The Morris Family, Chapter V, The Hoyts

On 18 February, 1753, my 4th great grandmother, Keturah Hoyt, was born to Jonathan Hoyt Jr and Experience Childs Hoyt in a portion of Deerfield, Massachusetts known as “Cheapside.”

Cheapside is about 2.5 miles north of Deerfield proper on the north side of the Deerfield River (which takes a bend – traveling east and west as it nears the Connecticut River – rather than traveling north and south – as it does by Deerfield).

We know very little about Keturah’s life. Keturah’s father probably farmed at Cheapside, though he is also listed as a Tavern Keeper. As his brother, David Hoyt, is listed as having a Tavern in the center of Deerfield, this is likely the same tavern. By the time Keturah was in her 20s, tensions would have been running high in Massachusetts – and the community – between those who were “patriots,” and those who were “loyalists.” The patriots wanted greater autonomy – and eventually – seperation, from Great Britain, and the loyalists were loyal to the king.

Jonathan Hoyt Jr appears to have been a loyalist. There is no doubt about his brother, David Hoyt, who ran the “Old Indian House” Tavern in Deerfield. He was a staunch loyalist, and his tavern was the gathering place for all who had similar views. Across the street was David Sexton’s tavern – where the pro-patriot party – or “Whigs” gathered. Many angry arguments – and even physical confrontations – occurred in the street between the two taverns.

David Hoyt Jr, son of the tavern keeper, is said by his descendents to have been a patriot soldier during the Revolution, stating he took part in the Battle of Saratoga. They give his birth date as 1757, while most records indicate he was born in 1764 – making him very young to have been a soldier during the war. He did participate, with other militiamen in the supression of Shay’s Rebellion after the war.

If this cannot be used as an example of the division caused in families – the marriage of Keturah Hoyt to Oliver Field on 20 Jun, 1772, would be. Families that were once friends – would soon be divided.

David Hoyt, Oliver’s father, was, or became, one of the most fervent patriots in the town of Deerfield. He was often involved in “Committee of Safety: business, pro-patriot. He was in Boston the night of the Boston Tea Party, and on On July 28, 1774, he erected a Liberty Pole outside his mercantile establishment – which was subsequently cut down by Elihu Ashley the loyalist son of the minister. The minister was also a loyalist, and the patriot faction agitated for his removal for the duration of the Revolution – until his death in 1780. He did not receive full pay during these years.

Elihu cut the pole in secret. Elihu was the younger brother of Jonathan Ashley, also a loyalist – who’d married David Field’s daughter, Tirza in 1771. Elihu was an educated young man, he eventually became a doctor, and he left a journel illuminating the loyalist view during the Revolution.

Oliver Field, my 4th great grandfather, had no trouble deciding which side he was on. Following the lead of his father, David, he was out for a soldier several times in 1775 and 1776, and was an assistant to his father when David was Commissary General to the American troops at the Battle of Bennington. He was also out for two six month stints in 1779-1780.

Oliver’s father, David Field, was Colonel of a militia for about one year – before age and infirmity required he tender his resignation.

Oliver’s occupation from the time of his majority – through the Revolutionary War – was as a store-keeper in his father’s store. At the end of the war, his father’s business failed, and Oliver became a farmer and nail manufacturer on the Deerfield/Conway township line.

Keturah Hoyt Field and Oliver Field had eleven children:

Mary “Polly” Field, born 1772 in Deerfield, MA
Rufas Field, born 1774 in Deerfield, MA
Horace Field, born 1775 in Deerfield, MA
Hannah Field, born 1778 in Deerfield, MA
Oliver Field, born 1781 in Deerfield, MA
Jonathan Field, born 1783 in Deerfield, MA
Cephas Field, born 1785 in Deerfield, MA
Thankful Field, born 1787 in Deerfield, MA
Rudolfus Field, born 1790 in Conway, MA
Experience Field, born 1792 in Conway, MA
Charles Field, born 1796 in Phelps, NY

After moving to New York State, in 1795, Oliver and Keturah farmed in Phelps, Ontario County, New York, and Oliver continued to manufacture nails. Keturah was a farm wife.

About 1797 Keturah’s daughter, Hannah, married Asher Warner in Sodus, NY. By 1810, Hannah died in Sodus. In spring, 1813, Keturah’s daughter, Experience, married David Morris in Sodus, NY. On the 19th of June, 1813, the British invaded Sodus from Lake Ontario. Asher Warner, Hannah’s widowed husband, was killed in the fighting.

Two of Oliver and Keturah’s sons, Cephas, and Rudolphus, were soldiers in the War of 1812.

In 1814, Keturah died in Sodus, New York.

JONATHAN HOYT JR.

Jonathan Hoyt Jr, my fifth great grandfather, was born in Deerfield, Masachusetts 20 Feb, 1727, quite likely in the “Old Indian House” in Deerfield – which his father had purchased from the Sheldon family. The door of this house, scarred by Indian tomahawks, can still be seen in the local museum in Deerfield.

As mentioned above, this house was eventually turned into a tavern. Jonathan is listed as a tavern-keeper. Jonathan may have been joint owner with his brother, David, or possibly just worked for him.

Also mentioned above, David, at least, was known for his loylist sentiments, and tensions often ran high between the loyalists, who frequented the “Old Indian House Tavern,” and the patrons of David Sexton’s patriot tavern across the street.

In 1751, Jonathan Hoyt married Experience Childs. They had eleven children, several of whom died young.

Jonathan died in 1813 in Cheapside, Deefield, Franklin County, Massachusetts.

LIEUTENANT JONATHAN HOYT

Jonathan Hoyt Sr, my sixth great grandfather, was born in 1688 in Deerfield, Massachusetts. Deerfield was, at that time, on the very edge of the frontier, and had been almost abandoned after Indian attacks during King Philip’s War. Newly resettled about two years before Jonathan’s birth, it was a precarious place to be living.

Jonathan’s mother died a year after he was born. His father, David Hoyt, remarried to Abigail Pomeroy. She had four children of her own and Jonathan was the youngest of seven in the house.

A palisade had been constructed around much of the town, during times of instability, those who lived outside the stockade – moved in with other families whose houses were inside the stockade, or built small shacks inside the stockade for safety.

Settlers were attacked from time to time, but often when they were alone or in small groups – the men working their fields were especially vulnerable.

In King William’s War broke out. When it was over, in 1697, it was a relief to the people. However, only a few years later, Queen Anne’s War began, and on 29 Feb, 1704, Deerfield was attacked.

Though there had been concerns about an attack that year, the winter season, and deep snow, had lulled the town into complacency. The attackers, French and Indians, had snowshoed down from Canada, and the high snow allowed them to get over the stockade in the middle of the night without the alarm being given.

As it was a small town, and almost everyone was related in some manner, close to 100 of my ancestors and relations were killed, wounded, or captured – in the attack. Jonathan Hoyt Sr, 15 years old at the time, was captured and forced to walk to Canada by his Indian captor. His younger brother, Benjamin, hid under a grain bin, and was not captured. His older brother, David, along with his young wife, Mary, was at the Stebbins house, and with Benoni Stebbins and others, held off the attackers with musket fire.

Toward morning, Benoni Stebbins was killed, and Mary Hoyt was wounded. When militia from surrounding towns came to the rescue (including my sixth great grandfather, Samuel Field – as mentioned earlier), David Hoyt Jr. joined them and attacked the retreating French and Indians. This is referred to as “The Meadow Fight.”

David Hoyt Jr was killed in the Meadow Fight.

Their father, David Hoyt Sr, was captured, as was Jonathan Sr, his step-mother, Abigail, his 17 year old sister, Sarah, his eight year old brother Ebenezer, and his two year old sister, Abigail. Within a few days, Ebenezer and Abigail were killed as the Indians felt they were holding them up. Ebenezer’s feet became frostbitten and Abigail was too young to walk and too heavy to carry for very long.

David Hoyt Sr. was taken as captive by a group of Indians to Cowas – the future site of Newbury, Vermont. There, he starved to death about June of 1704.

Jonathan Sr was also seperated from his step-mother and siblings. He got along well with his Indian master, and was ransomed after two years and returned to Deerfield. He married Mary Field, sister of Samuel Field.

He was well respected in Deerfield. He’d learned much while living with the Indians, and was liaison between the tribes and English settlers for the rest of his life. He was a Lieutenant of Militia in Deerfield and sometimes went as far as Lake Champlain as a ranger on the lookout for war parties.

He and Mary Field Hoyt had six children and he died in 1779. She died in 1780.

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