The Taylor’s of Culpeper, Virginia (1877-1945)

William Frazier Taylor Jr WillieEthelEffieTaylorCropWilliam Frazier TAYLOR, Jr.

William Frazier Taylor, Jr., was my great grand uncle and brother to my
paternal great grandmother, Lottie L. Taylor Chambers. (It’s uncanny, my brother John’s son, Matthew Burton Boling, four generations later, is the spitting image of William as he appeared in the image on the left.)

When William was born on April 5, 1881, in Virginia, he was the fourth of eight children. His father, William Frazier Taylor, was 36, and his mother, Hannah G., 24.

A Christmas Wedding in Culpeper

William, or “Will/Willie” as they called him, married Willie Ethel “Effie” POPE, above, daughter of John D. Pope and Sarah Jewel Worlledge on December 25, 1901, in Culpeper, Virginia–home of both families.

1900 United States Census Record

In 1900, W.F. Taylor was 18 years old and lived in Stevensburg, Virginia with his mother, 3 brothers, and 3 sisters. If you look closely at the census record below you can see that the Pope and Taylor families were neighbors. In fact, Willie E., daughter, on line 19, was Effie and on line 25, Molly Grymes Taylor, Will’s mother was head of the household and a widow since 1897.


1910 United States Census Record

According to the 1910 census record, Willie was 29 years old and 10 people lived at their residence in Stevensburg, VA: Willie, Effie, Willie’s mother Molly, their first three children, his two sisters, Mary G. and Lottie L.; and his brother, Frank Taylor. The occupation field (not shown here) lists him as a manufacturer or owns his own factory.


The Taylor’s had Six Children in 15 years: TaylorChildren

Fred, George, Maggie, William

Fred, George, Maggie, William

The picture to the left was probably taken around 1912. It is of Will and Effie’s first four children: Fred, standing in back, about 9; George on the left, about 7, William, the baby, less than 1, and Maggie, about 4.

Draft Registration Record 1917-1918

Draft Registration

On 6 April 1917, the United States declared war on Germany and officially entered World War I. Six weeks later, on 18 May 1917, the Selective Service Act was passed, which authorized the president to increase the military establishment of the United States. As a result, every male living within the United States between the ages of eighteen and forty-five was required to register for the draft. William Frazier Taylor, Jr., was living in Raccoon Ford, Culpeper, Virginia, when he registered. He listed his birth year as 1880 and age as 38, instead of his recorded birth year of 1881. The age limit for registering for WWI was 45, so I’m not sure why the discrepancy here.

1920 United States Census Record


Ike and Corabeth Godsey

Joe Conley and Ronnie Claire Edwards as General Merchants and Postmaster on the 1971-1981 “The Walton’s” TV show.

In the 1920 Census, William listed his occupation as a general merchant and a postmaster, consistent with his draft registration card. This means the Taylor’s lived on historic Civil War Cedar Mountain in Culpeper County, Virginia, and the size of their large and extended family may have been very much like that of Ike and Corabeth Walton Godsey on Walton’s Mountain, in the Piedmont area of Virginia at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.


Battle of Cedar Mountain August 9, 1862

The Battle of Cedar Mountain was the first serious clash between the Army of Northern Virginia and Major General John Pope’s (related to Effie Pope?) new Army of Virginia. The close-run Confederate victory at Cedar Mountain was the springboard for the 1862 Northern Virginia campaign that brought the fighting back to the fields of Manassas in August of 1862.

Will and Effie never wandered far from their beginnings within Culpeper County. The map below highlights a number of significant places where the Taylor family lived and commuted during their lives.Culpeper County is, in fact, located in the beautiful Piedmont area of Virginia, at the eastern foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and nestled within the Rappahannock River Basin. Batna, Virginia, where the Taylor families lived and worked was only 3.9 miles northeast from Raccoon Ford. And Stevensburg, noted as William Taylor’s address in the 1900-1910 censuses was just 6 miles NNE away from Raccoon Ford.

Raccoon Ford, VA Map

William Frazier Taylor, Jr., Dies at Age 43

WFTaylorObitWilliam died in Lignum, Virginia, on August 29, 1924, at age 43, from bronchial asthma. Wm F Taylor Jr. HeadstoneWilliam was buried not far from his home in Raccoon Ford, in Lael Cemetery, Lignum, Virginia.

Six year’s after her husband’s death, Effie had moved to Southeast, Washington, DC., where she recorded herself as head of the household in the 1930 Census. Several of her children, now in their late teens and early 20’s were still living at home with her. And yet again, in the 1940 Census, the record shows an extended and blended Taylor family, with Effie still as head, living at 1354 D. Street, S.E., Washington, DC.

Effie's headstone

Effie died about 21 years after her husband, Will. Unfortunately, Will’s grave is in Virginia and Effie’s is in Suitland, Prince George’s County, Maryland, just southeast of the Washington, DC boundary lines. And, Effie’s death certificate lists her cause of death as breast cancer. Apparently, she had had it for about 18 months.


Hello Again, World – My 145th Post

My First Post – Eight Months Ago

salem-witches 1692-1693

salem-witches 1692-1693

Eight months ago on November 15, 2012, I published “Hello World“–my 341-word first blogpost ever, under the category of Witches and Witchcraft.  I wondered then if some of my family from among the 40 generations I have traced back could have been among those accused of witchcraft in Connecticut or Winston-Salem, Massachusetts.  I noted that most women and men who were accused in the 15th-19th centuries were feared for their nonconformist ways more than anything else.  And, I wondered if I inherited my self initiative and personal drive from anyone of those accused. By the way, the jury remains out on those issues.

So, despite only six people reading my first post, I went on to write 144 others on a variety of categories over the next eight months; making today’s post number 145!  And today, I took to data mining my blog’s statistics to see just how readership and visits stand at my 100th post.

Understanding my blog’s readership demographics

On April 25, 2013, Our Heritage:  12th Century and Beyond, captured its largest number of readers in one day–totalling 74:  as you can see, many people that day were drawn to my Home page/Archives (24), and the Plymouth Pilgrims, Puritans, The Great Migration…post (10).

April 25-2013Stats

On June 19th, one of my most popular posts was about a  “dragon boat racing event” to end hunger in Calvert County.  It received 39 views, but a total of 66 views were made of the blog site that day.  This post had nothing to do with my family genealogy but did hit a home run on topic and history of a little known sport for a good cause.  And, today I have 88 blog followers and the following keeps growing, too.

The United States’ State Department recognizes 195 independent countries from around the world.  The U.S.Census Bureau posts today’s world population at 7,097,725,000 and counting.   My blog’s readership in comparison is small, but steadily growing.  To date, 3,350 people from 64 countries–one third of the world’s countries, have read at least one of my posts.  Below are the top five countries based on overall readership, with the remaining 190 countries making up 6.1 percent of the world’s remaining readers to visit my site.  The Census Bureau’s total estimated population for today (and counting) is 316 million. That means a little over one percent of the U.S. population has read a post from my blog during the past eight months.

Blog Readership

Googling for other genealogy-based blogs

I then googled “genealogy blogs,” to see just how many I might find out there.  There actually is a site Genealogy Blog Finder that tracks 1,782 blogs worldwide.  It lets you filter by:  recently updated, what’s new, and who’s blogging where in the world:Genealogy Blog FinderSo, it made sense to me when I learned that nearly 86 percent of my readership is in the United States.’s study of blog readership states that there are actually over 157 million blogs on Tumblr and WordPress, alone.  Comparing the 157 million blogs number to the 1,782 genealogy blogs, I see that just 1.14 percent of all of those blogs are genealogy-based posts.  

And finally, according to; “No wonder many bloggers have a hard time getting noticed.  There are more than 144 million blogs in the world, publishing 1 million posts per day. So there is some competition.”

When I reflected on these staggering facts, I can only feel very appreciative for all readers who have taken their time to find and read my posts.  Happy blogging and reading.  Hope you will visit with me again!


The Tudors and Taylors: My British Connection

The TudorsThe Tudors

Two years ago, we watched on Netflix, almost incessantly, 38 streamed episodes of Showtime TV’s monumental, award winning series The Tudors.  The Tudors originally aired from
April 1, 2007 to June 10, 2010. It starred the 35-year-old Golden Globe award-winning Irish actor, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers,  (2nd from left in the photo), and this year’s 30-year-old, British born actor, Man of Steel star, Henry Cavill, (bottom right in photo),  and many More.

The timeline of the historic Tudor dynasty began in 1485 with King Henry VII (Henry Tudor), the first of the Tudor monarchs.  He had a claim to the throne through his mother, Margaret Beaufort who was the great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt (son of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault). Henry’s Lancastrian forces defeated those of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth and Richard III was killed. Henry seized the throne and married Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV, uniting the Houses of Lancaster and York, represented in the Tudor Rose.  This is also about the time that King Henry VII and my Taylor ancestors came to meet each other for the very first time.
The TV show starred Jonathan Rhys Meyers as King Henry VIII, a charismatic and notoriously amorous figure with a lust for life, and for the beautiful women at court. His dutiful wife Catherine had served him lovingly for more than a decade, but the wife of a king in 1520 must do more than serve – she must produce an heir. As the young monarch contended with each advisor playing their own interest in the threat of war with France, fear over the security of the Tudor line grew steadily in his mind, so much so that he became involved with the bewitching and ambitious Anne Boleyn.  This scenario sets off a chain of events that would change history – igniting an onslaught of tumult and intrigue that would rage on for years, serving as the catalyst for political divide, religious war, and romantic betrayal. John Taylor’s biography that follows links and interwines his life, education, and professional accomplishments to both monarch’s (Kings Henry VII and VIII) and many of prominent “notables” of his day. Many of these fellow men and women were portrayed in The Tudor TV series.  The series was rife with notables of the day–very few of them were what I would consider honorable men.  In fact, as history has it, many of them were despicable men and women out for personal gain and power at whatever the cost to God and country.  Hmmm…

The British Connection

But, little did I know when viewing the intrigue of The Tudors  with all of its history that my ancestors would be directly in the throes of their power, politics, love, religion, and blasphemy and probably aligned with the most controversial royal line ever among England’s monarchical dynasties. You might ask; “Well, just how did this British Connection begin?”  And there’s just one answer.  The Taylor’s were connected by time, geographic proximity, and quite frankly and most importantly, the anomaly of a multiple birth that bore healthy triplets–an extraordinary event 500+ years ago.  

The Taylors
Cottage_in_Needwood_Forest_by_Joseph_Wright_1790About 1477, in Barton-under-Needwood, a large village in Staffordshire, England, triplet sons were born to Joan, wife of one William Taylor who was employed as a game warden in the Forest of Needwood.  John Taylor, the first born of the triplets, along with his brothers Rowland, Nathaniel and their sister Elizabeth lived in a cottage to the north-east of the Church Lane, where several of the village’s timber-framed cottages stood. Members of the Taylor family had lived in Barton since 1345, and William Taylor and his wife, Joan, took possession of their cottage in 1471.  To the best of my knowledge, local maps of today’s Church Lane in Staffordshire, Stafford, England appears to be about 30 or so miles from Buckingham, where today’s Queen Elizabeth resides.
It was this John Taylor (1477-1534) who was son of William Taylor (1450-1477) and Margaret De Fairsted (1457-1546) of Shadoxhurst, Kent, England that is my 13th paternal great grandfather. 
King Henry VII (1457-1509)

King Henry VII (1457-1509)

The story of the triplets’ life had a folk-tale quality to it.  Robert Plot’s History of Staffordshire 1686) tells of three babies being presented to King Henry VII because of the rarity of multiple births.  However, Henry VII  took the throne in 1485.  So,  it’s likely that the King saw the triplets as three young boys.  It is rumored that he also envisioned them as a symbol of the Holy Trinity.  It was then that King Henry VII promised to educate the three boys if they survived into manhood and he kept his word.

Additionally, the triple birth, inspired Queen Victoria’s Royal Bounty for Triplets which remained in effect until sometime during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign that began in 1952. All three boys were educated at a University ‘beyond the seas’, probably in France or Italy.

John Taylor’s Biography

About 1503 John Taylor was ordained Rector at Bishop’s Hatfield. Soon afterwards he often went abroad on official business.  He was, in fact, a  House of Tudor civil servant. In 1504, he became Rector of Sutton Coldfield. By 1509 he had become Prebendary  (similar to a non-residentiary Canon) of Eccleshall in Lichfield Cathedral and was one of the Royal Chaplains at Henry VII’s funeral.

IKing Henry VIIIn the same year, the new King Henry VIII appointed him King’s Clerk and Chaplain and two years later he was made Clerk to the Parliament and given other positions. The detailed diary of a French campaign he undertook with the King is preserved in the British Museum. He wrote Royal Speeches, met Ambassadors and was rewarded by more ecclesiastical promotions, including that of Archdeacon of Derby in 1515 and later Royal Ambassador to Burgundy and France and Prolocutor of Convocation. In 1516 he also became Archdeacon of Buckingham. He was incorporated by virtue of his degrees of Doctor of Civil Law and Doctor of Canon Law at Cambridge in 1520 on the occasion of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey’s visit there and shortly afterwards in 1522 at Oxford, also.

1520:  The Field of the Cloth of Gold – Meeting between France and England

Field of the Cloth of GoldThe famous meeting between Henry VIII and Francois I of France called took place in June 1520 in Northern France. It was intended to strengthen peace ties between France and England. Masterminded by the great Cardinal  Wolsey, each king and Court strove to one-up  the other. Henry was accompanied by 5,000 people and spent in excess of £13,000 on the splendor of the occasion. In attendance were ten chaplains, including John Taylor. The King ordered each priest to be clothed in damask and satin and each to be followed by his own attendants, not exceeding ten persons and four horses. The English built a palace-like pavilion of wood and canvas with expansive windows. The Flemish glazier Galyon Hone created the windows. Fine wines flowed from drinking fountains.

The first church built in 1157 was a chapel of ease in the parish of Tatenhill and was possibly situated near to the present Church in a field called Hall Orchard, the location of Church Lane. A chest from that medieval church dated from between 1100 and 1300 is all that remains. John Taylor inherited his father’s land and endowed his new church there. Work commenced in 1517, as carved on the south side of the tower, with completion in 1533 the year before John Taylor died. The register dates from 1571 in the reign of Elizabeth I. The church is a rare example of a church being completed in one lifetime. It was originally dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene but when things Catholic fell from favor in the middle of 16th century the church changed its name to St. James. The church has a three-sided apse, a rare form in this county, part of the John Taylor design. Inscriptions over alternate pillars of the nave tell of John Taylor’s career, together with representations of his coat of arms, the head and shoulders of three children and a Tudor rose.

It was begun in 1517 which date appears on the tower. Inside, inscriptions over alternate pillars of the nave tell of John Taylor’s promotions and illustrious career, between these are representations of the coat-of-arms he adopted.

By the time the Tudor Church was finished and dedicated in 1533, John Taylor was already a sick and troubled man. In 1527 he had become Master of the Rolls, the peak of his appointments, he was travelling to and from France on Royal business and he had been appointed one of the commissioners to try the validity of the King’s marriage to Lady Catherine of Aragon. It seems possible that Cardinal Wolsey had used John Taylor in a vain attempt to find a suitable French princess for a future Queen of England should the divorce be granted. His dread of Anne Boleyn was well-known.

In 1528 he became Archdeacon of Halifax. At the peak of his career Taylor was suddenly under pressure to surrender his prebend at St. Stephen’s, Westminster, another of his appointments, and he was suffering badly with a diseased leg. Whether his health failed or he incurred Royal disfavor is not known, but he wrote his will and resigned as Master of the Rolls, and Lord Thomas Cromwell (doomed also to fall from Royal favor) was his successor.  John Taylor died in 1534. The place of John Taylor’s burial has not been traced, though there is thought to have been a monument to him in St. Anthony in London’s Threadneedle Street.

There is a touching sentence in his will (in Latin of course) “nothing in the world is more fleeting than human life and that nothing follows more certainly than death, and that nothing is more uncertain than the hour of our death and how transitory are the worldly goods provided for us by the goodness of God”.

He left various bequests to churches at Shottesbrooke in Berkshire and Bishop’s Hatfield and Lincoln Cathedral. His servants and his sister Elizabeth, his executors, nephews and cousins shared the contents of his considerable household in his home at Bethnal Green.


Field of the Cloth of Gold;

Honoring a Couple of Bolling Cousins, Among America’s Wartime Vets

OBITUARY:  Dr. Robert Hagedorn Bolling–My Third Paternal Cousin (Descendant of Robert Bolling, Jr. of Petersburg, VA

(Also cousin to Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, too…)

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, February 18, 1927 – Dr. Robert Hagedorn Bolling, cousin of Mrs. Woodrow Wilson and Chief Surgeon of the United States, died in the Chestnut Hill Hospital this afternoon following an operation on Monday.  He was in his sixtieth year. A son of the late Dr. Robert Bolling, widely known physician, he had spent most of his life in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, living for the last thirty-six years in the house built by his father. Dr. Bolling was graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and five years later from the university’s Medical School.  He married Miss Julia Campbell Russell, daughter of Rear Admiral A. W. Russell of the United States Navy. Both Dr. Bolling and his son, Captain Alexander Russell Bolling, now an infantry Major in the regular army, served in the World War, the former being stationed at Plattsburg, the Watervliet, New York, Arsenal. Carlstrom Flying Field, Arcadia, Florida, and Camp Lee, Virginia.  In 1920 he was commissioned to do sanitary work in Nicaragua and since then had been identified with the United States Lines.  Burial will be in the National Cemetery at Arlington.


Lieutenant General Alexander R. Bolling

DATE OF BIRTH: 08/28/1895 DATE OF DEATH: 06/03/1964

Figured in Army-McCarthy Hearings – In 2 Wars

COCO BEACH, Florida, June 3, 1964 – Lieutenant General Alexander R. Bolling, former Chief of Army Intelligence, who became a controversial figure during the Army-McCarthy hearings, died today at the Patrick Air Force Base Hospital.  He was 68 years old. General Bolling ended his 38-year Army career in 1955 as commander of the Third Army.  Later he became an executive of the Carling Brewing Company.  He retired from that post in 1960. He is survived by his widow, the former Mary Josephine Hoyer; a son, Lieutenant Colonel A. R. Bolling, Jr.; and two daughters, Josephine, wife of Brigadier General Roderick Wetherill, and Barbara, wife of Lieutenant Colonel Clarence L. Thomas, USA, retired. While General Bolling was head of Army Intelligence, a “secret” government document turned up, presented by the late Senator Joseph R. McCarthy at a hearing of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The Wisconsin Republican was involved in a dispute with the Army in 1954.  When the Senator offered in testimony a “letter” from J. Edgar Hoover, head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to General Bolling, there was uproar about a breach of security, since the “letter” was clearly marked “secret.” According to Senator McCarthy, the “letter” proved that the Army had disregarded FBI security warning about various civilian employees at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. Senator McCarthy said he had received the “letter” from a young Army Intelligence officer. Later testimony tended to show that the FBI “letter” was a part of a 15-page FBI secret document. Attorney General Herbert Brownell, also a Republican, later riled that Senator McCarthy had not been entitled to have a copy of the report and that anyone involved in the dissemination of the document could be prosecuted. The Senate later censured Senator McCarthy.  The contents of the report were never disclosed. As Intelligence Chief, General Bolling was involved in a number of security cases.  In 1952, General Robert W. Grow, then attached to the United States Embassy in Moscow, was convicted by an Army court-martial of improperly keeping a diary while serving in a maximum security area. The trial had stemmed from the supposed theft of the diary by a Soviet agent, and it was charged that General Grow’s personal comments had been a security risk. After the incident, General Bolling called for the reinstatement of wartime regulations against high-ranking officers’ maintaining diaries.  However, he also praised General Grow and defended the policy of selecting high officers with excellent combat records to serve in diplomatic posts around the world. General Bolling, who was born in Philadelphia, entered the Army in 1917 as a Reserve Lieutenant.  He served with the Fourth Infantry Regiment during five campaigns in France and won the Distinguished Service Cross for heroism. In later campaigns he also won the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf cluster, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. During World War II, General Bolling commanded the 84th Infantry Division – known as the Railsplitters because of its Illinois background – and directed its operations from the Siegfried Line to the Elbe River.  He often appeared at division reunions and spoke rousingly of its victories. After the war, the General was transferred to staff duty at the Pentagon and soon rose to Assistant Chief of Staff G-2 (Intelligence). NOTE: His son, Alexander Russell Bolling, Jr., also went on to become an Army General.  AR Bolling Gravesite PHOTO

Photo Courtesy of Russell C. Jacobs, January 2006

Alexander R. “Bud” Bolling, Jr. 

DATE OF BIRTH: 09/11/1922 DATE OF DEATH: 10/06/2011

The article that follows was written by:  The Golden Brigade Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association, 2012

MGAlexRBollingJrWhen Alexander R. Bolling, Jr. was born (on 11 September 1922) at Fort McPherson, Georgia; his father was a young captain, just embarking on a military career. From the beginning, the new heir to the family name was called “Buddy” (later contracted to “Bud”), and from the beginning, there was never a moment when young Bud Bolling didn’t plan on following in his father’s footsteps. The United States Military Academy at West Point was the only institution of higher learning that he ever considered attending. His early years were as routine as those of any “army child” can be. With the family moving to a new location at fairly frequent intervals, he attended seven schools before his 1939 graduation from Newton High School in Massachusetts. The following year, he competed for and won a Presidential appointment to West Point and on 1 July 1940, he became a cadet. World War II erupted during Bolling’s sophomore year, and his class was chosen to forego vacations and other absences from the academy so that it could be graduated in three years. Bolling, already fluent in French, was selected as one of fifty cadets to learn the German language – a selection which would stand him in good stead less than four years later when he escaped from a German prisoner-of-war camp. On 1 June 1943, 2d Lieutenant Bolling graduated from West Point. After a few weeks of additional tactical training at Fort Benning, Georgia, he proceeded to Camp Robinson, near Little Rock, Arkansas, to join his first unit, the 66th Infantry Division. Shortly after his arrival at Camp Robinson, he was introduced to Frances Bigbee, the daughter of the vice-principle of the Little Rock Senior High School. From the moment of their first meeting, Bud and Fran were together whenever the wartime training of his unit was suspended momentarily. In early July 1944, however, the division was transferred to Alabama, and shortly thereafter, Bolling was ordered to proceed to a new organization in Mississippi, the 94th Infantry Division. Almost before Bud and Fran had time to say good-bye to one another, the 94th moved north by train to New York City, embarked as an entity (20,000 men) on the British luxury liner Queen Elizabeth, and sailed eastward. The ship arrived in Scotland four and a half days later, and the troops were immediately moved by train to southern England. Equipment was drawn. The men and their new equipment were directed aboard landing craft, and by mid-August 1944, the 4th Infantry Division had raced across Omaha Beach and moved into line in Brittany. It had been a rapid trip from the heart of Mississippi to southwestern France. The fall months were spent containing German units bottled up in the ports of Saint Nazaire and Lorient. Bud Bolling, an infantry platoon leader, spent much of his time patrolling behind enemy lines and redirecting fire against targets he had located while on patrol. At one point, while deep in enemy territory, he accidentally encountered some French underground forces, with whom he remained an entire week gathering information. His knowledge of French was of particular value during this period. When the Battle of Ardennes occurred in mid-December 1944, Bolling’s unit was rushed north to fill one of the gaps created. After bitter fighting in painfully cold weather, the German advance was stopped, and the 94th Infantry Division (in mid-January 1945) began a counteroffensive along the Moselle River, fighting north toward Trier. The German high command deployed its elite 11th Panzer Division against the 94th. Intense combat was the result, and on 20 January 1945, Lt. Bolling was wounded and captured while attempting to reach an isolated infantry company. Bolling was taken to the rear. His wounds were treated with what little medicine the German captors had at the time. He was then evacuated another 10 miles, where he was questioned, fed, and given a bed on which to rest. Shortly after midnight, he managed to escape from his guard, hiding in a snow-filled ditch while his captors searched for him. His freedom was short-lived, however, because a weary German soldier decided to return to the troop area after the search by taking a direct route across the field where Bud was hiding. Shortly thereafter, a frightened Lieutenant Bolling was standing in front of a German colonel wondering what would happen. Instead of punishing him, the colonel extended the congratulations of the commanding general of the 11th Panzer Division for the young American’s demonstration of bravery. He then explained that Bolling would have to be evacuated to the rear more rapidly than anticipated and that this would be punishment enough because the food was not as plentiful in the rear. At 2:00 a.m., a truck arrived. Bolling was awakened and taken to an isolated farm house occupied by a German housewife and her elderly mother. The small home was located at the top of a treeless hill. With snow more than three feet deep, the only access to the building was by way of a narrow path running some four hundred yards from the road below. On the road, at the entrance to the path, there were two armed guards. There was no way to escape. It turned out that the “Hausfrau” had a husband who had been taken prisoner of war two years earlier and had been incarcerated in the United States. His letters from America gave such a glowing report of his treatment that the woman and her mother seemed to go out of their way to show their gratitude. Though food was scarce throughout Germany, Lieutenant Bolling was treated to meals of fresh eggs, pork, potatoes and milk, and the two women took turns throughout the night to keep the small wood stove burning in the kitchen while Bolling slept on its dirt floor. Little did he know that this would be the last warmth and the last good food he would experience for more than two months. The comfort ended abruptly on 22 January, when Bud was transported to a more standard prison camp north of the Rhine River in the town of Limburg. Because his Army serial number gave away the fact that he was a career officer, and because the Germans knew that there was an American Division commander in Germany bearing the same name as their new prisoner, he was immediately extracted from the group of prisoners at the camp and taken to a medieval castle in the middle of the town of Diez, just three kilometers away. In this castle was a highly sophisticated interrogation center. Bud spent ten days in the center, living in a small cell high in the tower of the castle. Given only a bowl of bland soup to eat each day, he was periodically taken to a luxuriously appointed room, where he was questioned, threatened, and occasionally punished for failure to respond. It was a long ten days. The Germans finally gave up on Bolling, and he was returned to the camp at Limburg. Planning for a second attempt began. However, just as plans were nearing completion, the entire group of approximately five hundred prisoners was marched to the railroad station and placed in railroad boxcars. For five days, the prisoners were kept locked in the boxcars. Once or twice a day, the trains would halt, the doors would slide open, and German guards would throw chunks of cheese into the freezing mass of humanity trapped inside. On the fifth day, the train arrived at Hammelburg, near Schweinfurt, Germany. Those prisoners who could walk were marched up a hill to a permanent prison camp. Those who had died on the trip were left behind. Those who were critically ill were taken to a dispensary established for that purpose. It was now the tenth of March, and Bud Bolling had not seen a warm room or a decent meal since he left the little farm house on top of the hill. Conditions at Hammelburg were almost as harsh as those at Limburg. Germans who were not at the front had very little food for themselves, and they certainly had no intention of giving their prisoners more food than the locals citizens could expect. Blankets were also in short supply, so the prisoners had to sleep bundled together to keep from freezing to death. Bolling and a few of his friends decided that escape was the only way to get food. Even if recaptured, the captors would be inclined to feed their new captives in order to find out how American officers got so far behind the lines. On 27 March 1945, after an abortive attempt to reach the camp by a small contingent of General Patton’s army, Bud and three friends managed to escape during the resulting confusion. Two of the friends were too weak to go on and turned back. Eleven days later, after wandering many miles in an attempt to get through enemy lines, Bud and his friend, Bob Jonscher, of Washington, D.C. – plus two soldiers who had joined them along the way – entered the town of Obervolkach on the Main River, thinking that it had already been captured by advancing American forces. It hadn’t, but the town mayor surrendered to Bolling and his group. With his knowledge of both French and German, Bud located some forty French prisoners who had worked in the town for almost three years. A provisional French platoon was formed, using confiscated hunting weapons and local bicycles. It was charged with the task of guarding the town till the arrival of American units. Bud and his companions then went upstairs in the town hall and gorged themselves on American Red Cross parcels which had somehow managed to reach the French prisoners. They then fell into a deep sleep in immaculately clean beds. The following morning, on 8 April 1945, American troops from the 42d Infantry Division were led into town by one of the French prisoners, who had used a confiscated bicycle to find friendly forces. The young lieutenant was processed through administrative channels to the large facilities that had been established to handle expected to be liberated at war’s end. Because of the length of time he had spent in enemy hands, Bolling was, in accordance with the rules of the Geneva Convention, supposed to be evacuated from the theater of war. However, he found an opportunity to go north to visit his father, General Alec Bolling, whose troops were in the process of capturing Hannover and who, until that time, had thought his son had been killed in action on 20 January. Always the professional military man, General Bolling agreed that a career officer should remain in the combat zone at least until victory had been achieved. Thus, arrangements were made for Lieutenant Bolling to be assigned to the 84th Infantry Division, his father’s unit. Bud had lost forty pounds as a prisoner, so General Bolling kept his son at division headquarters for a week to rest and regain his strength. He was then sent down to the front lines, where he became the commander of one of the most committed infantry companies in the division. The war ended without further incident.  Bolling and his company finished the conflict on the Elbe River, just thirty miles from Berlin.  The unit was then given an area to occupy pending the arrival of trained military government elements. It was during this period that Bud had an opportunity to repay the kindness of the 11th Panzer Division leaders.  With thousands of hungry and disheartened German soldiers fleeing the Russians and attempting to get back to their homes, roadblocks had to be established to screen the people pushing westward.  Bolling had all soldiers identified as former members of the 11th Panzer Division brought to his command post.  There they were told the story of 20 January, given cigarettes and food, and thanked personally be a very grateful American officer. With the creation of zones to be occupied be each of the victorious nations, Bolling’s unit was moved south to the vicinity of Heildelberg.  Shortly thereafter, Captain (note the promotion) Bolling was ordered to proceed to West Point to become an instructor in the German language. Prior to assuming his new duties, however, he was granted a leave of absence.  On 17 December 1945, Bud Bolling and Frances Bigbee were married in Little Rock.  They proceeded to New York. The next twenty years were characterized by a pattern similar to that followed by Bud’s father – – frequent moves and interesting sights.  The assignment at West Point lasted almost three years, and during that period, the Bollings had their first child, Kathryn Josephine Bolling.  She was born on 28 July 1947. In 1948, the family moved to Brazil after Bud had completed an intensified course in the Portuguese language.  Shortly after their arrival, on 18 January 1949, their son, Alexander Russell Bolling III, was born. The tour of duty in Brazil was followed be advanced military schooling, service in Taiwan, a second assignment at West Point, and a year at the Army War College.  By this time, the conflict in Vietnam was festering, and Bolling now a lieutenant colonel became an advisor to the Vietnamese Army.  Upon his return, he was assigned to the Directorate of Operations on the Department of the Army staff in Washington. Three years later, after a promotion to colonel, Bud was offered, in December 1966, an opportunity to join the famous 82nd Airborne Division in North Carolina.  He was delighted, for this had been a lifelong dream to work with elite soldiers as a brigade or regimental commander. Slightly more than a year after he had joined the 82nd, as a commanding officer of its 3rd Brigade, Colonel Bolling and his unit were ordered by the President of the United States to fly without delay to Vietnam to assist in countering the enemy threat during the Tet Offensive of February 1968.  Bolling, with 4,000 officers and men and all of their equipment, began the ten-thousand mile trip within twenty four hours after receipt of orders from the White House and completed it within ten days. For the third time, Bud Bolling was back in combat.  It wasn’t until the summer of 1969 that he was ordered home, after eighteen months of difficult and intense fighting. Having been promoted while in Vietnam, General Bolling was assigned once again to the Pentagon in Washington as Director of Organization for the United States Army.  In less than two years, he had received another promotion (to major general) and was sent to Fort Lewis, Washington to command one of the Army’s largest installations. It was a delightful assignment.  In 1972, however, Bud was ordered once again to Brazil to assume the highest U.S. military post in the country.  His familiarity with the language and acquaintanceship with the incumbent Brazilian leaders was probably the reason army authorities chose to send him there, but it resulted in his decision the following year to retire from the Army and settle somewhere in the United States so that he could at least occasionally see his children and grandchildren. On 1 September 1973, after more than thirty-three years in uniform, Bud retired from the Army.  During his many years of service to his nation, he had earned two Distinguished Service Medals, three Silver Stars for bravery under fire, three Legions of Merit, two Bronze Stars for valor, eighteen Air Medals, The Purple Heart for wounds received in combat, and numerous other decorations.  He was most proud, however, of his parachutist badge and the two combat infantryman’s badges, which he often said were the true symbols of his life as a soldier.

Alexander Russell Bolling Jr

Alexander Russell Bolling Jr

General Bolling passed away on Thursday morning, October 6, 2011 in Dallas , TX at 89 years of age. He will be interred in historic Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg , VA. He will join his wife and many generations of his family in peace. A memorial service will be held at Christ & Grace Episcopal Church in Petersburg. The Golden Brigade Chapter will be well represented at his service.