Meet the Planters – Hovey

The Planters

Meet Daniel Hovey

Daniel Hovey’s Family

The family of Daniel Hovey may be traced back to Richard, a glover who lived at Waltham Abbey, Essex County in England, and died there, being buried March 7, 1636/7. age 61 or 62. He left a large family consisting of nine children, of whom Daniel was the youngest.

The ancestor of the American Hoveys, Daniel, was born at Waltham Abbey early in August 1618, and was baptized there on the ninth of that month. He spent his boyhood in England, but at the early age of 17, immigrated to Ipswich where he married Abigail Andrews about 1642. Their seven children were born at Ipswich.

Soon after his arrival in Ipswich, Daniel set his sites on acquiring an estate in land. Although only 19 years of age at the time, the Town granted him on February 5, 1636/7, a house lot and one acre of ground on the south side of the river, and six acres of land on Muddy Creek. Two years later, on March 27, 1639, he was allowed six acres of planting ground on Sagamore Hill. On April 10, 1639, he acquired from William Holdred, another six acres of planting land adjoining his other plot, a half acre of land to enlarge his house lot, and another dwelling on a house lot “and all the fencing belonging to both lots”. On March 4, 1649/50 he was granted a highway to his lot, and on December 22, 1652: “Daniel Hovey hath liberty to set his fence down on the river, at his ground bought of William Knowlton, making a stile at each end, the two rods still not withstanding is the Town’s”.

At a town meeting held February 14, 1658/9 he was granted liberty “to build a wharf against his ground that he bought of William Knowlton, and also such buildings as may tend to the improvement thereof”.

There is no positive evidence as to the occupation of Daniel Hovey, but it seems fair to assume that living in Ipswich he may have derived his living from the sea, directly or indirectly. That he should build a wharf with adjacent buildings would seem to indicate that he was linked to the fishing industry, either as a dealer or packer of fish. We find nothing to substantiate his owning of boats or fishing equipment. Whatever his occupation at Ipswich, he seems to have done very well at it, and had acquired a considerable estate before his death.

He was very active in the affairs of the town and was paid three shillings on February 10, 1643/4 for having killed three foxes. In 1648, he subscribed three shillings three times a year to Major Daniel Denison” so long as he shall be their leader, to encourage him in his military helpfulness”. In 1649, he was juror at the Ipswich Court; on December 12, 1650, was one of a committee to view a certain parcel of land for the town; and in 1656, served on a committee to set up a sawmill on the Chebacco River. He held several town offices in Ipswich, being elected Surveyor of Highways in 1648, and 1649; Constable in 1658, and a selectman on February 14, 1659/60.

In June 1660, Daniel purchased 20 acres on Pye Brook in Topsfield from Sarah Stone of Watertown (former grant of Richard Lumpkin).

He removed with his family soon thereafter, and remained there until the settlement at Quaboag. In 1664, he was granted a share (3 acres of marsh land) on Plum Island. He continued his mercantile and real estate interests in Ipswich, and in August 1666, was granted liberty to fill trees for his son James to work at his trade, and to build a shop; and also enough to build a house for John.

Mr. Hovey seems to have spent more than the average amount of time in various courts as will be seen during the course of this biography. His first experience with this instrument of the law occurred on January 29, 1641/2, when he was plaintiff in 3 civil actions. More important, however, was his appearance as defendant in Ipswich court on September 24, 1667, accused of “speaking falsely to the prejudice of General Denison.” He was fined 20 shillings for his offense, which consisted of criticizing the actions of the Magistrate in court procedure. This action may have been one of the factors which influenced his removal to Quaboag Plantation.

And so it was that in the summer of 1668, Daniel and Abigail Hovey packed their belongings and set out for Quaboag accompanied by their five younger children: Thomas aged 20, James 18, Joseph 15, Abigail 13, and Nathaniel 11. The older children, Daniel Jr. and John remained in Ipswich with their families.

By the time of his removal to Quaboag, Daniel Hovey had acquired the title of “Deacon”, was a man of wealth and influence and was certainly an asset to the young plantation. The inhabitants of the town wisely granted him a large tract of 100 acres, and an entry in the Account Books attested to the price he paid: “To the purchase of Quabaug from the Indians for himself and his sons 06 05 00”. This was the largest single grant made to any inhabitant and reflects the high regard in which he was held by the Planters.

The arrival date of the Hoveys of Quaboag can be estimated fairly accurately by the beginning of their account with John Pynchon, the only merchant available to them within a reasonable distance. The first item is dated September 16, 1668, and is for 4-1/2 bushels of ground corn meal and 1/2 peck of salt, two essential staples of the diet of that period. Perusal of the accounts, in addition, provided much information concerning the activities of the family. Probably the most interesting item is the following: “November 4, 1670. For eighteen yds 1/4 of trading cloth six shillings 4 pence. Three yds and 3/4 of shag cotton 3 shillings 4 pence. This to pay for in beaver: I allowing him to trade with the Indians, he paying for it as I do six shillings per skin, etc., 06 02 02.”

The permission to trade with the Indians for furs was a rare privilege accorded to few people. It was strictly forbidden by the General Court to deal directly with the Indians without license from a magistrate. Several credit items are for beaver skins sold to John Pynchon. Other items on the credit side of the ledger show payment for work on the construction of the Quaboag Mill.

During their stay Quaboag, several events transpired in the Hovey family. On November 2, 1670, James married Priscilla Warner. and established a homestead soon after. His account with John Pynchon begins on December 27, 1670, and is for the usual household items. He balanced his account by working at the millhouse and selling pork to John Pynchon in exchange for commodities. James was active in the community and was one of the signatories of the Petition for Incorporation dated October 10, 1673. James and Priscilla had three children born at Quaboag. Priscilla, Daniel, and James. All of whom were orphaned when their father was killed by the Indians on August 2, 1675.

Abigail daughter of Deacon Daniel, married John Ayres, Jr. on August 28, 1672 and settled at Quaboag.

Deacon Daniel, sold some of his real estate holdings while living at Quaboag. On June 13, 1671, he conveyed to his son John, his farm in Topsfield, a piece of marshland and other property. On may 8, 1672, he sold to Abraham Perkins, some of his holdings in Ipswich (Ips. deed 3:227). This latter is the last recorded transaction while he was still in residence at Quaboag. The names of Deacon Hovey and Thomas Hovey do not appear on the Petition for Incorporation in 1673, and we know that they had by then left Quaboag.

Although it has been written by other authors that Thomas had preceded his father to Hadley, evidence seems to indicate this to be unlikely. It seems more probable that Daniel and his family, including his unmarried son Thomas removed to Hadley at the same time, the name of Daniel appears on a petition for enlargement of the Hadley plantation dated October 1672. It is fair to presume that the entire family, with the exception of James and his family, and Abigail who had married John Ayres, Jr., established themselves at Hadley in early October, 1672, soon after the wedding of Abigail. Thomas first appears on the record as a defendant at the court held at Northampton on March 25, 1672/3. He was not a petitioner at Hadley on October 1672, probably therefore, not a householder at that time.

Deacon Hovey, while living in Hadley, suffered much at the hands of the Indians. He also contributed generously to the defense of the town, and was later reimbursed by the Governor’s Council in the amount of 11 pounds. In 1675, he held the office of selectman, but was not re-elected in the following year.

Daniel Hovey made several appearances in court during his stay in Hadley, and one of these may have been responsible for his return to Ipswich. The first entry on the court record after the removal to Hadley was on march 31, 1674 when he was selected for jury duty, alongside his former fellow inhabitant at Quaboag, Richard Coy. On September 26, 1676, Daniel was complained of for failure to pay rent to the estate of Henry Clerke of Hadley. He was ordered to pay 14 pounds in back rent due plus cost of court, all to be paid in 1676. He apparently defied the court order and refused to pay so that the executors of the estate brought suit again in Hampshire County Court held at Northampton on March 27, 1677. He was again ordered to pay the 14 pounds rent plus court costs of one pound, ten shillings, six pence, which he apparently did. On the same date, Daniel Hovey is plaintiff and John Russell Jr., one of the executors of the estate mentioned above, the defendant, in an action of: “unjust molestation and uncharitable charges to the defamation of or slander of the said Daniel Hovey and his wife, charging the said Daniel to be a man of a scandalous life, in an open assembly and was therefore denied church communion and this threat too he made but to the church that he belonged to and all the churches thereabouts.”

The jury returned in favor of Deacon Hovey. However, the implications and unpleasantness of the whole situation must have weighed heavily on the elder Hoveys, for soon thereafter, in 1678, they returned to Ipswich with their younger son, Nathaniel, now 21.

The name of Daniel Hovey Sr. is among a list of commoners in Ipswich dated February 13, 1678/9 and also on the list of those eligible to vote in town affairs on December 2, 1679. Nathaniel is listed as a resident of Ipswich in 1678. The family was now dispersed in several areas of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. As mentioned above, Daniel Sr. and Nathaniel were in Ipswich along with Daniel Jr. and the family of James, killed at Brookfield. In nearby Topsfield in the former family homestead dwelt John and his family. Abigail, the wife of John Ayres Jr., had died at Brookfield before the massacre and had been laid to rest in the burial ground there. On the other extremity of the colony in Hadley lived Thomas prominent in the affairs of that community.

During the remainder of his life at Ipswich, Deacon Daniel continued to dispose of some of his real estate. In 1688/9, he sold three parcels of plowing and pasture land in Ipswich, but in spite of this, died with a considerable inventory in real estate. He died at Ipswich on May 29, 1695, having been predeceased by his wife Abigail, sometimes between 1676 and 1683. The exact date of her death has not been found.

He left a large estate valued by the executor, Thomas Hovey, on October 5, 1700 at 606 pounds, 10 shillings. The inventory included among other things, his homestead in Ipswich with three acres of tillage land worth 30 pounds; eight acres of tillage and marsh land in Ipswich and on Plum Island; a house, home lot and wharf in Ipswich; and a plot of eighteen acres of upland and salt marsh known as “Hovey’s Island” and valued at 80 pounds.

The Will of Deacon Hovey makes interesting reading and yields a great deal of information concerning the contents of his household and make-up of his family. One item of particular interest in the will is that relating to his interests at Brookfield which he left with the children of Joseph and Nathaniel . It should also be noted that the will allots nearly the entire estate to the grandchildren, his own surviving children receiving but small stipends for their services as executors or overseers. However, indications are that they acquired most of the real estate by right of inheritance, since Thomas sold the family homestead to William Fuller on January 18, 1719/20. The deed stated “the Daniel Hovey Homestead which has been owned by his heirs for many years”. Previously, on April 13, 1703 another homestead and lot with wharf was sold to Thomas Hodskins.

Copyright 2001 West Brookfield Historical Commission Last modified: November 14, 2008