Boyce, Texas

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Boyce is located on FM Road 879, four miles east of Waxahachie., and was named for Captain William A. Boyce.

Boyce, a native of Moulton, Alabama, served in the Confederacy. He was captured at Gettysburg, imprisoned at Fort Monroe, near Lake Erie, and released when Lee surrendered. He walked all the way from Lake Erie to the town of Hope, Arkansas, to join his mother, Rebecca Horton Boyce. After the Boyce home in Alabama was burned, she, then a widow, had moved to Arkansas to be near another son, Dr. Milton Boyce. After selling the Alabama land, Captain Boyce, his mother and her two faithful servants, Maria and Mohaley, moved west. They lived for a time at Pittsburg, Texas, where, in 1870, he married Mary Elizabeth Ardridge. In 1872 he brought his family to Ellis County where he bought a large tract of land ($2 per acre) on a  trail that is presently the north road between Ennis and Waxahachie. Mrs. Boyce probably had the first sewing machine in Ellis County -  a Singer - and the women in the community came to her home to do all of their sewing.  

One night in 1875, during a blizzard, Elizabeth heard faint cries for help outside their house. Her husband took a light to search, but was unable to find anyone and strong winds soon forced him back inside. No more cries were heard, but early the next morning, not far from the house, a man and woman were found frozen to death in their covered wagon. They were never identified but were buried in Waxahachie Cemetery.

When the railroad came through in 1878, Captain Boyce gave land for the right of way, the section house property and the passenger station, as well as for the post office, school and Presbyterian Church. The post office was called Boyce and the railroad station at one time was known as Jefferies. The first school was held in a log house near Grove Creek with Casper Neal as tutor. Pupils were children from the families of Peters, Wilsons, Stephenson, Boyce and Neal. The school moved to Boyce in 1878 and was taught by Professor E. A. Bivens, a highly educated man from Georgia. Miss Maude Boyce taught from 1891 - 1895.

The second family who settled in Boyce were the Dudleys - brothers Milton and Thomas. Then came Columbus C. Wilson who settled north of Grove Creek and L. H. Peters and Thomas H. Stevenson. In the late 1870s Uncle Jimmie Smith led a wagon train from Kentucky. With him were his wife, son John L., and other relatives including William Buford, Warren Sharp and James Kinsey. They were Baptists and soon built a small Baptist church between Boyce and Garret. Dr. Thomas Daly, the first physician, settled there in 1880.

Chat F. Weidman, a native of Germany, was the first postmaster, Dec. 4, 1883. Other postmasters were George W. Ledwell, July 25, 1888; Iantha D. Latimer, Nov. 28, 1888; Luela L. Bevings, Nov. 28, 1914, Thomas G. Pate, May 4, 1919.

In 1881 John Dahnke came from Springfield Illinois, followed by his son August F., in 1900. The former was instrumental in building a new Methodist Church in 1908. The August Dahnke home burned in the 1940s when struck by lightning. Other early settlers were John Lewis Patton and his brother-in-law, W. A. Kyle, who brought their families from Tennessee - a journey of six weeks and four days. While in the Mississippi River bottoms, they had to stand guard at night to keep the wild animals from attacking their teams. 

In 1890 Boyce had a Presbyterian Church with the first pastor Professor Thomas Creddle, a teacher in Marvin College. Early members were  the Boyce, Stevenson, Wilson, Borders and Harbinson families. Captain Boyce played the violin and his daughter, Fannie Lee, was the organist. When the Methodist Church was organized, Professor Bevis was leader of the Sunday School. By 1892 Boyce had a gin, bank, mercantile store, blacksmith shop, three churches, a school and a Literary Society. After crops were gathered, there were singing schools, penmanship schools and spelling bees - Mrs. W. A. Boyce was recognized as the best speller. In 1909, Paul J. Dahnke and Wallace C. Burford (grandsons of pioneer settlers) were business partners and by 1925 the population had reached a record high of 250. In later years the community began to decline and its postoffice was closed sometime after 1930. Paul Dahnke owned a large store in 1956.

Will J. Freeman moved there from Rusk County and furnished the wagon and team for the young people to take their musical instruments and go serenadiing around the town and surrounding communities. Mrs. Freeman (daughter of John Lewis Patton) was organist for the Methodist church for fifty years. That church became inactive about 1853-1964, and the building was dismantled and moved to Sardis. A few years later the Baptist church became inactive and the school house, (sold to Berkley Wesson of Ike), was moved away. In 1970 the needs of the community were taken care of by a combination grocery store and garage owned by E. G. Shaw. The same year the Williams-McMinn gin processed three thousand bales of cotton - it being brought from Reagor Springs and other communities not having ginning facilities.

References: Hawkins, et al, Ellis County Histord Workshop. History of Ellis County, Texas.. Article by Mrs. Ida M. Brookshire. and The Handbook of Texas Online.

Memories of the Boyce post office from Wanda Howell

The postoffice at Boyce actually closed in the 1950s. My grandmother, Lucy Perry Stampley, took over as post mistress from George Pate and continued in that office until her death in 1952 (I was then nine years old). She is buried in Bedias, Tex., but spent most of her life in Boyce and I spent many hours at the postoffice with her. At that time, it was located in a small two room house, which I believe m grandmother had moved into "downtown" Boyce (almost in front of the Pate house and across the street from the Dahkne store). She was widowed at an early age and was raising her little boy - (my Uncle Richard), as well as raising me - but my parents helped her with that! I remember the postoffice boxes being in one room and in the other she had her sewing machine, a quilting rack and a lot of plants. Sometimes ladies would come in the afternoon to quilt. She bought a no-longer-needed chicken house and had it moved behind the post office - that was my playhouse and I loved it.

My grandmother was such a special lady - I would like to see her remembered because she played a part in that tiny litle town, too, as did her husband, William R. Stampley, who was a farmer,  manager of the gin, and member of the school board before his death in 1942.


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This page was last modified: Monday, 10-Sep-2018 10:23:32 MDT