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I Hovey

1st Tier

Joseph Hovey 1746-1820, Boxford, MA, joiner

  • Deeds 1790, 1791 and 1793 listed as a joiner.

  • His inventory from 1826 included extensive tools

  • RW soldier

I Hovey


Note: The 2000 I Hovey article by Tom Elliott, states that the I Hovey planes were found in southern NH, VT and ME ... therefore this region is the most likely location for the I Hovey craftsman.

1st tier candidate

Joseph Hovey, 1746-1820, Boxford, MA, joiner

Deeds 1790, 1791 and 1793 listed as a joiner. His inventory from 1826 included extensive tools including 11 joiners, 48 creasing tools, 12  bench planes, rising and cornice planes.

RW; Corp. in John Cushing’s Co., Col. Johnson’s Reg., May 1776 based on period orders. He was also listed elsewhere as a minute man in Johnson’s Reg.

m Mary Porter in 1773. At least one son, Joseph Jr. was in the trades as a clockmaker, before he went on to Harvard. Only one son, Thomas S Hovey, a farmer, outlived Joseph.

2nd tier candidates

Josiah Hovey, Dudley, MA, housewright, Deeds 1777 and 1780

Jacob Hovey, Niagara frontier, NY, carpenter 1812

James Hovey, b at Plymouth, MA in 1712, is too early for the planes.

2nd Generation

Massachusetts and Rockingham NH deeds were searched for all I and J Hovey entries. The second generation John Hovey (IH (zz) initials), was listed as a carpenter in an1815 Londonderry deed and in an 1817 Hopkinton deed.

MA, NH, CT, VT and ME Records

New England census records were searched for I Hovey’s to help understand the family distribution patterns. For example, the 1800 census records were searched and yielded; 11 from MA, 1 from NH, 3 from ME, 8 from CT and 2 from VT.

Massachusetts and New Hampshire I Hoveys were reasonably well understood / represented due to period deed records. In addition, MA’s probate and wills were also reasonably well documented.

VT and ME records were more limited. But between the Federal Census and the book on Daniel Hovey of Ipswich, approximately half a dozen I Hoveys could be located and identified by their trade. No individuals with a woodworked trade were found.

CT census records, probate records, and individuals found in the Daniel Hovey of Ipswich book, provided quite a few period I Hoveys.  For example, 8 individuals were found in the 1800 census and 9 individuals had probates dating between 1800 and 1850. However, of these I Hovey’s, only 7 could be identified with respect to a trade, while 6 could not. Thus, within NE, the CT based I Hoveys are the least well documented, trade-wise. However, CT’s relatively distant location from the southern NH, VT, ME area helps mitigate the impact of this uncertainty.

Owner Marks on the toted Round: S Hood (zz) and T Norton (incuse) (Photos below)

Samuel Hood, 1762-1843, was a housewright / builder in Topsfield, next door to Boxford. He was listed as a housewright in deeds from 1786, 1794 and 1814. It is believed that he built the important 1806/7 Perkins house in Topsfield.

Other Massachusetts based S Hoods were identified (approximately 5 or 6 individuals for each decade between1800 to 1850). In contrast, only two S Hoods in NH and one in CT were found prior to 1850. MA deeds, NH deeds, census records and internet sources were searched. No other S Hoods were found that were involved with a woodworking trade.

Taken together, this S Hood information gives additional weight to the Joseph Hovey candidate from Boxford.

Many entries for T Norton exist, so a search of all candidates was not deemed practical. A search of Essex Co. deeds was conducted, but it did not yield any T Norton’s. However, a Thomas Norton, joiner, was found in Portsmouth, NH. He was b in Kittery ME in 1809 and d in Portsmouth NH in 1865. He was listed as a joiner and house carpenter in Portsmouth deeds from 1833 and 1834 as well as a house joiner in the 1860 census. His inventory did not include tools, however his property on Austin St. included a workshop.




Joseph Hovey, 1762-1825/6, father of the carpenter John Hovey of Londonderry, NH, was put forward as a possible candidate for I Hovey in 2000. However, he was a yeoman in period NH deeds from1785 to 1825 and his inventory included only typical household and farm items (no specialized woodworking tools). An (assumed) second Joseph, was listed as a weaver in Salem in deeds from the years 1790 and 1805. Thus on balance, it is most likely that John Hovey’s father Joseph ( Londonderry, NH)  was not the maker of the I Hovey planes.


Photos below: Joseph Hovey of Boxford, MA.  1790 deed, 1776 RW orders, 1821 inventory and headstone.

I Hovey toted round, 13 5/8”, it is likely that the wedge was replaced

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