Robert Bolling

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For the poet, see Robert Bolling (poet).
Portrait of Robert Bolling

Colonel Robert Bolling (December 26, 1646 – July 17, 1709) was a wealthy early American settler planter and merchant. His mother was Mary Carie; his father was John Bolling born 1615. He was named after his grandfather Robert Bolling; his grandmother was Anne Clarke.

Ancestry and early life[edit]

Robert Bolling was the son of John and Mary (Clarke) Bolling. He was born at Tower Street, All Hallows Barking Parish, in London on December 26, 1646.[1] His father John, was one of the Bollings of Bolling Hall, near Bradford, England. Robert's ancestry could be traced to Robert Bolling, Esquire, who died in 1485 and was buried in the family vault in the church of Bradford.[2] On October 2, 1660, at the age of fourteen, Bolling arrived in the colony of Virginia.[1] In 1674, he married Thomas Rolfe's daughter, Jane.[1] Their son John Bolling was born January 26, 1676.[3] Jane is said to have died shortly after the birth.[4][5]

John Bolling (January 26, 1676 – April 20, 1729) married Mary Kennon, daughter of Richard Kennon and Elizabeth Worsham, and they had seven children.[6] He was an ancestor to First Lady Edith Bolling Wilson.

Second marriage and death[edit]

In 1681, after his first wife died, Col. Bolling married his second wife Anne Stith,[7] daughter of John Drury and Jane (Gregory) Stith. They had the following nine children together.

  • Jane Bolling (b. 1682), died young.
  • Robert Bolling Jr. (1682–1749), married Anne Mary Cocke. Robert was the grandfather of Beverley Randolph, the eighth Governor of Virginia.[8]
  • Stith Bolling (1686–1727), married Elizabeth Hartwell.
  • Captain Edward Bolling (1687–1710), married Ms. Slaughter died of smallpox at sea.[9]
  • Anne Bolling (1690–1750), married Robert Wynne.
  • Drury Bolling (1695–1726), married Elizabeth Meriwether.
  • Thomas Bolling (1697–1734).
  • Agnes Bolling (1700–1762), married Richard Kennon.
  • Molly Mary Bolling (b. 1702), married Andrew Baker.

The descendants of Robert Bolling's first marriage are sometimes referred to in family history forums as "Red Bollings" due to Native American lineage of Jane Rolfe's Grandmother Pocahontas, and the descendants of his second marriage as "White Bollings". His grandson Robert Bolling was one of the most prolific poets in colonial Virginia.

As a merchant and planter, Bolling acquired a large estate. He was colonel of the militia and was a member of the House of Burgesses from Charles City County in 1702.[1]

Robert Bolling died on July 17, 1709, and was buried on his plantation Kippax, in Prince George Co., Virginia, where his tomb still stands. However, in 1858, his remains were removed from Kippax to the Bolling mausoleum at Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg, Virginia erected by his great grandson.

Archaeological record[edit]

Archaeologist Donald W. Linebaugh, of the University of Kentucky, located the remains of Col. Bolling's house in Hopewell, Virginia in 2002.[10]

The Archaeological Conservancy is currently trying to buy the site of Kippax Plantation to protect it from development. Thomas Rolfe, the son of Pocahontas and Robert Bolling's father-in-law, is buried there. The Archaeological Conservancy is in the process of raising the $205,000 needed for the purchase.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Volume 7, 1899, pages 352-353.
  2. ^ Pecquet du Bellet, Louise. "Bolling Family". Some Prominent Virginia Families IV. Lynchburg, Virginia: J.P. Bell Company. pp. 304–314. 
  3. ^ Dorman, Adventurers of Purse and Person, 4th ed., p.28
  4. ^ A Memoir of a Portion of the Bolling Family in England and Virginia, Robert Bolling, John Robertson, Thomas Hicks Wynne, Chesapeake Book Co., 1868, page 19.
  5. ^ It has been suggested ( that Robert Bolling and Jane Rolfe might also have had a daughter, who might have married Rev James Clack, Rector of Ware Parish in Gloucester County; however, no documentary evidence has emerged to support this theory.
  6. ^ Henrico Wills & Deeds 1697-1704, p.96
  7. ^ Gordon, Armistead C (1914). "The Stith Family". In Tyler, Lyon G. William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine XXII. Richmond, Virginia: Whittet & Shepperson. pp. 44–45. 
  8. ^ Page, Richard Channing Moore (1893). "Randolph Family". Genealogy of the Page Family in Virginia (2 ed.). New York: Press of the Publishers Printing Co. p. 254. 
  9. ^ The secret Diary of William Byrd of Westover, page 152.
  10. ^ UK Archaeologist Locates 17th Century Merchant's House, Plans Excavation with Students, Dan Adkins, March 8, 2002
  11. ^ The Archaeological Conservancy


  • American Presidential Families, Hugh Brogan and Charles Mosley, MacMillan Publishing Company, New York, 1993.
  • Pocahontas, alias Matoaka, and her descendants : at Jamestown, Virginia, in April, 1614, with John Rolfe, gentleman : including the names of Alfriend, Archer, Bentley, Bernard, Bland, Bolling, Branch, Cabell, Catlett, Cary, Dandridge, Dixon, Douglas, Duval, Eldridge, Ellett, Ferguson, Field, Fleming, Gay, Gordon, Griffin, Grayson, Harrison, Hubard, Lewis, Logan, Markham, Meade, McRae, Murray, Page, Poythress, Randolph, Robertson, Skipwith, Stanard, Tazewell, Walke, West, Whittle, and others : with biographical sketches, Wyndham Robertson, J. W. Randolph & English, 1887.

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