Seth Boyden

Seth R. Boyden (1788 - 1870)

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Seth R. Boyden
Born in Foxboro, Massachusettsmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married [location unknown]
Died in Middleville, New Jerseymap
Profile manager: Nick Dann private message [send private message]
Profile last modified | Created 20 Oct 2017
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Seth was born in 1788. He was the son of Seth Boyden and Susanna Atherton. He passed away in 1870.[1]

From Thomas Boyden and His Descendants Pg. 89:

151. Seth (6), son of Seth (69) and Susanna (Atherton) Boyden, b, Nov. 17, 1788, in Foxboro; d. Mar. 31, 1870, in Middleville, N. J.; m. Nov. 28, 1814, Abigail Sherman, of Foxboro, b. Aug. 5, 1792, d. Aug. 5, 1867, in Middleville.
Children, born in Newark, N. J.:
i. Susan (7), b. Mar. 13, 1817; d. Dec. 20, 1887; m. John Burnett, in Newark, N. J.
ii. 298. Obadiah Sherman (7), b. Sept. 26, 1818.
iii. Sarah Matilda (7), b. Aug. 26, 1822; d. Dec. 4, 1843, in Newark; m. Sept. 10, 1840, Henry L. Brown, of Ware, Mass.
iv. George Henry (7), b. Jan. 22, 1825; d. June 24, 1845, in Newark.
v. Seth Holmes (7), b. Aug. 4, 1837; d. June 2, 1857, in Newark.
Seth Boyden (151) "engaged in leather manufacture in Newark, N. J., in 1813; he invented a machine for splitting leather, and began the manufacture of patent leather in 1819; he perfected the first locomotive with the driving rod outside the wheel, produced the first daguerreotype in America, invented the process of making spelter, discovered the art of making Russiansheet-iron, and parented hat-body doming machine, used in all the hat manufacturers in the United States." - Dicty. Of Am. Biography.
A bronze statue of "Seth Boyden, Inventor", stands in Washington Park, Newark, N. J., erected by the mechanics and artisans of that city, in honor of a fellow-craftsman. He was a philosopher, acquired an excellent knowledge of optics, chemistry, electricity and botany, and worked to accomplish certain results beneficial to mankind, rather than for his own pecuniary gain. In his later life he undertook the cultivation of the strawberry, and succeeded in producing berries of the finest flavor and of enormoussize, fifteen weighing a pound.
From appended version by John K. Boyden, Pg. 55.:
164. Seth Boyden (Seth 5, Seth 4, Jonathon 3, Jonathon 2, Thomas 1) was born in Foxboro, Massachusetts, and died March 31, 1870 in Middleville, New Jersey. He married Abigail Sherman November 28, 1814.
Seth was the son of a mechanic and occassional inventor and the brother of Uriah A. Boyden. He received only a meager formal education, but early acquired a reputation for mechanical ability and by the time he was 21 had devised machines for making nails and files. Four years later he moved to Newark, New Jersey to go into the leather business, using an improved version of his father's leather splitting machine. Continued experiments led to his development of a process for manufacturing patent leather in 1819 and the opening of the first United States patent leather factory. Turning his attention to an entirely different problem, he succeeded in 1826 in duplicating a secret European process for making malleable cast iron. Upon receiving his patent in 1831 he sold his leather business to open a foundry for producing the malleable iron, only to sell it six years later. He then took up building locomotives and stationary steam engines. He introduced the use of the cut-off governor in steam engines. After a fruitless year in the California gold fields he returned east in 1850 and continued to experiment in several areas: among other things, he developed the Hilton Strawberry (these strawberries weighing in at 15 to a pound), a hat forming machine, investigated atmospheric electricity, and is reputed have made the first daguerrotype in the United States.
A statue of "Seth Boyden, Inventor", stands in Washington Park, Newark, New Jersey, erected by the mechanics and artisans of that city, in honor of a fellow craftsman. He was a philosopher, acquired an excellent knowledge of optics, chemistry, electricity and botany, and worked to accomplish certain results beneficial to mankind rather than for his own pecuniary gain.
Children of Seth Boyden and Abigail Sherman are:
i. Susan Boyden, b. March 13, 1817, Newark, New Jersey; d. December 20, 1887; m. John Burnett, Newark, New Jersey.
ii. 352. Obadiah Sherman Boyden, b. September 26, 1818, Newark, New Jersey.
iii. Sarah Matilda Boyden, b. August 26, 1822, Newark, New Jersey; d. December 04, 1843, Newark, New Jersey; m. Henry L. Brown, September 10, 1840, Newark, New Jersey.
iv. George Henry Boyden, b. January 22, 1825, Newark, New Jersey; d. June 02, 1845, Newark, New Jersey.
v. Seth Holmes Boyden, b. August 04, 1837, Newark, New Jersey; d. June 24, 1857, Newark, New Jersey.

From Significant Individuals in Foxborough History:[2]

Seth R. Boyden (1788 - 1870) was born on Oak Street with an inquisitive mind, became a noted inventor, and later moved to Newark, New Jersey. Perhaps the highest praise for his skills came from Thomas Edison who noted that Seth was "one of America’s greatest inventors." During his lifetime he invented a machine for making wrought iron nails, perfected the process for making patent leather, created malleable iron, and built several locomotive engines. A statue honoring Seth stands in Washington Park in Newark.

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  • Thomas Boyden and His Descendants, compiled by Wallace C. Boyden, A.M., Merrill N. Boyden, and Amos J. Boyden, privately printed by T. R. Marvin & Son, Boston MA, 1901. Appended by John K. Boyden (1936-2002). Seth Boyden is Record #151, Pg. 89. In the appended version, Seth is Record #164, Pg. 55.[3]
  • Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988: Birth, Seth Boyden Jr., 17 Nov 1788, Foxborough[4]
  • History of Essex and Hudson Counties, New Jersey, by William H. Shaw, Everts & Peck, 1884, Volume 1, Foundries, Iron and Machine Works, Pg. 592[5]
  • 1860 US Census: Clinton, Essex County, NJ, 12 Jun 1860, Pg. 4[6]
  • Find A Grave: Memorial #6576748; Seth Boyden, Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Newark NJ

See also:

  • Wikipedia: Seth Boyden[7]
  • ASME Biography: Seth Boyden, by Eric Butterman,, April 2012[8]


  1. Information from Sharon, Massachusetts, history and genealogy researcher Nick Dann, 20 Oct 2017.
  2. Significant Individuals in Foxborough History
  3. Original manuscript, Record #152, Pg. 90
  4. Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook)
  5. History of Essex and Hudson Counties, New Jersey: Foundries, Iron and Machine Works
  6. Eighth Census of the United States, NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.; Roll: M653_690; Page: 223; FHL microfilm: 803690
  7. Wikipedia: Seth Boyden
  8. ASME Biography: Seth Boyden

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No known carriers of Seth's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

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Images: 4
Seth Boyden (1788 - 1870)
Seth Boyden (1788 - 1870)

Seth Boyden Monument [1913]
Seth Boyden Monument [1913]

S. Boyden Company,
S. Boyden Company,

Seth Boyden Monument Plaque
Seth Boyden Monument Plaque


Seth is 28 degrees from Rosa Parks, 24 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 19 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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