Biography of Edward Boland
Iowa County, IA Biographies





Edward Boland was born near Belfast, Ireland, in County Down, July 14, 1841. His father, Edward Boland, Sr., was born in the town of Paisley, Scotland, in 1797 and died in Williamsburg, Iowa county, Iowa, January 13, 1897, at the age of ninety nine years and two months. He crossed the sea from Scotland to Ireland in 1815. He emigrated to Canada in 1856 and lived there for ten years, then removed to Williamsburg, Iowa county, Iowa, in 1866, where he bought land and settled on a farm one mile south of Williamsburg, afterward selling it and moving to the south part of Troy township. He paid seven dollars and fifty cents per acre for the first land that he bought, which is today renting for eight dollars per acre yearly. Our subject's mother, Ellen Cargo, was born in County Down, Ireland, in 1804. She was of English descent, her ancestors coming from Carlyle, England, in the seventeenth century. She died near Williamsburg, Iowa, February 28, 1889, at the age of eighty four years and eight months. They are both laid to rest in Oakhill cemetery in Williamsburg. There were born to this union five sons, two of whom are living at the present time. Edward Boland, and Charles Boland, one of the extensive farmers of Troy township.

On the 3d of September, 1863, Edward Boland was united in marriage to Margaret McCann in London, Ontario, Canada. She was born in Middlesex county, Ontario, January 14, 1844. In 1829 her parents came from the north of Ireland to Ontario, where they resided the balance of their lives, both dying at the age of eighty four years, one year apart. They are laid to rest in Exeter cemetery near the shore of Lake Huron, Ontario. They encountered many hardships, literally hewing their home out of the wilderness. Mr. McCann was called out by the government to quell the McKenzie rebellion in 1837. The troops had to follow the blazed trees on foot for over ninety miles, and when the rebellion was over and the leader had escaped to the United States, they were dismissed and sent home on foot, even their old flintlock guns being taken from them.

In the spring of 1857 Edward Boland came west with an older brother, stopping at Monmouth, Illinois. That was when Lincoln, Breckenridge and Douglas were coming to the front in the political world, and in the days of the underground railway, when a good old abolitionist would travel all night with a slave or two in his wagon on the road to freedom or Canada. Hard times came on and the bottom dropped out of the price of live stock and farm produce, and wages dropped so that a farm hand was glad to get a place to stay all winter and work for his board. But one lesson this sixteen year old boy learned was that whatever you do, do it right, not knowing that the neighbor across the road was watching him all summer, how he milked the cows regularly and fed the three hundred head of hogs, while the other man took it easy. When hard times came he came over and when he found that Mr. Boland was going to Canada he offered him twenty five dollars per month. He says it pays to do right. But homesickness coming on, he returned to Canada and lived there for eleven years, still longing for the far western prairies.

In March, 1868, having married, Mr. Boland brought his wife to Williamsburg, Iowa county, Iowa, and in April, 1868, they lived in Troy township on a rented farm for a few years. Ten children were born to this union, four of whom have passed to the great beyond. The six left are located as follows: Charles H. Boland, of Webster, Keokuk county, Iowa, a farmer, stock shipper, and real estate agent; W. W. Boland, of North English, Iowa county, a stock shipper, real estate dealer and farmer; Mrs. Mary Conn, wife of R. T. Conn, a retired farmer and real estate agent living at Marengo, Iowa county; R. G. Boland, of Webster, Keokuk county, a farmer and stock feeder; George Boland, a farmer on the home place; and Mrs. Ida Brown, wife of Daniel Brown, a farmer and livestock dealer of English township, Iowa county.

After arriving here in 1868 and getting settled on a rented farm, hardships began to come: hauling corn twelve miles to Marengo and selling it for fifteen cents per bushel; hauling coal from What Cheer, thirty two miles, and sometimes being gone for three or four days in a storm. But all these inconveniences have passed away, and the farmers of today can make farming a pleasure. The cradle has given way to the reaping machine, and the reaping machine to the self binder, and the old fourteen inch plow to the sulky or gang plow with five horses, turning over six or seven acres in one day. But the old settlers had a good time. The farm in Troy township was purchased for fifty dollars per acre and today is worth two hundred dollars per acre.

After becoming a naturalized citizen in 1874, Mr. Boland was elected one of the trustees of Troy township and served on that board for eight years. In 1894 he was elected assessor but after performing that duty for two years refused to serve any longer on account of home duties. In 1903 he was chosen by the republican party to represent Iowa county in the state legislature in the thirtieth and thirty first general assemblies but afterward refused the nomination at the next election on account of farm duties. In 1909 Mr. Boland moved to Williamsburg and was appointed justice of the peace to fill a vacancy; was afterward elected and has been reelected at every election since. Both Mr. and Mrs. Boland are members of the Presbyterian church and he has been a member of Stellapolis Lodge, No. 391, A. F. & A. M., for thirty three years, and secretary of same for five years.

On September 3, 1913, Mr. and Mrs. Boland celebrated their golden wedding. The following is taken from the Williamsburg Journal-Tribune.

"The golden wedding anniversary of Hon. and Mrs. Edward Boland was observed yesterday at their home in Williamsburg, and the event touched the community at almost every angle. The well known couple has resided here for many years and the throng that called at the Boland home to offer congratulations and good wishes included nearly the whole town and the old neighborhood in which the family formerly lived. The occasion served as a family reunion and all the children and grandchildren gathered at the home. Miss Emma Watkins was the only grandchild that was absent and this was on account of the young woman beginning her term this week as a teacher in the high school at Brooklyn. The dinner was an elaborate affair; there was nothing omitted that would add to its scope or flavor. Rev. T. E. Sherman of the Presbyterian church was a guest and invoked the divine blessing on the gathering and the following immediate members of the family were present:

"Mr. and Mrs. Richard Watkins and son, Walter; Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Boland of Webster; Mr. and Mrs. Wilson Boland and sons, Wayne and Wilson, of North English; Mr. and Mrs, R. T. Conn, sons, Rex and Russell, and daughter, Ethel, of Marengo; Mr. and Mrs. R. G. Boland of Webster; Mr. and Mrs. George Boland of the old homestead, and Mr and Mrs. Daniel Brown and daughter, Margaret Mary, of North English. The foregoing are the sons, daughters, sons in law and daughters in law of Mr. and Mrs. Boland. The other relatives present were: Mr Charles Boland, the well known Troy township farmer, together with his family and children; Mr. and Mrs. S. N. Boland, Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Boland and family, of Sigourney, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Boland, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Jones, and Irvine Boland.

"Relatives of Mrs. Boland, from Canada, present were: Mrs. Jane Cunningham, Clandeboye, Ontario; Mrs. William Holt and Mrs. Edward Portice, Sarnia, Ontario, all sisters of Mrs. Boland; Mrs. William Holland and son, Horace; Alonzo Hall, Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Hall, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Hall and Mr. and Mrs. A. Mann, London Ontario; Mrs. Holland and Mrs. Mann are nieces and the Halls are nephews of Mrs. Boland. Mrs. Cunningham was the oldest person in the gathering; she is in her eighty fourth year but entered into the spirit of the occasion with a heart as lightsome as a girl's.

"A real family gathering surely, and the Boland home never held a merrier throng. It was the wedding spirits multiplied by fifty happy years and all the tender memories came trooping to add pleasure to the scene. The invitations to the dinner and reception barred the bringing of gifts but the children violated the injunction by presenting the father with a handsome gold chain and Masonic charm and the mother with a handsome gold pin, while the friends of Williamsburg and vicinity presented the couple with two fine gold mounted umbrellas and Mr. Boland with a handsome gold mounted cane.

"The public reception was held in the afternoon from three o'clock till five and from seven in the evening till nine thirty. This was one continuous throng of friends and well wishers and light refreshments were served the callers. The evening at the home presented a scene not often witnessed; the lawn and porches were a blaze of mellow gold light, filtered through Chinese lanterns and the street in front of the home was banked with automobiles; dozens of North English, Marengo and Conroy cars were present. Short talks were made by Wilson Boland, H. E. Hull, Hon. Edward Boland and Mrs. William Holt, all touching on the event in which the whole, community felt a personal and kindly interest.

"Edward Boland was born near Belfast, Ireland, July 14, 1841. In 1856 he came to London, Canada, and on September 3, 1863, he was united in marriage to Miss Margaret McCann, a native of Middlesex county, Canada, where she was born January 14, 1844. In 1866 the family moved to Iowa county, Iowa, locating on a farm in Troy township, which continued to be the home until the old couple moved to Williamsburg a few years ago, the old homestead passing to the control of the youngest son, George.

"No finer people ever lived than are Mr. and Mrs. Boland; they came here in the days of the pioneer and through all these years they have held fast to the many friendships formed. Good, whole souled, kind hearted people with hands ever ready to help and hearts joyed with the joys of others and easily touched by another's woe. Their life has been truly happy and here in their advancing years they have the supreme pleasure of seeing their children commanding the respect and esteem of the communities they honor. For forty five years they have lived here and now in the happy glow that haloes their golden wedding anniversary the things most highly prized are the enduring friendships they have enjoyed.

"The Journal-Tribune extends to Mr. and Mrs. Boland its sincerest greetings and wishes them many returns of the anniversary of the event so becomingly celebrated."

From:
History of Iowa County, Iowa
And its People
By: James C. Dinwiddie
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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