There are many sources that this information came from, written by Alexander Bolling and the Bolling Family Association.
Variations in spelling include Bowlin, Bollen, and Bollin.
From The Bolling Family, by Alexander R. Bolling, Jr.. 1990, we learn much about this old family name. The precise moment of origin of the Bolling family, according to the author, is a matter of conjecture. To be certain, the family took its name from a geographical location called Bolling, an area near Bradford in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England. This is where it all began. As stated by the author, the word “Bollin” is of Saxon origin – from “Boll”, meaning “round hill” and “ing” which is the plural of the Saxon word for “son”.
Before William the Conqueror defeated the Saxons at the Baffle of Hastings in 1066, the population of Yorkshire consisted essentially of Saxons. The land named Bolling was owned, prior to the battle, by a Saxon named Sindi and probably would have remained in Saxon hands had the people of Yorkshire accepted William’s victory. They didn’t and three years later, there was a battle by the local Saxon leaders of this region. William crushed the opposition and ravaged the area. The population was left with baron land, and many starved to death. Some historians have stated that the Bolling family can be traced from Sindi. While this might be true, there are no records to validate this assumption. We find in 1165, (a century after the Baffle of Hastings), the first officially recorded reference to the Bolling name when it was reported that a William de Bolling was fined one mark for some infraction he apparently committed in a case dealing with “death duties”. As reported by the author, Alexander Bolling, it was during the century following the Battle of Hastings, that the use of Bolling as a family name was begun.
The family traces its name from Tristram de Bolling, born circa 1175. Tristram received land grants for service to Prince John during the 1190’s. Then came Robert Bolling, born in 1210. Inheriting family property through local law, Robert increased the value of Bolling land by use of serf labor and gave the homestead its first name -“Bollingsheath” . After Robert, came William, born around 1245. He was first to be referred to in official records as “Lord of the Manor of Bolling”. By the end of the thirteenth century, the Bolling family had progressed in both stature and wealth.
In 1325, Robert Bolling and his wife Elizabeth Thornton built the first tower of Bolling Hall (still standing on its original site in Bradford). Robert Bolling was proud, greedy and ambitious. He increased his land boundaries by robbing local people of many acres. The tower built by Robert in 1325 served the Bolling family until 1497. This tower home became the symbol of Bolling family prominence.
Robert Bolling, eldest son of Robert and Elizabeth, succeeded his father who now owned considerable properties and enjoyed much wealth. Despite the unfavorable name created by his father, serenity returned to Bolling Hall. Family interest in and contributions to the Bradford Church were significant. The Bolling coat-of-arms is conspicuously displayed as an integral part of the church building today.
The next Bolling in line was John born around 1360. He died very young leaving a wife and two infant sons: Robert and James. The infant, Robert, born about 1496, became of age. For his entire lifetime, England was at the brink of anarchy. Because of his status and extensive property holdings, Robert Bolling would be called to duty in support of King Henry VI. Robert Bolling had raised ten children before being called to duty in support of the King. Word was sent to Robert and his oldest son, Tristram Bolling to repair and join His Majesty’s forces at Doncaster. This was the second time that the Bolling family had been called to arms in the now 265 year old family history.
The forces of King Henry VI were routed at Towton on Palm Sunday 1461. Henry was deposed and sent to the Tower of London where he died a decade later. The new King, Edward IV, acted swiftly. Others of Robert’s class and position either died in combat or were executed by the King. Robert Bolling’s properties were seized but his life was spared.
As author, Alexander Bolling, continues, no one knows how this fifty-five year old gentleman and his wife survived the years after the War of The Roses. After an earlier, unsuccessful attempt, he sent a second petition to King Edward through the Duke of Gloucester, the King’s brother. Robert Bolling placed the blame for his presence at Towton on Lord Clifford. He pledged continuous allegiance to the new king. The request was read by King Edward who granted clemency to Robert Bolling who was given permission to reclaim his properties. The story continues as a result of these circumstances.
Robert Bolling died at age 81. At the time of his death, his holdings were vast. He had actually attained more than he owned before he rode off to fight in the Battle of Towton. The now wealthy family enjoyed great prestige within the community. Robert Bolling, son of Robert above, not being the oldest son, knew that he would not inherit his father’s estate. So, Robert Bolling left the north and found his way to London, where he met and married Anne Clark. Robert entered the business world in London. It was a great time to be in London. Queen Elizabeth had been on the throne for more than thirty years. England was a great power and wealth was pouring into this island nation. Robert Bolling listed himself “Citizen’, a title of somewhat greater importance than that of the average resident of London. Records show that Robert and Anne Bolling were the first family with the Bolling surname to reside in London. The Bollings settled on the east side of London, near the Tower of London. The family church was the ancient All Hallows, an edifice which by that early date had felt the presence of Romans, Saxons, Danes and Normans. No matter what, it always survived.
The long reign of Queen Elizabeth ended in 1603. John Bolling, son of Robert and Anne, followed in his father’s footsteps before him in the mercantile trade. The period which followed was marked by unrest and turmoil in England. London, being the seat of government, was experiencing vast problems and social unrest. Those residents in London were suffering. On 10 November 1648, John Bolling died suddenly and left a widow and small infant son Robert. John Bolling was buried beside his beloved All Hallows church in London. This was the time of Cromwell. Military power prevailed.
On 30 January 1649, when young Robert Bolling was two years old, Charles I was overthrown and beheaded in London. Approximately, ten years later Charles II returned to London. The monarchy had returned. It was the religious upheaval which followed that determined the destiny of young Robert Bolling. Less than four months after the return of the King, Robert Bolling bade farewell to his widowed mother and sailed from England for America. Fourteen years old when he left London, Robert Bolling never saw his mother again. Robert Bolling arrived in Virginia on 2 October 1660. He is our direct line, Robert Bolling, the emigrant and progenitor of the Virginia family.
This famous emigrant came to Virginia at age fourteen. He built a large estate. Robert must have been a talented, young man to gain a position of financial independence and social prestige so quickly.
In 1675, when he was twenty-nine years old, Robert Bolling married Jane Rolfe, daughter of Captain Thomas Rolfe and granddaughter of John Rolfe and Princess Pocahontas. By this marriage to Jane Rolfe, Robert Boning had one son, John Bolling, born in 1676. Jane Rolfe died shortly after the birth of her only child. Thus was created the branch of the Bolling family in America known as the “Red Bollings” to denote blood relationship to Pocahontas.
After the death of his first wife, Jane Rolfe, Robert Bolling secondly married Anne Stith, daughter of a wealthy resident of Charles City County. Those Bollings who descended from this marriage became known as the “White Bollings”.
Robert Bolling had become a prominent citizen. In 1688, he ran for and was elected to the House of Burgesses from Charles City County (Prince George County, the site of his residence, had not yet been created). Most burgesses were given military rank with the local militia. Robert Bolling was no exception; he was appointed “sheriff’ and lieutenant colonel by the governor and retained this throughout his life.
By the year 1704, Robert Bolling’s lands encompassed 3,402 acres. Robert Boiling had a vast estate, “Kippax” on the James River. John Boiling, his only and oldest son by Jane Rolfe, had acquired great wealth through trade with the Indians and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle at his residence “Cobbs” on the Appomattox River. Robert Boiling, the emigrant, continued to live at “Kippax” on the James River until his death on 17 July 1709.
In his sixty-two years, according to author Alexander Boiling, Robert Boiling accomplished far more than most men. As a young boy, he left his homeland and traveled to a new and dangerous world. With no parental help, he built a large estate, raised a strong and healthy family, became an active leader in county and Virginia Colony affairs, and as one of the vestrymen of Bristol Parish, was at the top of the leadership ladder in the influential religious structure of the colony.
Robert Boiling was buried at “Kippax”, but later family members moved away from this estate and the place began to deteriorate. The tombstones were mutilated or hauled off. Robert Boiling’ s great-great-grandson, Robert Buckner Boiling had the remains moved to the family vault in the cemetery of Blandford Church, in the city of Petersburg. The first five generations of Robert Boiling in America are entombed in this vault.
As we mentioned earlier, John Boiling was Robert Boiling’s oldest son by his marriage to Jane Rolfe. His second oldest son, Robert Boiling, born from his second marriage to Anne Stith, was instrumental in the development of Petersburg, Virginia. Much of the land inherited by Robert Boiling was destined to be laid off into streets and with the lots disposed of through sale or long term leases. Many houses in Petersburg were residence to the Boiling family for generations to come. “Centre Hill”, “The Lawn” or “Zimmer House.” and “Bollingbrook” are among these lavish homes. Today one is still reminded of days past when the Bollings enjoyed such prominence in Petersburg. Bollingbrook Street, Bollingbrook Day School and Boiling Junior High School (when we went to school) are a few examples of lasting Boiling influence in Petersburg.
Even though lineage is available on our Bolling line for several generations earlier than • Robert Bolling, the immigrant to Virginia, we will start with Robert Bolling in presenting our direct Bolling family line as follows –
Roberts Bolling, born in London, England, on 26 December 1646, died 17 July 1709 in Prince George County, Virginia, married first in about 1675 Jane Rolfe, born 10 October 1655, died 1676, daughter of Thomas and Jane (Poythress) Rolfe. (The Rolfe family line will be presented in another section of this book.)
Robert Bolling, the immigrant, and Jane Rolfe had one son, Major John Bolling, born 27 January 1676 in Charles City County, Virginia. (See below)
After Jane Rolfe’s death in 1676, Robert Bolling, the immigrant, second married Anne Stith, born circa 1660, daughter of Major John and Jane Stith of Charles City County, Virginia. Major John Stith was born in England and died circa 1692 in Charles City. From Genealogies of Virginia Families from the William and Mary Quarterly Historical Magazine, Volume I, we find a list of children born to Robert Bolling and his second wife Anne Stith. They were: Robert, born 1682; Stith, born 1686; Edward, born 1687; Anne, born 1690; Drury, born 1695; Thomas, born 1697; and Agnes, born 1700.
Major John’ Bolling (Roberti), born 27 January 1676, in Charles City County, Virginia, died 20 April 1729, in Prince George County, Virginia, at his estate “Cobbs” on the Appomattox River near Petersburg, Virginia. Major John Bolling married on 29 December 1697 Mary V. Kennon, born 29 June 1679, daughter of Richard and Elizabeth (Worsham) Kennon of Henrico County, Virginia. Richard Kennon was born in England and Elizabeth Worsham was born in Henrico County and daughter of William Worsham who was born in England and settled in Henrico before 1640. William Worsham married Elizabeth Littleberry who died in Henrico County around 1678. Records indicate that William Worsham died about 1660.
We trace our lineage from Robert Bolling the immigrant to Virginia from England from his first and second marriage. We will present them below, first from his marriage to Jane Rolfe and second from his marriage to Anne Stith. We will present only direct line ancestors from both. marriages in descending order to the authors of this book. Later in separate sections of this book we will cover collateral information on the particular families represented in the lineages.
Robert Bolling married Jane Rolfe and had one son, Major John Bolling.
Major John2 Bolling married on 29 December 1697 Mary V. Kennon. Their daughter, Martha’ Bolling, born 1713, died 23 October 1749 in Surry County, Virginia, married about 1727 Thomas Eldridge, died 4 December 1754 in Sussex County, Virginia. Their daughter, Sarah “Jenny” Eldridge, born 14 May 1740 in Surry County, Virginia. married 9 June 1762 Colonel George Rives, born circa 1737, died in March 1795 in Sussex County. Their daughter, Martha “Patsy” Rives, born 22 February 1767 in Sussex County, died about 1829, married John Wilkinson, Revolutionary War soldier, born 22 March 1761 in Sussex County, died 3 January 1823 in Sussex. Their son, Thomas Edward Wilkinson of Sussex married Susan J. Wells of Petersburg, Virginia, daughter of John and Elizabeth Wells. Their son, George E. Wilkinson, Civil War Confederate soldier, married Roberta A. Harwell (Harville), daughter of Redmond Yancey Harwell and Temperance Redding Cain of Prince George County, Virginia. Their son Thomas Redmond Wilkinson, born 1872. died 1917, married in 1901 Linda Harville Magee, born 1876, died 1958, daughter of William Ellison and Ann Lucas (Leonard) Magee of Prince George County, Virginia. Their son George Carroll Wilkinson, born 1908 in Prince George, died 1993 in Petersburg, married in 1936 Virginia Lee Cox, born 1908 in Sussex, died in Petersburg in 1968. Their sons, George Carroll Wilkinson, Jr., and Gene Cox Wilkinson are co-authors of this book. Now, onto the second marriage connection below.
Robert’ Boiling, the immigrant, born in England on 26 December 1646, died 17 July 1709, at “Kippox” on the James River in Prince George County, second married Anne Stith, born circa 1660, daughter of Major John and Jane Stith of Charles City County, Virginia. Major John Stith was born in England and died circa 1692 in Charles City.
From Genealogies of Virginia Families from the William and Mary Quarterly Historical Magazine, Volume I, we find a list of children born to Robert Boiling and his second wife Anne Stith. They were: Robert, born 1682; Stith, born 1686; Edward, born 1687; Anne, born 1690; Drury, born 1695; Thomas, born 1697; and Agnes, born 1700.
It is said that Agnes’ (Agnis) Boiling married John Wilkinson (our line), born about 1695 in Isle of Wight, son of William and Elizabeth (Webb) Wilkinson. Later, John Wilkinson moved to Sun-v County, Virginia, in the portion of that county that later became Sussex. Many have questioned whether the Agnis mentioned in John Wilkinson’s will in Sussex County in 1758 is Agnes Boiling, the youngest daughter of Robert and Anne (Stith) Boiling of Prince George County. We have seen evidence that Agnes Boiling married Richard Kennon of Henrico County, and yet another reference that acknowledges that she married first Richard Kennon and second married John Wilkinson after Richard Kennon’s death. Another source states that Agnes Clanton of Surry County married John Wilkinson. The records are just not available to confirm this without a doubt. The other scenario could be that our John Wilkinson married another Agnes Boiling, a descendent of one of the son’s of the immigrant, Robert Boiling and his wife. Anne Stith.
Assuming that John’ Wilkinson married Agnes Boiling, you can see the direct line lineage down to the authors of this book by going to the Wilkinson section of this book and tracing it downward from John4 and Agnes (Boiling) Wilkinson.
NOTE – We relied heavily on Religues of the Rives, by James Rives Childs which was published around 1930. It appears that the Wilkinson genealogical information was provided by the daughter of Henry Benjamin Wilkinson, son ofJohn6 and Martha (Rives) Wilkinson of Sussex County. We are relatively certain that a descendent of Henry Benjamin Wilkinson provided the Wilkinson lineage as only Henry’s line is covered. Since Henry Benjamin Wilkinson lived until 1893, it is likely that he provided first hand information on his Wilkinson family to his daughter who used the same documentation it seems to prove that John Wilkinson, Revolutionary War soldier, was her direct line ancestor in order to join the Daughter of the American Revolution (DAR). John4 and Agnes (Bolling) Wilkinson would have been Henry Benjamin Wilkinson’s great grandparents and you would think that he would have known his great grandmother’s maiden name.
The other possibility is that Agnes Bolling (who by tradition was the wife of John Wilkinson) could have been the daughter of one of Robert Bolling’s, the immigrant, sons thus making her the granddaughter of the immigrant instead of his daughter. In that case, we would still be direct line descendents of Robert Bolling from his second marriage to Anne Stith. Robert and Anne (Stith) Bolling had five sons: Robert, Stith, Edward, Drury and Thomas, any one of which could have fathered Agnes Bolling, wife of John’ Wilkinson. The birth records back then were fragmentary and there likely was another Apes Bolling of unknown origin during the era.
We think that John Wilkinson was born about 1690/95 and married Agnes, his wife, about 1720. We believe that Agnes, John’s Wilkinson’s wife, must have been born around 1700, but she could have been born after 1700, and thus could have been born to one of the sons of Robert Bolling, the immigrant. We do know that according to Albemarle Parish records that Agnes Wilkinson out lived her husband, John4Wilkinson, by quite a few years and this could mean that she was quite a bit younger than her husband.