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Below is a family biography included in The History of Jefferson County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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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 “mas’er” 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 Donell, on Plattin Creek; he was the property of Mr. Donell 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, 1846, 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.

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This family biography is one of 224 biographies included in The History of Jefferson County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Jefferson County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

To view additional Jefferson County, Missouri family biographies, click here

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