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Biography of James Boyd

Posted By Dennis Partridge On In California | No Comments

James Boyd, a pioneer of Riverside, came to the colony in 1872, all his worldly goods consisting of a farm team of four horses, four cows, a lot of chickens and a few household effects, and eight dollars in cash; but he had a reserve capital of health, energy, intelligence, and a determination to succeed. He secured a squatter’s claim to seventy-three acres of Iand about two miles north of Riverside, and later an adjoining tract of eighty acres, upon which he camped with his family, his only shelter being a shanty 10 x 10, devoid of protection from the scorching sun and sand storms. Their modest cook stove was in the open air, and all the cooking was done in the morning to avoid the heat of the midday sun. Their mid day repast was served cold, but the necessary heating of tea, coffee and even edibles, was accomplished by setting the receptacles containing them upon the fireless stove in the open air; it was rare, indeed, that the fierce rays of the sun had not generated heat, that the storage qualities of that old stove rendered sufficient to bring water nearly to the boiling point. Mr. Boyd planted the seed of the eucalyptus, surrounding his home with those trees. Their growth seems marvelous; careful measurement taken in 1889 showed one of these trees, seventeen years old from the seed, nearly 150 feet in height and eleven feet four inches in circumference, measured four feet from its base. In the spring of 1873 Mr. Boyd commenced the planting of nursery stock, citrus trees, deciduous fruit trees and grapevines. A large portion of his land is devoted to general farming and stock growing; he also engaged in jobbing work, teaming, etc.

He entered heartily into public improvements, road building, etc. He served for a term or more as road master, and during that time the first two and a half miles of the famous Magnolia avenue was laid out, graded and trees planted by him, and the commencement of an enterprise established that has resulted in forming one of the most beautiful and extended avenues to be found on the Pacific coast. At this writing (1889) Mr. Boyd has twenty-five acres in oranges; the trees planted varying iii age from one to sixteen years; and ten acres of vineyard, producing raisin grapes of the Muscatel variety. He now has a nursery stock of 30,000 orange trees, from which he will put in a large acreage of the most approved varieties of citrus fruits. He has devoted study and research to his horticultural pursuits, and has been successful in producing the best results. His vineyard, which has been in bearing for many years, brings him an income of $200 an acre, net, on the average; he used to cure, pack and market his raisins himself.

Politically Mr. Boyd is a Republican in national affairs, but a decided independent in local matters. He is a strong advocate of home protection for labor as well as products, and was one of the first in Riverside to oppose the importation and employment of Chinese. He is a temperance man from principle and practice, and strong in his support of the temperance movement. He belongs to the Citrus Fair Association and Board of Trade, and helped to build the first Odd Fellows’ hail in Riverside.

A brief resume of Mr. Boyd’s life before his advent into Riverside may be of interest. He was born near Glasgow, Scotland, in 1838; his parents, John and Jane (Wright) Boyd, were natives of that country. Mr. Boyd was reared and schooled in his native place until eighteen years of age. He then went to London, and for the next two years was engaged in mercantile pursuits. In 1858 he decided to try life in the colonies, and in that year settled in New Zealand. Finding it a desirable country for energetic and industrious people, he induced his parents to join him, and they established their residence there in 1862. Mr. Boyd spent nearly eight years there, engaged in farming and stock-growing, and while there, in 1866, he was married to Miss Catherine McIntyre, a native of Scotland. He finally came to the United States, embarking in December 1866, for California, and arriving in San Francisco in January 1867. Shortly after his arrival he located in San Mateo County, near Redwood City, and engaged in lumbering; later he rented lands and engaged in farming. In 1870 he packed his goods in his wagons and started southward, arriving in Los Angeles County in December 1870. He located at Downey, where he purchased land and established himself as a farmer. That enterprise was a failure, and he decided upon a further move; accordingly, in 1872, he came to Riverside.

Mr. and Mrs. Boyd are the parents of six bright children that are the chief pride and joy of their lives. Their names are: Jennie R., John D., Katie M., Hugh J., Bessie A. and William Wallace, five of them being born in Riverside; the eldest being born in Los Angeles County, not being able to walk when she came to Riverside.


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