Mary BARRETT, the Quaker martyr, born circa 1610 London, London, ENG (speculative); married 10/27/1633 St. Martin-Fields, London, London, ENG (Parish Register "October 27, 1633 Gulielmus Dyer and Maria Barret"); converted to Quakerism on a trip back to ENG, hanged from an elm tree in Boston Common at 9:00 a.m. 6/1/1660, buried RI; "a comely person of ready tongue, somewhat given to frivolity"
Spouse: William DYER, Captain, baptized 9/19/1609 Kirkby Lathrope, County Lincoln, ENG died circa 1676 Newport, Newport, RI; sailed for Boston circa 1635; disfranchised from First Church of Boston 11/15/1637 for "seditious writing" and removed to RI; one of the signers of the compact of government 3/7/1638; William married (2) Catharine ? after 6/1/1660 in Boston Suffolk MA
Children: William baptized 10/24/1634 London ENG died 10/27/1634 London; Samuel born before 12/20/1635 Boston Suffolk MA died circa 1678 Kingston, Washington, RI married Anne Hutchinson daughter of Edward Hutchinson and Catherine Hamby, granddaughter of Anne (Marbury) Hutchinson who was banished from Boston for her religious activities; Mary born circa 1639 Boston, Suffolk, MA died after 1/26/1678/79 Delaware married Henry Ward; William Dyer, Mayor, born circa 1642 died 1688 Sussex Co. PA (now Delaware) married Mary Walker daughter of Richard; Mahershallalhashbaz born circa 1643 Boston died before 1670 married Martha Pearce circa 1665 Portsmouth Newport RI; Henry born circa 1647 RI died 2/1689-90 Newport Newport RI married Elizabeth Sanford daughter of John Sanford and Elizabeth Spatchurst; Charles born circa 1650 RI died 5/15/1709 Newport Newport RI married Mary Lippett. Child by (2) Catharine: Elizabeth born circa 1662 Newport Newport RI married John Greenman before 1695
Harpers's Popular Cyclopędia of United States History from the Aboriginal Period By Benson John Lossing. Last Executions of Quakers in Boston In 1660 and 1661. the last executions of Quakers occurred in Boston.. Mary Dyer which see the wife of a citizen of Providence who was not a Quaker visited those who were in prison in Boston for conscience sake after she had once been banished. Her return incurred the penalty of death and she was led out to execution by hanging on Boston Common with two men Robertson and Stevenson. On the scaffold she was reprieved for the day on the earnest petition of her son who promised to persuade her to leave the colony. She went home with him to Rhode Island under a sentence of banishment but soon returned to visit Friends in prison. She was arrested and the next day under a strong guard of soldiers and with the beating of drums to drown her voice she was taken to the Common and hanged. Her husband had pleaded most piteonsly for her life as one most dearly beloved. But the magistrates and ministers were deaf to every appeal for mercy. The next year William Leddra who had been banished returned and was hanged. These persecutions caused an amazing addition to the number of converts to Quakerism. The same year monthly meetings were established in several places in Now England and not long afterwards quarterly meetings were organized. On hearing of the death of Leddra, Charles II sent an order to Endicott to stop the persecutions and to send all accused persons to England for trial. This order was sent by the hand of Samuel Shattuck a banished Quaker who appeared before Governor Endicott with his hat on. The incensed governor was about to take the usual brutal steps to send him to prison after ordering an officer to remove Shattnck's hat when the latter handed the magistrate the order from the throne. Endicott was thunderstruck. He handed back Shattuck's hat and removed his own in deference to the presence of the king's messenger. He read the papers and directing Shattuek to withdraw simply remarked. We shall obey his majesty's commands. A hurried conference was held with the other magistrates and ministers. They dared not send the accused persons to England for they would be swift witnesses against the authorities of Massachusetts so they ordered William Button keeper of the Boston Jail to set all the Quakers free. So ended their severe persecution in New England but the magistrates continued for some time to whip Quaker men and women half naked through the streets of Boston and Salem until peremptorily forbidden to do so by the king Last Royal Governor in Maryland.
LETTER OF MARY DYER The 28th of the 8lh Month 1659. Once more to the general court assembled in Boston speaks Mary Dyar even as before my life is not accepted neither availeth me in comparison of the lives and liberty of the truth and servants of the living God for which in the bowels of love and meekness I sought you yet nevertheless with wicked hands have you put two of them to death which makes me to feel that the mercies of the wicked are cruelty. I rather choose to die than to live as from you as guilty of their innocent blood therefore seeing my request is hindered I leave you to the righteous Judge and searcher of all hearts who with the pure measure of light he hath given to every man to profit withal will in his due time let you see whose servants you are and of whom you have taken counsel which I desire you to search into but all his counsel hath been slighted and 1 you would none of his reproofs Read your portion Prov i 24 to 32 For verily the night cometh on you apace wherein no man can work in which yon shall assuredly fall to your own master. In obedience to the Lord whom I serve with my spirit and pity to your souls which you neither know nor pity I can do no less than once more to warn you to put away the evil of your doings and kisa the son the light in you before his wrath be kindled in you for where it is nothing without you can help or deliver you out of his hand at all and if these things be not so then say there hath been no prophet from the Lord sent amongst you Though we be nothing yet it is his pleasure by things that are not to bring to naught things that are When I heard your last order read it was a disturbance unto me that was so freely offering up my life to him that gave it me and sent me hither so to do which obedience being his own work he gloriously accompanied with his presence and peace and love in me in which I rested from my labour till by your order and the people I was so far disturbed that I could not retain any more of the words thereof than that I should return to prison and there remain forty and eight hours to which I submitted finding nothing from the Lord to the contrary that I may know what his pleasure and counsel is concerning me on whom I wait therefore for he is my life and the length of my days and as I said before I came at his command and go at his command MAKY DYAR .
The London Quarterly. pious friendship Dr Holmes is censurable for endeavouring to palliate the persecution of the Quakers in New England The prevalent opinion he says among all sects of Christians at that day that toleration is sinful ought to be remembered He ought to have remembered that one state in North America had then been established on the broad basis of freedom in religion Nor may it be forgotten he adds that the first Quakers in New England beside speaking and writing what was deemed blasphemous reviled magistrates and ministers and disturbed religions assemblies and that the tendency of their tenets and pracices was to the subversion of the commonwealth in that period of its infancy It is absolutely false that the Quaker tenets ever tended to the subversion of government in any other manner than Christianity itself may be said to tend to subvert all governments by recommending a purity of life which would render them useless The manner in which he relates the most remarkable of these martyrdoms must pot be past over without reprehension William Robinson, Marmaduke Stephcnson, and Mary Dyer Quakers were broughtto trial before the general court of Massachusetts and sentenced to die The two first were executed To which he adds in a note they received this sentence for their rebellion scdition and presumptuous obtruding them selves after banishment on pain of death Mary Dyer was reprieved on condition of her departure from the jurisdiction in forty eight hours and if she returned to suffer the sentence She was however carried to the gallows and stood with a rope about her neck until the others were executed This infatuated woman returned and was executed in 1660 A declaration of the general court in justification of these proceedings was soon after printed And Dr Holmes informs the reader where this justification is to be found This account is as reprehensible for its inccuracv as for the want of right feeling which it displays Mary Dyer was led to execution with the two men they went hand in hand she being the middlemost which made the Marshal say to her who was pretty aged and stride en in years are not you ashamed to walk hand in hand between two young men No replied she this is to me an hour of the greatest joy I could enjoy in this world No eye can see no ear can hear no tongue can utter and no heart can understand the sweet incomes or influence and the refreshings of the spirit of the Lord which now I feel When the men had been executed she seeing now her companions hanging dead before her also stept up the ladder but after her coats were tied about her feet the halter put about her neck and her face covered with a handkerchief which the Priest Wilson lent the hangman just as she was to be turned off a cry was heard stop for she is reprieved Her feet then being loosed they bade her come down But she whose mind was already as it were in Heaven stood still and said she was there willing to suffer as her brethren did when they would annul their wicked laws This 5s the account given by the plain and faithful historian of the Quakers it is not the less interesting for the enthusiasm of the parties nor for the sympathy of the writer No condition was made with Mary Dyer nor would she have assented to any such condition Madness never makes conditions and that this was madness we are as willing to admit as Dr Holmes though our pity for such insanity is not without some reverence and admiration of the principle which could produce it The letter which she addressed to the court the day after the reprieve proves that she did not accept her life onanv condition Once more she says to the general court assembled in Boston speaks Mary Dyer even as before My life is not accepted neither availeth me in comparison of the lives and liberty of the truth and servants of the living God Yet nevertheless with wicked hands have yon put two of them to death which makes me to feel that the mercies of the wicked are cruelty 1 rather choose to die than to live as from you as guilty of their innocent blood When 1 heard your last order read it was a disturbance with me tluit was so freely offering up my life to him that gave it me. These are not times when any palliation of such intolerance is to be lightly past over or noticed only with contempt. There is too much fanaticism abroad and be it remembered that the Quakers are the only sectarians in whom fanaticism is not inseparably connected with the spirit of persecution.
The Quakers in Great Britain & America: Mrs Dyer had been an early convert and friend of Mrs Hutchinson She was in every sense a woman of repute and of good family and her subsequent history fills a conspicuous niche in the archives of New England devoted to intolerance martyrdom and the victims of bigotry Originally from London the Dyers had gone to Boston where they joined the Church of the Rev Mr Wilson in 1635 and were numbered among the intelligent citizens being above reproach and above the average in education and culture Dyer held many positions of public importance In 1638 he was elected clerk and in 1640 7 was secretary of Portsmouth and Newport Later on he became the General Recorder under the Parliamentary patent and among his later honors was that of attorney general of the colony Mrs Dyer became a prominent figure as a Quaker minister in Rhode Island and with their six children the Dyers became the ancestors of some of the most distinguished citizens of the state and nation An earnest minister Mary Dyer traveled over the new country and in 1658 was expelled from the colony of New Haven for preaching We have seen John Copeland Christopher Holder and Richard Doudney preaching in New England In June 1659 William Robinson of London and Marmaduke Stephenson of Holderness now in Rhode Island felt a call to enter Massachusetts They were accompanied by Patience Scott a young girl and later a sister in law of Christopher Holder and Nicholas Davis of Rhode Island colony They were promptly thrown into jail where already awaiting sentence were Christopher Holder and others Mary Dyer followed them some time later and was thrown into jail with them and on September 12 1659 they were banished on pain of death Patience Scott being admonished by the court and sent home Nicholas Davis and Mary Dyer obeyed the admonition but Robinson and Stephenson felt it their duty to remain and continued their ministry when they were again arrested There was a close intimacy between the Scott Holder and Dyer families Christopher Holder later marrying Mary Scott and when it was learned that the maimed Holder was again in jail threatened with torture Mary Dyer Hope Clifton and Mary Scott walked through the forest to Boston from Providence to plead for his release and that of others Mary Dyer was arrested while speaking to Holder through the prison bars conveying to the victims the messages of Friends and again cast into jail There was no mistaking this move of Holder Copeland Robinson Stephenson and Mary Dyer They deliberately challenged the legal right of Endicott to carry out the death penalty they did what their compatriots were doing in England returned to the field as soon as they were released willing to lay down their lives if necessary yet never striking a blow in retaliation Passive non resistance and religious appeals constituted the ammunition and weapons of this Colonial Quaker army where each soldier was a general and its effectiveness was one of the marvels of a century of intolerance The prisoners virtually threw down the glove They had all been banished with the assurance that if they returned death awaited them They returned in face of the law and menace their excuse being that they had been so commanded by the Lord Endicott who listened to this plea was frankly nonplused and doubtless did not desire to go to the last extreme When they were brought before the magistrates the latter said We desire not your death We have made many laws and endeavored in several ways to keep you from among us but neither whipping or punishment nor cutting of ears Holder and Copeland nor banishment upon pain of death will keep you from among us This was the prelude then follows Hearken now to your sentence of death Robinson asked to read a paper explaining why they came but the magistrates and Endicott refused to listen and they were sentenced Mary Dyer was then brought out and Endicott pronounced sentence upon her Mary Dyer you shall go from here to the place from where you came and from thence to the place of execution and there be hanged until you be dead The Lord's will be done replied the minister of the Quakers Take her away marshal replied Endicott and she was led away praying to the Lord The Quakers had many sympathizers in Boston and there were many protests Governor Winthrop came from Connecticut to protest against this crime of the century He said he would go down on his knees to stop it if necessary Colonel Temple Governor of Arcady and Nova Scotia filed his protest with the authorities and many more but without avail The Quakers practically shut themselves out as a number of Friends among whom were Daniel Gould of Newport William King Hannah Trask Robert Harper of Sandwich Provided Southwick later offered for sale as a slave Margaret Smith and Alice Cowland had walked from Salem bearing grave clothes announcing to the authorities of Boston that they had come at the behest of the Lord to look your bloody laws in the face Endicott planned to execute Robinson and Stephenson and to carry the execution of Mary Dyer to the moment before death hoping that she would weaken or recant as they doubtless felt some qualms of conscience or fear of the effect of hanging a woman Tt was designed to have a pretended reprieve arrive at the last moment which shows that they did not understand Mary Dyer The 2yth of October 1659 was set as the day of execution and hundreds of people came in from the surrounding country men and women who had been involved in witchcraft charges clergymen and laymen The following is a letter written by William Robinson On the 8th day of the 8th Month in the after part of the day Travelling betwixt Newport in Rhode Island and Daniel Gould's house with my dear brother Christopher Holder the Word of the Lord came expressly to me which did fill me immediately with Life and Power and heavenly Love by which he constrained me and commanded me to pass to the Town of Boston to lay down my life in his Will for the Accomplishing of His service which He had to be performed at the Day appointed To which Heavenly voice I presently yielded Obedience not questioning the Lord how He would bring the Thing to pass since I was a Child and Obedience was Demanded of me by the Lord who filled me with living Strength and Power from His heavenly Presence which at that time did mightily Overshadow me and my Life at that time did say Amen to what the Lord required of me and had Commanded me to do and willingly was I given up from that time to this Day to do and perform the Will of the Lord whatever became of my Body for the Lord had said unto me thy Soul shall rest in everlasting Peace and thy Life shall enter into Rest for being Obedient to the God of thy life I was a Child and durst not question the Lord in the least but rather was willing to lay down my Life than to bring Dishonour to the Lord and as the Lord made me willing dealing Gently and Kindly with me as a Tender Father by a Faithful Child whom he dearly Loves so the Lord did deal with me in Ministering his Life unto me which gave and gives me strength to perform what the Lord required of me and still as T did and do stand in need he Ministered and Ministreth more Strength and Virtue and heavenly Power and Wisdom whereby I was and am made strong in God not fearing what Man shall be suffered to do unto me
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