This article appeared in a series of articles pertaining to the early history of twenty two families of Westchester County, New York. They were published during the summer and fall of 1951 as part of a special feature in the Westchester Group Newspapers and Affiliates. The author was Maureen McKernan. The article on Hyatt family was the 20th of the series.
If young Caleb Hyatt, who has turned his back up on the ancestral Hyatt homestead in Scarsdale to become a successful dairy farmer in Rensselaer County, listens to the urgings of some of his neighbors and goes to the Assembly in Albany, he will be but following in a pattern that has been followed by Caleb Hyatts for nine generations.
This Caleb Hyatt, son of Caleb Hyatt Sr., of Scarsdale, will break a tradition of more than 250 years, however, for he will be the first Caleb since Caleb 1st in 1678, who has not lived out his life in Westchester. Almost every generation has recorded a Hyatt as an elected official of either Rye, White Plains or Scarsdale.
The first Caleb Hyatt was the grandson of Simon Hoyt, ancestor of Westchester's Haights, Hoyts, Hoits and Hyatts, who came to Plymouth with Governor Endicott from Dorset, England, Simon's son, Thomas, who settled in Stamford, spelled the name Hyatt though his brothers spelled it as Haight and Hoit. Caleb was thirty-eight when he came to Rye about 1678 and bought land from Joseph Purdy. He was a farmer and perhaps a surveyor, and he must have been a strong and courageous man for he was elected Town Constable soon after he joined the little farming and fishing colony at the mouth of Blind Brook. He may be the Caleb who was again Constable in 1699.
Family Active in Rye
All the grandsons of Simon Hoyt of Stamford who came to Rye took an active part in the community. John Hoyt was Supervisor in 1711 and in 1717-19. John Hyatt was town clerk in 1696 and constable in 1702. Joseph Haight was Constable in 1742. Another Caleb Hyatt was Justice of the Peace in Rye from 1726 to 1753 and in 1765 the post was held by John Hyatt.
Caleb 1st of Rye had three sons, Caleb, John and Benjamin, and from them stem those descendants of Simon Hoyt of Stamford who spell their name Hyatt. Caleb, the oldest son of Caleb of Rye, was three years old when his father came to Rye in 1673. By the time he was grown the sons of the Rye families were pushing northward into that portion of their father's original patent which is today's White Plains.
In 1715 Caleb Jr. built a house "on the road to Rye" which is today's North Street in White Plains. It stood on the west side of the road near today's Bryant Avenue, next to Joseph Purdy's. The settlement in 1715-1720 was a scattering of farm houses from the Hutchinson River (Hutchinson Parkway) to today's Westchester Avenue. His cousins, Samuel and John Hoit were Caleb's neighbors on the south and his brother John's house stood on today's St. Agnes Hospital grounds.
Elective Town Clerk
Caleb was elected to decided the boundaries between farm plots laid out by the sons of the Rye patentees and when the first White Plains town elections were held in 1727 Caleb Hyatt Jr. was elected Town Clerk, a position he held until 1776. He was chosen for his learning. He also served as Supervisor during the years from 1727 to 1735. He must have been a man of taste, breeding and some wealth, to judge by the beautiful Governor Winthrop desk which has come down from him to his descendant, today's Caleb Hyatt of Scarsdale, and from the many finely written documents which it still holds that of the disposal of his slaves.
Here are a few other Hyatts, descended from John, Caleb or Benjamin: Capt. John Hyatt of the Westchester Militia in 1776; Caleb, son of Benjamin, who owned the old Dyckman Tavern in New York at 226th Street and Broadway during the Revolution; Capt. Abraham Hyatt of the frigate "Castle" who was a member of the Governor's Council in Albany in 1675; Abraham who was a farmer in Eastchester in 1710; Elisha Hyatt, town overseer of highways in White Plains constable from 1742 to 1766, and Abraham, who settled in Somers in 1770; Caleb, first Supervisor of Pelham.
Five generations of Hyatts have been born in the beautiful old farmhouse on the Post Road in Scarsdale, which Caleb Hyatt of Harrison bought in 1826. It went with the 600-acre Ferris Farm. Klunck's Corners, Eastchester at Wilmot and White Plains Road where the mail stages changed horses, was the nearest hamlet. Sarah Odell, Caleb's wife, wept from loneliness at first, in her fine but isolated farmhouse.
Sarah Odells son, Oliver Avery Hyatt still remembered by many old residents, was born here in 1837 and when he died at ninety-one, in 1928, he had been a vestryman of St. John's Episcopal Church for 63 years. This Oliver Hyatt was Scarsdale assessor for 30 years and as Road Commissioner, laid the first pavements in Scarsdale, starting with a macadam surface for Popham Road. He was elected Town Supervisor in 1878 and served for many years. As a little boy he used to hide in fascinated terror in his father's lower field to watch the new strange railroad engines go puffing along the right of way through his father's farm.
Helped Build Scarsdale
Caleb Hyatt Sr., of today, owner of the Hyatt homestead were in each of the five generations born there, there has always been a Caleb, an Oliver and a Sarah was born in 1880 and has played an active part in the building of the Scarsdale suburban Town and Village of today.
Mrs Hyatt, who was Elvira Pierson of Buffalo, first saw the house when she came there to her own wedding reception in 1906 and cows were grazing on the lawn. She has been a president of the Scarsdale Woman's Club, active in philanthropy. The children of Elvira and Caleb Hyatt are Oliver A> Hyatt, farmer at Cherryplain; Agnes Hyatt Hohaus of Bronxville; Peggy Hyatt Getty of Westport, whose son, Allen, is an agricultural student at Storrs, Conn.; Caleb, the oldest, farmer at Stephentown; Sally Hyatt Bullen of Ossining. Other present generations Hyatts in the county number more than 100.
Two Hyatt girls of the Revolutionary days should not be overlooked. One was Mary Hyatt who married Capt. Benjamin Lyon of the Revolution. Her house, one of the most beautiful unspoiled pre-Revolutionary houses in the county, still stands on North Street, White Plains, opposite the gate of St. Agnes Hospital. Her sister, Hannah, became mother of Governor Daniel D. Tompkins who lived in Scarsdale.
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