Biography - JACOB DOLDER
America would be much more desirable and better in every way if the foreign-born citizens who came to dwell beneath her flag were all as loyal and patriotic as is the subject of this notice. It would seem that a spirit of love and gratitude should fill the heart of every man who has sought protection, wealth and citizenship, and found what he desired in liberal measure, under the dear old Stars and Stripes; but too frequently, alas! is heard throughout the land, in the press and from the platform and in public and private gatherings, the voices of the malcontents, decrying the institutions, laws and customs of the very country which has nourished them and their children, and given them the luxuries, perhaps, which were reserved for the nobility of their own fatherlands. But in the case of Jacob Bolder, as will be seen, the utmost loyalty to the United States reigns in his heart.
He was born in the province of Alsace-Lorraine, France, November 1, 1827, the fifth in order of birth of the eight children of Leonard and Magdalene (Stoffer) Bolder, the others being named Charles, Leonard, Caroline, Louis, Christian, Benjamin and Felix. The parents were likewise natives of Alsace-Lorraine and the father serve under the great Napoleon in the French army.
In his early manhood, Jacob Bolder learned the blacksmith's trade, which he pursued until he was well along in years. In 1844 he came to the United States, and came direct to LaSalle county, where he remained for a year. Then, going to Chicago, he spent four years in that place, then a small village, with little promise of the great future in store for it. In 1849 he returned and established a blacksmith's shop on the hill just east of the Ellerding water-power mill, and there for twenty-one years he played the role of "the village blacksmith," after which he was similarly employed at Sandwich, Illinois, for about a year. Feeling the need of a change, Mr. Bolder next settled upon a farm in Northville township, and for eight years devoted his entire attention to agriculture, with good success. Since 1873 he has made his home in the town of Sheridan, where, for seven years, he was engaged in the lumber business. Then selling out, he later embarked in the hardware business here, and for eight years commanded a large and lucrative trade. At the end of that period he disposed of his stock and retired from the commercial world for a brief time. We next find him conducting a meat market, and in this venture, as in all others, he met with success. After five years in this line of business he sold out and retired to enjoy the competence which he had acquired by a life-time of hard and industrious enterprise.
In 1849 Jacob Bolder married Miss Mary Louise Bolder, who has been a true helpmate, ably seconding her husband's efforts to make a home and competence. They were poor when they commenced the battle of life together, but they had brave hearts and were willing to exercise frugality and toil industriously toward the goal which they had in view, and success crowned their struggles. They have a beautiful home in Sheridan, and are surrounded by all of the essential elements of comfort and happiness. Each time that Mr. Bolder sold his business he and his wife took advantage of his temporary retirement from the commercial world to make a trip to their native land, for Mrs. Bolder, also, was born in Alsace, and came to the United States in 1844. He is very fond of hunting, and every time that he returned to the land of his birth he enjoyed the privilege of hunting in the wild mountain regions, through the courtesy of an old friend, a wealthy, influential man of Alsace. The same gentleman frequently urged Mr. Bolder to remain in that province, instead of returning to the United States, but, though his affection for the land in which his happy childhood days were spent is unchanged, he has strongly preferred to pass his declining years in this country, - the place which has witnessed his struggles and triumph over adverse circumstances, the land where the prime of his life has been passed. Conspicuous in his pleasant home are some trophies of his skill in marksmanship, - a finely mounted head of a wild boar, two mounted antelope heads and the skin of a silver fox, - all killed in the forests of Alsace. Since his arrival in America Mr. Bolder has been a loyal supporter of the Republican party, casting his first presidential vote for John C. Fremont, and voting for every Republican candidate since then.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 225-227.