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Monday, September 7, 2015

52 Ancestors: Week 36 "Working for a Living": John Boe

When my great-grandfather John Boe was 19 years old, he worked as a farmer on his parents' farm.

1895 Minnesota state census, Swift County, population schedule, West Bank township, page 1. Minnesota, Territorial and State Censuses, 1849-1905 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007.Original data: Minnesota Historical Society. Minnesota State Population Census Schedules, 1865-1905. St. Paul, MN, USA: Minnesota Historical Society, 1977. Microfilm. Reels 1-47 and 107-164.

By 1900, John was working as a salesman. He may have changed occupations at the time of his first marriage (to Signe Olson, on 21 March 1897). He remained in Swift County, Minnesota until at least 1901, but by 1904, he was living in Mason City, Cerro Gordo, Iowa, where he worked as a traveling agent.

R. L. Polk & Co.'s Mason City Directory 1904. Mason City, Iowa: R. L. Polk & Co. Page 51. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. 

By 1908, John's first marriage had ended and he had married my great-grandmother Kathleen Graham. They lived in St. Louis, Missouri, where he worked for Weber Implement Company.

Gould's St. Louis City Directory 1908. Page 220. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

In 1910, John and his brothers Hans Adolph and Theodore formed the Boe Brothers farm machinery company. John was president of the company.

Williston City Directory 1911-1912. Williston, ND: North Dakota Directory Co., 1911. Page 31. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. 

Williston Graphic, 30 June 1910, page 10

Williston Graphic, 26 January 1911, page 3

In 1913, Hans Adolph Boe relocated to Alexander, McKenzie County, North Dakota, where he worked in the implement business. That same year, Theodore Boe relocated to Arnegard, McKenzie County, North Dakota and opened a farm machinery business there. John remained in Williston, and changed the company name to the John Boe Machinery Co.
Williston Graphic, 13 March 1913, page 6

Williston Graphic, 5 June 1913, page 4

In March 1915, John and his family moved back to St. Louis, Missouri, and John rejoined Weber Implement Co. By October 1915, he was working for Mitchell-Lewis Motor Co. In February 1918, John became president of the Mitchell Automobile Corporation of Missouri, which changed its name to the St. Louis Motor Car Company in late 1918.

 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 29 December 1918, page 11

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 22 June 1919, page 10

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 28 December 1919, page 8

In the late 1920s, the company failed, and the Boe family moved to Sarasota, Florida for a year. They then returned to St. Louis. John worked as a factory representative for Marmon Car Co. and for Buick; he was the zone sales manager and covered several northwestern states.

John left his family in 1929, probably because Anna Mae Gamble was pregnant with their daughter Jane (who was born that year in Minneapolis, Minnesota). They were living in Minneapolis in 1930, supposedly married (they actually married on 22 August 1934 in St. Joseph County, Indiana). John worked as a salesman in the farm machinery industry.

1930 United States Census, Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota, Ward 7, population schedule, enumeration district 27-129, sheet no. 54A. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002.

By 1938, John and his third family had moved to Algona, Kossuth County, Iowa. John managed the Buick dealership there.

Algona Upper Des Moines, 10 May 1938, page 5

By 1940, John's third wife and their daughter were living in Beverly Hills, California. John was in Minnesota. He had been unable to find a job in the automobile business. On 1 April 1940, he started a new job selling living protection. He worked on commission.

 Letter from John Boe to his daughter-in-law Margaret Boe, 29 April 1940

John had left Minnesota and gone to California by 27 June 1940, when he died in Norwalk State Hospital in Norwalk, Los Angeles County, California.

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