Genealogical and Family History
STATE OF MAINE
Compiled under the editorial supervision of George Thomas Little, A. M., Litt. D.
LEWIS HISTORICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY
[Please see Index page for full citation.]
[Transcribed by Coralynn Brown]
[Many families included in these genealogical records had their beginnings in Massachusetts.]
There are several coats-of-arms in the English branches of the Dyer family, and while these arms and the crest are entitled to be worn appropriately by the American Dyers, the customs of our people oppose such indulgences. The arms of the Dyer family of the branch considered in this place is a plain shield, surmounted by a wolf's head, a reproduction of which appears on a tombstone in the Copps Hill burying ground, Boston.
The surname Dyer undoubtedly is of English origin, and is believed to have been first applied in allusion to the occupation of the persons on whom it was bestowed. There may have been and doubtless were many persons in diverse localities engaged in the occupation from which the name is derived, hence it cannot be argued that all Dyers are descended from the same ancient ancestral head.
(I) Deacon Thomas Dyer, immigrant ancestor, was born in England. The record of the Dyer family is to be found there as early as 1436. The Dyer coat-of-arms was a plain shield surmounted by a wolf's head. Thomas Dyer came from England in 1632, and settled soon afterward in Weymouth, Mass. He was admitted a freeman there May 29, 1644. He was a cloth-worker by trade. He also was an innkeeper in Weymouth, and was one of the leading citizens of his day. He was deputy to the general court in 1646 and four years afterward. He was deacon of the Weymouth church, and held various town offices.
He died Nov. 3, 1676. His will was dated Nov. 3, 1676, and proved Nov. 13, 1676. He bequeathed to his wife fifty pounds and the estate of her former husband at Medfield. He bequeathed to his children named below, to his granchildren, to his pastor, Mr. Samuel Torrey, and to the Weymouth church. His estate was valued at two thousand one hundred and three pounds. The widow, Elizabeth, in her will, dated Nov. 20, 1678, proved Jan. 31, 1678-79, bequeathed to her sons, Abraham and John Harding, daughter Elizabeth Adams, daughter Prudence, son Joseph Dyer, and three grandchldren.
Thomas Dyer married first (Agnes) Reed, who died Dec. 4, 1667. He married (second) Elizabeth (Adams) (Harding) Frary, widow successively of Abraham Harding, of Medfield, and of John Frary Jr. She died 1678-79.
Children, all of 1st wife:
1. Mary, born July 3, 1641, married Samuel White.
2. John, born July 10, 1643.
3. Thomas, born 1645, died young.
4. Abigail, born 1647, died March 13, 1717-18; married Jacob Nash.
5. Sarah, born 1649, married John Roggles.
6. Thomas, born May 5, 1651.
7. Joseph, born Nov. 6, 1653 (twin), married Hannah Frary.
8. Benjamin (twin), born Nov. 6, 1653.
9. William, mentioned below.
10. Elinor, born about 1660.
(II) William, son of Deacon Thomas Dyer (1), was born about 1658 at Weymouth. He married Joanna Chard, born Aug. 17, 1667.
1. William, born March 23, 1693, died 1750.
2. Christopher, born 1701, mentioned below.
3. Joseph, married Jane Stephens.
(III) Christopher, son of William Dyer (2), was born at Weymouth in 1701. He settled in the adjacent town of Abington. He married, Nov. 27, 1725, Hannah Nash, who died in 1760, daughter of Ensign James Nash.
1. Mary, born 1728.
3. Christopher, mentioned below.
7. James, born about 1743, died Oct. 1, 1843, aged one hundred years; married Mercy Small.
(IV) Lieutenant Christopher Jr., son of Christopher Dyer (3), was born about 1735-40, in Abington, Mass.
Children, b. in Abington:
1. Bela, born 1757, soldier in the revolution; he and brother Christopher built a mill for General Lincoln at Pssamaquaddy, Maine, in 1780; died May, 1830, aged seventy-three; married Ruth Hunt.
3. Christopher, married Deborah Reed; soldier in the revolution.
4. Benjamin, settled in Ashfield, Mass.
5. Jesse, settled in Pl.ainfield, Mass.
6. Asa, mentioned below.
(V) Asa, son of Lieut. Christopher Dyer (4), was born in Abington, Mass. in July, 1773, and died in Skowhegan, Maine, Feb., 1851. He was a farmer at Abington in early life. He removed to Skowhegan in the fall of 1817, and bought eighty-five acres of land on what is now called Dyer Hill, on Upper Madison street. In connection with his farm he manufactured brick for many years. He was one of the first settlers and taxpayers in what is now Skowhegan, in 1823.
In politics he was a Whig. He married, Sept., 1801, in Abington, Mehitable Chamberlain, born Sept., 1780, in Abington, and died July, 1877 in Skowhegan.
Clarissa, John, Elbridge, Quincy, Chandler, William, Isaac (mentioned below), Joseph (mentioned below).
(VI) General Isaac, son of Asa Dyer (5), was born in Canaan, now Skowhegan, Maine, Nov. 1, 1820. He was educated in the public schools of his native place, and worked with his father, farming and manufacuring brick. He left home when he came of age, and was associated for two years with his brother, John Dyer, in the manufacutre of saleratus. He then went to Albany, New York, and entered the employ of his brother, Quincy Dyer, in the same line of business. After a short time he returned to his home in Skowhegan, and assisted his father on the farm, teaching school during the winter terms in the towns of that vicinity.
He was prominent in the state militia, and when the civil war broke out he was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of the Fifteenth Maine Regiment of Volunteers, Dec. 19, 1861, and served with his regiment at New Orleans under Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, and later under Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks, in the Red River Expedition. He was commissioned colonel in August, 1862. He served in the Shenandoah Valley campaign under Gen. Sheridan, and was later detailed to take charge of the freed men at New Orleans. He was mustered out, after thc close of the war, having served three years and nine months, Sept. 9, 1865. In February, 1865, he was brevetted brigadier-general. When he entered the service he left his drug business, which he had established at Skowhegan, in the hands of his partner, George Cushing. Upon his return he resumed business in the partnership, and continued until 1880, when he sold out to his partner.
Mr. Dyer then devoted his attention to farming and manufacturing brick on the homestead on Dyer Hill. In 1889 he sold the brick business. He was appointed postmaster Feb. 1, 1900, and reappointed in 1905 and 1908, giving both government and public perfect satisfaction in his administration of the office.
Mr. Dyer is a Republican of steadfast loyalty and much influence. He was a member of the Skowhegan board of selectmen for six years; town treasurer one year, and member of the school committee five years. He is a prominent member of the Methodist Episcopal church and chairman of its board of trustees.
He is a member of Skowhegan Lodge of Free Masons; of Somerset Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; of De Molay Commandery, Knights Templar, of which he is past commander. He is a member of Somerset Grange, Patrons of the Republic, of which he was the first commander, also the Loyal Legion.
He married, June 29, 1851, Lydia F. Emery, born April, 1828, died Dec. 22, 1904, daughter of Levi Emery.
Child, b. at Skowhegan:
Albert F., born Sept. 17, 1856, educated in the public schools, engaged in the dry-goods business in Skowhegan. married Maria Emily Swain, by whom one child, Edith, b. Sept. 10, 1883, married Benjamin T. Stewart, Dec. 2, 1903.
(VI) Joseph, son of Asa Dyer, married Dorcas ____, and had children, one of whom was named Frederick.
(VII) Frederick, son of Joseph and Dorcas Dyer, was born in Hollis, Maine, Dec. 22, 1805, and died in Old Town, Maine. He married Sarah K., daughter of John and Esther (Moulton) Darrah.
William H., Daniel and Albert.
(VIII) William H., son of Frederick and Sarah K. (Darrah) Dyer, was born in Old Town, Maine, June 9, 1846, and became a mechanic, millwright, a superior workman, who began his business life making tools and implements used by lumbermen. Later on he took up general millwright work, and followed that trade for nearly a quarter-century. He is now and for several years past has been connected with the mechanical work of pulp and paper-mills.
He is a Mason, member of Whitney Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, of Canton, Maine, and in politics he is a Democrat.
He married Catherine Noonan, born at St. George, New Brunswick, June 30, 1846, died Feb. 8, 1896.
Frederick R. Dyer.
(IX) Frederick Rainey, only child of William H. and Catherine (Noonan) Dyer, was born in Old Town, Maine, Oct. 3, 1873, and received his earlier education in the Canton public schools, and in Hebron Academy, graduating from the latter in 1894. He then entered Colby College, remained there his freshman year, and in 1895 took up the study of law with O. H. Hersey, of Buckfield. In 1897 he passed the required examination, and in the same year was admitted to practice in the courts of this state. In 1899 Mr. Dyer began general practice in Buckfield, and although comparatively young in the profession, he nevertheless has won his way to an enviable standing at the bar in his town and county.
He is a Republican in politics, and in 1907 represented Buckfield in the lower house of the state legislature. He has given efficient service as a member of the school board, and also in the performance of the more difficult duties of the office of superintendent of schools, which he filled for three years.
He is a member of the Evening Star Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, of Buckfield, and Turner Chapter, No. 41, Royal Arch Masons.
On Oct. 27, 1900, Mr. Dyer married Lena H., daughter of Edwin and Lola (Record) Maxim, of Buckfield.
[This Section Transcribed by Sandra Boudrou]
Herbert S. Dyer, only son of Stephen K. and Emily (Jordon) Dyer, was born in Portland, May 6, 1858, and died at Madrid, December 20, 1907. He was educated in the public schools, graduating from the high school in the class of 1876. He soon afterward went to New York City, where for about twelve years he was employed by the E. S. Higgins Carpet Company as a house salesman, and later with Arnold, Constable & Company, in the wholesale carpet department. During his employment his health failed to such an extent that it was impossible for him to continue, and from the nature of the trouble, which was caused by overwork and close confinement to business, it became necessary for him to take to horseback-riding as an exercise. This suggested to him the institution of a riding academy, and he established the Belmont Riding Academy, and conducted it for some time with success. He went into other ventures, and about 1892 returned to Portland to engage in various patent enterprises, the first being that of the Brooks Arms & Tool Company. This was operated for some time, and then he became interested in other matters. About 1900 he engaged in the life insurance business, for which he was fitted by nature to perfection, and in which he made a remarkable success. He became state agency director for the New York Life, from which he changed some time afterward to the John Hancock, for which he was also state agent. A few years ago he became the local representative of the New York banking business of Kountze Brothers, and was with that concern at the time of his death. He had been from his youth an enthusiast in geology and mineralogy, and had always evinced an interest in the minerals of this state. He labored long and earnestly before the state board of trade and the legislature for an appropriation for a state mineralogist and for a survey of the state to determine the location and approximate extent and value of its mineral wealth. He was a member of the common council in 1898-99, and was president of that body during his second term. He was a Republican in politics, and was an active candidate for postmaster to succeed the late Clark H. Barker. For some time he had been one of the most energetic members of the board of trade, and was one of its directors and a member of the committee on entertainment. In 1907 he introduced at a meeting of the board a resolution favoring legislative action which should lead to the adoption of uniform couplings for hydrants throughout the state.
He and his family for years before his death were connected with the High Street Congregational Church circles, and there, as in other associations, Mr. Dyer was always of assistance in the time of need. He was killed by the accidental discharge of his rifle. Mr. Dyer was well known and universally respected and liked. He was full of energy, a man of force of character, which gave him great influence in board of trade matters and on public questions. In social circles he left a vacant place that can never be filled. Possessed of an unusually bright and cheery nature, people turned to him as flowers to the sunshine, and his presence at any affair was always an inspiration. To know Herbert S. Dyer was to love him, and have the privilege of his friendship was to have a strong arm to lean on. He was a thoroughly unselfish friend, who was never weary of welldoing. In social life he gave that which is a rare thing to find, a friendship on which one could always rely.
He married, July 6, 1880, Elizabeth, a native of Portland, daughter of John and Mary (Harris) Bradford. Mr. Bradford was a well-known spar-marker in Portland. Children:
1. Helen M. married Walter Elden Smart.
2. Edith Bradford.
3. Hamilton H., a student in the high school.