Recently, I received a query concerning a Robert Boyd of Salem, Washington Co., New York.
The location of Salem sounded familiar, so I looked into my family chapters list and found
that this was one of the Chapters in the book History of the Boyd family and descendants,
with historical sketches of the ancient family of Boyd's in Scotland from the year
1200, and those of Ireland from the year 1680, with records of their descendants in Kent,
New Windsor, Middletown and Salem, N. Y., Boston, Mass., Northumberland County, Pa., and
sketches of those from the southern and western states from 1740 to 1912. By William P.
Boyd ... Rochester, N. Y., John P. Smith printing company, 1912.
On pages 312 and 322, it provides this outline of the origins of this family:-
“Robert Boyd their ancestors, was born in the northern part of Ireland in 1745. He
emigrated to America with his wife and family at about the close of the War of the
Revolution. At this time there were a large company of Scotch-Irish emigrants under the
leadership of a Presbyterian minister, the Rev Thomas Clark (the first minister of the
town of Salem, N. Y.), set sail for this country, and along with his family, and took up
their first home in America here. The records show he was killed by an accident, December
7, 1783, leaving his wife with four children whose names were Robert, Joseph, John and
William. Robert’s wife is said to have survived him many years and died aged in the
forepart of the nineteenth century. This lady is claimed by her descendants to be one of
the great bravery, so prominent among the Boyds families. One instant of this kind is
given of her, that on one evening as she was sitting in her humble home (probably a log
house), she was started with horror to see a panther come to her door and enter her
docile, with flashing eyes and voracious look he advanced toward her. Quick as thought
would let her, she seized a burning brand from the log fire-place and waved it in front of
the desperate animal, which so quickly frightened the beast that he rushed from her
household and she was saved.
Robert the oldest son of Robert, was born in Salem, N. Y. , April 7, 1780. …”
While the remaining pages of this family chapter provided this families four sons.
T1 Robert Boyd, b 7/4/1780 (Salem, N. Y.), d 18/3/1828 (Byron, Genesee County, N.
Y.), m 180x, wife not given, dau of , b 17xx, d
18xx, and had issue:-
[Lived: Byron, Genesee Co., N. Y. ]
- While a young man he went and lived in Otsego County, N. Y., and finally settled in
Byron, Genesee County, N. Y., in 1822.
T2 Joseph Boyd, bc 1781 (Salem, N. Y.), d 18xx (Steuben County, N. Y.), m 18xx, wife
not given, dau of ??, b 17xx, d 18xx, and had issue:-
[Lived: , Steuben County, N. Y. ]
- In after years resided in Steuben County, N.Y.
T3 John Boyd, b 1778 or 1782 (Ireland), d 18xx, may have died unmarried.
T4 William Boyd, b 1784 (Salem, N. Y.), d 1864 (St. Charles, Minn.), m 180x, Miss
Younglove, dau of Younglove, b 17xx, d 18xx, and
had issue:- m 2ndly 183x, Mrs Mary J Hartwell, dau of Eaton, b 18xx, d 18xx,
and had issue:-
- In the War of 1812 he severed his country in what was called the McFarland’s
Company, New York State Militia. When young he was very prosperous financially, but lost
all of his wealth in later years by becoming a bondsman to a dishonest, defaulting tax
collector. In 1852 he went from Addison, N. Y. to Illinois in McHenry County and in 1856
he emigrated from Illinois to St. Charles, Minn.
The information for this chapter in W. P. Boyd’s book was from the Hon. Robert K. Boyd,
ex-councilman of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. So there may be more data there on this family
about its origins
These dates of birth for the four sons are not consistent with the statement “He emigrated
to America with his wife and family at about the close of the War of the Revolution.” So
this would put is arrival as 1782 or 1783. Not enough time for the birth of four single
births. So it is very likely that at least Robert (Jr.) and Joseph were born in Ireland
and even John Boyd’s place of birth should be considered as Ireland rather than the USA.
The second area that might be checked is “a large company of Scotch-Irish emigrants under
the leadership of a Presbyterian minister, the Rev Thomas Clark (the first minister of the
town of Salem, N. Y.)”. So do members know when the Rev Clark’s migration took place?
And from which part of northern Ireland? This may help provide where each of these four
children were born.
The third area that could be researched, is the Salem, Washington County, N. Y.,
Presbyterian Church records or any book on this Church. This maybe in Salem or
Philadelphia Presbyterian Historical Society.
The fourth thing we know is that Robert Boyd, Sr. was only 38 years old when he died on 7
December 1783 in Salem, Washington County, New York. With the normal spread between
births, this might suggest the he and his wife were married about 1773 – if none of their
children died at birth. If this ASSUMPTION is correct it would support that most of the
children were born in Ireland.
Hopefully, this article will also allow us to find out who Robert Boyd’s wife was from
House of Boyd Society
This is not consistant with other information that his younger brother was the only one
born in America. While the text said America, it is more likely that it should be that he
was born in Ireland.
Again said born in Salen but it is more likely that he was born in Ireland.
 W. P. Boyd, p 323, said “the only son born in America” but earlier has William’s two
eldest brther being born in Salem, N. Y.