THE RICH REWARDS OF PROBATE RECORDS – JOSHUA HYDE- STURBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS – PART 1

Sturbridge, Massachusetts, image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village Museum

Sturbridge, Massachusetts, image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village Museumhttps://www.osv.org/artifacts/historic-buildings

How many of us would eagerly jump into a time machine and transport ourselves back  to visit an ancestor? I would have to make several trips to accomplish everything. Since this isn’t possible I use historical research to time travel. Personal correspondence and diaries provide glimpses of the day-to-day lives of our ancestors if we are fortunate enough to find them.   Another resource, which is often overlooked, are estate inventories. They tell us much more than how many pigs and cows great-grandpa owned. Viewing an estate inventory is a bit like peeking into your ancestor’s bathroom closet according to Ivor Noël Hume, a noted Williamsburg, Virginia, archeologist.[1] The items tell us what a person owned, how he lived, and what conveniences and luxuries he enjoyed. It is an indicator of what he valued. Consider an inventory of your personal possessions; what could be determined about your interests, likes, and dislikes, based on this list? You can do the same with your ancestors, get to know them better through their estate records.

In 2009, my husband and I  visited Sturbridge, Worcester County, Massachusetts to research my 4x great-grandfather, Joshua Hyde, and his family. After arriving in the small agricultural town, population about 9,200, we headed promptly to the Joshua Hyde Library, named after my ancestor.

Joshua Hyde Library- Sturbridge, Massachusetts

Joshua Hyde Library- Sturbridge, Massachusetts

 

It included two important research objects. First I copied the Joshua Hyde Bible because it listed family members and birth dates.[2]

Joshua Hyde Bible- Sturbridge, MA. Image courtesy of Joshua Hyde LIbrary.

Joshua Hyde Bible- Sturbridge, MA. Image courtesy of Joshua Hyde LIbrary.

Second I searched local history books for information about Joshua Hyde.  A Historical Sketch of Sturbridge and Southbridge included an article that provided a brief description. The door opened just enough that I could see him but I wanted to reach out and touch him.

“…He was in the service during the most critical period of the Revolutionary contest….The hardships, incident to this period of Mr.Hyde’s life, without doubt, gave him more vigor of character, and firmness of physical constitution, and better prepared him for the active services of a long life. Not favored with the advantages of even a common education, he cheerfully bestowed them upon his children, and as cheerfully aided in the education of the rising generation, and also in the support of religious worship. His attendance at church on the Sabbath, was uniform. He expressed to the writer his firm belief in the necessity of religion. He was plain in his manners, economical in his habits, and judicious in his calculations. He read very little; but a good share of common sense, and keen observation, enabled him to judge, with a good degree of accuracy, of public men and measures. He left for his widow and children, a very handsome estate, which was the fruit of his own industry and perseverance.”[3]

 Joshua, the man, the soldier, the husband, and father waited to be revealed. When I combined the character description, pension, tax, land, and probate records with social history, I gradually became acquainted with my 4x great-grandfather, a solid Yankee farmer and patriot.

STURBRIDGE, WORCESTER COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS

Situated about fifty-eight miles southwest of Boston and bordering the northern edge of Connecticut, Sturbridge lies in a valley between two hills.[4]The Quinebaug River meanders through the town dotted with meadows and five ponds formed by lead mining.[5]

Sturbridge, Massachusetts

Sturbridge, Massachusetts, image courtesy of Boston Public Library.

First settled in 1729 by forty-two citizens from nearby Medfield, the town was officially incorporated in 1738 and was named after Stourbridge, England. The fertile soil drew farmers who lacked land and the river offered possibilities for grist and saw mills.[6] Although primarily an agricultural community, by 1837 the population of  Sturbridge grew to  2004 and developed successful small manufacturing companies. There were three Cotton Mills, three Cotton Batting Mills, one Pistol Manufacturer, three Grist-Mills, and nine Saw-Mills.[7] Joshua used the mills to expand his wealth and property.

Grist Mill at Old Sturbridge Village reproduced on the original site.

Grist Mill at Old Sturbridge Village reproduced on the original site.

 HYDE FAMILY ORIGINS – BENJAMIN HYDE AND DORCAS DYER

Joshua Hyde descended from early Dyer and Hyde families to Massachusetts. His father, Benjamin Hyde (b. Apr 11, 1723), married Dorcas Dyer (b. June 17, 1726) on November 21, 1745. Benjamin moved from nearby settled Medfield to the new community of Sturbridge to buy land. His 200 acres was part of the local patchwork of family farms. A “great farmer” cultivated from two hundred to one thousand acres. A “common farmer”, cultivated from fifty to one hundred acres.[8]  Benjamin’s small farm put him just beyond a “common farmer.”

Benjamin and Dorcas had eleven children between 1746 and 1771. Joshua Hyde, the ninth child, was born December 12, 1762.[9]

Dec 12 Joshua Hyde son to Benj & Dorcas Hyde. Image courtesy of ancestry.com.

Joshua Hyde birth 12 December 1762. Image courtesy of ancestry.com.

From an early age, he became acquainted with regular chores, taking care of a younger sibling, fetching and assisting the family. By the age of seven or eight, his tasks grew as did his responsibilities. He may have endlessly weeded the corn and potato crops or thrown rocks at crows and squirrels to keep them from the plants. By age twelve Joshua may have guided the oxen in the fields, wielded a sickle to gather the wheat, split rails and built fences. During wheat harvest perhaps he bound handfuls of the cut wheat or carried the sheaves.

Wheat Harvest, Plowing, Sawing wood - images courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village Museum

Wheat Harvest, Plowing, Sawing wood – images courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village Museum

The seasons defined the work in the fields, barnyard, garden and household. “Almost everything fell to human effort – felling trees, hauling wood and water, digging stones, hoeing weeds, picking cotton, mowing hay, harvesting grain, husking corn, churning butter, or pressing cheese.”[10]  Men’s and women’s chores were intertwined “but in space, time, and tools they were distinct.” Women’s chores revolved around the hearth, kitchen, house, farmyard and garden. Their tools were washtubs, baskets, butter churns, needles, and thread. [11]

Girls and women's chores - image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village Museum.

Girls and women’s chores – image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village Museum.

Men worked in the fields, pastures, and woodlands. Their work involved heavy implements such as plows, axes, saws, and scythes, and vehicles such as ox carts and wagons.[12]

Men's work- images courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village Museum

Men’s work- images courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village Museum

Dorcas and her two daughters tended to the women’s chores while Benjamin and his eight sons worked the fields. Children learned adult skills by imitating their parents .[13]

Children of Benjamin and Dorcas (Dyer) Hyde:

  1. Benjamin Hyde, b. 16 Aug 1746, Sturbridge, MA
  2. Dyer Hyde, b. 24 Dec 1747, Sturbridge, MA
  3. Christopher Hyde, b. 3 Jul 1749, d. 12 Jul 1750 Sturbridge, MA
  4. John Hyde, b. 12 Jul 1750, d. 10 Apr 1808, Pomfret, Windham, CT
  5. Othniel Hyde, b. 12 Jul 1752, Sturbridge, MA
  6. Abijah Hyde, b. 8 Jun 1754, Sturbridge, MA, d. Abt 1788 in Canada, smallpox, while serving in the Revolutionary War.
  7. Lemuel Hyde, b. 12 Apr 1757, Sturbridge, MA
  8. Josiah Hyde, b. 25 Dec 1759, Sturbridge, MA
  9. Joshua Hyde, 12 Dec 1762, Sturbridge, MA, d. 8 Sep 1838, Sturbridge, MA
  10. Dorcas Hyde, b. 23 Feb 1764, Sturbridge, MA
  11. Thankfull Hyde, b. 13 Jun 1771, d. 21 Apr 1834, Hampshire, MA

EDUCATION

Most American families valued formal education but they limited their expectations. Parents wanted their children to learn the basics, reading, writing and math, enough to read the Bible, or an almanac, and understand a property deed, or “reckon an account.[14] New England paid for school houses through local taxes and was often called “the land of schools.” The schools were spread across the countryside but attendance was not compulsory. Since children assisted their families on the farm, some attended school only a few weeks to a few months during the year.

Described as “Not favored with the advantages of even a common education”, Joshua nonetheless, learned to read, write and “reckon accounts.” At the time of his death, his estate value was $19,966.90[15], today about  $525,000.[16]

Value of estate for Joshua Hyde, Sturbridge, MA. image courtesy of familysearch.org

Value of estate for Joshua Hyde, Sturbridge, MA. image courtesy of familysearch.org

CHURCH

The Congregational Meeting House, built in 1785, was a focal point for the community.[17] Set on Fisk Hill in the center of the village the church offered a view where “the eye can survey a bold and beautiful landscape.”[18]

Sturbridge Village, image courtesy of www.archive.org.

Sturbridge Village, image courtesy of www.archive.org.

Sabbath attendance, strictly observed in the early years in Sturbridge, influenced the habits and customs of the townspeople.

Sunday service was the weeks “crucial event, the hub on which the world turned.Once inside worshipers prepared for a lengthy encounter with the word of God: a morning service that lasted up to three hours, and usually a second in the afternoon. Congregations stood or knelt through prayers that might be half an hour long, and were accustomed to sit through one or even two turns of the preacher’s hourglass.”[19]

Benjamin, Dorcas, and their children attended Sunday service. Family pets accompanied them, dogs often darted in and out during services. Parishioners brought nuts and fruit to sustain themselves during long services. Going to the “meeting house” often required walking one to five miles regardless of the weather. After walking in the freezing snow, villagers did not expect a warm structure to thaw tired and cold limbs.  There were no fires in the church to warm them except for a foot stove for the infirm.[20] Although the Hyde family lived in Sturbridge, the distance to the meeting-house required a long walk or a wagon ride.

THE HYDE FAMILY DURING THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR

The Revolutionary War interrupted all aspects of life throughout Colonial New England. Benjamin Hyde and four of his sons served in the war. In 1777, at age sixteen,  Joshua marched off to war. He fought and served for intermittent periods until 1783 when he suffered an injury. I will explore this topic in greater detail in a future article.

Joshua Hyde Revolutionary War Pension Record, ancestry.com.

Joshua Hyde Revolutionary War Pension Record, ancestry.com.

HYDE FAMILY – JOSHUA AND SARAH “SALLY” FAY

In 1783, at age twenty-one, Joshua returned from the war to Sturbridge. He joined his father farming for the next eleven years. In New England, young people established themselves first before marriage. Young men needed time to build a profession, accumulate land, or learn a trade. From the time they married most young couples had independent households. By 1820, most men married for the first time between the ages of 24 and 30, while women usually married for the first time between the ages of 20 and 27. Very young marriages were rare.

Young couples spent time courting attending “dances, sleighing parties, huskings, quiltings, apple parings and extended visiting…Although advice literature and conventional wisdom stressed the importance of seeking a mate who would not prove to be a disappointment in the role of husband or wife, love—physical attraction, in addition to emotional and, for some couples, spiritual compatibility—was at the center of early nineteenth-century marriage and courtship. Men and women were urged to choose prudently but never to ignore the feelings of their hearts.”[21]

Joshua took his time courting and wooing the right woman.  At age thirty-one he married nineteen-year-old Sarah Fay, known as Sally, on December 11, 1794. Their engagement became  public on October 12, 1794.

Joshua Hyde of Sturbridge to Miss Sally Fay of Brookfield Oct 12, 1794. Image courtesy of ancestry.com

Joshua Hyde of Sturbridge to Miss Sally Fay of Brookfield Oct 12, 1794. Image courtesy of ancestry.com

New Englanders followed patterns established by their ancestors in the seventeenth century. They chose to marry either in the early spring months or in the after-harvest months. Early December was the New England Festival, “which was a Puritan day of prayer and an ancient harvest celebration.”[22]Marriages were  attended by “kin and neighbors,  the guests crowded into the farmhouse parlor, some perched on benches, others sitting on chairs as if they were pinned to the wall.” The bride and groom sat facing the minister, accompanied by the bridesmaid and groomsman. After a brief exchange of vows, the simple ceremony concluded.According to tradition, the bride’s family invited the neighborhood to festivities that included dancing and feasting for hours..[23]

Sarah “Sally” Fay 

Sally bears the distinction being the twenty-fourth and next to the last child of her sixty-nine-year-old father, Samuel Fay. Sally’s mother, Elizabeth Hastings Fay, was the second wife of Samuel and bore him fourteen children.

Sarah Fay daughter of Samuell Fay and Elisabeth his wife was born Febr 12th 1775, image courtesy of ancestry.com

Sarah Fay daughter of Samuell Fay and Elisabeth his wife was born Febr 12th 1775, image courtesy of ancestry.com

It’s possible that Sally and Joshua were distant cousins.  Sally’s maternal great-grandmother, Mary Hyde, descends from Samuel Hyde, who immigrated to Massachusetts in 1639. I’m not certain if Joshua also descends from Samuel Hyde. It’s another mystery I intend to solve.

In October 1795, Sally gave birth to her first child, a daughter, Augusta. Over the next twenty-two years, Joshua and Sally added eight more children to the family. In the early nineteenth century, American birth rates were high, “children were everywhere.[24] The Hydes were fortunate, all their children survived infancy and childhood. “One white child out of every four or five would not survive from birth to maturity.” [25]

Joshua Hyde Bible records listing names and births- courtesy of Joshua Hyde Library.

Joshua Hyde Bible records listing names and births- courtesy of Joshua Hyde Library.

In 1830, Joshua and Sally lost their twenty-five-year-old son, Emory. Described as an enterprising young man “possessed of a vigorous constitution and good health” his death came unexpectedly. Emory worked as a “mechanic” in the nearby village of Monson. He likely did manual labor as a trade at one of the textile mills. On Saturday, October 30th, 1830 he complained of a “pain in the head”, yet he didn’t leave work. On Sunday morning, he was found dead.[26]  Six years later another son, Fitz Henry died at age twenty-two. His cause of death is unknown.

Customary to the times, funerals were simple.  Death was commonplace in the nineteenth century and the news spread quickly in a village. When someone died the Sexton rang the bells at the meeting house in “well-understood codes. He rang out the sex – in many communities there were nine strokes for a man, six for a woman and three for a child – and the age of the deceased.” [27] In a small community, the neighbors could quickly determine who had died.  Friends and family assisted “laying out the body”, washing, shaving, and trimming the hair of the men. Wrapped in a long white linen or cotton garment, and placed in a simple pine coffin, they were laid out in the family home where neighbors and friends gathered to hear a prayer. They formed a procession and accompanied the bodies to the their final resting place.  Emory and  Fitz Henry were buried in The North Cemetery in Sturbridge.[28]

The North Cemetery - gravestones for Emory and Fitz Henry Hyde.

The North Cemetery – gravestones for Emory and Fitz Henry Hyde.

Children of Joshua and Sally Fay Hyde

Daughters:

  1. Augusta Hyde 1795-1872- married 1. Isaac Gay 2. Horatio Walker, remained in Sturbridge
  2. Betsy Hastings Hyde 1798-1880- married Chester Freeman, remained in Sturbridge
  3. Charlotte Hyde 1800-1870 married Zebediah Allen moved to nearby Brookfield MA

Sons:

  1. Benjamin Dwight Hyde 1803-1869- married Evelina Wight became a lawyer and practiced in Sturbridge
  2. Emory Hyde 1805-1830 – died at age 25
  3. Frederick Baxter Hyde 1808-1852 – married Mary C., became a millwright, moved to Ohio
  4. George Baxter Hyde 1811-1889 –married Mary Clapp became a headmaster and teacher in Boston
  5. Fitz Henry Hyde 1814-1836 – died at age 22
  6. John Fay Hyde 1817-1889 – married 4x – moved to Buda, Il where he died- future article to follow.

LAND PURCHASES AND SALES

In 1797 Joshua inherited 100 acres when his father, Benjamin, accidentally died from a fall in a barn.  Also, he acquired half of his father’s living stock and all of his husbandry tools.[29]  The land, animals, and tools provided a basic start for Joshua.  An “industrious man”, he continued to expand his farm and property. In 1798, The Federal Direct Tax List noted the value of his home at $150.[30]

Joshua Hyde 1798 Federal property tax - Sturbridge, MA. Image courtesy of www.americanancestors.org.

Joshua Hyde 1798 Federal land tax – Sturbridge, MA. Image courtesy of http://www.americanancestors.org.

The first Federal property tax listed every free family’s dwelling house, including the number of stories and the type of construction.”…two-thirds of the houses in Worcester County, Massachusetts, were of a single story. One Worcester County house in four was valued at under $100.[31] Unfortunately, the assessor for Sturbridge only included the value of the home, not the square feet, the number of windows, number of stories, and construction.  Joshua was not a wealthy man in 1798 but fared better than many of his neighbors.

In December 1803, Joshua began buying land. His first purchase was small,  17 acres for $120.00. Ten years later he bought  150 acres of adjoining property  for $978.61. Every couple of years Joshua added to his farm. Over the course of twenty-four years he bought twenty-four parcels of land of varying sizes and uses. All of the  records are available on familysearch.org, a valuable resource for deeds. The final property Joshua acquired in 1837, one year before his death, twenty acres for $350.00

As noted above, Joshua “ was plain in his manners, economic in his habits, and judicious in his calculations.”  He didn’t make rash decisions, but slowly and gradually developed his holdings. He valued the well-being of his family and sought to ensure their financial stability during his lifetime and after his death.

THE WILL – JOSHUA HYDE

In January 1836, at age seventy-three, Joshua wrote his will. He had a “handsome estate” and he wanted to designate his beneficiaries. Although he lived another two years, he wanted to ensure that his beloved wife, Sally, would be taken care of by his two youngest sons, John Fay and Fitz Henry.

 “,…hereby directing my said two sons, Fitz Henry & John to provide every thing necessary for the support, comfort & convenience of my beloved wife, to provide her whenever she wishes a suitable mode of conveyance to go to meeting & wherever she may wish to go and to do all things in health & sickness, she may desire for her comfort & convenience. As my beloved wife her desire is I should make provision for her support in this way.”

For Sally to receive any part of the inheritance Joshua’s will had to stipulate what she would receive.

 “Under the common law that governed marriage and property throughout the English-speaking world, whatever property a woman had at the time of her marriage passed immediately into the ownership and control of her husband. Also under the common law, a man’s property ordinarily passed at death directly to his heirs – children, or other blood relatives if there were no children. A widow did not inherit unless it was so specified in her husband’s will. However, she was entitled to the use and control of one-third of his estate during their lifetime – often called “the widow’s thirds” or “dower rights. After her death, the property reverted to her husband’s heirs.”[32]

 Sally agreed to sell her “right of dower” in April 1826 when Joshua sold 80 acres of land to Moses Howard. Sally was illiterate so she made her mark, an “X”.[33]

Sally Hyde's mark "X" for land sale April 19, 1828 to Moses Howard - 80 acres of land in Brookfield. Image courtesy of familysearch.org.

Sally Hyde’s mark “X” for land sale April 19, 1828 to Moses Howard – 80 acres of land in Brookfield. Image courtesy of familysearch.org.

Joshua left bequests for all eight of his children when he wrote his will in January 1836. He did not amend his will when Fitz Henry predeceased him by two years.

JOSHUA HYDE’S WILL- JANUARY 1836

Be it remembered that I Joshua Hyde of Sturbridge in the County of Worcester & Commonwealth of Massachusetts, being in good health & perfect memory do this twenty eighth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand, eight hundred thirty six – make & publish this my last Will & Testament in manner & form following that is to say I give & bequeath to my three daughters, Augusta Gay, Betsy Freeman, & Charlotte Allen, my farm called the Oliver Rice farm, together with about four acres of meadow adjoining Preston Howe’s land and about seven acres of upland lying by the side of the road, east of said Howe’s dwelling house to have & to hold to them their heirs assign for ever. Also one hundred dollars each to be paid in three years after my decease. Also I give & bequeath to my son Benjamin D. Hyde, thirty acres of wood land being the south part of the Boyden farm, so called beginning at the road & running easterly in a straight line to the mountain to him his heirs & assign forever- also four hundred dollars in money in two years after my decease. also I direct that all notes and accounts I may hold against him at my decease to be discharged, should the said Benjamin have any claims against my estate, it is to be understood they are to off against the demands I hold against him. I give & bequeath to my son Frederick B. Hyde a piece of wood land about seven or eight acres. bounded south on the Lower farm, West on Dea [Deacon] J Plimpton, North & East over the road. Also five hundred dollars in money to be paid in one year after my decease to him with assigns forever. Also all notes and accounts that I hold against him at my decease are to be given after to the said Frederick. Also I give & bequeath to my son George B. Hyde, All the farm called the Boyden & Lancaster farm, being about two hundred acres with the buildings thereon – bounded on land of P. Walker  D Nichols  H Phetteplan & the pond –  to him his heirs & assigns forever. As this is more than the said George’s share I hereby direct him to pay the four hundred dollars I give to my son Benjamin & that his title to the land is not be complete till this sum is paid to the said Benjamin.

I also give & bequeath to my two sons Fitz Henry Hyde & John F. Hyde all the residue & remainder of my estate, both real & personal of every description & wherever situated- hereby directing my said two sons, Fitz Henry & John to provide every thing necessary for the support, comfort & convenience of my beloved wife, to provide her whenever she wishes a suitable mode of conveyance to go to meeting & wherever she may wish to go and to do all things in health & sickness, she may desire for her comfort & convenience. As my beloved wife her desire is I should make provision for her support in this way. Should any said sons Fitz Henry & John neglect to provide for their mother as I have pointed out, I hereby give her the use & improvement of all the real estate I give to them as aforesaid during her natural life. Said real estate to be theirs & then heirs assigns forever after the decease of my said wife- and it understood they are to have the improvement of the same during the life of my said wife if they provide for her as above dictated.

And lastly I do constitute & ordain my two said sons Fitz Henry & John executors of this my last will & Testament hereby directing them to pay all my debts & legicies [sic] not otherwise provided for in this will. In testimony whereof I do hereunto set my hand & seal the day & year above written-

And now to all my dear children both sons & daughters let me earnestly entreat you in the name of God that you fall not out by the way .    Joshua Hyde”[34]

His beneficiaries included his living children and his wife:

  1. Daughters: Augusta Hyde Gay, Betsy Hyde Freeman, Charlotte Hyde Allen – Oliver Rice farm, four acres meadow, seven acres of upland, $100 each to be paid three years after Joshua’s death.
  2. Benjamin Dwight Hyde – thirty acres of woodland, $400.00 to be paid two years after Joshua’s death. Benjamin was responsible for paying off any debts owed by his father.
  3. Frederick Baxter Hyde – seven acres of woodland, $500.00 to be paid one year after Joshua’s death. Any debts Frederick owed his father were to be returned to him.
  4. George Baxter Hyde – Boyden and Lancaster farms about 200 acres. Since this was a larger inheritance George was to pay Benjamin the $400.00.
  5. John Fay Hyde and Fitz Henry were to receive the rest of the estate with the understanding they would care for their mother. Fitz Henry predeceased Joshua, Did John inherit everything that remained?

It took time to settle the estate and determine if Joshua had any outstanding debts or if anyone owed him; therefore  the funds due to the children could not be paid for one to three years. Joshua had no outstanding debts.  However, he generously loaned money or bartered with many neighbors, friends, and family. Joshua’s ability “to reckon” is clear based on the detailed accounting listed by the estate appraisers.  Fifty-six debts were outstanding.  The oldest debt from 1822 was for $25. The most recent was in August 1838, one month before Joshua died, for $85.00. The largest sum owed by one person was $243.18 and the least amount .75 cents.  Even the Prudential Committee of the Congregational Church of Sturbridge owed Joshua $200.00 they borrowed in 1835.

"fistus Wight & others The Prudential Committee of the Congregational County in Sturbridge Dec 21 1835 $200 Int 36.00. Image courtesy of familysearch.org

“fistus Wight & others The Prudential Committee of the Congregational County in Sturbridge Dec 21 1835 $200 Int 36.00. Image courtesy of familysearch.org

The total outstanding amount that could be collected was $2,396.09. An additional twelve individuals owed Joshua a total of $2,065.16. However, the appraisers wrote, “The following Notes are by the Administrator considered as doubtfull as to their true value. we have set them down a the face of them suposing there will be a loss on them or a part of them.” [viz]

Debts owed to Joshua Hyde totaling $2065.16. Image courtesy of familysearch.org

Debts owed to Joshua Hyde totaling $2065.16. Image courtesy of familysearch.org

The appraisers sought to ensure that Joshua’s heirs received just compensation and achieved  this except for a few outstanding debts.

At the end of his will Joshua requested of his children that they stay steadfast in their faith. He supported his children and family financially but wrote his last words for their spiritual well-being.

"And now to all my dear children both sons & daughters, let me earnestly entreat you in the name of God that you fall not out by the way - Joshua Hyde" image courtesy of familysearch.org

“And now to all my dear children both sons & daughters, let me earnestly entreat you in the name of God that you fall not out by the way – Joshua Hyde” image courtesy of familysearch.org

Joshua’s estate records are a window into his past. They show not only his material possessions, but also demonstrate his values. He is not just asking his children to abide by their faith, he is entreating them. You can glean so many facts analyzing probate records. The next post I’ll examine more of Joshua’s inventory and what it reveals about the man, his  lifestyle, and his home.


 

[1] Ivor Noël Hume, A guide to Artifacts of Colonial America, (N.Y.: Alfred A. Knoft, Inc., 1969).29.
[2]Joshua Hyde, Family Bible Records, 1762-1838. The Holy Bible. Held by Joshua Hyde Library, Sturbridge, Massachusetts.
[3 George Davis. Historical Sketch of Sturbridge and Southbridge. (West Brookfield, Massachusetts: Power Press of O.S. Cooke and Co. 1856),  94; digital images, (http://www.archive.org : accessed 07 January 2016).
[4] Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. New York: D.S Stone, 1835. Digital image. David Rumsey Map Collection. http://www.davidrumsey.com :  2016.
[5] John Waner Barber. Historical Collections, being a General Collection of Interesting Facts, Traditions, Biographical Sketches, Anecdotes, &c. relating to the History and Antiquities of Every Town in Massachusetts, with Geographical Descriptions. (Worcester: Warren Lazzell 1844), 608; digital images, (http://www.archive.org : accessed 07 January 2016).
[6] John Waner Barber. Historical Collections, being a General Collection of Interesting Facts, Traditions, Biographical Sketches, Anecdotes, &c. relating to the History and Antiquities of Every Town in Massachusetts, with Geographical Descriptions. (Worcester: Warren Lazzell 1844), 608; digital images, (http://www.archive.org : accessed 07 January 2016).
[7]  Joseph S. Clark. An Historical Sketch of Sturbridge, Massachusetts from Its Settlement to the Present Time. (West Brookfield, Massachusetts: E. and L. Merriam, Printers 1838),  25; digital images, (http://www.archive.org : accessed 07 January 2016).
[8] Old Sturbridge Village, editor. “OSV Documents- Farm Management Advice” Article. Old Sturbridge Village (http://resources.osv.org/explore_learn/document_viewer.php?DocID=1161 : accessed 4 February 2016.)
[9] “ Massachusetts, Town and vital Records, 1620-1988” (Sturbridge, Massachusetts), Births, Marriages and Deaths; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 07 January 2016). Entry for Joshua Hyde, birth date 12 Dec 1762, Sturbridge, Massachusetts.
[10] Jack Larkin. The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (New York: Harper and Row, 1988), 16.
[11] Ibid, page 17
[12] Ibid, page 17
[13] Jack Larkin, The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (NY, Harper & Row, 1989), 34
[14] Ibid
[15] “Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925,” digital images, Family search, (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-46816-23886-0?cc=2102083 : accessed 18 December 2015), Worcester; Case no 32638-32724, Joshua Hyde, 1731-1881; image 904 of 1184; Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston.
[16] MeasuringWorth, (http://measuringworth.com: accessed 21 December 2015).
[17] George Davis. Historical Sketch of Sturbridge and Southbridge. (West Brookfield, Massachusetts: Power Press of O.S. Cooke and Co. 1856),  40; digital images, (http://www.archive.org : accessed 07 January 2016).
[18] Ibid, 41.
[19] Jack Larkin, The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (NY, Harper & Row, 1989), 276.
[20]  George Davis. Historical Sketch of Sturbridge and Southbridge. (West Brookfield, Massachusetts: Power Press of O.S. Cooke and Co. 1856),  172; digital images, (http://www.archive.org : accessed 07 January 2016).
[21] Historical Background on Courtship and Marriage. Article. Old Sturbridge Village.  (http://resources.osv.org/explore_learn/document_viewer.php?DocID=2039 : accessed 8 Februray 2016.
[22 Jack Larkin, The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (NY, Harper & Row, 1989),65.
[23] Jack Larkin, The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (NY, Harper & Row, 1989), 63.
[24] Ibid, 10.
[25] Ibid, 75.
[26] “Died.” Masschusetts Spy, 1 December 183. Online archives. http:// http://www.genealogybank.com/doc/newspapers/image/v2%3A10284A66F6BC7768%40GB3NEWS-131EFE45C7E96BD0%402389788-131EED1E4DB53B48%402-138533FFE1AB8D59%40No%2BHeadline?search_terms=hyde%7Cemory  : accessed 10 February 2016.
[27] Jack Larkin. The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (New York: Harper and Row, 1988),98.
[28] The North Cemetery (Sturbridge, Worceser County, Massachusetts, Emery and Fitz Henry Hyde. Grave Markers.
[29] “Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925,” digital images, Family search, (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-46816-23886-0?cc=2102083 : accessed 18 December 2015), Worcester; Case no 32638-32724, Benjamin Hyde, 1731-1881; image 518 of 1184; Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston.
[30] Massachusetts and Maine 1798 Direct Tax. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2003.) Original manuscript: Direct tax list of 1798 for Massachusetts and Maine, 1798. R. Stanton Avery Special Collections, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, MA. digital images : accessed 9 February 2016.
[31] Jack Larkin, From “Country Mediocrity” to “Rural Improvement”: Transforming the Slovenly Countryside in Central Massachusetts, 1775-1840, Catherine E. Hutchins, ed., Everyday Life in the Early Republic, (Delaware: Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, 1994), 34.
[32] Old Sturbridge Village, editor. “OSV Documents- A 19th Century Prenuptial Agreement, Public Record”, Article. Old Sturbridge Village. (http:// http://resources.osv.org/explore_learn/document_viewer.php?DocID=1144 : accessed 10 February, 2016.)
[33] “Massachusetts Land Records, 1620-1986,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-36263-3840-95?cc=2106411 : accessed 11 February 2016), Worcester > Deeds 1825-1826 vol 248-249 > image 569 of 725; county courthouses and offices, Massachusetts.
[34] “Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925,” digital images, Family Search, (http:// https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89GM-NRXC?mode=g&i=912&wc=9BXP-BZ9%3A1055512501%2C1292501801%3Fcc%3D2102083&cc=2102083: accessed 10 February 2016), Worcester; Case no 32638-32724, Joshua Hyde, 1731-1888; image 913 of 1184; Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston.

© 2016 copyright Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Joshua Hyde 1762-1838
Parents: Benjamin Hyde 1723-1797 and
Dorcas Dyer 1726-1787
Spouse: Sarah “Sally” Fay Hyde 1775-1850
Children:

  1. Augusta Hyde, b. 31 Oct 1795, Sturbridge, MA, d. 17 Sep 1872, Sturbridge, MA.
  2. Betsy Hastings Hyde, b. 28 Mar 1798, d. 1880, Sturbridge, MA.
  3. Charlotte Hyde, b. 26 Sep 1800, Sturbridge, MA, d. 16 Mar 1870, Brookfield, MA
  4. Benjamin Dwight Hyde, b. 12 Dec 1762, Sturbridge, MA, d. 2 Nov 1869, Sturbridge, MA
  5. Emory Hyde, b. 21 Feb 1805, Sturbridge, MA, d. 31 Oct 1830, Sturbridge, MA
  6. Frederick Baxter Hyde, b. 15 Jul 1808, Sturbridge, MA, d. 25 Feb 1852, Norwalk, Huron, Ohio
  7. George Baxter Hyde, b. 20 Mar 1811, Sturbridge, MA, d. 8 Jul 1889, Boston, MA
  8. Fitz Henry Hyde, b. 2 Jun 1814, Sturbridge, MA, d. 23 Oct 1833, Sturbridge, MA
  9. John Fay Hyde, b. 5, Aug 1817, Sturbridge, MA, d. 3 Sep 1889, Buda, Bureau, IL

Relationship to Kendra: 4th great-grandfather

  1. Joshua Hyde 1762-1838
  2. John Fay Hyde 1817-1889
  3. Frederick Albert Hyde 1851-1926
  4. John Fay Hyde 1885-1950
  5. John Frederick Hyde 1911-1980
  6. Jean Hyde Hopp Eichorn
  7. Kendra Hopp Schmidt

 

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About treeklimber

An interest in history and travel lends itself to a passion for genealogy. The more I research, the more I realize there is to discover. It is a never-ending puzzle.
This entry was posted in Biographies, My Family Ancestry and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to THE RICH REWARDS OF PROBATE RECORDS – JOSHUA HYDE- STURBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS – PART 1

  1. Kendra, I can imagine the amount of time you spent researching, gathering, and writing this post. The snippets from The Reshaping of Everyday Life and the images you used supplemented the piece.

    My favorite line was, “The door opened just enough that I could see him but I wanted to reach out and touch him,” but you probably already knew that. You tell me you learn from me, this shows me I, and others, can learn from you. Looking forward to the next part.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Tonya Ferguson says:

    I love your post. You are so fortunate to have a family that left a lot if records. But more importantly you wrote a compelling story of their lifetime that was interesting. I’m new to blogging and your work is an inspiration to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • treeklimber says:

      Tonya- thank you very much for reading and commenting. I appreciate your kind words. Some of my ancestors left many records and others very few. Sometimes you will find your ancestors mentioned in diaries or articles written by other people . Have you heard of the FAN aspect (friends, neighbors, and associates)? Tracing thses helps you locate records for your family. Also blogging will put you in touch with family members who have information. I like reading other blogs and getting ideas.

      Like

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