Progress Notes

Joe Pryor - News Tribune Article Monday, June 04, 2007

Monday, March 9, 2009

Progress Notes

One of the things in which we become the most immersed and involved at the museum are genealogies. And our research facilities are excellent for anyone interested in data pertaining to Miller County names, for which reason we have many visitors to the museum interested only in taking advantage of our research library.

I’m not particularly disposed to any certain area of Miller County history but can become intrigued at times by the complexities and uncertainties associated with genealogical research. One family line, in particular, that I have had difficulty keeping straight is the Boyd family. When I get into the genealogical history later you will understand why. I was first introduced to the Boyds’ when I married because, you see, my mother in law Elva Steen’s maiden surname was Boyd. I remember back in the mid 1960’s when I would visit the Steen family before I married their daughter, Judy, a very old man was living with them named John Riley Boyd (photo 01).

01 John Riley (Da Do) Boyd with great great grandson Bruce Woolsey
01 John Riley (Da Do) Boyd with great great grandson Bruce Woolsey

He was Elva’s grandfather and from time to time he would stay with her. But he wasn’t called John, he was called by a nick name, “Da Do.”  I never knew for sure how he acquired the nickname, but Elva said it was because he was always walking around reciting to himself this poem:

Lay low, see fro,
Cut him in a long coat tom.
Da Do dip pin,
Wob and a watch, oh

Elva said no one ever knew from where this refrain originated; perhaps it was an old poem brought with early immigrants of the family from Europe in which the original meaning or words had been forgotten; or, since Da Do was a fiddler, maybe it was a call used for dances at which Da Do may have played his fiddle. Elva told me that Da Do was one of her favorite people when she was a child because he was always eager for Elva to visit and that he “played with her” just like a playmate her own age. In those days he worked in Ulman as a blacksmith (photo 01a).

01a John Riley (Da Do) Boyd
01a John Riley (Da Do) Boyd

Throughout his life he also loved to hunt (photo 01b).

01b John Riley Boyd (Da Do)
01b John Riley Boyd (Da Do)

Da Do was in his nineties when I met him but he was mentally very acute and could tell many stories of long ago. He was well known around Ulman where he had owned a farm for many years. As noted above he was a fiddle player and loved to jig dance. By the time I knew him his fingers were gnarled with such severe arthritis he couldn’t finger the strings anymore. I never saw him without a chaw of tobacco in his mouth. It was a poorly kept secret but Da Do had a penchant for burying money at various secret locations on his farm. He even buried a couple of gold coins which he had been saving for a long time since gold had not been used for currency for many years. Da Do never trusted banks and never in his life established a bank account after the Bank of Ulman failed during the depression era. Before burying the paper money he always carefully folded the bills and placed them in fruit jars with tight lids. No one knows how much money he had buried around his farm. But, unfortunately, after he became too old to live there anymore and had come to live with his granddaughter, Elva (Boyd) Steen, trespassers began combing the farm looking for Da Do’s gold coins. In fact, according to Buster McGowin, who now owns the farm, one can still find holes scattered around the fields where people had been digging to see if they could find Da Do’s money and gold! Buster says that to this day once in a while people have crisscrossed the fields with metal detectors. And even more problematic, after so many years, Da Do himself had forgotten where he had buried some of his gold and money.

In 1967 I and my wife Judy, Elva’s daughter, began to plan our marriage. Elva was going to make the wedding dress for Judy and all the dresses for the wedding attendants. Needing about two hundred dollars to cover the cost of the fabric as well as other items for the wedding and reception, Da Do, who was living with Elva at the time, suggested she use the inheritance money he was going to give her. Apparently, he had also been burying money on the Steen farm just like he had been doing on his own farm over at Ulman. He told Elva the location of the burial so out to the field she and Da Do went. Elva said she was surprised that Da Do actually was able to locate the burial site and dig up the jar. The jar had one thousand dollars in it! Elva took two hundred dollars to buy the lace and fabric for the wedding attire, as well as the reception and other costs. The paper money was damp and ragged and she had to “iron it out” a bit to get it in shape to be accepted at the store. On one occasion, Elva told me that in one of Da Do’s buried jars the paper money had all rotted to where it couldn’t be accepted any longer as legal tender.

I reviewed the facts about this story with Elva because, although I remembered it at the time, I still wanted to be sure I was telling the truth when I tell you that she made all the dresses for our wedding as well as her own and paid the other expenses for less than two hundred dollars! Here is one of the wedding photos in which you can see what a great seamstress Elva is (photo 02)!

02 Pryor Steen Wedding Dresses
02 Pryor Steen Wedding Dresses

John “Da Do” Boyd died in the winter of 1968 at 94 years of age but about six months before he died, he told Elva, his daughter, that there was another jar of money he had buried. At that time he was staying with Elva’s sister, Nettie, on Ninth Street in Eldon, living in a small cottage behind the main house. Da Do told Elva that the money was buried near the door of the cottage. After the funeral Elva went to dig up the money but had forgotten exactly where Da Do told her it was located, although she did know it was close to the front entrance of his cottage. The day was cold with freezing rain and Elva bloodied her fingers digging in the frozen ground but she knew to persist because past experience indicated for sure that the jar of money would be there somewhere. And indeed it was; after a while she found the jar containing four hundred dollars exactly in small bills. Elva gave this money to her parents, Willard and Maggie Boyd of Ulman.

Willard was Da Do’s only child. In the next photo (photo 03) Willard and Maggie are standing in front of their log home where they lived for many years near Ulman.

03 Willard and Maggie Boyd
03 Willard and Maggie Boyd

This home is the original Peter Lupardus log house which several years ago was moved to our museum site because of its historical significance. You can read more about the history of this old home on a previous Progress Notes.


Fortunately for all the Boyd descendents, our Miller County Historical Society historian, Peggy Hake (photo 04), is also a descendent of the Boyd family and is a cousin a few times removed of John “Da Do” Boyd.

04 Peggy Hake
04 Peggy Hake

Peggy has written a very interesting history of the Boyd family which I will copy here from our website. One characteristic of the genealogies of the early settlers who came to Miller County is the frequent recurrence of certain surnames through marriage among members of the same families. This phenomenon most likely was due to the fact that families migrated together to this area from the East and settled land in close proximity to each other which facilitated continued social interaction and the not infrequent marriage of cousins or in laws. To be sure, the following genealogies more than adequately prove this to have been the case with the families of the Boyds, Clarks, Grosvenors, and Wickhams.

After presenting Peggy’s history, I will continue with the Boyd history pertaining to John “Da Do” Boyd as written by Sue (Steen) Cates, great granddaughter of Da Do (photo 05).

05 Sue Steen Cates
05 Sue Steen Cates

At the point the history reaches Da Do, things become somewhat confusing but Sue has done a good job of getting it down on paper so it’s easier to make the connections. Finally, I will end with a genealogy given me by Brenda Boyd Ewan who has graciously supplied me with most of the photos for this week’s narrative. Brenda’s antecedents also demonstrated the custom of intermarriage of couples having common ancestors.

For sure, it is difficult for me and perhaps those who read these family histories to keep them all in order but they do serve as a reminder why so many third or greater generation Miller County citizens usually can prove they are a distant relative of about everyone else living here who is a third or greater generation resident.


Peggy Hake

The Boyd and Clark families lived in Greenup Co., Kentucky in the early portion of the 19th century. In 1811, they were landowners in that Kentucky county having purchased land on Barretts Creek and the Little Sandy River. The families of Boyd and Clark were neighbors and friends in those years in Greenup County so therefore, I am combining the history of both families.

In the early 1800s, Greenup County was still an unsettled and virgin land. Kentucky had acquired statehood only 20 years previously in 1792 and although there had been a steady migration in those 20 years, it was still a big, wide and spacious countryside the Boyds and Clarks inhabited.

This was an interesting era in our country's history...President James Madison was serving in the White House; the battle of Tippicanoe was being fought; Missouri Territory was being organized; war was declared on Great Britain; and the infamous Battle of New Orleans fought. The Boyd and Clark ancestors were new residents of Kentucky during those interesting years of American history.

Philip and Sarah Boyd, both natives of Virginia, were living in Greenup Co. in the early 1800s. They homesteaded 150 acres of land on Barrett's creek in 1817. They were parents of 8 children who were apparently all born in Virginia. Philip died in the time era of 1824/25. His widow, Sarah, was left his estate. In 1830, she sold off a portion of her property to her youngest son, James Boyd (my great, great, great grandfather) The agreement was that he would provide her with a sufficient quantity of corn, meat, sugar, coffee, and other vegetables necessary for life. The children of Philip and Sarah Boyd were: Philip, Jr.; Catherine Boyd Farley; Joseph Boyd; Carey Boyd; Robert Boyd; Rhoda Boyd Davidson; Adam Boyd; and James Boyd.

Four of the eight children moved into Miller County in the mid 1830s and the remaining four apparently chose to remain in Greenup County. The four who migrated to Missouri were: Carey and Lydia Clark Boyd; Robert and Susannah Clark Boyd; Rhoda (Boyd) and William Davidson; and James and Ruth Clark Boyd. Philip, Jr., Joseph, Catherine, and Adam remained in Kentucky and I have no further history of those families.

James Boyd married Ruth Eles Clark in Greenup Co. on July 20, 1829. John Clark, her brother, was the bondsman and the consent for marriage was given by Ruth's mother and step-father, Susannah and Robert Boyd. Robert Boyd was an older brother of James, so not only was he her step-father, but he was her brother-in-law as well, but stranger yet, with this marriage performed, her mother became her sister-in-law! Carey Boyd, another brother to James, married Lydia Clark in Greenup Co. on July 9, 1822. There was a close kinship between the Boyd and Clark families in the early 1800s.

There has been a beautiful legend handed down through the generations about John 'Hoppin" Clark, brother to Ruth Boyd. He acquired this nickname through the impossible feat of jumping over covered wagons! He was a loner for a few years preferring to travel the wilds of Kentucky's back country. One night he ventured upon a wagon train traveling westward and they hired him to serve as the scout. On this wagon train was an Indian family with the English name of Farmber who had a beautiful young daughter named Snow Princess. Her English name was Elizabeth and John Hoppin' fell in love with this beautiful Indian maiden. He asked her father for his consent to marry her, but he refused, so John kidnapped Snow Princess and they were eventually married without her father's blessing. John Hoppin' & Elizabeth Clark moved into Miller Co. and settled near his sister and family who had bought land in Osage township.

As a child, I was told many stories about this colorful couple, but my favorite has to be this bit of legend: One day old Hoppin' went out squirrel hunting and was gone all day. By nightfall, Betsy (Elizabeth) was getting a little worried. After dark he finally came home but was a terrible mess---he was scratched, torn, and bleeding all over. He was dragging a big, black panther and as he threw it into the kitchen door, he said these infamous words... 'Here Betsy, skin this squirrel!! It is also family legend that John Hoppin' Clark served as a scout for the Cherokee Indian Nation when they were forced from their homes in the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina & eastern Tennessee. This was the "Trail of Tears" march to Oklahoma territory in the late 1830s.

After James Boyd married Ruth Clark, they lived in Greenup Co., KY for approximately 6 years. Their 3 older children were born in Kentucky (Sarah 1830); Susannah 1831; and Lydia 1833). The two older daughters were given the names of their grandmothers--Sarah Boyd & Susannah Clark Boyd. The 4th child, Greenville Boyd, was born in 1835 in Miller Co., so apparently they moved into Missouri in 1834 or 1835 and permanently settled in Osage township in the northeaster section of the county.

·  The children of James and Ruth (Clark) Boyd were as follows:

·  Sarah S. born 23 July 1830 m. Charles O. Curtman;
·  Susannah b. 28 Dec 1831 m. Thomas Hampton;
·  Lydia b. 22 Nov 1833 m. Thomas Goff;
·  Greenville b. 18 Oct 1835 m. Jane Freeman;
·  Robert b. 8 Sep 1838 m. Martha Clark;
·  Rhoda b. 10 Nov 1840 m. ________;
·  Martha D. b. 2 Nov 1841 m. Riley Messersmith;
·  Sidney b. 30 Apr 1844 m. _____;
·  James, Jr. b. 12 May 1847 m._______;
·  John C. born 20 Dec 1849 m.____;
·  Melissa born 27 May 1851 m.____;
·  and William O. born 10 Feb 1853 m.________.

Carey Boyd, his wife Lydia, and her brother, Isaac Clark, may have been the first of the families to venture westward out of Kentucky. Notice of the death of Carey Boyd is found in Pulaski Co. records in 1833.

Between the years 1837-1870, there are many land transfers and purchases for these Boyd and Clark families in Miller Co. they were all located in Osage Township near present day St. Elizabeth and St. Anthony.

James Boyd died in 1856 and his widow, Ruth, married Thomas Miller on 21 July 1862. She died a short time later. There is no record of where either James or Ruth is buried, but it has been legend that Ruth was the first person buried in the Wickham cemetery on land owned today by Floyd Johnson near the Big Tavern creek southwest of St. Elizabeth.

Sarah Boyd, oldest daughter of James and Ruth, married Charles O. Curtman, a German immigrant who became very prominent in Miller & Maries County where he served the populace as a physician and chemist. From THE HISTORY OF MARIES COUNTY by Everett King..."In association with his practice and medical profession, Dr.Charles O. Curtman, a native of the Grand Dutchy of Hesse, Darmstadt of Germany, opened a store at Fair Play on the eastern side of the Osage river near St. Elizabeth. Dr. Curtman became a naturalized citizen in 1855. He was the husband of Sarah Boyd, having married her in 1852."

Greenville Boyd, oldest son of James and Ruth, married Jane Freeman in Miller Co. on Dec. 18, 1856. Their marriage was performed by Greenville's brother-in-law, Dr. Charles O. Curtman who was also a Justice of the Peace. Greenville was born in Miller County on October 18, 1835 and Jane Freeman was also born in Miller Co. on August 20, 1840 (photo 06).

06 Greenville and Jane Boyd
06 Greenville and Jane Boyd

The parents of Jane Freeman Boyd were James and Deborah (Jenkins) Freeman of Claiborne County, Tennessee. Jane was born after they came to Missouri. She was born in Jim Henry Township near present day Marys Home. James Freeman died as a young man in 1844 leaving his wife, Deborah, with 6 young children to rear.

·  The children of James and Deborah were:

·  LOUSIA FREEMAN m. Thomas Edgeman 1848;
·  MARY ANN FREEMAN m. T.A. Williams 1849;
·  JANE FREEMAN m. Greenville Boyd 1856;
·  SARAH FREEMAN m. James Jenkins 1857; and
·  ISABELLE FREEMAN m.____Stepp.....

After James' death, Deborah married Bluford Van Hoozer in 1847. She had 2 sons by Bluford--James born 1847 and John born 1849. Deborah Jenkins Freeman VanHooser died in the mid 1850's but the place of her burial is unknown.

·  The children of Greenville and Jane (Freeman) Boyd were :

·  Robert born 22 Nov 1857 m. Sintha Ann Grosvenor 1876;
·  James born 20 Jun 1858 m. Cecelia Adeline Shelton 1879;
·  Sarah b. 12 March 1863 m. Edward Clark:
·  her twin, Greenville--he died at the age of 5 years;
·  Lydia b. 6 Dec 1869, never married;
·  Mary born 15 Oct 1871 , died as a child;
·  John born 4 Oct 1873 m. Della Wickham;
·  Laura born 12 Sept 1875 m. Andrew Roark & (2) James Coffman;
·  Edward born 26 Dec 1878 m. Cecile Clark;
·  Iva born 10 Aug 1882 m. Willis Rowden.

Greenville was a veteran of the Civil War serving with the Union army in Company K 12th Missouri Cavalry Volunteers. He also spent 14 months in the Home Guards under the command of Captain Jacob Capps in the Miller Co. area. When he enlisted, he was 27 years old and his occupation was a farmer. He was mustered out of service on 9 April 1866.

Greenville died on 18 Feb 1931 at his home, which was called Sudheimer during those years (photo 07).

07 Greenville Boyd Home
07 Greenville Boyd Home

He had lived a full, rich life reaching the advanced age of 95 years. Jane Freeman Boyd died 24 July 1928 at the age of 88 years. They celebrated 72 years of marriage. Both are buried in the Lawson cemetery near the Maries County boundary line.

James Boyd, son of Greenville and Jane, was born 20 June 1858. He married Cecelia Adeline Shelton on August 7, 1979. She was a daughter of Edmund and Clarissa (Lawson) Shelton of Miller Co.

·  The children of James and Cecelia Boyd were :

·  Leonard born 1844 m. Mary Lou Bodford in Okla.;
·  Conard b. 1886 m. Dennie Moon in Okla.;
·  Azalia b. 1893 m.(1.) Carl Musgrove,(2) Roy Sowder;
·  Sarah Eliza b. 1888 m. Henry Franklin Smith;
·  Minnie Jane b. 1890 m. (1) Ferman Jones Clark (2)Sam Simmons;
·  Nollie b. 1897 m. Michael Hanvey;
·  Isabelle b 1883 m. William Clark;
·  and Clara Alta b. 1898 died young.

About 1897, James and Cecelia Shelton Boyd moved to the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma and settled near Stroud in Lincoln County, OK. Cecelia died there just a short time later after the birth of her 8th child. Cecelia is buried somewhere near Stroud, but the exact location is not known. Later James Boyd had one son, William Boyd born 1904. In 1906, James Boyd died of pneumonia and is buried in the Duncan Cemetery in eastern Miller Co. He had moved back to Miller County after his 2nd marriage. The majority of the children of James and Cecelia chose to remain in Oklahoma and reared their families there.

Sarah Eliza Boyd, daughter of James and Cecelia, remained in Miller County and married Henry Franklin Smith, son of William Harrison and Lucy Ann (Gardner) Smith on December 16, 1906. The children of Sarah Eliza and Henry F. Smith were: Carl Everett 1 Jan 1912-12 Jan 1912; Conard Isaac 23 June 1908-20 Apr 1970 m Tressie Gale; Gene Oliver 11 Nov 1914-15 Apr 1980 m. Verlie A.Wyrick; Priscilla Idolia 28 Mar 1919-m. (1) Clark Davis, (2) James Karr: James William Raymond 25 Jun 1925-15 Apr 1975 m. Dorothy Robinson.

Gene Oliver Smith, son of Sarah (Boyd) and Henry Frank Smith, was born 11 Nov 1914 and married Verlie Alberta Wyrick of Miller County.

·  Their children were:

·  Peggy Lee Smith born 10 August 1935 m. (1) Kenneth Harold Warman, son of
·  William George and Lattie Cecile (Jones) Warman;
·  and Billy Gene Smith born 15 Nov 1936 married Bonnie Alleta Luttrell, daughter of Milton and Opal (Duncan) Luttrell.

Peggy Lee Smith, daughter of Oliver Gene and Verlie (Wyrick) Smith married (1) Kenneth Harold Warman of Dixon, MO. and (2) Ambrose Herman Hake, son of Conrad and Ida (Volmert) Hake of Marys Home, MO. The children of Peggy and Kenneth Warman were: Kevin Dean born 10 Sept 1955 died 27 Oct 1955; Kathy D'Ann born 16 Feb 1957 m. Richard Kemp II; Kerry Douglas born 24 July 1958 m. Tina Darlene Baston: Kelly Denise born 5 April 1960 m. Ray Edwards Stallings; Kirk Duane b. 16 Apr 1962 m. Twyla Luttrell....the grandchildren of Peggy Smith and Kenneth Warman include: ALICIA NICHOLE STALLINGS born 25 Dec 1976, AMANDA NICHELLE STALLINGS born 21 Oct 1979; RAY EDWARDS STALLINGS II born 24 May 1981; KYLE DOUGLAS WARMAN born 9 Jan 1980, KANDRA D'ANN WARMAN born 31 Jan 1981; KEIDRA DENISE WARMAN born 30 Dec 1984, KRYSTAL DAWN WARMAN born 28 Nov 1986, and KEISHA DANIELLE WARMAN born 1 June 1989.

Bill G. Smith, son of Gene Oliver and Verlie Smith, married Bonnie Alleta Luttrell, daughter of Milton and Opal Luttrell of Miller County. The children of Bill and Bonnie are: Randall Gene born 11 Dec 1962 and Russell Dean, born 1 Oct 1966: Mitzi Ann born and died April, 1960. The grandchildren of Bill and Bonnie are: Christopher Smith born 7 Apr 1985 and Jerry Dean Smith born 25 Aug 1986.

The grandchildren of Bill G. Smith and Peggy Smith Hake are the 9th generation from Philip and Sarah Boyd of Greenup County, Kentucky, pioneers of early Kentucky in the early 19th century.

Thanks Peggy.

One of the more well known Boyds was Greenville Boyd (photo 08), who fought in the Civil War.

08 Greenville and Jane Boyd
08 Greenville and Jane Boyd

Greenville lived a long time and my mother in law, Elva Boyd Steen, remembers having visited him at his home years ago when she was a small child (photo 09).

09 Greenville and Jane Boyd House - Built 1924 after other Burned
09 Greenville and Jane Boyd House - Built in 1924 after other Burned

Greenville was her great grandfather. Peggy Hake has written a biography of Greenville (who was her great great grandfather) which I will copy here:



Greenville Boyd was born October 18, 1835, a son of James Boyd and Ruth Eles Clark of Greenup County, Kentucky. It has been difficult to determine if Greenville was born in eastern Kentucky or in Miller County, Missouri. His parents were early settlers of Osage Township, south of the Osage River, in Miller County and came to Missouri in the mid 1830s. Some say he was born in Greenup County, KY while other researchers believe he was born in Miller County shortly after the Boyd family arrived in central Missouri. If he was born in Missouri, then he was actually born in what was then Pulaski County since Miller County was not formed until 1837.

The Boyd family homesteaded land near the Big Tavern creek, south of today's St. Elizabeth. Greenville was the fourth child born to James and Ruth Boyd.

·  Their children were:

·  1. Sarah Boyd b. 1830 KY m. Dr. Charles O. Curtman 1862
·  2. Susannah Boyd b. 1831 KY m. Thomas Hampton 1853
·  3. Lydia Boyd b. 1833 KY m. Thomas Goff 1857
·  4. Greenville Boyd b. 1835 KY/MO? m. Jane Freeman 1856
·  5. Robert Boyd b. 1838 MO m. Martha Jane Clark 1860
·  6. Rhoda Boyd b. 1840 MO m. no record
·  7. Martha D. Boyd b. 1841 MO m. Riley Messersmith
·  8. Sydney Boyd b. 1844 MO m. no record
·  9. James Boyd, Jr. b. 1847 MO m. no record

Greenville Boyd married Jane Freeman on December 18, 1856 in Miller County. Jane's parents were James Freeman and Deborah Jenkins who moved to Jim Henry Township of Miller County prior to 1840. They migrated from Claiborne County in eastern Tennessee and settled on land near present-day Mary's Home. Jane was born in Miller County on August 20, 1840.

·  The children of Greenville and Jane (Freeman) Boyd were:

·  1. Robert Boyd b. 1857 m. Cynthia Grosvenor (photos 10 and 11)
·  2. James Boyd b. 1858 m. Celia Adeline Shelton
·  3. Sarah/Sally Boyd b. 1863 m. Edward Clark (photo 11a)
·  4. Greenville Boyd b. 1863-died young-twin to Sarah
·  5. William Boyd b. 1866 m. no record
·  6. Lydia Boyd b. 1869 (never married) (photo 12)
·  7. Mary Boyd b. 1871 (died young)
·  8. John Boyd b. 1873 m. Della Wickham (photo 13)
·  9. Laura Boyd b. 1865 m. (1) Andrew Roark (2) James Coffman (photo 14)
·  10. Edward Boyd b. 1878 m. Cecile Clark (photo 15)
·  11. Iva Boyd b. 1882 m. Willis Rowden (photo 16)

10 Robert Boyd - Son of Greenville and Jane Freeman Boyd
10 Robert Boyd - Son of Greenville and Jane Freeman Boyd

11 Cynthia Ann Grosvenor - Wife of Robert Boyd
11 Cynthia Ann Grosvenor - Wife of Robert Boyd

11a Sally Boyd and Edward Clark
11a Sally Boyd and Edward Clark

12 Edward and Lydia Boyd - Children of Greenville and Jane Freeman Boyd
12 Lydia Boyd - Daughter of Greenville and Jane Freeman Boyd

13 John (Da Do) Boyd and Edith Dell Wickham Wedding Photo
13 John (Da Do) Boyd and Edith Dell Wickham Wedding Photo

14 Ivy and Laura Boyd Daughters of Greenville and Jane
14 Ivy and Laura Boyd - Daughters of Greenville and Jane

15 Edward and Sister Lydia Boyd
15 Edward Boyd - Son of Greenville Boyd and Jane

16 Iva Boyd - Daughter of Greenville Boyd and Jane
16 Iva Boyd - Daughter of Greenville Boyd and Jane

Greenville was a veteran of the Civil War. He enlisted in the Union Army on February 20, 1863 and served in Company K of the 12th Missouri Cavalry. Other Miller County soldiers who served with Greenville in Company K were Isaac D. Rowden, John Schuberth, John A. Setser, and Silas Capps. He was mustered out of the Union Army at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas on April 9, 1865.

Greenville's younger brother, Robert Boyd, died in the Civil War so the name Boyd was carried into new generations by the descendants of Greenville.

Greenville and Jane eventually moved into the Weimmer/Greasy creek area of northeastern Richwoods Township near the Maries County line. Jane died July 24, 1928, just a month short of reaching her 88th birthday. She was buried at the Lawson Cemetery near their old home place on Greasy Creek. Greenville died at the age of 95 years on February 18, 1931 and was buried beside Jane, with whom he had shared almost 75 years of marriage. His funeral was held at Wheeler church in neighboring Maries County and conducted by Fred Curtman.

Greenville was survived by six children, Edward Boyd of near Brays, John Boyd of Ulman, Sally Clark of Sedalia, Iva Rowden of Crocker, Laura Coffman of Eldon, and Lydia who remained at home all her life. According to his obituary, he left many descendants including "53 grandchildren, a great many great grandchildren, and several great, great grandchildren".

His obituary stated he lived in the Brays area, but actually they lived near the old Sudheimer settlement, which contained a general store and post office and was located south of the Boyd home.

Greenville and Jane (Freeman) Boyd were my great, great grandparents. I am descended from their son, James Boyd and his wife, Celia Adeline (Shelton). I have been to Greenup County, Kentucky and Claiborne County, Tennessee on two different occasions where I conducted research in their courthouses. Both counties have wonderful research materials and the courthouse staff members were so helpful when I conducted genealogical researching of my Boyd, Clark, Freeman, and Jenkins ancestors.


Ruth Clark Boyd was my great, great, great grandmother who came to Miller County in the 1830s from Greenup County, Kentucky. She was the wife of James Boyd who was also from Greenup County. James was a son of Phillip and Sarah Boyd of Eastern Kentucky. I have been to Greenup County, Kentucky on two occasions to do research and was able to find some interesting information concerning my ancestors.

When Ruth and James Boyd came to Miller County, they settled in Osage township, south of today's St. Elizabeth. Ruth was a sister to John P. Clark (also known as 'Hoppin' Clark). John and his wife, Elizabeth/Betsy (Farmer) Clark also came to Miller County from Greenup Co., KY about the same time as the Boyd family and all settled near one another in Osage township. From research conducted in Greenup County, I believe the parents of Ruth (Clark) Boyd and John P. Clark were John Sr. and Susannah Clark. After the death of John Sr. (in Kentucky), Susannah married Robert Boyd, a brother to James Boyd and they are the ones who came to Miller County with Ruth and James Boyd.

·  Ruth Clark Boyd and her husband, James, were parents of several children including:

·  1. Sarah Boyd b. 1830 KY m. Dr. Charles O. Curtman 1852 (she died as a young woman at the birth of her third child)
·  2. Susannah Boyd b. 1831 KY m. Thomas Hampton 1853
·  3. Lydia Boyd b. 1833 MO m. Thomas Goff 1859
·  4. Greenville Boyd b. 1836 MO m. Jane Freeman 1856
·  5. Robert Boyd b. 1838 MO m. Martha Jane Clark 1860 (Robt. died when he was about 25 years old)
·  6. Rhoda Boyd b. 1840 MO (no record after 1850)
·  7. Sidney Boyd b. 1844 MO (no record after 1860)
·  8. James Boyd Jr. b. 1847 MO (no record after 1870)

James Boyd died in Miller County in the late 1850s and in 1862, widow Ruth Boyd married Thomas Mills. In the Miller County Associate Probate Court are estate records for Ruth Clark-Boyd-Mills including her will and other legal instruments. She died in April 1869 and shortly before her death, she made out her last will and testament naming her son, Greenville, as her only heir. She had two daughters living at the time (Lydia and Susannah), but apparently, for some unknown reason, she cut them out of her will. I am sure there is a story within a story of this situation, but at the present time, one can only speculate.

It is believed that Ruth Clark-Boyd-Mills is buried at an old family cemetery in Osage township. Today it is known as the Wickham Cemetery, located on land owned by Floyd & Edith (Wickham) Johnson. There is no tombstone to mark Ruth's grave so it is only family legend that she is buried there. There are many unanswered questions concerning our ancestors, and I suppose it is just as well that we do not always know the real stories because time takes care of many family secrets, feuds, misunderstandings, etc.

Thanks Peggy.

And now I copy here the Boyd narrative written by Sue (Steen) Cates beginning with John “Da Do” Boyd:


John Riley Boyd, 7th child and 4th son of Greenville and Jane Boyd was born 4 October 1873. He married Edith Dell Wickham on 21 November 1895. She was a daughter of Ruebin Nelson Wickham and Sarah Ellen Boyd. Dell was born 1 May 1880.

John and Dell had one child, Willard Riley b. 12 March 1899 (photo 17).

17 John (Da Do) - Willard and Dell Boyd
17 John (Da Do) - Willard and Dell Boyd

And herein lies an interesting story. As indicated above, two of the brothers that came to Missouri from Greenup County Kentucky were James and Robert. James was John Riley Boyd’s grandfather… and Robert was Edith Dell Wickham Boyd’s great grandfather.

Robert was born about 1795 and was married to Susannah Clark, born about 1778, a widow…mother of Ruth (married to James Boyd) and was 17 years older than her husband Robert. They were probably married in Greenup County Kentucky and came to Miller County Missouri in the early 1830’s. From the 1840 and 1850 census records, I believe they had these children:

Greenville b. about 1816 and never married; Rhoda b. about 1817-1818; Mary Ann b. about 1819-1820; Emily b. about 1821; Lucy b. about 1846; Amanda b. about 1847 and Clarinda b. about 1849. In the 1850 census Robert was 55 and Susannah was 72. These three younger children surely were not theirs….being 4, 3, and 7 months! Robert died in 1853.

Robert and Susannah’s oldest child, Rhoda, was the 20-30 year old female in this household in the 1840 census. She married Ransome Burns May 15, 1846. She is naturally not listed in her father Robert’s household in the 1850 census. But the following is listed:

1850 Census for Miller County Missouri

Ransom Burns          29     SC
Rhoda                       31     VA
Martha                        8     MO
Phebe Vanderpool     30     NC

This 8 year old child, Martha, could not have been Ransom and Rhoda’s as they had only been married 4 years. And who is Phebe? I wonder if Rhoda was sick because she died young… and perhaps they had Phebe living with them to take care of Rhoda and do her work. This is only speculation.

When Rhoda’s father, Robert Boyd died in 1853, Ransom and Rhoda were living in Osage County, Missouri.

A copy of Ransom Burns will is in “Pioneers of Missouri, Vol. 10, p. 27). It reads: Dated 1 December 1859. To Mary Ann Boyd and Sarah Ellen Boyd “Plantation on which I reside” (description given). Witness: Julin Schildwachter, William D. Clark and Alexander Clark. Recorded 17 December 1859.

Rhoda had probably died between 1853 and 1859 because she is not mentioned in Ransom’s will. He also left his real estate and personal property to Mary Ann Boyd and Sarah Ellen Boyd.

Rhoda’s sister Mary Ann was born 1819-1820 and apparently never married. She is listed as head of a household in the 1860 census of Miller County-Osage Township

Mary Ann had a child Sarah Ellen born 24 May 1855. In the will mentioned above of Ransom Burns dated 1859 he left his entire estate to Mary Ann and Sarah Ellen. I believe Ransom Burns was Sarah Ellen’s father. My grandmother, Maggie Boyd (Mrs. Willard Boyd) remembers her mother in law, Dell Wickham Boyd talking about the Burns being Sarah Ellen’s family and that Sarah Ellen’s mother was not married when she had Sarah Ellen. Sarah Ellen married Ruebin Nelson Wickham 26 October 1873 and died in 1883. She was 28 years old and left three small children: William (Will), Mary Jane (Jane) and Edith Dell (Dell). Dell was born 1 May, 1880 and was 3 years old when her mother died. She was my great grandmother.

This is the progression of the Wickham farm located on the Big Tavern about three miles from St. Elizabeth. In 1859 Ransom Burns left “his plantation to Sarah Ellen Boyd” (his daughter out of wedlock?). She married Nelse Wickham in 1873 and they lived on that farm. Sarah Ellen died in 1883 so the farm became Nelse Wickhams’. He remarried to Marzilla Grosvenor (photo 18) and they had 7 children: Edward, John, George, Ethel, Ildie, Claude, and Belvia.

18 Nelson and Marzella Grosvenor Wickham
18 Nelson and Marzilla Grosvenor Wickham

The first 3 children of Nelse: Will, Jane and Dell, were bought out (according to my mother) by their half brothers and sisters. John Wickham’s daughter Edith, married to Floyd Johnson lived on the Wickham farm in 1990 at the time of this writing. They say it has been in the Wickham family for about 115 years..which was about the time that Sarah Ellen married Nelse Wickham in 1873. (And it belonged to Ransom Burns before he left it to Sarah Ellen in 1859.)

It is thought that Mrs. James Boyd (Ruth) was the first person buried in the Wickham cemetery shortly after 1862…which was after Sarah Ellen Boyd inherited the farm. Is Rhody Boyd Burns buried there? Is her sister, Mary Ann Boyd buried there? Mary Ann was the mother of Sarah Ellen but was she the lover of Ransome Burns and he Sarah Ellen’s father? Sarah Ellen is buried there next to her husband of 10 years, Nelse Wickham, and his second wife, Marzilla Grosvenor is on the other side of him.

What stories we could unravel in this cemetery!

James Boyd        brothers     Robert Boyd

Greenville Boyd  1st cousins  to Mary Ann Boyd (and Rhody)

John Riley Boyd    2nd cousins  to Sarah Ellen Boyd

Willard Riley Boyd  3rd cousins   to Edith Dell Wickham Boyd

John Riley Boyd and Edith Dell Wickham Boyd were married 21 November 1895. From this study they were second cousins once removed (photo 19).

19 Dell Wickham Boyd - John Riley (Da Do) Boyd - Gary Flaugher
19 Dell Wickham Boyd, John Riley (Da Do) Boyd and Great Grandson Gary Flaugher

This also makes Willard the son and Dell the mother third cousins! John and Dell were married 61 years before her death in 1957. She was 76 years old. John died in 1968 at 94 years old and they are both buried in the Gott cemetery. The one son Willard died in 1983 and is also buried in the Gott Cemetery. He was 85 years old.

So my ancestral line from Philip Boyd who died in 1824/25 is double…from his son James to Greenville to John to Willard and also from his son Robert to Mary Ann to Sarah Ellen to Dell to Willard.

Willard Boyd had three daughters (Nettie Boyd Dickerson, Edith Boyd Richards and Elva Boyd Steen) but no sons. Therefore, at death, the Boyd name ended this ancestral line. He was my grandfather.

In summary:

Two Boyd brothers, James (married to Ruth Clark) and Robert (married to Susannah Clark) came to Miller County, Missouri from Greenup County, Kentucky about 1834. They settled in Osage township in the northeastern section of the county near present day St. Elizabeth and St. Anthony

Two branches of the family tree come from these two brothers. From James, are derived six generations in Miller County and from Robert are derived seven generations. Both lines lead directly to my mother, Elva (Boyd) Steen.

Here is James’ line:

James Boyd                                born 1803 in Greenup County, KY
Greenville Boyd                         born 1835 in Miller County MO
John Boyd                                   born 1873 in Miller County MO
Willard Boyd                              born 1924  in Miller County MO
Elva Boyd Steen                         born 1924 in Miller County MO

And here is Robert’s line:

Robert Boyd                              born 1795 in Greenup County KY
Mary Ann Boyd                         born 1814-20 in Greenup County KY
Sarah Ellen Boyd Wickham       born 1855 in Miller County MO
Edith Dell Wickham Boyd         born in Miller County MO
Willard Boyd                             born in Miller County MO
Elva Boyd Steen                         born in Miller County MO

Thanks Sue.

Sue mentions that the Wickham cemetery which is located on the Wickham farm near St. Elizabeth (photo 20) contains the burial site of Nelson Wickham accompanied by the burials of his two wives, one on each side.

20 Wickham Cemetery
20 Wickham Cemetery

Here is a photo of the tombstones. First is the tombstone of Nelson Wickham (photo 21).

21 Nelson Wickham Tombstone
21 Nelson Wickham Tombstone

Next, located to the left of Nelson’s tombstone is the tombstone of Dell Boyd Wickham, Elva Boyd Steen’s great grandmother who died rather young after marrying Nelson Wickham (photo 22).

22 Elva Boyd Steen standing next to Tombstone of Her Great Grandmother
22 Elva Boyd Steen standing next to Tombstone of Her Great Grandmother

The third tombstone, located to the right of Nelson’s tombstone is that of Nelson’s second wife, Marzilla Grosvenor Wickham (photo 23).

23 Marzilla Grosvenor Wickham Tombstone
23 Marzilla Grosvenor Wickham Tombstone

Finally, I am copying here a narrative by Peggy Hake regarding an old log home built in the Big Tavern area of Osage Township of Miller County by Robert Boyd, son of Greenville, which for many years was a landmark in the area near where Peggy lives:


By Peggy Smith Hake

The old Boyd homestead, a two-story log house, sat for over a hundred years in Brushy Creek valley of the Big Tavern country of Osage Township (photo 24).

24 Robert Boyd Homestead
24 Robert Boyd Homestead

It was built about 1885 by Robert Boyd (photo 25) for his wife, Cynthia Ann (Grosvenor) Boyd (photo 26) and their children, Greenville and Sarah, and the third child, William, was born after they moved into their new home.

25 Robert Boyd - Son of Greenville and Jane Freeman Boyd
25 Robert Boyd - Son of Greenville and Jane Freeman Boyd

26 Cynthia Ann Grosvenor - Wife of Robert Boyd
26 Cynthia Ann Grosvenor - Wife of Robert Boyd

This first piece of Miller County history stood in my valley until the week of October 15, 1990. I saw it every day from my front porch as I would gaze northward toward St. Elizabeth. But on Monday, October 15th, as my husband and I drove home from an early morning breakfast in Eldon, we came within sight of the old homestead, something was drastically wrong…the walls had collapsed and the hay inside was strewn about. My heart sunk low because it was such a shock…I thought that log house would stand forever!

This old log house was a grand specimen of the life style of our ancestors a century ago. Robert Boyd was a son of Greenville and Jane (Freeman) Boyd and a grandson of James and Ruth (Clark) Boyd, natives of Greenup Co., Kentucky. I have researched extensively in Greenup County for my Boyd and Clark ancestors, so I feel I know them well. James and Ruth Boyd were my great-great-great-grandparents and Robert Boyd was a brother to my great grandfather, James Boyd II.

Robert Boyd was born about 1858 in Osage Township not far from where he built his log house. He grew to manhood in the Big Tavern Creek valley and in 1876, married Cynthia Ann Grosvenor, a daughter of George and Jemima Grosvenor, natives of Kentucky. Robert and Cynthia were neighbors and probably had known each other from childhood.

In 1896, at age 38 years, Robert Boyd died of typhoid fever and left Cynthia alone to rear three young children. She lived until 1905 and when she died, her three children, Greenville, Sarah, and William inherited the land. By this time Greenville had married Emma C. Lee and Sarah was the wife of George W. Clark. William was yet a minor at his mother’s death. Sarah and William sold their portion of the land to brother Greenville after the estate was settled. Greenville and Emma Boyd lived in the log house for about 14 years when, in 1919, they sold the house and 2 acres to Henry Grosvenor.

The Grosvenor family lived in the old house for many years. Willie Grosvenor, who acquired the land in later years told me before his death that he could remember so vividly the years he spent there as a boy. The house and acreage is still owned by the Grosvenor family although it has not been lived in for many years.

I’m going to miss walking down our country road past the old log house. In years past, as I ventured down her way, I would let my imagination run rampant. I could hear those voices from the past as they did their daily chores; plowed their fields; carried water from the spring up the hollow; perhaps even hear the music of their fiddle and other stringed instruments as they played for a Saturday night barn dance…I know they were gifted musicians because they have passed the gift down to new generations.

You may say…”but it was just an old, decaying house”, while to others who appreciate our heritage, it was a reminder of those pioneer forefathers who sacrificed much to pass on to those who came later, their freedom, courage, and spiritual heritage. It is said that every man is a modern day Moses… he hopes to find the Promised Land in his own lifetime. Thank goodness they did venture out and found their “promised land” in this beautiful valley of the Big Tavern.

I have a large picture of Cynthia Grosvenor Boyd hanging on a wall in my office. Today as I sat working in that room, I glanced up and I believe I saw a tear gleam in her eye… or perhaps it was a reflection of the one that slowly crept from mine…

Thanks Peggy.

Now I will copy the family history of Brenda Boyd Ewan (photo 26a). You will notice that she also has Grosvenors, Clarks and Wickhams in her ancestry as well:

26a Brenda Boyd Ewan
26a Brenda Boyd Ewan

Phillip Boyd b. 1775-d prior 1824, married Sarah Martin

Robert Boyd b. 1795 d. 1853, married Susannah Clark (thought to be John Hoppin Clarks’ Mother)

Clarinda Boyd b 1824 married George Washington Hawk (son of Johnny Hawk)

Mary Rehab Hawk b 6 Sept. 1844 d Oct. 1 1909 married John Grosvenor (photo 27)

27 John Grosvenor and Mary Hawk Grosvenor - Marzilla Grosvenor Wickhams Parents
27 John Grosvenor and Mary Hawk Grosvenor - Marzilla Grosvenor Wickhams Parents

Marzilla Brazora Grosvenor  b. June 29, 1867 d. May 23, 1946 , married Nelson Ruebin Wickham (photo 28)

28 Nelson and Marzella Grosvenor Wickham
28 Nelson and Marzilla Grosvenor Wickham

John Halsey Wickham b. May 7, 1889 d.Aug. 31, 1966 married Bessie Bell Clark (great grand daughter of John Hoppin Clark)

Thelma Ruby Wickham b. Dec. 17, 1912 d. Sept 20, 1980 married Belvia Boyd.

Then Me, Brenda!  NOW...scan on down

Mary Rehab’s sister Caroline , married Renault Clark, grand son of John Hoppin Clark

John Riley (Da Do) Boyd, Son of Greenville and Jane Freeman Boyd married, Dell Wickham, daughter of Nelson Ruebin and first wife, Sarah Boyd.

This is my Boyd direct descendency:

Phillip Boyd and Sarah
James Boyd and Ruth Clark
Greenville Boyd and Jane Freeman
Edward Boyd and Cecil Clark
Belvia Boyd and Thelma Wickham
Brenda Boyd Ewan

So you see how Boyd, Clark, Grosvenor and Wickham all intermingle. But consider the following:

Rhoda Boyd was married to Ransom Burns, Mary Ann Boyd, Rhoda’s sister was never married but had an illegitimate daughter, Sarah Ellen, whom everyone thinks belonged to Ransom Burns because in his will in probate court he left every thing to Sarah Ellen Boyd. She married Nelson Rueben Wickham, my great great grand father. After having three children she died and he then married Marzilla Brazora Grosvenor.

Thanks Brenda.

So that concludes a lengthy example of how confusing it is to research the genealogies of the early settlers who came to this area especially because of the frequent marriages among members of families with the same surnames.

One enjoyable part of the day for Miller County Museum volunteers is the noon meal (photo 29). Each week, one of the volunteers prepares and serves the food. This last week Judy Pryor (standing in the photo) was our hostess serving Caesar salad, herb breadsticks, roasted red pepper soup, and spaghetti pie. Betty Kallenbach made the luscious strawberry pie for dessert.

29 Judy Pryor Hosting Lunch
29 Judy Pryor (standing) Hosting Lunch

Last Tuesday morning (March 3rd) Layne Helton called me and told me to get down to the museum right away because some Fox News folks had just interviewed him and taken videos of the new bridge construction for an upcoming segment that night about the recently passed stimulus legislation. As many of you know, the new bridge construction in Tuscumbia was the first project in the nation to have funds appropriated, an event well publicized on TV nationally and in the press. Layne, who had won the contract for the excavation work, literally had begun removing earth and debris within seconds of the signing of the legislation by President Obama last week.

So after the segment was shot last Tuesday, producer Marla Cichowski (photo 30), who is based in Chicago, asked Layne if any historical information was available about the bridge in the event anyone back east wanted to review some details before going on the air with the story.

30 Marla Cichowski - Fox News Channel
30 Marla Cichowski - Fox News Channel

So Layne, who had done the excavation work a year ago for our new museum addition, knew right away where to send the Fox News people. Of course, Layne and I had been classmates at Tuscumbia High School years ago. So I joined Layne and Marla at the museum where she and I reviewed a number of old historical photographs of the construction of the old bridge back in 1933, some of which she asked that I email to her.

I arrived at the museum about nine thirty a.m. and spent about a half hour with Marla. After we finished she lingered awhile fascinated by the historical items we have on display. Layne and I gave her a short tour of the museum in which she showed genuine interest. Especially interesting to her were the old photos we have hanging on the walls of well known Miller Countians of the past. She also was very interested in the Civil War display and was surprised to learn that our county was divided during the Civil War suffering loss of life and loss of homes from bushwhackers as well as internecine interfamily feuds. She loved the quilt display and the simulated dog trot home with its period furniture.

Marla told me the segment would be on the Shepherd Smith news program on Fox at Six p.m. that evening. So I and others gathered around the TV to see if we made it on national news, and we weren’t disappointed. As it turned out Trace Gallagher (photo 31) was filling in for Shepherd, but no matter, the reporters had done their job well with good script and video.

31 Trace Gallagher
31 Trace Gallagher

Especially heartwarming was to hear one of my family’s church members, Wes Dowdy (photo 32), explain so clearly how the construction project was helping so many families in the area who had been out of work.

32 Wes Dowdy
32 Wes Dowdy

Layne was featured and he also gave a very good explanation of how the construction project was providing work for a significant number of local people (photo 33).

33 Layne Helton
33 Layne Helton

David Cockrum of APAC (photo 34), the major contractor for the project who also had enjoyed the museum tour with Marla, showed the TV audience just how loose was the concrete supporting the bridge as he knocked several large chunks off with his bare hands. When I saw that on the TV involuntarily I yelled out, “Stop it, don’t do that! I’ve still got to cross that bridge for the next year or so!”

34 David Cockrum - APAC
34 David Cockrum - APAC

Here is a link to the news story at the Fox News website about the event. Below is the video of the story that aired on the Fox News Channel on Tuesday, March 3rd (Click on the square box next to the "share" button to watch it in full screen mode):


That's all for this week.

Joe Pryor

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