21 June 2012

Summit History: William W. Boyd, Breckenridge Blacksmith


The life of Mr. Boyd was well documented in the Breckenridge, Colorado area in the late 1800’s. Today, you can still see a collection of his work on display at the Welcome Center Museum on Main St.

William “Billy” Boyd, born in May of 1865 in Butler County, Pennsylvania, ended up in Colorado by 1887, operating a blacksmith and farrier business on the corner of Main Street and Carter Avenue. In March of 1904, he sold his business and tools to his assistant, Arlington Fincher. During the years he spent in Summit County, he married Irene Clancy of Dillon, resided in the Lower Blue River Valley, served as fire chief of the Breckenridge Independent Fire Hose Department in 1899 and was Mayor for the Town of Breckenridge from 1902-1903. He also had his hands in mining, as a partner with the Germania Claim in 1901, among others, which produced gold and silver.

In 1915, Billy and Irene moved to Golden, Colorado, where they had their only child, Lauretta Ruth, who was born December 14, 1917. He continued to have business relationships with those in Summit County he left behind, though the family stayed in Jefferson County. In December 1937, he and partner A.G. Hoopes had an interest in the Orthodox Mine, for lead, near the Wellington in French Gulch.

Although well known during his lifetime, the treasure that remains today is the fantastic collection of intricate silver plated horseshoes William Boyd created as a blacksmith. In fact, his skill was so remarkable, that he qualified as a whitesmith, “a level of excellence attained by few in his chosen field.”* Artistic in nature, the set is a remarkable example of a detailed and exact art form. The display currently features 101 horseshoes of varying sizes and function, including some made to travel through ice and snow. It was donated to the Summit Historical Society as part of the estate of Lauretta Boyd.
William Boyd is buried in the Crown Hill Cemetery in Jefferson County, Colorado, alongside both his wife and his daughter.







*whitesmith: a person who works with white or light colored metals such as tin and pewter. (Wikipedia.)
*SHS Voices, date unknown, Page 2.