William Rufus Boyd, Jr., banker and chairman of the War Council of the Petroleum Industry during World War II, the son of Judge William R. and Lizzie (Self) Boyd, was born in Fairfield, Freestone County, Texas, on January 7, 1885. He attended Fairfield public schools and after high school was employed as a printer at the Fairfield Recorder. He then attended Metropolitan Business College in Dallas and later studied law at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He received his law license at age nineteen. Boyd was subsequently appointed secretary to Congressman Scott Field, who represented Freestone and Limestone counties. He served for two years in Washington before moving in 1906 back to Freestone County, where he became the first mayor of Teague at the age of twenty-one. He soon moved to Eddy, McLennan County, where he organized the Farmers and Merchants State Bank and was its president for two years. He was the Texas representative of the National Citizens League for the Promotion of a Sound Banking System and later served as a member of the Dallas investment firm of Philip, Boyd, and Company. At the outbreak of World War I he served in Chicago as the regional manager of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States. After the war he was the national campaign manager for the League to Enforce Peace, an organization led by former President William Howard Taft, which sought support for United States membership in the League of Nations.
Boyd joined the American Petroleum Institute in 1920 and served as vice president from 1928 to 1941 and as president from 1941 to 1949. During World War II he was chairman of the War Council of the Petroleum Industry, a national war service agency that delegated petroleum resources to the war effort. In 1946 President Harry S. Truman conferred upon Boyd Presidential Medal of Merit, the highest government decoration possible for a civilian, for his service during the war.
Boyd married Gertye Watson of Fairfield on May 17, 1906, and they had one child. From 1950 to 1959 he devoted his time to civic, patriotic, charitable, and religious organizations. He was a member of the Texas Turnpike Authority from 1955 to 1959 and founded the Methodist Men's Club in Teague. Boyd died on November 6, 1959, in Teague and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. In 1969 a Texas state historical marker was erected for Boyd in Teague.
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Freestone County Historical Commission, History of Freestone County, Texas (Fairfield, Texas, 1978). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Oil and Gas Industry
Politics and Government
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Boyd, William Rufus, Jr.,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 29, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
November 1, 1994