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Colonial Daughters Chapter holds re-dedication ceremony for Elizabeth Dyar Memorial

Elizabeth Dyar Memorial

FREEMAN - The Colonial Daughters Chapter DAR of Farmington recently held a re-dedication of the Elizabeth Dyar Memorial in West Freeman. Chapter members, friends and many guests, including the Maine State Regent, Elizabeth Hotchkiss, Majabigwaduce, Harborside, ME and Honorary State Regent, Ann Thomas, Koussinoc Chapter, Augusta, attended. A picnic lunch was enjoyed by all.

On a knoll in West Freeman is the grave of Elizabeth Nichols Dyar, one of the women who mixed and applied paint to the skin of over 100 Boston Tea Party patriots, helping disguise them as Indians on December 16, 1773. The grave is now a shrine marked and preserved first by the Maine State DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) through the Col. Asa Whitcomb Chapter in Kingfield and now the Colonial Daughters Chapter in Farmington.

Elizabeth’s husband, Joseph Dyar, a Boston sea captain, had come to America from England as a young boy. At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, he smuggled supplies by ship to the American Army on Long Island. During the Boston Tea Party Joseph lead the “Indians” who boarded ships in Boston Harbor to dump tea. Elizabeth, 22 years old at the time, was one of the women who prepared and applied the stains to the faces and bodies of these white men to transform them into Mohawk Indians. Tradition also has it that Elizabeth melted down her pewter spoons, forming them into bullets made in a mold brought by her father from France.
Joseph was captured nine times by the British; the last time he was stripped, flogged and deprived of food, which weakened his condition. He died from the effects and was 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, buying a 600 acre tract of land in 1802. John followed a trail from Hallowell to a clearing on a rise of his land, where he built a cabin. The following summer he brought his wife and mother to Freeman and farmed his land, later on building a larger house. Elizabeth passed away in 1818.

This land has changed hands many times since 1802, it is no longer in the Dyar family, and the buildings are no longer in existence. In a small cemetery on this land is the “Elizabeth Nichols Dyar Memorial.” It has not been forgotten, and is very well cared for.

To learn more about the work of today’s DAR visit

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