George Washington Bolton

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George Washington Bolton

Louisiana State Representative
for Rapides Parish
In office
Preceded by S. P. Henry

Speaker of the
Louisiana House of Representatives
In office
Succeeded by S. P. Henry

Born September 15, 1841
DeKalb County, Georgia
Died August 2, 1931 (aged 89)
Rapides Parish, Louisiana
Resting place Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Pineville, Louisiana
Nationality American
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Tennessee Wade Bolton (married 1868 - July 2, 1931, her death)
Relations James Calderwood Bolton

Robert H. Bolton
Al Bolton (grandsons)

Children Ten children
Residence Alexandria, Louisiana
Alma mater His father's private school
Occupation Businessman, Banker, Politician
Religion Southern Baptist

Military Service
Allegiance Confederate States of America
Service/branch Confederate Army
Years of service 1861-1865
Rank Sergeant

George Washington Bolton (September 15, 1841 – August 2, 1931)[1] was a banker, merchant, politician, Southern Baptist layman, and the patriarch of an influential family in his adopted city of Alexandria, Louisiana.


A son of Elisha P. Bolton and the former Eliza Burbridge, Bolton was born in DeKalb County, Georgia, in what became part of the Atlanta metropolitan area. When he was sixteen, the family relocated to the Shiloh community in Union Parish, north of Ruston, Louisiana. Bolton was educated in his father's private school. In 1861, Bolton enlisted in the Confederate States of America Army, in which he attained the rank of sergeant in Company E of the 12th Louisiana Infantry. He served throughout the American Civil War.[2][3]

After the war, Bolton taught school for a year in Union Parish but soon pursued the mercantile business, first in Winnfield. In 1868, he married Tennessee Wade (1850-1931), a native Arkansan and the daughter of his business partner, Dr. A. Wade. The couple had ten children, at least three of whom died in early childhood: James Wade, George G., Frank P., James Porter, Roscoe Conkling, Bertha Bolton Hall (1889-1944), Ida Ruth Bolton Roach (1876-1906), Lotta T. (1874-1876), Albert (1881-1882), and George W., Jr. (1885-1889)[2]

Diversified career

In 1869, Bolton moved the business to Pineville on the eastern side of the Red River across from the larger Alexandria, the seat of government of Rapides Parish. The business in Pineville closed in 1900.[2]

Active in political and civic affairs, Bolton was a delegate to state constitutional conventions in 1879 and 1898. In 1888, he was elected as a Democrat to the first of two terms in the Louisiana House of Representatives. The governor at the time was Democrat Francis T. Nicholls. In Bolton's second term under Governor Murphy James Foster, Sr., he was elected as House Speaker.[4]

In 1888, Bolton organized the Rapides Bank and Trust Company, since merged into Bank One Corporation. His son James Wade Bolton and grandsons James Calderwood Bolton and Robert H. Bolton continued to run the bank throughout the twentieth century. He stepped down as the bank president in 1912 but remained chairman of the board until his death nineteen years later. In 1900, he was elected the first president of the newly organized Louisiana Bankers Association. He was a member of the executive council of the American Bankers Association.[2]

He was a member of the elected Rapides Parish School Board and a delegate the 1904 Democratic National Convention, which nominated Judge Alton B. Parker of New York to carry the party's unsuccessful banner against the Republican U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. He was the president of the company that built the former bridge over the Red River at Murray Street in Alexandria.[2]

Bolton was the first president of the executive board of the Alexandria-based Louisiana Baptist Convention and an organizer of the large Emmanuel Baptist Church in downtown Alexandria. His family in subsequent generations continued to support Emmanuel Church. He was an officer of the Masonic lodge. Bolton Avenue, a major thoroughfare west of downtown Alexandria, is named in his honor.[2]

Upon his death some six weeks before his ninetieth birthday, Bolton was interred beside his wife at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Pineville. She had died only twenty-three days prior to his passing.l


  1. George Washington Bolton. Retrieved on November 30, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Bolton, George Washington. Louisiana Historical Association: A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography. Retrieved on April 9, 2014.
  3. A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography based part of the information on the Bolton sketch from Alcée Fortier, Louisiana, III (1914).
  4. Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2024. Louisiana House of Representatives. Retrieved on November 30, 2020.