Jesse W. Boyce

1859 - 1915

“For over a third of a century Jesse Wadleigh Boyce has been engaged in the general practice of the law in Sioux Falls and has risen to a prominent place at the bar of South Dakota, being connected with the firm of Boyce, Warren & Fairbank. He was born on a farm near Oregon, Wisconsin, December 19, 1859, and is a son of Reuben and Anna M. (McLaughlin) Boyce, the former born in New Hampshire. The grandfather was a native of Derry, that state, and the great-grandfather was born in Londonderry, Ireland.

Jesse W. Boyce acquired his early education in the country schools of Oregon, Wisconsin, and later attended high school at Madison. Afterward he entered the State University, completing his sophomore year there, after which he studied law, with the class of 1882. He supplemented this course by a period of study in the Boston (Mass.) University, from which institution he received the degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1885. Mr. Boyce went first to Sioux Falls in 1880, securing employment in his brother’s coal yard there. He later became connected with the law office of Bippus & Boyce, the later his brother, and in 1883 Mr. Bippus withdrew, the firm becoming Boyce & Boyce. One year later Mr. Noyes was admitted to partnership and the firm of Boyce, Noyes & Boyce existed until 1886, when Mr. Noyes left for Washington, D. C. to become associate editor of the Star. The firm afterward continued as Boyce & Boyce until Frank L. Boyce died in 1896, after which J. W. Boyce practiced alone until 1900. In that year he formed a partnership with Royal H. Warren under the firm name of Boyce & Warren. This continued until December, 1911, when Arthur Boyce Fairbank was admitted to partnership, the firm becoming Boyce, Warren & Fairbank. This is today one of the strongest and most reliable law firms in the city and controls a large and representative business. Mr. Boyce is a capable and progressive lawyer, well versed in the underlying legal principles, a strong advocate, a powerful pleader and a man of insight, force and capacity. In 1910 a modern office building, four stories in height, was erected at the corner of Phillips avenue and Eleventh street and is known as the Boyce-Greeley building. It consists of two separate halves standing on two lots, each a distinct building in itself, the south half being owned by Mr. Boyce and the north half by Mr. Greeley of Chicago. It is one of the fine buildings of the city.

On the 12th of March, 1893, at Oregon, Wisconsin, Mr. Boyce was united in marriage with Miss Etta A. Estey and both are well known in social circles of Sioux Falls. Mrs. Boyce is a musician of marked ability, being recognized as a leader in the musical circles of Sioux Falls. From early childhood she has studied music, studying in Paris in the de Reszke school and under various teachers of wide reputation. She teaches harmony and vocal music and her reputation in her art is perhaps unequalled among the musical artists of South Dakota. Mr. Boyce gives allegiance to the republican party but he is not in any sense a politician, preferring to concentrate his attention upon his large and growing professional interests. During the many years he has practiced law in Sioux Falls he has gained an enviable reputation for superior merit and ability and he stands today among the representative and progressive attorneys of the city.

Since the above was written Mr. Boyce passed away September 13, 1915.

George W. Kingsbury, History of Dakota Territory, Vol. 5 (Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1915) pp. 559 – 560.

Jesse Wadleigh Boyce was buried in September 1915, having attained the age of 55 years in the Boyce family lot in Block 9, Lot 5 of the cemetery, along with other members of the family including his wife, Etta, who lived on until 1920.