IAGenWeb Project

Audubon County


1915 Bios Index


The life of the man we are now to consider is another illustration of the truth that our ultimate destiny, as far as this world's affairs are concerned, is determined, not so much by what we have, as by what we are. To some natures, difficulty becomes the strongest kind of incentive, and such men, instead of swimming with the tide of adversity, a process which leads to defeat, oppose untoward conditions so strongly that victory is the only possible outcome. The lives of these, when they are also characterized by integrity, as in the present case, become an inspiration to others in the struggle for existence, for they place the emphasis upon self-reliance, and thus tend to strengthen both will-power and faith. In these days of comparatively small families, it is perhaps natural for us to wonder how a boy who was one of a brood of twelve, could overcome the limitations of his early environment to such an extent as to attain prominence by the time he had reached middle life. When Mahlon Boyd was a boy, fortunes were neither easily nor quickly made, and his father's only wealth was what he could wrest from the soil. Although it is possible here only to outline the facts of his life, these are sufficient to elicit our respect and admiration.

Mahlon Boyd was born on December 21, 1850, in Muskingum county, Ohio, being the son of S. W. and Zylphia (Bates) Boyd. The father's birthplace was the same county, while his wife came from Harrison county, Ohio. S. W. Boyd was born on February 1, 1829. Only a common school education was possible to him, and the only occupation open in that vicinity was farming, so we find him tilling the soil of his native county until his thirty-fifth year, when he drove over to Jasper county with an ox-team, bought some uncultivated land, cleared it and made a home for himself and family, living here for many years. His wife, who was born on June 27, 1829, lived until April 20, 1905, her death following his by two years. Both died at Colfax, Iowa. As a Republican, he held public office, and both he and Mrs. Boyd were ardent members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Their children were twelve in number, namely: Lewis Henry, deceased; Mahlon, the subject of this biography; John, of Jasper county, Iowa; Charity of Colfax, Iowa; Uriah H., deceased; Harvey, who is a retired farmer of Colfax; Phoebe, now Mrs. Henry Petcock, who lives near Lake Preston, South Dakota; Charley, of Jasper county; Frank, living in South Dakota; George, of Colfax; Jess, of Newton, Iowa; and Edward, also of Colfax.

As his boys grew up, the family required their work on the farm, and this accounts for the meager education that Mahlon received. He did not, however, leave home until after his twenty-fourth year. On April 18, of the following year, he was married to Jennie Poulson, of New Athens, Ohio, daughter of James and Asenath (Spray) Poulson, the former being a native of Harrison county, Ohio, and the latter of Athens county, the same state. In 1868, Mr. and Mrs. Poulson took up life on a farm near Colfax, and lived there most of their lives. Mr. Poulson died on June 8, 1903, in Warren county, and Mrs. Poulson died on January 13, 1907, in Madison county. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Poulson were as follow: William, who was a farmer in Jasper county until 1902, when he went to Warren county, and later to Madison county, where he now lives among his relatives; John, of Altoona, Iowa; Oscar, who died on July 29, 1914; Jennie, Mrs. Boyd; Emmett, of Hanley, Iowa; May Grace, deceased; and a daughter who died in infancy.

Mahlon Boyd lived in Jasper county until 1881, when he moved to Audubon county, buying eighty acres of land in Sharon township on the ridge road in section 13. At the time of the purchase the property was all prairie land, but it soon took on a different appearance under the guiding hand of a man who understood farming and who also was fond of beauty, for he planted many trees and raised many others from seed. Mr. Boyd has always engaged in general farming, besides raising a splendid grade of draft horses, Poland China hogs and a great many fine chickens.

Mr. and Mrs. Boyd have but one daughter, Mrs. E. F. Johnson, whose husband is county supervisor of Audubon county, and is mentioned elsewhere in this volume.

Mrs. Boyd is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.

Mr. Boyd has always adhered to the principles of the Republican party. Although he gives most of his time to his farming interests, he keeps up with the world events, and always can give attention to the claims of friendship. He is an embodiment of the maxim that in order to have friends, one must be one. It is because Mr. and Mrs. Boyd are friends that they have many, and they are now not only reaping the harvest of their years of toil, but are enjoying the society of a large circle of friends who appreciate their worth. So cordial is their greeting and so hospitable their home, that even the stranger feels the warmth of their welcome. They are known and respected for many miles around their home, and their lives are characterized by integrity and devotion to duty.

Transcribed from History of Audubon County, Iowa Its People, Industries and Institutions With Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens and Genealogical Records of Many of the Old Families, by H. F. Andrews, editor, Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1915, pp. 638-640.