Sarah V. Bolles was born March 31, 1836, in Harmar, Ohio, and died March 28, 1912, at her daughter's Norwood residence. Sarah was the person who first suggested the name "Norwood" be used for a subdivision in the area of Sharpsburg. The name supposedly was to indicate an wooded suburb north of Cincinnati The actual name chosen was "Norwood Heights." The next year, the name of the post office was changed from Sharpsburg to Norwood.
Sarah and her siblings—Caroline, Sophia, Amanda and Charles—were the children of Charles and Frances Bosworth. The elder Charles was a riverboat captain and was said to have been one of the first steamboat operators to travel between Pittsburgh and New Orleans. Sometime before 1851 (that was the year that Sophia married), the family moved from Marietta-Harmar to the Cincinnati area (probably Covington).
Sarah married Lemuel Bolles, a man who entered various businesses over the years, and Sophia married Philander P. Lane, a machinery manufacturer. The two men joined with advertising agent Sylvester H. Parvin to buy the 81+ acre William B. Ferguson farm overlooking Sharpsburg. They subdivided it into large lots, hoping to lure wealthy businessmen from the crowded basin area of Cincinnati to the forested Norwood Heights. The undivided property was owned initially 1/2 by Parvin, 1/3 by Bolles and 1/6 by Lane. The Bolles lived in the Ferguson farm house, buying the land (lot 14 of Norwood Heights) from Lane and Parvin in May 1871. Later, the Bolles moved to the west corner of Smith Road and Ashland Avenue. Even later, Mrs. Bolles moved to Crown Avenue.
Sarah and Lemuel's children were Edward G. (1855-1930), Lula (1860-1933), Genevieve (1866-1895), William (1867?-1930) and Blanche (1875-1920?). In 1888, Edward was elected Norwood's first clerk.
Notice of death from The Cincinnati Enquirer, March 29, 1912
Mrs. S. Boles (sic), who many years ago suggested the changing of the name of this city from Sharpsburg to Norwood, died yesterday morning at the home of her daughter, Mrs. H. M. Richardson, of 2937 Crown avenue, after and illness of two weeks. Another daughter, Mrs. Ed Grillo, wife of a former sporting writer of Cincinnati, now residing in Washington, D. C., arrived in Norwood a few minutes after her mother passed away.
Mrs. Boles was born (n)ear Marietta, Ohio, 76 years ago. After her marriage she and her husband came to Hamilton County and made their home in what was then known as Sharpsburg. The hamlet was known to the outside world as a "way point" on the highway between Cincinnati and Columbus, which was much traveled in those days. A roadside inn which had something of the flavor of romance and poetry about it, and which was much frequented by drovers and traders, gave Sharpsburg a distinction only enjoyed by a few of the stopping places on Montgomery pike.
The residents of Sharpsburg were not altogether content with the name the place enjoyed as the
“first stop” and the “last stop,” respectively, for travelers journeying between Cincinnati and Columbus. They believed that if the name was changed the hamlet would grow more rapidly. The Selectmen, taking their cue from their constituents, invited suggestions as to a new name that should be given the hamlet. Mrs. Boles, who was reading a book at the time in which the name “Northwood” appeared frequently suggested that the more euphonious name of “Norwood” be given the settlement. Her suggestion met with almost instant approval.
Besides the two daughters mentioned Mrs. Boles is survived by two sons, Edward G., of Norwood, and William H., of Rock Island, Ill. She has two sisters living–Mrs. P. P. Lane, widow of the founder of the Lane & Bodley Company, who lives near the boundary line of Norwood and Pleasant Ridge, and Mrs. Caroline Gilbert, of Codad, Neb. The funeral will take place from the Richardson residence at 2 o’clock this afternoon The service will be conducted in accordance with the rites of the Christian Science Church, of which relatives of the deceased are members. Interment will take place at Spring Grove Cemetery.
Note: Some of the historical statements in this article may not be true. Mrs. Bolles last name is misspelled.