What Was Belle Boyd's Childhood Like?


Quick Answer

Belle Boyd's childhood was a happy, easygoing one, according to History and Women. She spent her younger years as an energetic tomboy who enjoyed time in nature where she climbed trees, ran through the woods and roughhoused with her family, which consisted of multiple siblings and cousins. Her education was one of quality, though her family was by no means wealthy.

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Full Answer

Isabella Boyd, who became a Confederate spy in the American Civil War at age 17, was born in Martinsburg, Va. to Benjamin Reed and Mary Boyd. She attended the Mount Washington Female College at Baltimore at 12 years old and graduated at 16. Her earliest experiences with the Civil War shaped her into a spy, the primary role for which she became known. On July 4, 1841, Union soldiers tore down the Confederate flag in front of her house then cursed at her mother, after which Belle Boyd shot one of the soldiers with a pistol. Although Boyd received minimal punishment, officers were assigned to monitor her house and activities. Boyd used her new company to familiarize herself with the officials and to practice her ladylike charm on them, a skill she used later in her life to obtain confidential information about the Civil War.

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