The Boyd Family

The Boyds of Ballymacool are descended from the Scottish Earls of Kilmarnock. The first Boyd of Ballymacool Estate was John, born 1739, who purchased the estate from the Span family. In 1785, John Boyd purchased the estate of Ballymacool from the Bristol merchant, Samuel Span. He was High Sheriff of Donegal and was a Major in the 36th Regiment of the Donegal Militia. He was married to Martha, daughter of Colonel Stewart, Governor of the Bahamas.

The estate became vested in his eldest son John Boyd, a barrister-at-law, on his marriage to Frances Hayes, in 1799. This son, John Robert Boyd, was described as 'an arrogantly ambitious man'. The Londonderry Journal of February 5th 1870 reported:

Today one of the greatest Tenant Right meetings ever held in Donegal, perhaps in Ulster, took place in Letterkenny. It was an eminent success, whether as respects the attendance, the tone and spirit of the speaking, or the good sense of the resolutions adopted. John Robert Boyd presented himself rather obtrusively, riding up and down the town on a grey charger and was hooted on two occasions.

He was succeeded by his nephew, William Henry Porter, under the condition that he assume the surname Boyd, which he did by Royal Licence in 1891. He was father to Mary Rosalie Boyd, the famous South African poetess.

The founder member of the Apprentice Boys of Derry was also called John Boyd (1767 - 1836). He was the Accountant General of the Court of Chancery, a Captain in the Letterkenny Corps of the Donegal Militia, and a Freeman of the City of Londonderry. In 1830 he presented to the Apprentice Boys the saddle on which Governor Walker rode at the Siege of Derry in 1689.

Read about the lives of other Boyd descendents via the links on the right:

1899 letter from Agnes Boyd,

wife of Donegal Grand Juror, John Boyd

Ballymacool, Letterkenny

Dec 19, '99

"Dear Capt Stoney

My husband is not very well yet so I am helping him a little with his correspondence. He asks me to send you enclosed [who] wrote asking for these when we were in England. We came home ten days ago and are expecting our eldest son and daughter home on Thursday from school and college.

With kind regards to you all and wishing you a Happy Christmas

I remain

Yours truly

C Agnes Boyd"

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