THE PHOTO...is of Belle Corwin Hoyt

THE KNOWN...The family connection starts with Belle Corwin Hoyt, a great grandmother of Sandra L. Clitter. In 1893 Belle married George Francis Clitter, son of George Henry Clitter who brought the family to the United States in 1887. Belle and George had twin sons born in 1895, George Everett and James Alden. James died at age two. Belle and George at first lived in Englewood, NJ.

Family lore has it that George Francis deserted Belle and his remaining infant child. Upon investigation, this lore turned out to be true. George Francis was still around in 1901-1902 because he signed George Everett's Englewood school report card. The 1910 census lists him as head of household, now living with Belle's father Charles Frederick in Brooklyn, NY. But the 1920 the census shows George Francis living on Riverside Drive, Manhattan, NY, apparently with his wife Bertha and her children by a former marriage. He was never seen or heard from again. It was forbidden to mention George Francis' existence anywhere within earshot of George Everett. By 1901, even as a child, George Everett had stopped using his given name, George, and was always referred to as Everett or Ev.

After the marriage of her son to Hallie Miller, Belle lived with them and their children, David Alden and James Everett in New Rochelle, NY until her death in 1945. Her grandchildren affectionately remembered her as Nanna, a good cook who often took them to the movies.

Two notable names are Hoyt descendants, and distant cousins of Sandra L. Clitter: Union general William Tecumseh Sherman, b. 1820, and artist Norman Rockwell, b. 1894.

AND THE UNKNOWN...Exhaustive studies have been made on the Hoyt surname and its various spellings including but not limited to Hoyte, Hayt, Haight, Hight, Hait, Haite, and Hite. In 1871 David W. Hoyt published "The Genealogy of the Hoyt, Haight, and Hight Families." On its publication, Charles F. Hoyt bought a copy that today is with Sandra L. Clitter. Not only is this book the source of the Hoyt descendancy line included here, it also contains stories about the people.

For instance, it suggests that they were tall and exceedingly strong people, towering over others of their times; that their extraordinary strength made them ideal picks for gathering casks of water (apparently, very heavy) outside the 'forts' as America was being settled and conflict was everywhere so that the fewer trips outside of the fort, the safer it was; and that many of these ancestors also had multiple rows of teeth! Fascinating, but lore?

Nevertheless, there are many websites devoted to the Hoyt et al genealogy. In June 2008 a self-described amateur genealogist published on the internet an interesting article, "The Hoyt-Haight Genealogy," that describes in some detail the results of some of the research and the conflicting opinions on the genealogy of Simon Hoyt who came to Massachusetts from England in 1629. Based on the Hoyt book, Belle is a descendant of Walter Hoyt born in 1617 and one of Simon's thirteen children. She had a brother, Harry N. Hoyt, about whom nothing is known.

Will the conflicting opinions on the Hoyt genealogy ever be resolved?


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