Jefferson County Historical Society

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Gabriel Boyce was born near Lexington, Ky., September 1, 1824.  His
parents were slaves, and were owned by Mr. John Boyce, who brought
them, in company with fifteen others, to St. Francois County, Mo.
Gabriel lived with his "master" until the death of the latter, when
he was inherited by a son, William Boyce, whom he served for several
years, who sold him to Thomas Donnell, on Plattin Creek; he was the
property of Mr. Donnell at the time of the emancipation proclamation.
After he was free Mr. Boyce reported for service in the Union Army,
but was rejected.  The following six years he worked a piece of land
on shares, which was a portion of the "Plattin Rock" farm of W. S.
Jewett.  In September, 1848, he married Helen Minerva (born March 7,
1826) one of the number of colored people owned at that time by Mr.
W. S. Howe.  This marriage resulted in the birth of seven children,
whose names are Harriet, born December 24, 1848; Anderson, born April
12, 1850; Abraham, born March 5, 1853; Charlotte, born June 21, 1855;
Nathan, born November 21, 1857; Gabriel, born June 17, 1860; and
Clarissa Ann, born October 6, 1864, the latter deceased.  January 20,
1874, Mrs. Boyce died.  Mr. Boyce began life for himself with only a
young horse and $100 in money.  By close economy and industry he was
able to purchase a tract of land consisting of 216 acres, where he 
now resides, of Mr. Kennett.  This he paid for in less than four years
and had some money at interest also.  He has built a commodious dwelling
on his farm, and improved his property generally.  October 24, 1876, 
he married Miss Catherine Smith, who was born of slave parents in 
Frederickstown, Madison Co., Mo., August 3, 1853; her education was
acquired while attending school nine months, in St. Francois County.
By this marriage five children were born, viz.: Henry, born May 19,
1877; John, born June 6, 1878; Phoebe, born December 15, 1879 and died
September 19, 1880; Charles, born February 24, 1880; Justine, born
December 10, 1882.  Mr. Boyce is a member of the Masonic fraternity,
and also of the "Tabernacle," an organization composed strictly of
colored people. He and his wife are consistent members of the Methodist
Episcopal Church.