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The following text is reproduced from (the report of the) Twenty-Fourth Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 9th, 1893.

p138 Edward Carlisle Boynton
No. 1283. Class of 1846.
Died at Newburgh, New York, May 13, 1893, aged 69 years.

Brevet Major Edward C. Boynton, was born February 1, 1824, at his father's home in Windsor, Vermont, a twin, and youngest of four sons. His childhood education was at Union Academy, Meriden, New Hampshire.

June 1841, in the 18th year of his age, he entered the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, graduated in 1846, and joined his regiment, the Second Artillery, then with General Taylor, in Mexico. He served with distinction throughout the Mexican War till its close, 1848. First with Taylor on the Monterey line at the taking of Saltillo, and then with General Scott's army on the southern line, to the capture of the City of Mexico, taking part in the siege and capture of Vera Cruz, March 9th to 29th, 1847; the battle of Cerro Gordo, April 17 and 18 following; in the skirmish at Ocalaca, August 16, 1847; at the battle of Contreras, August 19 and 20, 1847; and the battle of Churubusco, August 20, where he was severely wounded, and was breveted Captain for gallant and meritorious conduct at those battles, February, 1848.

He was assigned to duty at the U. S. Military Academy as Post Quartermaster, September, 1848, and also Assistant Professor of French at the Academy till August 31, when he was assigned to duty as Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Geology from August 31, 1848, till August 5, 1852, and then as Principal Assistant Professor in those branches till September, 1855, when he took part in the Florida hostilities against the Seminole Indians, 1855, and resigned from the army February, 1856.

Major Boynton was elected Professor of Chemistry of the New York State Normal School at Albany, February 1856, but declined.

p139 He received degree of A. M. from Brown University of Providence, R. I., August 1856. Was made Professor of Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Geology, in the University of Mississippi, January 1856, where he continued till September 6, 1861, the beginning of the Rebellion, when he was dismissed "for evincing a want of attachment to the Confederate States." Returning to the north he was tendered the Colonelcy of the Second Regiment, Vermont Volunteers, which he declined. Was afterwards offered the Colonelcy of the Sixth Vermont Volunteers, which he also declined; and September 23, 1861, he was re-appointed in the Regular Army, with rank of Captain, and placed on duty at the Military Academy as Adjutant and Quartermaster, where he continued to serve till September, 1865, thence Adjutant at that post still September, 1871, when he was given leave of absence till December, 1872, during which he resigned from the Army.

His declination of the Colonelcy twice offered him of volunteer regiments was entirely owing to his extreme conscientious scruples as to his personal honor. When dismissed from the Mississippi University, he was not allowed to come north until he promised on his honor, that he would not take active service in the field. Therefore it was that the government at Washington placed him on duty at West Point, which position fully complied with Major Boynton's promise to his captors at the University.

Boynton was an industrious and painstaking student. He was always methodical in his routine of work, as well as critical and analytical in its execution, while his diligence supplied the needful time to do his work without that hurry and push which often leads to mistakes and imperfections.

He was the author of a succinct and instructive "History of West Point," and the origin and progress of the U. S. Military Academy (1863), which is a standard work on that subject. Also was the author of Naval and Military terms in Webster's Army and Navy Dictionary (1864), "A Guide to West Point and the U. S. Military Academy." He was also the author of the following works: "Greek Fire and other Inflammables", "Explosive Substitutes for Gunpowder;" "Photography as applied to Military p140Purposes;" "Quantitiveº and Qualitiveº Chemical Analysis of Hydraulic Limestone;" and "A Manual on Blow Pipe Analysis."

He was honorary member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, of the American Academy for the Advancement Science, and President of the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands (1883‑88).

Major Boynton was Superintendent of the Newburgh Water Works from July, 1873 to March, 1881. In 1884 the business men of Newburgh set about re-organizing their moribund Board of Trade, and appointed a committee for that purpose, appointing Major Boynton secretary of the Board, and under his guiding hand the Board awoke from its lethargy, and gradually achieved that success which is the pride of its people as well as a large factor of power in the city's business.

In May, 1874, Major Boynton was appointed a member of the Board of Trustees of Washington's headquarters, which was especially pleasant to him because of his natural love of historical localities, and he devoted much time to the subject and to the places. He discovered, compiled and published a fairly complete collection of Washington's orders issued from Newburgh, and the document has found its way into many parts of the country.

He was made Vice President of the Board of Trustees, which office he held at the time of his death.

The foregoing is sufficient to give an idea of a life of activities and effort, and always in a line beneficial to others. Not till stricken down in a moment of time with paralysis while seated in his home, December 1, 1891, did Major Boynton cease his round of useful work. Even at the very moment the fatal stroke paralyzed his entire right side he was reading the report of Colonel John D. Van Buren on water improvements, with an eye to the further development of something useful to the public.

Our esteemed friend and classmate was descended from a far back progenitor, Mr. John Boynton, who came from Old England as early as 1638, and settled in Salem, Massachusetts, and his father, Thomas Boynton, was born at Lunenburgh, Massachusetts, and in 1812 was an officer in the Thirty-first U. S. Infantry, p141stationed in northern Vermont. Major Boynton's mother was Sophia Cabot, a granddaughter of Mary Cabot, a descendant of Francis Cabot, who came to these American Colonies in 1700.

Major Boynton's social and mental characteristics were marked features of his daily life. He was slow to form acquaintances and not inclined to close intimacy with many, but was most faithful and unswerving in his friendship when once formed. Whatever his personal feelings and opinions might be, he never indulged in censorious criticism, nor troubled others with his grievances, or disappointments. I can very appropriately apply to my departed friend and classmate the epigrammatic couplet which the writer's octogenarian grandsire gave him the morning he left home, June 2, 1841, for West Point. That revered old man then said, as he gave his last handshake, "Good bye, my son. All I can say by way of counsel and advice for your safety and success is comprehended in a few words, that is:

"Have communion with few,

Be intimate with one,

Deal justly with all,

Speak evil of none."

Major Boynton, more than most men, rigidly practiced the golden admonition expressed in those few lines.

Of his secluded home life, it scarcely becomes me to speak further than emphasize the fact of his ever constant care and thoughtfulness for his household, and his ceaseless efforts to prepare his children for a useful life, which have borne good and ample fruit. While the absence of a devoted husband and father will ever be missed from the fireside, his virtues will remain a precious memory to those who mourn that absence.

The simple and impressive funeral services were held at the late residence of the deceased, in Newburgh, at 4 o'clock P.M., Monday, May 15. The Rev. Rufus Emery officiated; the Amphion Quartette sang two impressive hymns, ("Asleep in Jesus," and "Jesus Lover of My Soul"). The remains resting in a black cloth covered casket, over which was spread in graceful folds the American flag. After the home services the remains were p142transferred to his native town, Windsor, Vermont, and there interred where others of his family sleep, and where he wished to be among the scenes of his childhood under the shadows of the mountains he loved so much.

During his sixteen months of illness he had a second and possibly a slight third stroke of paralysis, but did not appear to suffer any great bodily pain; however, during the last few weeks his power of speech became so feeble he could not make known his wants, requiring his nurse and friends to surmise as best they could. It is obvious that an invalid in possession of mental faculties, yet deprived of the power of speech, must suffer much mental anguish. His heavy breathing the last twenty-four hours of life, while evidencing a gradual giving way of physical powers, yet it was not supposed he suffered any great pain, as consciousness had measurably ceased.º

His widow was Miss Mary J. Hubbard, a descendant of George Hubbard, one of the Pilgrims of the May Flower,º and with her survive four children, (one son and three daughters) all grown.

Major Boynton was the thirty-ninth of the class of 1846 to pass over the unexplored river, which so mysteriously shuts out from earthly sight what lies beyond; but cannot fade nor lessen the sweet and cherished memories of the past, while Faith and Hope sustain our tottering steps, as we still plod along the path he trod — and the oldest in years of that class of 1846, still sitting at his desk at this midnight hour, with stiff and rheumatic fingers, inditing these few lines — a loving privilege — to the memory of his erstwhile classmate and cherished friend.

Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.P. T. Turnley,

Class of 1846.


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Page updated: 18 Dec 13