Dr. Gaston Boyd House

408 W. Broadway

Newton, KS 67114

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This Queen Anne-style home was constructed between 1901 and 1904 for Dr. Gaston Boyd, Newton's first doctor, and his family. Boyd was born in April 1844 in Campbell County, Kentucky. He ventured to Kansas in the 1870s, landing in the Newton township on April 15, 1871, establishing his medical practice and becoming Newton's first doctor. It was Boyd who tended to the men injured in the August 1871 Newton Massacre. Although he was serving as the community's doctor, he did not actually receive his medical degree until 1874 when he completed his education at the Ohio State medical school in Cincinnati, Ohio. Boyd's sister, Mary, was Newton's first teacher. Boyd's first marriage was to Jennie Williams in 1868 while living in Ohio. Together they had five children. In January 1877, Mabel (born 1870) and Lois (born 1872) both died seven days apart from diphtheria. In April of that year, twins Eric and Edith were born. In March 1886, Jennie gave birth to another son they named Gaston. In an unfortunate turn of events, Jennie died suddenly in May 1886. Her obituary attributes her death to heart disease. Only a few months later, in July, Boyd would also lose his youngest son, who was just a few months old. The twins would be the only Boyd children to live into adulthood. In 1887, Boyd married Elizabeth Clarke, a music teacher at Bethany College in Lindsborg. Elizabeth was an accomplished community leader. She was passionate about music and very involved in facilitating that culture in the community, serving as the first music teacher in Newton schools. She took part in the organization of the Treble Clef Club and served as its first president. Mrs. Boyd belonged to many local and state level civic organizations. According to an article titled"A Most Valued Woman: Elizabeth Clarke Boyd," published by the Harvey County Historical Museum, she served as the educational secretary for Women's Auxiliary of the Diocese of Kansas (Episcopal Church), vice president of the Kansas State Music Teachers Association, Kansas Authors Club, president of the Women's Temperance Union, World's Advising Council of Music, and president of the Kansas World's Fair Music Board. She hosted many civic gatherings in her home at 408 W. Broadway. She was also a writer and produced musical pieces and poetry, several which can be found in the historical society's archives.

 

Dr. Boyd was credited with many accomplishments throughout his life in Newton. In addition to serving as the first medical doctor in Newton, he drafted the first Harvey County census in 1875 and served as the county's first coroner. He was elected as mayor and served from 1905 to 1907. He was also active in many civic and medical organizations. His obituary in the November 22, 1919, issue of The Evening-Kansan Republican states, "Dr. Boyd did not consider that his services to the community were limited to the saving of lives and working for better sanitary conditions. From the viewpoint of the true citizen he was instrumental in many ways in the growth of the town and in securing the best possible facilities, in having churches, schools and other institutions and conveniences that tended to make Newton a modern city. The buildings he has erected on Main Street were the pride of the town and are known as the Boyd buildings. Dr. Boyd died on November 21, 1919. His wife, Elizabeth, died four years later, on November 2, 1923.

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