Jimmy Boyd was an American singer, musician, and actor.
Boyd was born in an old farmhouse near McComb, Mississippi to Winnie and Leslie Boyd.
In 1941 his father, Leslie, put his wife and their two sons, on a train bound for Riverside, California, for the second time. The family was sent back to Mississippi a year earlier by the California Welfare Department because Leslie lacked the skills to get a good job. Having sold everything they owned, and only having enough money to buy tickets for his wife and the two boys, Leslie rode the rails. He hitchhiked on freight trains to join his family in California. Hoboing from Mississippi, Louisiana and as far as West Texas, Leslie Boyd picked cotton to help support his own family of twenty-one brothers and sisters.
Leslie’s father was known locally as “Fiddler Bill”. He played fiddle at dances and family gatherings throughout the region. Most of Fiddler Bill’s children inherited his musical abilities, and all sang together and played musical instruments. Leslie Boyd played guitar and harmonica and started Jimmy playing the guitar at 9 years old. Leslie Boyd had been a farmer when a drought hit and there were no more crops, so he picked cotton. He could pick over 600 pounds of cotton a day himself, and was paid 25 cents. Although there was no cotton in California to pick, this time they were determined to stay. Leslie got a menial job cleaning up construction sites, quickly becoming an accomplished finish carpenter.