Transmigration of Dexter to Dragonfly
Dexter's Contexture ~ The Array of Threads that Weave
the Fabric of this Vision ~ Homespun by the Darning Need

Home ~ Life Chronology

1747 Timothy Dexter was born January 22nd, son of Nathan and Esther (Brintnall) Dexter
1755 May 9th, young Dexter was sent to work on farm for 6-1/2 years
1761-2 Went to Charlestown, Massachusetts to learn the trade of leather dresser, staying for 7 months
1762 - 1768 Completed his indenture in Boston; once freed, came to Newburyport in 14 days, selling his freedom suit to a vendor for 5 shillings ($8.20)
1769 (Approximate) Settled in Newburyport
1770 January 3rd, Purchased a 33-square rod (1/5 acre) lot of land on Prospect Street from William Wyer
1770 May 22nd, married Elizabeth (Lord) Frothingham, widow of glazier Benjamin Frothingham left with four children and property on the easterly corner of Merrimack and Green Streets --- a dwelling house which the Dexters inhabited, setting up a glover's shop in the basement
1771-2 Only son Samuel Lord Dexter was born in September 1771; baptized at the First Religious Society on October 6, 1772
March 1776 Dexter first elected Informer of Deer at the Annual (March) Town Meeting, a post Dexter held for 12 consecutive annual terms until March 1788.
1776 April 5th through April 12th advertisements published in the Essex Journal and New Hampshire Packet as items for sale at the Dexters' shop at the sign of the Glove, opposite Somerby's Landing: "Good Deer, Sheep and Moose Skins. Likewise Deer, Sheep and Moose skin Breeches and a quantity of good blubber."
1776 Only daughter Nancy was born on August 16th
1782 October 12th Dexter purchased 2/5 share of the Frothingham property, dwellinghouse and land from Benjamin Frothingham, the eldest son and heir (and namesake) of the late Benjamin Frothingham together with a share of a wall pew in the Presbyterian meetinghouse for the sum of 240 pounds sliver
1787 October 29th Gilman Frothingham conveyed his inherited share (1/5) of the Frothingham property to Timothy Dexter; on the same day, Dexter and wife Elizabeth sold the house and land to the widow Meriam Tracy
1790 Dexter's speculation in depreciated continental currency was realized with United States Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton's threefold course of action; Dexter's first merchant ship, the 171-ton Brigantine "Mehitabel" was built (also recorded as "Mehetable," first a brigatine, then as a snow or merchant ship)
1791 April 8th Dexter purchased the Tracy House (now the annex to the Newburyport Public Library) at a greatly depreciated value (1400 pounds)
1792 Dexter became the primary holder in the Essex County (Deer Island) Bridge built by Timothy Palmer; Nancy married Abraham Bishop of New Haven, Connecticut on March 11, Reverend Edward Bass, D.D., rector of St. Paul's Church in Newburyport officiating; Dexter's second merchant ship, the 153-ton vessel named "Congress" was afloat
1793 Independence Day, Dexter made his famous Deer Island speech
1794 Nancy gave birth to a daughter, Mary Ann, the only surviving child of her union with Bishop --- a marriage which dissolved in divorce two or three years later
1795 Dexter offered to construct a Market House (at the location where the Firehouse Center now stands) at his own expense; a town committee reviewing the proposal recommended the offer be declined, citing that the property was a public way and landing encumbered by ongoing litigation; Nancy returns to Newburyport alone after the birth and death of her son, leaving daughter with Bishop
1796 On April 9th, Dexter sold the above-mentioned Tracy House to John Greenleaf for the sum of $8400; thereafter the Dexters removed to Chester, New Hampshire
1797 March 17th, the Impartial Herald published a Congratulatory Ode penned by Dexter's Poet Laureate Jonathan Plummer to remark Dexter's return to Newburyport; Abraham Bishop obtained a divorce from Nancy on the alleged grounds of willful dissertion, with marital situation exploited by Bishop's Federalist detractors
1798 On August 15th, Dexter purchased the former Jonathan Jackson estate from the heirs of Captain Thomas Thomas for the sum of $6,630; appraised during a November 1796 probate at $6,000, the High Street mansion sat on nearly 9 acres of land (8 acres, 107 rods)
1799 January 2nd, Dexter published an advertisement for the sale of his newly acquired estate in the Columbian (Boston) Centinal; the advertisement described the addition of a new cupola mounted with a carved eagle and the "Temple of Reason" over the new tomb
1799 Dexter had a mahogany coffin made; his last will and testament signed, sealed and attested March 1
1800 June 10th, Samuel Dexter married Mehitable Hoyt of Hampstead, New Hampshire
1800 November 14th, published another advertisement for the sale of his estate in the Newburyport Herald, mentioning his coffin, tomb and a mock funeral
1801 Began construction of the "mouseum" early this year
1802 In late May, the first edition of "Pickle for the Knowing Ones" was published
1803 July 28th, published another notice of sale of his estate, mentioning fear for his life
1805 James Akin's engraving of Dexter, for sale at the Thomas and Whipple bookstore at the sign of Johnson's Head in Market Square (one such advertisement published in the Newburyport Herald on January 31, 1806)
1806 October 22nd (per obituary), Dexter departed this corporeal life; is buried in the Old Hill Burying Ground (stone marker is engraved October 23rd)
1806 November 3rd, Dexter's Last Will and Testament proved
1807 January 11th, Samuel Dexter married his second wife, Esther Dexter
1807 April 28th, household furniture belonging to the estate of Timothy Dexter "and the carved images with the pillars on which they stand" advertised to be sold at public auction on May 12th ~ September 21, Newburyport "accepts and acknowledges with gratitude and thankfulness" the late Timothy Dexter's "generous donation" to the poor
1807 July 20th, Samuel Dexter died (his widow Esther remarried on November 16, 1809 to William Rose; however her remains were buried in the Dexter family plot)
1808 March 8th, notice published in the Newburyport Herald that "Samuel Richardson has removed from the Hotel on Plum Island to the elegant and spacious House owned by the late Timothy Dexter, High Street, where he has good accommodations ..."
1809 July 3rd, Elizabeth Lord Dexter died; soon thereafter, the house was rented to Thomas Marshall then Stephen Marshall, innkeepers, with arrangements for Nancy Bishop's board and lodging; under their charge, Dexter House became a famous public resort, later leased and occupied as a residence by a Marshall family member until 1852
1851 September 30th, Nancy Dexter Bishop died, leaving one daughter, Mary Ann Bishop of New Haven, Connecticut; Nancy was buried in the family plot on Old Hill Burying Ground, no marker
1852 February 2nd, Dexter's granddaughter and only remaining heir and descendent sold the Dexter estate "with all the land thereunto belonging for the sum of seven thousand dollars"

[Dates gleaned from Dexter's own vita published in "Pickle," Currier's "History of Newburyport" Volume II, Chapters XXV and XXVII citing Currier's earlier work, "Ould Newbury; Historical and Biographical Sketches" and referencing dates of publications in the Essex Journal and New Hampshire Packet, the Impartial Herald, the Newburyport Herald and the Columbian (Boston) Centinel, as well as deed and town records.]




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