John Boyd, a well-known citizen of Riverside, though not a pioneer, has been a resident of the city since 1876, and there are few men who have been more closely identified with the real interest and improvements of the city than John Boyd. He arrived at a time when the first named commodity at least was needed and appreciated. He erected a substantial building on Main Street, and entered into business; and as the demands of the city increased he was ever to the front with his improvements. The present magnificent Boyd block, with its frontage of 111 1/2 feet on Main Street, is one of the results of his enterprise. He erected spacious warehouses and storerooms on Eighth Street and Pachappa Avenue, and established a commission and storage business. This was in 1885, and in 1887 he formed a partnership with Frank B. DeVine, purchased the first packing business of the German Fruit Company, and under the firm name of Boyd & DeVine ‘combined the two enterprises and founded one of the most substantial and largest business establishments in the county.
Mr. Boyd is a self-made man, one who started in life handicapped with obstacles which when not pursued with his rugged energy and perseverance would be deemed insurmountable. The few and brief facts gathered regarding his life before his advent in Riverside are as follows: He was born in Montreal, in 1833. His father was an Indian trader, having his stations scattered along the Canadian shores of the great lakes of the northwest. From his early boy-hood Mr. Boyd was the companion of his father, sharing in the hardships and dangers of a border life, gathering such learning as could be gathered from an occasional attendance at the pioneer schools, established in the half-civilized settlements that preceded the westward march of the Canadian empire. This life did not turn him out as the graceful and accomplished scholar of classics; but it did better: it early taught him the stern relations and obstacles to be encountered in life. Through his association with his father and his trading operations, Mr. Boyd became a quick, shrewd trader, with thoroughly trained business principles; straightforward, honest dealing has ever been his policy.
In 1859 Mr. Boyd came by steamer route to the Pacific coast, and established himself in British Columbia. He found that country rich in natural resources, and for the next sixteen years was engaged in trading, establishing large stations in the interior,-stock-growing and mining enterprises. There he found full scope for his well-known characteristics, and became one of the best known traders on the frontier. He was successful in a business point of view, but the hardships and exposures incident to years of frontier life told upon his strong constitution, and he found himself compelled to seek civilized life and a milder climate. In 1875 he closed his affairs in British Columbia and sought a home in California.
He spent nearly a year in visiting various sections of the State, and finally decided to cast his fortunes with Riverside. He is a public-spirited and liberal man, has been earnest in his support of Riverside enterprises, and was one of the incorporators. He was the treasurer of the Riverside Gas and Electric Light Company, and a liberal contributor to the Citrus Fair Association, Pavilion Building, Odd Fellows Hall, and other public improvements. He is a member of Riverside Lodge, No. 282, I. O. O. F. Politically he casts his influence and support with the Democratic Party. In 1879 Mr. Boyd was united in marriage with Miss Margaret Burman, a native of Maryland. They have no children.