SAMUEL P. BOLLING 100th ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATION

Mt. Nebo Baptist Church††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† August 20, 2000

 

 


Samuel P. Bolling was born a slave on January 10, 1819 on a plantation not far from the present location of Mt. Nebo Baptist Church.His mother was Olive Bolling, a slave and his father was Lenaeus Bolling, a descendant of Pocahontas.He was trained as a skilled mechanic and expert bricklayer, which gave him freedom of movement and the ability to earn money.One of his masters, "old man Venable", hired him out to the town of Farmville for numerous construction projects.

 

Sam Bolling bought his own freedom before the Civil War and later bought the freedom of his wife, Ellen Gantt.In a transaction carried out by an agreement drawn in 1857, and for which he provided the money, he arranged for the sale of his aged mother to his former master, one of the terms of the agreement being that her new master would claim no right to her services, thereby permitting his mother to spend her last years dividing her time between her two sons.

 

Although Sam Bolling had known the harshness of slavery, he was capable of showing charity and humanity to his fellow man regardless of race.During the Civil War, he cared for "old man Venable" until his death, and after the war provided sustenance for some members of his white Bolling family who had fallen upon hard times.

 

Sam Bolling was a farmer, an expert bricklayer, and a brick manufacturer who marketed his product throughout the entire state.During peak business periods he employed over 200 workers.He owned property in Farmville, and his farm outside of Farmville covered over 1100 acres, half of which is still owned by his descendants today.

 

Sam Bolling represented Cumberland and Buckingham in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1885 to 1887, and Bedford from 1891 to 1894, and was the last Negro to serve in the General Assembly of Virginia until the latter part of the 20th century.

 

Sam Bolling and his wife Ellen had six children, Olive Rebecca, Philip, Lewis Robert, Mary, Eliza, and Martha Ellen.He died on February 8, 1900 and is buried in Cumberland County, Virginia.His living descendants include two great-grandchildren, six great-great-grandchildren, and twelve great-great-great-grandchildren.The members of the Bolling family who are in attendance today are great-great-great-grandson Mason R. Almeida, great-great-granddaughter, Pamela A. Mason,and great-granddaughter, Edna Bolling Jacques.

 

Sam Bollingís name appears on the deed, dated August 25, 1879, that documents the acquisition of the land for Mt. Nebo Baptist Church.He was one of the original Deacons of the church.Lewis Robert Bolling,Samís son, was also a Deacon of Mt. Nebo, and his other children, as well as most of his grandchildren, were members of the Mt. Nebo congregation.

 

The descendants of Samuel P. Bolling would like to take this opportunity to thank you for joining us in commemorating the 100th anniversary of his death.His life is an inspiring one, for although he was born a slave, through his thrift and industry and the grace of God he rose to become one of the wealthiest and most influential Negroes in 19th century Virginia.


 
 

© 2014, Edna Bolling Jacques