What Do Northern Ireland, Pennsylvania, Iowa & Australia Have in Common?

Some distant Boal cousins from Australia responded after finding some of my posts on John S. Boal. We then began communicating via email. They tracked down connections, which I had never successfully made before. The family came to Iowa from Pennsylvania. Some of them then left the United States for Australia. Prior to this they were in Northern Ireland.

John’s father, William, lived and died not far from John, near Iowa City. John died before him and is buried in the Wassonville Cemetery in Washington County. William is buried in the Oakland Cemetery in Johnson County.

The Boal Museum is located in the heart of Pennsylvania, where most of the Boals lived after coming from northern Ireland. Life was centered on the town of Boalsburg. It’s not far from the main campus of Penn State, known to me because of Joe Paterno, a great coach and, what’s better, a great man. He and his wife have literally given millions to support the libraries at the university, culminating in the Paterno Library. For a few terms I was a student at the other PSU, Portland State. But I digress.

Now returning to the Boals, John’s mother was Anne or Anna Marie Shannon, taking his middle name from her maiden name, a common practice among some Irish families. John served in the Union Army during the Civil War, but I am still trying to determine the precise unit.


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