Hannah Dyre

Hannah (Cotton, Phillips) Dyre was the first born child of Josiah Cotton and his wife, Hannah Sturtevant. She married at the early age of sixteen to Captain Thompson Phillips who was wealthy and more than twice her age.  Captain Phillips had immigrated from Jamaica to Plymouth in the early 1720s and sailed his schooners between Jamaica and Plymouth trading in fish, raw materials, finished goods and an occasional slave from the West Indies. On 29 December 1729, Phillips was washed overboard and Hannah was widowed at age twenty. The following year, Hannah married another sea captain named William Dyer and moved to Boston with her young daughter, Hannah Phillips. A year later, she contracted small pox and died. Josiah Cotton lamented in his Memoirs that it is “a sad and gloomy day! When a Person so Young and Strong & amiable was so soon & suddenly taken away… The Other (6) Children that I have lost made some Impression on Me, but nothing like this.  Josiah’s Memoirs contain the following elegy,

Whilst Death his awfull Triumphs spreads around,

And Crowded Nations fill ye vaulted ground,

While every rank, & state, & Sex, & age

Feel his keen Shafts, & sink beneath his rage

Mortals prepare to try ye doubtfull state

To yield the battel & resign to fate

Late has ye Monarch with resistless sway

O Cotton, snatched thy first born child away

Gone, gone forever from thy fond caress

No more her much lovd form thy Eyes must bless

Her Absence still thy rising sighs deplore

And in her converse you delight no more

Touchd by thy woe, the muse her tribute brings

And with grave airs in soothing numbers sings

But sacred is ye Muse by Heaven she’s led

To instruct ye living not, to praise ye dead

Ye living hear her tunefull lips rehearse,

No trifling themes nor in ignoble verse

And now be wise, ye blooming young & fair

See your sad picture, & your period here

How soon ye beauties vanish from your forms

Fall into dust & mingle with the worms!

Beneath the horrors of a lonely tomb

In pensive silence and a solemn gloom

Sleeps that fair form in deaths relentless arms

Whose living face once blush’d with endless charms

But ah! no more her Cheeks ye roses wear

Nor on her lovely lips ye smiles appear

Fixt are those Eyes which once divinely roll’d

The Limbs all stiffened & ye veins all cold

That Voice is fled which charmed mankind before

And that soft snowy breast must pant no more

So from your lips the transient breath shall fly

Pale the fresh cheek, & fixt ye rolling Eye

The charming face & beauteous shape be laid

All pale & breathless in ye awfull shade

To deck your Grave the turf shall bloom around

And ye green grass enamel all the ground

And still ye flowery emblem shall display

The youthfull flourish, & the swift decay

Ah, trust no more, ye fair your fading face

Let bright religion court your warm embrace

To her soft beauties be your love inclined

The Deathless beauties of ye immortal mind

So to new charms your waking dust shall rise

And gay in glory glitter up the Skies

In heavenly tunes with fresh delights shall sing

And bloom & blossom in eternal spring

But you fond parents give your tears away

See ye dark end in everlasting day

See ye fair soul on wings of Angels rise

Above the starry concave of the Skies

Now here, now there she rolls her dazzled sight

Struck at the prospect with immense delight

Her down cast Eyes the fulgid Streets behold

And view a pavement rich with gleaming gold

Aloft ye roof framed by ye Almighty hands

Glorious, on adamantine pillars stands

Here splendid thrones confound the aching Sight

And pour abroad unsufferable light

There in high crowns a beamy lustre plays

The twinkling jewels shoot a trembling blaze

The flowing Robes wave on like lambent flames

And flash & sparkle with Celestial gems

Abroad ye fields display their flowery pride

In whose fair bosoms living waters glide

Here the glad Saint in many raptures roves

Through bowers of bliss, & gay immortal groves

Here Jesus shines unutterably bright

And Storms of Glory beat upon the sight

Here Cotton be thy joyfull Prospects given