Our Iowa Heritage: The Boller Farms – 1853.

This is the Iowa the Boller family came to in 1853.

Arriving in 1853 from Ohio, my gg grandparents – Jacob & Catharine Boller. Click here for their story.

(L-0074) Here’s a map of Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri from 1853. Engraved by Stiles, Sherman & Smith – entered into US Congress by Daniel Burgess, 1853.

…from Iowa As It Is, N. Howe Parker, 1855, p25.

(BH-010) This little book for children, printed in 1929, has a multitude of Iowa history reading, including the map below.

All the Boller family land owned over the years (late 1840’s-present) was purchased by the U.S. Government from the Sauk and Fox tribes in 1832 & 1837.
In 1832, following the Black Hawk War, the U.S. Government purchased land west of the Mississippi River (about fifty miles wide stretching from the Neutral Ground to the north to Missouri on the south). Burlington, the first territorial capitol, was in this parcel of land, as was Dubuque to the north, and Henry County (home of Mt. Pleasant & Wayland) as well. This land was called the Black Hawk Purchase.

In 1836, the government added a small strip of land named Keokuk’s Reserve, 400 square miles running alongside the Iowa River.

In 1837, a third purchase of land (approx. 25 miles wide in the middle and tapering off to the north and to the south) was secured from the Sauk and Fox tribes.

For the Boller family, this map shows us all we need to know about Our Iowa Heritage. 1) Johnson County (Iowa City and the Boller farm land), 2) Washington County (Kalona), 3) Henry Counry (Mt. Pleasant and Wayland), and 4) Linn County (Cedar Rapids).
This rare Iowa map (which hangs in my office), was created by the Surveyor General’s Office in Dubuque and is dated October 21, 1852. It was published in the Report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, 1852.
(M-0037) Map No. 2. Sketch of the Public Surveys in Iowa. An original surveyor’s map of Iowa as filed in Dubuque on October 21, 1852 by George B. Sargent, Surveyor General.

Created only six years after Iowa became the 29th state (1846), our George Sargent map illustrates the latest report of townships surveyed throughout the new state of Iowa. Townships were created as the measure of the Public Land Survey System, which was first widely implemented by the General Land Office to survey the Northwest Ordinance. The General Land Office was an independent agency charged with the administration and sale of public lands of the western territories of the United States under the Preemption Act of 1841 and the Homestead Act of 1862. During a time of frenetic energy and rapid westward expansion, the Public Land Survey System was responsible for surveying, platting, and mapping much of the Western United States and Florida. Each township on this map is labeled using a single capital letter. These letters indicate each township’s status with regard to the cataloguing process of the Surveyor General’s Office. For example, any township labeled with a ‘C’ has completed the checklist, meaning that it has been surveyed and platted, the plats have been copied, descriptive lists of the township have been made, and field notes have been recorded and transcribed. Townships labeled with an ‘I’,’S’, or ’P’ however, were in various stages of that lengthy process, while townships that have an ‘O’ or are left blank have only had, or are having, their exterior boundaries surveyed.
George Barnard Sargent Surveyor General – Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin 1851-1853. Born in 1818 in Boston, Sargent moved to Iowa in 1838, where he married Mary Perin, eventually having ten children. In 1847, he opened the bankhouse of “Cook and Sargent” in Davenport, and was appointed Surveyor General in Dubuque on March 24, 1851 by President Fillmore. He served in that capacity from May 8, 1851 to April 1, 1853. In 1857, Sargent was elected Mayor of Davenport, opening a new banking house on the corner of Main and Second streets. In 1869, the Sargent family moved to Duluth, Minnesota, where he died in 1875.
Click here to read the story of how a brave surveying team, working under the direction of George Sargent, established markings along the Iowa/Minnesota border in 1852, reporting back to Sargent in Dubuque in July 1852.
…from Iowa As It Is, N. Howe Parker, 1855, p71.

1853 – Jacob and Catharine Boller, (my gg grandparents) move west to Washington Township of Johnson County, Iowa. The Bollers are now Iowans – Hawkeyes forever!

Iowa City in 1854.

Certainly, Jacob B. Boller and his young family were hearing the good reports back in Butler County, Ohio from the growing Mennonite communities in Iowa. Our most accurate records show that sometime in 1853, Jacob and Catharine Boller picked up their belongings in Butler County, Ohio and settled on the southernmost of three plots of farmland located in the southeastern corner of Washington Township of Johnson County, Iowa. Click here to read more about Jacob and Catharine Boller and their move from Ohio to Iowa in 1853.
Washington Township – Johnson County, IA in 1875.
Click here for more early maps of Iowa City.
A very rare Washington Township map from 1869 clearly shows three plots of land assigned to the Bollers; George’s relative, Frederick, and his two oldest son’s names, John (J) & Jacob (see lower right corner of map). Click here for more early maps of Iowa City.
It’s our guess that these three pieces of land were originally purchased by George F. Boller while the family all still lived in Ohio. Ohio census records from 1850 show Frederick living with John Boller and his family in Wayne County, while Jacob and his family lived in Butler County, Ohio. But by 1852, Iowa census records show that Frederick had now moved to Johnson County, and by 1853, we know that Jacob had relocated to Iowa as well!
…from Iowa As It Is, N. Howe Parker, 1855, p72.
1889 Map of Washington Township/Johnson County shows F. Boler (Frederick) and J. Boller (Jacob) but no J. Boller property as shown in 1869 map. While no records exist of brother John ever relocating here (the 1889 Johnson County map above indicates the land was purchased by another family), the plot of land assigned to Jacob Boller is still under Boller ownership to this very day!
A 1917 Map of Washington Township – Johnson County.
A 1948 Map of Washington Township – Johnson County.

(M-0036) Circa 1845 – Sketch of the Public Surveys of Iowa Territory map. In my office hangs a very rare survey map of Iowa Territory dating back to about 1845.
Our Future Boller Homestead. Here’s the Boller farmstead as surveyed in 1845. (+) sign in Washington Township of Johnson County indicates the land has not yet been surveyed, nor platted, and nothing yet recorded in the General Land Office in Dubuque! Click here for more early maps of Iowa City.
(L-0004) In my office, I also have attained two additional maps: an 1854 Surveyor’s Map of Iowa and an 1855 Surveyor’s Map of Iowa. These two maps are identical to our 1852 map but are updated to October 21, 1854 and October 21, 1855, indicating the name of the new surveyor in charge: Warner Lewis.
(L-0060) 1855 Surveyor’s Map of Iowa.
…from Iowa As It Is, N. Howe Parker, 1855, p52.
(P-0259) This is a log cabin built in 1853 in Oelwein, Iowa. Could the first Boller homestead in Johnson County looked like this?
The Boller farmstead as it appears today.
(C-0231) Celebrating Kalona, Iowa!

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