Thursday, October 09, 2014


John Hoyt Jr. held several important offices during his lifetime, one of which
was the position of town constable. Among the duties a constable had in colonial
Massachusetts was the collection of unpaid taxes, and some constables were less
than enthusiastic doing that job. So in order to remedy that, the Massachusetts Bay
Colony adopted a unique policy: if the constables failed or refused to collect the
overdue taxes, they had to pay them out of their own money or be imprisoned.
That's what happened to John Hoyt Jr in 1694, which prompted him to send this

"To the Honble their Majties Great and Generall Court of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, now sitting in Boston by adjournemt, March 6th, 1694/5.
"The Petition of John Hoite, one of the late Constables of Amesbury, now a prisonr in
Salem Gaol, "Humbly Sheweth,

"That yor Petitionr is now in Prison undr an Execution for the Nonsatisfaction of the
arreares of the rates comitted to him to collect whilest he was Constable of Amesbury.
That Your Petitionr has Lately mett with great losses, haveing had his house plundered
by the Indians, and has been visited with much sickness through the holy afflicting hand
of god upon him—besides sundry of the persons from whome many of sd arreares be
due are both dead & removed out of ye Towne. Now Forasmuch as yor poore petitionr
by the providence of God is reduced to a necessitous condition, and wholely uncapacitated, by reason of his confinemt, to doo any thing for himself & family or ye paymt of sd arreares for ye prsent, he therefore humbly entreates the favour of this high & honble Court to Consider the premisses, by being pleased to grant unto him two or three yeares space for paymt thereof, as also for areleasemt from his confinemt.
"And Yor petitionr, as in duty bound shall Ever pray, &c.

"John Hoite"

"Voted upon Reading the Petition abovesd that sd Petitioner is granted his Request provided he give security to mr Treasurer to pay sd money within two years into the Treasury. March 8th, 1694/5 past in the affirmative by the house of Representatives & sent up to the honrable Lt Governr & Council for consent. Nehemiah Jewet, Speaker." 


Hoyt family: A genealogical history of John Hoyt of Salisbury, and David Hoyt of Deerfield, (Massachusetts,) and their descendants: with some account of the earlier Connecticut Hoyts, and an appendix, containing the family record of William Barnes of Salisbury, a list of the first settlers of Salisbury and Amesbury, & c (Google eBook) by David Webster Hoyt (C. Benjamin Richardson, Boston, Ma. 1857)

John Hoyt Jr. died about two years later on 13Aug 1696. He's one of my colonial ancestors who died as a result of the wars with the New England Indians. He and a
man named Peters were killed somewhere along a road between the towns of Haverhill and Andover, Ma.

To be continued, 

No comments: