What’s in a name? Boyd, Texas

By Messenger Staff | Published Saturday, June 16, 2018
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No Parkhurst

NO PARKHURST – A train schedule from March 1894 shows the stops on the Rock Island between Fort Worth and Indian Territory. From Travelers Official Guide to Rail and Steam, March 1894

Boyd is a town built by the Rock Island Railroad. In 1893, it was brand new, among other new towns springing up as a result of the railroad’s trek across Texas.

“The news reached here today that a trade had consummated for 200 acres of land in the Greasy Bend country, where a new town is being laid off …,” reads the April 1, 1893, front page of the Messenger. Greasy Bend, modern-day Boyd, was where early settlers fattened their hogs on native pecans.

On June 3, a reader from the area wrote, “The road officials have ignored ‘Page,’ our name for the new town and called it Parkhurst …” In that same paper, it was announced: “Parkhurst is the name of the new town in Greasy Bend.”

But Parkhurst was not to last. On July 15, the Messenger announced that the railroad work gang had “reached Parkhurst or Boyd as they wish to call it.” Both names are used through the remainder of the summer.

On Oct. 20, there was a promotional article about the great booming community of Boyd. Parkhurst was not mentioned again.

The town was changed from Parkhurst to Boyd because Park Springs, just four stops away, was too similar to Parkhurst, and officials feared confusion. Since Parkhurst was the younger town, it had to change.

The name was changed to Boyd at some point between June 3 and July 15, 1893.

There are two different theories about who Boyd is named for. Version one says the town is named for “H.S. Boyd, an early railroad official.” Version two says Boyd was named in honor of one of the first settling families of the area.

Research revealed no railroad official named H.S. Boyd during the time of these events. There were two Boyds listed as general officers of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway: S.F. Boyd, first assistant general ticket and passenger agent; and E.B. Boyd, second assistant general freight agent. Both were in Chicago. Research revealed no one named Parkhurst, either.

As to the second theory, there are many Boyds in the history of this area.

A likely candidate is Jesse A. Boyd.

Jesse Boyd was 2 years old in 1860, when he came to Wise County with his parents. At 20, he married Fannie Woodson (or Woody) Rowlett, and they moved to the Pleasant Grove No. 2 community. Jesse and his two brothers worked land set aside for them by their father. His brothers left the area, but Jesse stayed, retiring to Boyd itself in 1920. Jesse A. Boyd died March 10, 1939.

It would be nice to think that Boyd was named for a local citizen. After discovering just how much of Wise County is named by and/or for the railroad, I find myself rooting for the underdog when it comes to place names. But, without further evidence, I have a feeling the railroad probably won. After all, they ignored the citizens’ desire to name the place Page. They probably picked the new name without regard to the citizens. Whoever Boyd was, he was next in line after Parkhurst to get a town named after him.

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