Lemuel B. Dresser, b. 1853, was the son of John and Jane Ryan Dresser, born in Lynville, Ogle County, Illinois. He was named after his paternal grandfather, Elemuel Beaman Dresser, b. 1798, Montague, Massachusetts.
Lemuel's older brother, Charles, served in the Civil War, but on the Union side, with a Minnesota regiment. All the rest of the family had moved to Minnesota by that time, and were quite busy trying to save the family farm from a Sioux Indian uprising on the frontier.