This is an analysis of information published in Hoyts' Issue and material from primary sources in the United States in one place so that researchers interested in Simon Hoyt and his family don't have to rely on gathering bits and pieces, some of it erroneous, on the internet. Many thanks to Sharon Dulcich for her efforts in getting the information in the Spring 1995 and Spring 1996 Hoyts' Issue to me.
Simon Hoyt has many descendants and therefore many people interested in his background. The major source used for this family's history has been David W. Hoyt's A Genealogical History of the Hoyt, Haight, and Hight Families.(1a)
This, like many other 19th and early 20th century genealogical books, has been regarded as an authority. Unfortunately most of these books were not researched and/or written by people with the professional-level genealogy skills needed to properly gather and evaluate evidence. Many amateur genealogists have understandably taken such published information as fact and have republished it and have spread it across the internet. The body of knowledge of the Simon Hoyt family has suffered greatly from this.
In 1995 a researcher in Engand named Robin Bush looked in records there for evidence of Simon. One would have expected to find corroboration of the claim in David Hoyt's book that Simon married Deborah Stowers and had four children baptized in Upway (correct spelling "Upwey"), Dorsetshire. Instead it became apparent that marriage and baptism records have not been available for Upwey before 1654 since at least 1831. In any case they are not known to exist today and cannot be consulted.
Robin Bush found records at West Hatch, Somersetshire, of the baptisms of four children of Simon Hoyt. Walter and Nicholas are among them and the immigrant Simon is known to have had sons with these names. The supposed Upwey family also had sons Walter and Nicholas. Further investigation into the background of Massachusetts Bay immigrant Nicholas Stowers, who supposedly lived near Upwey, might prove interesting. Bush says that the baptism dates for Walter and Nicholas correspond to the ages of Walter and Nicholas of Massachusetts and Connecticut. I am not very familiar with information on Nicholas, but Walter's approximate age is given in a probate document and corresponds to a birth year of 1618.(1b)
Regarding a man named Micheal Hoyt (variously spelled), Bush cites a Manor Court record(2a) dated 18 July 1599 that concerns his occupation of rented land, apparently in West Hatch, with his children Richard, Simon, Anne, Thomasine (Thamazine, etc.) and Elizabeth. This document refers to "the customary rent and services and works of scouring and ditching the lords' rivers" connected with their tenancy. This apparently is the earliest such record, leading Bush to think this was when the family arrived in West Hatch. Michael later occupied other properties. He also served town offices much the same as those in New England. He was a juryman and often foreman of the homage jury in the Hallimote Court and Manor Court between 1606 and 1620(2b). Homage juries were composed of tenants who reported to the courts on misdemeanors and deaths among the tenants. Hallimote Court records say he was a reeve (keeper of animals on behalf of the town) in 1612/13(3). In 1613 he had five stray sheep in his custody. He was elected a tythingman (tax collector) at West Hatch in 1614(4), but he was still a reeve, given that in the same year he was holding a horse that was to be given to the lords as fee for someone's tenancy(5).
Simon "made default of the suit of court" in 1616(6), 1618(7) and twice in 1620(8). Michael stated in Hallimote Court records that in 1617 he surrendered his 1599 rental lands to the use of Simon(9). Manor Court records say that Michael and Simon were on the homage jury in 1619(10). Simon acknowledged to his fellow jurymen and the court that he cut down 6 oak trees on his land and sold them outside the manor, which was against custom. On his father's pledge Simon paid a 20 shilling fine at the next meeting of the court. Simon was a juryman again in 1620(11).
Quoting Bush from the same source as the last, "A view was taken between the land of Alexander Hearne called Barleidge and the land of Simon Hoyte called 'Long Medow.' It was found that the boundary was 'an old ditch.' Simon Hoyte was ordered to make a sufficient fence between his meadow called 'Long Medow' and the land of Walter Curry before 28 Oct. on pain of 5 s."
Michael's wife at the time of his death was probably Agnes, but without more specific records it can't be said if she was the mother of any of his children. The West Hatch Manor Court refers to her as a widow who was holding a tenement of the same description as Michael's and that she was to pay a fee to the lords in 1628 with Richard Hoyt (name of the oldest son of Michael) as one of her pledges(12). Bush suggests that Michael's son John was born to a second wife about 1608. A Hundred Court record(13) of 1620 says that the court ordered Richard Hoyt to bring his brother John to be sworn to the assize. Bush says that this was usually done when a boy reached the age of 12, but how diligent was this in practice? Was John born shortly after Michael's 1599 record of tenancy (in which John doesn't appear)? Michael's daughter Thomasine (variously spelled) was baptized in 1581/82. She had at least one older sibling (Anne is listed before her in court records. I am assuming that lists of children are by age as they are in many probate records). If Anne was the first born, say in 1580, and John was the last in say 1600, that would span the average 20 year period of a married woman's fertility. Perhaps Richard was ordered to bring John to court because he had not previously. However John would have been 20 and Richard probably would not have been involved. If John's was a late and last birth of Michael's wife he could have still been a minor in 1620 if he was born say 1603 or 4. In any case no marriage records have been found for Michael and his wife is not named in the one baptism record. It is notable that daughters named Agnes were born to Simon and Richard Hoyt in West Hatch.
Bush further cites account rolls for West Hatch that mention Simon Hoyt's payments to the manor for new grants of tenements through 1631, and by 1632/33 his name was crossed out and replaced by another. He acquired two tenements in 1627/28, not long before Simon the immigrant most likely left England. If the latter is the same as West Hatch Simon he would have signed away the properties when he was in either Charlestown or Dorchester, Massachusetts. He had become a freeman in 1631, so he may have felt sufficiently established in the Massachusetts Colony to undo his real estate ties in England. Bush notes that the above court entries are all under the subheading of the manor tything of West Hatch. This makes a fairly certain connecton between the Simons - the son of Michael of West Hatch, the father of Walter and Nicholas of West Hatch and the immigrant to Massachusetts Bay.
Bush found a marriage record at Marshwood, Dorset, of Simon Hoyt and Jane "Stoodlie" in 1617. Marshwood is not so far from West Hatch (about 10 miles) to negate the possibility that this couple had Walter and Nicholas, but Simon was otherwise in West Hatch. Marshwood records reveal only that there were Stoodley (variously spelled) baptisms in the early 17th century, indicating that Jane's family probably was established in the area when she was married.(14) John Stoodley was among the free tenants of Marshwood manor in 1626-41 and Walter "Stoodleigh" was a member of the homage jury for Whitchurch Hundred, near Marshwood, in 1626. Given the appearance of Walter among Simon's children, perhaps Walter Stoodleigh was Jane's father or brother.
The name Michael is found among the children named in the will of Thomas Hoyt of Seavington St. Mary, Somersetshire (1576) and his wife Isabel (1587). That town is about 9 miles from West Hatch and about 2 1/2 miles from South Petherton, where Michael's daughter was baptized. Thomas' will mentions several of his grandchildren, but none by Michael. Isabel's will does mention that Michael had children. This accords with the idea that Michael's oldest daughter (and first child?) may have been Anne, born say 1580. There is no further evidence cited to make a strong connection between Thomas of Seavington St. Mary and Michael of South Petherton/West Hatch.
Robin Bush doesn't give a list of all the sources he consulted, although it is apparent that he looked at a number of unnamed records that did not reveal Hoyt information. Are there more records that can be researched in that region of England? For instance, does Michael appear in any other South Petherton area records? All of Michael's children before 1599 may have been born there. Are there Manor Court records for the area similar to those covering the town of West Hatch?
There were Hoyts in this region for many generations, but there isn't enough evidence to make a credible and reliable genealogical connection among them to form a lineage back from Michael, despite various eager claims to the contrary at other Hoyt websites.
In New England
Simon Hoyt appears on a list, with Nicholas Stowers and the Sprague family, of those who were the first to live in Charlestown in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.(15) The date given for the list, which appears in the town records, is 1628, but scholars are confident that the document was made somewhat later. Although a few families were living in the vicinity of what became Charlestown by 1628, the so-called Higginson Fleet of ships which sailed in the Spring and Summer of 1629, sent by the Massachusetts Bay Colony, carried some if not most of the people named on that list. A statement has been proliferated that the Hoyts came over on the ship Abigail in 1628. There is no extant list of passengers on that trip of Abigail nor any other evidence to specifically place the Hoyts on it. John Endicott, Governor of Massachusetts Bay, approved the removal of the Spragues and "three or four others" to explore and settle what became Charlestown. Given the probable proximity of their origins in England, Simon may not only have sailed with them but joined them as one of those others to Charlestown. On the above-mentioned list, Simon is listed one name away from the Spragues.
Simon appears on the first list of "Names of such as tooke the Oath of Freemen" of the colony, dated 18 May 1631,(16) and is presumed to have been in Dorchester. The first record found of Simon in that town is from 1633, leaving in question where he was in 1631. On 3 April 1633 Dorchester town records state that a double-rail fence with mortices in the posts was ordered to be put up by the cow-owners of the town, 20 feet of length per cow. Simon's fencing was to be 40 feet.(17) On 8 October of the same year he was appointed a fenceviewer for the "east field."(18) On 6 January of the following year he was included in a division of "marsh and swamp."(19) He was elected a fenceviewer for the "north field" on 24 May 1634.(20) On 2 June he was in another division of marsh and swamp, a parcel of about 8 acres on the north side of the "neck." On 10 February 1634/35 he was ordered to keep one bull with the heifers on the "neck of land," for which he was to be paid.(21) This action surely was taken to make calves and that Simon was to oversee the process. The last mention of Simon as a Dorchester resident was on 17 February 16(34/?)35, when it was ordered that "the lott of medow that was Symon Hoytes next to boston side Joyning to John Witchfield shall be devided betwixt Mr. Rodger Williams and Gyles Gibbes."(22)
Simon and his family moved to Scituate, Massachusetts, by the time he and his wife joined the church there on 17 April 1635.(23) Given the last two references to Simon in the Dorchester town records, the move can be placed between 10 February (perhaps 17 February) and 17 April 1635. Rev. Lothrop of Scituate listed the house lots and their occupants from the time he arrived in November? of 1634 to December? of 1636, the months being unclear.(24) Simon had a house lot there between those dates. Dean's history of Scituate indicates that "Goodman Hoyt" was granted land in the "Greenfield" section of Scituate between April? and June? of 1635, although it is not clearly stated and there are no sources cited in this work.(25) However, given all this evidence it is reasonable to say that the Hoyts moved to Scituate in late Winter of 1635 and had established themselves sufficiently enough to join the church and build or buy a house there within the next 4 months.
The time of Simon's removal to Windsor, Connecticut, is not known, but speculated to have been between 1636 and 1639, when groups of settlers from Massachusetts Bay went there. He apparently does not appear in Scituate town and church records after 1635-1636. In 1677 Matthew Grant recorded that there were 2 children born to Simon in Windsor (how accurate was this over 30 years after the fact?), suggesting that he moved there with the 1639 party headed by Rev. Huit.(26) He was surely there by 7 May 1640, when the Particular Court of Connecticut ordered that "Simon Hoyette and his family are to be freed fro watch & ward until there be further Order taken by the Courte."(27) The reason for this may be found in where Simon was granted land in Windsor. He appears in an inventory of land ownership dated 28 February 1640/41.(28) He had been granted "fourscore" acres of upland and meadow and the same amount on the north side of the "rivulet," with 30 acres of the latter designated for his son Walter. A copy of this record describes the property as being on the east side of the "rivulet" (presumably what is now the Farmington River), but given the meandering of the river, it might have been open to interpretation. This area became known as Hoyt's Meadow and was enough distant from the main settlement known as the Palisado to excuse Simon and Walter from gaurd duty. A record of January 1659/60 says he had a "long seat" in the Windsor church, for which he paid 6 shillings.(29) He had died in Stamford, Connecticut, by this time. The record refers to pews associated with houses and their original owners, although the latter are not named, and Simon was likely among them.
Simon supposedly sold his homestead lot in "Hoyt's Meadow" in 1646.(30) He owned a house lot and 2 1/2 acres bordering the common in Fairfield, Connecticut; 5 acres at "Sascoe [Sasco, Sasqua] Neck" on "Hoit's Island" and land purchased from John Green.(31) This land is listed in an inventory for the town of Fairfield dated 6 March 16(48/?)49. He may have bought some of it near the time he sold his Windsor land in 1646 and made his move in that year. Sasco Neck is now part of the town of Southport.
Simon's death is recorded in the Stamford town records as having occurred on the 1st day of the 7th month 1657, translating to 1 September 1657.(32) An inventory of his estate was taken on 9 October 1657. This Fairfield Co. probate item is given here as
it was transcribed for David Hoyt's book. It is described as worn and partially
torn. The end of it is clearly missing.
[O]cto 9: 57 An Inventory of ye Estate of Simon Hoyte taken by ff[illegible] Rich Law
Entry 24: 3 mo 1659
Impmus 8 Cowes 15-
It [Item] 2 oxen 15-
It 4:2: years 10-
It 1:3:yearold com tine 03-
It 1 yearl-g 01-
It one Horse 10-0
It one mare & Colt 20-0
It one yearl-g colt with time 12- O - 0
It p Land 30-0-0
It one Homelote & a mill 30- 0 - 0
It in puter 01-
It in brass, 1: pan 1 : pot, 1 : mortter, 2 : cittills 02-
It in Iron, 1: pot, 2 lesser pots 03
It more Iron, axes, howes Chaines 05
It armes, 1 gun, 3 swords 2: barrells 02-08
It in woollen Cloathes 05-06
It one hat & lether Jacket 00-07
It one paire sheets & 43 yards new cloth 07-09
It too Chests, 2 wheeles 01-02
It in Coops ware 01-03
It in Turners ware 00-03
It three Earthen pots 00-
It one sadle & roapes & tow comes 01-
It in beding 06-
It [sivory?] &c marking Iron 00-
It one colter & old Iron 00-
It in Indian Corn, 10: bushells 01-
It 25 bushells wheat 05-
It 80: ib: of tobaca 01-
It cart & plow & wheeles 02-
It two yoaks 00-
It in Debts, Due 05-
It in Hey six load 05-
It in pease 40 bushells 07-
It 14 swine 20-
It 2 hides 00-
It in Debts ow-g 01
It oweing 25 bushells wheat 05-
It owing 00-
Several receipts are said to have been in
Simon's probate file for the distribution of his estate.(33a) They refer to Joshua Hoyt
receiving portions from his brothers Moses (2 April 1666), Samuel (April 1665) and Benjamin. Samuel Finch, on behalf of
his wife, received their portion in April 1665 and Samuel Firman gave his portion to his mother-in-law on 25 March 1662. Other receipts are probably missing, but the signature of "Joen"
Hoyt can be found as witness to Moses' signature. The John Hoyt who witnessed Moses' signature could have been Simon's son or grandson.
It is clear that Simon's children were by two wives. There is no primary evidence found identifying the family name of his second wife Susannah.
There is a record made by Rev. John Lothrop of Scituate apparently in 1637 that lists the houses by heads of household of that town since his arrival in 1634. There is an entry for "The Smiths. Goodman Haits brother." No other entry is prefaced by "the," such as "the Hoyts." All the households except 3, including "The Smiths," are numbered, which may indicate those three were not land owners. It is unlikely that this was a Mr. Smith. He was very likely the town blacksmith.
Susannah and her heirs (among whom are not the English-born children of Simon) are named in an agreement regarding the
distribution of her estate. At the time of her death she was
Susannah Bates, probably the wife of Robert Bates of Stamford. Her heirs were her children Moses, Joshua, Samuel and Benjamin Hoyt,
and the husbands of her daughters Mary, Sarah and Miriam (namely Thomas Lyon, Samuel
Finch and Samuel "ffirman").(34) The inventory was presented at court on 24 May 1659.
child of Simon? perhaps out of wedlock:(35)
Christopher, bur. 22 August 1618
information for children of Simon of New England with West Hatch Simon and (Jane Stoodley's?) children's information inserted, with baps. from West Hatch parish church records, in parentheses:
i. Walter (bap. 29 November 1618)
ii. Nicholas, (bap. 7 May 1620)
(iii. Alexander, bap. 28 December 1623)
(iv. Agnes, bap. 18 October 1626)
children of Simon and Susannah:
v. Mary, b. ca. 1630, m. Thomas Lyon
vi. Moses, b. ca. 1632 (Dorchester?), m. Elizabeth
vii. Joshua, b. ca. 1635 (Scituate?), Mary Bell (if she was the Mary Hoyt listed in father Francis Bell's will)
viii. Sarah, b. ca. 1637, (Scituate?), m. Samuel Finch
ix. Miriam, b. ca. 1639 (Scituate?), m. Samuel Firman (perhaps Forman) 25 March 1662, Fairfield, CT (date and place not confirmed by author)
x. Samuel, b. ca. 1642, (Windsor?), m. 1. Hannah Holly, 16 November 1670, Stamford, CT, 2. Rebecca (neither confirmed by author)
xi. Benjamin, b. 2 February 1644/1645, Windsor (Windsor land records, not seen by author), m. Hannah Weed, 5 January 1670/71, Stamford, CT (not confirmed by author)
1a. David W. Hoyt, A Genealogical History of the Hoyt, Haight, and Hight Families, (Boston,1871).
1b. Walter Hoyt's will, microfilm, Connecticut State Library.
2a. North Curry Hundred, Hallimote and Manor Court Tolls of the Dean and Chapter of Wells Cathedral, DD/CC 131924/6, translated from Latin.
2b. Hallimote and Manor Courts, DD/CC131907/14.
3. Hallimote Court, DD/CC 131925/8.
4. Hundred Court, DD/CC 131925/4.
5. Hallimote Court,ibid.
6. Hundred Court, 131925/6.
7. Manor Court, 131925/5.
8. Hundred Court, 131910a/9; with his father, in Hallimote Court, same source.
9. Hallimote Court, DD/CC 131925/5.
10. Manor Court, DD/CC 131925/2.
11. Hallimote Court, 131910a/5.
12. Ibid, 131907/2.
13. Ibid, 131910a/9.
14. Somerset & Dorset Notes & Queries, vol. 10, pp. 242-4.
15. Richard Frothingham, Jr., The History of Charlestown, Massachusetts (1845).
16. Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, ed., Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, etc. (Boston, 1853), pg. 366.
17. Fourth Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston 1880; Dorchester Town Records; second edition 1883 (Boston, 1883), pg. 2.
18. Ibid, pg. 3.
19. Ibid, pg. 5.
20. Ibid, pg. 6.
21. Ibid, pg. 10.
22. Ibid, pg. 11.
23. Samuel Dean, History of Scituate, Massachusetts, from its First Settlement to 1831 (Boston, 1831).
26. Henry R. Stiles, A History of Ancient Windsor, reprint, Somersworth, NH, 1976. (HAW)
27. Records of the Particular Court of Connecticut 1639-1663, Connecticut Historical Society.
28. The Great Migration Begins project cites Windsor land records 1:88.
29. Information on Simon in Windsor from HAW.
30. HAW, pp. 159,167-8. This is an abstract of the original record, which has not been seen.
31. Donald Lines Jacobus, comp. & ed., History and Genealogy of the Families of Old Fairfield, 1:293. Original records not seen.
32. Fairfield town records in The American Genealogist," 10:116.
33a.. The American Genealogist, 11:34.
33b. The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 10:42; The American Genealogist, 11:34.
34. E. B. Huntington, History of Stamford 1641-1868, etc. (1979), pg. 34.
35. "supposed son of Simon Hoyte," West Hatch parish records. Walter clearly was Simon and Jane's first child after their marriage about a year earlier.