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April 15, 2009

The Family of
Ralph Waltman Boyer
of Easton, Pennsylvania

          The second child of Lew and Henrietta Boyer, Ralph Waltman Boyer was born on May 22, 1897, in Easton, Pennsylvania.   Previous sections discuss Ralph's parents, Lewis and Henrietta Boyer, and other Boyer ancestors.  Parallel to this section are parts dealing with Ralph's five brothers and one sister. This section contains the following parts: 

Children of Ralph    
The Boyers of Easton
Photo Gallery of the Boyers of Easton
The Boyers of Orwigsburg
Neil Boyer's Home Page


Ralph Boyer's History

            Ralph Waltman Boyer, the second son of Lew and Henrietta, was born at their home at 726 Wilkes-Barre Street, in Easton, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, May 22, 1897.  This birth got more attention in Lew Boyer's diary than did the birth of the first child, Elwood.  Perhaps that was because it caused more trouble.

  "I got up at 3 o'clock in the morning as Hettie was not feeling good," Lew wrote.  "I knocked for Mrs. Nolf and then went for Dr. Richard and Mother Waltman.  About 7:10 I went again for the Dr., and at 8:30 went again, and before I got home wife gave birth to a son which weighed about 9 lbs.  At 10 I went for Mrs. Moser.  Father was here in the evening."  The next day Lew wrote that he was "home all day.  In the morning Father Waltman was here a short time.  Mother was here in the evening.  I was up with wife nearly all day.  Elwood went up home at noon and came home in the evening." 
           On May 21, the day before the birth, Lew recorded that he paid Dr. D. M. Richard $20.  It was not clear whether this related to the forthcoming birth of Ralph or was for treatment of Lew's own problems.  (If he paid in advance for the birth of Ralph, it seems to have been a bad deal, since the doctor didn't make it on time.)  On June 5, Lew paid Mrs. Moser $14 for helping take care of Henrietta and Ralph. 

            Ralph was baptized in the Methodist Episcopal Church in South Easton on October 10, 1900, and he was educated in the local schools in South Easton.   In the memorable notes served up for his parents' 45th wedding anniversary, it was recalled that he once jumped from the second floor window with an umbrella; he was lucky, for it did not turn inside out. 

        When World War I came along, Ralph was chosen in the draft.  The Easton Argus-Northampton Democrat ("price one dollar a year"), in its issue of June 28, 1918 (picked up by Ralph's nephew Donald at a flea market), carried Ralph's name on the front page under a title "Eastonians in the Draft."  The article said, "following is the order in which the Easton men in the next draft were drawn at Washington today . . .  d. Third, No. 10 -- Ralph W. Boyer, 1009 Lincoln."  The entire edition of the newspaper was dominated by news of the war.  On that day in Washington, capsules representing the names of 744,500 young men had been drawn from a globe.  Meanwhile, the lead story of the paper was headed: "Rousing Send-off as Local Soldier Boys Leave for Camp; Reported Death of Former Russian Czar Confirmed."  During the war, Ralph served as a medical corpsman with the U.S. Army in France. 

        After he returned home, Ralph was employed in a variety of situations.  The 1920 census, when he was 22, shows him working in New Castle, Delaware, as a distributor of advertising for a soap manufacturer, living in a lodging house with a number of other single men doing similar work.  Later, he was a salesman for Dean's Appliance Store, in Washington, New Jersey.  In 1988, 20 years after Ralph’s death, his picture appeared in an Easton Express newspaper advertisement for Dean’s, showing the staff of four in front of the store when it opened in 1938.  Ralph also worked many years for the Metropolitan Edison Company in Easton; part of that time, he lived in Bangor.  Later he was a salesman for the American Baptist Publication Society throughout the United States and Canada.  At one time, he operated a Christian bookstore on Northampton Street in Easton, between 6th and 7th Streets.  In his last job, he was associate director for wholesale sales for the American Baptist Convention, in Valley Forge.

        Ralph sang with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem for 18 years and was active in the First Baptist Church of Easton, serving as Sunday School song leader.  He was a skilled pianist as well, and for a time accompanied silent movies at a theater in Easton. 

        On October 12, 1928 (the same month as the wedding of his brother Elwood to Enid Davey), Ralph was married in Doylestown to the former Dorothy C. Flynn, of Easton.  The 1930 census lists them as living on Lehigh Street in Easton.  Dorothy had been born on December 25, 1905, one of three children of Charles H. Flynn and Emily H. Chidsey.   A newspaper item shortly after the wedding reported that a variety shower had been given for Dorothy at the home of her mother, and that among those present were Ralph’s parents, Lew and Henrietta Boyer, his aunt Mary (Mame) Waltman, his siblings Ruth, Art, Elwood and David Boyer, and Enid Davey, future wife of Elwood.  Dorothy worked for many years as a bookkeeper at Easton Hospital.  She also worked later at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital and in the radiology department of Thomas Jefferson Hospital, both in Philadelphia.  She continued working until she was 81.  After her retirement, she and her daughter Betsy lived in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. 

            Ralph died of cancer on November 29, 1968, at his home in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, at the age of 71.  He was buried in Easton Cemetery.  Pallbearers at the service were the Rev. Robert Stokes, Donald Boyer, David T. Boyer, Stephen Kovacs, Donald Harris and John Snyder. 

            Dorothy and Ralph had two children, Joyce Emily Boyer, who died shortly after birth in 1929, and Elizabeth Ann (Betsy) Boyer, who was born in 1937.  Dorothy died on Easter Sunday, April 15, 1990, at the age of 84, at Pottstown Medical Center.  She died of Waldstrom's macroglobulinemia, the same disease that afflicted Ralph's brother Art.  She was buried with Ralph in Easton Cemetery.

The Flynns and the Chidseys

        Flynn Family.  Dorothy had a sister, Emily P. Flynn, born October 5, 1902, who was very close to Dorothy and very close in appearance.  Emily lived all of her life at the home of their parents, 721 Ferry Street in Easton.  Emily was very active in Calvary Methodist Church and thus well-known to the Boyer family.  She had a lifelong interest in animals, and she sheltered many homeless animals over the years.  She was a draftsman in the Cameron Pump Division of Ingersoll-Rand Company, in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, for more than 30 years, retiring in 1967.  Emily died in Easton Hospital on August 24, 1995, at the age of 92, and was buried in Easton Cemetery.  At the time of her death, the family requested that any memorials be donated to the Exton Pet Clinic in Exton, Pennsylvania.    

        One other member of the family was Theodore C. Flynn, a brother to Dorothy and Emily.  Theodore was born November 13, 1903, and died in May 1968.  Robin was very close to his son, John Flynn, and his family.  John at one time had been vice president of Baylor University. 

            The father of Emily, Dorothy and Theodore Flynn was Charles H. Flynn, who was born in 1878 in New Jersey.  In the 1880 census, Charles’ parents, William and Elizabeth Flynn, lived on Brainard Street in Phillipsburg.  The family consisted of William, born in 1850 and age 30, a railroad brakeman, his wife Elizabeth, 28, and children Theodore, 7, Ellen, 5, Bella, 3, and Charles, 18 months.  Thirty years later, after Charles married Emily (who was six years older than he), the 1910 census reported that the family lived on Jackson Street in Easton, and Charles was a laborer for a cement company.  

            Charles Flynn died before the 1920 census, which describes his wife, Emily Chidsey Flynn, 48, as a widow and a saleslady for a dry goods store, living with her three children – Emily, 17, Theodore, 16, and Dorothy, 14 -- at 721 Ferry Street.  There is no record of Charles’ death.  He died before he was 42.  Perhaps he was killed during World War I.   In the 1930 census, Emily Chidsey Flynn, 58, was still living on Ferry Street, on her own means (not working), with children Emily, 27, and Theodore, 26.  Dorothy by this time had married Ralph Boyer.

            Chidsey Family.  The mother of the three Flynn children was Emily Heidelburg Chidsey, born in Germany of American parents on October 10, 1871.  The parents of Emily Chidsey were from a prominent and large Easton family.   Her father, Charles Francis Chidsey (1843-1933), was an attorney in Easton.  His first wife was Catherine Amelia (Kate) Williams (1844-1891), and she was the mother of Emily Chidsey and four others.  Kate died at the age of 46.  Charles remarried in 1894 to Carrie Mae Arndt (1870-1956), and they had six children, a total of 11 for Charles.  In the 1930 census, at the age of 86, Charles is listed as the board president of a cemetery.  He died at age 89.  

            Charles Chidsey’s father was Russell Smith Chidsey (1802-1865), an iron merchant and a prominent citizen of Easton.  He had been born in East Haven, Connecticut, and was descended from the immigrant Deacon John Chedsey, who sailed from Bristol, England, in late 1638, according to family research, and arrived in New Haven in 1639.  A family history developed by Lylamae Chedsey can be found here. It is thought that Deacon John could have come from Chedzoy, a small village in Somersetshire, England.  There are old church records that mention the "Chedsey" name from that time period.   Following Russell’s move from Connecticut to Easton, various Chidsey family members occupied large homes near the Delaware River on lower Bushkill, Spring Garden and Fourth Streets.   He was one of the founders of the Thomas Iron Company and one of its directors until the time of his death.  He died in an accident on the Central Rail Road of New Jersey on December 1, 1865, while performing his duties as a selling agent for Thomas Iron.  Extensive research has been done on the Chidsey/Chedsey families.  A report on the family of Russell Chidsey can be found at,  and a report on his son Charles F. Chidsey, Emily Heidelberg’s father, can be found at 

            Regarding the birth of Emily Chidsey, mother of Dorothy Flynn Boyer, an interesting puzzle is presented by a New York immigration record in 1872.  The record lists Charles and Kate Chidsey and their infant daughter “Kate” as entering the United States on January 10, 1872, coming from Germany.  The trip was perhaps a vacation for Charles and his pregnant wife Kate.  Among the children in Charles’ family, there is a “Kate Chidsey,” a sister of Emily, but Kate was not born until November of 1873, and so she could not have been the infant who entered the United States with her parents in January 1872.  Emily is the one listed in all census records as having been born in Germany of American parents in October 1871 (the 1880 census says she was born in Baden), and she would have been an “infant,” three months old, in January 1872.  Her middle name of Heidelburg, seems further testimony to her German birth.  It is possible that immigration officials were given the name “Kate” instead of “Emily” when the family entered New York.  Perhaps the parents reconsidered when they arrived home in Easton, changed the name of their first daughter from Kate to Emily, and then named their next daughter Kate.

Children of Ralph and Dorothy Boyer 

            The children of Ralph and Dorothy Boyer were these: 

            1.  Joyce Emily Boyer, the first child of Ralph and Dorothy Boyer, was born and died in September 1929.  She lived only a few days.  The only discovered record about her is in the Boyer family Bible, kept by Ralph's mother, Henrietta Waltman Boyer. 

            2.  Elizabeth Ann Boyer, their second child, was born on July 3, 1937.  She was also known as Betsy and later as Robin.  When she attended Wilson High School in 1951, there were three Boyer cousins in the ninth grade -- Betsy, Nancy (daughter of Dave) and Neil (son of Art) -- as well as Barbara (daughter of Elwood) in the eighth grade. 

            Betsy attended Bob Jones Academy in South Carolina, graduating in May 1955, and received a degree in education at West Chester State College in Pennsylvania.  She lived with her parents in Easton, Valley Forge, King of Prussia, and Pottstown, all in Pennsylvania.  For a time she was a teacher, real estate agent, and receptionist at a senior citizen's center in Pottstown, and was known then as Robin Boyer. 

In 1995, Robin moved for a time to England to be with her cousin John Flynn, the son of her mother’s brother Theodore Flynn.  John and his wife Ellie in 2005 lived near Paris.  Their daughter Catherine was married to Pierre-Yves Dellacote, and in 2005 had three children.  The Flynns also had a summer home near Wilmington, North Carolina.  Robin spent considerable time with the Flynns and their extended family.  On one visit to Paris in 1996, she was with them getting on a train in Paris when it was attacked by Algerian terrorists.  Robin lost her purse and camera in the ensuing scuffle.  French police told her that these terrorists – later thought to be part of Al Qaeda – were trying to steal identification documents of Americans so that they could enter the United States and undertake terrorist attacks.  Robin was in extensive contact with the office of Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania about the incident. 

            In the 1990s, Robin was active with the United Parachute Club, in suburban Philadelphia, and she undertook numerous freefall jumps from airplanes.  On one, in 1996, she had a bad landing, injuring her back.  Although she continued her normal activities (except for jumping from airplanes), the back over time became worse, and in 2005 she was contemplating corrective surgery.  

            After extensive travels in Europe and Canada, Robin worked for a printing company in King of Prussia and then from the General Electric Company in the same town.  She retired from GE in 2001, and in 2006, although still traveling, was maintaining her apartment in Pottstown.  


The Boyers of Easton
Photo Gallery of the Boyers of Easton
The Boyers of Orwigsburg
Neil Boyer's Home Page