Col. Dyer, Abraham Lincoln and the town of “Diarrhea”

In early 1865 shortly before his death, President Abraham Lincoln received a visit from Missouri Senator John Brooks Henderson and Congressman Robert T. Van Horn.  Senator Henderson asked the President to promote the 49th’s commander, Col. David P. Dyer, to the rank of Brigadier General.  President Lincoln responded, as he often did, with a story:

“The name of Dyer reminds me of an incident that happened in the State of Illinois when the first railroads were being built.  One of these road ran through a tract of land owned by a man named Dyer.  It was decided to locate a depot on the land and to map out a town.  The first question that came up was to find a name for the town.  Various suggestions were made as name but none seemed to suit until it was finally with much unanimity, agreed to call the town “Diarrhea”.”

From David P. Dyer, Autobiography and Reminiscences .  The William Harvey Miner Company, St. Louis, Missouri.  1922.