1899  Wayland, Iowa. Birthing a new church.

On May 15, 1899, a meeting was called in the D. J. Boller furniture store to consider the location for a new Mennonite church, and to take such necessary steps to get the building program started. There were twenty people present and D. J. Boller was chosen chairman for the meeting. The records show that the present lot where the Mennonite Church in Wayland still stands was the location selected by unanimous vote. The price paid for the lot was $200. Construction began during the summer of 1899 and the church was dedicated on February 11, 1900. Church records show the total cost of the new structure was $3260.27!

NorthHill m-NorthHill

North Hill Cemetery, Wayland.

D.J. obviously established himself as a successful businessman and in 1907 worked together with eight other Wayland businessmen to incorporate and establish North Hill Cemetery, located at the top of one of the rolling farmland hills just north of Wayland. This small cemetery would eventually be the resting place for four generations of our Boller family.

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The graves of Daniel J. Boller and Barbara Boller.

D.J. and Barbara lived the remainder of their years in their beloved farm community of Wayland, Iowa. Daniel J. Boller passed away on May 24, 1946 (at the age of 89) just as World War II was ending. Barbara Boller lived on to a ripe old age of 91 and finally succumbed to death on February 12, 1955.

Here is Barbara’s obituary news found in copies of The Mennonite Weekly Review:

Mennonite Weekly Review obituary: 1955 Feb 24 p. 3

Birth date: 1863 Nov 21. Wayland, Iowa. — Funeral services for Mrs. Barbara Boller, 91, were held Feb. 15 at the Wayland Mennonite church, of which she was a charter member. Rev. L. A. Habegger, the pastor, officiated. A life-long resident of southeast Iowa, Mrs. Boller had lived at Wayland since 1900. Her husband, Daniel J. Boller, was a funeral director here.

Mennonite Weekly Review obituary: 1955 Mar 3 p. 8

Mrs. Barbara Miller Boller, charter member of the Wayland Mennonite church and long-time resident of Wayland, passed to her reward on Saturday evening, Feb. 12, 1955, at the Memorial Hospital in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. She had been a resident at the McClintic Home in Wayland for the past several years and had suffered a fall there recently which necessitated hospitalization. Her advanced age and weakened condition finally gave her release from the cares of this life. Mrs. Boller was born on Nov. 21, 1863, on a farm near Wellman, Iowa, the daughter of Jacob B. and Catharine Shetler Miller. Thus her departure came at the advanced age of 91 years, two months and 21 days. She was united in marriage with Daniel J. Boller on Nov. 22, 1881. The young couple resided on a farm near Kalona for a time and then moved to Grinnell, Iowa. It was from the latter place that the Bollers came to Wayland to make their contribution to the church and the community. Since shortly before 1900 the Wayland people have been blessed with the presence of this family. Mrs. Boller always enjoyed opening the home to their many friends. A well spread and bountiful table always greeted their friends, and the home was the scene of many friendly visits and gatherings. As a charter member of the Wayland Mennonite church, she was active in its many organizations. She faithfully served her husband as an encourager in his capacity of deacon for many years. For a long period, she taught a Sunday School class. In the Dorcas Society she was active in deeds of charity and kindness. As long as her health permitted, she was a faithful worshiper in the sanctuary on the Sabbath. Always she was an ardent student of the Bible, and a staunch supporter of and servant of Christ. Her departure leaves only 14 surviving charter members of this church. As a mother, she was faithful in the care of the home. She was the mother of two sons, Waldo Emerson and Orie Francis “Frank” both of whom preceded her mother. Her husband, Daniel J., also preceded her when the union was broken by his death on May 24, 1946. Two grandchildren, Baja and Kathryn Boller, and one great-grandson, Wm. Edward Boller, also preceded her. Survivors included two daughters-in-law, Mrs. Olive Boller, Wayland, and Mrs. Stella Boller, Phoenix, Ariz.; one grandson, George E. Boller, and his wife, Dixie Boller, two great-grandsons, Eric and Martin Boller, all of Wayland; two brothers, George Miller of Clarion, Iowa, and Ervin Miller of Prosser, Wash.; three sisters, Mrs. Marion Erb of Elkhart, Ind., and Mrs. Kate Kinsinger and Mrs. Gideon Marner, both of Wellman, Iowa; as well as many other relatives and younger friends who were not of the same generation but who learned to love their aged friend. In her last years, “Grandma” Boller grieved for her loved ones who had gone on before, and we know that in her faith she has gone to join them and her master.


Barbara (Miller) Boller’s famous pearl tapioca recipe!

On the personal side, Barbara is the oldest personal connection in Our Boller Story that I vaguely remember. I was born in 1951 and Grandma Barbara (died 1955) lived just down the street from our first home there. I recall my father, George, telling stories of Barbara’s unbelievable cooking skills that I’m certain she developed growing up on the Miller farmstead near Deer Creek. My father swore to his dying day that Grandma Barbara’s Pearl Tapioca Dessert and her Raisin Creme Pie was as close to heaven that a man could get on this side!


So much happened in America from the time of D.J.’s and Barbara’s birth in the mid-1800’s to their deaths in the mid-1900’s. One can hardly imagine living in the midst of so much change. From kerosene lamps to electric light bulbs, from horse-drawn wagons to fast-moving automobiles, from outhouses to indoor plumbing, D.J. and Barbara Boller lived in a span of American history unlike any other. Bridging the occupations of farming and retailing, D.J. Boller gave Our Boller Story a whole new perspective on life. His willingness to risk, leaving the familiar settings of the family farm near Kalona, Iowa to learn a new trade and develop a new business with his own ingenuity and hard work provides us with an example we all need to follow.


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