In that long roster of the pioneers of Solano county now gone to their reward there are few names more pleasantly
remembered than that of the late Joseph Hoyt of Benicia, one of the real pioneers of this region and at the time
of his passing in 1915 an honored octogenarian who enjoyed the confidence, esteem and respect of the whole countryside.
For more than sixty years Mr. Hoyt had been a resident of California and there were few here who had a wider or
a better acquaintance than he. A native of the old Granite state and of sterling New England colonial stock, he
came into California in 1852, at the height of the "gold rush," and four years later, following his marriage,
settled in Solano county, where he ever after made his home. That was not long after the United States government
had bought Mare Island for the purpose of creating on it a naval dockyard and arsenal and he was for a short time
after his arrival here connected with the operations of the navy yard, thus having been one of the personal factors
in the substantial establishment of that important government institution, which now includes wet and dry docks,
marine barracks, ordnance yards, a hospital and extensive repair shops, one of the largest of the government's
fixed operations and for many years a very vital force in all the relations of this vicinity. But with wise foresight
Mr. Hoyt recognized that in the soil here would be found man's best means to attainment and he presently became
engaged in the ranching and cattle operations which in time brought him a large measure of material success and
which caused him to become recognized as one of the leading cattlemen in this region.
Joseph Hoyt was born at Meredith in the beautiful lake region of Belknap county in central New Hampshire on November
14, 1830, and was there reared, remaining in his native state until after he had attained his majority when, in
1852, he put in his lot with that of the thousands of adventurous souls who then were making their way out to California
and came to this coast, coming around by way of the Isthmus. In common with most of the young men who then were
flocking into California from all parts of the world, he was for some time engaged in operations, in the mining
regions and then he married and "settled down." It was in 1856, the year following his marriage, that
Mr. Hoyt became a resident of Benicia. He later bought a ranch in the Goodyear neighborhood north of Benicia. In
1861 he bought the old Misner residence at First and K streets in Benicia and there established his home, directing
his cattle business from this point. That old house, remodeled from time to time to meet the demands of a growing
family and the needs of a changing social order, is still standing and still in possession of the Hoyt family,
one of the few surviving dwellings of the pioneer period here. Mr. Hoyt ever took an interested and helpful part
in the civic affairs of his home county, a sturdy factor in the development of a proper order of things here, but
the only political office he ever held was that of county assessor, to which he was elected in 1872 and in which
he served for two terms, during that time doing a good work in bringing about the creation of a better local taxing
system in this county. Following his retirement from general business affairs, Mr. Hoyt continued to make his home
at Benicia and there died on December 21, 1915, he then being past eighty five years of age and honored by all
throughout this region.
It was in 1855, at Vallejo, that Joseph Hoyt was united in marriage to Miss Helen Hagerty, who survived him for
more than five years, her death occurring in 1921. To Joseph and Helen (Hagerty) Hoyt were born nine children,
four of whom are still living, three daughters, Mrs. Nellie H. Taylor and Mrs. O. H. Barnard of Benicia and Mrs.
Margaret Donahue of San Francisco, and a son, C. Harry Hoyt, of San Francisco.
History of Solano County, California
BY: Marguerite Hune
Napa County, California
BY: Harry Lawrence Gunn
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Solano County, CA
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