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Residences - Residence of Mayor A. H. Boyden

The A. H. Boyden House at 204 S. Church Street was most likely built by one of the previous owners of the property, possibly Adlai Osborne or Spruce Macay, and added to by later owners.  It is known that A. H. Boyden made further additions to the house in the 1880s.  In the foreground are the town well, said to have been dug by town clerk Adlai Osborne, and the Henderson Law Office, which are both still standing.  The Henderson Law Office, built around 1819, housed the Rowan Public Library from 1911-1921. Also originally on this property was the law office of Judge Spruce Macay, whose apprentices included Andrew Jackson and William R. Davie.  It was located somewhere on the front of the property between the Henderson Law Office and the well. The Macay Law Office was removed in 1876, to be sent to Philadelphia to be exhibited at the Centennial Exhibition, but it may never have reached its destination and was not included in the catalog of exhibits. This property, now owned by Rowan County, houses the Rowan Public Library.

Archibald Henderson Boyden was the son of Nathaniel and Jane Henderson Boyden.  At the age of 17, while still a student in Alamance County, he joined the Confederate Army against his father’s wishes.  His father, a native of Massachusetts and a lawyer, remained a Unionist throughout the Civil War.  Though A. H. never rose above the rank of private, he was given an informal peacetime promotion to Colonel later in life. 

Boyden had a number of careers, never seeming to settle. Politically, he was always at the opposite end of the spectrum from his father.  During reconstruction, he got into some trouble and went to Mexico, later moving to Spartanburg to invest in a cotton business, which failed.  He returned to Salisbury in 1880.  He served as mayor for four terms in Salisbury. He also served as postmaster.  He invested in more cotton businesses and lost a lot more money.   

In 1880, he married May Shober and the couple had two daughters:  May who married Dr. Robert Brawley and Jane who married Burton Craige.  Their house served as a social center.  While Boyden was not a businessman, he was known to have a loveable and generous nature that endeared him to the community.   He was a proponent of Veterans groups, fighting for pensions and homes.  He championed orphans, firefighters, schools, city development, and the Democratic Party. 

While he was mayor, he worked on getting a bond issue passed to improve the schools, and when it failed, he borrowed money from Wachovia on behalf of the city to expand the Ellis Street School.  He imposed a tax on liquor to pay off the note.   He served as chairman of the school board for 32 years and in 1926, the new high school was named in his honor—Boyden High School.

Shortly before the North Carolina Confederate Memorial on the Battlefield at Gettysburg was to be dedicated in July of 1929, A. H. Boyden died.  It was said of him in an address by Angus W. McLean, Former Governor of North Carolina:

Col. A.H. Boyden, who recently passed to his reward, after devoting much of his life first to service in the Confederate army itself, and second in caring for the widows and orphans of his former comrades in arms. He was to have taken official part in these exercises, and his presence is sorely missed by those of us who came under his benign influence. 

No series. The Albertype Co., Brooklyn, N.Y. 


Assorted articles from the Boyden family files in the Edith M. Clark History Room

Salisbury Evening Post obituary for A. H. Boyden June 19, 1929

Presentation And Unveiling of the North Carolina Memorial on the Battlefield of Gettysburg

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W. S. Blackmer » Mayor A. H. Boyden  » E. B. C. Hambley » James Hill Ramsay » Hon. R. Lee Wright » Lee S. Overman
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