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Hyde Family Papers

Hyde Family Papers

1713-1816, 1840-1916

(Alternate spelling of Hyde: Hide, Hides)

Samuel Hyde (1610-1689) and his brother Jonathan Hyde(1626-1711) were among Newtons founding families, settling in what was then called Cambridge Village in 1640 and 1647 respectively.

They acquired several hundred acres of land in the vicinity of the Meeting House and Burying Ground which they held in common until 1661. Samuel settled north of the Old Burying Ground, Jonathan to the south near the corner of Homer Street. The locations of these properties can be seen On the "Plan of Newton about 1688" and the "Plan of the Town of Newton in 1700" from Jacksons History of Newton, both in the collections of the Newton History Museum.

The Hyde House, now at 27 George Street, is on the site of the "Farm of Samuel Hyde, Esq.," which is shown on an 1845 plan drawn by E. F. Woodward. Nothing remains of Jonathans homestead, however, the home of Jonathans son Eleazar (1664-1731) is still standing at 401 Woodward Street, part of which was known as the Sherborn Road. Both houses were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

Lt. William Hides (1690-1754)

The Hyde Diaries are a series of six common place books kept by William Hides (1690-1754), grandson of Jonathan Hyde(1626-1711). Later entries are attributed to Williams son Noah Hyde (1717-1786) and Noahs daughter Ruth Hyde (1740-1816).

Francis Jackson describes the Hyde diaries in his History of Newton (1854), stressing their value and suggesting that they should be copied at town expense. The diaries are also referred to in the Vital Records of Newton, Massachusetts, to the year 1850, published in 1905 by the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), which owns five of the diaries. These were given to the New England Historic Genealogical Society by Alexander Williams of Boston in 1873; in the twentieth century a sixth volume was given to the Newton History Museum.

The record span of this collection is 1652-1816. According to Jackson, Hyde began recording deaths in the town in 1713 which leads to the assumption that he may have copied earlier records from other sources. Subject contents include Newton, Massachusetts vital records, lists of fires, details of William Hydes military service in Canada (1707-1709), sermon notes and Hide/Hides/Hyde family records. This collection is available on microfilm at both the NEHGS and The Jackson Homestead.

George Hyde (1810-1892) and Rebecca Childs Hyde (1811-1898)

George Hyde, a seventh generation descendant of Samuel Hyde (1610-1689) married Rebecca Childs in 1839 and lived in the Hyde House at 27 George Street. Their photograph album, now in the Homesteads collection, has photographs of George and Rebecca Hyde, their daughters Alzea Hyde Whitman and Charlotte Hyde Horsfall, and other family members and friends including some members of the first graduating class of Newton High School.

After the death of George Hyde, most the property around the old Samuel Hyde farm was subdivided. In 1909, to allow for the sale of several large lots fronting on Centre Street, the family home, a portion of which dates from 1792, was relocated to 27 George Street. Georges daughter, Charlotte Hyde Horsfall lived on George Street until her death at 87 in 1934.

In 1935 Charlottes heirs sold the house to Mr. and Mrs. John R. Swanton, Jr. The Swantons exhaustive study of the house and Hyde family, given to The Jackson Homestead in 1976, is a valuable resource for information about the Hyde family in Newton. The Hyde House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

James Francis Clark Hyde (1825-1898)

Born in Newton July 26, 1825, James Francis Clark Hyde was a seventh generation descendant of Jonathan Hyde (1626-1711). Self-educated, J. F. C. Hyde as he was known, was a successful businessman and an astute politician. He is best known as Newtons first mayor and as the originator of the Circuit Railroad which in 1886 connected Newtons two Boston and Albany rail lines and established the village of Waban.

In 1854, at the age of twenty-nine, Hyde was elected selectman, a position he held for seventeen years. He was town meeting moderator for many years, and a member of the highway and school committees. At thirty-one, he was elected as a representative to the Massachusetts General Court and served four years. He was also a trial justice for 6 years and his record book listing complainant, defendants, and judgments rendered, 1858 to 1864, is preserved in this collection.

Guiding Newtons transition from town to city government, Hyde was inaugurated as Mayor in 1874 and served in that capacity for two years.

Hyde was a Member of State Board of Agriculture and President of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society (1867-1870). He was a founder of the Newton Horticultural Society and the Newton Highlands Congregational Church, and served on the Boards of the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, the Quincy Mutual Fire Insurance Company, several Newton banks, and the Newton Cemetery. Memorial resolutions from these organizations attest to his civic activities; a quotation from the Newton Cemetery resolution makes reference to the evolution of the description of "Newton as the Garden City:"

...his earnest appeals with voice and pen, to his fellow townsmen and public generally, to encourage horticulture and floriculture, had much to do toward giving us the euphonious title of the Garden City of Massachusetts.

Hyde used his "voice and pen" throughout his life and many of his reminiscences, historical lectures and speeches are preserved in manuscript, typescript, print or news clippings in this collection. Subjects include local and political history, agriculture and horticulture, and his inaugural addresses in 1874 and 1875. Daughter Mary E. Hydes (1862-1945) reminiscence entitled "Newton Highlands Forty Years Ago," written about 1916, is included with J.F.Cs papers.

There is also a small series of correspondence 1854-1897; an autograph collection including signatures by A. J. Downing, William Lloyd Garrison and others; an account book with lists of plants sold from his nursery in 1845-53; a few photographs; and household receipts. The receipts relate to the construction and furnishing of Hydes "new" house, built in 1874 and described in the Newton Journal, October 13, 1874. That house, which stood at 1547 Centre Street, was replaced by another "new" house about 1912. Although the house is gone, J. F. C. Hyde is remembered by the nearby school building (now condominiums) which bears his name.

Additional information about J. F. C. Hyde can be found in a "Biographical Sketch of the Life of Hon. James F. C. Hyde" (no author, no date) and in the Newton Journal, December 15, 1893. Genealogical information about the Hyde family can be found in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vols. 283-5, April, July October 1917, "Four Generations of the Descendant of Jonathan Hyde of Newton, Massachusetts," which are also in the Hyde collection.

No. of Boxes: 4 flat boxes
Microfilm: 1 reel
Finding Aids: Yes; Diaries not indexed

Hurd, Jackson, Smith
Location for other materials: Newton Free Library