Nathan Boyd: Founder of New Hope Methodist Church (Boyd Family of Union County, MS)

Around 1800, Reverend Nathan Boyd organized New Hope United Methodist Church in Newberry County, South Carolina. He had been inspired by the Reverend Mark Moore, who helped found the first Methodist Church in Newberry County.  Nathan was the son of John and Jane Boyd who migrated with their family from County Down Ireland around 1768.  On January 29, 1792 he married Elizabeth Taggart in Newberry County, South Carolina. Her parents had moved there about the same time from Ireland. Stories have Nathan and Elizabeth being infants on the vessel about six months old.  John received a land grant in 1773 from King George III in Union County. His home was near Ashford’s Ferry on the Broad River.  In 1807, the elder Boyd bought 213 acres of land on Brushy Fork which he then gave to his beloved grandchild Amy, the daughter of David Boyd, in 1809.  In 1813 he gave 46 acres of land to his grandson James Boyd.  It is believed that he attended New Hope Church where his son was minister. John died in 1815 and his will is on file at Union County, South Carolina.

Will of John Boyd

In the name of God, Amen. I, John Boyd, of the District of Union in the State of South Carolina, being very sick and weak of body, but of perfect mind and memory, thanks be given unto God; calling unto mind the mortality of my body, and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die do make and ordain this my last will and testament; that is to say, principally and first of all, I give and recommend by soul in to the hands of the Almighty God that gave it, and my body I recommend to earth, to be buried in decent Christian burial, at the discretion of my executors; Nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again, by the mighty power of God, And as touching such worldly estate wherewith it has pleased God to bless mine this life, I give, demise, and dispose of the same in the following manner and form.

First, after paying just debts I give and bequeath to Jane, my dearly beloved wife, all my lands and tenements there unto belonging situated in this district and state afore mentioned on Brushy Creek for her lifetime and at her death to be divided between my two sons Joshua Boyd and Abraham Keasler equally according to quantity and quality and said Keasler is to live on the place he now lives on and to cultivate the same until the division takes place as afore. Also I give my servant Nancy to my wife her lifetime and at her death to have her freedom provided that she has two children form the date her undersigned and if she has not the living children, she is to be disposed of as my wife thinks proper until the tow children is born and the youngest to be one year old and then to be freed. 

Also I give my wife her bed and bedding

And also I give to my son Nathan one Dollar

Also I give to my son David Boyd one Dollar

Also I give to my daughter Elizabeth Fredericks one Dollar

Also I give to my son Samuel Boyd the two horses and plow that he now has in possession

And my two young servants Dan and Laky with my house hold and table furniture Also stock of horses, horned cattle and hogs to be sold and my wife to take her thirds and the remainder to be equally divided between John, Joseph, and Samuel Boyd and Nancy Keasler and Jane Wiggins and my crop also to be sold.

And I do hereby nominate, constitute, and appoint my Said wife Jane Boyd executrix and Samuel Boyd executor of this my last will and testament; her by making void all former wills and testaments at any time heretofore by me made; ad do declare this to be my last will and testament.

In witness where of I have subscribed my name this Twenty Eight day of October in the year of our Lord Eighteen hundred and fifteen. 

Recorded 6th of November 1815

Children of John and Jane Boyd

  • John Boyd, Jr. 1743 – 1826
  • Hugh Boyd. 1754 – 1799
  • Elizabeth Fredericks. 1757 – 1860
  • David Boyd. 1758 – 1833
  • Nathan Boyd. 1768 – 1826
  • Samuel Boyd. 1773 – 1859
  • Nancy Keasler. 1787 – 1850
  • Jane Wiggins. 1790 – 1850

Nathan converted from Presbyterianism to the Methodist Church sometime after arrival in America. The first church of New Hope was a small log cabin.  Reverend Nathan Boyd lived within the community.  According to stories, he and his wife were of the old time Methodist type and through their influence, a number of his  sons would become Methodist ministers. In 1831, a new frame church was built on it’s present site.  The New Hope Church would merge with nearby Salem Church in 1835.  These combined congregations would worship together in the same 1831 structure until a new building was constructed in 1901.

New Hope Methodist Church (present day)


Nathan and Elizabeth would have at least ten children.

  • Aaron Amos: 1792 – 1876. Aaron Amos Boyd would marry three times and have at least sixteen children.  Around 1828 he moved to Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. According to some records he was a preacher and on the census records, he listed his occupation as farmer. After his death, he was buried in Boyd Cemetery in Tuscaloosa County.
  • John: 1793 – 1826. John passed away not long after his father. He is buried somewhere in Newberry County, South Carolina.
  • Joshua: 1794 – 1854. Joshua became a Methodist minister and remained living in Newberry County.  He married once and had eight children.  Joshua is buried in Boyd Graveyard in Silverstreet, Newberry County, South Carolina.
  • Caleb: 1798 – 1830. Caleb was licensed to preach but died before he received an appointment. He is buried in Fairfield County, South Carolina.
  • George Daugherty: 1802 – 1830. Member of the Methodist Church. He married and had two children. He is buried in Newberry County, South Carolina.
  • James: 1804 – 1834. According to a family history, he was not a Christian until his death. He drew $2,000 in a lottery and took a steamer bound for South America. James was robbed of his money. Being close to death, he was brought back to land by the crew.  James died in Louisiana and this sad testimony appears in the record, ” His grave is among strangers. Place unknown to his relatives.” His doctor did write  one of his the Boyd brothers  that James died a Christian.
  • Mark Moore: 1806 – 1900. According to his obituary, The Reverend Mark Boyd was 95 years old and was the oldest clergyman in South Carolina.  He died in Johnston, South Carolina and spent most of his life in Newberry as a minister.  Three of his sons were ministers.  He is buried in New Chapel Cemetery in Newberry, South Carolina. Mark Moore was known as “Uncle Mark” and he was a much respected minister in Newberry County.  According to one source, “No man dead or living , has exerted a greater influence in the moral and spiritual life of Newberry County. His whole record is without blot or stain; he is universally loved wherever known and his name is a household word well nigh throughout the entire state.  His coming to the homes of the people is hailed as a benediction.  He is justly proud of the fact that all his children are true Christians and his three living sons are influential members of the South Carolina Conference.
  • Wesley Glenn: 1808 – before 1840. Not much is known about him. He was living in Newberry in 1830.
  • Lewis Myers: 1810 – 1870.  Lewis was married twice and had ten children. He was a minister and died in Lauderdale County, Mississippi.  He is buried in Collins Cemetery in Greene County, Alabama.
  • Hester Ann: 1813 – 1825.  Hester died young and is buried in Newberry County, South Carolina.

Nathan Boyd had his entire estate sold at auction upon death in order for his wife and children to have equal shares.

Obituary of Nathan Boyd for the June 1826 issue of the Wesleyan Journal, predecessor of The Methodist Advocate.

Died in Newberry District on the 13th of May at his own residence, the Rev. Nathan Boyd aged 56 years 2 months and 23 days. The disease which terminated his useful life, was protracted; and he exhibited admirable patience, fortitude, and submission to the divine will. His wife and nine children have sustained, in his death a loss that can never be repaired in this life, and a numerous circle of acquaintances and friends participated largely in the grief of the family; but they all have for their consolation the assurance that their friend now rests in Abraham’s bosom – his death was triumphant.  The subject of this notice lived in sin and the service of the wicked once, until some time early in the year 1800, when it pleased the Lord through the instrumentality of the Rev. Mark Morr, to awaken him to a sense of his danger.  As soon as he became acquainted with the disease of his soul, and felt his heavy load of guilt and condemnation, he fled for refuge to the Lord Jesus Christ; and on the 21st of June in the same year, he was loosed form his spiritual infirmity, and obtained the spirit of adoption.  Shortly after his conversion, he began to feel sensibly for the souls of others, and was soon convinced that God who had brought him from darkness to light, had called him to preach the gospel. This being his conviction, he was not disobedient to the heavenly call; and in the year 1801, with no armor, but such as the word of God and his grace supply, he began to preach Jesus Christ.  His achievements were great in the field of spiritual conflict.  He did not carry into the ministry the advantages of a liberal education: but he had with him the grace and the power of God.  He was blessed with a strong mind, a retentive memory, and a lively imagination.  In communicating his thoughts on religious topics, especially in the pulpit, he was blessed with great facility of speech – his sermons in general were delivered with much eloquence.  He made himself well acquainted with the scriptures.  They were his strong hold, and out of this sacred treasury he brought things new and old, and gave to saints and sinners their portion in due season.  He did not handle the word of God deceitfully, nor daub men with untempered mortar, but would tell them their failings, expose their vices, and show them the awful consequences, to which their sins would ultimately lead them, with the utmost faithfulness.  He attacked sin wherever he met it, whether in men of high or low degree.  While he believed it his duty to use great plainness in preaching, it was his pleasure to conciliate as far as possible, consistently with his ministerial obligations, the good will of all men; but a dread of the reproaches or resentment of the wicked, never once deterred him form declaring the whole counsel of God.  Whether the law or gospel was the subject of his sermon, he was equally apt and impressive; he was as necessity required, both a son of consolation and a son of thunder.  he had a happy art arranging and bringing to bear on the guilty conscience, the denunciations of the violated law of God, that many were made to cry out: “I exceedingly fear and quake.”  But when a cry for mercy was heard in the congregation, he then appeared to be in his happier element; his willing feet made haste to pour the balm of gospel promises into the wounded broken heart.  His zeal in discharging the duties of the holy ministry was seldom surpassed by men in similar circumstances.  For years after he began to labor as a minister in the vineyard of the Lord, besides preaching as much as he could through the week, he generally delivered three discourses on the Lord’s Day. – He had a peculiar and happy talent for preaching and exhorting by the fireside, and in this way he was an instrument of much good to many.  He had his afflictions of life – trials of various kinds: he suffered much from the world, and form false brethren.  Of him it may with truth be said, that through much tribulation he entered into the kingdom; but none of these things moved him; the more he was tried the more conspicuously did his light shine.  In the morning of his religious life, he had obtained the second blessing, like Enoch therefore he walked with God – his peace flowed like a river and his righteousness as the waves of the sea.  For years before his death, he often suffered much form troublesome symptoms of that disease, which ultimately removed him to the family above; but his consolation in Christ Jesus always abounded; and as he drew near to his latter end, his mouth was constantly filled with praises of the most High.  Religion – the love of the Redeemer, and the Grace of God, were his constant theme.  Happy Father, he had praying children.  When one of his sons visiting him would approach his bed and ask how he was ; his response usually was my son, there is a God in Israel, pray for me. The sorrow of the family at such times was often turned into holy joy.  About two weeks before he left this world, though greatly emaciated and his strength almost gone, many of his neighbors  having come to see him, he called for his Bible, asked to be propped up in his bed, and preached his last sermon, from “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.”  He preached with great liberty and power, and the Lord was with him, of a truth.  He was sustained by grace to the end and died in perfect peace, triumphing over pains and fear of death.  The dear Brother whose death we now record, has left behind him as above noticed, nine children, six of whom are the happy subjects of Converting grace, and on their way to Heaven.  One of these understanding that a notice of the death of their father would be sent to the Wesleyan Journal for publication, requests in the most earnest manner, that both the ministry and membership of the Methodist Episcopal Church, would pray to the Lord that their three unconverted Brothers may be brought to know Christ, in the pardon of their sins, that they may all proved faithful till death, and ultimately be crowned together in the kingdom of Heaven. 

It is believed that Nathan Boyd is buried at Old New Hope Church Cemetery, but his grave is not marked.

History of New Hope Methodist Church, South Carolina

Find a Grave


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