Hiram Abiff Boaz, was my fourth cousin three times removed, a Bishop in the Methodist Church and former president of Southern Methodist University. I discovered him when resolving a DNA match who shared John Beard (1705-1780), my six times great grandfather, as the common shared ancestor.
Bishop Boaz wrote Eighty-four Golden Years: Autobiography of Bishop Hiram Abiff Boaz in 1951. I am quoting a small portion of Chapter I. Ancestry, Childhood, and Early Youth, which begins on page 13, about Biblical references to his name.
"The family name, BOAZ, which I bear, perhaps with pardonable pride, is an ancient and honorable name. It is found for the first time in the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament. In the second chapter of that ancient and beautiful love story we find these words: 'And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was BOAZ.' It appears that he lived in the town of Bethlehem, where at a later date the Christ was born, and owned a farm out in the country near by. It was in this field of Boaz that Ruth gleaned in the long ago story and won the admiration and love of the rich owner. She was soon married to Boaz as the nearest kinsman to her mother-in-law, Naomi. She bore a son to Boaz and called his name Obed. Obed became the father of Jesse and Jesse became the father of David and David became the father of Solomon, who built the Temple in the city of Jerusalem.
When Solomon built the Temple the record in Holy Writ declares, 'And he reared up pillars before the Temple, one on the right hand, and one on the left; and he called the name of that on the right hand Jachin and the name of that on the left Boz.' The pillar called Jachin was to represent strength. The one named Boaz stood for stability. From that day down to the present time Masons have held in high regard the names Jachin and Boaz because they represent two excellent attributes of character, strength and stability.
My given name, Hiram Abiff, has also interesting connotations for the Masonic fraternity. In the building of Solomon's Temple, Hiram Abiff drew the plans for the Temple. He was a skilled workman and holds high respect among all Masons. When I was born my father was an active Mason. His experience as a Master Mason, no doubt, had something to do with the name he gave me. The given name and the surname being scriptural and in frequent use among Masons has caused no little interest among Masons and brought me many favors undeserved."
|Bishop Hiram Abiff Boaz with his autobiography in 1962 at the age of 96 |
not long before his death later that year; courtesy of Dallas Freemasonry
Boaz, Hiram Abiff. Eighty-four Golden Years: Autobiography of Bishop Hiram Abiff Boaz, (Nashville, TN: Parthenon Press, 1951), page 13.
DNA Discoveries: Hiram Abiff Boaz's Parents -- A Description