The Boyd Property History
By deed dated June 1, 1853, Eliza Ellis Boyd took title to the north four acres of 5-acre Lot 7 North in the City of Jackson. The lot was bordered on the east by North Jefferson Street, on the south by the existing fence line, on the west by North Street, and on the north by what came to be known as Boyd Street. The deed recites a consideration of $800.
The Oaks was a typical, Southern urban farmstead. The acreage provided open space for small farming efforts and the keeping of horses (19th-century transportation), chickens and a cow. Yet it was less than a mile’s walk to the center of town.
Through the years, and after the death of James Hervey Boyd in 1877, the Boyd family sold off small parcels of land from the original four acres. Today, The Oaks is situated in its original location on about half an acre fronting on 823 North Jefferson Street. Fortunately, within the perimeter of
this remaining plot of land are the main Boyd House, the cistern and dairy, and the site of important outbuildings now demolished – certainly a detached kitchen, privy, stable, and perhaps a bath house, carriage house, smokehouse, chicken house, greenhouse, corn crib or others.
As a footnote: In 1839, Mississippi was the first state to enact a law allowing a married woman to hold title to property of all kinds (including slaves) as her separate property. This was not an enlightened movement to recognize women’s civil rights but primarily was to serve the interests of the husband seeking to place the wife’s property out of each of his creditors or the father wanting to protect the family property from the improvident son-in-law.
The Panic of 1837 exacerbated the general instability of the Mississippi economy in the 1830s and led to the passage of the Married Women’s Property Act.
James Hervey Boyd was an energetic entrepreneur in the early days of Jackson, but he had his financial difficulties. In the mid-1840s he lost personal property and the family home (on Capitol and Congress Streets) to creditors for an unpaid investment debt. This likely was the reason for the acquisition of the new homestead in his wife’s name.