Inez HOYT Boller as a teenager
Jessica HOYT Thompson with her Aunt Inez
A neighbor and Inez
Inez Hoyt was born Oct. 12, 1871, in Nelson, Tioga Co., PA; d. there Sep. 25, 1934. Married Aug. 19, 1896 in Nelson to William Boller, b. Jun. 29, 1867, in Wyoming Co., NY; d. Feb. 10, 1949 in Nelson. William's parents were Rudolph Louis Boller, born 1824 in Germany, and Katrine Ernest, born 1832 in Germany.
William and Inez Hoyt Boller had two children:
William and Inez Hoyt Boller's farm, abt. 96 acres, bordered NYS.
Strait Creek ran through it, on its way to the Cowanesque River. The
farm had a couple of small "flats" along the creek, but most of it was
hillside. The working part of the farm was primarily on the west side of
the creek. Much of the east side of the creek was a slope covered with
hemlocks, with lady slippers and a wide variety of forest wild flowers.
[When I stayed there in the 1940s on holidays or summer vacations, some of the flats were used for a plot of garden vegetables and the rest for a potato crop. The hillsides were used for raising hay for the Percheron horses that worked the farm and for pasture for the sheep that Billy Boller raised for wool and for sale.
In Inez' day, it was very attractive and called "Rose Lawn Farm". When I knew it, the roses had been neglected for years, and the house unpainted as long. The plumbing was a well in the yard near the kitchen door and a small outhouse around the back. The latter was equipped with an old Sears catalog for double duty. Reading the interesting pages "during", and selecting uninteresting pages to tear out for "after". Lighting was by kerosene lamps. The heating was by a pot bellied coal stove in the kitchen. There was also a two burner kerosene counter top stove for cooking. The nearest telephone was at the neighboring farm of Inez's 2nd cousin twice removed, George G. Hazlett (grandfather of Bruce Rupar, Judy HAZLETT Abel & Linda HAZLETT Gardner).
In the 1940, most people in Nelson and Farmington Townships had party lines. It was before dial phones --- phones had separate pieces for speaking and listening. The central exchange was a small plug board in the home of Campbell Cousin John and Eva Mattison Owlett, near the train station. Eva was the switchboard operator. As a boy, it was fascinating to watch her answer incoming calls and plug a wire to connect the caller to the person they were calling.
It may sound primitive to those who've grown up with dial phones, private lines, and unaccustomed to dealing with operators, but it had advantages. My mother (Jessica HOYT Thompson) could call Billy Boller even though he had no phone. When she wanted to speak to him, she would place a person-to-person call via the Binghamton, NY operator. You would hear a couple of rings before the Elmira, NY, operator answered. Then the Binghamton operator would say "Elmira, this is Binghamton, I have a person-to-person call for William Boller in Nelson, Pa." Then a couple of rings and Eva MATTISON Owlett would answer in her distinctive, somewhat nasal voice. The Elmira operator would say "Nelson, this is Elmira, I have a person-to-person call from Binghamton for William Boller." Eva would then say "Jessie, is that you Jessie?" and the two of them would talk. One of two scenarios would result.
One would go as follows: "Jessie, Billy's not home now, I saw him drive to town about half an hour ago. I'll watch for him and flag him down when he comes back". Or, "I think he's home, I'll call George [Hazlett] to let Billy know you're calling." Then George would send Ralph, Donald, Maynard, Cyril, Royce, Georgianna, "Mert," York, or "Syke" to Rose Lawn farm to let Billy know. Because the call was person-to-person, he could just go to any neighbor's or Eva's and return the call at no expense to them.
The Bollers also had a second home, a house in Nelson, on the south side of the main street, a little west of the Presbyterian Church. Behind, and below it were flats along the Cowanesque, that were used for cow pasture. (I remember being told that one time the cows got drunk because a moonshiner dumped mash there --- spoiled the milk for a while.) That house was purchased as a mother-in-law house for Phebe CAMPBELL Hoyt, who had been living on Rose Lawn Farm with them. She only lived there a short time before breaking a hip and returning to the farm. Both houses had parlors filled with things fascinating to a boy - conch shells, cards covered with arrowheads, stone axes, skinning knives, pestles, antlers, uncut semi-precious stones, and civil war kit.
Inez must have been a caring person. in addition to caring for her mother, after the death of brother Joseph Hoyt, she took in and raised niece Jessica Phoebe Hoyt (my mother). The two younger girls (Betty, Isabelle and their mother) stayed with their Goodrich grandparents. My mother always referred to Inez as "Auntie".
In a addition to doing a little farming, Billy Boller also had a milk route. He had a large, stake body truck. He drove two routes, in Nelson and Farmington, starting while it was still dark, picking up the 50 gallon milk cans the farmers had put out on roadside platforms. He managed to do that almost until he died, in spite of the weight of a full can. The milk was taken to the Pet Co. plant in Elkland, PA, where they made condensed milk (run by Campbell cousin Ross Van Dusen.
Billy's truck was an old, stake body, flatbed, red Reo, which many of the older residents still remember well. [Once similar to this photo.] I never saw it him do this, but my mother says that in his first few years of having it, when it wouldn't start on a cold morning, he would get a horse whip from the barn; then thoroughly whip the truck while swearing at it. I don't know how effective that was, but the truck stuck with him for a long time.
He was also the leader of the Nelson band. I was told he played a tuba, but some of the pictures look like it may have been a baritone horn. I remember him "playing" Sousa marches in his sleep. Instead of talking in his sleep, you would hear a melodic "Pu-pu-pu-PA-pa-pum". He was my namesake. My siblings and I called him "Grampa Bill". - wbt]
[wbt - 8/22/2000; rev. 3/26/2021]
View her record on WikiTree.