Provided by Ken Blum <email@example.com>
I have been doing research into my mother’s Boynton family for a few years. My great-great grandfather was William Boynton, a half-brother of James Garfield’s father Abram Garfield. William’s brother Amos Boynton lived next door to the Garfields on SOM Center Rd and Jackson Rd. Another of their brothers, Nathan Boynton, had a home on SOM Center Rd south of the Garfields and Mapes families. Their step-brother Zenas Smith lived just north of Amos Boynton, also on SOM Center Rd.
William, Jerry, and Nathan Boynton, the youngest of the boys, spent much of their childhood in Hudson, Ohio after their mother remarried in the early 1820’s, after the death husband Caleb Boynton. Hudson was the home of abolitionist John Brown at the time. The townspeople were very involved in the underground railroad and many of the residents and those of the original Western Reserve College in the town made their homes available. I always found it interesting that James Garfield was a radical republican, those who supported full citizenship and civil rights for all former slaves.
Five of the Boynton siblings, Zenas Smith, and James Garfield’s brother Thomas moved to Byron Twp., Kent Co. Michigan. Brothers Nathan, Jerry, and William arrived in 1835 and 1836 and built the first cabin in the new township. Thomas and his two Boynton aunts and their families arrived in the early 1850’s. Thomas returned with his young family to Solon Twp. Ohio after 3 years of homesteading across the road from his Aunt Calista (Boynton) and uncle Joseph Skinner. He then returned to Michigan once again in 1867. This time Thomas made his home down the road from his uncle William Boynton, who was the closest but not much farther than his other Boynton aunts and uncles in the northwest sections of Byron Twp. Thomas Garfield’s home is located across the county line in the eastern edge of Jamestown Twp., Ottawa Co. Michigan. Thomas and his uncle William’s home are still occupied and in good condition. His uncle Jerry Boynton’s home was part of the Byron Center historical home tour recently as was Thomas’ cousin Sarah Boynton’s home, a daughter of William.
If there is anything you may be interested in for your own history I will be happy to share it with you. My home is just a few miles from these Garfield and Boynton homesteads.
My wife and I visited Cleveland, Moreland Hills, and Solon with our children about 5 years ago. It was after 5 pm on the day we were in Moreland Hills but we still were able to walk your property where the log cabin is, and the rest of the property. You sent me some information about that time which was much appreciated.
Sincerely, Ken Blum