When Did William Hoggatt Die?
By Joanne Skelton

My 5th great-grandfather, William Hoggatt, the son of Philip Hoggatt and Mary (Glendenning) Hoggatt, is listed as buried in Guilford County, North Carolina in the Centre Friends Cemetery. Apparently there is a gravestone there for him which reads: “William Hockett ‘First Settler’ 1727 1772” (1)

In all the compiled records that I’ve found, including the 782 page family history, Hocketts on the Move: the Hoggatt-Hockett Family in America, published in 1982, his death date is listed as 4-27-1772. (2) It is reasonable to assume that the source used for this date is from the New Garden Monthly Meeting Quaker Records, which reads “William Hoggatt (d. 4-27-1772, p. 89).” (3) I checked the microfilm of the original records and the clerk has written: “27 of Apl 4 mo 1772.” (4)

So, why do I have any question about the date of his death? My question came when considering the information about his will. The published abstract lists the date of the will as “5 Sept 1771” and the probate date as “Nov 1771.” (5) If he had truly died in April of 1772, why would the will be probated five months before in November of 1771. Again I checked the microfilm of the recorded will and to my best reading, the dates in the abstract are correct. (6)

Could the other two pieces of information (the cemetery reading and the Quaker church record) be incorrect?

First, I considered the cemetery inscription. In studying the history of the Society of Friends (Quakers) I found that “Friends were for many years opposed to any marker on a grave.” (7) The inscription used the name Hockett and that variation of the name Hoggatt was used mostly after 1800 by the Hoggatt family. (8) So it is probable that the gravestone was made in his memory a number of years after his death and the maker used the information from the New Garden Monthly Meeting record.

So, I must consider the reliability of that record. William was buried at the Centre Monthly Meeting Cemetery, not New Garden. The locations are both in Guilford County, North Carolina, about ten miles apart. A map of early land claims shows that William’s land patent was a little over a mile from the Centre meeting house. (9) The Centre or Center Meeting had a first-day meeting as early as 1757 and became a Monthly Meeting in 1773. All the minutes of that meeting before 1825 have been lost. There was one volume of birth, death and marriage records which show the following about William’s family:
          “William Hoggatt
           Hannah Hoggatt
           Ch: William      b. 1-9-1763
           Joseph     b. 11-2-1764
           Stephen     b. 4-6-1767
           Margaret b. 2-13-1769
           John     b. 2-16-1771; d. near about the 5 mo-1772.” (10)

There is also a record of William’s family in the New Garden birth and death records:
          “William Hoggatt
           Hannah Hoggatt
           Ch: William     b. 1-9-1763
           Joseph      b. 4-6-1767
           Margaret b. 2-13-1769
           John     b. 2-16-1771” (11)

You will notice that the children are listed differently. From comparing other records when some of the children moved to Ohio, then Indiana, and then Iowa, it becomes apparent that it was the New Garden clerk who made an error in listing the children. So it would be reasonable to conclude that he might have made an error in recording the death date of William. Consider this possibility: From the Center Monthly Meeting records we see that William’s youngest son, John, died near about the 5th month (May) in 1772. April 27th could be considered “near about” May. So when the New Garden clerk recorded the death of William’s son from the neighboring meeting, he used the father’s name by mistake.

If this reasoning is correct, then William probably died sometime between September 5, 1771 and November 1771. If there is anyone who has additional information about this questions or suggestions for further research, please contact me. I would really like to know when my ancestor, William Hoggatt, died.
(1) Helen W. and Royce C. Booth, “Centre Friends Cemetery,” The Guilford Genealogist 15 (Fall 1987):27.
(2) Sarah Myrtle Osborne and Theodore Edison Perkins, Hocketts on the Move: the Hoggatt-Hockett Family in America. (Greensboro, NC: privately printed, 1982) 209,235.
(3) William A. Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. Volume 1. North Carolina. (1936. Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994) 501.
(4) Society of Friends,, New Garden Monthly Meeting [North Carolina] Births, deaths, marriages 1740-1803 and minutes 1775-1782. (Guilford College, NC: Guilford College Library Microfilms, 1964) Microfilm no. 371252, page 89, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
(5) Irene B. Webster, compiler, Guilford County, North Carolina Will Abstracts, 1771-1841. (Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, Inc. 1979) 26.
(6) North Carolina County Court, Guilford County. Record of wills 1771-1859, Book A:0152. Microfilm no. 502409, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
(7) Willard Heiss, editor, Abstracts of the Records of the Society of Friends in Indiana, Part One. (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1962) xxi
(8) Osborne and Perkins, Hocketts on the Move…..: Acknowledgements
(9) Fred Hughes, mapmaker, Guilford County North Carolina Historical Documentation. (Jamestown, NC: The Custom House, 1980, rev. 1988)
(10) Hinshaw, 656
(11) Hinshaw, 501

Copyright 2002 Joanne Skelton