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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Matthew Dwyer

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 273-274 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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For thirty-one years Matthew Dwyer has concentrated his attention upon the practice of law and has won recognition as one of the foremost attorneys of Amsterdam, his native city. He was born July 18, 1868, is a worthy son of a distinguished sire, and bears a name that has long been an honored one in the history of the city. His father, John F. Dwyer, was a native of Ireland. He was born June 20, 1837, and during his boyhood his parents migrated to Canada, settling in Quebec. Subsequently he came to the States, locating in Troy, New York, where he remained until 1854. He served an apprenticeship to the plumber's trade, which he followed in various places, and in June, 1860, came to Amsterdam. He was an expert in that line of work and by capable management and honorable dealing built up a large plumbing business in the city, maintaining his office and shop on Chuctanunda street. The business was continued until about 1898, when he retired. Mr. Dwyer was chosen overseer of the poor in 1900. He was reelected in 1901 and was returned to the office in 1903. Owing to ill health he was obliged to decline further political honors. Previous to that time he had filled other important offices, acting as a village trustee of Amsterdam for three years, and was treasurer of the joint board of Amsterdam and Port Jackson at the time the new bridge was erected. In politics Mr. Dwyer was a stanch democrat and his election to various public positions showed plainly the faith placed in his sound business principles by the voters of this city. He was mayor of Amsterdam in 1890, and in 1891 represented Montgomery county in the state assembly; was chairman of the civil service board and was chosen to act as its secretary. He was deeply interested in everything that touched the welfare and progress of his city and acquitted himself with dignity, fidelity and honor in every office to which he was called. He was one of the founders of the Amsterdam City Hospital and served on its first board of trustees and was one of the charter members of the Amsterdam board of trade.

Inspired by the spirit of patriotism John F. Dwyer offered his aid to the federal government when the country became involved in civil warfare, enlisting in August, 1862, in Company B, Thirty-second New York Volunteers. He was afterward transferred into the signal service of the Army of the Potomac and was honorably discharged at the close of the war with the rank of first sergeant. He served as commander of E. S. Young Post, No. 33, G. A. R., the only organization with which he was connected at the time of his death. He was the soul of honor in business, private and public life and his life in its thoughtfulness and consideration for others was the outpouring of a kindly, generous and noble spirit. He accomplished much for the benefit of his city and his demise on the 15th of January, 1906, was the occasion of deep and widespread grief, for he possessed the sincere affection of all with whom he was associated.

On the 10th of January, 1865, Mr. Dwyer was married to Miss Sarah Davis and they became the parents of eleven children, nine of whom survived: Frank A.; Matthew, of this review; John L., James D., William M., George, Edward, Lawrence and Joseph.

Matthew Dwyer was the first graduate of St. Mary's Institute and was afterward a student at Niagara University. He read law in the office of Judge M. L. Stover of Amsterdam, and was admitted to the bar in December, 1893. He has since followed his profession in this city and the years have brought him success and prominence, He has admitted his son to a partnership and the firm of Dwyer & Dwyer enjoys an enviable reputation in legal circles of Amsterdam and Montgomery county and their practice has reached extensive proportions.

On September 4, 1896, Mr. Dwyer was married to Miss Jane M. McNally of this city, and they have two children: Thomas J. and Ann Gertrude, the latter of whom was born March 13, 1903. The son was born June 8, 1897, and attended the public schools, afterward completing a course in St. Mary's Institute of Amsterdam. He next became a student in the Albany Law School, from which he was graduated in June, 1922, with the degree of LL. B., and in September of that year was admitted to the bar. He is an able attorney and since October, 1922, has been a member of the law firm of Dwyer & Dwyer, of which his father is the senior partner.

Matthew Dwyer gives his political support to the democratic party and has been called to public office, serving as corporation counsel for the city of Amsterdam in 1902, 1903 and 1912, and doing valuable work for the municipality in that connection. He is vice president of the Amsterdam City Bar Association and is also local attorney for the State Tax Commission. He was one of the commission who framed the present charter of the city of Amsterdam. Mr. Dwyer is a pleasing public speaker and his services as such are frequently in demand at patriotic and public meetings. Mr. Dwyer is a communicant of the Catholic church and is a member of several fraternal organizations.

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