Aldrich History Project

Chapter LII

Jonathan Boynton

BOYNTON, JONATHAN, was born in the town of Monkton, Addison county, Vt., on the 9th day of September, in the year 1810. His parents were Jonathan and Betsey (Lawrence) Boynton. In the family were five children, of whom, save one, the subject of this sketch was the youngest.

During the infancy of our subject the family moved to Franklin county, New York State, where they lived about seven years, when they moved to Onondaga county, and resided there about ten years; after that the family took up residence at Oswego, from which place Jonathan came to this county. His boyhood years were spent at home attending school and working with his father, who was a cooper by trade, and with whom young Jonathan learned that trade, but not to follow it as an occupation after leaving home.

In the year 1832, then being arrived at the age of twenty-two years, he came to the Sinnamahoning (then a part of this county, but now Cameron county), where he received his first experience in the lumber business. With ax in hand he went into forests, where his first winters were passed. During the warm months, however, he was employed at such work as presented itself and furnished the means of an honest Iivelihood. Having accumulated a small sum of money, he commenced dealing in timber, buying and running to market. In the year 1836 he formed a copartnership with Al Fitch, under the name and style of Fitch & Boynton, and at once commenced dealing more extensively. As this business increased they extended their field of operations, and soon became recognized as one of the heaviest and most successful lumber dealing firms on the West Branch. The relation of these partners was one of the most agreeable character, and continued for a period of thirty-six years, having dissolved in the year 1872.

The business of this firm, however, does not represent the entire interests of Mr. Boynton in this line, as he has been extensively engaged with various other persons, and in other locations, but the latter were not under his personal supervision.

In the year 1837 Mr. Boynton resided at Smith's Mills, in the south part of the county. Five years later, 1842, he married Mary Nevling, daughter of Adam Nevling, by which marriage there has been three children, viz.: Ai F., of Clearfield; Edith, the wife of Rev. William H. Dill, and Ira N., who died August 29, 1865.

After a residence at Smith's Mills of about eight years, Mr. Boynton and family came to Clearfield, where he purchased from Robert Wallace, esq., the property on Second street, upon which he erected an elegant house and in which he still resides.

At the time of the organization of the First National Bank of Clearfield, December, 1864, Mr. Boynton was elected as its president, and has so continued, without intermission, to the present time.

Although he began life with but small means, his prudent habits, excellent judgment, and firm adherence to the rule that "whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well," brought to him most gratifying success and enabled him to accumulate a fortune. Of quiet disposition, kind or heart, and generous to all good causes, he has won the respect and esteem of all who know him.

During his long and varied business life and intercourse with his fellowmen, no man has ever had cause to doubt his honor and probity. But his worth does not arise merely from his capacity as a man of business. His kindly disposition, his quiet, yet earnest support of the church, his tenderness and kindness as a husband and parent, relative, and friend have endeared him to them all. The land upon which the Methodist Episcopal Church now stands, the memorial windows that adorn that edifice, the commodious pastor's residence, and a goodly cash contribution to the society were his free and voluntary gift. These, with his recent munificent provision for his son and daughter, are but characteristic of the man.


Source: Pages 700-701, History of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich, Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1887.
Transcribed October 1999 by Richard L. McKee for the Clearfield County Aldrich Project
Contributed for use by the Clearfield County Genealogy Project (

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