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Indiana Historical Bureau

IHB > Historical Markers > Find a Marker > Lyman Hoyt Lyman Hoyt

Lyman HoytLyman Hoyt

Location: 7147 West SR 250, Lancaster. (Jefferson County, Indiana)

Installed: 2004 Indiana Historical Bureau, Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology, IDNR, African American Landmarks Committee of Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, Inc., Historic Eleutherian College, Historic Madison, Jefferson County Preservation Council, Cornerstone Society, Jefferson County Civil War Roundtable, and City of Madison

ID# : 39.2004.2

Text

Side one:

Born in Vermont 1804. Moved to Jefferson County 1834, where he owned land and had several manufacturing businesses. Active in Neil's Creek Anti-Slavery Society and in forming Liberty Party for abolition of slavery. He and his family supported Eleutherian College. He died 1857. Home listed in National Register of Historic Places 2003.

Side two:

Hoyt condemned the Fugitive Slave Law and participated in helping fugitives escaping through Jefferson County.

The Underground Railroad refers to a widespread network of diverse people in the nineteenth century who aided slaves escaping to freedom from the southern U.S.

Keywords

Underground Railroad, African American, Politics, Buildings and Architecture

Annotated Text

Side one:

Born in Vermont 1804.(1) Moved to Jefferson County 1834, (2) where he owned land and had several manufacturing businesses.(3) Active in Neil's Creek Anti-Slavery Society(4) and in forming Liberty Party for abolition of slavery.(5) He and his family supported Eleutherian College.(6) He died 1857.(7) Home listed in National Register of Historic Places 2003.(8)

Side two:

Hoyt condemned the Fugitive Slave Law and participated in helping fugitives escaping through Jefferson County.

The Underground Railroad refers to a widespread network of diverse people in the nineteenth century who aided slaves escaping to freedom from the southern U.S.

Notes:

(1)U.S. Bureau of the Census, Free Inhabitants in Lancaster Township, Jefferson County, October 23, 1850, 268-69. Hoyt's age was listed as 46. Tombstone, Lyman Hoyt, College Hill Cemetery Web site (accessed July 25, 2003).

(2)Hoyt moved with his wife Aseneth Whipple Hoyt. Obituary, Aseneth Hoyt, Madison Courier, August 24, 1897.

(3)Hoyt purchased land in Lancaster Township of Jefferson County. Land grant, U.S. General Land Office, September 1, 1838, Bureau of Land Management Web site. 1857 deed records SE 1/4 Section 33, while GLO patent lists Section 32, T5N, R9E. In 1848, he purchased land in NE 1/4 of Section 33 in T5N, R9E, and circa 1850 built a house for him and his family. Abstracts of Title, Deed Records, V. 11, p.3 and V. 48, p. 199; National Register of Historic Places Registration Form (Nomination), Section 8, p. 3.

In the U.S. Census, Products of Industry, Lancaster Township, Jefferson County, 1850, Lyman is listed as a machinist making wagons, handrakes, cider mills.

According to Lois L. Hoyt, Lyman Hoyt had a sawmill, lumberyard, and blacksmith shop, and manufactured chairs and hayrakes in numbers to send to market; he built to order: wagons, houses, barns, schoolhouses, churches, bridges, fences, sleds, sleighs, buggies, henhouses, pigpens, dog kennels, tables, cupboards, and coffins; and he employed about a dozen men. Typescript excerpt from a letter, no date, no location provided. Lois was Lyman's daughter, born 1844. U.S. Census 1850, Lancaster Township, Jefferson County, Indiana.

Hoyt also served as postmaster in the Village of Lancaster, 1841-1845 and 1849-1854. David J. Baker, Postal History of Indiana, 2 vols. (Louisville 1976), 2:965-66.

(4)At the first recorded meeting of the Neil's Creek Anti-Slavery Society, Hoyt was chosen as a director. Minute Book, January 5, 1839, Neil's Creek Anti-Slavery Society, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library. Transcription is available from Historic Eleutherian, Inc. He remained active throughout the life of the organization. Minute Book, January 5, 1839-May 31, 1845.

(5)In 1844, Lyman Hoyt proposed holding a convention of the Liberty Party in Jefferson County. Hoyt was appointed to serve on a committee to correspond with Liberty men throughout Jefferson County. Ibid., May 25, 1844. Hoyt, James Brown, I.L. Anderson, Benj. Allen, and James Nelson were appointed to a Liberty Party Central Committee for Jefferson County during the 1844 presidential campaign. Ibid., August 31, 1844.

The Liberty Party was organized in 1840 in Indiana and was dedicated to the abolition of slavery. Donald F. Carmony, Indiana 1816-1850: The Pioneer Era (Indianapolis 1998), 567. The first state convention of the Indiana Liberty Party met at Newport, Wayne County, in 1841. Emma Lou Thornbrough, Indiana in the Civil War Era, 1850-1880 (Indianapolis 1965), 25. November 4, 1844 presidential election results show that Liberty Party presidential and vice-presidential candidates statewide received an approximate average of 1, 900 votes from electors; in Jefferson County they received 50 votes. The Democratic candidates received an approximate average of 70, 000 votes from electors, and the Whig party candidates received an approximate average of 67, 000 votes from electors. Dorothy Riker and Gayle Thornbrough, comps., Indiana Election Returns, 1816-1851 (Indianapolis, 1960), 38, 42, 46, 47, 49. 52.

(6)Eleutherian Institute was founded at Lancaster in 1848. William C. Thompson, "Eleutherian Institute: A Sketch of a Unique Step in the Educational History of Indiana, " Indiana Magazine of History, Vol. 19 (June 1923), 125.

According to his daughter Lois, Lyman built two houses for southern planters, who brought their children by female slaves to attend Eleutherian. The houses, however, were burned down. Lois L. Hoyt, article written in 1930, typescript, location not provided. The 1850 Census, lists one of the families, named Brown: white male, mulatto wife, and four mulatto children (1850 Census, Lancaster Township, Jefferson County.

Aseneth, Lyman's wife, served as secretary of the Eleutherian Education Society. An Appeal to the Ladies of Indiana, Eleutherian Education Society, June 16, 1853, typescript, location not provided.

Lucy Ann, daughter of Lyman, was an assistant teacher at the College; Sarah, a daughter, was librarian at the College; Walter, Lyman's brother, taught bookkeeping at the College. Madison Daily Evening Courier, March 25, 1856, and additional notes by applicant indicating family relationships.

(7)Obituary, Lyman Hoyt, Madison Daily Evening Courier, July 13, 1857.

(8)National Register of Historic Places Listings, October 10, 2003 (accessed October 27, 2003).

(9)On November 15, 1850, there was a meeting of people of all political parties at Neils Creek—Samuel Tibbets, chair and Lyman Hoyt, secretary. Participants unanimously condemned the Fugitive Slave Law and resolved not to assist in capturing any fugitive but to feed, cloth, and shelter them. Madison Courier, November 27, 1850, typescript provided.

Lyman Hoyt's participation in the Underground Railroad is commented upon in the following sources. "Reminiscences of Slavery Times Written by Grandfather Tibbets In His 70th Year." This was written by John H. Tibbets; his wife's uncle was Lyman Hoyt. An article on the Underground Railroad written by Auretta Hoyt, who was the niece of Lyman Hoyt. Indianapolis Journal, January 25, 1880. An article which summarizes George De Baptiste's Underground Railroad activity in Cincinnati, Madison, and Detroit; the article mentions the Underground Railroad station north of Madison where the "families of Hicklin, Tibbitts, Nelson, and Hoyt . . . were staunch anti-slavery people." Detroit Post, May 14, 1870.