Boyd, Corbin (1817-ca. 1910)
Corbin Boyd (1817-ca. 1910), a brickmason in Warren County, was especially known for his well-built chimneys. Born in Virginia in February, 1817, during the antebellum period he was a slave artisan who worked for and was probably owned by the Warrenton builder Jacob W. Holt, who moved from Virginia to Warrenton in the 1840s.
An article from the Warren Record, reprinted in the Raleigh News and Observer of October 3, 1909, provided an account of Corbin Boyd, “Highly Esteemed,” by a longtime white resident of Warren County. “We have from early infancy heard of Corbin Boyd. We had known that he was an expert bricklayer and chimney builder. He, under Mr. Holt, had built the chimneys in a great majority of the best houses of ante-bellum days. He built in our boyhood’s home seventeen fire-places and not a single one ‘smoked’ and all were constructed in a scientific manner.” The (unsigned) author explained that he had only recently met Corbin Boyd when the elderly black man “walked up to our friend Mr. Lewis Watson and spoke to him.” (The writer stated that Boyd was 98 years old, though census records indicate that in 1909 he would have been about 92.) The writer observed that Boyd, who despite his age was still active, had raised his children to be “useful citizens.” No specific projects are attributed to Boyd, but he evidently worked on many antebellum projects contracted by Jacob W. Holt, and probably many other jobs after the Civil War.
Census records show Corbin Boyd, aged 62 in 1880, as a resident of the Shocco Township, and head of a household that included his wife, Vicey Kearney (a native of North Carolina), and their five children: Thomas, Corbin, Lillie, Davy, and Alford. He was listed as a mulatto brickmason and a native of Virginia. By 1900, he was listed as a bricklayer and farmer, aged 83, while his son, Corbin, aged 40, a farmer, headed the household next door. The younger Corbin Boyd and other family members remained in the county for many more years.
- Raleigh News and Observer, Oct. 3, 1909.