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This Day in Boston History
October 27th, 1659
Quakers Executed for Belief
this day William Robinson, Marmaduke Stevenson and Mary Dyer were brought
to the Boston Common to have their death sentences carried out. The three
had been exiled for their beliefs, but chose to return to Massachusetts
to confront what they considered to be an unconscionable law.
Quakers in Massachusetts were punished by whipping, banishment, and the
amputation of ears. Robinson and Stevenson professed their beliefs to onlookers
as they were hung. As Mary Dyer stood with a noose tightened around her
neck, as her husband pleaded for her life. Governor John Endicott stayed
her execution and exiled her again with a final warning to be gone.
Mary Dyer would return to confront this law again, and would hang as her
friends did on this day.