Bolton Family

The Boltons are descendants of an ancient English family that owned landed estates located in both Lancashire and Yorkshire during the time of the conquest. Originally Bodelton, the family has traced their ancestry back to about 1135, and to the Lord of Bolton, representative of the Saxon earls of Murica. Everard Bolton likely descended from the titled Bolton family. His parents William and Mary and family, were Friends who suffered persecution with others on account of their religion. Because of this, Bolton decided to come to America and take part in William Penn’s, “ Holy Experiment”.(1)centerblock1.jpgEverard sailed to Pennsylvania on the ship Bristol Factor, with his wife and two children in 1682. As a Quaker, he brought a certificate of removal dated August 19, 1682 with him.(2)  He purchased 100 acres in Cheltenham from William Penn under surveys dated November 10, 1682. A 1684 survey from the Surveyor Generals Office in Harrisburg includes, “…in the parish of Cheltenham upon Tookany Creek surveyed for Everard Bolton a tract of land. Beginning at a stake standing by a large white oak tree marked for a corner, thence by the land of Mr. Browne SW 480 perches to a stake marked for a corner, thence NW 33 1/2 perches to black oak sapling marked for a corner, thence NE 480 perches to a stake standing on the east side of a small ?, from thence SE to the first mentioned place of beginning”. It is important to note that Everard’s dwelling house is not located on his original 100 acre property.  In 1694 he purchased another 400acres in Cheltenham from William Brown, which is where the house is located, in addition to 600 acres near Horsham. In 1702, he purchased a large lot in the city of Philadelphia for 132 pounds, apparently for investment.(3)


Center Block Blueprint

Center Block Blueprint

At this time Cheltenham was primarily an agricultural area. In a style typical of late seventeenth century Pennsylvania settlers, Bolton built a simple stone Quaker Plan house, believed to be what is now the center block of Heidelberg (c.1694-1710). This fine example of architecture of the period measures 25’x27’.  Builders used the more readily available fieldstone as the primary building material as stone buildings were considered to be more attractive, comfortable and durable by their owners.(4)  The stones used were likely from a quarry, located on the property, according to an 1856 map. Larger stones were placed at the corners while various sized stones placed in a crude fashion were used on the facades.  This center block has three bays and eighteen- inch thick walls and a transom light over the front door. It also has a moderate pitched roof, which includes a brick chimney in the door bay at the gabled end. All of these are features are typical of the style. William Penn recommended a three-room plan as a “beginner house” in advertising for his new colonists around 1694,(5) in which again, the center block of Heidelberg is a perfect example. It includes a large room that has an entrance on the North elevation, a fireplace on the West elevation, and a curved, enclosed staircase on the South elevation, equal to the size of the other two rooms combined. 


Everard, a yeoman, became prominent in the business meetings of the Religious Society of Friends. His solid character and level head earned him a place on every important Committee. As one of the mainstays of the Abington Meeting, Everard was frequently present at Monthly Meetings and was a founder of the Abington Friends School. Beginning in 1693 he was a representative at the Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting until 1704. He was also the representative at the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. His prominence as a Quaker, his relatively substantial land holdings, and the fact that he resided away from the city probably contributed to his 1704 Assembly election. This was a time of increased tension between the House and Governor John Evans. The Philadelphia County delegation was strongly denounced by the proprietary secretary. Bolton, however, only played a marginal role in the proceedings, for he is mentioned only once. He was not reelected to the Assembly of 1705 that was staunchly partisan towards the proprietor. A year later, Everard invested 500 pounds in Potts Mills in Bristol Township.(6)

Together, Everard and his wife Elizabeth had eleven children. When Elizabeth died in 1707 at forty-seven years old, Everard decided to sell his Philadelphia lot for 180 pounds. He remarried in 1709, to Margaret (Waterman), widow of John Jones, a Philadelphia merchant. As a father of nine children then living, Everard preferred to focus on supporting his family and religion, rather than pursuing his political career. At this time he left the house and 200acres of his property to his oldest son Everard Jr., who received the deed in 1710, (a year after his father moved).  In 1712, Everard had conveyed by sale or gift 592 acres of his holdings, most of which went to his sons Everard Jr. and Samuel. He then moved to Southampton Township, in Bucks County, still within the compass of the Abington Monthly Meeting.(7)

As a resident of Bucks County, he was elected to the Assembly in 1714, which was another gathering that tended to favor country representatives rather than the great merchants of Philadelphia. It was also an Assembly at odds with the Governor, and once again, as in 1704, Everard was an inactive backbencher. He did not serve again. (8)  

For a short time, Bolton was inactive in local government. Then, in 1715-1717 he was appointed to both the commission of the peace for Bucks County and was also chosen to serve as a tax commissioner.(9)


He sold his share in Potts Mills for only 200 pounds, substantially below the initial purchase price. That seemingly poor return on his investment, may have prompted Everard to move back to Cheltenham, for by 1719 he was once again residing here. He continued to participate in the Abington Monthly Meeting until shortly before his death. Acting for at least twenty-three years as treasurer of the meeting, Everard at various times was also keeper of the meeting’s book of records, in addition to being a trustee for the Abington school. He was an overseer of Byberry Preparative Meeting, and was a visitor of families for Horsham Preparative Meeting. He continued to attend another twenty sessions of the Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting as well as the yearly meeting gatherings of 1705, 1718, 1721, 1724.(10)   Everard died in 1727. His hand drafted will states that he was, “sick and weak of body”. He divided his estate among his widow, his children and two of his grandchildren. His son Isaac and two sons in law were appointed executors. Although no inventory was found, a later account indicated that Everard’s estate had debts of about 303 pounds, and credits of 323 pounds including a mulatto boy sold for twenty-four pounds and a
slave servant and cow sold together for twenty pounds.(11)   NOTE-    -Everard’s youngest son Isaac resided in Philadelphia for several years until he moved to Bucks County in 1750. As a peltermonger, he dealt in skins and became one of the wealthiest    men in the province. He married Sarah Jones and named one of his sons after his father. This son, (Everard) married Deborah Griscom in 1764, who was the older sister of Betsy (Griscom) Ross! Their son Samuel (who was married to Rachel Scull) was a man of inventive genius. He was an associate of John Fitch, of steamboat fame. Many models of his patented design were destroyed when the British burned the public buildings at Washington in 1814. Samuel died two years prior, in 1812, at thirty- two years old.(12)


NOTE-   -Everard’s daughter Mary married Edward Roberts in 1714. Mary and Edward had two daughters, Mary and Jane who married into the Foulke family. Mary married John Foulke, and Jane married his brother Thomas. These two brothers had an older sister Mary (B.1714) who married James Boone Sr. James Boone Sr.’s brother was Squire Boone, Daniel Boone’s father.(13)   – Margaret Waterman was married first to John Jones, a Philadelphia merchant, in 1703. John was married first to Rebecca (?) in 1694. Rebecca died shortly after she was married.(14)

 Everard Jr., a glover, married Mary Naylor in 1707, (the same year his mother died), and three years later he was deeded his father’s property. The Indenture states  “To All To Whom these Presents Shall Come Everard Boulton Senr. of the Township of Southampton in the County of Bucks & Province of Pennsylvania Yeoman Sends Greetings Know ‘ye that Everard Bolton as well for the Natural Love & Affection that I have  for my Eldest  Son Everard Boulton… me at this time at this time moving have given and granted and by these Presents do fully clearly and absolutely give Grant and Confirm unto him the said Everard Boulton a certain Tract or Parcel of Land Situate and being in the Cheltnam Township and County of Philadelphia… with all the Houses Orchards Gardens Fields Woods Underwoods Water Courses Ways Wasts Commons Mines Minerals fishings fowlings huntings.”(15) 


Together, he and Mary had four children, including Samuel, their only son. His sister Elizabeth married Ellis Davis, who was also from Ross, Herefordshire England, and lived together with Everard Jr. at the house here in Cheltenham. During the late seventeenth century, the Delaware Valley was being settled by a blend of immigrants from Europe with the greatest number coming from Germany. Additionally, the small pox disease in Europe was becoming one of the greatest epidemics, surpassing the plague, cholera and yellow fever in its impact. By the early 18th century the disease replaced Bubonic plague as Europe’s most devastating disease. Small pox came to America in part, by the First Settlers who came from Europe. It reached epidemic status in the New World when it became widespread in the colonies of New England and especially in the city of Philadelphia.(16) Everard Jr.’s sister Mary contracted small pox in 1715, yet survived the illness. Everard Jr. however, died at thirty- six years old that same year, possibly from the disease. His father, who was just appointed Justice of the Peace at a council held in Philadelphia, was one of the executors of the estate. The hand written Last Will and Testament from 1715 states, “I Everard Bolton Jr. of Cheltenham Township, County of Philadelphia, Province of Pennsylvania, being very sick and weak in body but of sound and perfect memory… will and bequeath to my son Samuel if he attains to the age of twenty one years all my said plantation with all ye buildings …”(17) Samuel was only one year old at the time.


   -Ellis and Elizabeth (Bolton) Davis were part of the original members of the Horsham Quaker meeting which was founded by members of the Abington Meeting. Due to their distance from Abington and the absence of roads into their settlement, settlers must have found it impossible to attend meetings regularly.  Ellis Davis signed the petition for the Welsh Road, but he had not yet made plans to move, and was considered to be only a prospective resident. The minutes of the Abington Monthly Meeting for September 24, 1716 includes: “Friends of Horsham made application for a Constant meeting to be kept on the first and sixth days during ye Winter Season”. Upon proposed land containing 50 acres the settlers established the Horsham Meeting.(18)


Samuel Bolton was deeded the property in 1730, when he turned twenty-one years old as per his father’s last will and testament. After owning the house for eleven years, he married a seamstress named Mary Livezey, the older sister of Thomas Livezey from “Glenfern”. They had two daughters named Martha and Mary. Samuel died in 1757 at forty-three years old having a recited will leaving the estate to his wife and daughters. 


Martha and Mary were only seven and ten years old respectively when their father died. Four years later (1761) their mother married Joseph Paul, a miller, and the family moved to Whitemarsh Township.(19) Martha married Isaac Potts in 1770 and a year after their first child was born, they moved to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania where they raised a family of 12. Martha however, sold her share of the house to her sister before she moved, in 1772. Mary, following in her mother’s footsteps, also married into the Paul family. She married Joseph’s younger brother of thirteen years, Jacob, a miller from Germantown. Marriage within families was not unusual in this era however a mother and daughter marrying two brothers was certainly not a common practice. An indenture between Joseph and Jacob Paul made in April of 1773 states, “Whereas the said Joseph Paul and Mary his wife, she being late the widow and relict of Samuel Bolton deceased have a lawful right to her Dower or thirds of and in certain messuages and two hundred acres of land situate in the Township of Cheltenham late the estate of Samuel Bolton…” The indenture continues to state that they too sold their share to Jacob Paul for twenty- five pounds. By the end of April 1773, Jacob and Mary sold the entire estate to Isaac Jones.


NOTE-  -Isaac Potts and Martha Bolton owned the house General Washington used for his headquarters during the winter encampment of 1777-78 in Valley Forge.  -Jacob Paul and Mary Bolton had a daughter Martha, (b.1769), who married Samuel Jones in 1787.(20) -In the same year that the Concord House was built, Germantown also bought a site for it’s first almshouse. Up to that time overseers of the poor were chosen at the elections, and they arran
ged for the care of the needy residents. The unusual method was to place the poor in the custody of someone with sufficient means. Sometimes bids were received for caring for the paupers. The unfortunate persons being awarded to the bidder were provided for at the lowest price. But in 1775 the overseers adopted the almshouse and purchased at a sheriff’s sale a tract of land 3 acres and 75 perches, with buildings, situated on the north side of Rittenhouse St., west of Germantown Ave. The overseers included Jacob Paul. The almshouse remained on the site until 1865 when a new almshouse was built.(21)


One Response to Bolton Family

  1. Leigh Bolton says:

    Very interesting and adds some “flesh” to people in the Bolton family tree. For information, Everard Sr (1655-1727) came from a well to do family – his father was Sir William Bolton (b. 1620) who was Lord Mayor of London (actioned to rebuild London after the Great fire) and his mother was Mary, daughter of Alderman Bide of the City of London.

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