Military Subjects:  War of 1812


The War of 1812 Magazine

Issue 7: September 2007

Documents, Artefacts and Imagery

A Bible Belonging to Brigadier General John Parker Boyd, U.S. Army

John Parker Boyd was born in Massachusetts in 1764. He served in the state militia until 1789 when he went to India to seek his fortune. There, he became a prominent military leader in several native states and returned to the United States in 1798 a wealthy man. Commissioned in the 4th US Infantry as colonel, Boyd fought at the Battle of Tippecanoe in November 1811.

In August 1812, Boyd was promoted to brigadier general and placed in command of the forces in New England. He led one of the American brigades that landed in the Niagara Peninsula of Upper Canada in May 1813 and then joined Major General James Wilkinson’s campaign on the upper St Lawrence River aimed at capturing Montreal. In November 1813, Boyd was defeated by a force less than half his size at the Battle of Crysler’s Farm, which effectively ended the campaign.

Although acknowledged as a brave man, Boyd was not particularly intelligent and known by the nickname “Tippy Canoe.” Boyd was sharply criticized for his defeat and was never given another command. He left the army in 1815 and retired to Boston, where he became a merchant and naval agent until his death in 1830.

The following photos of a bible belonging to Boyd were provided by Charlotte Dillard, who accidentally came across it while searching for other titles at a bookshop. It is a pocket sized two-volume edition, printed in Philadelphia in 1810. Parker signed the bible in 1830, the year of his death, to his niece, Sempronia Aspasia Little.

The Editor wishes to thank Mrs Charlotte Dillard for kindly providing the images of this unique artifact related to a figure from the War of 1812 and for details regarding it.

Click on the image for a larger view.

The General John Parker Boyd Bible
The General John Parker Boyd Bible
The General John Parker Boyd Bible
The two volume bible set.
Title page from the first volume.
Parker’s inscription to his niece, made in 1830, the year of his death.


Biographical data from:

Donald E. Graves. Field of Glory: The Battle of Crysler’s Farm, 1813. Toronto: Robin Brass Studio, 1999, p. 35, 36, 322.

Robert Malcomson. Historical Dictionary of the War of 1812, Lanham, The Scarecrow Press, 2006, p. 52.


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