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John B. Boyden

It is an ofttold tale that the restless energy of New England has pushed the conquest of man over nature in all portions of our country, and has carried side by side with the physical development of its new footholds the intellectual growth and progress which has made America famous in every capital of the old world and also made her people potential in every line of mental mechanical and civic enterprise. Wherever her sons and daughters have planted their feet nature has begun to ‘stand ruled’ and the essential dignity and independence of man has been loudly proclaimed. From this fruitful and seemingly inexhaustible hotbed of creative and subduing energy came forth the ancestry of John B. Boyden, of Crook County, who on this western soil amid the scenes and responsibilities of frontier life, has well exemplified all the sturdy characteristic, the manly traits, the unyielding determination and the broadening progressiveness which have ever distinguished his family through all the generations of its American history. And while his parents came from New England, his father being a native of Boston, Mass., and his mother of Maine, he was himself a product of the frontier having been born at what is now Minneapolis, on November 19, 1855, the son of Edwin R. and Mary (Goss) Boyden, who came from Maine to Minnesota while it was yet a new territory settling near Minneapolis when it was scarcely more than a military reservation. When Minnesota was opened for settlement the father was one of the firsts to take up land in the neighborhood as Minneapolis. He was a miner by instinct and by practice sailed around the Horn in 1849 and traveled much on Colorado, California, Utah and Montana, seeking fortune’s favors in all and assisting in establishing the supremacy of law and assisting in establishing the supremacy of law and order in each. In Montana he was a member of the Vigilantes and from time to time he took part in the tragical enforcement of that organization’s vigorous but necessary discipline. As a logical sequence of the hazardous life which he was engaged he yielded up his spirit at the behest of a highwayman’s bullet in Texas in 1868. His widow yet makes her home in Minnesota. Mr. Boyden was educated in the schools of Minneapolis and after leaving school he went into business in a store but finding the work too confining, at the end of a year he apprenticed himself to the machinist’s trade in that city and spent four years learning the craft. But still the roving disposition he had inherited led him in 1877 to the Black Hills, where he spent the winter prospecting in the vicinity of Deadwood. In the spring he removed to Bear Gulch in Wyoming and the next fall settled on the land on Sand Creek, five miles south of the present site of Beulah. He was one of the first settlers in this section of the state all the land for many miles around being wild and unsurveyed yet its conditions of life satisfied his adventurous disposition and there he passed his winters in pleasant occupation prospecting in Bear Gulch in the summers. In the fall of 1880 he took up his residence permanently on the ranch and when in 1881 the survey through this section was completed he filed on his claim. In 1884 when the time came to prove up on his ranch he rode to Cheyenne to perform this duty on a pony which he still owns, and which although perhaps one of the oldest in Wyoming yet shows the spirit and “grit” of his youth, justifying the warm regard in which he is held throughout the surrounding country. With a genuine Yankee’s clearness of vision Mr. Boyden saw the possibilities of the water-power at the head of Sand Creek at the time he located on his land and has not overlooked it since. He began improving his ranch from his first possession and has steadily pushed forward the improvements until his property is now one of the desirable ones in the county. When Crook county was organized in 1884 he was elected the surveyor of the new political bantling was reelected in 1888 and again in 1890. In this position he gave definiteness and stability to its outlines in various ways surveying all over its territory and that of the adjoining counties to some extent. In 1889 when the state fish hatchery distributed its fish for propagation in the streams in the Black Hills. Mr. Boyden secured a portion of the distribution and stocked the stream on his ranch damming it for the purpose of aiding the developing of the plant and from this origin has grown his present hatchery which is of such ample proportions and superior quality in its product that it has been made a sub-station of the U. S. Government hatchery at Spearfish, South Dakota. Nature has done much for the section in which he lives lavishing on it a wealth of scenery, wild picturesque and grand that has made it a great resort for tourists adding to the beauties of the scenery a bounty of sporting features in hunting fishing and other facilities sufficient to greatly a most exacting nature. Mr. Boyden has largely improved his place but by so doing he has only whetted his appetite for improvements and is arranging for making them on a still larger scale. He is also engaged in the cattle industry to a limited extent. On December 22, 1890 at Sundance, Wyoming, Mr. Boyden was united in marriage with Miss Anna B. Olson, a native of Illinois. They have four children, Bliss, Margaret, Cora and Mary. The head of the house is an ardent Democrat in politics and has always taken a very active and useful interest in the affairs of his party, both local and general.

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