Friday, January 18, 2019

Restoration Missionaries among the Indians, Pre-1830 (3)

Among those early restorationists who preached to American Indians, one of the more remarkable characters was Samuel Boyd, a man who seemed to attract both danger and providential care. He was born in Virginia, in May 1763, just after the close of the French and Indian War. Sometime later, the Boyd family moved to South Carolina.

When British Americans declared independence in 1776, his family sided with the Patriots and against their Loyalist neighbors. Samuel, though still just a teenager, enlisted in the Continental Army along with his father and two brothers. Tragically, the father and one of his sons died in the war. On two occasions, Tories burned the family's home to the ground.[1]

Samuel himself did not come through the war unscathed. In one skirmish, when many of his company were captured or killed, he was left for dead, "a ball having passed through his temple taking out his right eye."[2] An elderly black woman happened upon the scene and hid the fallen soldier under some loose brush. When the enemy left, she took him home and cared for him until he recovered. It was not uncommon in that day for people to conceal a disfigured eye by covering it with a patch of black silk. But for whatever reason, for the rest of his life Boyd "never tried to conceal the blemish."[3]

More about Samuel Boyd next time.

Notes

[1] Elijah Martindale, Autobiography and Sermons of Elder Elijah Martindale, also Pioneer History of the Boyd Family, by Belle Stanford (Indianapolis: Carlon & Hollenbeck, 1892), 122-23. See also, Andrew W. Young, History of Wayne County, Indiana (Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co., 1872), 238-39, and R. L. Roberts, "Boyd, Samuel," in The Churches of Christ (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001), 181-82. For a discussion of the American War for Independence as a civil war particularly in the South, see David K. Wilson, The Southern Strategy: Britain's Conquest of South Carolina and Georgia, 1775-1780 (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2005). Maya Jasanoff, Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World (New York: Vintage Books, 2012), 21-53, examines the American Revolutionary War as a civil war.

[2] Martindale, Autobiography, 121-22.

[3] Ibid., 122-24. The quotation comes from page 124.

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