Santa Cruz County History - People

Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

HOYTT, JOHN (1830-1904)

Santa Cruz Surf (January 21, 1904)

Dropped Dead
John Hoytt, A Woodchopper, Dies Suddenly,
Coroner's Inquest Brings in Verdict of Death from Natural Causes

While walking up a steep hill on his way to work, John Hoytt turned to his companions, Jacob Needham and Mr. Yates and said his last words, "This is the hardest part of wood chopping," and fell to the hard cold, frosty ground. His companions thought he had slipped, and turned around to see him lying flat on the ground. They went to his assistance and held him, but he gave three hard struggles for breath and two gasps and then died.

He was living with Jacob Needham near the Loma Prieta mill, and was working at wood chopping for the Loma Prieta Company. When he died he had just left the Needham house after partaking of a hearty breakfast and was ascending a steep hill to go to his work at wood chopping. He was only about two hundred yards from the house, and death was supposed to be caused by heart trouble.

He has resided in these parts about twenty years, and spent a great many years on the frontier, and also crossed the plains in the early days. He was in the Civil War, and was under Ewell against the Apaches and spent much of his life fighting Indians.

He was seventy-four years of age and a native of Ohio.

Coroner Morgan held an inquest this morning at Scott and Hear's undertaking parlors and the jury brought in a verdict of death from natural causes. The jurors were Willis B. Towne, Ben Conner, L.A. Daniels, George Kirby, William Liddell, and G.A. Rishar.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (January 22, 1904)

DIED: HOYTT- at Loma Prieta Mill Jan 20th, John Hoytt a native of Ohio, aged 74 years.

Editor's note: The Santa Cruz Sentinel Obituary is an abbreviated version of Surf's.

Letter: Lemons, John, DR. to Corky Reed (June 2, 2002)

Subject: Capt. R.S. Ewell

This is from a story written by James E. Serven in 1965 and appeared in The Smoke Signal, an occasionally published periodical.

The dragoons were first assigned to southern Arizona in 1856 to protect the settlers and miners from the Apaches. Companies B, D, G and K of the 1st Regiment of Dragoons established Camp Moore in November 1856. It was later renamed Fort Buchanan in honor of President James Buchanan. The first commander was Maj. Enoch Steen. "Among the officers who served at Fort Buchanan, Cap. Richard Stoddard Ewell stands out above the rest as does 'Old Baldy' Peak, named for him, stand above the region about it. Capt. Ewell came from a good Southern family, graduated from West Point in 1840, and served in the Mexican War. He was stationed in Arizona from late 1856 to late 1860, and was post commander at various times during that period. The Dragoons of Company G claimed their captain could swear the scalp off an Indian! "Capt. Ewell attributed his bachelor status (he was 40 in 1857) to the fact that he admired too many ladies at one time. He had other multiple interests too, including speculation in livestock (the Indians ran off 25 cows he owned near Tucson). Another of his non-military interests was a partnership in the Patagonia Mine. Along with the other partners he sold his interest in this mine to E. Brevoort, who in turn sold it to H.T. Titus; thence it was sold to Lt. Sylvester Mowry for $25,000 and greatly improved becoming the Mowry Mine. "Capt. Ewell's health began to fail in 1860, and he wrote his niece in January of 1861 that he had been ill with vertigo, nausea, etc. and was excessively debilitated, having occasional attacks of ague. He was granted a leave of absence and departed for Virginia, sending in his resignation from the United States Army on April 24, 1861. He later joined the Confederate army and rose to the rank of brigadier-general. "In May of 1858, Companies B and K departed for California and by 1859, only Companies D and G were stationed at Fort Buchanan." Fort Buchanan was abandoned in July 1861 and the dragoon companies moved to Fort Fillmore.

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