Dyar Memorial accepts solar flagpole

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Melanie Farmer (left) Charles Snell, Sr. (center) Isabelle Foss(right).

FREEMAN TOWNSHIP – The Elizabeth Dyar Memorial Cemeter in Freeman has recently been given a new flag pole with solar lighting. Charles Snell, Sr. a neighbor to the cemetery generously donated and installed the pole along with a new a US Flag and a State of Maine flag. He also made a new sign to be placed at the entrance to the cemetery. Charles served in the Navy as Senior Chief Photographer from 1958 -1982 on the East Coast and West Coast and in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Elizabeth Nichols was born in 1751. In 1771 she married Joseph Dyar, a sea captain who sailed out of Boston, having come to America from England. At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, he continued to pursue his trade by smuggling supplies to the American Army. In December 1773 Joseph Dyar was the leader of the “Indians” who boarded the ships in Boston Harbor and put the Boston Tea Party in the history books. His wife, Elizabeth, 22 years old at the time, was one of the three women who prepared and applied the stains to the faces and bodies of the white men to transform them into Mohawk Indians. Tradition has it that the family were makers of dye, and that the name “Dyar” was originated from that. Tradition also has it that Elizabeth melted down her pewter spoons, forming them into bullets in a mold brought by her father from France. Joseph Dyar was captured nine times by the British, the last time being stripped and flogged, he died in 1783 from the effects of his capture and is buried in Malden, Mass.

Joseph and Elizabeth had seven children: their son John Nichols Dyar, born in Malden, Mass became the first settler in the town of Freeman, Maine. He bought a 600 acre tract of land in 1802 from Samuel Freeman of Portland, Maine. He built a small cabin and the following summer he brought his wife and mother (Elizabeth) to Freeman and farmed his land. At her request Elizabeth was buried on the farm. A simple white marble slab inscribed “My Mother, Elizabeth, died June 4, 1818, Age 67” marks her grave.

In September 1923 the gravesite of Elizabeth Nichols Dyar, was restored by descendants, the Town of Freeman and the Col. Asa Whitcomb Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1964, the Chapter retired and the deed was passed on to Colonial Daughters Chapter DAR of Farmington.

Colonial Daughters Chapter DAR is an active chapter with 52 members. They are most grateful for the generosity and patriotic service which Charles Snell, Sr. contributed to this public memorial ground. For additional information contact: mainedar.org/colonial daughters/.

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