JASPER M. DRESSER, State Senator, and a prominent and influential citizen of LaFayette, was born in Litchfield, Hillsdale County, Michigan, the date of his birth being May 17, 1838. He is the son of PARKER and LYDIA (CRONKHITE) DRESSER, his father being born and reared in Connecticut, and his mother a native of the State of New York. They were married near Watertown, New York, and in 1836 settled in Michigan, where they lived until their death.

JASPER M. DRESSER was reared in his native State, receiving his education in Hillsdale College. He came to LaFayette, Indiana, in March, 1858, and until the following November he clerked in a dry goods establishment. He then began the study of law with Chase & Wilstach, and in 1859 was admitted to the bar to practice in the Circuit and Common Pleas courts. He remained with this firm two years, and in 1860 went to Illinois, and began dealing in grain at Buckley, Iroquois County, where he remained until February, 1861. He then went to Washington D.C., and March 7 was appointed to a clerkship in the general land office. April 15 he was mustered into the United States service with a militia company of which he was a member, this company being the first company mustered in after the President's call for 75,000 men. Mr. DRESSER was in the three month's service and took part in the battle of Bull Run, where he was wounded. He remained in Washington until August 14, 1861, when he was appointed Chief of Artillery on the staff of GENERAL JOHN A. McCLERNAND. He organized the artillery of McCLERNAND's brigade, and was made Captain of DRESSER's battery, serving with the battery until April, 1862, participating in the engagements at Belmont and Forts Henry and Donelson, and through the Shiloh campaigns. He was promoted in infantry service April 1, 1862, and resigned to accept the position of Lieutenant Colonel in a Michigan regiment.

After the battle of Shiloh he came back to Indiana, and was in the thirty day's service witht he Seventy-sixth Indiana under CAPTAIN ORTH. He was appointed Major of the Eighty-sixth Indiana Infantry, in September, 1862, and went with his regiment to Covington, Kentucky, thence to Louisville, and was in the campaign through Kentucky in pursuit of GENERAL BRAGG, and participated in the battles of Perryville, LaVergne and Stone River, being wounded at the latter battle. He was then under the care of a surgeon until June, 1863, when he resigned, and returned to LaFayette, Indiana, and commenced the practice of law with JOHN D. GOUGAR, practicing under the firm name of DRESSER & GOUGAR almost three years. After the dissolution of the partnership with Mr. GOUGAR, he was appointed general agent of the Merchant's Insurance Company of Hartford, for the Western States. This company was one of the unfortunates in the great Chicago fire of October, 1871, and after closing up its losses he was appointed to the general agency for the Western States of the National Fire Insurance Company of Hartford, and managed its business for about eleven years. In 1880 he was elected and served for one year as President of the Underwriters Association of the Northwest, and though not now in the insurance business, is continued on its rolls as an honorary member of the association. He then practiced alone until February, 1887, when WILLIAM C. MITCHELL became associated with him. In March, 1881, he bought the abstract business of CHARLES FORD. Mr. DRESSER was elected Indiana State Senator from Tippecanoe County in Novmeber, 1886, and served on the committees on Elections, Education, Benevolent Institutions, Congressional Apportionment and Executive Appointments.

He was married at LaFayette, Indiana, January 28, 1863, to MARY BECKNER, who still abides with him. They have three children living--EMMA C., JASPER M., and DEAN H., and two have gone before. ALTA M., their eldest child, died June 29, 1882, at the age of eighteen, and MARY died at birth.

Biographical Record and Portrait Album of Tippecanoe County, Indiana, pp.366-369
The Lewis Publishing Company, 113 Adams Street, Chicago, 1888

Volunteer: Adina Watkins Dyer

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