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James R. Boyd biography


The gentleman to whose life history attention is herewith respectfully invited has long been recognized as one of Hancock county’s leading citizens, and as a financier and executive head of a large monetary institution he has contributed directly and indirectly to the industrial, commercial and general business interests of the city of Greenfield. Mr. Boyd’s paternal grandfather, James Boyd, was an early pioneer of Wayne county, Indiana, and there died a number of years ago. Among his children was a son by the name of Philander, whose birth occurred in the county of Wayne. He grew to maturity in that part of the state and in young manhood married Katherine Kepler, a native of Maryland, who bore him children as follows: Peter K., died in Hancock county; Martha L., deceased, wife of William T. Snider; J. R., subject of this review; Emma G., who married J. M. Hinchman, of Greenfield; Josephine, wife of Thomas H. Selman, a druggist of the above place, and Zora B., who became the wife of W. S. Gant, of Greenfield, dealer in buggies, wagons, etc., and manager of the opera house.

Philander Boyd farmed in Wayne county for a number of years and finally moved to the county of Hancock and purchased land two and a half miles north of Greenfield. He became a successful agriculturist and accumulated a large and valuable estate, owning at one time eight hundred acres of fine land in this county, the greater part of which was highly improved. Originally he settled in the woods on a small place of eighty acres, which he cleared and made his home until 1860. By hard work, well-directed energy and successful management, he added to his real estate from time to time and as the country increased in population his land advanced correspondingly in value. In 1874 he was elected president of the Citizens’ National Bank in Greenfield and continued to discharge the duties of the position in an able and praiseworthy manner until his death, which occurred August 30, 1879. He was essentially a business man, having little taste for public life, and although a stanch supporter of the Democratic party, never entertained any ambition for political preferment of any kind.

James R. Boyd was born December 15, 1848, in Center township, Hancock county, Indiana, and remained with his father until the latter’s death. Reared to agricultural pursuits his early life was spent in close touch with nature and the practical lessons he there learned served him well as a foundation upon which his subsequent career as a successful farmer and enterprising business man was builded. His educational training embraced the studies usually taught in the public schools and on attaining his majority he turned his attention to farming, which humble calling he followed with profitable returns until 1898.

Since 1860 Mr. Boyd has lived in Greenfield, driving to and from his farms each day and managing the large estate left to his care in such a way as greatly to increase its value and make for himself a reputation as one of the most progressive agriculturists in the county of Hancock. In 1898 he was chosen president of the Citizens’ National Bank, since which time he has devoted the greater part of the time to the official functions, although still looking after his agricultural interests which have continued to increase in magnitude and importance with the passing years. At one time he was in the mercantile business in Greenfield as a grocer, but did not long continue the trade, disposing of his store at the close of the third years to the end that he might better manage his farms and look after his other enterprises.

Mr. Boyd is a successful business man and his investments have been paying ones. His career proves conclusively that energy and industry are the road to fortune and that no prosperity is genuine unless obtained by honorable and legitimate methods. Wisely avoiding the paths of speculation, he has been satisfied with the steady but sure gains of legitimate transactions and the ample fortune which is now his has come to him as the result of wisely-directed effort and sound judgment in business affairs.

Mr. Boyd is in the best sense of the term a man of the people and today controls the financial policy of the city of his residence and guides public sentiment in business matters to a greater degree than any other citizen, and yet without evincing the least desire to be considered a leader. He is a man of unexceptionable morals, temperate in all things, and his name and character have always been far removed from slander and suspicion. Kind, hospitable and obliging, his personal popularity is as extensive as his acquaintance, while his courteous, affable bearing, added to rare business tact and talent, eminently fit him for his position as president of one of the strongest and most popular moneyed institutions in the state. Mr. Boyd owns much valuable property in Greenfield and Hancock county, inkling a number of lots improved and unimproved and a fine farm of three hundred acres not far from the county seat. Financially he is one of the reliably strong men of this section of the state and in business circles here and elsewhere his rating is second to that of no other citizen of Indiana.

Mr. Boyd was married in 1875 to Miss Josephine Willett, daughter of Thomas Willett, and is the father of three children, Horace K., who married Katie Jackson and at the present time holds an important clerical position in the Citizens’ Bank, is an accomplished, well-educated young business man, graduating from Purdue University with the class of 1896; Paul R., was graduated from an educational institution at New Castle in 1900, and Ralph J., the youngest, has also been provided with the best intellectual training obtainable. Mr. and Mrs. Boyd are active workers in the Presbyterian church in Greenfield, and are popular with all who have been fortunate enough to form their acquaintance. Their home is well known to the best society people of the city and their influence has always been exerted in behalf of whatever conduces to charity, benevolence and right living.

source: Biographical Memoirs of Hancock County B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Logansport, Indiana, 1902 Pages 264-266.