The marriage certificate written out and signed by Ezra Stiles as Pastor of the Second Congregational Church in Newport, Rhode Island, for Thomas Dering and Mary Sylvester, March 9, 1756. Manuscript, ink on laid paper, with vertical chain lines and the watermark of a crown atop “GR” (Georgius Rex). Marriage Certificate. One-half of a folio sheet now separated with “For Thomas Dering Esq. / Nathan Hulls,” a postage calculation, and “Newport” written on the verso. 7 ¼ in x 6 ¼ in, the text sheet; original measurement of 7¼ x 6 ¼ for address sheet, now with ½ in paper loss worn off 4 ½ in on the top edge, where the document appears to have been folded.
The text of the certificate:
“Thomas Dering of Boston in the County of Suffolk in the Province of Massachusetts Bay Esquire and Miss Mary Sylvester of Newport in the County of Newport in the Colony of Rhode Island late of Shelter Island in the Prov[ince] of N[ew] Y[ork] were by me Joyned together in Marriage the Ninth Day of March One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty Six By Ezra Stiles Pastor of the 2d Congregational Church in Newport.”
This wedding was a union of two very important colonial American families. Mary Sylvester 1724 – 1794 was the daughter of Brinley and Mary Burroughs Sylvester. Thomas Dering 1720 – 1785 was a well-known merchant from Boston, who became lord of the manor at Shelter Island in 1760, when Mary Sylvester Dering inherited Sylvester Manor from her father.
In 1776, Thomas Dering was a delegate to the Third Provincial Congress held in New York City May 18 – June 30, 1776. Dering was also chosen as a delegate to the same body at White Plains in July 1776, at which convention the Declaration of Independence was unanimously adopted as passed by the Continental Congress at Philadelphia July 4, 1776. In August 1776, Thomas Dering was a member of the Convention at Fishkill to form a constitution for the State of New York. In the aftermath of the American defeat in the Battle of Long Island, Dering transferred his family to Middletown Connecticut, where he and his family remained until the restoration of peace in 1783. Thomas Dering was the father of Henry Packer Dering 1763 – 1822.
Ezra Stiles 1727 – 1795 became the seventh president of Yale College in 1778, serving until his death in 1795. Stiles accepted the position at the Second Congregation Church in 1755.