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Joseph was nine when his father died in 1792. As was customary when a father with real property 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 1794.1

Phebe and her children were given portion of Joseph's homestead. It isn't obvious where in New Canaan it was. The estate division, deeds that came after it and the 1790 and 1800 censuses give the names of their neighbors and that there was a road on the east side of the property. Process of elimination puts them on Bald Hill Road even though as early as an 1856 map with house locations shows nothing where the Hoyts likely were. In January of 1807 Joseph, Jr., bought a house nearby at the corner of Bald Hill and Benedict Hill Roads.2 The 1810 census only gives the name of the head of household and age categories for them and those living with them. Joseph is the head and with him were his mother and three unmarried sisters. It may be that the house on Bald Hill Road burned, maybe late in 1806. Joseph was also part owner of a nearby mill, but what kind hasn't been found.

The Hoyt house on Benedict Hill Road, New Canaan

Joseph surely met his wife Lydia through his brother Enos, who married Lydia's sister Mary in 1808. Censuses give New Jersey as the birthplace of both women, but no evidence has been found to suggest who their parents were or from where in New Jersey they came. Enos may have lived in New Jersey briefly and met Mary there, but it's more likely Mary and Lydia's parents were living in New York City by 1808, at which point Enos was also living there. Coincidentally, there were Stevensons in the New Canaan area and in New Providence, New Jersey, where Joseph and his family lived for a while, neither of which make sense as Lydia and Mary's relatives.
     Joseph married Lydia in 1811 while he was in New Canaan. Connecticut deeds refer to his being there up to 1813.3 An 1818 deed says he was of New York City.4 New York directories are pretty clear about Enos, who is called "Aneas" in his father's will. He is referred to as Aneas and Enos in directories and listed first as a shoemaker, then a wholesale shoe dealer, beginning in 1809. Joseph's appearance in directories is more vague. He was certainly the one who leased a house and store at 413 Cherry Street in 1827,5 and is listed there in directories as a grocer. Before that there was one grocer with that name in Manhattan nearly every year going back to 1809, but at varying addresses. He was at 399 Cherry back to 1822. The closeness in the address leaves little doubt this was Joseph of New Canaan. Before that back to 1816 he was on Harman Street (now East Broadway), Mott, Pump and Hester Streets, also in the neighborhood near Cherry. Grocer Joseph before 1816 was on Rivington Street, but still in the Lower East Side neighborhood. It seems unlikely these aren't all the same Joseph, but it would mean he had a home and store in the city and his farmland in Connecticut. Censuses show show the family in New Canaan in 1810 and in Manhattan in 1820 and 1830. Deeds confirm he retained land that was part of his father's homestead into the late 1830s.

413 Cherry St. in 1857, a building 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.

Joseph bought a farm in New Providence, New Jersey, in 1839.6 It was a 50-acre farm on what is now Springfield Avenue. When his son William Hoyt advertised the property for sale in 1854 he called the house "a one-story, comfortable, ancient dwelling," and that it was being sold due to "infirmity and old age." His father clearly was retiring. The 1840 census puts them in New Jersey, not Manhattan. In a very odd bit of coincidence, the buyers were the Vyse brothers, one of whom was an ancestor of Doug Sinclair's father, while the Hoyts are on his maternal side. There is no apparent reason the Hoyts and Vyses knew each other, having lived nowhere near each other before that. The Vyses also stayed only briefly in New Providence and the families wouldn't connect again until a century later.

     Eveline Amelia Hoyt recalls visiting her grandparents there in the following story. She was probably about ten 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

Joseph reappears in New York City directories from 1847 into the 1850s, once as a grocer and once as a farmer. By the time they sold the New Jersey Farm, they lived in Springfield, Long Island. This was a village in the township of Jamaica and suggests it was another farm site. Deeds put them there in 1852 and 1854.7 Daughter Louisa and her sisters set up a fancy goods business on Court Street in Brooklyn about 1853 and Joseph and Lydia moved in with them in 1855.7
     Joseph died at his daughters' house at 234 Court Street 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 The Evergreens Cemetery. A notice of his death and the heat appeared in The New York Sun:

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.

The temperature to-day, at 2 P.M. rose to ninety-nine (99) degrees, and has averaged ninety-six and a half degrees from 8 o'clock this morning till the hour of this writing. There was distant lightning during a part of last night. E. MERIAM, BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, 5 P.M., July 19, '56

     Lydia continued to live with her daughters on Court Street to her death in 1871 of old age. The family is buried in a plot in The Evergreens Cemetery, Queens, bought by William Hoyt ten days after his father died. Joseph and Lydia share a gravestone. Eveline Hoyt, daughter of William, was the only grandchild of Joseph and Lydia.

#234 (later 312) Court Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Joseph and Lydia's daughter Louisa, with the help of her sisters at least, was proprietor of a fancy goods store here between 1854 and 1874. It was also the last home of both Joseph and Lydia. The top photo (the paints and varnishes store) post-dates the Hoyts and the storefront would have been different. Above is the same if you imagine it with the original window lintels that were still on its neighbor at the far left of the old photo.

Joseph and Lydia's gravestone in The Evergreens Cemetery

epitaph: "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints" (Psalms 116:15)

Click on the images below 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 Hoyt and Lydia Stevenson:

i. Edwin Andrus, b. 28 March 1813
ii. William Henry, b. 15 January 1815
iii. Louisa, b. 25 May 1817
iv. Mary, b. 13 February 1825
v. Lucinda, b. 10 March 1827
vi. Joseph Benedict, b. abt 1830

vital records sources: Joseph's birth and marriage dates come from family records, which were the likely source for them as published in David W. Hoyt's A Genealogical History of the Hoyt, Haight, and Hight Families (Boston, 1871). Same for his death, which is confirmed on his gravestone and his death notice mentioned above.

Essex Co., NJ, deeds, R5:39-40, 10 Jan 1842. Joseph Hoyt of New Providence.
Ibid, C9:423, 30 Aug 1854, Joseph and Lydia Hoyt of Springfield, Long Island, NY. 1.

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

He lived on the north side, one door east of Ridge Street. He was very likely the Joseph Hoyt, grocer, at 399 Cherry Street. His brother Enos, also a grocer, was at 579 Water Street. (1825, 1824 - also J at Goerck n Grand, 1823 no Enos, J same, also Rhoda and Phebe, 25 Pell, 1822, just J at Cherry, 1821 J 119 Harman, 1820, 3 Mott, also Mrs. Enos, 67 Division, not in 1819, 1818/19, 3 Mott 1817, 106 Pump, 1816 Hester co. Orchard, Enos wholesale shoe store 55 Catherine, not in 1815/16, 1814, Enos 106 Chatham, J Rivington n Pitt, 1813 Riv c Pitt, Enos same, 1812 Aneas, shoemaker 106 Chatham, 1811 same, J at Riv n Bridge, 1810, Aneas shoemaker 98 Magazine, Joseph grocer Riv, 1809, same except Aneas is at 69 Roosevelt, nothing earlier)
Joseph and William not listed in 1848.
Joseph's address was 111 West 28th St. in 1850 and he is listed as a farmer (maps show that this address didn't exist). The family was enumerated in that ward in the 1850 US census. The last time Joseph appears in directories is in 1851 at 165 W 28.