Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Where is God when we suffer?

Statue of Anne Hutchinson at Boston
© Christy K. Robinson

Why does God allow suffering, even with children? Why aren't God's people shielded from persecution and death?

That's the current question in the novel I'm writing on Mary Barrett Dyer. On August 20, 1643, Mary's mentor and close friend, Anne Marbury Hutchinson (the antinomian religious leader exiled from Puritan Boston), and five of her children were massacred by the Siwanoy Indians they'd come to evangelize. One daughter was abducted by the Indians and returned a few years later in a negotiated settlement.  (More on Siwanoy history.)

Mary Dyer heard about it a few weeks later, and the news may have brought on labor and childbirth. She named her newborn son "Maher-shallal-hash-baz," and called him Maher. (The other children had "normal" names like Samuel, William, Mary, Henry, and Charles.) I went digging for the meaning of Maher's name. It comes from Isaiah 8:4, and means, in Hebrew, “suddenly attacked, quickly taken” or “swift to plunder and quick to carry away.”

Mary Dyer named her son in a time of grief and despair over the deaths of Anne and the children, in a sudden and vicious attack where an innocent girl was carried away. Mary's question surely would have been, Why did God allow such a tragedy, when Anne was such a strong witness for him?

“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:32-36 NIV

What was the promise?

Long before Mary Dyer died on a gallows in 1660 for civil disobedience and in the cause of religious freedom, she had found the answer for herself. Mary knew what sustained Abraham, Job, Moses, David, Solomon, and all the heroes of faith listed in Hebrews chapter 11. She understood that God is sovereign, and we are his trusting children. And she knew the Bible promises were not of a mansion or riches in heaven, not of a bubble of safety and prosperity, but of intimacy with God, for all eternity. Intimacy begun in a garden where Adam and Eve walked with God and talked face to face. Intimacy restored in part by the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the temple veil to the Holy of Holies being torn to allow us access to God's mercy, and the miracle of the Holy Spirit speaking in our hearts. And intimacy restored fully by the reunion we'll celebrate when Immanuel, God With Us, tenderly wipes away our tears and takes us to his heart forever.

Mary Barrett Dyer knew that although suffering in this life is terrible for both victims and the survivors who love them, that God brings us through it together with him, that one day we'll know why the pain was allowed, and that because of the surpassing glory of that day, we'll look back and consider our human suffering as a split-second of learning and growing deep in trust.

Mary was already experiencing the bliss of that intimacy while she was lying on a prison's dirt floor before her execution, when she wrote "he gloriously accompanied with his Presence, and Peace, and Love in me, in which I rested from my labour..." 

Where was God? Inside her. All around her. Holding her in his arms. Welcoming her to eternity with him.

Mary Dyer and freedom of conscience

© Christy K. Robinson
 “It is not the glorious battlements, the painted windows, the crouching gargoyles that support a building, but the stones that lie unseen in or upon the earth. It is often those who are despised and trampled on that bear up the weight of a whole nation.” ~John Owen, English Puritan minister, 1616–1683.

June 1, 1660 was a landmark date in American history. Its relation to civil rights guaranteed by the US Constitution's Bill of Rights should be noted, specifically the 1st Amendment regarding freedom of religion (to worship or not, as your own conscience dictates), and freedom of speech and assembly.

Mary Barrett Dyer, hanged in Boston on June 1, 1660, was martyred for liberty of conscience that Americans enjoy under the Constitution's Bill of Rights.  Other countries have modeled their constitutions and rights on those of the United States, so these liberties have become global.

Torture and persecution
In the late 1650s, Quakers had been persecuted for their nonconformism by having their tongues bored with a hot awl; men and women were stripped bare to the waist and flogged with up to 30 strokes of the thrice-knotted lash, to add more injury to each stroke; they had their ears either nailed to a post, or sliced off altogether; without a trial, they were thrown in earthen-floored jail cells, sometimes for months, with no candle or heat in New England’s harsh winters; prisoners were beaten several times a week. Even non-Quakers whose consciences were pricked by this harsh treatment were jailed, whipped, heavily fined, and disfranchised (lost their civil rights and vote) for harboring or sympathizing publicly with Quakers.

Contrary to popular opinion in genealogy sites, Mary Barrett Dyer wasn't hanged “for the crime of being a Quaker.” It wasn’t a crime to be a Quaker! However, they didn’t attend Puritan worship or teaching services or pay required tithes, didn’t keep the Sabbath holy, and criticized the government leaders for their cruelty. Mary Dyer provoked her own trials and execution for what we'd call civil disobedience, by repeatedly defying the totalitarian Puritan regime headed by Massachusetts Governor John Endecott. The Massachusetts Bay founders believed that religious error or dissent from their dogma was treasonable.

Endecott, a religious zealot, had a checkered past, leaving an illegitimate son in England before he emigrated to Salem, Massachusetts in 1629; treasonably cutting the “idolatrous” cross from the British flag; a Massachusetts committee reported in 1634 “that they apprehend [Endecott] had offended therein many ways, in rashness, uncharitableness, indiscretion and exceeding the limits of his calling;” acting in ways that endangered the patent that was their title to land in New England; creating a mint in Boston that made unauthorized—and therefore counterfeit—coins with a 1652 imprint for 30 years (so if the English government confiscated the minting, Boston could claim the coins were all from 1652 when they had little oversight during the English political upheaval); and punishing his indentured servant girl with 32 lash-stripes and public humiliation for fornication, bearing a child out of wedlock, and insistently naming his son as the predatory father (which, of course, would make John Endecott the father of a rapist and grandfather of a lowly servant’s bastard—can’t have that!).

The colony and later state of Rhode Island was founded by Roger Williams in the 1630s as a haĆ„ven for freedom of conscience, and that’s where Mary and her husband and children made their home after being ejected from Massachusetts in 1637 over a religious matter prosecuted by the church state. Mary studied Quaker beliefs in England for several years, and returned to Boston only to be thrown into jail with no notice to her husband in nearby Rhode Island.

Though Mary could have lived out her life in safety, she believed she was called by God to try the bloody religious laws of Connecticut and Massachusetts, and she boldly entered their territory to both teach, and support her Friends in the faith by visiting them in prison.

Prepared to die
Her letters written from Boston prison to Governor Endecott, her actions, and her statements at trial demonstrate to us that she willingly sacrificed her life to stop the torture and persecution of people who were obeying the voice of God in their hearts. She wrote, “Be not found Fighters against God, but let my Counsel and Request be accepted with you, To repeal all such Laws, that the Truth and Servants of the Lord, may have free Passage among you and you be kept from shedding innocent Blood…My life is not accepted, neither availeth me, in Comparison of the Lives and Liberty of the Truth and Servants of the Living God… yet nevertheless, with wicked Hands have you put two of them to Death, which makes me to feel, that the Mercies of the Wicked is Cruelty. I rather choose to die than to live, as from you, as Guilty of their innocent Blood… Therefore I leave these Lines with you, appealing to the faithful and true Witness of God, which is One in all Consciences, before whom we must all appear; with whom I shall eternally rest, in Everlasting Joy and Peace, whether you will hear or forebear: With him is my Reward, with whom to live is my Joy, and to die is my Gain.”

Knowing that there was a death sentence hanging over her, she deliberately avoided her husband who would have stopped her, and returned to Boston, where she was arrested and jailed. She was convicted and condemned on May 31, 1660, and was hanged the next day, on June 1.

The shock over Mary Dyer’s death crossed the Atlantic immediately, and King Charles II put an end to the New England death penalty for religious practice, requiring that capital cases be tried in England. Public outrage in New England over Mary’s death actually consolidated sympathy for Quakers, Baptists, Jews, and others who refused to conform to Puritanism. Even some of the New England Puritans demonstrated their opposition to the harsh treatment of people of conscience, and suffered imprisonment, banishment, confiscation of property, and heavy fines. A number of those who’d suffered persecution converted to the Quaker faith. Gradually, the torture and persecution slowed. 

William Dyer’s name appears on the 1663 royal charter granting rights of freedom of religion to Rhode Island colony. He and several others had worked closely with Dr. John Clarke of Newport, the architect of the document, to preserve the separation of church and state, and promote the freedom of conscience. One hundred thirty years later, the concept became concrete in the US Constitution's Bill of Rights, Amendment I.

To learn more about the Dyers' life, join her Facebook friends.

The establishment vs the individual: Mary Barrett Dyer

© Christy K. Robinson

"The sentence was passed upon you; you must return to the prison and there remain until tomorrow at nine o'clock; then from thence you must go to the gallows, and there be hanged till you are dead." ~Gov John Endicott, Massachusetts Bay Colony--said to Mary Barrett Dyer, May 31, 1660, 350 years ago.

And on June 1, 1660, Mary was taken from the jailhouse to the gallows on Boston Neck. So that the large crowd of onlookers would not be able to hear her voice, drummers accompanied the militia as she walked the mile to the gallows where she died.

Mary Dyer was banished from Boston for expressing her religious beliefs, but kept returning under conviction that she must speak what God revealed to her. The first occasion was as an Antinomian in 1638. The Puritans who governed Massachusetts Bay Colony were themselves refugees from the Anglican repression of Calvinism. They believed that civil and religious government were one fabric, and based their civil laws upon the Ten Commandments. They believed also that they were special and chosen of God, and that their piety and strict adherence to the Law proved to each other and to God that they were, indeed, predestined for eternal salvation. 

This may seem foreign to contemporary Protestants and evangelicals who believe that salvation is only by God’s gift—grace—to anyone and everyone who accepts the gift. But there are many people and groups today who say that yes, they’re saved by grace, but because they love the Lord who saves them, they must “prove” their love by keeping the law of the Old Testament. They misunderstand Jesus’ statement, “If you love me, keep my commands,” because it’s taken out of context. Jesus’ command (not the Ten Commandments) in that context is simply to love one another as he loves us. 

Antinomians believed that the Bible’s entire Old Testament law (nomos in Greek) was made null and void when Jesus died on the cross. There was no distinction between the ceremonial regulations (sacrifices and rituals, clean/unclean activities and foods) and the moral law (Ten Commandments). Nomos meant the entire kit and caboodle. 

As believers in Jesus, Christians are no longer under the covenant of keeping the Law, Antinomians believed.

“For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:14

“But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” Romans 7:6

“Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2

“By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.” Hebrews 8:13

 So if we don’t keep the old Law any more, are we free to participate in chaos, and do as we please, hurting ourselves and others? No, says Paul the apostle. Now we are accountable directly to God himself, subject to the new Law he writes on our minds and hearts (conscience). We have lists in the New Testament of behaviors and attitudes which will keep us from intimacy with God, and keep us from entering his kingdom: murder, fornication and adultery (sex outside marriage), theft, lying, gossip and slander, dishonoring our parents, greed, drunkenness, and others.

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts [direct revelation or Inner Light]: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest [there goes the theory of the Elect]. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” Hebrews 8:10-12

Here is where Mary Dyer and other Antinomians based their beliefs that the old Law was obsolete and useless, and the new Law was personally and directly revealed to them by the Holy Spirit. In later years, when Mary espoused the Quaker beliefs, direct revelation was called the Inner Light. 

But back to the Puritans: If you destroy the foundation of their belief, the Law, there is nothing left to hold onto, because faith in God’s grace is not enough security. You just cannot have people running around doing as they please, excusing themselves by saying that God told them to do this or that. There needs to be a structure! There’s nothing that distinguishes the law-keepers from the Catholic or apostate-Protestant herds. The entire multibillion-dollar institution crashes. The worldwide "we're the exclusive Remnant/Elect of God, and only we will be saved" thing is gone. They can't handle it spiritually, emotionally, or intellectually. They also can’t handle it financially. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was a business venture, chartered by King Charles I.

I understand, in a way. When you've believed wholeheartedly in God’s will, that this promise or this distinctive is a special gift to you, it's part of your very fabric. Pull some threads or cut a hole, and it's not salvageable. It’s too difficult, and maybe even too late in life, to start all over and learn everything new, especially when you’ve been “right.” How does one hold one's head up with constituents, parishioners, faith adherents? There’s no putting new wine into an old wineskin or patching a cotton tear with wool. What about prophesied end-time events? We’ve been denying ourselves and living a hard life, and these unworthy people get to waltz into heaven while we trudge there? What about judgment (who flies and who fries)? What if we stop observing a law-decreed Sabbath on Saturday or Sunday--and start trusting in God for complete rest from our strivings and a sabbath-rest that blesses us today and every day? What will distinguish us, the Remnant and the Elect, from the unwashed and uncouth? We’d have to go out of business, retrain every pastor, retool every institution from preschool through university and seminary, and worst of all, change the minds and hearts of those who have believed what they were taught for generations. It’s unthinkable! 

Puritans were so sure they were “right” that there was no room for dissent. (This from reformers and dissenters to the Church of England!) There was no agreeing to disagree. There was only consensus—agreeing to agree. And if, after being shown your errors in theology and behavior, you didn’t agree, you’d be punished. The church/state government, and all of society, was in danger of collapse if people just did and believed as they wanted. 

In 1637-38, Mary and William Dyer and 75 other families followed Anne Hutchinson in the Antinomian Controversy, and were disfellowshipped (excommunicated or disfranchised) from the Puritan congregations of Boston.

They moved to Rhode Island and founded two communities, Portsmouth and Newport, under extremely primitive conditions. They built homes and planted farms and worshiped according to conscience. Four years later, Massachusetts Governor Winthrop sent a manuscript to England that was published as a lurid and vicious description of Mary’s stillborn anencephalic baby, and Anne Hutchinson's hydatidiform mole pregnancy, and called them monsters, proof of their heresy in 1637-38. (It was a Winthrop PR campaign to show his awesomeness and worthiness to be the governor of the colony.) 

In 1652, Mary traveled back to England and stayed for five years. She followed the doctrines of George Fox, founder of the Quaker (Religious Society of Friends) movement, and sailed back to Rhode Island via Boston Harbor in 1657. She and her friends were arrested from shipboard and taken to prison, where they stayed for several months. Their crime: being Quakers, when the colony, now governed by John Endicott, had ruled that Quakers would be imprisoned and banished—after having been dragged behind a wagon and scourged, and losing their ears. One of Mary’s shipmates, a woman, was stripped to the waist and scourged, and another was sent back to England, but Mary was released to her husband in Rhode Island as a professional courtesy because he was a government official—and not a Quaker. 

Mary returned to Massachusetts in 1658 to visit her imprisoned Quaker friends and was expelled. She preached in New Haven, Connecticut, and was arrested and expelled from that colony. In 1659, she learned that two Quaker men had been imprisoned in Boston, and she walked through the forest on Indian trails to visit and comfort them in prison. She was arrested again, and tried in Governor Endecott’s court. Mary was convicted and actually sent to the gallows. Her friends were hanged before she was placed in the noose with a cloth over her face—but was reprieved on condition she would not return to Boston. She actually seemed disappointed in the reprieve and "rescue" by her husband and son, as she was protesting religious repression and willing to die with her Quaker colleagues. She was admonished not to return upon pain of death. 

After six months of preaching to the Indians and Quakers of Long Island and Connecticut, she went back to Boston without telling her husband or six children who lived in Rhode Island. Her Quaker brothers and sisters were being tortured and their property confiscated. She went directly to the jail and asked to speak to the prisoners. She was arrested on May 21 during their annual elections and General Court, jailed, convicted again, and hanged on June 1, 1660. 

Analyzing her beliefs and letters, Mary Dyer seemed to have the biblical book of Hebrews written on her heart. This passage jumped out at me today as I was researching this post. I’ve bolded the phrases that apply to Mary, and you can see how closely they align with her actions just before her arrests, imprisonments, and execution.
“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light [direct revelation of God, or the Quaker “Inner Light”] when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:32-36

 Mary joyfully accepted her martyrdom, believing that her death would so shock the system that Endecott and his court would have to back down from their repression. She died so that others could live and worship in freedom of conscience. She did not die in vain. 

The dedication on Mary's statue in Boston says "WITNESS FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM." Mary died for the basic human right to worship and express her religious beliefs as she felt called by God to do. She was the only woman hanged for religious beliefs, and only one more Quaker man was hanged after her, because of outcry in both New England and Britain over their persecution and executions. 

Massachusetts Bay Colony, like many business, political, and religious organizations, was dedicated to control of the institution (self preservation), the church, and its people en masse. Mary understood that Jesus came as a man to relate to and save the individual. She and the others died for one of the principles America holds most dear: the liberty of the individual to follow conscience.

Dyers' family timeline

© Christy K. Robinson

Mary Barrett Dyer was an American pioneer, city co-founder, Puritan and Antinomian Bible study leader, Quaker activist, wife, mother, expelled from Massachusetts Colony numerous times, was twice taken bound to the scaffold, and finally executed by hanging for civil disobedience--NOT for "being a Quaker," as many websites declare. A memorial statue of Mary is located at the Massachusetts State House facing the Boston Common.

William’s and Mary’s timeline:
.....William Dyer born/baptized: 19 Sep 1609, Kirkby Lathrope, Lincolnshire, England. This is modern Kirkby La Thorpe, between Sleaford and Boston. 
.....1611? Mary Barrett born. No record of parents or birthplace, could be London area.
.....June 1625 William apprenticed at age 16 as fishmonger in London, retroactive to 1624. The Worshipful Company of Fishmongers guild was considered prestigious.
.....27 Oct 1633 After his 9 years of apprenticeship, Mary Barrett (approx age 22) marries William Dyer at St Martin-in-the-Fields church, London. William is milliner selling scabbards, leather goods, etc. in New Exchange (a high-end shopping mall on the Strand). This is less than a mile from St Martin-in-the-Fields church, in which parish they lived. 
Marble font at
St. Martin-in-the-Fields
.....24 Oct 1634 Son William born/baptized in London, buried three days later on his parents' first wedding anniversary. This 11th-12th century church was rebuilt to its present form in the 18th century. However, the marble baptismal font and a wooden trunk from 17th century survive to the present. At the time of the baby's burial, the relatively-new churchyard cemetery was across St. Martin's Lane to the west, where the National Gallery sits.
.....1635 summer. 39,000 people die in plague epidemic in London. William and Mary Dyer emigrate to New England, perhaps arriving in October.
.....20 Dec 1635 Son Samuel born and baptized (December) in Boston.
.....3 Mar 1636 William takes Freeman oath in Boston.
.....1636 William granted land in Chelsea, Massachusetts.
.....1636 Mary joins Anne Marbury Hutchinson (whom William’s family probably knew in Lincolnshire) in “heresy” that God speaks intimately to people (“Light”), that we are saved by faith not good works, that Christians are not bound by the moral law (antinomianism), that women and men are equal before God, that each individual should interpret law by own conscience, that Indian slavery was wrong (against Massachusetts Bay Company policy); Mary participates in women’s study/discussion groups, antagonizing Gov Winthrop.
Massachusetts Bay Governor
John Winthrop
.....17 Oct 1637 Mary gave birth to stillborn, deformed girl, two months prematurely. Anne Hutchinson and Jane Hawkins are midwives. Based on Winthrop’s description, fetus had anencephaly and spina bifida malformations, according to a neurologist.
.....15 Nov 1637 William and many other men disarmed and disfranchised from Boston for “seditious writing.”
.....1638 Dyers and Hutchinsons banished from Boston, have deadline of May 1 to be out of Boston. They move in early April, near the time of Passover and Easter, to found Portsmouth, Rhode Island, which at first is called Pocasset, an Indian name.
.....Mar 1638 In March at Hutchinson's trial, Gov Winthrop learns of stillbirth. "Monster" fetus exhumed by Gov Winthrop; deformity called evidence that Mary was heretic.
.....7 Mar 1638 William signs Portsmouth Compact. Becomes clerk of Portsmouth; a few years later, William becomes Rhode Island's first Secretary of State.
.....March 1639 Dyers move to southern part of Aquidneck Island and co-found Newport.
.....1640 Son William (second child by that name) born in Newport, Rhode Island.
.....1642 and 1644 Governor Winthrop’s account of stillborn baby’s deformation published in England.
.....1643 Son Mahershallalhashbaz born Newport, Rhode Island
.....1647 Son Henry born Newport, Rhode Island
.....1648 or 1649 Daughter Mary born Newport, Rhode Island.
.....1650 William is Attorney General of Rhode Island, the first to hold that office anywhere in America.
.....1650 Son Charles born Newport, Rhode Island. He is Mary’s last child at about age 39-40.
.....1650 and/or 51 William sails to England with Roger Williams, to revoke some of Gov Coddington’s powers. William Dyer returns same year and continues political and civil career. He probably returned to England briefly in late 1651 or early 1652.
.....1652 English Council of State (including Sir Henry Vane) commissions William Dyer in the Anglo-Dutch War of 1652-54; United Colonies of New England commissions William Commander in Chief Upon the Seas for same war. 
.....early 1652 Mary sails for and stays in England almost five years, studying Quaker beliefs of George Fox, who preached all over England, but seems to have been based in the northwest part of England. More info on George Fox:   This is the Parliamentary period, with Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector, ruling after execution of Charles I in 1649.
.....1653-54 William Dyer joins Capt. John Underhill in privateer action against the Dutch of New Amsterdam.
.....1657 Mary sails back to America via Barbados, landing in Boston, despite Gov. Endecott’s new laws regarding Quakers. On arriving in Boston in 1657 she is imprisoned for weeks in dirt-floored cell, until William learns of it and goes to Boston to rescue her. On the petition and bond of her husband she was permitted to go with him to Rhode Island, but never to return to Massachusetts.
..... April 1658 Mary arrested and expelled from New Haven, Connecticut for protesting Humphrey Norton's torture.
.....Summer 1659 Mary walks through forest from Providence to Boston, a distance of 44 miles, to visit fellow Quakers in jail. Mary jailed there, and husband William writes letter in her defense. She and the other Quakers were released  and permanently banished from Massachusetts Colony.
.....October 1659 Mary defiantly returns to Boston to visit Quakers, arrested and sentenced to death. She, with William Robinson and Marmaduke Stephenson, was tried and convicted for "their rebellion, sedition and presumptuous obtruding upon us notwithstanding their being sentenced to banishment on payne of death, as underminers of the government." (Notice that she was not condemned to death "for being a Quaker" as Wikipedia and genealogical sites write.) Robinson and Stephenson were executed October 27, but through the behind-the-scenes petition of John Winthrop Jr., Gov. Temple of Maine, various others, and her 19-year-old son, William Dyre (son William was Mayor of New York two decades later), she was reprieved on the same conditions as before. (A piece of theater arranged by the magistrates before the hanging because they were fearful of civil unrest if they executed a respected woman, for what was basically a misdemeanor.) She was again banished.
.....November 1659 Mary returns to Rhode Island, visits Sandwich in Plymouth Colony and is jailed briefly, then teaches Quaker beliefs on Long Island. She probably lived with the Sylvesters who owned Shelter Island. William Dyer may have arranged Mary's stay here, as he'd had dealings with the Sylvesters previously, and he knew she'd been there for the winter.
..... Early May 1660 After the death of Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick in early May, Mary returns to Boston without telling husband.
.....21 May 1660 Arrested while the General Court was in session. This is probably Mary's intention: to present herself in civil disobedience when it would receive the most public attention.
.....31 May 1660 Convicted in court, sentenced to death.
.....1 June 1660 Mary hanged at gallows on Boston Neck, aged about 49 years, leaving children aged 10 to 25. She may be buried in the Dyer family cemetery, now covered by the Newport naval hospital.
.....1661 William marries Catharine _______. Nothing is known of her background, but she did go to court against Charles Dyer after her husband William's death. She lost her suit, but Charles did provide a financial settlement for his stepmother and his half-sister Elizabeth.
.....1662 William and Catharine have child Elizabeth.
.....1663 Rhode Island Charter of Liberties is written by John Clarke, almost certainly with input from Roger Williams and William Dyer, and is sealed by King Charles II. This charter was used as a template for the United States Constitution's Bill of Rights (specifically the First Amendment). Like he had done with the charters of the 1640s and 1650s, William returned to England to bring home the 1663 charter.
.....1670 William makes formal proposal to King Charles II regarding rights, boundaries, and natural resources in Massachusetts Bay Colony. 
.....1677 William dies and is buried on Dyer farm in Newport.
.....1959 Memorial statue to Mary Barrett Dyer erected in Boston, at the Massachusetts State House facing the Common.

 All of these events are covered in the series of books on the Dyers, written by Christy K Robinson. The first two are novels based closely on fact, and the third is a lively and fascinating nonfiction book on their lives and the people and culture surrounding them.
Mary Dyer Illuminated (The Dyers #1)
Mary Dyer: For Such a Time as This (The Dyers #2)
The DYERS of London, Boston, & Newport (The Dyers #3) 
For ordering info and synopses, click HERE.

How I connect with William and Mary Dyer:
William Dyer b. September 1609, Kirkby LaThorpe, Lincolnshire.
.....Father: William Dyer, farmer/landowner and church warden at St. Denys church in Kirkby LaThorpe
.....Mother: name unknown
Mary Barrett of London (nothing is known of parents)
Children of William and Mary (Barrett) Dyer:
.....William, bapt. 24 Oct 1634; buried 27 Oct1634, London, England
.....Samuel, bapt. 20 Oct 1635, Boston, MA; d. 1678, Kingstown, RI; m. abt 1660, Anne Hutchinson, granddaughter of Anne (Marbury) Hutchinson. Their descendants became governors and officials in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
.....Stillborn daughter, 17 Oct 1637, Boston, MA
.....William, b. abt 1640, Newport, RI; d. 1687/8; m. Mary Walker
.....Mahershallalhashbaz, b. abt 1643, Newport, RI; d. bef 1670; m. Martha Pearce
.....Henry, b. abt 1647, Newport, RI; d. Feb 1690; m. Elizabeth Sanford
.....Mary, b. abt 1648-49, Newport, RI; d. aft 26 Jan 1679, DE; m. by 1675, Henry Ward
.....Charles, b. abt 1650, Newport, RI; d. May 15, 1709; m. (1) Mary; m. (2) Martha (Brownell) Wait
Charles Dyer b. 1650 Newport, Rhode Island d. 5-15-1709
Spouse: (1) Mary, born 1650 died before 1690; married circa 1669 Newport, possibly daughter of John and Rebecca Lippitt, but no proof.
Spouse (2) Martha Brownell born 5/1/1643 Portsmouth Newport RI died 2/15/1743-44 Portsmouth, daughter of Thomas Brownell and Ann Bourne married 3/8/1690-91 Newport. Martha died childless at age 101 but raised Charles' children.
.....Children of Mary and Charles Dyer:
1. James, born 1669 Little Compton Newport RI died circa 1735 Bucks Co. PA married Elizabeth ? 1696 in Little Compton;
2. William, house carpenter, born circa 1671 Little Compton executed 4/21/1719 Newport RI for murder of his wife Hannah Briggs daughter of Thomas Briggs and Mary Fisher;
3. Elizabeth born circa 1677 Little Compton died 7/1715 RI, married Tristram Hull 2/9/1698-99 son of Joseph Hull and Experience Harper;
4. Charles, blacksmith, born circa 1685 Newport RI, died 1/7/1627 Cranston Providence RI, married Mary Lapham 8/26/1709 Dartmouth Bristol MA daughter of John Lapham and Mary Mann;
5. Samuel, born circa 1687 Little Compton died 9/15/1767 Newport RI married Desire Slocum 1/19/1709-10 Jamestown, RI. Samuel cared for his stepmother Martha in her home until she died at age 101 in 1744. He raised his brother William's children after William murdered his wife and was executed in 1718. And Samuel may also have taken in Elizabeth Dyer Hull's children when she and her husband died in 1718 and 1719.
Elizabeth Dyer
m. 12-19-1698 in Newport, RI. Resided in South Kingston, RI. Died 1718.
Tristram Hull b. 10-8-1677 d. 1719.  Barnstable, Massachusetts. Son of Joseph Hull.
Bathsheba Hull May have been raised by her uncle Samuel Dyer in Newport, after her parents died.
Ebenezer Slocum

Capt Edward Slocum, 1748-1822 Captain in Federal Army, American Revolutionary War.
Unknown wife
Oliver Wellington Slocum b. 1794
Persis Felton  (descendant of ultra-Puritan Rev. Samuel Skelton of Sempringham, Lincolnshire and Salem, Massachusetts, who was one of the 1628-29 emigrants to prepare the Bay Colony for Winthrop's arrival in 1630) 
Persis Slocum b. 1834 Ohio
Andrew Wolfe b. 1835 Ohio
Mary Belle Wolfe  b. 1872 Kansas d. 1960 Saskatchewan
Hiram Frank Benner b. 1864 Ohio d. 1924 Estonia, Saskatchewan
Reita Belle Benner b.1892 Hart, Michigan d. 1949 Owasso, Michigan
Milo Francis Anson  1882 - 1960 
Andrew Allerton Anson  1914 -1997
Lois Elizabeth Stone  1913 - 1999
Judith Louise Anson 1937- 1993
Kenneth Lee Robinson 1935 - 2012
Blog author Christy K Robinson 

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MARY AND WILLIAM DYER, there's  a Dyer Descendants group on Facebook. And as of May 2020, there are more than 220 carefully researched articles in this blog--check the article archive in the margin.

Christy K Robinson is author of these books (click the colored title):

Mary Dyer Illuminated Vol. 1 (2013)  
Effigy Hunter (2015)  

And of these sites:  
Discovering Love  (inspiration and service)
Rooting for Ancestors  (history and genealogy)
William and Mary Barrett Dyer (17th century culture and history of England and New England)
Editornado [ed•i•tohr•NAY•doh] (Words. Communications. Book reviews. Cartoons.)