Friday, July 8, 2004
Genealogy: Finding Your Folks
The family of James and Millie Boyd of Bethany - Part 1
By JUDY FOWLER KILGORE
To begin this interesting story on the Boyds, I need to set the stage and tell you how I came to be researching them in the first place.
When I first started seriously researching my Boyds several years ago, I started with my mothers family Bible which listed her grandmothers parents as Robert Boyd and Sarah Ann LeGuin. Both are buried at Powells Chapel UMC cemetery near Villa Rica.
The Bible also listed some of Roberts brothers and sisters which allowed me to track Roberts father, Hugh Boyd, back to Roberts grandfather, another Robert Boyd who died in Meriwether County in 1847. But there I got stuck and, apparently, so did a lot of other Boyd researchers. All we knew was that this Robert came from Newberry County, S.C. sometime before 1840 when he appeared in the Meriwether census as the 80- to 90-year-old person living in the home of his son, William Boyd.
Roberts will, naming all his children, was in the probate records in the Meriwether courthouse, so I could come forward in time but I couldnt go backward. A trip to Newberry was out of the question at that time and Newberry records in nearby genealogy libraries yielded nothing that rang any bells for me.
I sat there for years until one day I decided the only way I was going to break down this brick wall was to study all the Boyds in Meriwether. I had come across the book written by George Hugh Boyd which gave the genealogy of the Boyds at Bethany and was able to connect them to my Boyds through Mark Tidwell, brother of Millie Tidwell, who married my Roberts daughter, Frances (Fanny) Boyd. Mark was listed in the will as well as in the estate distribution.
And thus began my twice-or thrice-weekly treks to the Meriwether County courthouse in Greenville where I pored over probate records, land records and other court records, noting any Boyds I happened to come across. And there were oodles and oodles of them.
My Ancestry.com census subscription also allowed me to go over census records from the beginning of the county to 1880, when all the Boyds disappeared from Meriwether.
So my research would not be for naught, I compiled it into a 2000+-word story on the Boyds of Meriwether and submitted it to the Meriwether Heritage Book for publication. I have this study in MS Word format and would be happy to share it with all who are interested, although some of it is now obsolete since further research has answered some of the questions it posed.
The main thing the study showed was that there were at least two core Boyd families in Meriwether from 1827 to 1860 my Roberts family and the family of James and Millie who interacted constantly in their land dealings and other court procedures. They all lived in the Upper Ninth District of Meriwether near Mt. Carmel Methodist Church, between Alvaton and the Flint River, which separates Meriwether from Pike County. James Boyds father, John Boyd, owned land lot 265 and my Robert owned land lot 269, with other Boyds and Boyd kin in between and surrounding that area.
Land lot 265 later belonged to James, and even later to his sister Sarah Boyd Bell. In fact, James land, land lot 265, borders the Flint River and Im beginning to wonder if James appearance in the 1850 Pike County census wasnt actually in the area that is now Meriwether. Some of the Pike County old timers say that Pike once extended across the Flint River.
Im firmly convinced that the Hugh Boyd mentioned as a cousin of James in the Boyd-Tidwell book was actually my GGG grandfather. Furthermore, I have gleaned enough evidence to show that my Robert, father of my Hugh, was more than likely a brother to James grandfather, John Boyd (Johnny Buckles).
And here we had better begin the story. You will notice that James was preceded in his immediate ancestry by a lot of John Boyds. To keep them straight, were going to give them nicknames, the names they were called by in the early years, to distinguish one from the other.
James, born 1 Feb 1810 in Kentucky, was the only known son of John Boyd and Nancy Chambers. This John Boyd was a wagoner by profession and was called Wagon ner Jack.
Wagonner Jacks father was also named John Boyd, but he was a shoe buckler and harness maker by trade. He was called Johnny Buckles. (This is the John Boyd I am 99.9 percent certain was the older brother of my Robert.)
Johnny Buckles father was also John Boyd and may be the first ancestor of this family to come to America. This John Boyd, born about 1725-1730, came from Ballymena, County Antrim, Ireland, and was known to all his friends in South Carolina as John Boyd of Ballymena. I have shortened this to John B of B in my references to John in this story.
Just exactly when John B of B landed in America is not known. He may have settled in Pennsylvania or Virginia in the mid-1700s or he may have landed on the South Carolina coast in the 1760s or 1770s. The only known fact we have so far is that John B of B appeared before the South Carolina Council in 1772 and applied for a grant of land, which he received. Some ship passenger lists show others of this time landing in Charleston, but our John is not among them.
Next week, well discuss the South Carolina roots of this family and tell how James came to be born in Kentucky.
I welcome all letters and e-mails about genealogy and info on south metro Atlanta families. Send them to The Citizen, P.O. Drawer 1719, Fayetteville, GA 30214; e-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Any letters and/or e-mails I receive are subject to being used in the column.
Until next week, happy hunting!
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