The Boyd Family History
by Kathryn Boyd Larson
Dedicated with due respect to P. P. Boyd, of Story City, Iowa, to whom we are indebted for the greater share of information regarding the ancestors of the Boyd family.
In formulating a brief history of the immigration of the Boyd family into the United States we find that data is somewhat scarce, due to the passing away of those who pioneered this country and who would have been in position to give us needed information. Regardless of such handicaps, however, we shall endeavor to give to those most vitally concerned a history such as had its data promiscuously gathered from those who remain with us to tell of the pioneer hardships.
A complete history or record of our forefather's pioneering would indeed be lengthy but it is not our purpose to attempt such a boundless task which would perhaps lead us into the writing of volumes if such historical facts were within our scope of remembrance or on any sort of record.
It will be our purpose, however, to give those most vitally interested a brief and perhaps inadequate historical review which in no way attempts toward completeness.
A question may arise in the minds of a generation such as ours "What was the motive or incentive which brought these hardy Vikings to these shores?" The answer to this question may be involved in two reasons: first, the visualization or foresight into the future; secondly, the economic conditions in Norway. There is no doubt that there was a keen foresight in the minds of those ambitious Norsemen who had the pluck to leave their native country and go to that strange land called the United States of America, but it was their visualization into the future coupled with staunch faith, that they saw this was the promised land of opportunity.
As for the economic conditions in Norway at this time little can be said except that they were far from favorable especially for those who had that forward look to better things. Just a little reminiscence will show this. Grandmother, Mrs. Peter Boyd Bauge, when a girl worked for a whole year and a half for one dollar and fifty cents and when a neighbor offered her two dollars a year there was a much perturbed neighborhood over the soaring wages. That was of course before we had ever heard of such a thing as the minimum wage scale. Yes, we have no doubt that our ancestral housewives gossiped over back fences over the scandalously high wages. It just brings us to thinking that the battle against high wages comes down to us as naturally as any other incident in the course of human events.
The first ancestor that we know anything of at all is Anfin Boyd. His son, Peter Boyd, was a seafaring man assisted by his brother-in law, Thor Thorson (Bauge). They resided in Sondhordland, Skaanavick, on what was called the Boyd Estate.
The traits of that forward look or foresight is plainly manifested in the life of Peter Boyd (Bauge). In the Skaanavick Parish or "Prestejeld" very little education could be obtained except that which could be obtained through parochial schools in which merely reading of the Scriptures was taught. The teaching of mathematics or writing was an unheard of thing in these parts and such a thing as education for women was considered a decided waste of time. In spite of all these things Peter Boyd (Bauge), who foresaw a need for education, made it known at his deathbed that it was his wish, that if it were possible, the family should be instructed in mathematics and writing by tutors sent out from the larger cities of Norway. This was carried out in what we would call a very meager way. This instruction might have continued had not the call of the roving Viking spirit bubbled forth in the blood of those youthful, buoyant Norsemen. The lure of the new unconquered land of Freedom across the ocean, together with the spirit of adventure proved too much for them and thus in the year 1845 the first of the Boyd family set forth in a small sailboat with that staunch unquenchable faith in Providence and their safeguard against the fathomless deep. These first ancestors were Anfin and Lars Boyd with their families, who after weeks after a perilous journey of many weeks upon the ocean came to Muskegon, Wisconsin, where they remained two years and then moved to Grundy county, Illinois, in 1847.
In this same year several more of the family came, namely: two brothers, Knudt Bauge (of Cambridge, Iowa, in later years) and Ole Bauge, together with two sisters, Helga and Brita, who settled near Morris, Illinois. Brita was married to Thor Thorson Bauge and they brought with them their family, Thor, John and Betsy Thorson.
Those belonging to this branch of the family are:
1. Anfin: No children
2. Lars: Anfin and Halvor. Both were lost trace of in the Civil War.
3. Knudt: No children (Teacher)
4. Ole: Henry: Otis Boyd of Roland, Martha, Josie
5. Brita: John Thorson, Thor Thorson, Betsy Thorson.
6. Helga: No trace of family.
7. Peter: Anfin Boyd, Ole Boyd, Lars Boyd, Mangela Boyd-Mrs Brandeland, Ingeborg-Mrs. Hamersland, Knudt Boyd, Peter Boyd.
In the year of 1848 a terrible plague, Cholera, swept the country and as far as our data shows twenty-two of the Boyd family were victims to this dreadful scourge. Those who we know of as fatal victims to the Cholera were Anfin, Lars and Ole Boyd, together with the two sisters, Helga and Brita, who's families were almost completely stricken out.
During the year 1855, Knudt Bauge, who was the only remaining member of the family (except peter Boyd Bauge, who had not yet come to this country and who later died in his native land) came with a colony of Scandinavians into the State of Iowa. He settled near Cambridge, which in the olden days was called the South Settlement. These were the first Norwegians to enter the state. A few of these colonists settled near Story City, Roland and Radcliffe and this section was called the North Settlement.
After Peter Boyd Bauge's death in Norway this family began their immigration into the United States. In 1857 Lars and Ole Boyd (sons of Peter Boyd Bauge) came to Grandy county, Illinois, and settled near Helmar Illinois. Those of this branch of the family are: Anfin Boyd, deceased, formerly of Radcliffe, Iowa; Ole Boyd; Lars or Lewis Boyd, Lee, Illinois; Mangela (Boyd) Brandeland, Radcliffe, Iowa; Ingeborg (Boyd) Hamersland, Nevada, Iowa; Knudt P. Boyd, deceased, Story City, Iowa, and Peter P. Boyd, Story City, Iowa.
after Ole and Lars (Lewis) Boyd had been in this country nine years, Ole Boyd went back to his fatherland and brought back with him his mother, Mrs. Peter Boyd Bauge, his sister Mangela, and his two brothers Knudt P. Boyd and Peter P. Boyd.
Knudt P. Boyd and Peter P. Boyd settled near Lee, Illinois, in the year 1866. Mrs. Barney Hamersland (Ingeborg Boyd) with her husband and children, came to this country and settled near Lee, Illinois, in 1875.
The last of this immediate family branch to join the pioneer ranks was Anfin Boyd with his wife and family, who came from Norway in 1883. They remained but a short time in Illinois and then moved to a farm near Roland, Iowa, in 1884. During this same year Barney Hamersland and family moved to their homestead near Nevada, Iowa. Mrs. Hamersland died in Illinois four years previous to this in 1880.
Knudt P. Boyd had moved to Iowa in 1880, four years before his Brother Anfin came and was the second of the Boyd family to move to Iowa.
The last of the Boyd family to move to Iowa was Mr. And Mrs. Peter P. Boyd with their family, Hilda, Sylvia, Pearl and Nettie Boyd in April, 1912. Lewis Boyd remained in Illinois until his death and Ole Boyd moved to Arlington, S.D., where he remained until his death.
In 1861, when the Civil war broke out, President Lincoln issued the first call for 7,500 volunteers, to which Thor Thorson and Lewis P. Boyd responded and enlisted in the 36th regiment. Two years later, John Thorson, together with Halvor and Lars Boyd enlisted in the 91st regiment. There was no misgivings in the minds of these men who went into these regiments that the land in which they lived was worth fighting for even as they would have fought for their own fatherland.
May we of this generation be truly grateful to our ancestors who came to this land of opportunity, that we might become citizens of this great nation, the nation that is the melting pot of all nations and makes us all true Americans. May the spirit of true Americanism pervade the Boyd generations in the years to come.