Biography of William Gerald Bolman

William Gerald Bolman, who came to Kansas in 1863, is one of the veteran business men of Leavenworth, where for the past six years he had lived retired. For a number of years he was associated in a clerical capacity with the wholesale house of which the late Governor Carney was a member, but eventually engaged in business on an independent footing.

He had many interesting experiences before coming to Kansas, and was a member of a prominent family in Canada. He was born at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, July 30, 1837, and was reared at Lunenburg and at Shelbourne. He is a grandson of Dr. John Bolman, who was a German and spelled the name Bollmann. Doctor Bollmann took service as a surgeon in the British army, and in that capacity came to America. After the colonies had won their independence he located in the German settlement at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, practiced medicine there, married and reared his family. One of his sons was Charles Bolman, father of William G. Bolman. Charles Bolman was a barrister by profession, and practiced in Canada for many years. He married Clara Collins, and of their four sons William Gerald was the third.

The latter had a grammar school education. When about eighteen years of age he went to the West Indies seeking employment. For a short time he was superintendent of a sugar plantation in Demara, British Guiana. While in the South he suffered an attack of yellow fever, and on coming north, in 1860, located in New York City. There he was an employe of a large grocery concern, and remained until 1863.

On February 17, 1862, he was married at New York to Miss Emma DeWolf. Some business associations brought him into contact with Mr. Carney, who at the time was visiting New York City, and who subsequently became governor of Kansas. It was their conversation which induced Mr. Bolman to come to the new western state. Arriving in 1863, he was given the position of chief clerk for Carney, Stevens & Company at Leavenworth. This firm conducted a large business as wholesale grocers, and the original partnership was succeeded by Carney, Fenlon & Company. Mr. Bolman continued as an employe of this business until about 1882. In that year he, with C. L. Knapp, founded the firm of Knapp & Bolman, wholesale crockery and glassware merchants. His personal energies were devoted to the upbuilding and success of that concern for upwards of thirty years. In 1910 he sold his business interests and had since lived retired in his home at Leavenworth.

Outside of his business achievements the Kansas life of Mr. Bolman had been devoid of any particular incident. However, it should be recalled that before he became a naturalized citizen he served as a member of the Kansas State Militia for the purpose of defending Kansas soil from the Price raid. In church affiliation he is an Episcopalian and is an independent democrat. He and his wife were the parents of eight children, seven of whom are still living.

Frederick DeWolf Bolman, the third of his father’s children, was born at Leavenworth, November 12, 1869. He not only had the advantages of the public schools of his native city but also a two years’ course at Harvard University. He had been in active business upwards of thirty years, for a time in the cattle business in Central Kansas, but since 1905 had been one of Leavenworth’s lumber merchants. At this time he is president of the Southwestern Lumbermen’s Association.

On October 24, 1906, he married Miss Florence Louise Tullock. Their two children are: Katherine Southwick and Frederick DeWolf, Jr.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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