Beaufort County NC   1852--$20 Bank of Washington, NC note

JAMES EDMUND HOYT

Biography
Our generous donor:   William Moore


James Edmund Hoyt Biography:

  During the 1820s, James Edmund Hoyt moved from New York to Washington, N.C. He married Marina Keais Brickell, who had inherited a substantial amount of money from her grandfather, Nathan Keais. According to George Stevenson, the [NC] archivist, James E. Hoyt "appears to have been a careful investor of his own capital and the property that descended to his wife. He was reported in the 1850 census as a merchant with real property valued at $13,000. When the Bank of Wasington was chartered by the General Assembly of North Carolina at the session of 1850-51, his name headed the list of the Commissioners to superintend the sale of bank stock (his brother Goold being designated one of the commissioners for the sale of stock in Greenville), and he was one of the original subscribers to stock in the bank."

  " After the copper mining craze hit North Carolina in the early 1850s, he invested in the North Carolina Copper Company, the Conrad Hill Gold and Copper Company, and the Ware Hill Gold Mine Company. In the late 1850's, he conceived of the idea of bringing gas lighting to Washington, and he was the moving force behind the incorporation of the Washington Gas Light Company in 1859. He guaranteed the contractor for the works, went to New York and studied the works there, purchased the materials necessary to build the apparatus, and upon his return to Washington, personally superintended the erection of the works for the town. Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, he and three partners purchased the equipment of a previous iron manufactory and purchased and leaed mineral rights in the coal and iron ore district of Chatham County. The partners were incorporated as the Sapona Iron Company by this state's Secession Convention.

  "Two months before the Sapona Iron Company was chartered, Washington fell to federal troops who occupied the town from the end of March 1862 to May 20, 1864. many of the families of the town refugeed in inland towns, and it appeears that James E. Hoyt moved his family to Greenville to be near his brother Goold and family. He himself traveled during the war in connection with his investments, and died in Raleigh on January 4, 1864. He was buried in City Cemetary in Raleigh. "His son, Edmund Slade Hoyt, obtained letters of administration on his estate from the Pitt County Court of pleas and Quarter Session. When he inventoried his father's estate, he found that it included 42 shares in the bank of Washington, 27 shares in the Washington Gas and Light Co., 3500 shares in the Conrad Hill Gold and Copper Company, 300 shares in the North carolina Copper Company, and 2/7s of the stock of the Sapona iron Company; $10,500 in North Carolina and Confederate Cotton Bonds; $16,308 owing to him frm the Richmond Virginia Brokerage firm of Lancaster and Co; nearly $31,000 in Confederate, North Carolina and various bank notes; $1,075 in a private account in the Bank of Washington; four slaves; and only $131.38 in hard money.

  "There is no point in telling you what the value of this handsome estate became little more than a year later when the war ended in defeat and the collapse of the southern economy. Marina Keais Hoyt outlived her husband by three years, dying in 1867. Presumably she was buried with her husband in Raleigh, for she too has a stone in City Cemetery."

  " I probably ought to give you some notion of what (he) was like as a person, not as a businessman. To do this in a really meaningful way, one needs access to his papers, of course, and one wonders whether any of them have survived in the family of his oldest son, Edmund Slade Hoyt. But even in the absence of his personal papers, one gets some glimpse of him in the public records. There is more than a suggestion that he was no defender of the system of slavery despite the fact that he was a slaveholder. In the 1840s, he accepted from one of his neighbors, John Singletary, a slave named Guilford, a skilled house carpenter, in an arrangement whereby Guilford was to be allowed to purchase himself so that he could be transferred to his wife, a free black woman, and live with his family as if he had been emancipated. (At that time, the emancipated slaves had to leave the state, and this arrangement would have allowed Guilford to live free woithout having to abandon his family in Washington while he was sent to one of the northern states.) Singletary's executor brought suit about ten years later to try to recover Guilford from James E. Hoyt by alleging that Hoyt's sympathetic leanings towards the emancipation of slaves led him to enter into an agreement concerning Guilford that was designed to avoid the law. The state Supreme Court reviewed the facts of the case, pronounced that Hoyt had done nothing to evade the law concerning emancipation of the slaves, and threw the case against him out of court.

  "Later, during one of the earliest battles of the Civil War, Colonel Alfred M. Wood of the 14th (Brooklyn) regiment was badly wounded at the Battle of Bull Run and taken prisoner by General Beauregard's army. Wood's friend, Thomas A. DeMille, one of the Washington DeMille's who moved to New York in 1847, wrote to his friend James E. Hoyt, asking for his help on Colonel Wood's behalf. Mr. Hoyt then wriote to HIS friend, H.T. Pairo, a broker in Richmond where it was believed Colonel Wood was imprisoned, asking Mr. Pairo (whose sons were in beauregard's army) to use his influence to mitigate Colonel Wood's condition to the extent propriety would allow.

  "I think these are evidences of the humanity of James E. Hoyt. Jealous rivals probably would have hinted at his New York background. The best answer to them is the fact that he sunk his considerable fortune in the fate of North Carolina and the Confederacy. Not all Washington families can claim as much, though it may be uncharitable to remember the fact."

See his signature on these Bank of Washington, NC Currency Notes:

1850 $5 Note
$5 note
1851 $10 note
1852 $20 note
1852 $20 note.

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