Robert Bolling (1738 - 1775) MP

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Robert Bolling of Chellowe's Geni Profile

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Birthplace: Henrico, Virginia
Death: Died in Richmond, Henrico, Virginia
Cause of death: Sudden heart attack
Occupation: Member of the House of Burgesses; Poet
Managed by: Heather Billig
Last Updated:

About Robert Bolling

Robert Bolling was born on August 17, 1738, at Varina in Henrico County, the son of John Bolling and Elizabeth Blair Bolling and a great-great-grandson of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. In 1751 his father sent him to the Free Grammar School of Queen Elizabeth in Wakefield, England, which a number of other Virginia boys attended. Bolling excelled in languages. On his way back to Virginia he stopped off in London and on December 31, 1755, was admitted to the Middle Temple for legal studies. Bolling returned to Virginia the next year, arriving at Yorktown on April 16, 1756. For a year and a half he studied law under Benjamin Waller in Williamsburg.

After his father died in 1757, Bolling lived at his father's Chesterfield County plantation, Cobbs, until the middle of 1760, when he built a house called Chellow, or Chellowe, at his plantation in the portion of southern Albemarle County that became Buckingham County in 1761. From January 12 until September 16, 1760, Bolling courted Anne Miller, a distant cousin. His courtship journal, "A Circumstantial Account," and the poems he wrote provide a unique view of courtship among the eighteenth-century Virginia gentry. The romance ended when Miller sailed to Scotland with her father; she later married Sir Peyton Skipwith.

On June 5, 1763, Bolling married Mary Burton, of Northampton County. She died on May 2, 1764, two days after the birth of their daughter. Almost fourteen months later, on May 31, 1765, Bolling posted a marriage bond in Amherst County and married Susanna Watson on that day or early in June. They had two sons and two daughters.

Time Line

  • August 17, 1738 - Robert Bolling is born in Henrico County. He is a great-great-grandson of Pocahontas and John Rolfe.
  • 1751 - Robert Bolling's father, John Bolling, sends him to the Free Grammar School of Queen Elizabeth in Wakefield, England, which a number of other Virginia boys attend. Bolling excels in languages.
  • December 31, 1755 - Robert Bolling is admitted to the Middle Temple in London, England, for legal studies.
  • April 16, 1756 - After studying the law in London, England, Robert Bolling returns to Virginia, arriving at Yorktown. He continues study of the law for a year and a half under Benjamin Waller in Williamsburg.
  • 1757 - Robert Bolling's father, John Bolling, dies. Bolling lives at his father's Chesterfield County plantation, Cobbs, until the middle of 1760, when he builds his own home in southern Albemarle County.
  • January 12–September 16, 1760 - Robert Bolling courts Anne Miller, a distant cousin. He keeps a courtship journal, "A Circumstantial Account," which provides a unique view of eighteenth-century Virginia gentry. The romance ends when Miller sails for Scotland with her father.
  • 1761–1765 - Robert Bolling is elected to and attends the assembly of the House of Burgesses.
  • 1761–1775 - Robert Bolling serves on the Buckingham County Court. By 1774 he is the second-ranking member.
  • 1762 - A member of the House of Burgesses, Robert Bolling is appointed to the prestigious Committee on Propositions and Grievances.
  • June 5, 1763 - Robert Bolling marries Mary Burton, of Northampton County.
  • May 2, 1764 - Mary Burton, wife of Robert Bolling, dies two days after the birth of their daughter.
  • 1765 - Against his wishes, Robert Bolling is appointed sheriff of Buckingham County and is a colonel of the Buckingham militia by 1773.
  • April 1765 - Robert Bolling hears George Whitefield preach at Bristol Parish in Blandford and satirizes his revivalistic style.
  • May 29, 1765 - Having already left the House of Burgesses, assuming the important assembly business was concluded, Robert Bolling misses Patrick Henry's presentation of the Virginia Resolves against the Stamp Act. That summer, Bolling either does not stand for reelection or is defeated.
  • May 31, 1765 - Robert Bolling posts a marriage bond in Amherst County and marries Susanna Watson on this day or early in June. They will have two sons and two daughters.
  • June 20, 1766 - In the Williamsburg Virginia Gazette, Robert Bolling precipitates a crisis by questioning whether three members of the General Court have shown partiality in bailing their friend John Chiswell, who has been arrested and charged with murder. One of the judges, William Byrd, sues Bolling for libel.
  • October 16, 1766 - Following accusations of bias in a murder case by Robert Bolling, a General Court judge instructs a grand jury to "punish the Licentiousness of the Press," but the jury refuses to indict. Another judge, William Byrd, challenges Bolling to a duel, but both men are arrested and jailed first.
  • 1771 - Robert Bolling's youngest brother, Archibald Bolling, sues him over the inheritance of their brother Edward Bolling, who died in 1770. Archibald's attorney is George Wythe, Robert's is Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson's argument remains one of the best examples of his abilities as a lawyer.
  • February 25, 1773 - Robert Bolling publishes a dissertation on wine making in the Williamsburg Virginia Gazette. The House of Burgesses awarded him £50 sterling a year for five years "in Order to enable him to prosecute his scheme of cultivating Grapes, for the making of Wine."
  • May 20, 1775 - Robert Bolling publishes in the Williamsburg Virginia Gazette a long elegy on the deaths of Virginia militiamen at the Battle of Point Pleasant the previous October during Dunmore's War (1773–1774).
  • July 17, 1775 - The Virginia Convention opens in Richmond. Robert Bolling attends as a representative of Buckingham County.
  • July 21, 1775 - Robert Bolling, in Richmond as a representative of Buckingham County to the Virginia Convention, dies suddenly, possibly of a heart attack.

Links to additional material:

http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/_Elegy_by_Robert_Bolling_1775

  • Bolling, Robert; A Memoir of a Portion of the Bolling Family in England and Virginia, [written by the subject of this profile], available as a free ebook from Google Books.
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Robert Bolling of Chellowe's Timeline

1738
August 17, 1738
Henrico, Virginia
1751
1751
- 1755
Age 12
Wakefield, England
1754
1754
Age 15
Petersburg, Dinwiddie County, Province of Virginia
1755
1755
- 1756
Age 16
London, England
1763
June 5, 1763
Age 24
Virginia
1764
1764
Age 25
1765
1765
Age 26
Amherst, Virginia, USA
1767
1767
Age 28
1768
1768
Age 29
Varina, Henrico, Virginia, USA
1769
1769
Age 30