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Graves in the Valley: The man behind Bosler Hall

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James Wiliamson Bosler

James Williamson Bosler is buried at Carlisle's Ashland Cemetery.

James Williamson Bosler

THE HISTORY: James Williamson Bosler was born: April 4, 1833, to Abraham and Eliza Herman Bosler in Silver Spring, Cumberland County.

According to, Bosler attended Dickinson College as a member of the class of 1854 but did not finish his degree. Bosler moved west and taught school in Columbiana County, Ohio, where he also built his first store. After moving to Iowa, the businessman eventually started a real estate company and a bank before building his fortune in the cattle market.

Bosler returned to Carlisle in 1866 and married Helen Beltzhoover of Boiling Springs. They had four children and were continuous supporters of Dickinson College.

According to, Bosler pledged $10,000 to the college and after his death in 1883, Helen Bosler donated nearly seven times that amount to build a new hall to house a library, insisting that only the finest, most durable materials be used in the construction.

The James W. Bosler Memorial Hall was completed in 1886, and housed the college’s library until 1967. Today, Bosler Hall is home to the modern language departments. The Bosler Memorial Library in Carlisle is named after James W. Bosler’s brother, J. Herman Bosler.

HOW THEY DIED: Bosler died on Dec. 17, 1883.

GRAVESITE: Buried in Ashland Cemetery, Carlisle, Cumberland County.


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