Tuesday, November 30, 2010

52. and 53: Eliza and Evelina Boykin

Two students named Boykin attended the Mordecai school:

Eliza Boykin from Smithfield was at the school for three sessions, mid-1815 to the end of 1816, with Simon Boykin as the adult name attached to the account.

Evelina Boykin, also from Smithfield, was also at the school from mid-1815 to the end of 1816, also with Simon Boykin taking responsibility for her account.

The notation in the ledger page for October 1815 says "Simon Boykin for Eliza and Evelina." Another notation at May 1816 just says "Majr Boykin," and at September 1816 there's "Maj. S. Boykin" making another payment.

I'm going out on a limb and guessing that Eliza and Evelina are kin. ;) Not necessarily sisters; they could be cousins. But first: Smithfield VA or Smithfield NC? Smithfield NC still has a Boykin Motors listed among its major local businesses. But Smithfield VA (home of Smithfield ham) has Fort Boykin Historic Park, on the James River. A Simon Boykin of Virginia seems to have been a Revolutionary War officer, but there were a handful of men named Simon Boykin, all in the same family, including sometimes brothers (who went by Simon Jr. and Simon Sr., and named their sons Simon just to keep things interesting).

One interesting tidbit emerges from the mess of Simons: Major Simon Boykin (of Smithfield VA) had a daughter Louisa Boykin (1791-1850). She married a Daniel Boon (1786-1870--not the Daniel Boone), and they had a number of children, including daughters Eveline and Eliza, both born c. 1815. Were the Boon daughters named for Louisa's sisters, who would have been young teens and soon Mordecai students at the time? To complicate things, this Boon family seems to have lived in Smithfield NC before moving West in 1835.

So, which Smithfield? Which Boykins? Surprising that the rather uncommon name "Evelina Boykin" gets no useful hits, even with various spellings. So she doesn't turn up in marriage records or cemeteries or even family genealogies (not so uncommon for daughters, especially if they don't marry or die young). Or maybe she just used another first name for most of her life? There are several Eliza Boykins who might be the right age to be the Mordecai student, but not much about any of them.

Anyone want to claim the Boykin girls?


  1. I think I may have an answer as to Evalina and Eliza. Major Simon Boykin's daughter, Louise Boykin Boon was my g-g-g grandmother who married Daniel Boon from Johnston County, NC. They had a number of daughters and two sons. Two of the daughters were Eliza Caroline Boon (whom I have a photo) and Evalina Boon. They were granddaughters of Major Simon Boykin. I just ran across your website doing a google search on Major Boykin. I would like to get in touch with you to share more information. This is my first time to become aware of the Mordecai School. My e-mail is wrboone@hotmail.com.

  2. Hi Bill! Yes, Major Simon had granddaughters named Eliza and Evalina Boon-- but if they were Louise's daughters, I think they were probably too young to be students at the Mordecai school (which only existed from 1809-1818, and Eliza & Evalina Boykin were there in 1815-16). So I'm left wondering. I suspect Louise's daughters may have been named for another set of sisters called Eliza and Evalina--one certainly finds such tribute naming in other Southern families at the time.

    Welcome to the Mordecai school! I'm glad you found the blog. The reason I started this space is to share what I have about the school's alumnae, because girls are notoriously hard to follow in the genealogical record, with name changes; and some of them died young, so their school years are among the few records of their existence remaining.

  3. Thank you for your fast reply. I know Eliza Boon would have been too young as she was born in 1814 and died 1880. Still very coincidental that there were two sisters, Eliza and Evalina, both lived not far from Smithville in Johnston County, both associated with Major Simon Boykin who is from IOW! Virginia, both lived around the same time.
    I wonder, besides the names and dates attended, was other information on the students available?

    Bill Boone

  4. I don't think I have anything else on the Boykin girls--just the ledger mentions I noted above, which were tuition/board payments. The Mordecais don't seem to mention them in any letters; but they didn't mention most of their students. It was a big school for a family-run establishment. But now I'm wondering--maybe they weren't Boykins? That surname isn't actually attached to their name in the ledger--hmmm.... This opens up some other possibilities, doesn't it?