Nicholas Boylston (1716-1781)

Nicholas Boylston, Merchant, of Boston & London; Benefactor of Harvard

He and his brother, Thomas - under the guidance of their mother - continued their father's already successful importing business at Boston to make themselves a considerable fortune. Being unmarried and with no children of his own, he left his entire and very sizeable fortune to his nephew (Ward Nicholas Boylston) on the condition that he took his name and became his protege. Nicholas was a Loyalist and moved his business to London when relationships between Britain and the colony began to sour. He was a brother-in-law of the Commissioner of the Port of Customs, Benjamin Hallowell; and, of Moses Gill, the 4th Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts. Through his nephew who endorsed his legacies, he was a great benefactor of Harvard University: He left $23,000 to fund the Boylston Professorship of Rhetoric and Oratory and Boylston Hall is named for both him and his nephew who later funded a medical library and a prize for elocution that is still awarded today. He died in London.

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Contributed by Mark Meredith on 20/10/2018 and last updated on 28/01/2020.