AUTHOR: Kenneth Whitehurst
My great-great-grandfather Toney Boyd was a slave of Frederick Boyd at a place called Long Acres near Bath, NC in Beaufort County. He married my great-great grandmother Harriett Ann Windley, a slave of John Windley also near Bath in Beaufort County, NC, with permission of their owners around 1850. In 1862, they escaped first to Washington, NC after it was captured by the Union forces and in 1864 made their way to James City outside of New Bern, NC.
On September 3, 1864, 40 year old Toney Boyd, escaped slave, joined the Union Army for a 3 year enlistment swearing to bear true faith and allegiance to the United States of America. Private Boyd joined Company K, 37th Regiment of the United States Colored Troops. PV1 Boyd went with his company to Wilmington, NC in November 1864 and, in December of the same year, his regiment was ordered to the first battle against Ft. Fisher. During the second battle, Ft. Fisher fell. PV1 Boyd’s unit joined General William T. Sherman’s Army and remained under that command until the defeat of the Confederate General Johnston in North Carolina. Company K, 37th Regiment was eventually garrisoned at Fort Macon, NC for the remainder of the War.
His wife, Harriett Ann Windley Boyd, followed him to posts in Wilmington in 1864 and to Ft. Macon in the summer of 1865. She remained with him until he mustered out February 1867 at Raleigh, NC. He later moved first to Elizabeth City, NC and then Princess Anne County, VA where he died June 16, 1885. PV1 Toney Boyd’s name is inscribed with other members of his regiment on the wall of the African-American Civil War Soldiers and Sailors monument in Washington, DC. A subsequent contest for widows pension between my great-great grandmother Harriett Ann Windley Boyd and his second wife Philis Boyd resulted in the creation of a folder of affidavits that are stored at the National Archives in Washington DC.