A native of Kingston, Pennsylvania, HENRY MARTYN HOYT studied at Lafayette College and graduated from Williams College, going on to teach school. A student and then practitioner of law, he was admitted to the Bar in 1853. He became a Lieutenant-Colonel of the 52nd Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers during the Civil War, winning promotion to Colonel and then Brigadier-General. In 1867, he was appointed a judge of Luzerne County and in 1869 became Collector of Internal Revenue for Luzerne and Susquehanna Counties, a post that he held for four years. He chaired the Republican State Committee from 1875 to 1876 and went on to win the governorship two years later. Under Hoyt’s administration, the state debt was significantly reduced, delinquent taxes were collected, the railroads were prosecuted for discriminatory freight rates, and a state medical board was established. Hoyt was also responsible for the construction of a new reformatory for youthful offenders that emphasized training and education as rehabilitative techniques. Under the terms of the new Constitution adopted during the administration of his gubernatorial predecessor, Hoyt was the first governor of Pennsylvania to serve a term of four years. After leaving office, he returned to his law practice. He was also the publisher of several books, among them a study of land claims and a book titled Protection Versus Free-Trade. He died in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

SOURCES:

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 2. New York: James T. White & Company.

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission