Through the years of research into my family’s history, there are certain individuals who stand out from the rest; sometimes due to a particularly interesting life story, or simply because a greater amount of records are to be found for them, giving a fuller picture of their life. For both reasons, one such person has been my 3rd great grandfather, Joseph Collins Hoyt, from the time that I discovered a newspaper reference to him as a runaway apprentice, the subject of an earlier post (Runaway Apprentice aka Joseph C. Hoit)
Joseph Collins Hoyt was born in Fremont (then known as Poplin) New Hampshire on 22 Mar 1776, the first born child of John Hoyt and his wife, Dorothy Glidden. I have found him in numerous records but the records uncovered have generally posed more questions than they answered, thereby giving a third reason for his standing out from the rest, a good mystery! For a number of years the greatest unknown had been the true identity of his wife, given in most family trees as Polly Warren. After many years of research into Polly, I finally discovered that her maiden name was not Warren, but Wasson/Wason, a family of Scots-Irish who settled in nearby Chester, NH. (Wife of Joseph Collins Hoyt…Found?)
The town historian of Fremont NH, Matthew Thomas, had told me years ago that Joseph Collins Hoyt had deeded his property to the town of Fremont just before his death in 1855, which then became the town’s poor house. That was intriguing, considering that his wife was still living at the time of his death as well as their children and by this time, many grandchildren as well. Why wouldn’t he have left his property to them? And another note – at the time of Joseph’s death he was living alone, according to the 1850 US Fed Census, and his wife was living with her brother in Chester. Was there a family rift of some sort?
I did eventually find the original deeds to the town of Fremont of his property, confirming Matthew Thomas’ story, but it wasn’t until last week that I found a collection of original records at FamilySearch.org which sheds light on that last remaining mystery. What happened in the family that caused wife and children to be disowned from an inheritance?
There were 19 pages in Joseph Collin Hoyt’s file, beginning in 1823, , all of them pertaining to the need for him to be placed into guardianship, as it states in the records [image below] “…that Joseph C. Hoit of said Poplin is in the habits of drinking and wanting and spending his property and neglects to attend to his business as thereby to expose himself & family to want or suffering circumstances and to endanger the town to charge or expence for his or their maintenance and support”.
The guardianship was lifted in 1825, with the written notice of the town selectmen stating that, “… do consider the further keeping of Joseph C. Hoit under guardianship unnecessary as his property has all been expended for the use of himself and Family and the said Hoit being unable to work to support himself is chargeable to the Town, therefore we are willing that Simon M. Sanborn, Guardian to said Hoit should be discharged from the same.”
The file contains written inventories of Joseph Collins Hoyt’s estate with a listing of the profits made by sale of his property and effects (including shoemaking tools, the trade that he had undertaken and run away from as an apprentice). The parcel of land that had been left to him was most probably the land that he deeded to the town at his death.
I would imagine that the hard times suffered by his family during this time would be enough to estrange his wife and children from him, and so it is now much more understandable as to why he was living alone in 1855.
A very sad story, indeed.