m. 2 Dec 1612
Facts and Events
Simon Hoyt's Career in New England
"The earliest mention of the name of Simon1 Hoyt in this country is the following, from the records of Charlestown, Mass.:-
'The Inhabitants yt: first setled in this place & brought it into the denomination of An English Towne were in Anno 1628 [1629?] as follo: vizt. Ralph Sprague. Richd Sprague, William Sprague. John Meech, Simon Hoyte, Abra: Palmer, Walter Pamer, Nicholas Stowers, John Stickline, Tho: Walford (smith yt: lived heere alone before), Mr: Graves (who had charge of some of the servts. of the Company of Patentees with whom hee built the great house this yeare for such of the sd Company as are shortly to come over which afterwards became the Meeting house), and Mr: Bright (Minister to the Companies Servants), by whome it was Jointly agreed & concluded yt: this place on the north side of Charles River by the natives called Mishawum shall henceforth from the name of the River bee called Charlestowne, wc.h was also confirmed by Mr John Endicutt Governour.'
The records also state that in the summer of 1628 [1629?] 'the Spragues and three or four others,' with the approval of Gov. Endicott, traveled from Salem, 'through the woods,' to explore and settle Charlestown, where they found only one English abode, the 'palisadoed and thatched house' of Thomas Walford, a smith; and that in 'June and July, 1629' , twelve ships arrived, bringing 1500 people, with dignitaries and Charles' Patent for Massachusetts Bay, after which the colonists separated, and settled Watertown, Dorchester, and other adjacent towns. Frothingham, in his History of Charlestown, states that the records above quoted were not written till 1664, and shows that some of the dates are one year too early. He is uncertain whether the journey of the Spragues from Salem to Charlestown was in 1628 or 1629; but Graves and Bright were not in Charlestown before 1629. The journey could not have been made before the autumn of 1628, and it seems much more probable that it took place in the summer of 1629.
John Endicott arrived at Salem Sep. 6, 1628, in the Abigail, the only vessel sent by the Mass. Co. in 1628. There were five or six vessels, sometimes called the Higginson fleet, sent by the company with emigrants in the spring of 1629. The George set sail before the others, and arrived June 22, 1629, with a letter of instruction to Endicott, urging him to settle Mass. Bay at once. This may have led to the settlement of Charlestown, if it had not already been commenced. There arrived in 1630 a larger number of vessels and emigrants, including Gov. Winthrop, and other settlements were commenced, as stated above.
Felt thinks that the Spragues came with Endicott; Everett concludes that they did not. The author of the Memorial of the Sprague Family takes the ground that they arrived in Salem in the summer of 1629, in one of the Higginson fleet, perhaps the George. The Charlestown records speak of the Spragues as arriving in this country 'at their own cost.' This may mean either that they came in a private vessel, or that they paid for their passage on one of the company's vessels, instead of coming as 'adventurers,' or members of the company. They were from Upway, Dorsetshire, England.
As only one name stands between the Spragues and Simon Hoyte on the Charlestown records, he was undoubtedly one of the 'three or four others' who accompanied them from Salem to Charlestown, and he may have come to Salem in the same vessel with them.
It appears, therefore, that Simon Hoyt landed in Salem in 1628 or 1629, perhaps by the Abigail or the George, and very soon, in 1628 or 1629, probably the latter year, went to Charlestown as one of its first settlers. He could not have remained there more than a year or two, however, if he was one of the first settlers of Dorchester, in 1630 [We have found nothing which will determine positively whether he was in Charlestown or Dorchester from 1630 to 1633. The only record of his name during that time is on the first list of those who took the oath of freemen in Mass., in 1631]. His name does not afterwards appear at Charlestown, but is found on the Dorchester records several times, as follows:-
April 3, 1633, Symon Hoite is given on a list as having two cows, and is therefore required to put up 40 feet of fence on the marsh. Oct. 8, 1633, Symon Hoyte is one of the two appointed to 'see to the fences … for the east feild.' Jan. 6, 1633, 'It is ordered, that the marsh and swamp before Goodman Hosford and davy Wil[ton] shall be devided among themselves and Symon Hoyte.' May 24, 1634, Symon Hoyte is one of the two appointed to 'view the pales' [fences] of the north field. June 2, 1634, 'It is ordered that Goodman Witchfeild and Goodman Hoyte shall have to be devided betweene them the marsh that lies in the north side of the necke, towards Boston, over agaynst mr. Rainsfords house, in Boston, being for 8 acres, by estimation.' Feb. 10, 1634, Symon Hoyte is mentioned as keeping one bull. April 17, 1635, 'It is also ordered, that the lott of medow that was Symon Hoytes, next to boston side, Joyning to John Witchfeild, shall be devided betwixt mr. Rodger Williams and Gyles Gibbes.'
As the name of Simon Hoyt does not afterwards appear on the Dorchester records, it is evident that he left that town between Feb. 10, 1634-5, and April 17, 1635. From Dorchester he undoubtedly removed to Scituate, Mass., probably early in April, 1635, as 'Symeon Hayte' and his wife joined the Scituate church April 19, 1635, and 'Goodman Haites' house was built in that town between Sep., 1634, and Oct., 1636. Deane is therefore mistaken in assigning an earlier date to Simon Hoyt's appearance at Scituate.
From Scituate, Mass., he went to Windsor, Ct. Hinman puts him in the party which reached there in 1639; but Stiles, in his History of Windsor, says that he 'probably went to Windsor in the first, or one of the first companies [The first Dorchester colony reached Windsor in 1635, but most of the party returned to Mass. during the winter, on account of the great suffering and sickness experienced for want of shelter and provisions. The colony again went to Windsor the next spring, April, 1636].' Deane says that traces of him in Scituate disappear after 1636. In view of all the facts, it does not seem probable that he went to Windsor in the first colony; and perhaps Hinman is correct. The earliest mention of his name that we have found on the Windsor records is the following entry on the first book of land records:-
'Feb. 28, 1640
'Symon Hoyt hath granted from the Plantation, for meadow and upland, adjoyning fourscore acres, more or les, bounded west by wm. Hill, fro the River back one hundred and twenty rodd to the west, uppon the south it bounds frō wm. Hills lott along by the Rivulett untill it coms to Mathias Sentions meadow & then it turns about uppon the east and bounds by the said meadow in a streight lyne fro the river six rodd and then it turns agayne upon the south behind the end of Mathias Sention & Bagget Egglestons meadow, untill it come to Elias Parkemans, and the Town Swampe and Elias Parkeman's meadow bounds it east, untill yt com to the foote of the hill in a streight lyne and frō thence yt turns & bounds upon the north untill yt coms to the utmost end of will Hills lott.
'Also on the north side of the rivulett four score acres, thirty of which is given his son Walter Hoyt frō the Towne, yt lyes neere the falls in the rivulett; it is in length frō the river back a hundred and twenty rodd, in breadth a hundred twenty six rodd, bounded euery way by the Coṁon.'
A copy of the above entries, differing somewhat in the phraseology employed, is also found in a record of Windsor lands. among the state papers at Hartford. In Stiles' History of Windsor, p. 123, may be found a 'Plan of Ancient Windsor, 1640-1654.' According to this plan, the land of Simon Hoyt lay on the east side of the rivulet, away from the other settlers; and this is probably the reason that he and his family were 'freed from watch and ward' in 1640, they having enough to do to protect themselves from the Indians, without traveling a long distance to guard those who lived in the village. The name 'Hoyt's Meadow' seems to have been then applied to this portion of Windsor, and that name is still retained. It is said that a lot of twenty or thirty acres of this meadow was sold by the First Ecclesiastical Society of Windsor a few years since. Tradition says it was the property of a lady named Hoyt, who returned to England and left the land for the use of the society till called for. We have no other evidence that any Hoyt ever returned to England, and it seems more probable that it was left to the society by some one of the family of Simon Hoyt, all of whom left Windsor long before the close of that century.
From Rowland's and Grant's old Windsor records we learn that Simon Hoyt [or Hayt] had two children born at Windsor, one, his son Benj., in 1644; also, that 'Hoyte's child died' in 1647, whether child of Simon or of Walter does not appear. Neither has it been found possible to determine who was the 'Ould Goode Hoyt' [or Hayt] that died at W. in 1644. We have been unable to learn on what authority the History of Dorchester states that Simon Hoyt was an elder or deacon in Windsor; and we have found no other record of it. In Stiles' History we find, on pp. 149, 150, an extract from an old 'Book of Rates,' which contains a list of those who paid for seats in the meeting-house, dated Jan. 18, 1659-60. The last name of those 'placed in the long seats where they paid' is Simon Hoyt, 6s. There is, however, an allusion to 'houses that have seats paid for by their first owners, and the present dwellers in them, if any, have no seats. 9 names.' It would seem that these nine names are given with the others, and if so, Simon Hoyt was probably one of them for he had removed from Windsor to Fairfield before 1659. In 1646 he sold land in 'Hoyt's Meadow,' with dwelling-house, barn, &c., to Wm. Thrall, who removed to it the same year.
The earliest mention we have found of Simon Hoyt at Fairfield is the following, copied from pages 29 and 30 of the land records of that town:-
'March ye 6th 1649. Granted unto Simon Hoitt from the Towne one home lott Contayning two Acres and half more or less, bounded on the southwest with the land of Georg Godwin, on the southeast with a hieway, on the northeast with the land of John Tomson, on the northwest with the Common.
Alsoe in Sascoe neck, on the Iland Coṁonly Called Hoits Iland, one parcell of land contayning five Acres and half more or less, bounded on the west with the land of John Tomson, on the south with a marsh, on the east with a marsh, on the north with a brook.
Alsoe in the feald Coṁonly called Winser feald seven Acres more or less bounded on the west with a hieway, on the south with the land of John Wheeller, on the east with the marsh or meadow of Daniell fince, on the north with the land of Timothy ffoard & Nathan Gold.
Also in Sasconeck in the meadowe aboue the bridge coṁonly called the new bridg one parcell of meadowe contayning eight Acres and half more or less, bounded on the east with the Creek, on the north with the land of Nathan Gould, on the west with the land of Richard [Perry?], on the south with the land of Thomas Dickerson.
'March ye 6th 1649. Simon Hoitt hath purchased of John Green one home lott Contayning three Acres more or less, bounded on the southwest with the land of henery Whelply. on the northwest with a hieway, on the northeast with the land of John Banks, on the southeast with the land of John Nichols and Nathaniell Baldwin.'
Simon also purchased of the said John five more lots of land, recorded on the same page. One, the last, was ten acres in the 'newfeald.'
It is possible that Simon Hoyt may have owned some of these lots some time before they were recorded, as he sold his land in Windsor in 1646, and these entries were all made at once. The earliest grant now left on the Fairfield records is dated Jan. 12, 1649. 'Hoit's Island' is often mentioned on the old records, and seems to have been near Sasconeck and Salt Creek. Land of Simon Hoyt is mentioned in the boundaries of the lots of others in 1653, 1660, &c.; but the latter date was after his death. On the records of Fairfield, Jan. 12, 1658, it is stated that 'Thomas Lyon of Fairfield hath purchased of Symon Hoyt of Stamford one parcel of land' in the 'newfeild,' bounded by land of John Hoyt on the north. This transaction was recorded just after Simon's death, and Thomas Lyon was probably his son-in-law, as will appear hereafter.
It is evident that Simon Hoyt removed to Stamford before his death, that is, between 1649 and 1657, but in what year does not appear [As he lived in Windsor till 1646, and in Fairfield in 1649, he couldnot have been in Stamford as early as 1642 (History of Stamford, pp. 26, 34)]. The Stamford records give the date of his death as Sep. 1, 1657 [Twice recorded at S., once as 'hoyt' and again as 'hoight']. The following is also found on the Stamford records, worn and torn and partially illegible, especially the columns of shillings and pence:-
'[O]cto 9: 57 An Inventory of ye Estate of Simon Hoyte taken by ff[illegitle] Rich Laws
Entry 24: 3mo 1659
Impmus 3 Cowes 15 It 2 oxen 15 It 4: 2: years 10 It 1: 3: year old com tine 03 It 1 yearl-g 01 It one Horse 10--0 It one mare & Colt 20--0 It one yearling colt with time 12-0-0 It p Land 30-0-0 It one Homelote & a mill 30-0-0 It in puter 01-0
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 ?] &e 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'
We find on the Stamford records receipts dated 1662, 1665, and 1666, signed by Samuel Firman, 'Moses hoyte of ye plantation of west chester,' Samuel Hoyte, Samuel Finch for his wife, and Benjamin Hoyte, in which they acknowledge that they have received from their brother Joshua Hoyte their full portion of the estate of their father, Simon Hoyte. The receipts of the other children are missing; but 'Joen hoyte' is a witness of the signature of Moses.
It seems that Simon Hoyt left a widow named Susanna, who married a Bates [probably Robert Bates, who died in Stamford, June 11, 1675], and died before Feb., 1674. From the fact that a Smith at Scituate is called his brother, it appears that either Simon, or a sister of his, married a Smith. It is probable that Simon had two wives, and that Walter, Nicholas, and John were the sons of the first wife, as will appear from the following agreement, found on the Stamford records:-
'Witnes these presents an agreement made & concluded between vs viz: Moses Hoyt, Joshua Hoyt, Samuell Hoyt, Beniamin hoyt, Thomas Lyon, Samuel ffinch, Samuel ffirman conserīng ye distribution of ye Estate of our deceased mother Susaṅa Bates, ye contents followeth
That Moses Hoyt receive of Joshua hoyt ye Just sum of four pounds, thirteen shillings & sixpence which ye said Joshua doth agree to pay. & Samuel Hoyt to haue ye beding in his hands & ye horse & w els is in his hands. Beniamin Hoyt to haue ye ten pounds left in his hands by our mother Susaṅa aforesaid. Thomas Lyon & Samuel flinch to have ye horses & mares young and old runing in ye woods of norwake equally between us, & twenty shillings to each of vs, paid by our brother Joshua Hoyt which ye said Joshua agrees vnto.
Samuel firman to have ye horses & mares ruṅing in fairfeeld limitts & twenty shillings more paid by our brother Joshua hoyt vnto me. The Residue of ye Estate of our foresaid mother remaining in ye hands of or brother Joshua Hoyt being four pounds thirteen shillings & six pence, which yee said Joshua to haue as his pte in ye distribution of ye foresaid Estate mutually agreed vnto.-The distribution as aboue of ye Estate of or mother Amongst vs to our mutuall satisfaction, in consideration whereof we the aboue named doe hereby Joyntly & severally release, discharge & aquit our brother Joshua Hoyt, & one another from all & any futher demands of any right, title or interest in ye Estate aforesaid, & from all & any trouble or molestation in & about ye same.
Joyntly desiring yt this onr agreement may be coṁited to publique record for the further establishment of ye same, further more it is agreed by vs fore-named ytt if yr shall arise any Just debts due frō our mother in her widdow-hood yet wee or any of vs know not of, yt wee ye forenamed will contrybute equally to ye payment of ye said debt. In witnes of truth vnto ye premises wee ye ptyes forenamed doe binde our selues firmly, as witnes our hands this 1th 12mo: Anno: 1674. Signed thus moses Hoyt; Joshua hoyt; Samuell Hoyt; Benjamin Hoyt; Thomas Lyon; Samuell ffinch; Samuell firman
Witnessed p Abram finch Jonas Seely.
From all that has been learned about Simon Hoyt, it is evident that he must have been born before 1600, probably as early as 1595. Hence he was probably thirty or thirty-five years of age at the time of coming to America, and sixty or sixty-five at the time of his death.
The chronicles of the time give us some idea of the hardships endured by the first settlers at Charlestown and Dorchester,-the sufferings of the winter; the conspiracy of the Indians to cut off the English, when 'all hands, of men, women, and children wrought at digging and building,' until a fort was completed; and the perils of pestilence and famine, when they were compelled to live on 'clams, and muscles, and fish.' In all these Simon Hoyt must have participated.
It also appears that he was an early settler of seven different towns in New England; and in most of them he was one of the first white residents. What an experience of pioneer life he must have had! Scarcely was he settled in one place before he gave up his home, with all its comforts, and started to subdue a new portion of the wilderness. Most of his children seem to have shared the spirit of their father; for in twenty years after his death no one bearing the name of Hoyt was left in either of these seven towns, except Stamford. The hardy and courageous character of the family is shown, not only by their frequent changes of residence, but by the fact that they lived, in Windsor, at least, away from the other settlers."
Rejected Upway Dates and Identification of Simon's First Wife
"In 1903 Emily Warren Roebling included in The Journal of the Reverend Silas Constant a number of birth, marriage and death records said to pertain to the family of Simon Hoyt, and to be from the parish register of Upway, Dorsetshire. Donald Lines Jacobus and John Insley Coddington questioned these records, because parish registers provide us with baptismal and burial dates rather than birth and death dates, and also because some of the dates were incomplete, lacking the day of the event; despite this, Paul Prindle argued in 1976 for their authenticity [Gillespie Anc 287]. More recently the IGI has led to several entries in the parish register of West Hatch, Somersetshire, which are more appropriate for this family, and which are in direct contradiction with the data published by Roebling. As a result, we reject here all the Upway dates, and also the identification of the first wife of Simon Hoyt. … Without the Upway dates we have no evidence for daughters Ruth and Deborah, and the sons need to be rearranged. Walter would appear to be the eldest son, for two reasons at least. First, in the Windsor grants of land to his father, there is also a grant to him, at a time when he would recently have come of age. If John were older, we would expect to find him in these land records as well. Second, from the records of Matthew Grant we know that both Walter and Nicholas had married before Simon Hoyt moved to Fairfield, but there is no indication from Windsor records that John had married this early. There is also no evidence for a son Thomas. Prindle lists some records for such a person, but they actually pertain to Thomas Hyatt of Stamford [Gillespie Anc 290; FOOF 1:318]. To add to the confusion, probate documents for Simon Hoyt and Thomas Hyatt are mixed together on the same pages of the Stamford records [TAG 11:34]. See the talk page for the rejected records.