In 1896, D.J. and Barbara Boller moved their family to Wayland, Iowa, opening up the Boller Furniture Company – bringing to the area both a fine selection of furniture and the much-needed skills of a mortician. The new Boller adventure begins!
Wayland, located in the northern part of Henry County (see map above), was much like the fertile farmland of Johnson County, first settled in the late 1830’s, and was first known as Crooked Creek – becoming a voting precinct (Jefferson Township) in Iowa Territory on October 5, 1840.
The first burial (1838) was given to John Bullock, a surveyor to this region in 1837. As it was with all early Iowa settlements, the need to establish a post office followed, and a blacksmith named Rufus N. Pickel was appointed postmaster on February 3, 1843. Establishing a church followed, so in 1844, a log cabin was built to serve as the home for the small Methodist congregation. By 1851, the growing community had added some merchants, a hotel, and a doctor, so it was decided that it was time for a name change, from Crooked Creek to Marshall.
As Iowa continued to grow, so did the confusion over some of the names of our towns. Bloomington, Iowa, for example, had been around since Iowa’s earliest days, but because postmasters were constantly having to re-address mail meant for Bloomington, Illinois, the postal service insisted the smaller Iowa town take a back seat – renaming it Muscatine. The same thing was happening with Marshall. Mail meant for Marshalltown and Marshall County was getting delayed, so the smaller community was ordered to change their name. So, on March 20, 1880, the good folks of Marshall transitioned one final time – taking the name of Wayland.
(M-0140) City records tell us that this decision was announced in a very unique way! At the city well, located in the heart of the business district, the town crier rang a bell and proclaimed to all…
Hear ye, hear ye, the town of Marshall shall be known hereafter as Wayland.
So, with D.J. and Barbara establishing their family in Wayland in 1896, Our Boller Story now turns its attention away from Johnson County to focus on Henry County for much of the next seventy years (1896-1966)!
According to family records and other community sources, by the turn of the century, Daniel (D.J.) and Barbara had truly established themselves in this vibrant little community of Wayland, bringing to the area: Boller Furniture Company: a fine selection of furniture and the important skill of undertaking. Click here to read more about Boller Furniture Company.
Wayland records indicate that the Bollers were well received in Wayland. By 1897, after only one year in town, D.J. was appointed to be a member of the Wayland School Board.
Originally a settlement of Methodist men and women, many Mennonite families with rich German heritage were now moving into Wayland as well. In 1899, D.J. and Barbara became key organizers in bringing the first Mennonite Church to this fair city of Henry County.
(P-0307) City records indicate 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!
On a personal note, this Mennonite Church in Wayland was the first church I attended as a child, growing up in Wayland (1951-1957). D.J. and Barbara and my grandfather, Waldo, were all lifetime members, and my grandmother, Olive Boller, was a member here from the time of her marriage to Waldo (1912) until the time of her death in 1969. I find it very interesting, as a church planter myself, that the first three generations of my Boller family all played a very important role in starting new churches in their communities:
George & Elizabeth Boller – Oak Grove Mennonite Church – Wayne County, Ohio – 1820’s
Jacob & Catharine Boller – Union Mennonite Church – Johnson County, Iowa – 1880’s
D.J. & Barbara Miller – Mennonite Church – Wayland in Henry County, Iowa, 1900’s
Kudos to the amazing resources below for the many quotes, photographs, etc. used on this page.