Rhoda Boyd

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Rhoda Boyd
Born 1748
Cumberland County, Pennsylvania
Died 1823
Tuscarawaras County, Ohio
Resting place Smiley Family Cemetery, Barr's Mill, Sugar Creek Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio
Nationality Scots-Irish
Spouse(s) Thomas Robert Smiley
Parent(s) John Boyd, Nancy Urie

Rhoda Boyd was born in rural Cumberland County, Pennsylvania in 1748 to John Boyd, immigrant from Ulster and Nancy Urie, immigrant from Scotland. Rhoda and her siblings were captured by Delaware Indians on 10 February 1756. They killed her mother and youngest brother during the attack.

Fates of family members[edit]

  • Nancy (Urie) Boyd (mother), killed after the attack
  • infant, possibly George Boyd, killed in the attack
  • John Boyd Sr. (father), not present at the attack. He remarried, and died in 1788.
  • William Boyd, oldest son, with his father and not present for the raid. He was a blacksmith in Perry County, Pennsylvania.
  • John Boyd, Jr., captured and adopted by the Delaware; returned from the Delaware in later years to visit relatives, but continued to live as an Indian.[1]
  • David Boyd [2] returned to his father by his Indian foster father, who originally captured him.
  • Sarah (Sallie) Boyd, taken captive and lived with Delaware for several years, was returned to Fort Pitt, 1764[3]

Later life[edit]

Taken captive at age eight, Rhoda lived with the Delaware for eight years, from the age of eight to sixteen, by which time she was assimilated to the band. Liberated by Colonel Henry Bouquet at the forks of the Muskingum River, she and Elizabeth Studebaker, another English colonist adopted by the Delaware, escaped from his custody on their way to Fort Pitt in Pittsburgh, and returned to the Delaware.[4][5] United States historians such as Laurel Thatcher Ulrich have found that the younger children were when taken captive, the more likely they were to become assimilated to the tribe. Girls and young women who married into the tribe also wanted to stay with their new people, rather than making another adjustment to return to colonial British culture.[6] This was the case with Eunice Williams, the daughter of John Williams, the minister of Deerfield, Massachusetts; after being taken to Canada and adopted by the Mohawk, she married a Mohawk husband at age 16 and never returned full-time to her New England family.[7]

Rhoda Boyd was ransomed in Detroit in 1764 and taken back to the British colonists. [8] Bouquet took her to Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1764. There she married American Revolutionary War soldier Thomas Robert Smiley.[9] They had children together, and the family later moved to Somerset, Pennsylvania. They eventually moved to Tuscarawas County, Ohio, where there was a settlement of Christianized Delaware. Rhoda Boyd Smiley died there in 1823.


  1. ^ Storey, Henry Wilson (1907). History of Cambria County, Pennsylvania. 3. New York, Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company. p. 114. 
  2. ^ William Waugh (1902). "HISTORY OF THE CAPTURE AND CAPTIVITY OF DAVID BOYD". Retrieved 8 January 2010. 
  3. ^ Ewing, William S. (1956). "Indian Captives Released By Colonel Bouquet". The Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine. 39 (Fall (3)). 
  4. ^ Cort, Cyrus (1883). Col. Henry Bouquet and his campaigns of 1763 and 1764. Westmoreland County Bouquet Memorial Committee. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Steinman & Hensel. p. 69. OCLC 13089186. 
  5. ^ Pritts, Joseph; Withers, Alexander Scott (1849). "Personal Narrative of John M'Cullough, Esq.". Mirror of Olden Time Border Life (Second ed.). Abington, Virginia. p. 472. 
  6. ^ Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750 (Vintage, 1991) , New York: Vintage, 1991
  7. ^ John Demos, the Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994
  8. ^ Cornu, Donald (October 1951). "The Historical Authenticity of Dr. Johnson's 'Speaking Cat'". Review of English Studies. New. Oxford University Press. II (8): 358–370. doi:10.1093/res/II.5.358. 
  9. ^ Hain, H.H. (1922). History of Perry County, Pennsylvania : including descriptions of Indian and pioneer life from the time of earliest settlement, sketches of its noted men and women and many professional men. Marceline, MO: Walsworth Press. p. 939. OCLC 18591955.