Halloween, a perfect day for a trip to the Old Village Cemetery in Chester NH!
This very old and beautiful cemetery is located in the center of Chester village. I’ve visited here a few times before, searching through the headstones for any Hoyts to be found, and I did find a Mary and Emily Hoyt buried with one of the most impressive monuments in the cemetery… but this was before I guessed at the possibility that this Mary Hoyt was the wife of Joseph Collins Hoyt and this Emily, their daughter.
We arrived at one of the side gates and were met by a colonial sentry, complete with tri-corner hat and ghostly garb:
He seems awestruck at the brilliant foliage of the tree standing guard with him…
Once inside we made our way to the large Hoyt monument. There’s no date inscribed to say when the monument itself was erected but it was probably some time after the actual burials, as there are a few very old headstones for some of those whose names are also inscribed on the base of the monument. Who erected the monument will probably always be a mystery.
Note in the last photo the two headstones lying flat; these are the original headstones of Samuel Wason (left) and Mary Hoyt (right). The standing headstone is for Ruth B. Hoyt.
Buried here is Mary Hoyt, wife of Joseph Hoyt, Died May 11, 1861, aged 83 yrs.
Mary’s mother and father: James Wason, Died 1829 at 83 yrs and Jane M. his wife (no dates given).
Mary’s brother: Samuel Wason, Died July 4, 1868 at 85 yrs.
Mary’s sister: Ann Wason, Died Sept 1, 1843 at 70 yrs.
Sarah Wason: a sister of Mary? No dates of birth or death given.
Mary’s daughter: Emily Hoyt, Died 1899 at 85 years.
Ruth B. Hoyt, Died May 10, 1844 at 26 yrs 10 mos. (unknown connection)
There’s a few things about the monument that are interesting. It would seem that this is a Wason family burial plot, as the earliest burials are of the elder Wason’s, and includes at least three of their children. Yet the large letters of the name Hoyt are on the base of the actual monument. This leads me to believe that whoever erected the monument, perhaps as a replacement for broken or illegible earlier headstones, was a Hoyt, and perhaps one of Mary’s children or grandchildren.
Another thing that struck me is that the dates for James Wason and Emily Hoyt are missing death months and days, though there is a space large enough before the inscribed year to place them at a later time. This may indicate that the names and dates were taken from original headstones that had become broken and/or illegible when the monument was created.
Some shots of the inscriptions on the monument and two of the original headstones.