James E. Boyd (politician)

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James E. Boyd
James E Boyd Nebraska Governor.jpg
7th Governor of Nebraska
In office
February 8, 1892 – January 13, 1893
Lieutenant Thomas J. Majors
Preceded by John Milton Thayer
Succeeded by Lorenzo Crounse
Member of the Nebraska House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born September 9, 1834
County Tyrone, Ireland
Died April 30, 1906 (aged 71)
Omaha, Nebraska
Political party Democratic

James Edward Boyd (September 9, 1834 – April 30, 1906) was an Irish-born American businessman and politician in early Omaha, Nebraska. The founder of Boyd's Packing House and Boyd's Theater and Opera House, he served as the Mayor of Omaha from 1881 to 1883 and from 1885 to 1887, and as the seventh Governor of the state of Nebraska in 1891 and from 1892 – 1893.

Early life[edit]

Boyd was born in County Tyrone, Ireland on September 9, 1834.[1] He moved to Belmont County, Ohio, with his family in 1844.[2] His education was in the common schools. As he grew older, he worked as a carpenter and a grocery store clerk. He married Anna Henry on August 22, 1858.[3]


After a move to Omaha, Nebraska Territory, in 1856, he continued to support himself with his carpentry.[2] A member of the Democratic Party, Boyd served in the Nebraska House of Representatives in 1866.[4]

In 1881, Boyd built Boyd's Opera House at 15th and Farnam Streets in Downtown Omaha.[5] When the building burned in 1891, Boyd quickly rebuilt a new 2,000 seat theater and opera house at 17th and Harney Streets.[5] The new five-story structure, Boyd's Theater and Opera House, opened to the public on September 3, 1891.[5] Until it was demolished in 1920, it hosted some of the most celebrated actors of the stage.[5]

Boyd was mayor of Omaha, Nebraska from 1881 to 1883, and from 1885 to 1887. He was the first Democrat elected as Nebraska's governor and served in that position in 1891, and from 1892 to 1893.[6]

Death and legacy[edit]

Boyd died in Omaha, Nebraska on April 30, 1906, and he is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska.[citation needed]

Boyd County, Nebraska is named after Boyd.[7] Boyd Elementary School, part of the Omaha Public School system is also named for him, as well as Boyd Street that runs along the south side of the school's property.

From 1885 to 1890, Boyd's portrait was painted in Omaha by artist Herbert A. Collins.[8]


  1. ^ "James E. Boyd". National Governors Association. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  2. ^ a b James E. Boyd. The Encyclopedia of Nebraska. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  3. ^ Gov. James E. Boyd papers at the Nebraska State Historical Society. Retrieved on 2009-07-06.
  4. ^ http://politicalgraveyard.com/bio/boyd.html
  5. ^ a b c d Jeffrey S. Spencer [researcher & writer], Kristine Gerber [project director] (2003). Building for the ages : Omaha's architectural landmarks (1st ed.). Omaha, Neb.: Omaha Books. p. 20. ISBN 0-9745410-1-X. 
  6. ^ "James E. Boyd". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  7. ^ "Profile for Boyd County, Nebraska, NE". education.com. Retrieved September 29, 2012. 
  8. ^ Biography of Herbert Alexander Collins, by Alfred W. Collins, February 1975, 4 pages typed, in the possession of Collins' great-great grand-daughter, D. Dahl of Tacoma, WA

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Champion S. Chase
Mayor of Omaha
1881 – 1883
Succeeded by
Champion S. Chase
Preceded by
Patrick F. Murphy
Mayor of Omaha
1885 – 1887
Succeeded by
William J. Broatch
Preceded by
John Milton Thayer
Governor of Nebraska
Succeeded by
John Milton Thayer
Preceded by
John Milton Thayer
Governor of Nebraska
1892 – 1893
Succeeded by
Lorenzo Crounse