James “Jim” Boyd Sr.


James “Jim” Boyd Sr.

Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 25 Feb 1944 (aged 55)
Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey, USA
Burial Aberdeen, Moore County, North Carolina, USA
Memorial ID 36350507 View Source

Married Katharine Lamont on December 14, 1917 in Millbrook, Dutchess County, New York, USA.


James Boyd, a son of a wealthy coal and oil family in Pennsylvania, was a well known North Carolina author and novelist.

James attended Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey where he wrote verse and fiction for the Princeton Tiger and was its managing editor in his senior year.

After graduation in 1910, he studied at Trinity College in Cambridge, Massachusetts and served overseas with the Army Ambulance Service in World War I.

After World War I, due to many illnesses, he was forced into retirement and moved to "Weymouth" a house his Irish-born grandfather built in Southern Pines, North Carolina. (The first James Boyd amassed a fortune from coal, steel, and railroads in Pennsylvania and, like other wealthy Northern families, spent his winters in North Carolina. He acquired a twenty-five hundred acre tract of land east of Southern Pines, North Carolina including the last remaining long-leaf pine forest in the South. The winter resort estate (built around 1905) included stables, tennis courts, gardens, and a nine-hole golf course. He named his estate "Weymouth" because the pines reminded him of trees in Weymouth, England. His grandsons, James "Jim" Boyd and Jackson Herr "Jackie" Boyd, were frequent visitors. Since they were very fond of fox hunting, they founded the Moore County Hounds in 1914. After World War I both grandsons inherited the original home of their grandfather.)

When James and Katherine Lamont Boyd came to North Carolina as newlyweds, they asked a fellow Princetonian and friend, Aymar Embury II, a renowned New York architect and the official architect for Princeton University, to redesign and enlarge the Georgian-style mansion. (Embury also designed many residences and buildings in the Pinehurst and Southern Pines areas including Mid Pines Resort, Market Square in Pinehurst and several buildings on Northwest Broad Street in Southern Pines.) James and his wife Katharine Lamont Boyd lived in the gatehouse on their property until their home was completed. It was in the gatehouse that James wrote, and Katharine typed, the manuscript for his first and most famous novel, "Drums", which was published in 1925. (A deluxe 1928 edition was illustrated by the famous artist N C Wyeth.) "Drums" was set in Edenton, North Carolina and has been called the best novel written about the American Revolution. James Boyd became one of America's outstanding historical novelists and "Drums" was followed by "Marching On" (1927), "Long Hunt" (1930), "Roll River" (1935) and "Bitter Creek" (1939). He also wrote poetry and short stories.

Today, James Boyd's writing, including his popular novel "Drums" may not be as well known as the works of many of the writers he hosted but it was his literary career that brought F Scott Fitzgerald (widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century), Maxwell Struthers Burt (American novelist, poet, and short story writer and was one of the people who led ultimately to the establishment of Grand Teton National Park), Thomas Wolfe (a major American novelist in the early 20th century and considered North Carolina's most famous writer), Paul Eliot Green (playwright and novelist who won the 1927 Pulitzer Prize Drama and author of "The Lost Colony"), William Faulkner (one of the most important writers in both American literature generally and Southern literature specifically and a Nobel Prize laureate), well-known literary editor Maxwell Perkins (for such writers as Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, and F Scott Fitzgerald), Sherwood Anderson (an American novelist and short story writer), and John Galsworthy (an English playwright and novelist; author of "The Forsyte Saga"; and won the 1932 Pulitzer Prize for Literature) to "Weymouth" during the 1920s and 1930s. In journalist Jonathan Daniels' memoir, "Tar Heels" Daniels quoted Wolfe as saying, "James Boyd gave North Carolina a literature before it had native writers of its own."

In 1940, Boyd organized the Free Company of Players, a group of American writers. This was a coalition of talent that, despite the powerful opposition of right-wing conservative interests, produced a series of original radio plays in response to what they saw as anti-democratic attitudes prevalent in America due to the growing war in Europe.

In 1941, James Boyd purchased the regional newspaper and became editor of The Pilot and when James died, Katharine assumed management until 1969 when the newspaper was sold to Sam Ragan, a well-known North Carolina journalist and poet laureate of North Carolina.

The Boyds were very active in the community and supported Moore County Hospital (now First Health) and the Southern Pines Library.

James Boyd died in 1944, at the age of 55, in Princeton, New Jersey, where he had traveled for a speaking engagement.

In the early 1960's Katherine Boyd donated 13.5 acres of land adjacent to Weymouth Nature Preserve to establish the retirement community of Penick Village.

In April 1963, Katherine Boyd donated a 403 acre wooded tract of land to the state of North Carolina, establishing the first natural area in the North Carolina state parks system, which became the Weymouth Woods Nature Preserve.

When Katharine died in 1974, "Weymouth" was left to Sandhills Community College. The Friends of Weymouth was chartered in 1977 as a nonprofit corporation and purchased the home and grounds in 1979 to establish a cultural center. The Boyd House and remaining acreage is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and was awarded a certificate of achievement by the National Wildlife Federation in 2003.

James Boyd and Katharine Lamont Boyd are both buried in Bethesda Cemetery near Aberdeen in Moore County, North Carolina.

They had three children:
James Boyd Jr
Daniel Boyd
Nancy Boyd

Paternal Grandfather: James Boyd (born in 1831 and died around 1910)
Paternal Grandmother: Louisa Yeoman Boyd (a daughter of Reverend John Williams Yeoman, moderator of the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church in 1861.)


Information on North Carolina Highway Historical Markers:

(1888 - 1944)

Author of "Drums" and "Marching On" and other historical novels. His home is 3/10 mile east.
(May Street at Vermont Street in Southern Pines, NC / 1950)

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  • Maintained by: PAllred
  • Originally Created by: gleebigg
  • Added: 25 Apr 2009
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 36350507
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for James “Jim” Boyd Sr. (2 Jul 1888–25 Feb 1944), Find a Grave Memorial ID 36350507, citing Bethesda Cemetery, Aberdeen, Moore County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by PAllred (contributor 48048940) .