Henry Boyd was born into slavery on April 12, 1802 in Kentucky. His slave master gave him permission to earn money to buy his freedom. At the age of 18, he was employed by the Kenhawa Salt Works in present-day West Virginia, where he chopped wood and kept watch on the salt-kettles. After earning enough money, he went back to his master and paid to become a freed man. While in Kentucky, he learned the carpentry trade.
|1838 Map of Cincinnati by Joseph Gest - Source|
Dejected, Boyd finally found work unloading pig iron on the riverfront and was a loyal employee to the merchant, he was promoted to being the janitor for his store. When another carpenter was too drunk to install a counter for the merchant, Henry proved his skills so well that the merchant also hire him to build a frame building for him.
|Tester Bed by Henry Boyd - Source|
Henry Boyd, Broadway, above Eighth street. This establishment has long enjoyed a distinguished reputation for bedstead work of high finish, fancy style, and excellent quality, although its operations are not confined to that article alone. Boyd works twenty hands.
The peculiarity of Boyd's bedsteads-which are the patent right and left, wood screw, and swelled rail-is the solidity of fit, when put together; which enhances their durability; as well as forms a perfect protection from vermin, which find no harbor at the joints.Cist, Charles. Sketches and Statistics of Cincinnati in 1851. Cincinnati: W. H. Moore, 1851.
|H. Boyd; Cin' Ohio - Source|
|1887 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source|
15 New Street, Home of Henry Boyd from approx. 1834 until 1886, outlined in red.
|Boyd Tester Bed at the Golden Lamb, Lebanon, Ohio - Source|
|Spring Grove Cemetery Burial Record for Henry Boyd - Source|
Boyd's family was considered Mulatto (light-skinned) in the census records for 1850 to 1870 and white in 1880. It is possible that Henry was the son of his slave master and could explain why he could work to buy his freedom. Even with these negative accusations, Boyd clearly helped his fellow man with his hiring practices and involvement in the Underground Railroad."Moreover, having to do chiefly with white men he was charged by his people with favoring the miscegenation of races. Whether or not this was well founded is not yet known, but his children and grandchildren did marry whites and were lost in the so-called superior race." (Woodson)
|1904-1930 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source|
Former location of Henry Boyd's house outlined in red
|CAGIS Map; 2014 - Source|
Society of Friends, . "Henry Boyd." The Friend. (1881): 85. http://books.google.com/books?id=10crAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA85&lpg=PA85&dqn&sa=X&ei=uwzzUrGyI6qoyAHwzoDIBQ&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAA
Woodson, Carter G. The Journal of Negro History. (1916). http://www.gutenberg.org/files/13642/13642-h/13642-h.htm (accessed February 5, 2014).
Robert S. , Levine. Martin R. Delany: A Documentary Reader . Univ of North Carolina Press, 2003. http://books.google.com/books?id=9dBC2U-EgBsC&dq=henry boyd delany&source=gbs_navlinks_s (accessed February 5, 2014).
"Proceedings Ohio Anti-Slavery Convention. Held At Putnam, On The Twenty-Second, Twenty-Third, And Twenty-Fourth Of April, 1835.." . http://archive.org/stream/proceedingsofohi00ohio/proceedingsofohi00ohio_djvu.txt (accessed February 5, 2014).
Griffler, Keith P. Front Line of Freedom. The University Press of Kentucky, 2004.
Excellent blog entry! Thank you for the information. I've owned a house on Boyd Street in Northside for 19 years and have wondered recently, after learning about this particular Boyd, if there was any connection. It doesn't sound like it, from your article, unless one of Henry Boyd's descendants lived there and named it after him. Do you know anything about the background of that street name?ReplyDelete
I think if you go downtown Cinti to Court Street Admin Building before Main, 2nd floor, inquire about Cinti street maps or city plats, descendants of Henry Boyd and Boyd Street in Northside, and/or Cinti Library history, or Cinti Museum Center there may be a verifiable connection.Delete
How interesting. I stumbled across this post while reading something else. A couple of years ago, I shot a video of author Bing Spitler talking about the Boyd bed at The Golden Lamb. Cincinnati has such interesting stories. If you're interested in Bing's take on Boyd, the video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3YgFjvZ-cADelete