Finding Your Folks: Boyd, Ray, Lavender, Seawell … and Snedicor?

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

Odd names have always fascinated me. First names, last names, it doesn't matter, just odd names that take some thinking to learn to spell.

So, when I came across the name "Snedicor" attached to a Boyd as I was retrieving some old obits from The Constitution, my curiosity piqued and I was off to find the family. Actually, the Snedicor is a middle name and, going back a generation, was a surname, but you all know I can't resist a Boyd. Although Isaac's roots go back to Newberry, he isn't even remotely related to any of the Boyds I've studied, but he was a very prominent person in Atlanta in the late 1800s and early 1900s and his first wife is buried at Oak Hill in Newnan. No one at Rootsweb appeared to have done his family tree and I felt he would be an interesting study.

Isaac Snedicor Boyd was born 22 Feb. 1844 in either Mississippi or Alabama, according to censuses. His family lived in Sumter County, Ala. which was right on the Mississippi state line. His parents were Lewis M. Boyd and Sarah Emily Snedicor, and his grandparents were Nathan Boyd and Elizabeth Taggart (Tygert) of Newberry, S.C., and James Snedicor and Sallie O'Rear of Kentucky.

Isaac grew up in Alabama and headed off on his own sometime after 1860, serving in the Civil War where he attained the rank of captain. He settled, for whatever reason, in Columbus, Ga., by 1871. The first mention of him in the Constitution occurred 15 Dec. 1871 when he married (Mrs.) Mary Lucy Ray Holliday at the Kimball House in Atlanta. The notice read:

"BOYD-HOLLIDAY - Married at the --?-- Kimball House, Atlanta, Ga., by the Rev. J.T. Leftwich, Isaac S. Boyd of Columbus, Ga., to Mrs. M.L. Holliday, of Atlanta. No cards. Our friend Boyd could not wait until Christmas, and has taken his holiday now."

It would appear that Isaac was already well known in Atlanta society.

Isaac's wife, Mary Lucy Ray Holliday, was the widow of Joseph R. Holliday who died two years prior and was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Newnan. She was the daughter of John and Bethenia Lavender Ray and the granddaughter of David and Lucy Atchison Wray and John and Mary Gilliam Lavender. (Source: Coweta Cemeteries Book.) There is quite a bit of Lavender and Ray genealogy at Oak Hill.

Isaac and Mary Lucy set up housekeeping in Atlanta and lived on Peachtree Street. There is record of only one child, an infant who died in December 1872, and is buried at Oak Hill with Mary's family. By 1889, Isaac was a partner (with Thomas W. Baxter) in the Boyd & Baxter Furniture Co. The store was at 980-988 Marietta St. (Source: Atlanta city directory) He later also owned the Southern Saw Works. (Source: obituary)

Tragedy struck the family in 1891 when Mary Lucy died. The Constitution's obituary on 27 Nov. 1891 read: "BOYD. - The friends of Captain and Mrs. Isaac S. Boyd, John D. and Lavender R. Ray, Mrs. S.A. Melson and Mrs. A.J. Lowe, are invited to the funeral service of Mrs. Isaac S. Boyd, at the late residence, No. 685 (or 635) Peachtree street, this afternoon at 3 o'clock. Interment at Newnan, Saturday morning from depot at 8 o'clock. The board of stewards of First Methodist church will please attend at the services, Friday afternoon, escort the body to Newnan, B.B. Crew, H.C. Leonard, R.A. Hemphill, F.P. Rice, G.W.L. Powell, Dr. James F. Alexander, Willard H. Nutting, T.W. Baxter, C.W. Hunnicutt and W.H. Patterson."

Mary Lucy was buried at Oak Hill.

Isaac remarried fairly soon (abt. 1892) to Nannie Seawell of Tennessee, daughter of Elbridge Gerry Seawell and Susan Kennedy Miller. (Nannie was a DAR member and all her records and lineage are online.) Nannie and Isaac moved to East Point where they had two children by 1900: Elizabeth S., born in 1894, and Elbridge S., born in 1896. Those were the only two children the couple would have. Isaac passed away just four years later, and The Constitution ran his obit on 14 April 1904:

"Funeral of Capt. I.S. Boyd; Services Were Conducted From the First Methodist Church by Rev. Charles W. Byrd.

"The funeral services of Captain I.S. Boyd were conducted yesterday afternoon from the First Methodist church at 3:30 o'clock. Rev. C.W. Byrd officiating. The body was placed in a vault at Westview, to remain there until arrangements are made for a lot. An honorary escort from Camp 159 (139?) of the United Confederate Veterans was present. It was as follows: W.F. Slaton, L. Pinchard, R.H. Wilson, S.B. Scott, S.D. Mitchell, W.M. Crumley, I.J. Prim, W.G. Paschal, L.E. O'Keefe, James K. Polk, A.J. West and Frank M. Myers. The following officers and foremen of the Southern Saw Works, of which Captain Boyd was the owner, acted as pallbearers: E.L. Humphreys, F.B. Baldwin, W.L. Bowny, Robert Bailey, A.J. Corley, F.M. Balden, Charles M. Murphy and Walter Teasley. The honorary escort was as follows: Judge W.T. Newman, J.D. Harrison, R.E. Park, R.F. Maddox, Henry Peeples, B.B. Crow, Thomas Baxter, W.L. Peek, Hooper Alexander, ex-Governor Northen, Judge Hillyer, R.A. Hemphill, Allen Bates, Dr. A.W. Calhoun, W.M. Nixon, W.G. Raoul, Jr., Frank Hawkins, George Traylor, George Parrott, John Temple Graves, A.V. Gude, Edward Munford, John J. Woodside, Captain E.S. Gay, E.L. Connally, W.F. Patillo, Judge W.R. Hammond and Lavender Ray."

Isaac later was buried at Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta.

Nannie continued to function in Atlanta society, traveled frequently between Atlanta and Nashville, moved briefly to Pittsburgh, and saw to it that the marriages of both Elizabeth and Elbridge were big social items in the Constitution. Nannie died in 1954 at the age of 99 and is buried in the Boyd family plot at Oakland.

This was a "fun" family to do and I hope someone can benefit from the information I've gathered. As always, additional information and comments are welcome.

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.

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