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James Amzie Boyd

By Linda Thompson Robertson December 2013

James Amzie Boyd
James Amzie Boyd

James Amzie (Jimmie or Jim) Boyd was the fourth child of James H. and Eliza Boyd. He was born on December 14, 1855, and was apparently first known as James Boyd, Jr. He later was called James Amzie Boyd. He may have been named for the younger brother of James Hervey Boyd, Amzi Philantheus Boyd (1817-54), who lived and died in Kosciusko, Mississippi.

James Amzie Boyd attended the Jackson Male Academy in the 1860s. A class roll from October 1866 to March 1870 is preserved in the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, along with certificates of admission of students signed by J. H. Boyd, registrar, and H. W. Pierce, teacher.

In 1870, the Federal Census lists “James Boyd, Jr.” as living at home with his parents and engaged in “farming.” In 1880, he was a clerk in a store and living in the Village of Edwards, Hinds County, Mississippi. He lived with a family headed by Charles Knox.

When he was 35 years old, James Amzie Boyd married Lillian (Lillie) Irene Hallam, a Mississippi native. Lillie was nearly 10 years younger. The wedding took place on November 19, 1891, in the Methodist Church in Wesson, Mississippi. Lillie was a graduate of Whitworth College in Brookhaven, a four-year women’s college affiliated with the Mississippi Methodist Conference. She attended college during the administration of Dr. Harvey F. Johnson, one of the school’s most influential presidents.

Lillie’s father, William M. Hallam, was born in Georgia in 1827, and her mother, Leonora, was born in Georgia in 1829. William and Leonora married on March 20, 1861. At the time, Leonora was a widow (Mrs. Leonora E. Ector) who had a daughter, Bettie A. Ector, who had been born August 24, 1856.

The elder Hallams had two children of their own: Philip Reynolds Hallam, born February 10, 1862, and Lillian Irene Hallam, born January 13, 1865.

Census records show that William and Leonora Hallam were living in Wesson, Copiah County, Mississippi, as early as 1880, but they had been pioneers there. The town of Wesson was incorporated in 1866, named after Colonel James Madison Wesson. Just after the Civil War, Colonel Wesson established the town with two associates, Major W. H. Hallam and James Hamilton. Colonel Wesson built the Mississippi Manufacturing Company, a cotton mill, on the New Orleans, Jackson, and Great Northern Railroad line. Wesson became Mississippi’s first large mill village, and the cotton mill came to be celebrated for its products.

Leonora Hallam died on October 22, 1883. Her daughter Betty Ector died September 29, 1905, and son Philip Hallam died in 1939. All are buried in the Wesson Cemetery.

The James Amzie Boyd family had four children, three sons, James Hallam (known as “J. Hal” and born July 31, 1892), John Hervey (born August 11, 1894), and William Hallam (born March 7, 1897), and a daughter, Mary Nell, born February 21, 1903. All the children were born in Wesson.

According to the 1900 Federal Census, James, a merchant, and Lillie and their three sons were living with her father, W. M. Hallam, tax collector in Copiah County. W. M. Hallam was a widower then. Bettie Ector, who was single, also lived with the family, as did three black servants. William M. Hallam died in 1909 and is buried in the Wesson Cemetery.

In 1910, James A. Boyd was living in Wesson with his wife and four children. He was a salesman in the retail general merchandise business.  In 1920, James was living on Hotel Square in Wesson with his wife Lillie and daughter Mary Nell. The census listed him as “Jimmie A. Boyd” and his occupation, manager of an oil mill.

James was still head of the family in the town of Wesson in 1930, and he was manager of an oil mill at age 75. His wife was at home, as was a son, “Willie,” age 33, a real estate agent.

On November 18, 1940, James Amzie Boyd died at Wesson, Mississippi. He is buried in the Wesson Cemetery, along with his wife Lillie, who died on April 29, 1948. Her funeral services were conducted at the Methodist Church in Wesson, where, at age 83, she had been the oldest member.

The children of James Amzie Boyd:

According to an undated Commercial Appeal article in the Boyd Family Papers at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, J. Hal [James Hallam] Boyd graduated from Wesson High School at age sixteen, an honor student, in about 1908. He graduated two years later from Detroit High School and from Yale University in 1914. Upon graduation, he took a position with the B. F. Goodrich Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio. Then he volunteered for the U. S. Army and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the field artillery. He attained the rank of major in the field artillery.

J. Hal Boyd married Elizabeth Watkins of Chattanooga, Tennessee. They had three children, Irene Elder Hallam Boyd, J. Hallam Boyd, Jr., and Elizabeth S. Boyd.  He died in Memphis in 1980, at the age of 87. He was a former president and director of the Commercial Chemical Company and the senior partner of Frazier Jelke and Company. He was a member of the Memphis Country Club, Hunt and Polo Club, and the Racquet and Tennis Club of New York.

The old Commercial Appeal newspaper article reported that John Hervey Boyd graduated from Wesson High School and studied one year at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. He then went to Portland, Oregon, to the home of his uncle, the Reverend John H. Boyd, and graduated from Portland High School two years later. He was employed by a railroad in the West and then returned to the East to the Dodge Brothers automobile factory in Detroit. At the outset of World War I, he volunteered with the American ambulance service and did active duty for his country in France.

John Hervey Boyd married Suzanne Tretsch, who was born March 12, 1909, and died January 18, 1941. She is buried in the Wesson Cemetery.  His second wife was Jeanne. John Hervey Boyd had no children.

John Hervey Boyd died February 16, 1988, in Nice, France. He was buried in the Wesson Cemetery on February 25, 1988. He was a retired American consul. According to his obituary, the U. S. State Department sent him to Algiers as vice consul and he worked in secret operations to help engineer the Allies’ invasion of North Africa in World War II. He was awarded the Medal of Merit by President Franklin D. Roosevelt for service in Algiers. He also received the Medal de L’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honoeur presented by General Charles de Gaulle.

William Hallam Boyd graduated from Wesson High School and attended Hotchkiss Preparatory School in Lakeville, Connecticut, in preparation for Yale. According to his obituary, he served in the Army in World War I and was in combat in France for the duration of the war. He married Lilly Cobb; they had no children. William was a stock broker in Racine and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was an elder of the Emanuel Presbyterian Church in Milwaukee. He retired in 1972 and moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where he was a member of the Briarwood Presbyterian Church. He died in Jackson on July 5, 1979. He is buried in the Boyd family plot in the Wesson Cemetery.

Mary Nell Boyd attended Belhaven College and graduated from Randolph Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia. She was a member of the Phi Mu Sorority. She was a teacher in the public schools of Hattiesburg, Clarksdale and Greenwood, Mississippi, where she was affectionately known as “Miss Boyd.”

On October 29, 1936, Mary Nell Boyd married John Maury McIntyre of Race Track Plantation on the Tallahatchie River. The wedding was celebrated in the Presbyterian Church in Wesson. Maury McIntyre was a planter and cotton broker.

Mary Nell and Maury had one son, James Boyd McIntyre.  Maury McIntyre had two children by a former marriage to Elma Jones McIntyre: John Maury McIntyre, Jr., and Katherine Elma McIntyre.

Mary Nell Boyd McIntyre was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Greenwood for 71 years, serving twice as an ordained elder and active in all aspects of church life. She was elected by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, USA, to the Board of Women’s Work where she served nine years, two years as chairman of the Board, the first Mississippi woman so honored.  She died July 26, 2001.


823 North Jefferson Street  -  Mail PO Box 4240   -  Jackson, Mississippi  39296-4240  PH. 601.353.9339 Click for map