4. Austin Dewitt
(Dusty) BOYD was born on Apr 19, 1889 in Prospect, Marion Co., Ohio.
He died on Jul 9, 1965 in Marion, Marion Co., Ohio. He was buried
on Jul 12, 1965 in Chapel Hts. Mem., Marion Co., Ohio. My grandpa
Boyd died when I was only 10 years old so I did not get to know him very well,
although I do have some distinct memories of him. I remember his death distinctly,
as my father and "us kids" were at Grandpa and Grandma's house that
Grandpa had gone to the basement or utility room to get some batteries for his
radio so that Dad could install them for him. I was in the dining room and saw
Grandpa fall in the kitchen next to the table. Dad gave him mouth to mouth resuscitation
and had Grandma call the emergency squad. She was too shaken though and Dad had
to help her. She did herd us children out to the front porch, and we stood guard
for the ambulance. I believe Grandpa was dead before it got there. Standing on
the front porch and waiting on that pretty July night seemed like a long time.
Of course we were not allowed back in the house until after they had taken Grandpa
away. That was July 12, 1965.
My primary remembrances of Grandpa are of him sitting in his huge gray rocking
chair in the front room of their house at 306 Spencer Street in Marion. He would
sit there with his big hand held out just tempting us to lay our hand in his
so that he could grab us and tickle us until we screamed. And of course we did
get caught in his trap, and then he did tickle us, and of coarse we screamed
and Grandma would say "Oh Dusty! Leave those kids alone."
He was an avid gardener, using the lot next to the house and for a time even
a lot acorss the street. Maybe he had this interest because he grew up on a farm.
He had a huge garden beside the house on Spencer Street. Dad would roto-till
it for him in the spring and Mom would help pick strawberries in the summer.
He always had good fresh vegetables, and to this day, the only white radishes
I've ever eaten were ones he had grown. Mrs. Eleanor Berkshire who's researched
the Boyd family and knew both Grandpa Boyd and his father, told me that his father,
Austing Augustus Boyd, had a truck farm in Marion - a truck farm being a large
vegetable garden. Maybe she actually knew of Grandpa's big gardens.
I remember mowing his lawn for him with a push mower and when I was done, he
said he had never seen anyone mow like I did. I thought I had done something
wrong and then he explained that he had never seen anyone go as fast as I did.
I felt like a million bucks when he said that. That's for sure!
Grandpa was born and raised on a farm just North of Prospect at the juncture
of State Route 4, Route 203, and Bethlehem Road. Just accross the river was a
little village called Newmans. The farm ran up against the Scioto river. Uncle
Bob commented to me that "it was funny that he grew up by the river but
never learned to swim." The farm was about 170 acres and Rt. 4 actually
crossed through the Western part of the farm.
I have found no record of what grade of school he may have finished, although,
taking into consideration that his Uncle Joseph was a school teacher and his
sister Molly was a school teacher, and he had two older sisters who no doubt
used him as the pupil in make-believe school, he was probably fairly well educated
for his day. I have found some of his old school books, included in which are
"The School History of The United States", and "Applied Physiology
- Advanced". He studied at Prospect School.
He probably worked on the farm until he was of age to work at The Huber Co. in
Marion. In 1902 the house at the farm burned down. 1904, his father Austin,
was badly injured and the farm was sold and the Boyds aparently moved into Marion.
Thay may well be when he bagan working at Huber. In the 1900 Census, Austin
"Dusty" & his mother and father are listed as living in Prospect
Township in Marion Co. which would be the farm that he grew up on next to the
Scioto River at Rt. 4. In the 1910 Census, they are listed as being in Marion
Township, which would have been the new address in Marion at at 220 Madison Ave.
He was listed as a laborer in the 1910 Census. In the 1915/16 Marion City Directory,
is listed as living with his parents at 220 Madison Ave. and his occupation that
of "clerk." He apparently got a promotion. His brother Carey worked
at Huber after WWII
His job of bucking rivets inside the boilers was presumed to be the cause of
his hearing impairment in later years. Since both his son John and Grandson Mark
now too have hearing impairment, I rather believe his as is ours, to be hereditary.
Although service in the trenches in WW 1 with a Chauchat Automatic Rifle could
well have attributed to it.
Everyone knew him as Dusty, except Uncle Cary who called him "the kid"
(and he in turn called Cary "the Kid" according to Dad). Apparently,
hardly anyone even knew his real name. I didn't, and Dad says that he didn't
really consider him to even have any other name. I don't know how he got the
name Dusty. He did have the name even when he was a child as he autographed some
of his school books "Dusty". It may well have been because his father
was Austin, and so Austin Dewitt, became "Dusty."
He made reference to "trenching" in one of his letters home from WW1,
and he helped Ralph and Lucile by digging a trench for their septic tank drain
in later years, so apparently he spent some time as a ditch digger.
As A Soldier
In June of 1917, he was called to serve in the newly formed 166th infantry of
the 42 division of the American Expeditionary Forces in France. World War One.
See my "Letters Home" web pages for a detailed account of his service.
He always told Dad that he was a "mule skinner". Dad assumed this to
be a common term for the members of a military supply company. He in fact, served
in company D, which was an infantry company, although he did spend the latter
part of his time in Europe working a team of mules. This came after the fighting
had ended. It is possible that his reference to being a mule skinner was much
like saying he was a B.S.er (as Dad assumed it to be). At any rate, it certainly
appears that he was a foot solder plain and simple. He mentioned in one of his
letters that he had one of only 16 automatic rifles in the company, so you can
bet he wasn't driving mules with that! His statement that he was a "mule
skinner" may have been his way of avoiding further discussion of the war.
Certainly, people would be less likely to be interested in the service of a mule
skinner than that of a dough boy who spent months in the trenches shooting at
"the Boech". To be sure, he was at home behind a team of mules, having
grown up on a farm where mules were likely the primary motive force.
Having read accounts of the service of the 166th infantry, 42 Div., I can understand
why anybody would want to avoid remembering, let alone talking about, those days
of Hell on earth. Accounts of some of the artillery barrages that he survived
might also explain his later hearing impairment. At one time, he endured several
days straight of continuos artillery barrage.
He was discharged from the army in 1919 at Fort Sherman near Columbus, Ohio.
He was no doubt met by a mother and father and his sister Mollie who were a part
of the elated thousands who turned out to meet the "Sons of Ohio" who
had returned from the war.
He returned to Marion, and after receiving a score of 97 1/2 on the fireman's
exam, he was appointed to the position of fireman on the Marion Fire Department
as of January 1, 1920. This proved to be the start of a long and successful career.
Of course the job was not without its frustrations just as any job is, and Dad
says that when someone would ask him if he was going to be a fireman when he
grew up, Grandpa would say, "Tell them 'no' or they'll think you're retarded."
He eventually became captain of the West Station, which was near the Marion Power
Shovel on Center and David Streets. He had 2 or 3 men under him at the station,
and they worked shifts of 24 hours on and 24 hours off. His "Kelley day"
(extra day off every other week) was Thursday.
No one has made mention to me of any heroic deeds he might have performed while
a fireman, and you certainly wouldn't expect any reports from one who pooh-poohed
a year's service in front-line trenches in Europe (he wrote in one of his letters
home that being in the trenches was about as dangerous as crossing a city street).
Uncle Bob told me that Grandpa was in line for the position of chief, but that
politics came into play and he never attained it. Uncle Bob also described how
Grandpa drilled and drilled to memorize the location of all of the fire alarm
boxes in Marion. Bob would give him a fire box number and Grandpa would have
to recite the street location.
A Family Man
The 1920 Census, shows him back from the war, living with his mother and father
on Madison Ave. In September, 1922 he was married to Ruth Elizabeth Weber of
Marion. The next year, 1923, when he was 34, was a rather tragic one for him.
His first child, Mary Elizabeth, was born, and then died only nine days later.
His father also died that same year.
When he was age 39, his last child, John, was born. Three years later, his mother
In approximately 1943 or 1944, he had a heart attack and left the fire department
on disability. By the time his disability ran out, he was old enough to retire.
His son John was working at a bakery and his son Robert was about to or had graduated
from high school and entered the army. When he was 57, his son John graduated
from Marion Harding High and entered the service.
He was somewhat of an outdoorsman. He hunted and fished. Dad says he learned
to drive by driving Grandpa around on the farm (Ralph and Lucille's farm) hunting
ground hogs. In the letters he wrote to Bob when Bob went in the army, he mentions
guns or hunting in eight out of the sixteen letters.
During his retirement, he tried his hand at real estate, but never really did
much with it. He spent part of his time hunting groundhogs over by the old folks
home and at Ralph & Lucille's farm near Caledonia. After dad joined the army
and married mom, he took mom hunting squirrels and phesants.
Note: Lucille Roesch told me she has a letter from Grandpa to her mother, Molly
Boyd written while Grandpa was in Europe.
1) From Prospect Monitor, April 25 1902:
Totally Destroys the Old Boyd Homestead North of Town Tuesday Afternoon.---Fire
Caught from Sparks
Tuesday afternoon about five o'clock while supper was being served, the house
on the Boyd farm about three miles north of town was discovered on fire. On account
of the high wind the flames spread so rapidly that nothing valuable was saved
from the burning building.
The residence was occupied by Joseph Boyd, Mr. and Mrs. Austin Boyd and their
daughters, Mollie and Edna. The occupants lost everything except the clothes
which they wore. Austin Boyd also lost $35 in money, Joseph Boyd lost 45 in money
and a valuable gold watch. The Misses Mollie and Edna Boyd were in Prospect during
the fire, and lost all their belongings, including Edna's gold watch. The building
was totally destroyed. Loss $1800, insurance $900. The cause of the fire is supposed
to be from sparks out of the chimney. Even the chicken coop and shop in which
were $75 worth of carpenter tools belonging to Joseph Boyd went to satisfy the
Austin Dewitt (Dusty) BOYD and Ruth Elizabeth WEBER were married on Sep 20,
1922 in Marion, Marion Co., Ohio.
5. Ruth Elizabeth WEBER was born on Nov 4, 1892 in Marion, Marion
Co., Ohio. She died on Apr 23, 1973 in Marion, Marion Co., Ohio.
She was buried on Apr 26, 1973 in Chapel Hts. Mem., Marion Co., Ohio.
|Mary Elizabeth BOYD was born on Jun 13,
1923 in Marion, Marion Co., Ohio. She died on Jun 22, 1923 in Marion,
Marion Co., Ohio. Info from M. Boyd|
|Richard Austin BOYD was born on Jun 25, 1925 in Marion,
Marion Co., Ohio. He died on Jun 25, 1925 in Marion, Marion Co.,
Ohio. Info from M. Boyd|
|Robert William BOYD was born on Dec 3, 1926
in Marion, Marion Co., Ohio. He died on Apr 22, 1998 in Smithtown,
Long Island, New York. Uncle Bob died of cancer. He fought prostrate
cancer for about two years, with it eventually spreading throughout his body.
He remained active until only the last two weeks in which he was hospitalized
and most unconscious.
He was buried on Apr 27, 1998 in Commack Cemmatary, Commack, Long Island, New
York. The funeral was held at the Commack United Methodist church.
It was a beautiful Spring day.
His duaghter Debbie and Son David uelogized him as well as a past pastor and
friend of the family. They both spoke of his integrety, and honesty, his dedication
to God, his family, and to his work and hobbies. They both spoke the "nuggets
of wisdom" which was frequently quoted.
It was stated that no single person was any more responsible for the building
of the church building in which the funeral was held, and it was said that he
was called on more than once to be a peace maker within the congregation.
Bob was a partner with George Boone in Component Sales of Smithtown, Long
Island, New York, until retiring in 1993. Upon retirement he became activily
involved in Barbershop singing. He continued to make frequent trips to Ohio
to visit family and friends there.
He often traveled through Ohio making sales calls, and when he did, he usually
stopped to see my mom and dad. I will never forget that when I was about 12
years old, I got a casette tape recorder for Christmas. I only had one or two
cassettes, and Uncle Bob came one time and gave me two or three new ones. That
really impressed me that he would first of all care whether or not I had tapes,
and then secondly give me tapes. Then one time we were talking about tapes and
he mentioned how they would bind up. I showed him how I slapped them on the
table to correct the problem and he was really impressed. More than one time
after that, he would tell people or remind me that I had showed him how to do
that. That made me really feel big.
Uncle Bob played the trumpet and he had a small one that he kept under the
seat of his car. He said he would play it as he drove the interstates. He was
a fairly accomplished trumpet player and played in church and other various occasions.
One time at our family retreat in Lakeside, he played along with a tape that
one of the kids was playing, showing that he could hear a tune and pick it up
and play it without any music.
|John Joseph BOYD.|