To better explain the history of this land the Boller family moved to in 1853, let me start back in 1832, six years before Iowa became a U.S. Territory…
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 (yellow on map above).
In 1836, the government added a small strip of land named Keokuk’s Reserve, 400 square miles running alongside the Iowa River (green on map above)
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. Some historians call this the Second Black Hawk Purchase (blue on map above).
By the early 1840’s, the Public Land Survey System was created by the United States government for the purpose of surveying, platting, and mapping this newly-acquired land in the west.
These surveyors maps – like the one above – were vitally important for an accurate distribution of land. Once admitted to the Union in 1846, Iowa set its direction to development and organized campaigns for settlers and investors, boasting the young frontier state’s rich farmlands, fine citizens, free and open society, and good government.
In 1854, The Iowa Capitol Reporter told this story…
(M-0099) In our office hangs an original woodblock engraving (above left) – the cover from the Saturday, March 17, 1855 edition of Ballou’s Pictorial. Our copy has been hand-colored by artist Paula Perdue. Also in 1855, N. Howe Parker published an informative book, Iowa – As It Is (below left) – offering readers across the nation a comprehensive view of this new U.S. state called Iowa. (B-002)
Books like Parker’s helped in promoting Iowa as a beautiful new home in America’s untamed West. When my gg grandparents, Jacob & Catharine Boller, arrived in Johnson County, Iowa in 1853, they were part of “the great Stream of Humanity” that Parker speaks of – pioneers from back east who were pouring into our new state throughout the 1850’s.
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 banking house 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.
Here’s a tip of the old hat to George Barnard Sargent – Surveyor General and the Public Land Survey System team who surveyed, platted and mapped out the Hawkeye State – making way for the Bollers and thousands of others in the 1850’s.
Our six generations of the Boller family, this map (above) displays all we need to know about Our Iowa Heritage. Above right, we’ve marked all six locations in eastern Iowa where our Bollers have lived since first coming to the Hawkeye State in 1853. Johnson County (Iowa City and the Boller farm land) Washington County (Kalona) Henry Counry (Mt. Pleasant and Wayland) Linn County (Cedar Rapids).
Kudos to the amazing resources below for the many quotes, photographs, etc. used on this page.