Family Legend

John Selvoy Boyer Family - Taken by Elfie Huntington (Catharine's granddaughter)
Courtesy, L.Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library,
Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602.
Every family has them - oft told tales passed down through the generations we've come to believe and share. They may very well be based in fact. Of course, they also may have grown out of mankind's natural urge to make the story better!

Part of our mission is to track down the facts behind the tales so those who are hearing the stories for the first time hear them correctly.

In that spirit - here's an example of one such story.

Several us remember hearing Mary Branagan Boyer (John Selvoy's daughter and Catharine & Augustus' gr. granddaughter) share details of Augustus death. Written records tell us he died from the complications of a tooth extraction. Mary's tale included the information that he died of lockjaw/tetnus after pulling out his own bad tooth with a pair of pliers!

That certainly ads color to the tale - the question is if anyone has a written record of these details, or if anyone remembers hearing these details from additional sources? Mary could have very well heard this tale from her grandpa John, Catharine's son. We're not disputing her story. We're simply searching for documentation to substantiate it.

Don't be shy! Share the stories you've heard here. Direct us to your sources. The more we tell the stories we've heard, the better we'll be able to flesh out the complete story!


  1. I sure would like to know if Pennsylvania has a death certificate for Augustus. Did Pennsylvania have them in 1851?

  2. I've been searching and so far - no luck. Some counties had them and some didn't. I plan to dig deeper in the coming weeks.