Thursday, December 22, 2011

Line 13.4 John Dyer / Down by the River

While moving back and forth between Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the Dyers seemed to have to have gravitated to the “home” church. John Dyer was born in Rhode Island, home of the Baptist church and seems to have drove into the river and was baptized into that church.

John Dyer son of Samuel Dyer and his wife Mary Cotta, was born 27 December 1726 probably in North Kingstown, Rhode Island
John married Mary Hickey 1754 in Newport, Rhode Island.
John died 28 April 1784 in Sturbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts
John and Mary Dyer had the following known children:
1.   James Dyer born 23 April 1756. He died. He married Mary Marcy daughter of Moses Marcy and sister to Sybil Marcy.
2.    Thomas Dyer was probably born in Woodstock, Windham, CT around 1759-1761. He married Sybil Marcy daughter of Moses Marcy and sister to Mary Marcy. He died 26 March 1810 North Woodstock, CT
3.    Moses Dyer born 05 January 1764 in Woodstock, Windham, CT. He married Cynthia Adams. He died 1830 in Grantham, Sullivan, NH.
4.    Mary (Molly) Dyer born May 27, 1766 in Sturbridge, MA
5.    Ruth Dyer probably born in Sturbridge, MA. She married Martin Spencer.
6.    Susanna Dyer
7.    Tamar Dyer
8.    John Dyer
9.    Lucy Dyer

Researching the Dyers often brought about difficulty in that they seemed to settle in places that didn’t keep or preserve vital records. The issue of proving their lines is difficult because of this.  John was probably born in Rhode Island, as was his father. Once the line began to fall in place with some detective work on the part of several Dyer researches determining John’s faith story became a little bit clearer. I had began to wonder if in living in Rhode Island, John turned to the Baptist sect of Christianity over his historical Quaker one, especially since his great-something grandmother, Anne Hutchinson’s religious leanings were very similar to that of the Baptist. When it became clear that the early assumption that John Dyer of Rhode Island was our ancestor rather then the same named John who married Anna Payson, a search was on as to whom he married. A marriage record was found in the Second Baptist Church records of Newport Rhode between John Dyer and Mary Hickey in 1755, an event preformed by the Rev. Nicholas Eyres. Since Baptist leanings run in the Dyer line, this discovery by several other genealogists was an “ah-ha” moment in many ways. The Quaker Martyr’s line turned back to Roger Williams’ and Grandma Anne’s theology.

Sometime after the birth of their eldest son, James, the family moved to Windham, Connecticut or Massachusetts. Moses, their third child, was born in Woodstock, Massachusetts, as was possibly another child. In May of 1765 The Dyer family, consisting of John, his wife Mary and children James, Thomas and Moses moved to Sturbridge, Worcester County, Massachusetts when they were mentioned in the Worcester County, Massachusetts, Warnings a list of new settlers. “1765 Aug. 20 DYAR, John, w. Mary, ch. James, Thomas, Moses, from Woodstock. May 23, 1765."

The John “DYRE” of Sturbridge, who enlisted into the regiment there at the start of the Revolutionary War, is thought to have been my ancestor John Dyer, although he would have been about 50 years old at the time. John’s son James had already enlisted by the time John “Dyre” enlisted. Later, John’s two sons, Moses and Thomas would also enlist. John enlisted on 1 May 1775, less then a month after the Battle at Concord and Lexington started the Revolutionary War. The Dyers knew what was going on in Boston and other rebellious areas of Massachusetts, probably visiting the local tavern for news of impending events that lead to the war. John’s service in the rebellion was spastic as was that of most colonial soldiers. He serviced for three months and 8 days from his enlistment date but returned two months later on 7 Oct 1775. It is likely he came home for the harvest and then returned when the harvest was safely in the barn. A John Dyer is found in the Second Massachusetts Brigade under Captain Adam Martin in January 1778. It is reported that John was “sick in camp” In February to May of that year is reported as being on “fulough” possible to recover from his illness but also to be home for planting season. John then returned to serve as a private from May to August. He may have, again returned home for the harvest. No more records have been found for John Dyer. He may have felt he had done his duty or he have begun to feel his age.

During times of war, people tend to gravitate back to their faith. Hopefully this was true for John. The Revolutionary War was a hard war on its warriors. The colonial army was poorly paid and had little weaponry beyond what the soldiers supplied themselves. John was in his fifties and although that is not an old man, he was middle age and was probably much more affected by the cold and harsh conditions then a younger man. He certainly realized that Death was a close companion and that he could very well be standing before his Maker soon. His heritage was one of steadfast ancestors who took their faith very seriously and stood firm in the face of adversity. He very well may have taken comfort in his own steadfast faith.

John Dyer survived the war but only by about a year and a half. He must have been pleased that God spared his soldier sons. His estate papers were dated “1st of April 1784” although that is most likely a mistake, as he didn’t die until the end of April.  In part they read: “To the Hon. Joseph Dorr Judge of Probate...In We the Subscribers have made Choice of Roland Clark Junr. to Administrator on the Estate of John Dyer of Sturbridge Late Deceased which we suppose must be rendered Insolvent We your Humble Servants, James Dyer, Moses Dyer, Mary Dyer, Thomas Dyer." The war years must have cost John more then his health as he died in debt. The list of people he owed money to reads like an extended family gathering as not only was his son James Dyer is listed but Moses Marcy who was James’ brother-in-law and Jedediah Marcy Esq. who was James’ wife, Mary’s uncle. Interestingly, he also owned money to a Dr. James Walcott who may or may not have been related to the Walcotts who were the ancestors of Martha Ann Braman who would marry James Harvey Chubb a descendant of John Dyer. The estate papers also named John’s surviving children as James Dyer, Thomas Dyer, Mary Dyre, Moses Dyer, Ruth Spencer, John Dyre, Susanna Dyre, Tamar Dyre and Lucy Dyre.

1.   Estate Papers for John DYER
2.   Leslie McLain Dyer, Fort Lauderdale, FL
3.      "Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution" page 125
4.   Marshall Johnson, 411-C Green Lanes, Harringay, London N4 1EY United Kingdom, E-mail:
5.   "Worcester County, Massachusetts, Warnings 1737-1788" intro Francis E.    Blake
6.   Internet
7.   Vital Records of Rhode Island 1636-1850, Newport Co., Vol. 4 by Arnold
8.   "Muster Roll Data Sheet"
9.   Series A. Case 18223, Administrator of estate of John Dyer
10. Newport RI town council records per Andrew Pierce On Fulough in New England" [MRDS] May-Aug, served as pvt. in Capt. Adam MARTIN's company from Sturbridge, MA. [MSR]

1 comment:

  1. Candace,
    I think you have a typo. Did you mean to say "When it became clear that the early assumption that John Dyer of Rhode Island was our ancestor rather then the same named JOHN who married Anna Payson, a search was on as to whom he married." in the 10th line in the paragraph under the children's names?
    Leslie Dyer