J. Herman Bosler was born in Silver Spring, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania on December 14, 1830. He was one of eight children of Abraham and Eliza Herman Bosler, an already distinguished county family active in farming, milling, and distilling. He attended the Cumberland Academy in New Kingston at seventeen and then went on to Dickinson College, entering in 1850 into the class of 1854 with his younger brother James Williamson Bosler. Neither brother completed their course, however, with John Herman withdrawing in 1851 to join his father’s business.
A remarkable career in business, real estate, and manufacturing entrepreneurship followed. He first branched out for a short while in the iron industry in Huntingdon before returning to Carlisle to engage in milling and shipping grain. In 1869, he and his brother James, who had moved west, invested in cattle in Nebraska and Wyoming, and, when this venture proved an immense success, he prospered in real estate in the Omaha area. He remained interested, too, in local opportunities and, teaming again with his brother, opened the Carlisle Manufacturing Company, making freight cars, railroad frogs, and switch stands for the burgeoning railway expansion in Pennsylvania. Bosler was also president of the Carlisle Shoe Factory, director of both of the largest banks in town, and director of the Carlisle Gas, Water and Electric Light Company. In later life, he again turned to land in the West, this time in San Mateo County in northern California in a gigantic enterprise - the South San Francisco Land and Improvement Company - that involved thousands of acres of land and interests in local stock yards, banking, and slaughterhouses.
Bosler also served a term on the Dickinson board of trustees between 1893 and 1897. He was a lifelong Presbyterian and a loyal Democrat who served as the elector from the district in the presidential election of 1888. In October 1856, he had married Mary J. Kirk of Mifflintown in Juniata County and the couple had ten children of whom seven survived infancy. John Herman Bosler died in Carlisle on November 18, 1897. He was sixty-six years old.