Boydston Clan

(Chattanooga Branch)

This genealogy appeared on the
Chattanoogan.com website, without attribution, August 2000. A version of it appears in an article on the Hamilton County Tennessee Genealogical Society site and can be found here. It is attributed to John Wilson, 14 February 1993.

Cavanaugh Boydston lived peaceably in Lookout Valley for many years before the cruel “Trail of Tears” in 1838, and now he lies buried near his Indian neighbors. The early valley settler rests in the Boydston Cemetery at the foot of Elder Mountain, and many Indians are buried on the rise just above his grave.

Thomas Boydston (or Boylston) had gone from Renfrewshire, Scotland, to Maryland in 1656. He was born about 1634 and was a carpenter. He married Elizabeth Vaulx, daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Burwell Vaulx. Their eldest son, Thomas Boydston Jr., was born at Calvert County, Maryland., in 1657. He married Mahulda Box in 1677. Their son, William Boydston, was born in 1680 at Eastern Shore, Maryland. He married Sabra Polke in 1705. Their son, David Boydston, was born in 1710 and married Mahala Snow, then Sarah Pruitt.

A son, James, was born in Maryland in 1738. He married Mary Pruitt, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Hawker Pruitt, in 1757. Their children were Mahulda who married Thomas Hill, James Jr. who married Sarah Alvis, Samuel who married Sarah Reed, John who married Nancy Ann Gardner, William and Sarah who married John Stringfield. The second wife of James Boydston was Tabitha Smith. Their children were Thomas, Tabitha who married Harmond Reed, Mahala who married Thomas Arnold, Benjamin who married Mary Gardner, Sabra who married Samuel Lusk, and Malinda who married William Adams.

The James Boydstons were living near Raleigh when Thomas Boydston was born in 1770. The family then moved to the Tennessee frontier, going to Washington County in 1771 and Sullivan County in 1779. Two years later they were on the Nolichucky River. Thomas Boydston married Elizabeth Newport, daughter of a Baptist minister, in 1792. She had been born in Virginia in 1775.

The Thomas Boydstons lived at Claiborne County, where his grandfather, David Boydston, was residing. They moved on to Lookout Valley about 1820. When Thomas Boydston died in 1835, he was living at Ripley, Tenn., having moved there about 1830. His children were John, who was born in 1793, and married Sarah Condray, Cavanaugh who married Polly Slape, Thomas who was born in 1800, Elizabeth who was born in 1815 and married Elnathan Howell Condray, Sabra who married James Lusk, Sarah, Mary, Priscilla, William who was born in 1816 and married Mary Lusk, and Benjamin Franklin who was born in 1820 and married Mary Wood.

John Boydston and his wife, Sarah Lee Condray Boydston, were still in Hamilton County at the start of the Civil War. John Boydston in 1842 bought 160 acres in Lookout Valley from William Cummings for $320. The children of John Boydston included William who was born in 1828, Steven who was born in 1831, Asa Conner who was born in 1833 and married Jane Blevins, Martha who was born in 1836 and married Abner Sowders, and Elizabeth who was born in 1839 and married Richard M. Blevins. John Boydston died in 1882 in Claiborne County, Tenn.

Thomas Boydston settled at Mountain Creek. Elnathan Condray and William and Benjamin Franklin Boydston moved on to Lauderdale County, Tenn. However, Cavanaugh Boydston stayed on at Hamilton County the rest of his long life. He lived from 1796 (the year Tennessee became a state) until 1871. About 1821 he built a log cabin not far from Brown's Ferry, where there was much traffic coming through. Cavanaugh Boydston was a farmer and trader. A religious man, he was an elder of the Primitive Baptist Church. He gave land for the church, located on Brown's Ferry Road. The log church was burned during the Civil War at the time of a skirmish nearby. Some of the soldiers killed in the fighting are buried behind the church as well as a family that died during the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1878, a Boydston descendant said. The church is now used by Presbyterians.

Among the land grants to Cavanaugh Boydston, one mentions both sides of the valley road leading from Washington to Brown's Ferry. Old Washington was a Tennessee River landing in Rhea County. This 190-acre grant was in 1824. Another grant mentions the road “leading to John Brown's old ferry.”

Cavanaugh Boydston had 12 children, some of whom married into the valley families. At the time of the 1860 census, Thomas was a clerk in Chattanooga for attorney Richard Henderson. Thomas Boydston lived until 1886. Elizabeth married Thomas Condray. John Hall married Mary Elizabeth Cummings, daughter of Thomas Cummings, in 1845. They moved to Van Zant County, Texas, the following year. Mary Elizabeth Cummings Boydston died there in 1848 after the birth of a daughter, Mary Elizabeth Boydston. This daughter was later raised by William and Jemima Cummings in Lookout Valley. She lived until 1916. John Hall Boydston was later married to two Ridge sisters, marrying the second one after the first one died. He lived in Pope County, Arkansas., and was at Caddo, Oklahoma, when he died in 1902.

Other children of Cavanaugh Boydston included Martha and Richard, who both died in the early 1840s when they were in their teens. William married Jane Wilhite in 1855. He enlisted Oct. 1, 1862, in the Confederacy's Co. F of the 35th Tennessee Infantry. He was sick in the hospital at Chattanooga in April 1863 and at Tunnel Hill in May, then he was severely wounded at Chickamauga on Sept. 20, 1863. He rose to the rank of third lieutenant, but he resigned Sept. 8, 1864. In doing so, he noted that the regiment had become so small with only about 100 men and 30 officers. Calvin died in 1851 when he was 19. George A. married Ann Williams in 1856. George A. Boydston was with Co. D of the 4th Georgia Cavalry briefly, but he gained a medical discharge on Nov. 1, 1862. Sarah married J.C. Hartman in 1863.

James Madison Boydston, another son of Cavanaugh Boydston, was born in 1828 at his father's log cabin. He died in the same cabin in 1911. “Uncle Jimmy” Boydston had been a scout for the Confederate army during the war and was captured and placed in a Union prison. He was a second lieutenant with Co. D of the 4th Georgia Cavalry. Family members still have his parole papers. It was said his four years of war service were the only time in his life that he was outside Hamilton County. He was blind the last 12 years of his life. He first married Rachel Hood and his second wife was Mattie Hood. The sons of J.M. Boydston and Rachel were Edgar (see note #1 below), Walter and Frank.

There are still Boydstons in Lookout Valley, living on the homeplace and still possessing the old land grants and account books from a pre-Civil War Boydston store. However, the Cavanaugh Boydston log cabin burned in 1963. Mrs. Lawrence (Ruth Chandler) Boydston, whose husband was a son of Edgar Boydston, lives on the Boydston property, most of which has been sold “a lot at a time.” Her children are James Robert Boydston, Lawrence Boydston Jr. and Gwendolyn Boydston Carroll. Lawrence Boydston Jr. is the husband of Janice Boydston, a member of the Hamilton County School Board.

Addendum by Brad Boydston

(1) One of Edgar Boydston's sons was Horace Edgar Boydston (b. 1907, d. 1983). He married Susie Cliff Jones and they had three sons before she died in child birth in 1942. The oldest son is also named Horace Edgar Boydston (b. 1933). The other two are John Franklin Boydston (b. 1935) and William Cliff Boydston (b. 1939). The junior Horace married Marjorie JoAnne Erickson (b. 1933) in 1953. They have three sons. I, Bradley Leigh Boydston, am the oldest (b. 1956, Chicago, IL). Gregory Scott Boydston (DeeAnn Kindall) and Gary Brian Boydston (Joy Hoshiwara) are my brothers. Gary and Joy have returned to Tennessee and live in Cookeville.

In 1981 I married Cheryl Annette Bickerton (b. 1956). We have three children, Kirk Leigh Boydston (b. 1984), Kent Caswell Boydston (b. 1986), and Elizabeth Annette Boydston (b. 1987).

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Kent, our second son, has a website

My cousin, Susie White-Boydston (daughter of William), has a page at susieboydstonwhite.com

Another cousin, John Boydston ("Johnny Boyd") has a website to promote his latest album.

There is a Boydstun/Boydston family site at backto60s.tripod.com/famhist/index.html

Picture of my great-great uncle Frank Boydston (brother of my great-grandfather Edgar Boydston) hard at work at the N. Chattanooga post office -- www.hctgs.org/Photos/NChatt_PO.htm

Lookout Valley Primitive Baptist Church, a church which started in 1800, and which is intertwined with Boydston family history.

B.G. Boydston Funeral Home -- not really our branch of the family but with a name like that I'm sure they provide wonderful service.