George Boller’s Application for U.S. Citizenship, Wayne County, Ohio – March 7, 1837.
One very important record we’ve found is George’s application for naturalization in the Wayne County Court of Common Pleas on March 7, 1837. In that application George, age 43, is applying for U.S. citizenship and is stating that he came to America from the Kingdom of Bavaria in October of 1816. This application is an exciting find since it not only helps confirm George’s birth in January 1794 but it also gives us the date (October 1816) when our Boller family first arrived in America!
(M-0111) An 1816 2-Pfenning coin from Bayern (Germany).
Is this the ship record for George’s trip to America in 1816?
Bavaria in the Rhine River Valley.
Now don’t let the “Kingdom of Bavaria” homeland listing confuse you! Remember, we talked earlier about the great changes in the political arena during the early years of George’s life. When Napoleon took control of the Rhine River valley, the result was to incorporate the Rhine west bank territories (including the city of Mainz) into France and the east bank territories into the territories of Baden and Hesse. After Napoleon’s defeat in 1815, the Congress of Vienna granted the majority of the east-bank lands to the Kingdom of Bavaria and a territory called Rheinhessen (much of the west bank of the Rhine River, including the economically-vital city of Mainz) to the nation of Hesse-Darmstadt. Other west-bank lands went to Prussia, and were joined to Prussia’s east bank possessions to form the Prussian Rheinprovinz [Rhine Province] in 1824. Many of these alliances were in effect until the German unification of states in 1871, so George F. Boller was very likely speaking of the Rhine River Valley of southwestern Germany when he called his homeland “Bavaria” when asked in 1837.
Bavaria in 1835 (Frankfort, Mainz, and Darmstadt in the NW corner of the map.
When a person applying for United States citizenship filed an application like the one we’ve found here in Wayne County on March 7, 1837, the person then needed to return to the court at a later date to finalize that citizenship. Records cannot be found that George Boller ever returned to court to finalize his application, so apparently, George may have chosen to live the remainder of his days as a citizen of Bavaria living in the United States. His wife, Elizabeth, and all six children were, of course, U.S. citizens by the fact that they were born in the United States.
1840 Elizabeth Zook Boller dies at age 49, Wayne County, Ohio (East Union Township).
From the 1840 Wayne County census, church records, and other family records, we also conclude that George lost his beloved wife, Elizabeth (age 49) to an early death in April, 1840.
She was buried at the Paradise Church of the Brethren Cemetery in Green Township of Wayne County, Ohio. As of this writing (2015), I’ve not been to Wayne County, Ohio to visit the cemetery. Hopefully someday, that might happen.
Records show that after Elizabeth’s death, George decided to sell land (see above) in Wayne County, Ohio in 1841.
Nolan Gerber (related to the Bollers in Kalona, IA) is from Wayne County, Ohio and states this…
“George sold the farm in 1841 and moved to Milton Township Pleasant Home (Yoder Rd. area). He began purchasing land in 1848 in Iowa, but was a boarder with the Blough family in Wayne County in 1860.”
1848 George buys land in the Territory of Iowa!
Another very interesting story that we’ve found in Boller records tells of George Boller purchasing forty “acres of Government land in the Territory of Iowa, the title deed of which bears the signature of Pres. Jas. K. Polk.” A recent search (2012) has found four separate land transactions (see pics above) recorded on March 1, 1848. These transactions were done at the Dubuque, Iowa office for land purchases in Clayton County in NE Iowa. All four deeds are under George Boller’s name, but we’re not clear if George actually came to Iowa to complete these land purchases. Regardless, the end result was the Boller family owning three purchases of forty acres each and one purchase for eighty acres. Our Iowa connection has now begun!
Obviously, the Mennonite community reports of good farmland in Iowa (mentioned earlier) had encouraged George to make this purchase just two years after Iowa became a state in 1846. We know that Frederick (George’s son from his first marriage), John Boller, and Jacob B. Boller (my gg grandfather) owned land in Washington Township of Johnson County, Iowa (just north of Kalona), with Frederick & Jacob both settling there by 1853. (More details on all of that in Chapter Two). (Click here to read more)
1843 – Daughter Christiana Boller marries, and moves to Indiana in 1855.
In 1843 George and Elizabeth’s oldest daughter, Christiana Boller, (nicknamed Anna C.) married Benjamin B. Stutzman in Milton Township, Wayne County, Ohio, and by 1855, had relocated, along with parents John Stutzman & Sarah (Blough) Stutzman; and two other Blough/Stutzman relatives, to northern Indiana (another strong Mennonite community) locating in Elkhart County near Goshen, Indiana.
Youngest son, George Benjamin, moved to northern Indiana as well, locating in Elkhart Township of Noble County, Indiana in 1855 where he became a Mennonite minister. His son, Benjamin F. Boller, eventually moved west to California and his biography contains a wealth of interesting facts…including the story of young George Boller escaping Napoleon’s army by coming to America. Benjamin was apparently a very strong Christian as well and served in ministry for much of his life.
1850-1860 George’s last few years in Ohio.
According to the 1850 Wayne County census, George’s youngest son, George Benjamin (age 22) was living with his older brother, John (age 27); while the youngest daughter, Magdalena (age 19) was living with her older married sister, Christiana (age 29). With wife Elizabeth now gone and the family growing up and moving on, it appears that George sold his East Union Township farmland and relocated to live with family in nearby Milton Township in Wayne County, Ohio sometime prior to 1860.
The 1860 Wayne County census records are our last possible clues of George living in Ohio.
Of particular interest on this 1860 Milton Township/Wayne County record is George’s profession (farmer) and his birthplace (Mainz, Germany)!