Joseph was 9 when his father died in 1792. As was customary when a father with property left underage children when he died, a gaurdian had to be appointed for Joseph and his siblings. Their mother was chosen and appointed by the probate court in June of 1794.
Joseph farmed a portion of his father's land he inherited in the Cheese Spring neighborhood of New Canaan. He was also part owner of a nearby mill, but what kind hasn't been found.
Joseph surely met his wife Lydia through his brother Enos, who married Lydia's sister Mary in 1808. Enos had moved to New York City by then, suggesting the Stevensons lived in that area. Censuses give New Jersey as the birthplace of both women. Given that both Joseph and Enos eventually moved to the greater Newark, NJ, area, the Stevensons may have lived there.(2) Enos may have lived in New Jersey briefly, and thus meeting Mary there, but it is more liley that Mary and Lydia's parents were living in New York when the Hoyts connected with the Stevensons. Although no birth or baptism records have been found for their first two children, Edwin and William, censuses indicate they probably were born in Connecticut.(1) Deed records confirm this, showing Joseph living in New Canaan probably up to at least 1817. Deeds then place him in New York City in 1818, but where in the city is not yet known. New York city directories include an Enos Hoyt who was a wholesale shoe dealer. This was very likely Enos of New Canaan. His connection with the shoe business surely originated in New Canaan, where shoemaking was fast growing and the occupation of all of his aunts' husbands and most of his cousins. Enos first appears in New York city directories in 1808, corresponding with deeds that name Enos of New Canaan before that year. Joseph followed him there, but there were several Joseph Hoyts in New York directories. Joseph of New Canaan was surely the man who leased property on Cherry St. in 1827, then sold the lease and mortgage to Enos and Rhoda (who must be their sister) two years later. There was a Joseph Hoyt on Rivington Street in Manhattan as early as 1809 and into 1811. He lived on the north side, one door east of Ridge Street.
413 Cherry St. in 1857, likely the same building that Joseph leased in 1827, is shown here as a wood-frame house with a store on the first floor, a brick or stone addition at the rear and an outbuilding.
The 1829-30 NYC directory lists a Joseph Hoyt, grocer, at 413 Cherry St. An 1857 fire insurance map (shown above) shows that address could be the same as the one described in the lease. That these two Josephs are the same is further supported by the 1830 US census. Joseph Hoyt appears in the 7th Ward, listed next to Elisha Dexter (who was living at 413 Cherry in the 1829-30 directory). The people in Joseph's household match very closely the family of Joseph and Lydia. Another woman of Lydia's age was probably Rhoda Hoyt. There is also a woman aged 60-70. She wasn't Joseph's mother, so perhaps she was Lydia's.
Joseph and his family moved to New Providence apparently after their children were born.(3) Lucinda, the second youngest child, was born in 1827 and according to censuses, in New York State. No birth information has been found for their last child, Joseph, but he supposedly died at 4 years old. This may have led the Hoyts to move to NJ, especially since his death was likely due to infectious disease. This would place the move in the mid 1830s. Joseph Hoyt of 413 Cherry St. is listed in directories to 1835 (then disappears?). There are no New Jersey censuses before 1840. The census for that year lists only Joseph, Lydia and the girls. Joseph, Jr., had died and Edwin and William were adults. Deed records have not yet been searched, but should help locate the land and the time the Hoyts occupied it.
Eveline Amelia Hoyt recalls visiting her grandparents in New Jersey in the following story. Apparently she was only 4 or 5 years old:
Joseph Hoyt, my grandfather…was a farmer living in New Canaan, Ct., later on he moved to New Jersey on a farm near where Murray Hill is now. I cannot give the date, but I remember visiting there and some of the incidents connected with the visit. He was a very early riser and would do a day's work before any one was up, then in hot weather would take his little armchair - which Virginia now possesses - and go out under the shade of a large tree at the side of the house, and sit there with his handkerchief over his head to keep the flies off so as not to annoy him and would doze until he felt rested. I remember one funny incident that we were all excited over - we saw grandfather running towards the house with his arms flying wildly about his head, and a swarm of bees after him - he had upset the hive.
Joseph Hoyt's chair courtesy Virginia J. Smith
All that is known now about the property, aside from the above account, is from the following notice in The New York Times:
Joseph appears in the 1847 New York City directory at 10th Ave. and 24th St. in what became known as the Chelsea neighborhood. Eveline was born in 1842 and had a clear memory of the incidents in New Providence. Given that, the move back to New York probably occurred about 1847. Joseph and Lydia's son William moved from downtown Manhattan to Chelsea about the same time. Joseph's address was 111 West 28th St. in 1850 and he is listed as a farmer. The family was enumerated in that ward in the 1850 US census. The last time Joseph appears in directories is in 1851. Daughter Louisa and her sisters set up a fancy goods business on Court St. in Brooklyn about 1853 and Joseph and Lydia moved in with them in 1855.(4)
Joseph died at his daughters' house at 234 Court St. in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. Newspapers report that the day was hot enough to make people sick, and several in the region died. It's reasonable to think that this may have at least contributed to Joseph having a stroke, which is the cause of death given in the records of Evergreens Cemetery. A notice appeared in The New York Herald?:
On Friday, July 18, Joseph Hoyt, in the 74th year of his age. The friends and family and those of his sons E. A. and William H. Hoyt are respectfully invited to attend the funeral this afternoon at 4:00 from his late residence 234 Court St., Brooklyn, without further invitation.
Lydia continued to live with her daughters to her death in 1871 of old age at 372 Court St. The family is buried in a plot in The Evergreens Cemetery, Queens Co., NY, purchased by William H. Hoyt ten days after his father died (was Joseph in a receiving tomb for 10 days?).(5) Joseph and Lydia share a gravestone with the epitaph "The Light of the Lord is the death of his Saints." Eveline Hoyt was the only grandchild of Joseph and Lydia.
234 Court St. - to be added
Joseph and Lydia's gravestone in The Evergreens Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY
epitaph: "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints" (Psalms 116:15)
Click on these images for larger pictures of the Hoyt plot, which includes Lydia's sister, Joseph and Lydia's daughters, son William and probably his wife Eliza and their daughter Eveline (Hoyt) Ellingwood.
children of Joseph and Lydia (Stevenson) Hoyt:
Edwin Andrus b. 28 March 1813, m. Frances E. Walker William Henry b. 15 January 1815, d. 12 July 1862, m. Eliza Ann Brady
Louisa b. 25 May 1817, d. abt. 12 December 1894, heart disease, Mountainside Hospital, Glen Ridge, NJ.
Mary b. 13 February 1825, d. 26 May 1885, Bright's Disease, 21 ½ St. Felix St.
Lucinda b. 10 March 1827, d. 8 September 1879, of peritonitis, 21 ½ St. Felix St.
Joseph Benedict b. abt 1830 (d. at 4 years)