After hours, days, months spent searching through dry (yet enlightening!) records and documents, every now and then an absolute gem is found that shines a light on the life of an ancestor and brings their day to day into sharper focus.
This is one of those exceptional gems found on an otherwise quiet day in the Chester NH town library, and it concerns my 3rd great-grandfather Joseph Collins Hoyt .
Excerpt from “History of Chester including Auburn New Hampshire”, Chase, 1926.
One way that parents with a large family and little money could ease their burden was to put a son out as an apprentice. This was a good deal for the parents as the youth could learn a trade and be fed by somebody else.
Sometimes, however, the apprenticeship didn’t work out. Perhaps the master was too tough, or maybe the occupation was not to the boy’s liking. Not everyone was meant to enjoy learning the “mysteries” of farming, shoemaking or carpentry.
This 1794 advertisement in the “Herald of Liberty” of Concord NH, gives a vivid description of what the stylish teenage Chester boy was wearing in those days:
“Ran away from the subscriber on the 9th inst. An apprentice boy named Joseph C. Hoit, age 19 about 5′ 9″ high. Carried with him a variety of clothes, viz. A reddish snuff colored coat, a reddish warm coat, striped patterned waist coat, also a black everlasting waist coat, and a pair of striped velvet breeches, a pair of hemlock colored trousers and a striped surtout, likewise a bear skin napsack.
The fate of the young man is unknown but he does not seem to have returned to Chester.
Whoever will return said boy to the subscriber will have four dollars reward. All person are forbidden to harbor him for I am determined not to pay any debts of his contacted hereafter.”
Joseph Collins Hoyt was born in Poplin (now Fremont) NH in 1776.
In the earliest census that I’ve found him listed in he is indeed listed with the occupation of shoemaker. Four years after this ad was placed he would marry Mary “Polly” Wason in Chester, NH.
And now I have an image of him in my mind wearing a reddish snuff colored coat and striped velvet breeches. Priceless!