Pulaski, Giles County, Tennessee
Birth, Military Service and, Family
Everette Jehoy Boyd was the last son of Solomon Sephus Boyd and Florence Perry Boyd, born in Lynnville, Tennessee. His sisters were Annie Pearl, Bessie, and Sarah Louise. His brothers were Livingston, Robert Earl, and John Andrew.1 Everette Boyd married Nell Wagstaff and had three children: Everette W., Kelsey W., and Mary.2
Everette Boyd served in World War II from August 2, 1942 to September 12, 1945.3 He followed in the steps of his grandfather Solomon Boyd, who served in the 59th Infantry of the United States Colored Troops during the Civil War. His grandmother’s name was Lavinia Boyd.4
Opportunity in Hard Times
In the year that Boyd was born, Franklin Clarence Mars at the age of thirty-one, founded the MAR-O-BAR company. By 1929, his Milky Way candy bar was the number one candy bar in the United States. By 1930, it was the number one selling candy bar in the world. With this financial success, Mars purchased 2,805 acres of land in Pulaski, Giles County, Tennessee and built the Milky Way Farm. Two years later, he built the race track where his Thoroughbreds trained. From 1931 to 1934, during the Depression, 935 local hired hands were employed making $.50 a day.5 Boyd started at the farm working with the flower beds surrounding the house at twenty-five years old.
Career Caring for Horses
Everette Boyd began working with the racehorses as a groom in September 1940. He said, “If it hadn’t been for the Milky Way Farm, I would have never got into grooming.”6 In 1935 the farm had the largest number of Thoroughbred stables and barns in the South.7 In 1937, they had their first top-notch horse in Forever Yours. Gallahadion won the Kentucky Derby on May 4, 1940.8
Boyd also worked alongside his brother-in-law Bob Wagstaff, from Waco, Tennessee who was also a groom. They worked in:
- New York
Mars died in 1934 with his wife Ethel taking over the business in 1936. Milky Way Farm was sold in 1945 to a West Tennessee hotel operator and cattle breeder.9
After Boyd returned home from the military to find the Milky Way Farm sold, he found work as a groom with the stables of:
- Mr. Douglass in Kentucky
- Sam Wilson in Texas
- Roger W. Wilson in New Orleans.10
Boyd had thirty-three years in the business. Everette Boyd remarked during an interview, “I made a good living. I didn’t get rich, mind you, but I did OK. It was a thrilling life, going all over the nation. No, I didn’t do a lot of betting on the racehorses. I wanted the horses I cared for to do well.”11
Everette Boyd died on November 21, 2003 and was buried in Pinecrest Gardens, Columbia, Maury County, Tennessee.12 The three Boyd brothers, Everette, John and Robert, worked as grooms for a combined total of eighty-three years and made a significant impact on the horses in their care.
Gorham, Bob. Churchill Downs 100th Kentucky Derby First Centennial, 1875-1975. Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky. 1973.
Phelps, Johnny. 1991. Milky Way Farms. Giles Free Press.
Tenth Census of the United States, 1880. Washington, D.C.; National Archives and Records Administration, 1880. Record Group 29. Giles County, Tennessee. Solomon Boyd
Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. Washington, D.C.; National Archives and Records Administration, 1920. Record Group 29. Giles County, Tennessee.
Marriage Records of the Office of the Commissioner. Washington Headquarters of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1861-1869. National Archives microfilm production, M1875, 5 rolls. Record Group 105. Washington, D.C. Solomon Boyd and Luvenia Mullen
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