Argument that Dr. William Dyer was the son of Samuel and Anne (Hutchinson) Dyer.
Hal Bradley, Dyer researcher
Marion Shea, Enquiry Service, New England Historic Genealogical Society.
Phil Dyer, Dyer researcher.
1.) The primary evidence against William Dyer being the same man as the son of Samuel Dyer and Ann Hutchinson is the fact that his gravestone states he was "aged about 85 years." However, death records are not reliable evidence of
birth information unless corroborated by another piece of evidence.
Dr. William Dyer married Mary, the daughter of Dr. Henry Taylor in Barnstable in December 1686 when he was 23 years old. The records show that his wife was born abt 1660. The gravestone of Dr. William Dyer gives his death as July 27, 1738, but mentions that he was 85 years old. If he is the Dr. William we think he is, then he was born in 1663 and died at 75 years old. His wife's death on her tombstone is October 8, 1738, "about 80 years old." Again, no one knows how old either one was.
His gravestone at the Old North Cemetery in Truro was replaced with a more modern one, and it is possible the dates were not transposed correctly.
2.) Boston records show clearly the birth of William Dyer on March 7, 1663, son of Samuel and Anne Dyer. A baptismal record for young William has not been found. After his birth, no further record of William is found either in Boston or Rhode Island.
The Dyer family church in Boston had been the First Church (Congregational) where his grandparents were members, that is, until his grandmother, Mary (Barrett) Dyer, was hanged in Boston for her devotion to the Quaker faith. As a result, no doubt, relations between the church and the Dyer family ended.
3.) Dr. William DYER and Mary TAYLOR had the following children:
Lydia DYER (mother's mother honored)
William DYER, Jr. (father honored)
Henry DYER (mother's father honored)
Samuel DYER (father's father honored)
4.) Major William Dyer (his uncle) bought his home and land in 1675 from Dr. Henry Taylor. This property bought of Dr. Henry and Mary Taylor was a parcel of land in New York city containing about 41/2 acres "At the north end of the city, bounded on the south by the Garden and land of Peter Stoutenurgh and John Mange, butting east upon land of Oliver Steven(sen), northerly on the Highway which leads to Smith's Fly (valley) and westward upon the great Road to the City fronting Hudson's River, together with the yards, gardens, cellars, arbours, edifices, ruins of buildings, fencing, timbers, wayes, easments, etc." The deed was recorded 10 April 1675.
This property came to Dr. Henry Taylor in settlement of a claim he had against the Estate of Nicholas Davis, of Quaker fame in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, a friend of Mary Dyre, the Quaker, and Major William Dyre's mother.
Dr. Henry Taylor, while a resident in Boston in 1671, had negotiated with Nicholas Davis to buy a farm belonging to Davis situated in Barnstable, MA. Before a clear title to the farm could be secured and after Dr. Taylor had paid in advance the sum of £420-0-0 (half the purchase price) Nicholas Davis had died from drowning in Newport Harbour. (Note that this is the same Nicholas Davis who had been imprisoned as a Quaker in Boston with Mary Dyre, William Robinson, Marmaduke Stephenson, and others.) He had been banished from Massachusetts Bay and went to Newport, RI. He owned quite some property in and about New York and New Jersey. Among his holdings, besides the above mentioned parcel was an estate called "Whitestone" in Flushing, Long Island and this property also came to Dr. Henry Taylor in settlement of his claim against the Davis estate.
There is no doubt that Dr. Henry Taylor was well known to Major William Dyer. It is also well documented that Samuel Dyer and Major William Dyer were brothers.
There is also no doubt that Dr. Henry Taylor was acquainted with Nicholas Davis, a Quaker well known to both Mary (Barrett) Dyer and Major William Dyer, who appeared in Boston seeking the release of his mother when she was
imprisoned with Davis. The suggestion here is that the Dyer family and the Taylor family were well known to each other and that it is not unreasonable to suppose that Samuel Dyer's son, William might have married the daughter of Dr. Henry Taylor. They were certainly known to each other.
5.) It is very possible young William early became a part of Dr. Henry Taylor's family with the intent of studying medicine. Although William's father, Samuel, died in Newport, Rhode Island circa 1678 at the young age of 43, he had lived in Boston with his family almost until the time of his death. He may have been ill for some time, and no doubt was in contact or knew Dr. Taylor. Samuel left children of the following approximate ages at his death:
William, 15 years.
Samuel, 13 years.
Nathaniel, 11 years.
Edward, 8 years.
Elisha, 6 years.
Anne, 4 years.
Henry, 2 years.
Barrett, a few months old.
6.) William's mother, Anne, may have been a spirited person as evidenced by her will which was proved in 1717. Under this will, she provided for all of her children except her sons, William, Nathaniel and Edward, who were all living at the time of her death. Edward was mentioned in the will only to the extent of "All rents due me from Edward of Kingstown, being due from 1710, Nov. 29, at L6 per annum, and all hereafter found due which should have been for my yearly support and maintenance."
There is a possiblity that a high-spirited William may not have got along well with a high-spirited mother, and may have been apprenticed very early to the care and teaching of Dr. Henry Taylor. It would not be unusual for a boy of 13, 14, or 15 years to become apprenticed as William was at or before 15.
7.) If William had been born on the Cape and grew up there, the local people would have known who his parents were. There were no records. It has been stated, his parentage is not known, and it is not known where he came from. Perhaps, he did not want to ne identified with his grandmother who was hanged.
8.) Marston Watson's new book outlining five generations of descendants of Rev. Francis Marbury (published 2004)
shows William Dyer, b. 1663, son of Samuel & Anne (Hutchinson) Dyer, as the William who married Mary Taylor. Although not well documented, the book was endorsed by Gary Roberts of the NEHGS.
It looks like others also consider the identification to be sound.
Thus, the evidence demonstrating a connection between these two families with William Dyer of Truro being the son of Samuel Dyer and Ann Hutchison is stronger than the evidence to the contrary.
Marcelia Dyer Berry in her manuscript, "The Dyers from England to Cape Elizabeth 1557-1987 - Descendants of Henry, 3rd son of Dr. William Dyer," p. 9, draws the same conclusion and states that these two William Dyer's are the same man.
I think the evidence is sufficient to conclude that Dr. William Dyer of Truro, Mass. was the son of Samuel and Anne (Hutchinson) Dyer. Does it constitute proof? That is left up to the reader. Back to my Home Page