, A.M., M.D.
Mr. Boynton was born in the township of Harrisville, Medina
County, Ohio on July 23, 1840.
His father and mother were natives of Newburyport, Mass., his
mother Abigail Moody, being a descendant of Rev. William Moody,
one of the first settlers of Newbury, who landed there in 1635.
The Moody family has been famous for learning, patriotism,
intellectual force and public influence.
There were many
distinguished clergymen of the name, one of whom was made
President of Harvard College, which position he resigned for the
more agreeable one of pastor of the old South Church, Boston,
where he maintained the rights of the colonies, and laid the
foundation of British hatred that afterward decreased that
sacred temple of civil and religious freedom by stabling therein
the horses of the British soldiery.
A century previous,
Caleb Moody, an ancestor of the subject of this sketch, greatly
distinguished himself in the legislature of Massachusetts Bay by
opposing the surrender of the charter of New England to Sir
Edmund Andros, urging revolution rather than submission.
For this course, he was imprisoned by Sir Edmund, but
subsequently released through an uprising of the people, who
confined Andros in Mr. Moody’s place, and reimbursed the latter
for the sufferings he had endured in behalf of the people’s
chartered rights and liberties.
Alfred Boynton, father of Eben Moody Boynton, was descended from
a son of Sir Matthew Boynton, who came to Newbury Byfield in
1636, and took up a large grant in company with the family of
Lieutenant-Governor Dummer, the founder of Dummer Academy.
The famous deacon of that church, for fifty years, was Joshua
Boynton, a son of the first settler of the name.
worthy man, who was also chairman of the Board of Control of Dummer Academy, died at the age of ninety-seven. Another
member of the family was associate teacher at Rowley with Rev.
John Phillips, the ancestor of the founder of Phillips’ Academy,
who was educated at Dummer, the oldest founded academy of
Massachusetts. The last surviving pupil of Master Moody,
the great uncle of the subject of this article - Enoch Boynton -
was famous for having introduced the silk culture into New
England, and for his inventive abilities. He died about
twenty-eight years ago, at the age of ninety.
Eben Moody Boynton came, at the age of thirteen, from his
birthplace on the Western Reserve, in Ohio, to the home of his
ancestors, in Newbury, and was, for a short time, an inmate of
Enoch Boynton’s family, and a great favorite with the old
gentleman, who predicted a bright future for the young log-cabin
boy. Educated in the schools of Newbury, and Phillips’
Academy, Andover, Mass., he subsequently taught a high school in
Amesbury, where he became acquainted with John G. Whittier, the
Requiring a more active life, he went into the shipment of black
walnut lumber from southern Michigan, where he first perceived
the need of improvement in saw teeth. He first suggested
the “M”-cutting teeth to his brother, Alfred Boynton, (See
patent 59,851) who was in
his employ, and whose hook and gauge-tooth Lightning saw was
supposed to be the principal element in the first invention,
though it afterward proved too complicated for the low state of
skill among those using saws. Yet it was the first
practical cutting saw ever known in the history of saw
manufacture for cross-cutting.
Subsequently Eben Moody
Boynton obtained patents on the several improvements now in use
for simple “M”-shaped teeth, slightly retreating, which have
been found greatly superior to the former projecting
These saws have proved a great
success, and Mr. Boynton has manufactured several million of
them, which have been sold throughout the world. They are
the first practical and scientific gain ever made in the cutting
points of saw-teeth, providing, as they do, the front cut of a
hand-saw, cutting both ways by means of a two-pointed “M”-tooth,
perforating the wood in opposite directions as drawn back and
forth, the two points of the “M” dressed and set to cut in line,
and occupying the same space as the old pyramidical single
tooth, the cutting being thrown upon the outer surface of the
“M”, the two parts of which cut and clean simultaneously with
unexampled speed and simplicity.
The difficulty of introducing any new mechanical invention or
improvement without capital, experience and skilled labor, is
well known, and the intense opposition of the manufacturers of
saws, the numerous infringements of the Boynton patents, and the
protracted suits at law to maintain them, are matters of