New England Outpost

The Little Brown House on The Albany Road

the big fireplace echoed the rejoicing which followed this victory of a self-made Deerfield boy over the savants of Europe. And well it might, — for had it not for years been throwing light from its pine knots on these knotty questions?

General Hoyt was a graduate of the Deerfield district school. Edward Hitchcock had in addition a few winter terms at the Deerfield Academy, and this was his Alma Mater. Although professor, and later president of a college, and the recipient of collegiate honors from far and wide, he never saw as a pupil the inside of any college walls, and he may well be called a graduate of the little brown cottage on the old Albany road. Perhaps the honor must be shared with the great elm tree under which it nestled so snugly, with its moss covered roof. It is related that the General and his nephew were in the habit of fleeing, to escape the disturbance from the children and the swash of Aunt Spiddy's mop on the floor, to a seat among the branches of this even then giant tree, to study their most profound problems; and here Edward spent many a studious hour, refusing to join in the pastimes of his companions. Certain it is that the seat in the old tree was a favorite place of resort, not only for the General and the future president, but also for their growing sons and daughters.

Hoyt had such an appreciation of and admiration for the Duke of Wellington, that, in 1811, he named his only son after him, Arthur Wellesley, thus anticipating the fame the Iron Duke gained later at Salamanca and Waterloo. European wars did not, however, wholly engross the attention of Hoyt. He is best known to-day by his "Antiquarian Researches" concerning the Indian wars of New England, a work of great value to students of New England history.

The rise and progress of the events which led to the War of Impressment with England must have been watched with the deepest interest and discussed in all their bearings under the roof-tree of the Inspector General's cottage. Here would the patriotic citizens gather; here would be first heard the declaration of the war, and here first came the stirring news of our gallant naval victories so unexpected by either of the belligerents; and here, we may be sure, were sung the spirited songs they inspired. The General was not gifted in song, but what he lacked in tone and harmony he made up in energy, and doubtless the rafters shook as he emphasized the sentiment of Chancellor Kilty's variation of "Britannia Rule the Wave."

          "For see, Columbia's sons arise,
                  Firm, independent, bold and free;
          They too shall seize the glorious prize,
                  And share the empire of the sea;
          Hence then, let freemen rule the waves,
                  And those who yield them still be slaves;"
or as he joined in Ray's stirring lyric:
          "Too long has proud Britannia reigned
                  The tyrant of the sea,
          With guiltless blood her banners stain'd,
          Ten thousand by impressment chain'd,
                  Whom God created free;"
or in the rollicking tribute to Commodore Perry:
          "Hail to the chief, now in glory advancing,
          Who conquered the Britons on Erie's broad wave;
          Who play'd Yankee Doodle to set them a-dancing,
          Then tripp'd up their heels for a watery grave."

We have seen that the General did not live then, as in later years, in scholastic seclusion. Neither was he an exclusive devotee to science and military art. He was an active man of affairs, with a wide-spread political influence, and was, in fact, one of the river gods. He was post-master and registrar of deeds for Northern Hampshire; and hundreds of pages written by his daughter, Fanny, by the light from the east window are now daily consulted by the public. The little brown cottage was also the

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This page was last updated on 11 Feb 2006