Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part series about one of Almont’s early residents, Hiram Hoyt.
Hiram Hoyt purchased property in section 32 of Bristol Township, Lapeer County on September 21, 1835. Section 32 is bounded by Bordman Road on the south, Sandhill Road on the west, Hough Road on the north and the extension of Shoemaker Road on the east. He lived just to the west of the Hough families.
Hiram Hoyt was born August 31, 1793 in Vermont to William Hoyt and Charlotte Merritt Hoyt.
His ancestry extends back to the first Hoyt to come to America. His fourth great-grandfather was Simon Hoyt who came to Massachusetts with the Higginson group in 1629 aboard the ship, Lyon’s Whelp. They landed in Salem and were original settlers of Charlestown, Massachusetts—now a neighborhood in Boston —the location of Breed’s and Bunker hills and the Old North Church.
Hiram’s grandfather was Gideon Hoyt born March 20, 1736 in Stamford, CT. He would marry Elizabeth Weed on February 7, 1760 in Stamford. Elizabeth was born on May 16, 1736 in Stamford. They moved from North Castle to Pound Ridge, New York and developed a thriving farm on which they had eight children—three sons and five daughters.
During the Revolutionary War, Gideon and all three sons—Jonathan, Silas, and William—fought against England.
William Hoyt, Gideon’s youngest son and fourth child was born on May 13, 1765 in Pound Ridge. He fought in the Revolutionary War as a teenager. He moved from Pound Ridge to Greenfield with his parents about 1783. He married Charlotte Merritt about 1788 in New York. Charlotte was born in 1769 in Newburgh, Orange County, New York. Sometime in the late 1780s, they moved to Vermont and established a farm. It is here that their first son, Hiram, was born.
In 1806, William moved the family to Wales, Erie County, New York. Buffalo is the county seat of Erie County and Wales is located in the southeast section of the county.
William was not the only Hoyt that moved to Wales in the early 1800s. Sister Zyldepha and her husband Amos Clark accompanied William to Wales. Also accompanying William were Ethan and William Allen, the oldest sons of Parmalee Allen and Deborah Burroughs Allen. Also sister, Elizabeth Hoyt Holmes and her husband Ebenezer Holmes and sister Mercy Hoyt Holmes and her husband John M. Holmes (Ebenezer’s brother) also moved to Wales, Erie County, New York in 1808. Ebenezer was one of the first supervisors for Wales Township and John was one for the neighboring township of Aurora. Deborah Burroughs Allen and her other children may have come to Wales Township with the Holmes.
Charlotte died in 1835 and William died on September 13, 1847 in Wales, New York. William is buried in the Holmes Hill Cemetery. Hiram Hoyt married Anne Allen on December 16, 1810 in Wales. Anne was born on October 28, 1793 at Fort Ann, New York to Parmalee Allen and Debora Burroughs Allen. Parmalee died in 1808 in Washington County New York. Parmalee was a cousin of Ethan Allen of the Green Mountain Boys and Revolutionary War patriot.
Hiram fought in the War of 1812 in Captain Ezekiel Smith’s Company of New York Militia. The dates and details of his service are not known but he did receive a pension for his service.
Hiram and Anne farmed and had seven children while living in Wales. Their first child was Juliana who was born on January 6, 1814. Their first son was Fernando Cortez Hoyt born on October 28, 1817. Daughter Sally Anne Hoyt was born on August 12, 1820. Son Persis C. Hoyt was born in 1823 but only lived about a year. Elisha Allen Hoyt was born on August 15, 1825. Elvira Hoyt was born in 1827 and Benjamin F. was born in 1830. Their eighth child, Americus V. Hoyt was born on August 21, 1833 in Boston, Erie County, New York.
Hiram’s brother-in-law, William Allen, moved his family to Washington Township, Macomb County, Michigan in 1822—one of the earliest settlers in Washington Township. His homestead was between 30 and 31 Mile roads and Mound and Campground roads. In 1827, William and his son George Washington Allen, James Thorington and Levi Washburn cut a road from 30 Mile Road to the downtown area of Almont, probably stopping about where Van Dyke curves to the west.
The 1820s saw the population of Wales take a dramatic increase of over 60 percent. This may have been the impetus for Hiram and many others to leave. The Erie Canal had been completed in 1825 and made travel through New York much easier and cheaper.
In the early 1830s, travel from western New York to Michigan was done by either boarding a sailing or steam-powered vessel in Buffalo and landing in Detroit or Port Huron or by ox or horse drawn wagon driven across Ohio and up into Michigan. Hiram and Anne and their extended family most likely came by wagon because it would have been prohibitively costly to move a large family and all their belongings by boat.
In 1835, at 46 years of age, Hiram decided to uproot his family and move to the wilderness of Michigan. Recently married daughter Juliana and her husband, Schuyler C. Irish also came along. Juliana and Schuyler were married on August 26, 1835 in Boston, New York. Schuyler C. Irish was born on August 13, 1810 in Erie County, New York. Additionally, several of his Holmes cousins moved from Erie County to new homes in Michigan in Oakland, Hillsdale, and Lenawee counties.
Hiram Hoyt was not the only resident to move from Erie County, New York to Bristol Township, Michigan in the 1830s. Garret Schenk bought property in Bristol Township in 1834, Simeon Balch in 1835 and Levi Banister in 1836.
Anne’s sister, Sally, and her husband, Samuel Johnson were also early settlers of Bristol Township coming in 1834. It is likely that Anne’s mother, Debora Burroughs Allen came in the early 1830s and was living with her son William.
Copies of the Almont Historical Society’s various books can be purchased by contacting Jim Wade at 810-796-3355 or firstname.lastname@example.org or stopping by the museum on Saturdays from 1-4 p.m.