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Boland, Thomas Jefferson (1842-1926)


Posted By: Linda Linn (email)
Date: 3/3/2011 at 11:32:29

LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel
May, 25, 1926

Deceased Was One of the
Pioneer Settlers of
Plymouth County

Came to LeMars When Railroad
Was Building

Following a brief illness caused by intestinal influenza and the infirmities of old age, Thos. Boland, a resident of Plymouth county for nearly six decades, passed away at his home 31 Second Avenue SW, shortly before midnight Thursday. [May 20, 1926]

Mr. Boland was widely known in LeMars and throughout the county and his acquaintance extended to Sioux City and South Dakota. He was one of the rugged figures that figured in early development of Northwestern Iowa, and his life was typical of that of many other hardy pioneers who built well and helped carve the way for the generation, which benefits from their efforts, self-sacrifice and toil.


Thomas Jefferson Boland was born in Ireland and was proud of the fact, loving his mother country and her history, in which he was remarkably well read, with an intense fervor, although he was first and foremost a loyal American.

He was born in Neeagh county, Tipperary, Ireland on February 2, 1842, son of Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Boland, and received his schooling in his native place. When a youth in 1862 he left his home and came to America to seek his fortune and landed in New York. The other members of his family went further afield and settled in Australia. Mr. Boldand found employment shortly after his arrival in a skate factory in Wolcottville, Connecticut. He was united in marriage with Margaret Donahue, also of Tipperary , in New York. During the Civil War he enlisted in the Sixty-ninth New York infantry and served until the conclusion of the war. On being discharged from the army he went to New York in 1866 where he found work in a sugar factory.


Stories of the west with its glorious vista of unbounded wealth and golden opportunities, attracted him nad in 1868 he landed at Independence, Iowa. Railroad building was in progress in opening up the virgin prairie lands and Mr. Boland worked as construction foreman for the Illinois Central Railroad Company and in connection with his work arrived in LeMars in 1869, in charge of track laying operations.

He continued to make his home in Plymouth count from that time until his demise at an honorable old age.

Mr. Boland was one of the early settlers who helped plat out ground on which St. Joseph’s church now stands with its other adjunctive buildings.

Mr. Boland was the first railroad section foreman stationed at Merrill and went through the vicissitudes that beset the early settlers in in the grasshopper years. He saw golden wheat fields glistening in the noonday sun, blackened and ravaged before the drop of eventide, and the rails on the track greasy with battered corpses of the pests, obstructing the passage of the trains. With others, he held on, having the faith I the future of the prairies. While working on the railroad he secured a small piece of land and in 1880 engaged in farming at Crathorne where he lived for fourteen years and then bought a place a mile and a half north of LeMars where he farmed for a few years when he moved to LeMars and engaged in the real estate business with his son P.A. Boland.

Mr. Boland was active and took a healthy interest in life and business until within a few weeks of what proved to be his last illness.

To Mr. and Mrs. Boland eight children were born, four of whom died in infancy. His son, Phillip died nineteen years ago at the age of 38 years. Mrs. Boland departed this life June 30, 1934. He leaves one son, Thomas Boland of Portland, Maine, and two daughters, Mrs. John Cronin of Westfield and Mrs. D.C. Lenihan of LeMars and fourteen grandchildren.


Mr. Boland took a great interest in national, state and local affairs and kept himself informed. He was a great reader and wis well versed in the poets. He was active in the councils of the republican party and was a fighter for the principles in which he believed. He was possessed of a ready wit and a saving sense of humor which offset at times sarcasm. He was rough and rugged in his ways and did not mince words, and came of stockwhich is used to give and take. He will be greatly missed among a number or cronies withwhom he was associated many years.

The funeral services were held at St. James church of which he was a member, yesterday morning and were largely attended. Rev. Father L. J. Cooper officiated at the mass. The internet was made in St. Joseph’s cemetery. Members of the G.A.R. attended the funeral of their old comrade, in a body. Mrs. Phil A. Boland, of Chicago, t. J. Boland of St. Louis, came to attend the funeral.


Plymouth Obituaries maintained by Linda Ziemann.
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