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Washington Wallace Boynton
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Birth: Jan. 27, 1833
Shelby County
Ohio, USA
Death: Jun. 27, 1916

From 'Standard History of Lorain County' Geo Frederick Wright;

Judge Washington W. Boynton. For a period longer than the average lifetime Judge Boynton has been a member of the Ohio bar. To the present generation his distinguished services are sufficiently familiar. To those who read these pages in the future it will suffice to indicate his prominence by saying that for years he stood second to none as a member of the Cleveland bar, and that for five years he read his clear, logical and forceful opinions into the decisions of the Ohio Supreme Court. Lorain County will always regard him as one of its foremost citizens and one of its most distinguished native sons.

Born in Russia Township, Lorain County, January 27, 1833, Washington Wallace Boynton is the son of General Lewis D. and Ruth (Wellman) Boynton, both of whom were born and spent many years of their early lives in Belgrade, Maine, but in 1826 they removed to Ohio and established themselves as pioneers in Lorain County. Judge Boynton is directly descended from Sir Matthew Boynton, who was created a baronet May 25, 1618, and was a member of the English parliament during the reign of Charles I. His sympathies became enlisted on the side of the Republican cause during the civil wars of England. His second son, named Matthew, married Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Stapleton, and about 1632 emigrated to America and became identified with the New England Colony of Boyntons.

Gen. Lewis D. Boynton was born in Maine August 5, 1802, and his wife was born February 22, 1806. On coming to Lorain County General Boynton acquired a large tract of wild land in Russia Township. It is said that much of the land now included in that township was cleared under his superintendence and by men employed directly by him. He was a leader in thought and action in the early days, and at one time served as brigadier general of the State Militia. For the most part his years were spent in farming, and he died in September, 1871. His wife passed away on the old homestead in Russia Township January 27, 1840.

Judge Boynton is a product of pioneer circumstances of the old fashioned common schools and into his character were instilled much of the fine spirit that went with the building of homes and the clearing up of the wilderness district. While the hard work of a farm was his portion as a boy he was naturally studious, and he brought a superior judgment to every task. He attended the common schools and select schools, but gained much of his liberal education by dint of hard work with no stimulus save his own ambition. When he was only a boy the people of the community frequently remarked that "he was cut out for a lawyer." At the age of sixteen he taught his first term in a district school. From 1855 to 1857 he conducted a select school in Amherst Township. From 1857 to 1864 he served as county examiner of school teachers. In the meantime he had been industriously reading law. His director in those studies was his uncle, Elbridge Gerry Boynton, then a leading lawyer at Elyria.

It was in 1856, fifty-nine years ago, that Judge Boynton was admitted to the Ohio bar. However, his work as an educator continued for a year or so longer, and he did not begin active practice until 1858. His first partner was L. A. Sheldon, and they were together in practice at Elyria until 1861, when General Sheldon went out as lieutenant colonel of the Forty-second Ohio Regiment and subsequently gained distinction in the Union army. Judge Boynton was soon marked for official honor. He served as prosecuting attorney of Lorain County from 1859 to 1864, and in the meantime formed a partnership with John C. Hale. Owing to ill health Judge Boynton gave up his practice for one winter and lived in Minneapolis during that time, until he had sufficiently recuperated to resume his work in Lorain County.

His next partnership was with Laertes B. Smith, and their relationship continued for several years. It was interrupted when Governor Rutherford B. Hayes, afterwards President, appointed Mr. Boynton judge of the Common Pleas Court for the second subdivision for the Fourth Judicial District. His appointment came February 9, 1869, and he retired from the firm of Boynton & Smith and held his position on the Common Pleas Bench from 1869 to 1877. His district comprised the counties of Lorain, Medina and Summit. It was his splendid work as a common pleas judge that brought his qualifications to wider renown when on February 9, 1877, he took his seat on the Supreme Bench of Ohio. He had been elected to that office in October, 1876. For nearly five years he was one of the able members of that tribunal, and every well read lawyer in the state is familiar with some of his clear, crisp opinions delivered from that bench.

It was ill health that compelled Judge Boynton to retire from the Supreme Court in November, 1883, and small compensation for his work, and he soon afterwards located in the City of Cleveland. There he at once took rank with the ablest attorneys of a bar second to none in the county. His law business soon taxed all his powers and he called to his aid his former associate, Judge John C. Hale, who resigned from the Common Pleas Bench to accept a partnership in Cleveland. The law firm of Boynton & Hale had few peers during its existence at Cleveland. In 1888 Norton T. Horr was admitted to the firm, which then became Boynton, Hale & Horr. In 1892 Judge Hale retired to accept a place as judge of the Circuit Court. The firm of Boynton & Horr handled the extensive business of the firm until January 1, 1897. Since then Judge Boynton has given his services as a special counsel and trial attorney in a number of the most important law cases settled before the Ohio and Federal courts. However, he no longer considers himself an active lawyer and he may be well satisfied to enjoy that "otium cum eignitate" which the old Romans regarded as one of the best ends of a useful life.

Judge Boynton, in spite of his many years of public service, has been essentially a lawyer. But he has been even more, a great and a good man. He has exercised splendid power as a speaker and pleader, and knows not only the law but also the sciences and general literature. At all times and under all circumstances he has been an honest and fearless advocate of the right. His general reading has been very extensive, and his knowledge of the affairs of the world and of the human heart has enabled him to meet with calm efficiency all the exigencies of a long career.

From the time it was founded Judge Boynton has been a loyal supporter of the republican party. During 1865-67 he represented Lorain County in the State Legslature. While in that body he offered the resolution providing for the elimination of the word "white" from the franchise qualification of the state constitution. This resolution was defeated in the House on the first vote, but a similar resolution was subsequently passed by the Senate. The similar resolution was adopted after a bitter contest by the Lower House, and was presented to the people for final action in the ensuing state election. It was on this issue essentially that the democratic party in Ohio was victorious over the republicans by more than 40,000 majority, and incidentally Allen G. Thurman went to the United States Senate from Ohio.

Of Judge Boynton's services as a local historian it is hardly necessary to speak here, since his direct and indirect contribution to this field have been acknowledged on other pages of this publication. In the publications of the Western Reserve Historical Society Tract No. 83 contains the historical address prepared and delivered by Judge Boynton on July 4, 1876, the American centennial anniversary. Much of his address pertains to local history in Lorain County. Judge Boynton has for over forty years been a director in the Savings Deposit Bank of Elyria and for five years served as vice president. He is well known all over the state, was for years a familiar figure in the City of Cleveland, and is still a member of the Union Club of that city.

He was married December 20, 1859, at Ridgeville, Ohio, to Miss Betsey A. Terrell. She was born at North Ridgeville, Lorain County, a daughter of Ichabod and Sally Terrell. At the birthplace and home of Mrs. Boynton Judge Boynton some years ago erected an attractive country home, and he lived there until 1906. when he removed to Elyria and he and his good wife have since occupied their home on Washington Avenue in that city.

(info provided by Msmith 47320929)
Family links: 
  Lewis Delano Boynton (1802 - 1871)
  Ruth Wellman Boynton (1806 - 1840)
  Betsey A. Terrell Boynton (1836 - 1926)*
  Sylvanus Cobb Boynton (1823 - 1912)*
  Thankful Lois Boynton Emerson (1825 - 1903)*
  Maria Louise Boynton (1827 - 1861)*
  Sebastian Streete Boynton (1829 - 1856)*
  Daniel Lewis Lavinus Boynton (1830 - 1865)*
  Washington Wallace Boynton (1833 - 1916)
  Henry Clay Boynton (1834 - 1863)*
  Ruth Eliza Boynton (1836 - 1866)*
  Teresa Ann Boynton (1838 - 1839)*
  Charles Albion Boynton (1842 - 1907)**
  Rosella Boynton (1854 - 1859)**
  Eugenia Boynton (1855 - 1859)**
*Calculated relationship
"Washington W. BOYNTON January 27, 1833 June 27, 1916 / Betsy A. BOYNTON July 24, 1836 September 22, 1926"
Note: headstone inscription & burial plot provided courtesy of Ian McGuire from Sept. 2003 Eagle Scout Project
Ridgelawn Cemetery
Lorain County
Ohio, USA
Plot: R57-19
Maintained by: KeepsakeQuilter
Originally Created by: LindaB
Record added: Jul 18, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 55112362
Washington Wallace Boynton
Added by: Kathy
Washington Wallace Boynton
Added by: Jon Papai
Washington Wallace Boynton
Added by: Msmith
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- Kathy
 Added: Jan. 8, 2015

 Added: Dec. 15, 2014
Served as Judge of Court of Common Pleas 1869-1877. Supreme Court Justice for Ohio 1877-1882. My 1st cousin 4x removed. Son of my 3rd great grand aunt Ruth Wellman. He also signed as witness on my grandfather Daniel Axtell's Last Will and Testament in 185...(Read more)
- InSearchOf
 Added: Oct. 15, 2010

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