Ohio Biographies

Isaiah Boyce

Isaiah Boyce was born at Lincolnshire, England, Nov. 30, 1812, and came to America with his parents in the fall of 1823. The family halted for a short time with Richard Woodhouse, father of the late John Woodhouse, near Windsor, and then bought a quarter-section of land (southwest quarter, section 22), in Franklin Township, of Judge McCluer, paying $1,650 for the same -- the payment being made on New Years Day, 1824, in 3,300 silver half-dollars. This land is six miles north of Mansfield, where the Old State Road forks, the old stage route angling to the left through Ganges, Planktown and other points until it reaches Sandusky (then called Portland) on the lakes. A school house now sits in the "fork" and a short distance toward Shenandoah is a Baptist church and cemetery. The locality is called Five Corners, for there roads lead to Mansfield, six miles: to New State Road, three miles: to infirmary, three miles: to Ganges, five miles, and to Shenandoah, four miles. Brubaker's Creek, often called Boyce's Run, runs in an easterly direction through the Boyce farm and crosses the State road near the old-time Boyce residence. This stream is a tributary of the Blackfork, as is also Friend's Creek, which parallels it through Franklin Township, and after coquetting with each other all along their long devious courses from their sources in Jackson Township, they embrace and unite in Weller, about a mile northeast of Mr. Boyce's present residence, then zigzag to the north and empty into the Blackfork near to Oswalt's. Agriculturally, Franklin is one of the finest townships in the county. The soil is fertile and strong, capable of producing all farm products and a few of the many fine sugar camps for which it was formerly noted, still stand. The first settlers of Franklin Township were largely from Pennsylvania and in religious doctrine were generally of the Lutheran, or German Reformed belief. There was also a Protestant Episcopal element, seven English families having located in the Boyce neighborhood. Upon the occasion of the first visitation of a bishop to Richland County a service was held at Boyce's where a class of about 20 young people -- children of those English families -- was confirmed. Of that class who then received confirmation by the laying on of hands by Bishop Chase, "after the example of the holy Apostles", Mr. Boyce is the only survivor. And owing to the fact that no organized effort was made for the Church, the members of that class severally drifted to various denominations, Mr. Boyce himself becoming a Baptist, became deacon of the congregation and is generally called "Deacon" Boyce. But, although thus seemingly alienated, the "Deacon" no doubt, still has a warm place in his heart for the "Holy Mother Church" into which he was baptized and confirmed, as his parents had been in their day and their ancestors in the old time before them. This visitation of Bishop Chase was in August, 1825, and he held two services -- one in the log court house, which then stood in the public square, the other at Boyce's. At the service at the court house Bishop Chase took for his text, "Am I My Brother's Keeper?" "Deacon" Boyce vividly recalls, not only the text, but the syllabus of the sermon, although 73 years intervene between then and now. Bishop Chase was in full vestments and his appearance upon that occasion was one long to be remembered by those who saw him. The bishop's manner at the confirmation was impressive, when in the laying on of hands, he repeated the invocation in behalf of each member of the class, saying "Defend, O Lord, this thy child with thy heavenly grace; that he may continue forever; and daily increase in the Holy Spirit more and more, until he comes into thy everlasting kingdom. Amen." Prior to Bishop Chase's visitation the Rev. Searl had held Episcopal service "at Loudonville and in Richland County" but does not mention Mansfield. Mrs. Clark, of Ashland, widow of the late Dr. P.H. Clark, is a stepdaughter of the Rev. Searl. Mrs. Clark is now aged and infirm and the Rev. A.B. Putnam frequently goes to Ashland and holds services at her home and Bishop Leonard will soon make a visitation there. "Deacon" Boyce was one of the prominent men of the county in his day, but a few years ago he had a stroke of paralysis, affecting his left side and incapacitating him from work. In his affliction his quiet resignation exemplifies the difference between a matter-of-fact Englishman and a never-satisfied American. But although afflicted in body, his mind is clear and his memory unimpaired. In stature the "Deacon" is tall and of muscular build, and was a powerful man physically when he was in the vigor of his younger years. He worked hard and lived well, and his life illustrates the old apothegm that industry and perseverance, as a rule, win in the end, and now when the years of his age are four score and six, he enjoys the competence earned and acquired in the years gone by. "Deacon" Boyce has been twice married, his present wife having been the widow of the late Fergus Moorehead. Her maiden name was McCarron, and she is a sister of the wife of C.F. Loomis, who has been long identified with the clothing business in Mansfield. B. McCarron was well known in his day in Mansfield and was at one time superintendent of the county infirmary. Like her husband, Mrs. Boyce dispenses hospitality with a generous hand and enjoys entertaining her friends. This union has been blessed with one child -- Miss Vera, aged 12 -- who by her sweet and gentle ways wins the hearts of all who are so fortunate as to form her acquaintance. The "Deacon's" sister, Elizabeth, married John Cline, and they were the parents of John, Joseph and Jacob Cline, of this city. When the Boyce family located in Franklin Township, and for many years afterwards, the old-time stages ran past their door and large quantities of grain and produce were hauled in wagons to the lake, the outlet to the eastern market. So far as is known no permanent Indian camp was ever located in that territory, although the red skins frequently hunted in those parts and in the spring of the year resorted there to make maple sugar. Indian relics are even yet occasionally found by farmers when plowing their fields. In the line of game Franklin Township was in the front rank. Black bears abounded in the swamps, and bear meat was a frequent course on the settlers' tables, and cub bears were favorite pets. The usual varieties of smaller game were also numerous. Taverns dotted the State Road quite thickly to the north, Long's and Bradley's being south of Boyce's and Gates' north. The former were favorite places for public gatherings and militia muster headquarters; the latter was a general stopping place for the teamsters, many of whom avowed that Landlady Gates was the best cook in the country. It is said that Peter and Henry Pittenger, Samuel Harvey, George Wolford, Samuel Gosage, Samuel Linn, Jacob Keiser, John Stoner, Robert Hall, Samuel Donnan, Israel Long, John Calvin, Jacob Cline, Mr. Styer and Joseph Flora were among the earliest settlers in Franklin Township. Some of these pioneers found their way up the Blackfork while others came by way of Beall's trail. The township settled up rapidly after the close of the war of 1812, and many of the soldiers who passed through the county with the army afterwards returned and settled permanently in the northern townships of the county. The residents of Franklin are a church going people, as is attested by the fact that five or six churches in that township have fair-sized congregations. One of the first graveyards in that part of the county is at Zeiter's, where, upon an old stone slab erected about 65 years ago, appears the following inscription: "Remember, friends, as you pass by, As you are now so once was I; As I am now, so you must be; Prepare for death and follow me." Some one irreverently wrote below: "To follow you I can't consent, Unless I know which way you went." At an early day a Universalist church was built in the northern part of the township, of which Ayres and Truck and Crum were members, but the society has long since gone out of existence. The original farm of John Boyce is now owned by the widow of the late Andrew Boyce, a nephew of the "Deacon's" but the majority of the other farms have changed names as well as ownership. "Deacon" Boyce now lives on what was formerly known as the Moorehead farm, halfway between the State and Olivesburg Roads, a mile and a half east of his former residence. "Deacon" Boyce has always been a good citizen, an obliging neighbor, a kind husband and father, and has the respect and best wishes of a very large circle of acquaintance. -- A.J. Baughman.


Mansfield Semi-Weekly News: October 18, 1898, Vol. 14, No. 86



The parents of the late Isaiah Boyce came from England to America and settled in Franklin Township, seven miles north of Mansfield, in about 1816 -- Isaiah being then six years old. This Boyce place is on the old State road, where it crosses Brubaker's run, at Five Corners, and in situation and appearance ranks with the best of the many attractive farms for which Richland County is noted. At the Boyce home, Bishop Chase conducted services and confirmed a class -- the first confirmation service ever held in Richland County. The bishop held two services upon that occasion, one in the log court house in Mansfield, the other at Boyce's. Different dates may have been given as to the year of the bishop's visitation. the late Isaiah Boyce stated that "it was just prior to the bishop's trip to England to get funds to start a college". That trip to England was made in 1823. The Rev. Philander Chase, an uncle of the late Hon. Salmon P. Chase, was consecrated to the episcopate in 1819. The first Episcopal See of the diocese of Ohio was at Worthington. The Rev. Mr. Chase had settled there in 1817 as principal of an academy and rector of that parish, and two years later was made the first bishop of Ohio. Feeling the necessity for better educational facilities, he visited England to seek financial aid toward founding a college and theological seminary. He raised a fund of over $30,000. Upon his return he bought a large tract of land on the Kokosing, in Knox County, east of Mt. Vernon, where he founded Kenyon College and Gambier village, the latter named for Lord Gambier, who was the largest contributor to the fund. Isaiah Boyce died Feb. 10, 1900, aged nearly ninety years. Mr. Boyce was a prosperous farmer and a prominent citizen -- a man of influence in his day and generation. Although Mr. Boyce was in Bishop Chase's class, he afterwards united with the Baptist denomination. About a year before his death he was visited by the Rev. A.B. Putnam and during the interview, the visit of Bishop Chase, seventy-five years previous, was vividly and lovingly recalled. The Rev. Mr. Putnam said prayers and Mr. Boyce joined in the responses. At the conclusion of the service, Mr. Boyce expressed the pleasure and comfort he felt in again hearing the prayers with which he had been familiar in his childhood, and in receiving the absolution, the Church, through her priests, gives to her penitent children. Mr. Boyce's widow and daughter, Miss Vera, are now residents of Mansfield.


From Bellville Messenger: March 26, 1903, Vol. 11, No. 12