Dyar Family - The First Five Generations

Our Dyer line begins with the emigrant Thomas Dyer born in 1612 in the town of Shipton Mallett, near Glastonbury, Somersetshire. He came to New England about 1635 and settled in Weymouth, Massachusetts. There is a story that he went to the harbor to bid farewell to Agnes Reed who was moving to America with her parents, and was prevailed upon to accompany their family, without even returning to say good-bye to his own family.

He and Agnes were married in 1640 and had eight children: Mary, John, Thomas, Abigail, Sarah, Thomas, Joseph, and Benjamin. Thomas was a cloth worker by trade. He became a freeman in Weymouth in 1644 and a deacon in the church under the Reverend Samuel Torrey. His wife died on December 4, 1667, and he remarried a widow, Elizabeth Frasy Harding. He died on November 6, 1676, leaving "a very good estate" of 2103 pounds, to his widow, children and grandchildren.

John Dyer, born in Weymouth on July 10, 1643, married Mary Bicknell about 1668 and had five children, Thomas, John, Thomas, Samuel, and Benjamin with her. They had moved from Weymouth to Boston about 1670, where he practiced his trade of ironmongery. After her death on July 21, 1677 at the age of twenty eight, he was married again to Elizabeth Douse in 1678, and had six more children, Elizabeth, Nathaniel, Mary, Samuel, Joseph, and Sarah.

Joseph Dyer was born on March 2, 1687 in Boston, and became a mariner. He was married to Lydia Hough on December 19, 1717, by the Reverend John Webb, most probably at the "New North" Church. That same year, he bought a house on Hepburn Lane, and with his mother and three sisters sold four acres of marsh in Charlestown. He and Lydia had two children, Joseph and William, and it is believed that he died as early as 1720.

Lydia, the daughter of William Hough and Mary Kimball Hough was born on February 2, 1697 in Boston. She would live on in Boston for more than seventy years. However, when the British sent troops to be billeted in private homes, she left for the village of Billerica, in Middlesex County to live out her last days. Her tombstone, clearly describes how she felt about this situation.

Lydia's will was probated on May 12, 1780, and letters of administration were then granted to Benjamin Burt, goldsmith, and John Holton of Boston, oremaker. It gives to her son, Joseph Dyer, cooper, her son, the use and improvement of her estate during his lifetime. He however died in 1780, so her estate was divided among her grandchildren, William, Joseph, and Lydia "three senior heirs." and "three minor heirs," Sarah, John, and Jeremiah. Her property had come to her through the estate of her father, who had died in 1750. The house stood on what is now the southwest corner of Hanover and Salutation Streets. According to an account written in 1905 by John Elliot Bowman, descendants of Lydia's lived there until about 1836.

Joseph Dyar was born in Boston on February 7, 1719. He was the first member of the family to spell his name with an A, and his descendants have continued this practice. He was a cooper and had a shop in Ballard's Wharf, Boston. He married Abiel Marston on March 12, 1740, by whom he had nine children, Joseph, Lydia, William, Joseph, John, Lydia, Mary, John and Lydia. She died after 1762 and he then married Amey Bumstead on January 23, 1766. They had four more children, Sarah, John, Jeremiah, and Elizabeth. At his death in 1780, he left the shop to his eldest son William and the rest of his property to his six surviving children. Thomas Bumstead, possibly Amey's brother, was appointed the guardian of the youngest three children who all were under fourteen.

John Dyar was born on November 19, 1769. After the Revolution he moved to Nova Scotia where he married Sarah Potter on June 12, 1794. Sarah was the daughter of Joseph Potter and Mary Farnsworth Potter, born in Annapolis on August 4, 1776. Her parents had moved from Marlboro and Groton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts and were married there in 1772. Like many of those who moved to Canada, the Potters were wealthy merchants. John Dyar initially did well as a merchant, but during the Napoleonic Wars, his ships were lost, and he returned to Boston, very poor and with a large family. His brother Jeremiah helped him and in 1816 he emigrated to Marietta, Ohio. The journey took thirty days, and was very difficult.

John and Sally Potter Dyar had ten children: Mary, Sally, Joseph Bumstead, James Rice, John, Esther Ann, Harriet, Benjamin Franklin, Elvira and Albert.

Sally Potter's parents, Joseph Potter and Mary Farnsworth Potter come from families that had lived in Middlesex and Essex counties for a hundred and fifty years.

The Potters first lived in Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, and then moved to Marlboro early in the eighteenth century. The line to Sally is as follows: Nicholas, Robert, Robert, Ephraim, Joseph, Joseph.

Robert Potter, Jr. and his wife, Martha Hall Potter are buried in the Old Burying Ground in Lynn.

Robert's grandson and great grandson, both named Joseph, moved to Annapolis, Nova Scotia, before the Revolution. They were merchants to the many Loyalists who moved north both before and after the Revolution. It is said that the younger Joseph was lost at sea in 1800.

His wife, Mary Farnsworth, was born in Groton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts where both sides of her family had lived for generations. Her parents, Amos and Lydia Longley Farnsworth, were first cousins through their common grandfather, Jonas Prescott. This does not seem to be an unusual occurrence in those days. Lydia's other grandfather, William Longley, Jr. was killed by Indians in 1694.

The graves of many of the Farnsworth ancestors can be found in the Old Cemetery in Groton. Here is the grave of Amos Farnsworth:

(Amos and his son, Benjamin, were both drowned while crossing the Nashua River in a boat. His body was not found until the next March, but Benjamin's was recovered the next day.)

Here is the grave of John Longley, Amos Farnsworth's father-in-law.

South Burying Ground Home of "Uncle Frank" and "Aunt Polly" Sally (Potter) Dyar
South Burying Ground Home of "Uncle Frank" and "Aunt Polly" Sally (Potter) Dyar

(To see pictures of tombstones, click links below)

                     ┌── Thomas DYER Jr (Immigrant) (Captain) (Deacon), b. 1612, d. 1676
                 ┌── John DYER, b. 1643, d. 1696
                 │ └── Agnes REED, b. circa 1616, d. 1667
             ┌── Joseph DYER, b. 1688, d. circa 1721
             │ │ ┌── Lawrence DOWSE (Immigrant), bap. 1613, d. 1692
             │ └── Elizabeth DOWSE, b. 1647, d. after 1732
             │ └── Margery RAND (Immigrant), b. circa 1625
         ┌── Joseph DYAR, b. 1719, d. before 1781
         │ │ ┌── William HOUGH, b. 1647, d. 1714
         │ └── Lydia HOUGH, b. 1698, d. 1776
         │ └── Mary BRICKNELL, b. circa 1674
     ┌── John DYAR, b. 1769, d. 1832
     │ │ ┌── Thomas BUMSTEAD (Immigrant 1640), b. 1610, d. 1677
     │ │ ┌── Jeremiah BUMSTEAD (Immigrant 1640), bap. 1636, d. 1709
     │ │ │ └── Susanna (__________) (Immigrant), b. 1611, d. 1688
     │ │ ┌── Jeremiah BUMSTEAD, b. 1678, d. 1747
     │ │ │ │ ┌── Thomas BLANCHARD (Immigrant 1639), b. 1625
     │ │ │ └── Sarah BLANCHARD
     │ │ │ └── Anna-Hannah ROLFE (Immigrant), b. circa 1626
     │ └── Amey BUMSTEAD, b. circa 1735
     │ │ ┌── Nathaniel HOWARD
     │ │ ┌── Nathaniel HOWARD Jr, b. 1671, d. 1720
     │ │ │ └── Sarah WILLARD, b. between 1642 and 1642, d. 1678
     │ └── Sarah HOWARD, b. 1703
     │ │ ┌── Jonathan BUNKER, bap. 1638, d. 1678
     │ └── Elizabeth BUNKER, b. circa 1672, d. after 1724
     │ └── Mary HOWARD, d. 1706
Sarah DYAR, b. 1798, d. 1879
     │ ┌── Robert POTTER, b. 1661, d. 1702
     │ ┌── Ephraim POTTER, b. 1683, d. 1731
     │ │ └── Martha HALL, b. 1660, d. 1709
     │ ┌── Joseph POTTER, b. 1713, d. 1791
     │ │ │ ┌── John WITT, b. 1650
     │ │ └── Sarah WITT
     │ │ └── Elizabeth BAKER
     │ ┌── Joseph POTTER, b. 1741
     │ │ └── Tibudah HAYDEN, b. 1718, d. 1788
     └── Sarah POTTER, b. 1776, d. 1863
         │ ┌── Matthias FARNSWORTH (Immigrant), b. 1612, d. 1688
         │ ┌── Benjamin FARNSWORTH, b. circa 1655, d. 1733
         │ │ └── Mary FARR, d. 1717
         │ ┌── Amos FARNSWORTH, b. 1704, d. 1775
         │ │ │ ┌── Jonas PRESCOTT, b. 1648, d. 1723
         │ │ └── Mary PRESCOTT, b. 1674, d. 1735
         │ │ └── Mary LOKER, b. 1653, d. 1735
         └── Mary FARNSWORTH, b. 1752, d. 1790
             │ ┌── William LONGLEY Jr, d. 1694
             │ ┌── John LONGLEY, b. 1682, d. 1750
             │ │ └── Lydia (__________), d. 1694
             └── Lydia LONGLEY, b. 1716, d. 1810
                 │ ┌── Jonas PRESCOTT (see above)
                 └── Sarah PRESCOTT, b. 1686, d. 1718
                     └── Mary LOKER (see above)