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Alexander Hoy

  • Had relatives in Williamsburg
  • Worked as cutler, shoemaker, juror, and guard
  • Married Barbry Hoy, had two daughters
  • Fell into debt
  • Joined the Army in 1776
  • Died 1782

Joined kinsmen in Williamsburg

Alexander Hoy likely moved to Williamsburg from neighboring Warwick County as a result of family connections in the area. In 1752, his kinsman, Daniel Hoy, served a seven-year apprenticeship to Benjamin Powell, a Williamsburg wheelwright and carpenter.

By 1763, Alexander was living and working in the Williamsburg area. He probably learned the rudiments of reading and writing during his apprenticeship in the cutlery trade, but he signed at least one document with a mark, rather than writing out his name. A third kinsman, Jeremiah Hoy, also settled in Williamsburg.

Started a family

The historical record shows at least three different spellings of the family name: Hoy, Hoye, and Houy. Alexander married a woman named Barbara, who went by the nickname Barbry. The Bruton Parish clerk registered the birth of the Hoys' daughter, Mary, May 6, 1765. A second daughter, Elizabeth, came along later.

Alexander made a living as a cutler and sometime shoemaker in the Williamsburg-Bruton Parish-York County area. The Hoy household included an enslaved woman named Phillis, who may have been owned or hired out. In addition to his work, Alexander sat on a petit jury and acted as guard for a local court.

Fell into debt

Despite having laid the groundwork for a reasonably secure future, by the late 1760s, Alexander had accumulated debt. Several times, he ignored court summonses to answer his creditors, and he failed to disclose his full tax liability to county officials.

Throughout, Alexander continued to try to build up his cutlery business. At the estate sale of John Ormeston in 1769, he purchased a rule, two benches, four planes, one hammer, and sundry other tools, as well as a bed rug and blanket, all for about £4.

Joined the Army in 1776

Nonetheless, the Hoys' financial situation had become desperate as the Revolutionary War heated up. The Army offered Alexander employment and ready cash. He joined up in 1776. Alexander's regiment probably first went north to reinforce General Washington, turning south in 1779 to join the siege at Charleston, S. C., in 1780.

Died about 1782

Alexander, Barbry, Mary and Elizabeth were together again in Williamsburg sometime after the American defeat at Charleston in 1780. Perhaps because of injury or disease suffered during his military service, Alexander died about 1782. Barbry and their daughters continued to live in the area for several years. Mary and Elizabeth lived to adulthood, and may have claimed the land bounty due to Alexander for his Continental service.