George moves to Clinton Township, Elkhart County, Indiana.
It’s clear that sometime soon after 1860, George too, left his beloved Wayne County, Ohio and spent his final years living close to his oldest daughter Christiana (nicknamed Anna C.) and the Benjamin B. Stutzman family on the Mennonite farmlands of Elkhart County near Goshen, Indiana.
1865 Indiana Tax Records from Elkhart County, IN.
A recent record from Ancestry.com reveals an Indiana District 10 tax document from 1865 that lists area residents (Elkhart County) and their professions and the tax paid from their work. George Boller, Clinton Township, is listed as a “4th clap peddler” with $10 of tax paid in 1865!
Through the help of Wanda Kauffman Hoffman (a distant relative) in Goshen, we’ve located a copy of George’s last will and testament that was written on July 14, 1876. An Ernest Song was George’s witness to his desire to leave a total of $305 to relatives and friends. This will was recorded in the Elkhart County Courthouse in Goshen, Indiana on December 24, 1877, just after George’s death.
George is buried in the Clinton Union Cemetery (located on County Road 36, four miles east of Hwy 33 in Goshen) next to his oldest daughter, Anna C. (Christiana) and her husband Benjamin Stutzman.
Burial site of George F. Boller at Clinton Union Cemetery in Goshen, Indiana.
My first visit (July 2002) to the site: “The tombstone has fallen over and is not in very good condition. While George’s name is not readable on the stone (the stone is cracked in two and the area where his name would appear is long gone), the cemetery records are very clear that this burial site belongs to him. The stone is not very readable, but on my visit there in July of 2002, I took some wonderful crayon etchings and while the results are a bit sketchy, it does look like “Dec 8” is George’s date of death. Since the tombstone clearly shows that George reached a ripe old age of 83 years, 10 months, and 20 days, we can say with fairly good certainty that George was born on January 18, 1794 and died on December 8, 1877!”
“I picked up two small stones near the tombstone on the hot July day I was there and I keep them as a wonderful reminder of my German/American fore-father who went before me. As best I know, I was the first ‘son’ of George F. Boller to return to his Goshen, Indiana burial site to pay my respects to this very important man in our family line. I encourage you to visit there someday yourself!”
My second visit (July 2006) to the gravesite: “I visited the gravesite again in the summer of 2006 and found George’s gravestone in even worse condition than I found it four years earlier. One part of the stone had been dug up and was laying scattered near the other. I tried to re-arrange the stone to its original position, but the old sandstone is getting very fragile. It won’t be long before the site might be totally overlooked by cemetery lawn keepers. Maybe in the future, the Boller family can purchase a new gravestone and place it at the site as a remembrance to George & Elizabeth.”
Gravestones of George’s daughter, Anna C. and her husband, Benjamin Stutzman (next to George’s stone.)
My third visit (March 2016) to the gravesite: “In March 2016, Sandy & I visited the George F. Boller gravesite and was pleasantly surprised to see that cemetery groundskeepers had picked up the two large broken pieces of George’s headstone and refitted them into the gravesite! We took some pics (below) and we began conversations with LaGrange Monument Works in Goshen, working to place a new grave marker at George’s original tombstone in time for our 200th celebration of Bollers in America-October 2016.”
Sandy visited the gravesite in June 2016 and took a pic (below) of the completed work!
Our fourth visit (September 2019) to the gravesite. (pics below).
Conclusion George F. Boller and Elizabeth Zook.
In a November 1882 Mennonite obituary written for the death of George’s daughter, Christiana (Anna C.) we find a very interesting story that touches the heart…
“A few days previous to her departure, she (Anna C.) bade her husband and children all farewell, and just shortly before her death she said, ‘I see angels and hear them sing.’ She also saw her departed father and mother (George and Elizabeth). She suddenly awoke from her trance and exclaimed, ‘O there is my mother whom I have not seen for so long’ (1840)…then she closed her eyes in calm repose, and fell asleep in Jesus.”
Anna Christiana’s gravesite.
It’s obvious from this story that there was a great love in Christiana’s heart for her dear father and mother. Certainly, God honored that love with such a peaceful vision just prior to her homecoming with her family in the Lord’s presence!
From Germany to the USA.
As we come to the end of the first chapter of Our Boller Story, suffice to say that George F. Boller and Elizabeth Zook were very brave and resilient people. George’s resolve to resist submission to Napoleon’s oppressive rule, to leave his German homeland, and cross the Atlantic Ocean to settle in a fresh new land, took a deep on-going trust in God. His willingness to step out in faith has benefited our Boller family for countless generations.
While their exact records may always be hard to finalize, we do know enough about George & Elizabeth Boller to be thankful for their willingness to continually persevere with their new start here in the United States of America. Maybe someday, you’ll be able to further trace George’s & Elizabeth’s family roots in Germany and throughout Europe, finding out more about our Boller family prior to the late 1700’s.