Finding Your Folks: McDuffie and Amanda Herndon Boyd

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

I'm going to close out this family series with the story of McDuffie C. Boyd who was called "Mack." I've saved McDuffie 'til last because it gives me a nice transition into the next series I want to do, that of the Herndon family (McDuffie's wife). Later, we'll feature the Kempson family and their relationship with several other families in Coweta's first district. We'll even touch again on that old rascal, Wilkins Stone. You will find these families spilling over into south Fayette, western Spalding, and northern Pike and Meriwether counties. How they intermingle is fascinating.

In the meantime, if you have families who connect to these families or have information you want to add, please feel free to jump in at any time.

McDuffie C. Boyd, the sixth and last child of Robert and Chloeretta Gray Boyd, was born 14 Feb. 1836, probably in South Carolina although some sources say he was born in Elbert County, Ga. I don't know what their basis is for saying that. As I said before, I believe McDuffie's parents didn't leave South Carolina until after Chloeretta's father died in 1837. Robert Boyd, McDuffie's father, was in the 1830 Abbeville census and made his first land purchase in Meriwether County in 1838.

McDuffie came to Meriwether County with his parents when he was just a wee tot and grew up there, just a few hundred yards from the Flint River, in the company of his brothers and sisters and many, many Boyd cousins. But the years 1848 to 1857 were tough times.

In January of 1848, McDuffie suffered the loss of his mother and only four months later, in May, his father remarried to a widow (Mrs. Martha Osborne Wagner) with two minor children (Martha Jane and Augustus Wagner). In October of that same year, McDuffie lost a sister, Mary E. Boyd, and in 1850 lost another sister, Amanda. In 1851 his stepmother died, the next year, his father remarried again, and, six years later (June of 1857), his father died. Life certainly was not easy for this young man during his teen years. But better times were on the way.

In December of 1857, McDuffie married Mrs. Amanda (Herndon) Brooks, the 23-year-old widow of Matthew Brooks of Coweta County and daughter of Edward and Nancy (Brown) Herndon of Elbert and Meriwether counties. Amanda and Matthew had only been married a year or so and had suffered the loss of an infant when it was only a few weeks old. Apparently Matthew suddenly became ill and died in the fall of 1856. His nuncupative will (verbal) was made 14 Oct. 1856 on his deathbed. William Amis was the executor and witnesses were Samuel W. Neill, Edward C. Chappell and Preston A.H. Herndon, Amanda's brother. (Source: Coweta County Will Book B, page 127.) In the annual returns, M.C. Boyd is shown accepting more than $1,600 in Amanda's stead, as the present husband of the widow.

In addition, McDuffie had inherited a good portion of his father's estate and he and Amanda settled in Meriwether County, living beside his brother, Frederick G. Boyd, and sister, Julia Boyd White. Their estate straddled what is now Sullivan Mill Road near Dolly Harris Road and adjoined the land of the Tidwell and the William and Hugh Boyd families.

On 23 July 1859, Amanda and McDuffie were blessed with their first child, a son named William Henry Boyd. Others followed: Virginia A. Boyd born 15 Oct. 1862; Robert Edward Boyd born 10 Oct. 1866; Margaret Elizabeth Boyd born 30 July 1869; and Monte Tench Boyd born 2 June 1874. (Source: Boyd family Bible records.) Birthplaces are not given, but sometime before 1870, McDuffie and his family moved to Carroll County and before 1880 they moved to Polk County. The children could have been born anywhere.

There is evidence to show that McDuffie fought in the Civil War, although no details on his unit or his service could be found. There was only one reference online in the roster of all the soldiers in Georgia and that was M.C. Boyd, a private with Co. K & Co. B, 1st Regt., Georgia Cavalry, and again under "McD. C. Boyd" with the same unit. There is little doubt that "McD. C." is McDuffie. I suspect that McDuffie and his sibings left Meriwether after the Civil War and started moving around, as so many did. By 1880, all three siblings were in Polk County and McDuffie and Amanda had three children still at home, Robert, Margaret and Monte. Virginia Boyd had married W.T. Peek in 1879.

On Sept. 9, 1890, Amanda died ... "at her home in Haralson County ..." and her obituary ran in several newspapers, among them the Newnan Herald and Advertiser. Jackie Lambert was kind enough to photocopy the obit for me from that source. It also is online in several places and in different versions. I will save details of the obit for the next column since it gives some Herndon family history and we will be sliding right into that family.

McDuffie's son, Robert Edward Boyd, married Ida Elizabeth Kirby and they had at least one son, Judson Herndon Boyd, born 27 Nov. 1900. Judson married Pauline Edna Putnam in 1928 in Chattanooga, Tenn. McDuffie is said to have remarried but I could find no record of him. He lived right on the Georgia-Alabama line in Chatooga County and died there on April 4, 1922. He is buried in the Ami Cemetery in Menlo, Chatooga County, Ga.
My grateful thanks to Charity Boyd of Dalton who gave me much of the information on McDuffie's family, including the Boyd Bible records.
Next week: The Edward Herndon family.

Stories and family histories about your ancestors who lived on Atlanta's south side are always welcome. Send them to or Mail to The Citizen, P.O. Drawer 1719, Fayetteville, GA 30214. All letters and e-mails I receive are subject to being used in the column.

login to post comments | Judy Fowler Kilgore's blog