I’ve just recently returned to genealogy after an unplanned several-years long hiatus from it. The past few weeks have found me reorganizing boxes and notebooks full of notes, documents, photos and quite a collection of resource books to reacquaint myself up to the point where I left off. Lo and behold, the old brick walls are still there! I’m just amazed that they haven’t resolved themselves in my absence!
One of my ever-present brick walls has been Joseph Collins Hoyt, my 3rd great-grandfather in my mother’s paternal line. Actually, it isn’t Joseph Collins Hoyt himself, but the huge question of who his wife was! Over the years, even the years when I wasn’t actively researching, I have searched for him online from time to time to see if anyone anywhere had located any new info on her identity, but nothing. Nowhere. Every Hoyt family researcher I’ve found online has just the one name to represent her, Polly. A few brave souls (including myself at one time) would add “Warren” to the Polly, but I always felt uneasy about that, having found no credible proof to give this maiden name to the wife of Joseph C. There is a record to be found at familysearch.org that lists a marriage between a “Joseph Colling Hoit” and “Polly Warron/Warren”, but there’s very little else on the record to make a good case, and I’m sure that it is this record transcript which has led others to include Polly Warren in their family tree as Joseph Collins Hoyt’s wife.
Yesterday the “Polly” question struck me again, and I sat down at my pc to try to formulate a plan of action. I found that the Fremont (formerly Poplin) NH Public Library had a new resource, all the vital records for Poplin going back a couple of hundred years, and all in one easy to read volume! I was heading to the library within the hour (luckily I live a short drive from there), and soon I had a hefty binder full of vital records in my hands. I was determined to find Polly somewhere in those pages!
But there was nothing. The same records found years before and by so many others, the births of Joseph Collins Hoyt and Polly’s children, and nothing more. No pertinent death records of any sort, no marriage records at all for them. The only logical conclusion, and one that I’ve known for years, is that Polly was born and she and Joseph were married in another town. But which town?
Back home I started my usual searches online with renewed determination, ancestry.com and a slew of other genealogy sites. I happened across the searchable e-book on ancestry.com that I was familiar with from the library at Chester, NH “History of Chester, New Hampshire, including Auburn” by John Carroll Chase, and I stumbled across the following:
“Mary Wason, b. 1777; d. in Chester 11 May 1861, married Joseph Hoit: 4 children.”
It’s not the first time I’d read that. I had this jotted down in a notebook from a few years ago when I read through this volume at the library in Chester. I don’t remember ever following up on it, or perhaps I did and found nothing to substantiate it. Nevertheless, here it was again in front of me. I started the search for Mary Wason… and it took a while but I came across something very interesting!
I found a death record at familysearch.org for an “Emily Hoyt”. It meant nothing to me until I looked at her date of birth, and found that it was just one day off from the date of birth given for Joseph C. and Polly’s daughter, Amelia (or Amela as it is recorded in the Town of Poplin birth record): June 22, 1805. She died a venerable old lady of 94 years of age, had never married, and her occupation was given as “tailoress”. It states that she had lived in Chester for 60 years and that her birthplace was “Fremont/Poplin”. Also in her death record her father is recorded as Joseph Hoyt of Fremont (Poplin) NH, her mother as Mary Wason of Chester, NH. Could Emily be Amelia/Amela?
From CensusDiggins.com (http://www.censusdiggins.com/nicknames.html) is a list of commonly used nicknames for given names. From the list: Amelia: Emily, Mel, Millie, Amy.
It is commonly known that Polly is a nickname for Mary, and so we’re one step closer to Mary Wason as a very interesting possibility for Polly_____, thanks to Emily’s death record.
I then found a death record for a Sarah Hoyt Hill, d. 16 Feb 1877. She died in Boston, MA but was born in Poplin NH. She was married to Caleb Hill; her father is Joseph C. Hoyt of Poplin NH and her mother is given as simply “Mary” of Chester, NH. Again, the linking of Joseph Collins Hoyt to Poplin and Mary to Chester, which all ties in very neatly with there being no marriage record for the two in Poplin as it is most likely for a marriage to take place in the bride’s locale.
An interesting note that I had written years ago, from the Vital Records of Dorchester MA, is the notation of the marriage of John Hoyt and Sabra J. Mink on 25 Apr 1841. Directly beneath this is the posting of the marriage intentions for “Sarah Hoyt and Caleb Hill” in 1835. And of course, Sally is a common nickname for Sarah, which makes it more than possible that this is Joseph C. & Polly’s 2nd eldest child, Sally.
This is all very interesting if one can accept the possibility of nicknames being recorded at birth in place of what their given names may have been. But it’s lacking in real proof and so I kept searching… and searching… and finally I found it!
A death record for my 2nd great-grandfather, John Hoyt, who is the third child of Joseph C. and Polly’s six children.
John Hoyt died in Epping NH in 1881, born in Poplin (now Fremont) NH in 1803. Parents listed on his death record as Joseph Hoyt and Mary Wasson!
I know that this is my John Hoyt because the record states his full date of death as January 3, 1881. And although I never had found a death record for him in Boston, where he lived his adult life with his wife Sabra Jane Mink, I had found his date of death years ago as recorded on his headstone at the old Dorchester North Burying Place in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston: January 3, 1881.
The wife of Joseph Collins Hoyt is Mary Wason, born in Chester NH in 1777, I’m certain of it. Mary “Polly” Wason died in Chester on 11 May 1861. According to Chase she was the daughter of James Wason, son of Thomas Wason who came to Chester NH in the 1730′s from Ireland. James married Jane Melvin b. in 1747, the daughter of Patrick and Mary Melvin.
As a sidenote, Joseph Collins Hoyt died on 31 Dec 1855. In the 1860 census for Chester NH, five years after his death, we find the following family:
Samuel Wason, age 76, Farmer.
Emily Hoyt, age 50
Mary Hoyt, age 80.
Mary Wason Hoyt died the following year, in 1861. It seems reasonable that she and her unmarried daughter Emily would have gone to live with her unmarried (according to Chase) brother in Chester following the death of her husband, and this would be the reason why I could not find her death recorded in Poplin.
In the Old Village Cemetery in Chester, NH is a family headstone with the following:
Hoyt, Mary, w. of Joseph, died May 11 1861 at 83 years. Emily, died 1899 at 93 y 5 mo. Ruth B., died May 10, 1844 at 26 y 10 mo.
I had this headstone inscription written down in a notebook from years ago too. I just didn’t know who that Mary was, or if Joseph Hoyt was Joseph Collins Hoyt.
As a final means of verifying what I believe to be the case of Joseph Collins Hoyt and his wife Polly I very much want to view the original Chester NH marriage record which had been transcribed in the FamilySearch.org record.
I’m pretty sure that I’ll find that Joseph Colling Hoit and Polly Warren were errors in transcription, “Colling” from Collins and “Warren” from Wasson.