A Published History of Stephen V. Boyce of San Juan Island, Washington State

The following history was written in 1893, and appeared in the publication, Illustrated History of the State of Washington.
Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1893
Author: Rev. Harvey Kimball Hines

This history was transcribed exactly as it appeared in the above noted publication.

The following history has some apparent errors and discrepancies throughout. Similar errors and discrepencies have also been noted in this publication by other families. They will be highlighted in bold in the text below, and explained at the conclusion of the text and compaired to research of primary source records for the family of Stephen V. Boyce.

S.V. Boyce, Sr., Friday Harbor, San Juan county, Washington, is one of the prosperous and wealthy farmers of this county. He was born in Greene county, New York, January 28, 1829, son of John and Catharine (Cobie) Boyce. He is one of a family of nine children, seven of whom are living. His early boyhood days were spent on his father's farm in New York, and his education was received in the schools of that vicinity.

When he was twelve years old, he went to Syracuse, New York, and entered upon an apprenticeship to the trade of car builder, remaining one year with the same man. In 1845 we find him in Kendall county, Illinois, where he began working at the carpenters' trade and where he remained two years. From there he went to Shelby county, near Memphis, Tennessee, and for two years was employed as a clerk in a grocery store. His next move was to New Orleans, Louisiana. There he worked at his trade a year and a half. In 1851, he set out for California, via the Isthmus of Panama, and in due time landed at San Francisco.

Upon his arrival in California Mr. Boyce joined the throng of gold hunters and went to the mines, where he remained until his marriage, which event occurred October 15, 1856, the lady of his choice being Lucinda E. Stewart. She was born in Springfield, Illinois, in 1837, and in 1850 came with her parents across the plains from St. Louis to California. Her parents were Riley and Jane (Gentry) Stewart.

Two years after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Boyce left California and came north to Victoria, British Columbia, this being during the mining excitement on Fraser river in 1858. The only sign of habitation at Victoria then was the Hudson's Bay Company's stockade, all being enclosed and a guard placed at the gates. Upon their arrival they were obliged to sleep in tents, as hotel accommodations were at a premium.

Mr. Boyce went to the Cariboo mines, leaving his family in Victoria, where they remained for two years. He joined them in 1860, and on June 1 he and his family came to San Juan island, where the now abandoned town of San Juan is situated. Here he started a small store and traded with the indians. The United States troops were stationed at this point at that time, and, as only Government stores were allowed on the island, he was ordered to close store. So he sold his little stock and took claim to a tract of land near town. This was long before the island was surveyed. Before it was surveyed he sold out and moved to Victoria to educate his children, and there remained two years, in the meantime having bought property in Victoria. He subsequently traded this property for a farm on San Juan Island and moved back here. He continued to keep his children in school, giving all of them the best education advantages the island afforded at the time.

Since his return to San Juan county he devoted his attention to farming and stock raising. He owns one of the largest grain farms in the county, and is ranked with the most prosperous men here. Mr. Boyce has several times been elected Justice of the Peace. He was the first County Sheriff and Assessor, filling that office after the survey, the county being organized in 1873. Mrs. Boyce is the only white woman now living of those who arrived on San Juan island on or before June 1, 1860, and made the island a permanent home.

They have ten children living and one (Emma) dead. Their name are: Frank, Oren, John, Mrs. Alice Sweeny, Mrs Katie Anderson, William, Mrs. Addie Wold, Steven V.., Mrs. Mabel Wold and Grace.

Mr. Boyce is a member of the Masonic fraternity, Rough and Ready Lodge, No. 52, Nevada county, California.

Errors and Discrepancies:

1. All records that have been located prior to 1880 clearly indicate that Stephen V. Boyce, (originally Boice) was born in 1825 and not in 1829 as later records indicate.

2. Stephen V. Boyce's mothers maiden name has been confirmed as (Jacoby). The daughter of Nicholas Jacoby and Margaret Rossman, Catharine was born August 17, 1794 in Columbia County, NY.

3. All research to date, including the census records taken between 1820 and 1855, for the family of John Boice and Catharine Jacoby, indicate that Stephen V. Boyce was one of 8 children. There is a possibility that an infant child had been born and died sometime between the census records, making it a total family count of nine. Stephen's younger brother Thomas died in Cairo, Greene county NY., in 1854, and Stephen's oldest brother Henry P. Boice, died in Saugerties, Ulster county Ny., 1887. At the time of the above history in 1893. Stephen did have two siblings that had died as mentioned above, but if he didn't know about Henry's passing by 1893, this would support the theory of a possible infant sibling dying sometime between the census records. This theory is doubtful however, because Stephen was in contact with at least two siblings, his older brother Jacob Boice, and his younger sister, Elisabeth Catherine, who corresponded with Stephen at least twice as we have one photo of Jacob as an older man, and two photo's of Elisabeth as an older woman at distinctly different ages, taken on different dates.

4. Given the actual birth date of Stephen in 1825, and if the author of the above history was calculating using the 1829 birth date, then Stephen would have actually left home at the age of about 16 or 17 years old. Another account of Stephen's early departure from home indicates that he visited and Uncle in another part of the state, to gain advice about his departure. If Stephen did in fact leave near the age of 16, this would correspond exactly with the same time that his grandfather, Jacob Boice of Taghkanic, Columbia county NY., died, in 1842. The Boice's of NY., were a close knit, church attending family, and It is believed that Stephen's father John, first born son of Jacob, would have taken his family from Round Top, Greene county, NY., the 27 miles to Taghkanic, Columbia county NY., for the funeral. All three of Stephen's Uncles (Jacob, William, and Eli) were living in Taghkanic at this time according to the census and church records researched. This would lend Stephen the perfect opportunity to visit with one of his three Uncles during the time of Jacob's funeral, and as mentioned above, would also lend credibility to the story that at this time in Stephen's life, he sought the advice from one of these three Uncles.

5. Census records for the town of Cairo in Greene county, NY., clearly list Stephen living with his family in both 1850 and 1855. While census records are often misleading or often times incorrect at best, absentee children were sometimes listed either at school or if known to be alive with no permanent residence at the time, were listed with their original family members on some of these census records. Stephen V. Boyce or Boice is not to be found listed on any census records for any town or city in the state of Louisiana in 1850, as noted above in the 1893 history. One theory suggests that Stephen did in fact leave home at the age of sixteen, but returned home for a time between 1850 and 1855 before making his way to California in 1856, where it was noted above that he was married to Lucinda E. Stewart, October 15, 1856.

6. Lucinda Elisabeth Stewart was born in Overton, Tennessee, 2 November 1836, and not in Springfield Illinois, in 1837 as mentioned above.

7. The 1860 census record for the island of San Juan shows a S. V. Boyce age 35, wife Sarah age 30, both born in Ohio. A son Frank, age 6, a son John, age 2, and a son William, age 4, all born in California. This census record, not unlike other misleading or incorrect census records, clearly show Stephen and Lucinda (listed as Sarah) as being born in Ohio. It also lists all three children as being born in California, but history records that John Henry Boyce, Stephen and Lucinda's first born son, was born at Vancouver BC., in 1859. Lucinda had been previously twice widowed before her marriage to Stephen, leaving her with two sons, Frank Marion Warwick, born about 1852, and Oren Randolph Pliley, born in 1854, who was mistakenly noted as William on this 1860 census record. The 1860 census record at least lists most of the names, ages, locations and dates correctly, leading us to believe that this information may have been taken down through someone who may have been a near neighbor or associate of Stephen and Lucinda, and was not taken as first hand information.