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Adam Boyd

Place Made:
Wilmington North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
pastel –paper
HOA: 10 7/16; WOA: 7 7/8
Accession Number:
SITTER: Born in Pennsylvania, Adam Boyd (1738-1803) moved to Wilmington, North Carolina around 1764. There, he established himself as a merchant and was initiated into the Masonic Lodge. In 1769, Boyd acquired a printing press and began pubishing a newspaper, The Cape Fear Mercury. It was one of only two newspapers operating in the colony at the time, along with the North Carolina Gazette, published in New Bern. In 1774 Boyd married Mary Ivy deRossett, the widow of a prominent local physician, Dr. Moses John deRosset.

Boyd left the newspaper and, on January 4, 1776, enlisted in the First North Carolina Regiment as an ensign, then promoted to lieutenant and finally as a chaplain. At the close of the war he was awarded 7200 acres in present-day Tennessee and helped to organize the North Carolina chapter of the Society of the Cincinnati at their first meeting at Hillsborough.

In 1788 he was officially ordained a minister of the Episcopal Church by Bishop Samuel Seabury and served for a short time at St. James’s Church in Wilmington. Due to severe asthma, he moved to Augusta, Georgia, where he devoted himself to the Episcopal ministry at St. Pauls Parish. In 1798, he moved to Tennessee where he is known to have preached in both Knoxville and Nashville the first sermons ever delivered by an Episcopal minister. He finally moved to Natchez, Mississippi, where he died in 1803.

According to an inscription at the bottom of this portrait, it depicts Adam Boyd in 1776 as a member of the First North Carolina Regiment.

DESCRIPTION: Pastel on laid paper of man in profile. He wears a white stock and a jacket. His hair is tied back by a ribbon.

STYLE: The profile style of the pastel relates to the type drawings done by artists like Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin (1770-1852) and popular in late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Credit Line:
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas S. Douglas III Purchase Fund