A Grandfather's Tale: Title pages





William Bolden


Bob Thomson


Chapter 1      The Nursery

Chapter 2        Merchant Apprentice

Chapter 3       The Virginia Trade

Chapter 4       Merchant Trader

Chapter 5      The Africa Trade

Chapter 6      Merchant Slaver

Chapter 7      The Liverpool Firm

Chapter 8      Merchant Matured

Chapter 9      The Graveyard

Chapter 10      Merchant Deceased

Explanatory Note

The chapters alternate between 'fact' and 'fiction'. Regular font is used where the conventions of historical writing apply. Italics are used for narrative that is derived from my imagination. Historical chapters contain characters that did exist and events that did occur during William Bolden's lifetime. Creative chapters contain both real and fictional characters who are brought into contact with particular circumstances. These are occasional events that could have occurred, and often did. However there is no evidence connecting them with William Bolden's actual experience.


Edward Bolden
Edward Bolden
m. Alice
      |                                       |
Edward Bolden           William Bolden
1726-1750                  m. Jennet Bateson
      |                                       |                                     |                                    |                         Mary Bolden            William Bolden                John Bolden                 Alice Bolden 
1729-1749               1730-1800                         1738-                           1739-      
                                m. Sophia Thompson                                             m. John Leonard
                                m. Agnes Raincock                                                          |
                                                                                                         John Leonard/BOLDEN
                                                                                                         m. Mary Satterthwaite
       -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------...>>   |                                 |                               |                                 |                             |
William                    John                      Lemuel                         Armyne                 Sandford
Bolden                    Satterthwaite         BOLDEN                      BOLDEN               George  
BOLDEN                BOLDEN               1816-1898                    1817-1843             BOLDEN
1803-1895             1805-1892                                                                                1819-1843

SOURCE: 'Baptisms, Marriages, Burials', Lancashire Online Parish Clerks,            <www.lan_opc.org.uk>
Other children to William Bolden and Jennet Bateson were Gilbert (1741-1742), Ann (1749-1764), Edward (d.1770), and Anthony (d.1746).
Other children to John Leonard and Mary Satterthwaite were Frances, Alice Jane, Samuel, and Edward.
William Bolden Bolden inherited Hyning Hall on his father's death in 1855. John Satterthwaite Bolden and his three younger brothers, Lemuel, Armyne, and Sandford George, came to Australia and took up Boldens Run in 1839.


To my Grandchildren, who are not, and can never be
From your Grandfather, who is, and was, and is yet to be

I deem it suitable to begin this last Testimony to my heirs with a riddle from Scripture. The answer is of course concealed and will only be revealed after the need to know it has passed. It will then possess the value of nothing, which is the real value of hindsight. But it is the privilege of your elders to appear wise.

My life has been spent in the shadows. I say spent, not squandered. Reward, the return on investment, is always to be found at the margins, at the edge of things, in quiet corners, where crumbs fall and are forgotten. Fortune does not favour the brave. Nor is it captured by Grand Schemes. Rather, it is gleaned carefully, after the great noise of Society has moved on.

My place at the firm of Sparling and Bolden has been in the inner room, behind the curtain, with the muted glow of a single candle and the steady squeak of goose-quill my only accompaniment. Sparling on the other hand is all front room, facing the street, before the counter, loud. A hale and hearty fellow, resplendent even now in knee breeches, broad-flapped coat, gold-laced waistcoat, broad shoes with gold buckles, and crowned with a three-cornered hat. One of the old school of swaggering mariners.

But it is not to memorialise John Sparling that I turn this last page of my Ledger. My line of credit is now too short to waste time on another man's errand. Instead it is my intention to Instruct. I set down these words as my testimony to You, the executors of my accounts, who will Prove my will and testament.

For good or ill, I, William Bolden, merchant of Liverpool, have diverted the course of history and altered destinies, the consequences of which are beyond my measuring.

[Signed by William Bolden at 95 Duke-street, Liverpool,
In the year of our Lord,
One thousand Seven hundred and Ninety-nine]


  1. Thanks for your very informative articles on the Boldens. It might be of some interest to you and others that another of the Bolden brothers who stayed in England also had a chequered story. William Bolden was a solicitor who was a key member of the "Alleged Lunatics Friends Society", an early organisation campaigning for the rights those accused of being "Lunatics". However, when a man he had campaigned to have released from an asylum was soon after sent to prison, he moved in with the man's wife, had 3 children with her and then, seven years later, married her while her husband was still alive and her lawful husband!


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