It was in the county Louth about 1794 that James Hoy was born. It is likely that he was born in the parish of Darver which is about 8 miles southwest of Dundalk. There is one main gap in the Catholic records of Louth from this period and that is in the neighboring parish also called Louth. So, if James Hoy of Easton, PA was not born in Newragh, Darver parish, he was born less than a mile away in Louth Parish.
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James Hoy from Darver was born on the 16th of May, 1794. His parents were James Hoy and Catherine McCullin. We know from the records of the birth of Mary Hoy, that the family lived in the Newragh townland.
There were at least six children in the family:
- Thomas who was born on the 3rd of April, 1788
- Hugh who was born on the 3rd of April, 1790
- Mary who was born on the 14th of April, 1792
- James who was born on the 16th of May, 1794
- Margaret who was born on the 4th of July, 1796
- Edward who was born on the 8th of December, 1798
We know that he was literate by the fact that he could sign his naturalization papers years later. On these papers, he declared that he was from the county Louth in Ireland. Around that time, only 25% of the population of Louth was literate. It was common at that time for families with sufficient resources to send the boys who were not going to inherit the farm away to seek their fortunes elsewhere.
James sailed from Liverpool
and arrived in New York on April 20, 1830. We know that he married Margaret Phelan who was born about 1815. They were married on April 30th, 1834 at St. John's Church in Newark, NJ. The couple found a home in Newark, New Jersey where their first child, Margaret was born the next year on October 5th. Two more children were born to James and Margaret, in Newark. One of them was Sarah Jane who was born on July 6th, 1841.
After 11 years in New Jersey, the family arrived
in Easton, Pennsylvania in 1845. Three more children including the only surviving son Thomas were born in Easton.
died at an early age about the year 1859 and James followed her in 1862. He was drowned while he was working on the Lehigh Canal near his home in Glendon, PA. He was a working man until the day that he died. His obituary in the Easton Express said that his wife had died a few years previously. Two of the couple's daughters, Rose and Sarah erected a gravestone for their father later and indicated that he was born in the county Louth. An unreadable stone next to his is believed to be Margaret's and Sarah's own gravestone is next to them. These gravestones are located in St Joseph's
Cemetery in South Easton.
It is likely that James was in contact with his family in Ireland since he signed his name James Hoy on his naturalization paper but the name was spelled James Hoey in the section filled out by the clerk.
At the time that James and his brothers & sisters were born, the spelling of his name was changing from Hoy to Hoey which is much more common in Ireland now. In Darver parish, all baptisms up to 1806 were spelled Hoy. All baptisms after 1806 were spelled Hoey. In 1806, the first birth was Hoy and the second was Hoey. The Louth county historian explained that a new curate problbly took over in 1806 and changed the spelling. It seems likely that a literate family like this would have transmitted the spelling change to their son far away and never to return.