Capt. George W. Boyd
Son Adam Boyd, Jr. & Rachel Kelloch
Husband of Nancy S. Farnham


Capt. George W. Boyd

Photo from Bainbridge Island Historical Society

Capt. George W. Boyd

"Capt. George W. Boyd first went to sea at the tender age of thirteen (circa 1836) and was shipwrecked on Cape Cod in the schooner Robert Rakes.  The identity of this vessel is unknown at present but she may have been commanded by his father, Capt. Adam Boyd, Junior.  Not to be deterred by this experience, George eventually reached the position of Master and took the South Thomaston, Maine built schooner Charles William and other vessels to the West Indies and all parts of Europe and the Mediterranean.

In circa 1858, he left his home in Rockland, Maine and went to the Pacific West Coast, perhaps to join his older brother, Capt. William K. Boyd, whom had gone out there in 1854.  He was back in Rockland by the time of the 1860 Census but left soon after with his wife and two children.  In California and the Washington Territory, Capt. Boyd found employment on a number of vessels that were owned by George Anson Meigs, proprietor of the Port Madison Lumber Mill at Port Madison, Washington Territory.

One of the first known vessels that he took was the brig Merchantman (1860-63), followed by the ship Coquimbo (1863-1870).  His next vessel in Meigs' employ was the bark Osmyn, which he commanded during one season.  By 1871, Capt. Boyd, described as the "Commodore of the Meigs fleet", oversaw the building of the 1099-ton ship Wildwood (1871-73) at Port Madison, which he took from the stocks.  He remained on her for two years, being mostly involved in the China trade.  His next vessel was the ship Vidette (1874-1880) and was most of the time engaged in the lumber trade to South America from Puget Sound.  On leaving the Vidette he entered the employ of the Renton, Holmes & Co. and sailed their Rockland, Maine built ship Otago (1880-87) to China and Mexico.  He then made one voyage in the ship John A. Briggs (1887), which he left to take charge of the ship General Fairchild (1888-1894), operating her in the coal trade between British Columbia and California ports.  Following his leave of the Fairchild, he took the ship Wachussett, which he ran for a year before retiring from active service.  He retained an interest in the ships General Fairchild and Wachussett, as well as the Rufus E. Wood, which was commanded at the time by his brother-in-law, Capt. Jeremiah W. Farnham.  These vessels were well known colliers running between British Columbia and Puget Sound coal ports and California.  In his long seafaring career on the West Coast, Capt. George W. Boyd met with uniformly good luck, never having had a serious accident happen to a vessel in his charge.

In the 1870 Census, the Boyd family was residing in San Francisco, California.  Also living with them was Capt. Jeremiah W. Farnham, James G. Farnham and their mother, Mary (Richards) Farnham.  Although they could have resided elsewhere in San Francisco, for the most part (1889-1911), Capt. Boyd and his family lived at 113 Cumberland Street near the Mission District and there is no reason to believe that they weren't at this address prior to 1889.  In 1892, the Boyd's and Capt. J. W. Farnham came back east to visit with family and friends in Rockland and Exeter, New Hampshire.  He attended a reunion of sorts in 1904 at Port Madison, Washington with Capt. Jeremiah W. Farnham and Samuel F. Coombs.

During the San Francisco earthquake and fire in April of 1906, the Boyd's lost their home but it is not known if he rebuilt or moved into another place nearby.  Capt. Boyd fell in his back yard in March of 1908 and broke his leg near the hip joint.  It never properly healed and he needed professional care, hence in the 1910 Census Viola, a 62-year-old "family nurse", was residing in his house.  He died at his home on 3 June 1911 and was buried in the family lot at the Cypress Lawn Cemetery.

See also Lewis & Dryden, Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, p. 68-69.  See also, Fredi Perry, Port Madison Washington Territory, 1854-1889."  (By C. William Colby, September 19, 2005).

George's obituary

Son John Edmund Boyd's obituary, Sister Rachel (Boyd) Coomb's obit. & photo
Sister Louisa K. (Boyd) Arey's obit.

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