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vital records sources

There isn't specific evidence to pinpoint Zerubbabel's birth date or say certainly which of his father's wives had him. Naming a daughter Rhoda is a good indication that Rhoda (Tinker) Hobbs Taylor Hoyt was his mother. My thoughts about the evidence I've found is here. The oldest record of Zerubbabel in Norwalk town records is on 28 December 1680, when, as his father had before him, "Zerubbabel Hoyt hath undertaken to beate ye drumme for publick meetings, and also for such stray horses as are brought on to be sold, for which he is to have fourteen shilling and ten pence a time that stray horses are brought in to be sould."1 Beating the drum was done to alert or remind eligible people to go to church services and attend town meetings. In 1686 he was chosen to do this again: "Zerubbabell Hoyt did ingage to beat the Drum and maintaine it, and that on all publique occasions; and to sweep the meeting house for the yeere insuing, and is allowed for his labor two and forty shillings."2 Zerubbabel's "estate of commonage," meaning his share of the town's common land where he could have is livestock graze, was valued at £50 in 1687.3 He was on a nine-person committee chosen by the General Court of Connecticut in May of 1697 "to purchase of the Indians a certain tract of land lying about fourteen miles northward of the Town of Norwalk to settle a plantation there."4 That plantation became Ridgefield. The Town of Norwalk paid Zerubbabel 5 shillings for ½ a wolf in December of 1701.5 Wolves were routinely killed, presumably for the protection of livestock. They were caught in wolf-pits. One wonders under what circumstances a person would bring in only half a wolf. Some men brought in even less portions. At the same time, he was paid 18 pence for "burning the islands." This must been for arable land maintenance. He was also chosen to be a hogward "for to [put into the] pound all swine that are on the comons of the towne after the 1st of March next ensueing not sufficiently yoked and ringed." He served on a committee to assign seating in the meeting house, "they to have respect to age, quality, and the estates of persons in the publique list,"6 and another committee regarding the creation of a cemetery for the residents on the west side of the Norwalk River with fellow Doug Sinclair ancestor John Benedict, Sr.7 This undoubtedly was Pine Island Cemetery, where John's and his first wife's gravestones can be found. Zerubbabal and his wives may be there as well, but it's unlikely there were ever gravestones for them. A belfry was ordered to be built on the meeting house in 1709, and in December of 1713, "Ye town grants to Zorubabbel Hoyt twenty six shillings in pay or two thirds money for his ringing ye bell at nine-o'clock at night for ye yeare ensueing sd. [said Zerubbabel?] engages to perform ye same."8 9:00 PM was a typical curfew time in Colonial America for all non-white residents, which essentially meant African American servants and slaves.
     Zerubbabel bought various pieces of land in Norwalk between 1692 and 1717, but it's not clear where he lived. Since he had a hand in creating Pine Island Cemetery, it was likely on the west side of the Norwalk River. The Town granted him a lot at Canoe Hill in Canaan Parish (now New Canaan) in 1700 and 1710, much of which he gave to his sons before he died.9
     Zerubbabel's second or third wife was Mehitabel Rockwell, widow of John Keeler. Although there isn't a record of the marriage, John's heirs deeded land to Mehitabel in January of 1724/25, and she is referred to as the wife, not widow, of Deacon Zerubbabel. It was very likely his grandson Zerubbabel who bought land from Joseph Hitchcock in 1733. The elder Zerubbabel was certainly dead by 25 January 1738/39, when an agreement among his heirs was reached regarding his real estate.10
      The widely held belief that Zerubbabel's first wife was Hannah Knapp may have begun with an early history of Norwalk, which doesn't site a source for the claim. There is no known evidence to support it. She would have been about seven to twelve years years older than Zerubbabel, and for a first marriage, that isn't plausible. His first wife was probably born in the early 1650's, and they probably married in the early 1670's. Whether or not daughter Abigail was their first born isn't known, but she is the first of record.
     Zerubbabel spelled his name "Zerubbaball Hayt." The name Hoyt can be found spelled various ways among the children and grandchildren of Simon Hoyt, by clerks, legal representatives and family members who had varying degrees of literacy. Father and son aren't always in sync with spelling either. Zerubbabel's father wrote "Walltar Hoyte." Rather then fluxuate back and forth between spellings from generation to generation and favoring what were likely phonetic renderings, the spelling "Hoyt" has been chosen for the biographies at this site, with notations of signatures where they exist. I've chosen the standard spelling of "Zerubbabel" for similar reasons.


children of Zerubbabel and his first wife:

Abigail b. 2 February 1675/7611
Joseph b. abt 1678-79
Daniel b. 1 January 1680/81? (no primary source found for this date)
Hannah b. abt 1682-8412
Caleb b. abt 1686
Rhoda b. abt 1688-9013





vital records sources:

1. Edwin Hall, Ancient Historical Records of Norwalk, Conn. (hereafter AHRTN) (Norwalk:1847), 76.
2. Ibid, 81 (18 February 1686/87).
3. Ibid, 84 (3 January 1687/88).
4. Records of the Particular Court of Connecticut, vol. 4 (Hartford:1868) 209.
5. 30 December 1701. AHRTN, pg. 96.
6. 1706. AHRTN, pg. 100.
7. 16 December 1708. AHRTN, pg. 102.
8. AHRTN, pg. 105.
9. Fairfield County deeds, 5:519 (14 January 1722/23).
10. Ibid, 6:308.
11. AHRTN 193.
12. Ibid, 197 (based on her 1704 marriage).
13. Ibid (based on her 1710 marriage).

all text and photographs © 1998-2020 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted