Happy Birthday Gertrude Lovin Boyce



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Gertrude Lovin Boyce  (1865-1957)

Gertrude has made it easy for us to know about her life. She not only wrote a lengthy memoir towards the end of her life, but also studied her parents’ ledger book and left us a brief narrative of their lives.

Gertrude Lovin Boyce was born on 23 May 1865 in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts, as the second child of Oliver Selam Boyce and Mary Jane Frost. She had one sibling, namely: Mary B. Boyce. When Gertrude was young, the family moved from Massachusetts to Blackberry Township, Kane, Illinois.

Gertrude Lovin Boyce, birth certificate.
Gertrude Lovin Boyce, birth certificate.
Boyce ledger - Gertrude notes.
Notes made in the Mary Jane and Selam Boyce financial ledger made by their daughter, Gertrude Lovin Boyce Phillips.
Boyce ledger - Gertrude notes.
Notes made in the Mary Jane and Selam Boyce financial ledger made by their daughter, Gertrude Lovin Boyce Phillips.
Boyce ledger - Gertrude notes
Notes made in the Mary Jane and Selam Boyce financial ledger made by their daughter, Gertrude Lovin Boyce Phillips.
Boyce ledger - Gertrude notes.
Notes made in the Mary Jane and Selam Boyce financial ledger made by their daughter, Gertrude Lovin Boyce Phillips.

As she told us, above, in her own words, Gertrude graduated high school in 1883 and then began work as a teacher. She wrote about this time in her life in her memoir. The following is an excerpt.

The joyful anticipated night arrived Thurs. June 14th. The event was in the Opera House in the Coulder Block now the Merchants Natl Bank. A horse driven omnibus arrived at each home for its graduate. Ben escorted me. In the dressing room Jennie and I found for us each a boutonnaiere from Ed and Ben. I didn’t wear it as I already had one on given me by Callie Reynolds of Oak St. Flowers were the customary gifts. I had 17 bouquets and two silver vases. Two of the girls wore silk dresses; four wore silk muslins; mine was a book muslin – white, five deep tucks above a deep hem, an overshirt trimmed with lovely creamy lace $2.00 per yd. donated by Aunt Fronie. The front of the waist had vertical dee’s tucks – lace collar: elbow sleeves – with similar tucks, lace on the edge.

A double bow with long streamers of creamy embroidered ribbon at the belt of same on left side and right shoulders.

My beautiful fan given me by Mrs. Dave Knight suspended from the belt by some of Aunt Fronie’s long watch chain. Aunt F. also gave me my $1.50 hat(??) I was first on the program and had to stop for a Thundering Freight train to pass the building. Of course it would be Ben to bring me a glass of water. Joyous happy Seniors!

The next A.M. Ed and Ben called for Jennie and me in an open double buggy to visit all of the graduates. At Effies I pretended being sick as I could not carry on. When arriving, Ben asked to take me to the alumni that night in the M. E. Church but I refused.

As I left home Ben and Ed passed my corner on the cross St. and saw me. At the banquet Jennie somewhat suspicious asked one of the boys to close the window back of me to prevent a draft on me.

I’ve always regretted my unkind and ungrateful attitude.

After graduating Ed and Grant each had a class party at his home. I don’t recall the entertainments or refreshments, but I can’t forget as Ben sat beside me fanning us both with my frail and lovely fan he broke some of the delicate. I was heart sick. The fan was hand embroidered in spots, all lightly covered with feathery down. The years have taken toll of its existence.

In the Fall of ’83 the Esiae school board opened space in one of its buildings for a year’s training course for teachers, $25.00 per yr. Mother gave me my choice. However, I was anxious to earn my way and preferred the country and thot I could teach competently.

Late summer Aunt Fronie took me to Geneva for teachers examination, had dinner at Frank Young’s. In spelling exam I never heard of rutabaga & Supt. Mann smiled as I asked for a repeat. (given orally). Went home with a sick headache. Next week I got my certificate in our rented box in the old P.O. So, my fledgling wings were sprouting. A few days later, directors of the Base Line School came to see me. Many county school directors enquired at the corner grocery store on River St. for teacher prospects. The interview ended by saying they’d notify me in a few days which brot a post card they hired some one else. Much later I learned they thot I was too young. Suppose I did seem girlish that day. I well remember my outfit. A rather light dress of blue and other colors checked so a center of white in a square overskirt and sailor waist and sleeves had a narrow blue & red embroidered trim. The sailor waist had the double box plaits front and back turned over collar with trim. My hair was in two long braids tied with blue ribbon.

In less that a wk. directors of Jericho Road School were sent to me from the same store. Uncle Jerome and Mr. Sheffer!  Hobson’s Choice hired me that day as their hired teacher had another position. It was about the last of Aug. Aunt Phoebe was at our house so she made me a calico wrapper. My salary as a beginner was $25. a month for three months.  $10. a month for board. $15 of that I gave to mother she had paid to get my coat remodelled. – Gertrude Lovin Boyce Phillips

Gertrude Lovin Boyce, 1883 High School graduation.
Gertrude Lovin Boyce, 1883 High School graduation. [Photo credit: Wilma Phillips]

When she was 23, Gertrude Lovin Boyce married Guy Allison Phillips, son of Albert Aveldo Phillips and Amelia A. Brace, on 01 Oct 1888 in rural Aurora, Kane, Illinois.

I very much admired this boyfriend of mine. He was ever a gentleman: courteous, always at ease, used good language never once thru our courtship and the fifty odd years as his wife did I ever him say or suggest an unclean word. We were always congenial thru these mating years and so happy. Those years are all mine. And if at any time an aftermath intervened they still are all mine to recall and love. – Gertrude Lovin Boyce Phillips

Gertrude Lovin Boyce.
Gertrude Lovin Boyce.

Guy Allison Phillips and Gertrude Lovin Boyce had the following children:

  1. Roy Selam Phillips was born on 30 Mar 1889 in Montgomery, Kane, Illinois. He married Freda Francis Willis on 06 Mar 1911. He died on 11 Jun 1972 in Las Vegas, Clark, Nevada.
  2. Albert Harold Phillips was born on 17 Apr 1890 in Aurora, Kane, Illinois. He married Rose Klink on 22 Nov 1919. He died on 03 Sep 1965 in Kane, Illinois.
  3. Floyd Boyce Phillips was born on 07 Dec 1891 in Aurora, Kane, Illinois. He married Leona Catherine Miller on 17 Apr 1925 in Sandwich, De Kalb, Illinois. He died on 07 Jul 1971 in Sandwich, De Kalb, Illinois.
  4. Arthur Guy Phillips was born on 08 Jul 1894 in Illinois. He married Florence E Manning on 08 Jan 1919. He married Ida Price on 28 Nov 1952 in Jackson, Missouri. He married Alice N Jackson on 13 Dec 1958 in Los Angeles, California. He married Dorothy D Marlow on 13 Apr 1964 in Riverside, California.  He died on 26 Dec 1966 in Laguna Hills, Orange, California (Age: 72).
  5. Charles Verne Phillips was born on 01 Oct 1897 in rural Aurora, Kane, Illinois. He married Ruby Marie Bartlett on 20 Dec 1924 in Illinois. He died on 06 Jul 1978 in Sandwich, De Kalb, Illinois.

At this time there were no convenient facilities in the homes of the farming countries. No sinks with faucets and drains. I washed dishes on my work table: all water heated on cook stoves: lamps were the lighting system. Fanny Perry sent us a lovely large one with round wick burner and shade: no bath room, but a convenience, called to-day by you Readers a powder room was  located in a small outer building.

Being our own Baby Sitters thru all the days and night we were unable to give entertainments in the home or to take out our little crew of bairns.

My young husband was an ideal homemaker, thrifty, economical and a steady tireless worker, always congenial and willing to help in any capacity in times of need! Excellent with baby care assuming more than his share thru the colicy nights. He was an efficient Daddy.

As all parents experience their heydays during baby growth into knowledge so did we enjoy that interesting time. The tiny cry of hunger, the first smile, also the smile of recognition, the baby hands making patty cake and so big, the first steps, the first words and learning the first discipline of no, no. – Gertrude Lovin Boyce

Gertrude and Guy Phillips first rented a farm on Base Line Road. The farm bordered Guy’s parents farm. They had a one and one-half story house with a large sitting room, bedrooms, kitchen with a trap door opening to cellar steps, and a pantry. During their first year at this home, they added a summer kitchen.

They lived there for six years. But, Guy wanted to buy his own farm. So, in 1895, they bought and moved to their 189-acre farm on Jericho Road. They lived there for the next eighteen years. They farmed, and raised horses, cows and pigs. They also lovingly brought up their five boys. She nursed her family through measles, chicken pox, typhoid fever, diphtheria, and scarlet fever.

In 1913, they sold their farm and moved to a small property they had inherited that was originally part of his parents’ homestead. In the next decade, she lost her mother and saw her sons travel to Canada to farm, go to war, marry, and have children of their own.

Gertrude Lovin Boyce and Guy Allison Phillips.
Gertrude Lovin Boyce and Guy Allison Phillips.

In 1938, Guy’s health began to fail due to heart problems. Gertrude was widowed on 4 Dec 1940.

God’s Reaper has been among my families to claim some of our cherished ones for his Kingdom. One cannot reasonably understand the why but possibly Death is needed in his structure. We miss these loved ones but perhaps the affliction is a test to be molded into a finer character thru sufferings and better prepared to meet beyond the Harbor Bar.¹ – Gertrude Lovin Boyce Phillips

Gertrude lived many more years. In her latter years, she resided at a nursing home called Sunnymere in Aurora. It is told that she gathered her five sons together and declared that she wanted to move to a nursing home to prevent them from having to fight over who got to have her live with them.

Gertrude with her sons.
Gertrude and her sons. Front, from left, Roy, Gertrude and Albert. Back, from left, Arthur, Charles and Floyd.
Gertrude Lovin Boyce Phillips with her granddaughter, Coralee.
Gertrude Lovin Boyce Phillips with her granddaughter, Coralee.

Gertrude Lovin Boyce Phillips died on 13 Mar 1957 in Aurora, Kane, Illinois at age 91. She was buried on 18 Mar 1957 in Riverside Cemetery, Montgomery, Kane, Illinois.

Gertrude Lovin Boyce Phillips, funeral card.
Gertrude Lovin Boyce Phillips, funeral card.

Where is she in the tree?

Relationship chart, Floyd Boyce Phillips to Gertrude Lovin Boyce.
Pedigree chart, Gertrude Lovin Boyce.

How can I learn more?

The Phillips Family book covers the life and descendants of Gertrude Lovin Boyce Phillips. It also contains a full transcription of the memoir that she wrote between 3 Nov 1952 and 6 May 1953. Also see the Phillips page for more information.

The Phillips Family

 ¹ “Beyond the Harbor Bar” was a poem written by Stella Lewis Dunlap. A copy was printed in volume 14 of a magazine called Sunset. You can find the poem on GoogleBooks.

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