WILLIAM R. BOYERS - SEVENTH PRINCIPAL, 1854-1858
William R. Boyers of Pennsylvania was hired to replace Staunton Field on September 8, 1854, and he served three years until May 1858. Boyers was born on December 4, 1829, at Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph Boyer and Mary (Herr) Boyer. in 1850 he was a graduate with A. B. Degree from Jefferson College, Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania.
Although the Marshall Academy was run by the Methodist Episcopal Church, Boyers was a Presbyterian. This prompted a comment from the Kanawha Valley Star in its November 11, 1856 issue: "The control of the Methodist Conference gives assurance that a moral and religious influence will be around it. Notwithstanding this conference control, the principal of the academy is a Presbyterian." The paper further noted that "the high character won for the school by Mr. Bowyer [sic], the admirable and estimable teacher at its head, is a harbinger of still greater success and usefulness."
Boyers served during the time that the Methodist Episcopal Conference undertook to expand the school by adding a third floor to the original two-story building and constructing a new building on the west end of the original building for a chapel and classrooms. The cost of this enterprise sorely strained the finances of the school and Conference. A report by the finance committee reported in 1857 that among its $1,700 indebtedness was $723 due to Boyers "for fitting up the basement and third story [of the original building], with such other improvements as were deemed necessary for the good of the Institution." Even though Boyers was the Collegeís largest creditor, the Education Committee decided at its October 3, 1857, meeting that "Mr. Boyer [was] to remain as Principal of the school another academic year." The Committee observed: "To have displaced him would have broken up the school for the time being and in the estimation of the Committee, done harm. Nor can we expect to secure the services of such a man as we desire until the building is finished and out of debt; but while the Committee does not regard Mr. Boyerís position in the institution as a permanent one, they do regard him as a worthy Christian gentleman and scholar; and they rejoice at the satisfaction he has rendered the public as a teacher; and they would distinctly say that his continuation in the institution another year was at the request and with the consent of the Committee."
Boyers left Marshall College in May 1858. He may have been forced out because he was a Northerner. Staunton Field, then acting as treasurer of the Marshall College Stock Company, wrote in a letter that the Conference wanted "a southern man" as Principal. Boyers left and accepted the principalship of Buffalo Academy at Buffalo, (West) Virginia, where he only taught one term.
Boyers then read law with C. P. T. Moore of Point Pleasant (West) and during the summer of 1860 he traveled throughout Europe. He returned to his home state of Pennsylvania, settling in Blairsville, where he passed the bar in 1861, and began to practice law. In what must have been one of his first legal actions, Boyers brought a suit in 1861 against the Trustees of Marshall College in Cabell County Court for the improvements he made, for which he had never been reimbursed, to the schoolís building when he was Principal. On April 1, 1861, the court ruled in his favor, ordering the school to pay him the sum of $581.54 within one month and assigning Albert Laidley to act as a special commissioner to fulfill the courtís degree. The school did not pay the funds to retire the debt and Laidley, having been elected to the Virginia Assembly, left for Richmond and did not carry out the Courtís decree. Nothing occurred until 1863, when the court appointed a new commissioner, John Laidley, Jr. He had no choice but to place Marshall College with all its property in a public auction. Salina Mason purchased the property, which ended the schoolís quarter century existence as a private educational institution.
Boyers married Abigail McCurdy in 1853, and they had two children, Mary N. Boyers and Joseph H, Boyers. He continued to practice law in Blairsville, except for three years between 1864 and 1867 when he published a newspaper called the New Era. He died of Brights disease on August 19, 1892.
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