Capt. James I. H. Boyd, was born near Gap Creek, Carter County, May 29, 1821, the son of John and Mary (Tipton) Boyd, the former born in North Carolina in 1783, the son of William Boyd, a native of North Carolina, and a captain of light horse soldiers in the Revolution. William Boyd married Rebecca Porter, and removed between 1785 and 1790, settling at Gap Creek, as a pioneer. The first deed on record after Tennessee became a State and in Carter County was made to him by William Sharp. In 1823 a powder-mill explosion killed him. John, the father, was a farmer and died August 19, 1873, and the mother was born in 1785, the daughter of Samuel Tipton, of Virginia, and a pioneer of Carter County. He was the son of John Tipton of the John Sevier difficulty fame; she died in Springfield, Ill., in 1856.
Our subject grew up on the farm, and even when twenty years old could not read a verse in the Bible correctly after having attended a few schools in log cabin school houses. In 1843 he attended school four months at Holston College and then began teaching, alternating farming and teaching, until he adopted the latter. In 1851 he went to Springfield, Ill., and for two years was deputy sheriff. In 1857 he returned and began teaching at Buffalo (now Milligan) College, and in 1860 took charge of Duffield Academy at Elizabethton until August 11, 1861. He then joined the Federal Army and became a messenger between East Tennessee people and those intending to burn the railway bridges; he then became colonel and organized a company of 1,000 men in Carter County, hut they were disbanded and soon went to Kentucky.
May 11, 1868, be was made captain of Company B, Fourth Tennessee Infantry, at Louisville, Ky., and resigned June 7, 1864, on account of ill health. He then went to Knoxville and in 1865 to Elizabethton. He had charge of Washington Hotel at Jonesboro, for a time, and in 1867 taught school at Elizabethton until he became a representative in 1869. He then returned and taught school until 1881, when he became assistant door-keeper of the National House of Representatives, under Hon. W. P. Brownlow who was principal door-keeper of the XLVII Congress. Since 1882 he has been at home. During the above time he has practiced law more or less.
Martha J. a daughter of Isaac Tipton, became his wife October 7, 1847, and was born in 1824 in this county. Two of their five children are living, Henry C., a lawyer, at Elizabethton, is one. The wife and three children died in Springfield, Ill., in 1856 and 1857, and February 28, 1860, he married Rhoda Williams, born November 7, 1824, in this county. They have two children. She is a member of the Christian Church. Rhoda is a daughter of Edmund Williams, several times sheriff of Carter County. He is a son of Archibald Williams, and Archibald is a son of Edmund Williams, a pioneer, both of whom had served as sheriff, etc.
Transcribed by Kris L. Martin
Source: Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of from Twenty-Five to Thirty Counties of East Tennessee. Chicago: Goodspeed, 1887.