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Ship's Crew

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Jonathan Dyer

Rank(s): Able Seaman

Dates of Service: -

Death Date: 7/9/1815

Early Life
Dyer’s place and date of birth are unknown.

Early Experience
When Dyer joined the Navy, he signed his name with an “X” and so was likely illiterate. Enlisting as an able seaman, he probably had some prior seagoing experience.

Dyer joined Constitution’s crew July 8, 1813 in Boston as an able seaman. He served as fireman and sail-trimmer for gun no. 5 in the first division.

The able seaman was the elite member of the crew. Having sailed for years “before the mast” on merchant vessels or worked his way up through the ranks in the navy, it was on him that the officers relied for the smooth operation of the ship. The traditional requirements for the seaman were that he be able to “hand (furl or take in a sail), reef (reduce a sail’s area), and steer,” but these were in fact the barest requirements for the seaman rating. In addition, they were expected to be familiar with nearly all aspects of shipboard labor. He had to be able to cast the sounding lead, sew a sail with a palm and needle, and understand all parts of the rigging and the stowage of the hold. Furthermore, he had to know how to fight as part of a gun crew or with small arms. It was from the ranks of the able seamen that the petty and warrant officers were drawn. The able seaman made $12.00 per month.

Battles and Engagements
In early 1814, Dyer participated in a war cruise capturing three merchantmen and a small British man-of-war. He later served in the victories over HMS Cyane and HMS Levant on February 20, 1815; he received a share of the $20,000 prize for the Cyane and $22.19 in prize money for the Levant.

While aboard Constitution, Dyer died of unspecified causes on July 9, 1815.


Crew ID

3598