John A. Bolding, Fugitive Slave

From 1926 DCHS Yearbook

John A. Bolding was born about 1824 in South Carolina, a slave. He was a mulatto, almost white in color. About 1846, he escaped from his owner and in some way, now unknown, came north and settled at Poughkeepsie. He obtained work as a tailor in a shop on Main Street, near what was then the Eastern House, later the Morgan House, and still later the Windsor Hotel, and early in 1851 he married his wife, a resident of Poughkeepsie being also a mulatto.

Some six months after John Bolding was married, a southern woman staying in Poughkeepsie reported his presence to his owner, Robert C. Anderson of Columbia, South Carolina. Mr. Anderson instituted in New York City, proceedings to recover him. As Bolding was at work in the tailor shop on August 25, 1851, a United States Marshal, Henry F. Tallmadge, arrived at the door in a closed carriage, seized Bolding forcibly, placed him in the carriage, drove to the railroad and took his prisoner to New York City. There in the next few days, the case was tried before United States commissioner Nelson, and by his decision Bolding was returned to Mr. Anderson. Two columns regarding the trial appeared in the New York Commercial Advertiser which were reprinted in the Poughkeepsie Eagle on September 6th 1851.

Meanwhile the forcible seizure of the fugitive slave at Poughkeepsie by the United States Marshal, Mr. Tallmadge, had excited that northern village community to white heat, and at once a popular subscription was open for the purpose of buying the slave and giving him his freedom. It was stated in the Eagle on September 6, 1851 that the owner asked $1,500 for the slave and $500 for expenses, and that if $1,000 were raised in Poughkeepsie, the second thousand must come from New York City.

No record is at hand of what was done in New York City, but fortunately there is information as to the action taken locally. A fund was started in Poughkeepsie, the Treasure of which was John Grubb.  [UNFINISHED, MORE TO COME].

Bolding Addresses