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Van Tassel Family History Homepage - Old Families of Westchester - Hoyts Hyatts Haights

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"A Pedigree Partly Indian, Partly Batavian"

    Old Families of Westchester

Hoyts, Hyatts and Haights
by Maureen McKernan
The Daily Argus, Mount Vernon, N.Y., Friday, September 28, 1951

High in the Apennines in Italy, fighting with the American mountain troops in 1945, twenty-year-old Donald Haight of Pleasantville died in battle for the principles in which Simon Hoyt, his grandfather 10 generations removed, had believed.

Every generation of families descended from Simon Hoyt has given its young men to fight for their country. Many died, as did the young son of Mr. and Mrs. George S. Haight of Pleasantville, and history is rich with the names of those who have lived for their country serving as public officials, doctors, ministers, farmers and businessmen.

Like so many old English names, the original name of Hoyt has undergone changes to that today in Westchester and throughout the country the families of Haight, Hoyt and Hyatt all trace back to Simon Hoyt, their common ancestor, who was truly one of the original Colonial fathers.

Left for U.S. in 1628

Simon Hoyt was one of a small group of men who sailed with John Endicott in 1628 from England on the schooner Abigal for Massachusetts where Endicott served as the first colonial governor until the arrival of Governor Winthrop with the main body of the colonists in 1630.

Simon settled fist in Charlestown, on the bank of Boston Harbor at the mouth of the Charles River. Here his wife Deborah Stowers died, leaving him five children of whom the two oldest, John (1614-1684) and Thomas (1618-1656) were born in Dorset, England. Simon then married Susannah Smith and they had seven children. They lived in Dorchester and Windsor, Conn., before following Thomas to Stamford in 1650, where Simon lived until his death in 1657.

John and Thomas followed the flow of English colonists down along the Sound into the country opened up for settlement by the weakening control of the Dutch. And after a short stay in East Chester (the Bronx) John settled in Rye in 1667, where he died in 1684.

Haight Forefather Was John

John's name appears as Hoyt on many records but his will was signed "John Haight" and from him descend George S. Haight, manager of the Westchester County Park Commission, and his soldier son, Donald, who died a hero's death in 1945 in the mountains of Italy. This line does not end here, however for the 11th generation from Simon lives in the three small children of George Haight Jr., who is with the atom power division of Westinghouse in Pittsburgh. His children are George, six; Charles, four, and Susan, two.

Of the originators of the families descending from Simon Hoyt, Thomas, his second son, died in Stamford in 1656. From him descend the Hyatt family, for he signed his name "Hyattt." A third son of Simon's son, Moses, lived in East Chester and then in Flushing.

John Haight, son of the John who settled finally in Rye and who was grandson of Simon, was born in Rye in 1665. He was Rye town clerk and recorder in 1696, constable in 1702, Justice of the Peace in 1710, Supervisor in 1711, 1717, and 1719 and died in 1726.

Daniel Wed a Norton

John's brother Daniel (1688-1722) married Elizabeth Norton in 1718, moved to Yorktown, and is buried in the old Yorktown churchyard on Crompond Road. His son Joseph, born in 1719 in Rye, moved to Philipstown near Fishkill in 1751. He is the great-great-great-great grandfather of Mr. Haight of the Park Commission and the ancestor of Haights of Dutchess County.

Samuel's son Joseph married Zeruiah Sutton and they owned a 235-acre farm in the northeast corner of Mount Pleasant. The Mount Pleasant Haights married into the families of Kipp, Underhill and Palmer. Many bought their farms from the Commissioners of Forfeiture when Philipse Manor was broken up.

A colorful soldier of the Revolution was Capt. John Haight, grandson of the original John of Rye. He served under Washington at Fishkill. At the outbreak of the Revolution Capt. John headed a band of "Skinners" (settlers banded together to harry the foraging squads who requisitioned food from the farms for Washington's army). Family history has it that Washington arranged to meet Capt. John, convinced him that he was fighting on the wrong side and in the wrong way. Capt. John fell under the spell of the General-in-Chief, threw in his lot with the Colonials, and was deeply loyal to Washington all his life.

Fought in 1812

Capt. John's son Daniel was an army officer in the war of 1812. His son, Eugene, was principal of Beacon schools for 35 years.

Daniel Haight (1732-1812) kept a tavern on the old Post Road north of Peekskill where Washington stopped on his way between his headquarters at Fishkill and Continental Village.

Washington never started a conversation, Daniel Haight recorded for an old history, except when he asked for something. The only time the tavern host ever saw his famous guest laugh, he recorded, was once when a servant girl stumbled on the stairs. "I never saw anyone fall upstairs before." Gen. Washington commented, Daniel Haight recalled in his memoirs.

James H. Haight, Cortlandt supervisor in 1898, fought in the Civil War, was a Peekskill merchant and one of the "fathers" of modern industrial Peekskill. Joseph Haight of Rye was county comptroller about 1925.

Hunt Seacord Oakley Tompkins Purdy Haviland Odell
Hatfield Gedney Acker Horton Van Wart Van Tassel Storm
Lent Sutton Hoyt Hays Hyatt Coles Griffen


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