I must admit that I had never heard of Willard W. Boyd until his portrait caught my eye in the 1883 Cathcart Baptist Encyclopedia. This guy starts preaching by simply reading Spurgeon’s sermons aloud to the congregation. When folks begin coming to Christ and requesting believers baptism he has to study the matter. He becomes convinced that he needed to follow in believers baptism himself. He gets baptized along with the new converts.
Boyd, Willard W., D.D., was born Nov. 22, 1843, in Chemung Co., N. Y. His parents moved to Saco, Me., when he was two years old. He was prepared for college at fourteen years of age. He was converted at the age of twelve years. His father died when he was eighteen years of age, and Willard succeeded him in superintending a factory at Springville, Me. In this place there was but one church, a Baptist, whose members were few in number. Dr. Boyd read Spurgeon’s sermons to them, and soon began to speak in his own language; a revival followed, and the converts asked for baptism. He being a Congregationalist, studied the question of baptism, and soon, with those who had lately found Jesus, he was baptized. In 1866 his mother died, and the following year he entered Harvard University, where he graduated with honor in 1871. After spending a year at a German university he was appointed tutor in Harvard College, and held the position till, in 1873, he accepted the pastorate of the First Baptist church in Charlestown, a part of Boston, Mass. With this church he remained four years, and received about 400 members into its fellowship. In June, 1877, he was installed as pastor of the Second Baptist church of St. Louis, Mo. In June, 1878, he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from Shurtleff College, Ill. In Dr. Boyd are combined scholarship, executive ability, and pulpit eloquence. He possesses great energy and piety. Many have been added to his church in St. Louis since his settlement, and the house of worship has been twice built, owing to fire. He occupies one of the most responsible positions in the Baptist denomination in the Mississippi Valley, and preaches to very large congregations.
* The Baptist Encyclopedia: Edited by William Cathcart. (1883) p 122-3