Mary Dyer


Mary Dyer was born in England, and during her childhood she was an occasional guest in the court of Charles I. At the age of 22, she married William Dyer, and soon afterward the two set sail for America, arriving at the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1637, she joined with Anne Hutchinson and began to promote her ideas of antimonianism, believing that, because Protestantism relied on faith alone for salvation, one need not depend on the clergy to understand the Word of God. She and her husband were banished along with the Hutchinsons, and after their departure authorities learned that Mary had recently given birth to a deformed stillborn child. The baby was dug up and its hideous countenance used as further proof of the Dyers' sacreligious preaching. The couple, meanwhile, had moved to Rhode Island and soon left once more for a visit to England, where Mary became a Quaker. Upon her return to America, she traveled to Boston on several occasions to protest their laws banning Quakers from joining the colony, and each time she was arrested and exiled. Finally, following a close escape and subsequent return, she was sentenced to death by hanging. She died a martyr—one of the four famous Boston Martyrs—and after her death she was buried in Newport, Rhode Island.

Key events during the life of dyer:

Born in England.
Married William Dyer.
Arrived in America.
Joined with Anne Hutchinson to turn faithful men and women against the clergy.
Gave birth to a deformed stillborn baby.
  Banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony along with Hutchinson, moved to Rhode Island.
Travelled to England and joined the Quakers.
Convicted and hanged for defying Puritan anti-Quaker laws.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Religious Troubles  in  American History Stories, Volume I  by  Mara L. Pratt

Short Biography
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