Dyer, James

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James Dyer was born April 25, 1756 in Scituate, Providence, Rhode Island, United States, the son of John Dyer (1726-1784) and Anna Payson (1726-1776). Some sites list mother as Mary Hickey ( - 1783-02-09 in Sturbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA)


James Dyer was a soldier in the Revolution. He enlisted in April in the year 1775 in the Town of Sturbridge in the State of Massachusetts for eight months in the State Line under Capt Martin Col Learnards Regiment and stationed at Roxbury was there at the time of the Battle of Bunker Hill and the burning of Charlestown and remained there until the expiration of the said eight months was then honorably dismissed...and returned home to Sturbridge.

The affidavits pertaining to the military service of James Dyer tell the story in vivid language.

"Sept. 18, 1832, first declaration, James Dyer resident of Knox, Albany Co., N. Y. Enlisted April 1775 at Sturbridge, Mass, for 8 months in the State line, under Capt. Martin, Col. Leonard's Regiment. Was stationed at Roxbury and was there at the time of the Battle of Bunker Hill and the burning of Charlestown. Remained there until the end of the 8.months.

"April 1776 enlisted again for 5 months, under Capt. John Wilcox of Brookfield, in Col. Newel's Regt. Marched from Sturbridge to New Haven and went on board of a sloop commanded by Capt. Williams find sailed to New York. Was stationed a little above the City on the Hudson River, and was there when the British fleet came in and as they passed, exchanged a few shots with them. The morning following, they were ordered to retreat and marched to Haarlum Heights, early the next morning the British attacked our rear guard. Our Regiment was ordered to reinforce the picket guard. We attacked the British and drove them back with the point of the bayonet, for which we received the thanks of General Washington and each man, had a gill of rum dealth out to him. We soon after retreated across Kings bridge and soon heard the firing at the taking of Ft. Washington. We continued our retreat to White Plains and was in the battle my messmate who was by my side was shot down. We retreated to what was then called Planks Bridge when enlistment expired and I was discharged.

"March 1780 orders were received by the town authorities to raise men for 3 years service. I enlisted under Capt Asee Coburn recruiting officer and was marched from Strubridge to Springfield and was there mustered in by Major Banister, then marched to West Point and selected out to fill up the Old Companies, myself and a brother Moses Dyer was requested by Capt. Gabriel Michael Hudang to join his Company and continued with it until peace. Capt. Hudang's Company belonged to the 5th Regiment, Gen. Patterson's Brigade. The Regiment was soon ordered down upon the lines near Kings bridge watching the enemy, had several skirmishes with them but no general battle. Was on the lines and at West Point until peace was proclaimed. Was on the lines at the time General Washington and the French troops marched for Yorktown. In June 1783 Col. James Dorce took command of our Regiment and ordered to march to Philadelphia. Elijah Dorce brother to the Colonel was. Lt. Colonel and took charge; we marched there to quell a Mutiny among the troops; while there deponent as Corporal had command of a file of men and took in charge a prisoner by the name of Noggle, a sergeant major, and took him before a Court Martial, heard his trial and sentence. He with two other ringleaders of the mutiny were sentenced to be shot. Deponent was one of the twelve men commanded by a Lieutenant who were appointed to execute them. After they were arranged to receive our fire, Lieutenant brought us to a present at this time an Adjutant rode up with full speed and ordered the Lieutenant to bring his men to a shoulder, he then took the paper and read a reprieve from General Washington, the prisoners were set at liberty. We soon after marched back to West Point when the Regiment was marched to New York and were present when the British evacuated the City and saw them sail out of the harbor. While in New York deponent was orderly for one week for General Washington to carry letters and wait upon him. We had at this time a splendid illimunation of the City in consequence of the British evacuating it. Our Regiment marched back to West Point, and in December were discharged. This deponent received honorable discharge from Gen. Knox as a Corporal. After returning home received payment for three years service in securities from Lt. Park HalIum, paymaster of the 5th Regiment.

"Deponent, was born in 1756 in the town of Scituate, Mass., when a youth his parents moved to Sturbridge, Mass. About 1806 deponent moved to Jefferson, Schoharie Co., N. Y., and moved in 1809 to the present town of Knox where has since resided. Has no documentary evidence and knows of no one living to testify to his service.

"William Brown, a clergyman, and Erastus Williams, both of Knox, certify to his veracity and repute as a Revolutionary soldier.

"Aug. 15, 1832, a fellow, soldier, Dennison Wheelock of Southbridge, Mass., testifies to being in the same Company with Dyer, uinder Capt. Adam Martin, Col. Ebenezer Learned's Regiment of Oxford.

"Joshua Harding of Southbridge also certifies to all of Dyer's war service.

"A later declaration, to supplement gaps in first affidavit states that Dyer served a Col. Glover's regiment, Sands 1st Lt., John Warren, 2d Lt. Capt Hudang's Co Served in this Regiment until June 1783 and for the ensuing 6 months until his discharge in Dec he was in Capt. William's Co. as previously stated.

Jan. 20, 1837, Mary Dyer aged 77, widow of James, who died Mar. 3, 1835, affirms that she was married some time in November, 1776.

Jan 14,1837, affidavit of Winthrop Dyer, a son, states his belief as to his father's Revolutionary service, and his parents' marriage. He states his age as 58 to the best of his knowledge and belief.

"Matthias Zeh, who lived in the family of Dyer certifies to having heard the Dyers speak of Mary's privations and sufferings in supporting and caring for her young children while her husband, was in the Army, and, he believes, they were married some time before the expiration of Dyer's term, of service.

"Lemuel Russell, a neighbor, testifies to the same effect. Knew the family for 16 years, and often heard how Mary had to hoe corn and potatoes and provide for the family while husband was in the army, but she would say she was glad he had been fighting for the country for now we enojyed freedom.

"Second affidavit of Mary Dyer gives her maiden, name as Mary Marcy and says she was married, in Sturbridge, Mass. by Moses Marcy, Justice of the Peace.

A copy is submitted from the Sturbridge records of "'Intention of marriage between James Dyer and' Mary Marcy, Dec. 9th, 1776 both. of Sturbridge, were entered. Attest. Joshua Harding, T. Clerk.

"John Holbrook of Sturbridge testifies that in Dec. 1776 he was present at a religious publick meeting in the meeting house when the intention of marriage was published by the Town Clerk.

"Mary Simpson of Southbridge, and Dennison Wheelock and Cyrus Amimidown, both of the same place, testify to their knowledge that James and Mary Dyer were married and lived together as man and wife.

Mary's pension was uspended until all evidence was produced, and then allowed with arrears to date, at the same rate that her husband originally received—$80 per annum."

Altamont Enterprise - October 19, 1834

From DAR.org
Ancestor #:A035177
Pension Number: S*W16968
Service Source: S*W16968
Service Description: 1) ALSO PVT, CAPT MARTIN, COL LEONARD

Marriage & Children

James Dyer married Mary Marcy born 19 January 1760 in Southbridge, MA, the daughter of Moses Marcy and an unknown mother on 15 Dec 1776 in Sturbridge, MA. Mary died 13 October 1844 in Jefferson, Scholaire, NY. The son was:

  • James Dyer (15 Apr 1781 in Dudley, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States - 1869 in Winnebago, Winnebago, Illinois, United States)
  • Bradbury Dyer (1792-12-26 in Dudley,Worcester,Massachusetts,USA - 1860-04-27 in Berne, Albany,New York,USA)
  • Martha Patty Dyer
  • Justin Dyer
  • Mercy Dyer
  • Emily Dyer
  • Lucinda Dyer
  • Amanda Dyer
  • Moses Dyer
  • Dexter Dyer
  • Sally Dyer
  • Winthrop Dyer
  • Mary \ Polly Dyer
  • Rebecca Dyer
  • Nancy Dyer


James Dyer died March 3, 1835 and was buried in Knox - High Point Cemetery - In Memory of James Dyer - who departed this life March 3, 1835 Aged 78 years 10 months and 8 days A soldier of the Revolution

His wife, Mary, died on October 13, 1844.

Additional Media

Family Data Collection - Births about James Dyer
Name: James Dyer
Father: John Dyer
Mother: Anna Payson
Birth Date: 23 Apr 1756
City: Scituate
County: Providence
State: RI
Country: USA


James Dyer Notes: James Dyer (DAR #50733, 1756-1835) enlisted from his residence of Sturbridge, MA in 1775 as private. He served 8 months in Capt. Martin's company, Col. Leonard's regiment from Sturbridge, Mass, served 5 months under Capt. J.Wilcox & Col. Newell at Battle of Bunker Hill, MA, served 3 yrs. as Corporal under Capt. Hydang and Col. Glover in battles of Massachusetts, served in battles of Long Island and White Plains, NY, discharged as Corporal in Dec. 1785. He applied for pension, Sept. 18, 1832 from his residence at Knox, Albany Co., NY, which was allowed as Rev. War Pension #S21168. DAR Vol.157, page 224 has him marrying in 1796. "Born in Scituate, RI", according to his own words in the Continental Army pension file. Mary was pension #W16968 as his widow. He filed an Intention of Marriage in Sturbridge, Worcester MA on 9 Dec 1776; C.W. Bowen's History and Genealogy of Woodstock Families Vol VI, P 612 lists his marriage on 15 Dec 1776 in Sturbridge, MA, and records his removal to Albany Co., NY, in 1804, his birth in 1756 in Scituate, RI; his removal to Sturbridge, MA in 1765. During May through Aug 1775 he served in the Continental Army for either 3 mos. 8 days or for 8 mths from Apr to the end of 1775. He re-enlisted to serve from Apr through Aug 1776 for 5 mths. It was probably during this period that James served as Orderly of Gen. George Washington while Washington was headquartered in New York. In Dec 1776 he married and one child was born at Sturbridge MA. On 14 May 1778 he bought land with dwelling and barn in Sturbridge from father, John Dyer. In 1779 - 1792 he lived at Dudley, MA, and his eight children were born there. He settled on the farm where Jerome Hubbard formerly lived but his house was located on the crossroad east of the corners near the top of the hill. [The foregoing is primarily from the research of Leslie M. Dyer of Florida. ] Sometime in the early 1800's James removed to Jefferson, NY, and then back east to the Knox/Berne area where he is found in the 1810 census. Based on the movements of his son, Bradbury, James and he may have been farming together because Bradbury is found in the 1820 Berne census. James was buried at Highpoint Cemetery in Altamont, NY, the next town east of Knox, NY. I located this gravestone in August of 2001and found it to be in very good condition. It is distinctively carved with a willow tree at the top. Some genealogical compilers assert that the parents of James were John Dyer and Anna Payson. This assertion is recorded in the files of Latter Day Saints Church, AFN Number 1WQP-247, and is probably based on two historical findings, a probate record for a John Dyer wherein a son James is listed as the "eldest son of John Dyer, Worcester Co." (Surrogate Court, MA). On 14 May 1778, from Book 134, page 126, John Dyer of Dudley, MA [10 mi. SE of Sturbridge], Housewright, sold to James Dyer of Sturbridge, Yeoman, for $355.00, a piece of land situated in Sturbridge, estimated at 35 acres & one half with dwelling and barn. The second finding is a Petition for Administration of the Estate of John Dyer, signed on 4 April 1784 at Sturbridge, Massachusetts by his children James, Moses, Mary and Thomas. [This item is given also in the papers of Eugene Bouton.] To sort out this issue, I employed the services of a highly recommended professional genealogist, R. Andrew Pierce of Boston. His work establishes with near certainty that James Dyer's father was NOT the John Dyer who married Anna Payson and James is thus NOT descended from the line of Pilgrim William Bradford through a great grandmother Abigail Fitch as many have asserted. Instead, his line is more likely that which has been compiled by Frank Dyer from the research of Leslie M. Dyer which assigns him as a son of another John Dyer who married Mary Hickey, thus making him a descendent of the famous religious reformer of Salem, MA, Anne Hutchinson. As can be read from the reports of Mr. Pierce below, the contention that the parents of James Dyer were John Dyer and Anna Payson does not at all stand up to close scrutiny so this contention must be rejected. The only likely candidates for the parents of James then are the John Dyer who married Mary Hickey. This contention can be shown as reasonable but primary sources cannot be found to prove it. Thus, given the present state of the genealogical record, I believe the ancestral line of Winfield Gallup passes through John Dyer and Mary Hickey . This is the line presented in this compilation. The following is a letter to me from R. Andrew Pierce followed by the summary of his report: Fri, 17 Aug 2001

Lynn, I have also forwarded the following report to you by regular mail, with photocopies of relevant documents. I have virtually scoured the NEHGS' material on the Dyer family, both in print & manuscript, and also on the communities involved (Scituate, Sturbridge, Woodstock), and while I have definitely eliminated John & Anna (Payson) Dyer as ancestors, this does NOT "prove" the other line from Rhode Island. Your John Dyer's origins may have to be explored in manuscript sources such as court records; I can check to determine whether Sturbridge may have sued Woodstock or another town over the family's support before they established themselves, since these cases often contained depositions about the person's origin. It would also be nice to find a Revolutionary muster roll NOT contained within "Massachusetts Soldier & Sailors" which might give John Dyer's birthplace. First we will see if he bought or sold land while in Scituate RI; if not, the Town Council records there might be examined to see if he was also "warned" from there, etc. Will look forward to corresponding again soon-- R. Andrew Pierce P.O. Box 6101 Boston, MA 02114 (617) 773-5603 Email: apgen[sym]earthlink.net


August 15, 2001 Mr.Lynn Gallup Edina, Minnesota Dear Lynn, In response to your request of some weeks ago, I have conducted research on the parentage and further origins of your ancestor James Dyer(1756-1835). I enclose an abstract and copies of some original pages from James Dyer's Revolutionary War pension file (W16, 968), in which he states that he was born in 1756 in the town of Scituate in the state of Rhode Island, when a youth his parents moved to Sturbridge in the State of Massachusetts...was living (there) when called into service; about the year 1806 moved from Sturbridge to the town of Jefferson, Schoharie county in the State of New York...moved from Jefferson in the year 1809 to the present town of Knox where he has since resided.

The abstract mentions that James married Mary Marcy at Sturbridge in 1776, and mentions his brother Moses Dyer. The abstract of Moses Dyer's pension in the same publication (Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files) notes that he also lived in Sturbridge at the time of enlistment, and in 1820 was aged 55 (so born ca.1765), a resident of New Grantham, NH. It may be significant that James & Moses Dyer both named sons Winthrop; Moses also named a son Converse. The pension abstract of a third brother, Thomas Dyer, notes he lived in Sturbridge MA at time of enlistment, married Sibbil Marcy in 1780, and died in 1810, age 59. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution notes that Thomas Dyer was age 20 in 1781, so was probably born 1761, not 1751 as inferred by his pension file. The same publication notes James Dier was 25 in 1781; Moses Dier was 17 in 1781; and John Dier was 50 in 1781. This last statement is especially important, though the age may or may not be accurate. Blake's Worcester County, Massachusetts Warnings, 1737-1788, notes that on 20 August 1765 John Dyar, with wife Mary and children James, Thomas & Moses, who had come from Woodstock on 23 May 1765, were warned from the town. A check of Worcester County land records shows that John Dyer did not purchase any land in the county until 1778. The Sturbridge vital records show another child, Molly, born to John & Mary Dyer, May 27, 1766. The above, and the probate and land records cited by Frank Dyer and corroborated by myself, make it clear that James Dyer was the son of John & Mary Dyer. Bowen's History of Woodstock, Connecticut, Volume 4, traces a lineage down to one John Dyer, born there in 1752, who married in 1753, Anna Payson. They had four children recorded in the Woodstock vital records: Molly (1754), Olive (1756), Roger (1758), and Elisha (1760). Bowen irresponsibly sandwiched John & Mary Dyer's children among those of John & Anna, and even identified the two John Dyers with each other. The above evidence, however, makes it clear that your James Dyer was not the son of John & Anna (Payson) Dyer. We can assume that John & Mary were in Scituate RI in 1756 when their son James was born (the vital records are quite incomplete and show no record), and in Woodstock CT by 1765 when they were warned out. I have sent to Scituate for any and all deeds of John Dyer there, which may provide more clues. The marriage, in Newport RI on 25 October 1754, of a John Dyer to a Mary Hickey, by Rev.Nicholas Eyres, is certainly a good possibility for this couple but there appears to be no basis with which to conclude that it was. Nor is there any reason to conclude that John Dyer, whose Revolutionary service record makes him born ca.1731, was a son of Samuel Dyer of North Kingstown, the names of whose children, born between 1726 and 1742, were obliterated by a fire in the town hall. In 1925, an unnamed correspondent wrote to the Boston Transcript genealogical column (#3407) that a Samuel Dyer, born at Newport in 1712, married Mercy Mumford and had children Samuel, Desire & John; and asked whether this John could be identical with the one who married Mary Hickey in 1754. I personally feel this is cutting it too close with a known birth date for Samuel in 1712. Teenage marriages sometimes occurred in that day (usually it was the wife, not the husband, who was teenaged), but were not the norm. Rhode Island Freeman 1747-1755 notes John, Samuel & William Dyer at Providence in 1747, a Samuel Dyer at North Kingstown in 1747 and a Samuel Dyer at Newport in 1747 & 1748. For continued research, I suggest first searching Scituate deeds & town records, which will hopefully shed more light on John Dyer. This can be done by correspondence or by borrowing films from Salt Lake City. [This concludes his report]