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Boyd, Thomas Alexander

Defiance

Born: July 3, 1898

Ohio connection: Birth

Thomas Alexander Boyd was born and raised in Defiance, Ohio. He dropped out of high school to join the Marines and fight in World War I. He was discharged after being injured in a gas shell explosion in France. After his return to the United States, he became a reporter for the Saint Paul Daily News. He also opened a bookshop. During this time, he came into contact with such writers as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sinclair Lewis, who inspired him to begin a writing career. His first efforts were short stories about the war, after which he moved on to the writing of his first novel, Through the Wheat, completed in 1923. He followed this with The Dark Cloud (1924) and Samuel Drummond (1925). Critics gave less glowing reviews of these two books than of his first book, but the disappointment did not keep Boyd from continuing to write. His second book on World War I, Points of Honor, contained eleven short stories, one of which, “The Long Shot," was adapted for the screen as Blaze O’Glory (1929). During the time period from 1928 until 1931 Boyd wrote one novel, Shadow of the Long Knives, and three biographies: Simon Girty, the White Savage; Mad Anthony Wayne; and Light-horse Harry Lee. Boyd was married to the author Margaret Woodward Smith and they had one daughter, Elizabeth. The marriage ended in divorce and Boyd later married Ruth Fitch Bartlett. They lived together in Woodstock, Vermont, where Boyd became deeply involved in politics. He joined the Communist Party in 1934, running for governor of Vermont on the party ticket that year. Boyd died of a cerebral hemorrhage Sunday, January 27, 1935.