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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Mrs. Antoinette Charlotte Boyes

Mrs. Antoinette Charlotte Boyes, the wife of Capt. Henry Ernest Boyes, was born at Bangalore, Madras, India, the daughter of Col. George Rowland and Catherine (Armstrong) Edwards. Her father was the son of John Edwards, J. P. D. L., who married Charlotte Martin, daughter of the Rev. George Martin and granddaughter of the Third Duke of Athol, who was head of the Murray family, so she is as direct descendant of the last King of Wales (King Morfa and Prince Llewellyn). She has the old parchment and coat of arms tracing the family back before the time of William the Conqueror. Col. George Rowland Edwards comes of the clans McGregor, Murray and Drummond, her mother, Catherine Armstrong, being the eldest daughter of Major General Armstrong, C. B., and the family comes from the clans Campbell and Armstrong Dalziel of which the Marquis of Tweedale was the head, who trace their family tree back to the Druids. Colonel Edwards was born at Ness Strange in 1810 and was a boy of sixteen years when he went to India and entered in the second Madras Light Cavalry, serving thirty-six years in India and rose to the rank of Colonel and was through the Indian mutiny, doing splendid work in that country. Among other things he was the founder of schools among the Thugs, one of the most murderous tribes in India. He was present at the coronation of Queen Victoria. He succeeded to the estate of Ness Strange in Shropshire, and in 1850 he was the originator of “Three acres and a cow,” believing that in small holdings there was more success and proved the truth of it by leasing to tenants in small plots, showing the success that could be obtained. He read a paper on the subject before the House of Commons that received very favorable comment. Colonel Edwards died in 1894, aged eighty-four years, his wife's decease occurring in 1908, at the age of eighty years.

Mrs. Boyes, who is the eldest of twelve children, spent much of her life in India, where her education was under the training of a governess. Since the death of her parents and her four brothers she has succeeded to the Ness Strange estate of one thousand acres in Shropshire, where she is following her father's ideas in leasing it in small holdings, with much satisfaction to her tenants. She was first married at Ness Strange in 1870 to Captain John Macredie Mure, of the Thirty-fourth Regiment and served in the Afghan war of 1877 and 1878 on the staff of Samuel Browne, K. C. B., and died from the results of the campaign in February 1879. During the Afghan war Mrs. Boyes was in Peshawer ten miles distant and after the death of Captain Mure returned to England spending her time traveling on the continent until her marriage to Captain Boyes, December 15, 1883, at the home of her aunt, Lady Edwards.

While in India she spent some time hunting the native birds and having them mounted, having several hundred different specimens in her collection, undoubtedly one of the largest private collections of its kind in the United States. Since coming to Sonoma county she has been very active in aiding the captain in every way and planning the upbuilding and improving of Boyes' Hot Springs. Their efforts were united and they succeeded in making it the most attractive Hot miner spring resort in California, after which they incorporated a company and turned the management over to others, retiring from active work in order to improve their home “El Mirador” (The Lookout), well named as it overlooks the beautiful Sonoma valley. This home designed by herself, is of English architecture. In the valley she has regained her health and while she will, of course, spend a great deal of time at her English estate, Ness Strange, she will never forget her loved home and surroundings, El Mirador, in the Sonoma valley. Captain and Mrs. Boyes, in their magnificent home, take keen delight in making their surroundings beautiful and have spared neither pains nor expense in making it one of the most attractive places in Sonoma county.

Mrs. Boyes is a woman of rare attainments and ability, highly cultured and refined, her extensive travel adding to the charm of her conversation, and although of noble birth is unassuming, having the love and esteem of people in all walks of life in whose friendship she shows no partiality.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011