William Alexander Boley (deceased) was born in Pittsburg, Pa., January 5, 1832, the son of Daniel and Ruth I. (Crawford) Boley. His father is of German lineage, but for generations has been identified with Pennsylvania history, his father, grandfather and great- grandfather all being natives of that State. In early life the father, Daniel Boley, engaged in farming, but later conducted a coal business on the Ohio River within the State of Pennsylvania. He died at Sewickley, Pa., in 1847.
The mother, Ruth I. (Crawford) Boley, was the daughter of Dr. William Alexander Crawford, who was a native of New York but settled in Westrnoreland County, Pa., where he died in the prime of life. Mrs. Ruth I. Boley, born in Westmoreland County, Pa., in 1814, came to Pekin, Ill., in the spring of 1878, and died in the following fall, aged sixty-four years. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Boley had ten children, of whom only six lived to years of maturity, the oldest of these being the subject of this sketch.
William Alexander Boley was reared in his native State of Pennsylvania, received a common-school and academic education and, after the death of his father, assumed the management of the coal business, which he sold out a year later. He then engaged in steam- boating on the Ohio River, for the first three weeks being employed as watchman, when he was promoted to the position of second mate and, five months later, to first mate. In the latter capacity he continued three years, doing duty on boats on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers between Pittsburg, St. Louis and New Orleans. He next became superintendent of the Memphis Ice Company, whose headquarters were at Kingston Ill. In its day this was one of the most prominent concerns of its kind in the State, owning and operating thirteen barges besides’ a number of tow-boats.
In 1860 Mr. Boley came to Pekin, Ill., and there accepted a position as superintendent for John Lowrey, which position he retained six years, when he purchased the entire business. In 1888 the concern was incorporated under the name of the W. A. Boley Ice Company, with a capital stock of $32,000, of which Mr. Boley was made the President and General Manager. The houses which were owned by the company were situated on Pekin Lake, and had a capacity of 35,000 tons. By means of side-tracks the ice could be loaded in cars and shipped to various points throughout the State.
In politics Mr. Boley was an earnest Republican and, during his Aldermanic incumbency of two terms as representative from the Second Ward, assisted in inaugurating a number of important improvements, including the Electric Light plant, the Water-Works and the wagon bridge.
Mr. Boley was married in Peoria, Ill., in 1862, to Miss Annie Taylor, who was born in Weston, England, but from seven years of age had been a resident of Peoria. The only child of this union was Annie B., now the wife of Dr. Smith D. Low, of Pekin. Mr. Boley died at his residence in Pekin, February 13, 1895. Mrs. Boley survives him, living at her home on Buena Vista Avenue, Pekin.
Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Tazewell County - page 981
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