The hanging of Mary Dyer on the Boston gallows in 1660 marked the beginning of the end of the Puritan theocracy and New England independence from English rule. A year later King Charles explicitly forbade Massachusetts from executing anyone merely for professing Quakerism. In 1686 England revoked the Massachusetts charter, sent over a royal governor to enforce English laws, and then in 1689 passed a broad Toleration act.
By all accounts, Mary Dyer was an extraordinary woman. She was well-educated, articulate, attractive, the wife of the Attorney General of Rhode Island, and a passionate and outspoken Quaker. But her origin and early life prior to her marriage to William Dyre are shrouded in mystery, rumor, myth, tradition, conjecture, and speculation.
This web site has been developed to share historical information about Mary Dyer and advance our knowledge of her life. To that end, the interested reader might turn to the Research Focus pages and read some of what is known and unknown regarding Mary Barrett Dyer and William Dyre [Dyer, Dier, Dire, Deyer, Dyar].