Naturalization Papers

Image of naturalization papers of German native Pangratz Boll.
Embodiment of the American dream

These naturalization papers were issued to German native Pangratz Boll in 1860, granting him American citizenship. Boll immigrated to the United States in 1854 at age 28 with his wife and three children, one of whom died at sea on the voyage over. He eventually settled in Greenville, where he worked for a boot manufacturer until he was appointed postman in 1870 by President Grant. When he died in 1907 at age 80, he owned considerable property and was regarded as “a man of sterling worth and strict integrity, alike true to every public and private trust.”  

Before the Civil War, U.S. citizenship was open to free, white, adult aliens over the age of 21 who had lived in the United States for at least five years, could prove good moral character, and who took an oath of allegiance to the Constitution. Children of successful applicants automatically became citizens. Naturalization could be granted by local, state, or federal courts.


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