Chief Luther J. Byer

Chief from 1882 - 1884

Luther J. Byer was born on October 31, 1836 in Greencastle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. In 1860, he moved to Indiana where he met his wife, Susan. Ten years later, they moved their family to Lincoln, Nebraska where he began work as a carpenter. In 1882, Byer was appointed to Chief of Police and served two terms. Upon leaving the police force, Byer was appointed to water commissioner by Mayor Frank Graham. He remained a prominent person in Lincoln until his death on December 18, 1911.

Lincoln Daily Star - December 18, 1911

Headline: Sudden Death of Luther J. Byer: Taken Suddenly with Heart Trouble, Dies within Few Minutes

But three minutes after he had complained of not feeling well, Luther J. Byer, 1510 P Street, an aged and prominent citizen of Lincoln, died of heart trouble Monday morning shortly after 10 o'clock, while he was sitting in the store of his son, W.J. Byer, 1537 O Street. Mr. Byer was sitting on a box near the front of the store. When it was noticed that he was ill, W.H. Leinberger, who was in the store at the time, offered assistance and called his son. By the time medical assistance had arrived Mr. Byer had died. Mr. Byer suffered a fainting spell late Sunday evening and was attacked again early Monday before going to the store.

Mr. Byer had been ailing for some time, but following his usual custom of making two or three trips to the store during the day, he walked in about 10 o'clock and sat down near the front of the establishment. He declared that he was not feeling well, and he was given a glass of water. A few minutes later- death came.

Mr. Byer was 75 years of age, and had been a resident of Lincoln for over thirty-two years. He was a carpenter by trade, and followed this occupation until a few years ago, when he retired. About twenty years ago he was appointed Chief of Police and held that position for two terms. Later under Mayor Frank Graham, he was appointed water commissioner, and he held this position for one term. Mr. and Mrs. Byer have lived at 1510 P Street for nearly fifteen years. They would have been married fifty-five years in May. He was a prominent member of St. Paul's church and was a regular attendant at the services, always occupying the same pew.

While it was known that he was not in the best of health, death came so suddenly that it was an extreme shock to the wife and son. He was jovial by nature, and Monday morning conversed freely and jokingly with one of the young men who roomed at his home. Shortly after his death and before Mrs. Byer had been notified, she telephoned to the store of her son and asked if he had arrived safely, as she thought that he did not appear to be well and was slightly worried. She was not told of his death then, and someone was sent to break the sad news to her before the body was brought home.

Luther J. Byer was born October 31, 1836 at Greencastle, Cumberland County, Pa. In 1860 he moved to Newcastle, Ind. He was married in May, 1867, and his wife, Susan, survives him. In 1870 Mr. and Mrs. Byer moved to Lincoln, where they have since resided. To this union was born six sons. But two, Sample and W.J. lived to reach manhood. Sample Byer died in 1879 and W.J. Byer is the only son living. He resides at 1515 L Street.

Mr. Byer leaves, besides his wife and son, a sister, Mrs. S. Babb of Marion, Ind., and two brothers, John Byer of Newcastle, Ind., and Sample C. Byer of Richmond, Ind. Funeral arrangements will be announced later.