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George DYER (Dier) (c1579-1672)

Weaver of Dorchester in Dorset

Who Emigrated to New England on the ship 'Mary & John' in 1630

& was one of the founders of Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts

Still under Construction Oct 2015

1. General Background

© Researched in England and compiled by Michael Russell OPC for Dorchester & Fordington


People with the surname of DYER (or Dier as it is more commonly written in early documentation) occur in Dorchester in England as early as the fifteenth century (1). The loss of most of our church and civic records prior to 1653 however (2) means there is now little or no prospect of unraveling his ancestry. Thankfully two records do survive which at least mean we can be sure George Dyer was living in Dorchester in England prior to 1621 and left in 1630 on the 'Mary & John' for New England. I will cover these records in some detail as I think it is important to understand the context within which they occur.

In the year 1610 King James I devolved the power of local Government to Dorchester by means of a Charter. It was not until they had real problems with rogue traders and needed to prosecute offenders however that they set about passing bye laws and formally establishing the Company of Freemen which came into being 22nd Oct 1621. The very first Governor of the Company of Freemen was John Hill (1589-1657) . It's worth noting that only three years later on 31st March 1624 he was to become one of the original 14 members of a committee that met at the Free school in Dorchester to set up the Dorchester Company.

An important step for the better regulation of tradesmen within the Borough was later taken at a Special Court of the Governor, Assistants and Freemen on 24th Sep 1630 when tradesmen were organised into five companies each run by an elected Warden. It is interesting to see that the 'Company of Clothiers' embraced 11 separate trades, one of which is stated to be weavers. Three days after passing the constitution on 25th Oct 1621 they started registering members and collecting fees. Each person had to attend personally at the Shire Hall and take the Freemans oath.

Eight people were registered on 25th Oct one of which was Thomas Devenish an upholsterer and later an investor in the Dorchester Company. So that this process did not interfere too much with other business they designated days for registration and 16 traders signed up on 2nd Nov 1621. One was William Whiteway (1599-1635) the Younger, the famous diarist, who with John Hill was to become one of the original 14 members who met at the Free School. Another was Thomas Ford, a chandler, who later emigrated with George Dier on the 'Mary & John' in 1630. Another was the baker Mathew Bonger yet another investor in the Dorchester Co and of the remainder three others were weavers by trade. On the 7th Nov the flood gates opened and 62 people registered, no less than 21 of these were weavers. On the 14th Nov another 33 signed - 10 of which were weavers. There were now 119 traders registered that had taken the oath, and 34 of these were weavers. This is useful background as it shows just how competitive weaving was in Dorchester and George Dier, if he wanted to continue to trade, had to register as well.

2. George DIER Weaver of Dorchester
Admission to the Company of Freemen (28th Nov 1621)

This brings us to the first of the crucial records, which is George Dier's entry in the admission register. Transcriptions of Dorchester's civic records were published in 1908 by Charles Mayo so his entry can be found on page 423 of The Municipal Records of Dorchester. It simply states under the date for oaths taken on the 28th November 1621 "George DIER, weaver, g (stands for general admission) paid 1 shilling". George's registration was therefore part of the original registration process and he was clearly already well established and trading in Dorchester at that date.

At this point it is worth remembering that George Dier almost certainly lived in St Peters Parish (he is not listed at Holy Trinity where records survive) and as such his daily preacher was the Rev. John WHITE (1575-1648) (4). In those days the church was the centre of life and by 1631 John White is known to have been preaching to 2,000 souls each week, half at Holy Trinity where he was also the rector and the rest at St Peters. His sermons included all the local and international news gleaned from traders etc and all laced with John White's attempts to establish a 'godly community' in Dorchester. He had immense power and influence within the town and this extended through the church way beyond Dorchester. Preachers came from far and wide, even abroad, to stay at his house. The pulpit at St Peters is where George Dier would have become aware of John White's attempts with Richard Bushrod (1576-1628) (a member of Holy Trinity parish) to establish the Dorchester Company in 1624. It was the main platform he used to raise the amazing sum of £3,000 to start their adventure.

3. George DIER member Dorchester Co (1624-1628)

George Dier was an early member of the Dorchester Co. through the record of Rev. John White who specified a list of members in response to a Chancery suit, Beale vs. White, brought Oct. 12, 1634.  The suit concerned a New England shipment of spoiled fish at Cape Anne. The Rev. White’s response was made on June 2nd, 1636 and in the words of Rose Troup who wrote White's biography (5) "He appears to have listed all those who became members during the three or four years of the companies existence". In her view therefore it embraced not only the Dorchester Co [1624 to 1626] but also the New England Company [1626-1628].

George Dier's name is the 114th on John White's list and this is our second crucial document. His entry states "George Dier living in New England" Rose Troup who is the accepted authority on John White's life simply notes after this entry "Weaver of Dorchester in 1621 - Sailed in the Mary & John". George's entry is probably listed towards the end as he is part of a small group who were already living abroad. The 112th entry on the list for example is Henry Smith who Rose Troup speculates " Probably went to Dorchester Massachusetts in the 'Mary and John' though not mentioned on the list. His mother who married Dr Tobiah Sandford is said by Whiteway to have gone in April 1630. She married as her third husband William Pyncheon and this son, Henry Smith, migrated to Springfield with them" (6). William Whiteway's actual entry states "1630 - The beginning of this moneth, many of this towne went to plant [i.e. to live] and among the rest Mrs Sandford" (8). The 116th entry on the list is John Humphrey Gentleman also living in New England (emigrated 1633) who was the Treasurer of the Dorchester Company.

Despite the destruction of so many records relating to Dorchester we do have George Dyer's entry in the original membership records of the Company of Freemen confirming he was an established weaver operating in Dorchester prior to 1621, and John White's own confirmation that he was one of the early investors in the Dorchester Company and in 1636 was living in New England. More than this however the whole environment within which he was living was galvanised by John White's vision and schemes. There are no other entries that relate to him this side of the Atlantic after the Mary and John sailed in 1630. We also have the two greatest authorities in Rose Troup on the life of the Rev John White, and David Underdown on the History of Dorchester in Dorset, both convinced of the fact. David Underdown says on page 137 of his book Fire from Heaven (7) " Among the early selectmen were several settlers from old Dorchester. George Dyer and Thomas Ford had both come over in the Mary and John."

Also whilst these are the only records here about his time in England his name appears frequently in records in New England almost immediately after the Mary & John landed its passengers but first some background to the Mary & John.
4. Emigration on the 'Mary & John'
Sailed Plymouth 20th March 1630 - Landed at Nantasket 30th May 1630


While the Massachusetts Bay Company was preparing for the sailing of what has become known as the Winthrop Fleet, White was preparing his own ship, the 'Mary and John', with another batch of planters from the west country. Many of the passengers were known or recruited personally by White or were his own relatives through marriage or blood (9,10) . He does not appear to have been happy with all the developments and loss of influence within the new company as he instructed the master of the ship, Thomas Squibb a Weymouth man, "not to land them at Salem but to take them into the Charles River". It seems likely that most of those from Dorset and Somerset would have embarked at Weymouth, perhaps accompanied by John White himself for the short voyage down the coast to Plymouth where they picked up the remaining west country emigrants. In Plymouth John White would have been reacquainted with his intimate friend and preacher of Gods word there Revd Matthias Nicholls (1587-1631) yet another investor in the Dorchester Co. White preached at the service held there before departure.

George Dyer as a parishioner of John White's was ideally placed to be chosen as John White oversaw the selection of people for the new settlement. Being unhappy with developments in New England he wanted to ensure that as far as possible this was made up of like minded people, not separatists, and there was no better place to start than his own parishioners. Everything John White had done up to this point, including the rebuilding of Dorchester after the great fire of 1613, demonstrated how good he was at motivation and organisation. But another guiding principal of his was that projects like the creation of the Hospital in Dorchester were self sustaining as this helped to guarantee their long term future. There is no doubt in my mind that he set about the selection of people with these same principles in mind. We know from some of the port books that survive for Weymouth that most trading ships were very small (11). In 1625 10 ships leaving port ranged from a mere 15 to 70 tons. On 11th March 1628 a survey of all ships belonging to the port of Weymouth was taken and of the 26 ships listed tonnages ranged from 25 to 110 tons. At Poole there were 11 ships the two largest being 150 tons, at Lyme Regis the largest of 18 ships was 80 tons. The Mary & John weighed in at 400 tons and would have been the largest ship the vast majority had ever seen. It was over twice as big as the Mayflower which conveyed the Pilgrims to the New World in 1620 and the ability of John White to arrange such an expedition must have enhanced his already considerable reputation. In fact it's size was probably the main reason Captain Squibb was reluctant to proceed into the Charles river and dropped them at Nantasket instead.

Ever the pragmatist White ensured that within the 140 souls seeking a new life was the right mix of people and skills and we have an eye witness account of the voyage in the memoirs of Roger Clapp . Authority of the Massachusetts Bay Co was vested in two members on board who were members of the Court of Assistants (that Roger Clapp in his memoirs refers to as Magistrates) in Edward Rossiter a man of estate in Somerset and Roger Ludlowe of Wiltshire. John White's guiding hand was also behind the selection of the Rev. John Warham and Rev. John Maverick as their Ministers in the new Colony. He also ensured that among the group were people with military training, such as William Southcot, who could see to their defence, husbandmen with practical cultivation and farming skills, blacksmiths and people like George Dyer with weaving skills.


Genealogical Notes & Sources of Information on research in England:-

(1). There was for example a John Dier, who was Bailiff of Dorchester three times, who died around the mid 1480's leaving a widow Joan Dier who sold their burgage in High South street (near St Peters Church) in 1489.

(2). Most records prior to 1653 however have simply not survived because of a series of devastating fires. The fire of 1613 in Dorchester was particularly severe and destroyed 170 houses, about half the town, two of the three main churches and most of the civic buildings. The fire at Blandford in 1731 almost destroyed the entire town and we lost the Bishops Transcripts which were deposited there for the whole of Dorset. Another reason for the loss of so much information was because of destruction caused in the Civil War (1642-1651). John White's much loved library for example was plundered by the Royalist cavalry in 1643. It is no coincidence that the registers for All Saints and St Peters in Dorchester only commence from 1653 which was the year the Protectorate was established under Oliver Cromwell. Holy Trinity Church in Dorchester is the exception where most (not all) of its parish registers survive from 1559.

Unfortunately there is only one marriage recorded at Holy Trinity of a member of a Dyer family which is for a Walter Dyer who married Alice Hodgkins on 1st June 1601. They had a son Luke Dier in 1604 but Walter died in 1613, Alice remarried and died in 1619 followed by their son Luke's death in 1626. Although Luke was in Dorchester at the same time as George Dyer (1579-1672) there is no known connection and we simply do not know whether George was born in the town or came there to trade. Whilst it does not help us, it's always possible that his ancestry stems from one of the lessor sons of the Dyer Family of Somerset and Huntingdon where there has long been a large family of that name which is recorded in the visitations for those counties.

(3). Municipal Records of the Borough of Dorchester Dorset, by Charles Herbert Mayo MA published in 1908 (Charter of James I in 1610 -page 384; Formation of Company of Freemen -pages 385-392; The five companies - page 403 ; Freemans oath - page 420; Joan Dier page 311; John Dier 293, 295-298; 300;303;308;309;311; 314. Admission Register for George Dyer page 423)

(4). It is unlikely that George Dyer attended All Saints Church in Dorchester which is further down High East Street, but even if he did it would have made no difference to this scenario:-
    The Rector at All Saints church from 1617 to 1627 was Revd Robert Cheeke MA (1572-1627) a kindred spirit of Revd John White and Master of the Free School in Dorchester since 1595. It was through his good offices that the original meeting to establish the committee of the Dorchester Co was held at his school in 1624 and he also invested in the company. His successor at All Saints was Revd John Ball (1591-1639) John White's cousin (who had witnessed John White's fathers will) and another investor in the Dorchester Co. He only lasted until 1629 when his replacement was actually arranged by John White with the even more radical Revd William Benn (1600-1680). George Dyer would have known all these men.

    Even if he had walked out to St Georges church in Fordington it would have been the same as the rector pounding the pulpit there was the Revd Edward Pele(1582-1643) another supporter of John White and investor in the Dorchester Co whose influence was such that his churchwarden Anthony Eames (1595-1686) emigrated to New England on the Recovery of London in 1633.
(5). John White The Patriarch of Dorchester [Dorset] and Founder of Massachusetts' by Frances Rose-Troup published by GP Putnam's Sons in 1930. Available to view for members on ancestry.com. 114th Entry on John White's list is George Dier's ( page 459 ): Mary and John pages 197-203 + 214;

(6). Link to transcription of the will of Tobie Sandford (c1550-1623) Physician of Dorchester

(7) Fire From Heaven Life in an English Town in the 17th Century by David Underdown published by Pimlico 1992 George Dyer pages 133 & 137

(8). William Whiteway of Dorchester - His diary 1618-1635 based on notes compiled by Thomas D Murphy Dorset Record Society - factual account by an eye witness. Tobiah Sandford page 53 Mrs Sandford 110

(9). Stephen Terry (b1592) for example who was John White's nephew by his sister Mary emigrated to New England on the Mary & John in 1630.

10). Good Old Dorchester (Massachusetts) Link to a narrative history of the town (1630-1893) by Wm Dana Orcutt Published 1908 [George Dyer pages 27, 39 and 46; Mary and John page 24]

(11). Studies in Dorset History by Maureen Weinstock MA FR Hist S published by Longmans of Dorchester in 1953. [Page 30 size, name tonnage, destination cargo of ships at Weymouth 1625 - Page 31 on 11th Mar 1628]

(12). Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, by James Savage (Boston, 1860-62 repr Baltimore, 1965). - DYER: George: page 88 "sat on the jury at Court of Assist 28 Sep 1630, and may well be presumed to have come in the Mary and John, requested admission as freeman 19th Oct and was sworn 18 May following. He was made constable 1632 and had wife Elizabeth, daughter Elizabeth who married William Trescott; and Mary wife of William Pond; died June 1672. His will was of 30th December before.

(13). NOTE Entry Sherborne Georgius Dier filius of Geor Dier Bap17 Jan 1612


5. George Dyer (Dier) of Dorchester, Suffolk MA (c1579-1672)
New England - 1630

© Researched in America and compiled by Ann Weiner - Aug 2015


George Dyer is believed to have gone to Dorchester MA on the Mary and John in 1630 with his family. No list of passengers exists for this voyage, but he is known to be in Dorchester MA in 1630.  He came  “as one of several gentlemen ,  middle- aged  with adult families  on the Mary and John that were dropped at Nantasket Point (present day Hull) and left to shift for themselves (15,17)

There is a possibility that George Dyer was in New England prior to 1630.  In May, 1641, George Dyer provided a letter of attorney to Thomas Purchase, of Pejepscot Maine (7).  According to John Gould, a Maine historian and author, in a letter to Paul Trescott,  “Thomas engaged in the fur trade, then lucrative, supposedly with Way [George Way] as his partner.  Later, he, or they, along with George Dyer, who arrived in 1630 on a later voyage of the Mary and John, owned extensive timberlands in Maine and young William Triscott was their surveyor.  One account says Dyer came over in 1628, cased the joint, returned to England and came back in 1630 with others.”  (8)

In Dorchester, MA we find frequent occurrences of George Dyer in the city record that indicate a healthy roll as a citizen of the town (3,4,5)  On Sept. 28, 1630, we have Dyer sitting on the court of Assizes.  He became a freeman of the town May 18, 1631. He was made a constable in 1632. He was a grantor of Dorchester lands in 1633. He was a Dorchester selectman in 1636 and 1637.  He was a fence viewer many times in 1636 - 1668, usually for the field behind “Mr. Mathers”, wherein he is once referred to as “Goodman Dier”.  He served on a committee to lay out land in 1637 and a committee to set the tax rate in 1636.  On Feb 7, 1640, he signed an agreement of the proprietors of Thompson’s Island who relinquished the island to the town of Dorchester in order to raise funds for the maintenance of a free school.

A reading of the history of the town of Dorchester reveals an interesting life of the puritans there.  Weekly meetings at the meeting house, decisions regarding land distribution, concerns for food and stores, encounters with the local Indians, and responsibilities of “fence viewing” to keep the cattle where they should be, were common tasks and responsibilities in which George Dyer must have participated.  Some of these activities would have contrasted greatly with the life experienced previously in Dorset.

There is some confusion as to the wife or wives of George Dyer.  Savage claims he traveled on the Mary and John with wife Elizabeth (1).  But there appears to be no record of an Elizabeth, wife of George Dyer, in Dorchester, MA.  There is speculation that Elizabeth Dyer, George’s daughter, has been confused as his wife.  She and her sister Mary are both believed to have been with George on the voyage of the Mary and John (probably based on their calculated ages, which would place their births in England)

There is, however, evidence of a wife Abigail.  In 1636, George Dyer and Abigail signed anew the covenant of the church of Dorchester, MA (3).   Unfortunately, this is the only record for Abigail that is known.

Furthermore, there is some evidence that George Dyer married again, though no subsequent marriage record is known.   In his will of 1672, George bequeaths his looms to James White, whom he names as “his loving son-in-law”.   This bequest confirms George’s occupation as a weaver.   This will also names his two known daughters, Elizabeth, the wife of William Trescott, and Mary, the wife of William Pond. (10)

James White was the son of Edward White and Martha King White, of Dorchester, MA who arrived aboard the Abigail on June 22, 1635 as part of the Winthrop fleet.   Edward and Martha were from Cranbrook, Kent where they were sworn for the voyage (10).  The date of death for Edward White is unknown.  The last known record for him is a bequeath in the will of John Bigg, of Cranbrook,  Kent,  Aug. 17, 1640 which occurs after the birth of his known children. If his death is early enough, then the naming of James White as “son-in-law” in George Dyer’s will possibly means “step-son”, after a later marriage of Martha White to George Dyer .   The possibility of James White having married an unknown daughter of George Dyer is unlikely due to the marriage of James to Sarah Baker who was not a daughter of Dyer.

Paul Trescott notes in his genealogy of William Trescott, that both Elizabeth Trescott and Mary Pond named daughters Martha, and that this “may be a clue” as to the wife or wives of George Dyer (8).  However, both daughters also named children Abigail and Elizabeth, though the latter named children may be possibly named for Elizabeth Dyer Trescott, a daughter, and not a wife of George Dyer.   This information does not help resolve the possibility that George had a first wife Elizabeth.  Martha Trescott was born Jan 8, 1661.  Martha Pond was born Feb. 17 1657/58.   So a marriage of Martha White to George Dyer , if it occurred, might have been possible after 1642/43 , the last known records of Abigail Dyer and  Edward White, and before 1657/58 when Mary Pond names a child Martha.  Unfortunately, vital records for Dorchester are scant between 1646 and 1657, the period in question.


6. Information regarding George Dyer’s children

6.1 - Elizabeth Dyer /Trescott (ca. 1625 – July 31, 1699)

William Trescott “took hold of the covenant” of the first church of Dorchester, MA, Nov. 27, 1642. In 1643 is made a freeman of Dorchester, MA.  On May 10, of the same year William married Elizabeth Dyer.  Their children were born in Dorchester, MA  and were (8):

  1. Samuel, b. Nov 4, 1646, Dorchester MA,m. Margaret Rogers, daughter of Jeremiah Sr.  and Mehitable  (Pierce) Rogers.

  2. Mary, b. April 23, 1649, Dorchester MA, m. Oct.6,1665 or 1669 at Roxbury, MA, John Hemenway, son of Ralph and Elizabeth (Hewes) Hemenway.

  3. John, b. Oct. 21, 1651, Dorchester, MA, m. Rebecca ____?, d. Jan 22, 1741 Boston

  4. Patience, b. May 7, 1653, Dorchester MA, m. Jan1,1684/85 at Dorchester, MA, Noah Beaman, son of  Gamaliel and Sarah (Clark) Beaman. Patience Beaman d.May 9,1707,Dorchester,MA.

  5. Elizabeth, b. June24, 1655, Dorchester, MA, m. Ebenezer Moseley, brother of Increase Moseley, son of Thomas and Mary (Lawrence)  Moseley. Elizabeth Moseley  d. April 24,1705. Ebenezer m secondly Hannah Weeks, daughter of John and Sarah Hammond Weeks.

  6. Abigail, b. Nov.5 , 1656, Dorchester,MA,m1. March 2,1681/82in Dorchester,MA,  Ammiel Weeks,b.Sept.15,1662 in Dorchester, MA, son of Ammiel and Elizabeth (Aspinwal) Weeks.  Sargeant  Ammiel Weeks died on the expedition to Canada of Capt. John Withington’s Co. in 1690, probably lost at sea.  Abigail m2. 1692 as his second wife,  Jeremiah Rogers, son of Jeremiah Jr. and Abiah (Pierce) Rogers.  Children born in Salem, MA.

  7. Martha, b. Jan 8, 1661 Dorchester, MA, m1. As his second wife Jacob Hewins,b. Feb 24, 1660/61 in Dorchester, MA, son of Jacob and Mary Hewins.  Martha m2. As his second wife, Jan 10,1693/94, in Boston, Henry Adams.

  8. Sarah, b. Sept. 13, 1662, Dorchester, MA, m1. In Dorchester, MA, Increase Moseley, b. 1662/63 in Dorchester MA, son of Thomas and Mary (Lawrence) Moseley, died on the expedition to Canada of Capt. John Withington’s Co. in 1690, lost at sea.

  9. Joseph, b. July, 1668, Dorchester, MA, m. Miriam _____?  Joseph Trescott , drummer and signalman, died on the expedition to Canada of Capt. John Withington’s Co. in 1690, probably lost at sea.

William served as constable of Dorchester 1657-1658 and was also a tithingman, or tax collector. In 1659, a warrant was given him by the selectmen “to gather together parents and maisters that send their children ore servants to the free scole those sums that are on his list”.  Boston records show William was paid 1L for “killing a woolfe” (8).

William may have been a surveyor.  He is paid for “running the line” as part of a committee to lay out a cartway in 1666.  Furthermore, William had a brother Thomas Trescott, mariner, with a wife Annie.  William administered Thomas’s  estate 1654 (8). Annie died later, also in 1654.

 William and Elizabeth’s headstones in The Old North Burying Ground in Dorchester, MA have the following inscriptions:

“Here Lyes Ye body of William Trescott Aged 85 years Dec’d Sept ye 11 1699”

and

“Elizabeth Trescott Ye Wife of William Trescott Aged 74 Years Dec’d July ye 30 1699”

These inscriptions give calculated birth dates of 1614 for William and 1625 for Elizabeth.  These dates make William considerably older than Elizabeth.

Paul Trescott found an interesting note regarding Elizabeth in Sewall’s Diary, December 17,1685, ‘One Trescot, an ancient woman of Dorchester, riding over the Neck, Tide being high her Horse drowned and she hardly saved; question whether she may live or not,’ .  This undoubtedly refers to Elizabeth, wife of William Trescott, who survived the incident nearly 14 years (8,9).

Through Elizabeth and William Trescott's line, 2 descendents of George Dyer ,  Solon and  Thomas Trescott, were Minutemen who responded to the Lexington alarm when Paul Revere rode.   Their brother, Ebenezer joined them at the battle of Bunker Hill.  This family has an impressive record for participation in the fight for independence as sailors and soldiers of Massachusetts in the American Revolution (8).  


6.2 - Mary Dyer / Pond (        – Feb. 16, 1710/11)

Mary Dyer married William Pond, the son of Robert Pond and Mary ____ of Groton, Suffolk, England. They were admitted to the 1st Church of Dorchester on Feb. 28, 1641/42.  Sgt. William Pond was also a constable of Dorchester 1659, and a tax assessor in 1662, 1667, and 1675.    

Robert Pond and his brother John arrived in New England in 1630, perhaps with Gov. John Winthrop, Jr. ,  who was also of Groton.  In a letter from Gov. Winthrop to his eldest son at home in Groton, shortly after his arrival in New England, he directs his son to “tell old Pond that both his sons are well and remember their duty” (13).   [The relationship of the Pond and Winthrop families may originate from the second marriage of Joan Burton Winthrop to John Ponder (d. 1520), after the demise of Adam Winthrop of Lavenham and Groton, Suffolk, England (14)]. 

Children of Mary and William Pond are:


  1. Abigail , c. Mar 19 1646/47, Dorchester, MA, wife of Ezra Clapp, d. Oct. 12, 1682, Milton, MA.  
  2. Samuel, c. Mar 16, 1655/56, Dorchester, MA, d. Oct 2, 1657, Dorchester, MA.
  3. Elizabeth, b. Feb 17, 1657/58, Dorchester, MA, d. Feb. 26, 1657/58, Dorchester, MA.
  4. Martha, b.  Feb 17, 1657/58, Dorchester, MA, d.  Jan. 2, 1658/59, Dorchester, MA
  5. Judith, b. Oct. 16, 1659, Dorchester, MA., d. Jul 27, 1690, Dorchester, MA
  6. Thankful, b. Jan 15, 1661/62, Dorchester, MA, wife of Phillip Withington, d. Dec. 25, 1711, Dorchester. MA.
  7. George, b. Jan 20, 1665/66, Dorchester, MA.
  8. Mindwell, b. Aug 24, 1667, Dorchester, MA.
  9. Mary, c. July 19, 1668, Dorchester, MA.

6. James White (1637/38 – Nov. 7, 1713)


James White of Dorchester, MA, was a weaver based on the will of George Dyer who bequeaths him his looms and instruments and names him his “son-in-law”. He was the son of Edward and Martha White of Dorchester, MA.  Edward White was a husbandman, based on his immigration record.  Martha White is believed to have remarried to George Dyer.

James married Sarah Baker, daughter of Richard Baker and Faith Withington , Feb. 22 , 1664 in Dorchester, MA.    Faith was related to Capt. John Withington who lost so many at sea on their expedition to Canada in 1690, including several of Elizabeth Dyer Trescott’s family.  [This expedition was made by Sir William Phips against the French in order to enlarge the English dominions in America by taking Quebec.  Unfortunately, bad weather and contrary winds sank ships and caused delays which ultimately ended the expedition in failure.]

James White’s brother John White married Mary Swift, daughter of Thomas Swift, a son-in-law of Bernard Capen. 

Children for James White are:

  1. Experience, b. Dorchester, MA
  2. Sarah, b. Sept 8 1665, Dorchester, MA
  3. Thankful, b. June 18, 1667, Dorchester, MA
  4. Ichabod, b. April 16, 1669, Dorchester, MA
  5. John, b. April 7, 1670, Dorchester, MA
  6. Martha, b. 1675
  7. Mary, b. Nov. 11, 1677, Dorchester, MA
  8. James, b. May 29, 1679, Dorchester, MA
  9. Richard, b. Mar. 2, 1681, Dorchester, MA
  10. Edward, b. Aug 4, 1683, Dorchester, MA
  11. Ebenezer, b. July 3, 1685, Dorchester, MA

A headstone inscription for James White also exists in the Old North Burying ground.  It reads,
“Here lyes the body of James White Aged 76 years Dyed November the 11th 1713”.


7. Will of George Dyer (Dyer)

Dorchester MA vital records contains a notice of the death of William Dyer,  June 18 1672 “being the 93rd year of his age”.  This record is attributed to George Dyer being conveniently recorded between the making and proving of his will, and no William Dyer being known in Dorchester at the time.

The will of George Dyer  is dated December 31, 1671 and proved August 2, 1672.  In it he bequeaths to “his beloved daughter Elisabeth the wife of William Trescot & unto her heirs forever all my dwelling house, outhouses, barn, yard, orchard together with my houselot and meadow adjoining to it unto the Salt Creek,” also “my meadows in the Calves Pasture”, also “five acres of my planting land at the Great Neck, the lot I bought of John Pierce to be part of it & made up five acres out of my lot adjoining,” also “half of my great lot both within fence and without”, also “all my division beyond Neponset River on the south side”;  to “my beloved daughter Mary the wife of William Pond & to her heirs forever a piece of marsh lying between two salt creeks commonly called the old harbor,” also “my piece of meadow lying at the entrance into the Great Neck, together with all the rest of my upland within the Great Neck, together with all the rest of my upland within the Great Neck not before given,” also “half my great lot within the fence and without,” also “my last division on the north side of Neponset”; daughter Mary to have half of the grass or profit therefrom  from the meadow adjoining the houselot for five years; any lands remaining in common, whether divided or undivided, to be equally divided between the two daughters abovementioned; to “my loving son-in-law James White of Dorchester my looms for weaving with all the utensils thereunto belonging in case he the said James will make use of them in the said work”; “all the household goods to daughter Elizabeth, except linen, which is to be equally divided between Elizabeth and Mary”; “my two acres of salt marsh that lyeth near the Mill Creek near Roxbury being part of a division I have sold to James White before mentioned & received satisfaction to content & given him possession;  sons-in-law William Trescot and William Pond to be executers and pay debts and funeral expenses”.(10)

His inventory was taken June 29, 1672.  It totaled L425 4s. 6d, of which L370 was real estate: “the housing , barn, orchard,  houselot and meadow at the end of Salt Creek, “ L100; “two acres of meadow on the other side of the creek,”  L14; “six acres of meadow in the Calves Pasture Meadows,” L60; “a piece of meadow at the north of the Great Neck,” L30; “eleven acres or thereabouts of upland at the Great Neck,” L46; “at the great lots be sides what’s disposed of at each end before,” L80; “the 2d & 3d [divisions] in the Cowwalks, 10 acres or thereabouts,” L15; “the last division on the north side of the Naponset, 29 acres or thereabouts,” L20;  and “common beyond the Blue Hills,” no value given.(10)

Other Family
George Dyer is mentioned in the will of Bernard Capen, who died in 1638 in Dorchester, MA.  In Capen’s will, he is mentioned  as “brother George Dyer”(11).   Certainly, there is a close association between Bernard Capen’s family and George Dyer’s.   Both originated from Dorchester, Dorset, England.  Bernard Capen’s wife Joan Purchase Capen is believed to be a sister of Thomas Purchase of Pejepscot Maine, and Sarah Purchase, the wife of George Way of Dorchester, Dorset, England, mentioned above.  Bernard and Joan Capen and some of their children are buried in the Old North Burying ground in Dorchester, MA, as is Elizabeth and William Trescott, and James White.  How George Dyer is a “brother” of Bernard Capen, though, is unknown.  

Interesting Historical Note:
On December 24, 1994, a vessel was discovered in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Anse Auz Bouleaux.  This ship was identified as part of Capt. William Phipps fleet lost on his expedition to Canada in 1690.
The identification was made due to the recovery of two artifacts.  The first was a musket bearing the initials “CT”.  The second was a pewter porringer, which had on it’s handle three initials positioned in a triangle: M, I, and S.  The position of the letters indicated the owner of the porringer had initials “IM” and his wife “SM”.  Research revealed the initials of the musket to belong to Cornelius Tileston.  The porringer initials identified its owner as Increase Moseley who’s wife was Sarah Moseley [Sarah Trescott Moseley].  Thus, the ship was identified as holding a company of men from Dorchester, MA. (16)

Increase Moseley was a grandson-in-law of George Dyer.

Sources:

  1. James Savage, Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, (Boston, 1860-62 repr Baltimore, 1965).
  2. Dorchester Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 21st Report Boston Commissioners (Boston, 1890).
  3. Records of the First Church At Dorchester in New England, 1636 - 1734 (Boston, 1891)
  4. Dorchester Town Records , by Dorchester, MA (Dorchester, Suffolk, MA)
  5. “History of the Town of Dorchester, MA”, by Dorchester Antiquarian and Historical Society (Dorchester and Boston, MA)
  6. Municipal Records of the Borough of Dorchester Dorset, by Charles Herbert Mayo, Arthur William Gould (1908 Dorchester, Dorset, England) (George Dyer page 423)
  7. Note-book Kept by Thomas Lechford, Esq., Lawyer: In Boston, Massachusetts Bay, from June27, 1638, to July 29, 1641, by Thomas Lechford, James Hammond Trumbull, (1885, Boston,MA) pp 401-3
  8. Paul Trescott, “An Account of the ventures, adventures, and misadventures of William Trescott (1614/15 – 1699)
  9. The Diary of Samuel  Sewall, 1674-1729
  10. Will of George Dyer.  Transcription taken from Frank Dyer, Dyer researcher, http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=dyerged&id=I02431
  11. Will of Bernard Capen. Src?
  12. Winthrop Society, “Passengers of the Abigail, Master Robert Hackwell, Voyage of 1635”, http://winthropsociety.com/ships/abigail.htm
  13. Letters of Gov. John Winthrop, Winthrop Society
  14. “Evidences of the Winthrop’s of Groton, co. Suffolk, England, and of families in and near that county, with whom they intermarried”, by Muskett, Joseph James, 1835-1910; Winthrop, Robert C., 1834-1905 (1894).
  15. Memoirs of Roger Clapp.
  16. National Geographic (televised episode)
  17. The Mary and John, The Story of the Founding of Dorchester Massachusetts 1630, (Maude Pinney Kuhns, Charles E Tuttle Co, Rutland VT, 1943, (CT Historical Society) p1:

"On the twentieth of March, 1630, a group of men and women, one hundred and forty in number, set sail from Plymouth, England, in the good ship, the 'Mary and John'. The company had been selected and assembled largely through the efforts of the Reverend John White, of Dorchester, England; with whom they spent the day before sailing, 'fasting, preaching, and praying.' These people had come from the western counties of England, mostly from Devonshire, Dorsetshire, and Somerset. They had chosen two ministers to accompany them: 'men who were interested in the idea of bringing the Indians to the knowledge of the gospel.' The Reverend John Maverick was an elderly man from Devon, a minister of the Established church. Reverend John Warham was also an ordained minister of the Church of England, in Exeter, eminent as a preacher. There is some evidence that both of these men were in some difficulties with the church on account of their sympathies with the Puritans.

"Edward Rossiter and Roger Ludlow, two men who were members of the government in England, were also chosen; and several gentlemen, middle-aged, with adult families were next joined to the association. Among these were Henry Wolcott, Thomas Ford, George Dyer, William Gaylord, William Rockwell, and William Phelps. But a large portion of the company were young men, eager for adventure, such as Israel Stoughton, Roger Clapp, George Minot, Richard Collicott, and Nathaniel Duncan.
"So we came, writes Roger Clapp in his Memoirs, by the good hand of the Lord, through the deep comfortably; having preaching or expounding of the word of God every day for ten weeks together by our ministers. When we came to Nantasket, Capt. Squeb, who was Captain of that great ship of four hundred tons, put us on shore and our goods on Nantasket Point, and left us to shift for ourselves in a forelorn place in this wilderness.

"It had been their original intent to land in the Charles River, but a dispute with Captain Squeb, the commander of the vessel, caused the whole company, on May 30, 1630, to be put ashore at Nantasket. The 'Mary and John' was the first of the Fleet of 1630 to arrive in the bay. At that time there could not have been pilots, or charts of the channel, and it does not seem unreasonable that the captain refused to undertake the passage, but Roger Clap has sent Captain Squeb down to posterity as a merciless man.

"According to tradition they landed upon the south side of Dorchester Neck, or South Boston, in Old Harbor. Ten of the men, under the command of Captain Southcote, found a small boat, and went up the river to Charlestown Neck, where they found an old planter, probably Thomas Walfourd, who fed them 'a dinner of fish without bread.' Later they continued their journey up the Charles River, as far as what is now Watertown, returning several days later to the company who had found pasture for their cattle at Mattapan. The settlement was later called Dorchester, in honor of the Reverend John White, of Dorchester, England.”

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