte had applied for a widow's pension for William's service during the War of 1812.  Her application was approved, and on January 27, 1879, she was granted a pension of $8 per month.  At some point, the pension amount increased, as her last payment, on December 4, 1887, was for $12.
Charlotte Dwyer passed away on March 7, 1888 at the age of 85, the last surviving child of her parents John and Helen.  At her death, she was the last person born with the name Reister to own any of the original Reister land.  As Charlotte had no children of her own, her will left her family home to William's granddaughter Emma Thomas Shriver.
Charlotte Dwyer's Signature
Unfortunately, the condition of the Reister home had deteriorated so much that it was torn down last year.  The property, on the corner of Bond Avenue, remains empty.

Sources: (census records & map)

  • Year: 1850; Census Place: District 1, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M432_280; Page: 223A.
  • Year: 1860; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: M653_468; Page: 47.
  • Year: 1880; Census Place: District 4, Baltimore, Maryland; Roll: 495; Page: 567A.
Baltimore Sun
  • "Died." Date: 8 March 1888; Page: 2. 
  • "Baltimore County."  Date: 21 March 1888; Page: 6. (marriage records)

Fold3 (pension file)

Internet Archive
Maryland Archives (land records & Historic Sites Inventory Survey)

Reisterstown Library

  • Reister's Desire by Lillian Bayly Marks, 1975.
Cemetery photos © AgateGS

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