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 his genealogy.
"Where the family name, Boaz, cam from I confess that I do not know. It is certain that it did not come from the the original Boaz, who married Ruth, for the name of his son was Obed and his grandson was called Jesse. In that ancient day each son was given a new name that had but little, if any, connection with the name of the father. Obed was known as Obed, the son of Boaz. Not until a much later date has the son borne the surname of his father. For many years in the province of Cornwall, England, the name Boaz has been a familiar name. From there it appears to have scattered out into other sections. But from whence did the first people of that name come? The question has interested me for years.
|Historical map of Cornwall, England, c. 1783; courtesy of Wikipedia|
There are reputable scholars who devoutly believe that the ten lost tribes of Israel migrated to England, Scotland, Ireland and other parts, about six hundred years before the Christian Era, and are now known as Anglo-Saxons. Mr. C. A. L. Totten has written extensively in defense of this theory. Rev. J. H. Allen has written a most interesting book supporting this thesis and brings many interesting facts from the Bible and history to prove his contention. He is quite sure that the throne of England is a lineal successor to the throne of David and supports this idea by quoting many prophecies from the Bible. Queen Victoria believed this to be true, and so do many scholars of today. Many families in England, Scotland and Ireland bear names that were borne by some of the lost tribes of Israel. The most eminent scholars, however, hold that the ten lost tribes were absorbed in Assyria. Which of these theories is true I am not prepared to say.
It is a fact, however, that quite a few people bearing the name Boaz still live in Scotland, Ireland, and especially in Cornwall, England. Our first ancestor of whom we have definite and positive information, Thomas Boaz, was born in Scotland. Since so many bearing our family name still live in Cornwall, England, it may be that Thomas Boaz, or some of his ancestors, migrated to Scotland at an earlier time. The name in those early days was spelled in several different ways such as Boaz, Boaze, Boze, Bows, Bowes, Boase, and Boas, all belonging to the same family of people. The different spelling would have the same pronunciation. English genealogists tell us that the various ways of spelling the name were accounted for by the tax collectors who heard the name pronounced and spelled it for their records as it sounded to them.
About two hundred years before the birth of Thomas Boaz, the noted Presbyterian divine, John Knox, lived and preached in Scotland. Under the influence of John Calvin he quit his orders in the Catholic Church and became a "Presbyterian Dissenter." His faith, zeal and eloquence made many converts. His influence went far and wide. His first wife was Marjorie Bowes, by whom he had two sons. My great great grandfather, Thomas Boaz, was also a "Presbyterian Dissenter" according to our family records. It is possible that he believed himself in some way related to John and Marjorie Bowes Knox, and that he out to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious ancestors.
It is readily admitted that my family does not have the slightest proof (except the name) that we are descended from distinguished ancestors. Our family records go back only a little more than two hundred years and that is not far enough to tie them in with such illustrious people. Yet it is interesting to know that people bearing our name were of some importance in the days long gone by...
...My paternal grandfather was David R. Boaz. He was born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, April 24, 1790, later moved to Murray, Kentucky, and is buried there. He served faithfully in the war of 1812. My paternal great grandfather was Shadrach Boaz, a brother to Meshach and Abednego, and was also born in Virginia during the year 1951. We are told that he was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and rendered valiant service to the cause. In the courthouse at Chatham, Pittsylvania County, Virginia, I found his will dated January 2, 1817, and probated September 30, 1817. He was a wealthy planter.
|The first portion of 1797 land grant to Shadrach Boaz in Pittsylvania,|
Virginia; courtesy of the Library of Virgiia
My paternal great great grandfather, Thomas Boaz, was born near Aberdeen, Scotland, about 1723. Early in life he joined the "Scotch [sic] Presbyterian Dissenters." On account of religious persecutions by the Church of England he emigrated to Ireland while a young man. There he soon met and married an Irish lassie whose Christian name was Agnes. Her surname has been lost from the records. Four sons were born to them while they resided in Ireland. Meeting persecutions from the Catholic Church on account of religious beliefs, he and his wife and four sons came to America in 1748. After a brief sojourn in Buckingham County, Virginia, they settled in Pittsylvania County, where they lived to the end of their days. some of there descendants still live in Virginia but many of them migrated to Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, Alabama, Arkansas, and on to Texas. The Land Office records in Richmond show that Thomas Boaz patented twenty-eight hundred acres of land in Pittsylvania County, showing great wisdom in this.
|The beginning of the land grant of 1,577 from George III to Thomas|
Boaz in Pittsylvania in 1763; coutesy of the Library of Virginia
My maternal grandfather was Nathaniel Hill Ryan, of Irish descent. He was born in Nelson County, Virginia, June 6, 1806. On November 10, 1827, he married Sallie Ann Wills who was born in Nelson County, Virginia, December 28, 1806. She was the daughter of John and Elizabeth (Pettyjohn) Wills. John Wills, my maternal great grandfather, was born in Virginia, 1775, and died in 1871, being more than ninety-six years old at the time of his death. My maternal great great grandfather was James Wills who fought in the French and Indian War before the days of the Revolutionary War. I have in my possession now a photostatic copy of the land grant allowed him for his service in that war and it was signed by Edmund Randolph, Governor of Virginia. I have also a copy of his will signed on September 29, 1820. It was through him I was elected to the membership in The Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Virginia.
My mother frequently told us that we had English, Irish and Scotch [sic] blood flowing in our veins. The sturdiness of the English, the thrift of the Scotch [sic] and the humor and generosity of the Irish ought to make a good citizen, provided they are mixed in proper proportions.
Boaz, Hiram Abiff. Eighty-four Golden Years: Autobiography of Bishop Hiram Abiff Boaz, (Nashville, TN: Parthenon Press, 1951), page 13-15,18-19.
Shadrach Boaz married Isabelle Rutherford, daughter of William Rutherford and his wife, a daughter of John Beard (1705-1780), my six times great grandfather. The given name of Isabelle's mother was Agnes or Hannah. Isabelle Rutherford and her father, William, are mentioned in John Beard's will.
DNA Discoveries: Hiram Abiff Boaz's -- The Meaning of His Nam
DNA Discoveries: Hiram Abiff Boaz's Parents -- A Description