A historical account taken from a 1979 book celebrating 100 years of Kalona history. (BH-107)
The Kalona News article from 1899 (see previous page) and this biographical page from a book on Kalona history (see above) are not only great heirlooms in and of themselves, but they also give us some excellent confirmations for many of our family records about Jacob B. and Catharine Boller.
This article also mentions that Jacob A. Boller was the son who took over the family homestead when Jacob and Catharine moved into town in 1894, meaning that most of the other children eventually moved on to other locations near and far.
As of this writing (2015), the original Boller homestead is still owned by the Boller family. Jacob A. (1862-1948) gave the farm over to his son, Jason Glen Boller (1892-1961), who then turned the property over to his son, Martin Dean Boller (1924-2010). The property is now under the ownership of Martin’s son, James Boller, born in 1947, and his family.
A 1917 Map of Washington Township.
A 1948 Map of Washington Township.
The Boller farmstead as it appears today. Click here to read more…
(M-0105) Kalona, Iowa Centennial Button 1870-1979.
In recent years, I have had the opportunity to drive by the farm site and visit the grave sites of Jacob B. and Catharine Boller. The Kalona area is a very scenic and historic region of Iowa and well worth your visit. In Kalona is a historical museum and “pioneer village” that gives visitors of taste of pioneer life. In their archives are many of the historical papers used in writing this portion of Our Boller Story. Interestingly enough, the Kalona area, today is home to the largest Amish Mennonite settlement west of the Mississippi River!
A map of the Kalona area, including the Boller farmstead and cemetery.
Jacob’s precious wife, Catharine Smucker Boller died on July 3, 1902, one day after her 77th birthday, of a throat condition that prevented her from speaking or swallowing. She wrote of it, “living in a land of plenty and starving to death”.
Jacob B. Boller died five years later on September 14, 1907. In an obituary printed in the Mennonite Church “Herald of Truth”, it states…
“Jacob Boller was born in Wayne Co., Ohio, Feb. 1825; died Sept. 14, 1907 of the infirmities of old age; aged 82 y. 6 m. 16 d. Early in life he united with the Amish Mennonite Church, in which faith he remained steadfast to the end…Bro. Boller was devoted to his church and the principles for which he stood and up to the time when his bodily weakness forbade him he never failed to attend the services of the church when possible to do so. For the last few months, as his bodily strength seemed gradually to wane, he realized that his time was short and he lived like one calmly and patiently waiting for release from this prison house of flesh. Funeral services Sept. 15, at the East Union Church, Kalona, Iowa, by Rev. C. Warye in German and Rev. A. I. Yoder in English. Interment in Miller burying ground.”
Both Catharine and Jacob are buried in the Peter Miller Cemetery, a small private cemetery located 4 miles north of Kalona along with their daughter, Magdalena; their son, Joseph (who died within a year of their move to Iowa); and their grand daughter, Mary A. Warey.
Jacob B. Boller and Catharine Smucker Boller.
Just as we owe a great gratitude to George F. and Elizabeth Boller for their braveness in settling the Boller family here in America, we owe an equal amount of thanks to Jacob and Catharine Boller for their willingness to venture away from the familiar surroundings of Ohio and carve out a new life amongst the rolling hills of Iowa, near the banks of Deer Creek. Their pioneering spirit established the Boller family name in a vibrant Mennonite community in the Heartland of Iowa that remains strong even to this day.
On Jacob’s and Catharine’s tombstone, located in the midst of quiet cornfields in the Heartland of America, we find these words…
FATHER…In Loving Remembrance of…Jacob Boller…Died Sep 14, 1907…Aged 82 ys, 6 ms, 16 ds
MOTHER…In Loving Remembrance of…Catharine Boller…Died July 3, 1902…Aged 77 ys, 1 day
A precious one from us has gone, A voice we loved is stilled, A place is found in our home, That never can be filled.