Tuesday, January 24, 2012

John Munson Boalt- A Life of Tragedy and Triumph

John Munson Boalt was born in Norwalk, CT, in 1814. His family settled in Norwalk, OH, in 1816, and then moved to Sandusky, OH, in 1824 where his father opened the Steamboat Hotel. In 1826, John’s father died, and the family returned to Norwalk. At the age of 14, John was orphaned; yet, he was an industrious young man, and soon found employment in Sandusky in the grain and shipping industry.

In 1842, John married Sarah Follett. Sadly, Sarah died in 1844 during childbirth, and their infant son, Edward, died six months later. John served on Sandusky’s first two city councils in 1845 and 1846. Around 1850, he moved to Milwaukee, WI, and then to Winona, MN. John returned to Sandusky in 1866 as a wealthy man and ordered construction of a new home located at 631 Wayne Street. The grand, Italianate-style home took two years to complete. John heavily invested in the Sandusky Wheel Co., a large producer of carriage wheels, and was named president in 1867. Upon completion of his new home in 1868, John again married, taking for his bride Francis (Fannie) Griswold. Through this union, three children were born, two of whom died in infancy.

In 1872, a fire destroyed most of the buildings and finished stock of the Sandusky Wheel Co. Presumably, this is why John filed for bankruptcy in 1873. Though John legally reached an agreement to pay his creditors a portion of what he owed them, he eventually repaid them in full, plus interest. From 1876 to 1880, John served as Postmaster for Sandusky. John died on May 4, 1890, at home at the age of 76. Services were held at the family home. Fannie Boalt moved from her home shortly after John’s death and rented the house until 1898 when she sold it.

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