The lure of East Tennessee is no secret to those who live or like to visit this beautiful state. And thus was the case of Lt. Thomas Boyd (1754-1814), who was among the first European settlers to this area, arriving from Pennsylvania about 1780.
Lt. Boyd was born in Northampton County, Pennsylvania and served in the Revolutionary War as 3rd lieutenant in Captain Henry Shade’s Co., Pennsylvania Rifle Co., commanded by Col. Samuel Miles. He was later promoted to 2nd lieutenant while serving in Captain Brown’s Company and Col. Samuel Miles, Rifle Regiment. Records report that he served under Washington as Captain from 1776-1778, but they also say he was taken prisoner of war at Fort Washington in 1776 and resigned in 1777.
By 1780, he and his wife, Nancy Martin, came to Tennessee to start a new life. Together they had seven children, and he lived until 1814. Lt. Boyd and Nancy are buried at Pleasant Forest Cemetery in Concord.
Prior to his death, Lt. Boyd transferred a portion of his land to one of his sons, Thomas Boyd Jr. (1801-1876). It should be noted that the National Register of Historic Places lists dates for Thomas Jr. as 1781-1876. However, the author believes that the 1781 date of birth is in error and that it belongs to another Thomas Boyd, son of John Boyd.
It is reported that the younger Boyd was well educated and was nominated to be a state representative of Knox County but he declined the opportunity, preferring to pursue his interests in religion and education. As such, he leaves a legacy of starting Boyd’s School, which was a one-room schoolhouse in the Shady Grove community of West Knox County.
He was also a principal figure in the building of the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad. Those who study area maps will no doubt be familiar with “Boyd’s Switch,” an area of track where trains would switch tracks. Both Boyd’s Switch and the Boyd School location are within a stone’s throw of the beautiful Boyd-Harvey plantation house that still sits on land at 1321 Harvey Road in West Knox County, Concord, Tennessee.
The house, built circa 1835 along with two out-buildings, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The stately home, rich in Southern architecture, is a fine example of pre-Civil War brick homes and has been well cared for through the years.
Land records relate that Thomas Jr. sold 395 acres to a son, James Baxter Boyd, for $10,000 shortly before his death. Baxter left the house and several hundred acres to his daughter, Neta A. Boyd.
Thomas Boyd Jr. and first wife, Ann Wilson Boyd, and second wife, Mary Lynn Bogle Boyd, are interred in Pleasant Forest Cemetery. James Baxter Boyd, his wife, Jennie Crookshanks Boyd, and their daughter, Neta Boyd, are interred at Concord Masonic Cemetery.
In 1917, Neta Boyd sold the house and 200 acres to Maryville College. One year later, well known investor O.A. Smith purchased the property and in 1920 it was sold to James R. Harvey. The Harvey family lived at the house until 1973 when the land was again sold, eventually becoming owned by Mr. and Mrs. James R. Howe.
We are very fortunate for the loving care that has been given to this historic showplace through the years. The current owner and resident is Ann Tillotson White who is credited for recently converting this beautiful landmark into a bed and breakfast Inn. This is a testament to the fact that for over 185 years, people continue to enjoy the East Tennessee area and we hope to see the Boyd-Harvey house remain a source of respite for many generations to follow.
Mona Isbell Smith is a retired computer systems analyst who enjoys freelancing.