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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - James and Sarah Hoyt

SOURCE: "History of Champaign County, Illinois with Illustrations," 1878


JAMES AND SARAH HOYT. Among the oldest settlers of St. Joseph township is Sarah Hoyt, the wife of James Hoyt. She came to the county in 1836. Her name before marriage was Sarah HOSS. Her paternal grandfather was from Germany, and. coming to America when nine years old, his family settled in North Carolina. He was a young man when the Revolutionary war was in progress, and was a soldier in General Washington's army. He lived in Lincoln county, North Carolina, till after the war of 1812, and then moved to Brown county, Ohio. Her father, Daniel HOSS was born in Lincoln county, North Carolina, moved to Brown county, Ohio, with his father, and in that state married Catharine BARTLEY, daughter of John BARTLEY who was of Pennsylvania German descent, and was an early settler of Brown county, Ohio. Daniel and Catherine Hoss were the parents of four children: Ann, the oldest daughter, married Thomas LOSEY and died in St. Joseph township; the others were Christopher, John and Sarah. Her father, Daniel Hoss, died before the removal of the family to Champaign county. Her mother came with the three youngest children to Illinois in the fall of 1836, and the following winter remarried with the family of an uncle, George BARTLEY, of St. Joseph township. The family afterward settled on the east bank of the Salt Fork, where now stands the town of St. Joseph.

Mrs. Hoyt was born in Brown county, Ohio, January 1st, 1825. She had gone to school some little in Ohio. The first school she attended in St. Joseph township was in a building on the farm of Hiram Rawkins, and the teacher was James West. The school-house was built of logs with slabs and puncheons for benches. A log was cut out the whole length of the side of the building, and greased paper pasted over the opening answered the purposes of a window. The south end, however, was provided with glass. The teacher was not able to maintain very strict discipline, and the children and young people were accustomed to enjoy themselves even if they did not get much learning. April 5th, 1849, she was married to James N. HOYT.

Mr. Hoyt was born at Moreau, Saratoga county, New York, May 20th, 1824. Some of his ancestors were Scotch. His father, Nathan HOYT, was born in Connecticut, and moved to New York state. His mother's maiden name was Lucretia STEVENSON; her father had been a soldier in the war of the Revolution; he was first pressed into the service on the British side, but was taken prisoner, and afterward fought in the American ranks. Mr. Hoyt lived in New York till eighteen years of age, and then moved with his father to Illinois, settling in Warrenville, in Dupage county, thirty miles west of Chicago. In December, 1847, he came to St. Joseph township, Champaign county, and was married as we have stated above in April, 1849.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Hoyt settled on the farm where they now live in section eleven of St. Joseph township. The farm at first comprised 180 acres, but twenty have been sold off and forty purchased so that now it embraces 200 acres. On this farm a man named Clay made one of the earliest settlements in the township, building the third house ever erected within its limits. They have two children; George N., the oldest son, married Nancy COFFEEN of Ogden township, and in the fall of 1875 moved to Kansas, and is now living in Wilson county of that state; Norman C. Hoyt, the youngest son, is at home. Mr. Hoyt has been a. Democrat in politics. His wife has been in the township from its earliest settlement, and has gone through all the hard times incident to pioneer life in early times in Illinois. She remembers the time when girls thought they were well enough paid at fifty cents a week when working for others, and scarcely ever expected to see the day when the country would reach its present stage of development and improvement., with railroads running through it, where forty years ago was nothing but wild and uncultivated prairie.

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