George Bolton (1799 – 1869

The 1846 wooden dam that controlled water flow into the mill race. The mill itself had been moved some 300 m. downstream that same year. Note: the roof of the tannery is just visible behind the dam
  • George Bolton was born in Suffolk England, the youngest of six children born to James Bolton (1746-1818) and Judith Mann (1750-1834) 1.  He and his older siblings James, Maria, Lydia, Rachel and Frances grew up in Tannington and were all educated 2
  • Thought to be a bachelor, it was later revealed that prior to 1818, George had a disagreement with his father over an unsanctioned marriage which did not last.  Written out of his father’s will, George left England and travelled to Jamaica where he acquired capital working in the indigo trade 3
  • George was 22 when, on June 5, 1821, he purchased the finest mill site in Albion from James Chewett. Lot 9, Con 7, Albion Township.  It is from this transaction that Bolton has evolved 4
  • James Chewett was a Provincial Land Surveyor and had been paid, in land, for completing the survey.  He received title without the requirements of completing settling duties 5
  • George was joining his eldest sibling James Bolton (1781-1840) who had settled in Albion Township in 1819 6.  Because of their 18 year age difference, accounts have referred to them as ‘relatives’ or as uncle / nephew 7
  • Unlike his brother and other settlers who applied for a land grant, George was not bound by the requirements of completing settling duties since he had purchased an already patented piece of land
  • One of his first tasks was to build a house, later described as a “frame, roughcast building, the most pretentious in the village” 8.  He also selected and started clearing a site for his grist mill on the river’s south bank
  • George was guided by James, a skilled millwright, who helped George build his grist mill and a wooden dam across the Humber River.  The mill was grinding grain by 1824
  • The economic value of the area surrounding George’s property had been recognized and the survey reserved the 200 acres to the south for the Clergy and the 200 acres to the west for the Crown.  In addition, 1000 acres on the tableland, immediately north, were given, as an extraordinary land grant, to a high-ranking military officer, Robert Loring, who lived in Kingston 9.  This created challenges for access to the mill since the surrounding road allowances were not cleared or maintained by these ‘absentee’ landowners
  • George was known to be very hospitable to the myriad local farmers who brought their grain to the mill.  He was apparently a precise and methodical man and must also have had physical strength, resilience and endurance. The mill operation would have required more than one man but it is not known who assisted George in the early years.  He persevered and was successful, thanks to the ever-growing demand for flour
  • His closest neighbours were niece Harriet Bolton and her husband John Godbolt who settled on land George sold to them, north of the Humber, well east of what is now Humber Lea Road 10.  By 1830, there were fewer than 10 people living in a one-kilometer radius of Bolton’s Mill 11
  • Around 1830, George provided land and a log structure for use as a school 12
  • In 1831, he built a store on the NE corner of King and Mill Streets.  The following year, the government appointed George as Postmaster which required him to provide premises which he did by housing the Post Office, named ALBION, in his store  13
  • In the early 1830s, two of his sisters immigrated to Canada, also settling in Albion Township: Maria Bolton Fuller and her husband Samuel.  Rachel Bolton Godbolt and her husband George 14
  • His nephew James Bolton Jr. (James Cupper Bolton 1812-1907) became his mill assistant sometime after James completed his apprenticeship to his brother-in-law John Godbolt in 1833, on his 21st birthday
  • George did not take any part in the Mackenzie Rebellion in 1837 unlike his older brother James who fled to the US in the aftermath because of his vocal and written support of the uprising 15
  • Documents suggest that he was generous in allowing skilled workers to set up shop and pay for their property as they worked.  Such was the case in the 1830s with both Francis McDonald, the cooper, and Richard Paxman, the tanner
  • George donated the land for the Congregational Church which was built around 1843, as well as for its burial ground 16.  It is probable that he also donated the land for the Primitive Methodist Chapel which still stands on the northeast corner of King Street East at Chapel Street
  • In 1845, after 23 years as miller, George sold the mill, frame house and other property to his nephew, James Bolton Jr. 17George, 46, retired to an already built plank-on-plank home on the mill property 18
  • The 1851 Albion Township census lists George, a ‘gentleman’, living with his sister Rachel Godbolt and her husband George on what had been their late brother James Bolton’s farm 
  • George died on November 16, 1869 in Glenville Ontario, near Newmarket, at the farm of James Cupper Bolton and his wife (and cousin) Ellen Godbolt Bolton 19.  Efforts to locate where George Bolton is buried have been unsuccessful
  1. Marjorie Bolton, A Family Named Bolton, a family genealogy, March 1979
  2. His birth is apparently registered in Worlingworth, Suffolk, as per record in
  3. Norman Bolton interview with Anne Merrill, July 4, 1933, Perkins Bull Collection. Norman Bolton was a great-great nephew of George Bolton.  Anne Merrill was one of many young researchers William Perkins Bull hired in the midst of the depression
  4. Abstract Index to Deeds, Albion Township reels A and B, Region of Peel Archives
  5. The 200 acres in Bolton were part of the 2635 acres of land in Albion Township, paid to James Chewett.  He received another 1400 acres of land in return for completing the Caledon Township  survey
  6. James’ 100 acre lot was Lot 14, Con 9, Albion.  It backed onto what is now the Caledon King Town Line, one lot south of Castlederg Sideroad
  7. Marjorie Bolton in her family genealogy surmissed that James Bolton and George Bolton were brothers; however,  she noted that she had been unable to find records of George’s birth in the Tannington church records.  Subsequently, others have found his birth registered in the Worlingworth church records.  The two villages are only a few kilometres apart
  8. Autobiography of Samuel A. Walford, part of The Story of Albion, published by the Bolton Enterprise, 1968 Edition, p.307
  9. Albion Township Survey Map, Ontario Archives
  10. Abstract Index to Deeds, Albion Township, Lot 9 Con 7.  Region of Peel Archives
  11. Reference menu item.  Virtual census 1830
  12. Murray Hesp, Bolton School Days, printed by The Bolton Enterprise, 1969, p.7
  13., Post Offices and Postmasters, Item 7871
  14. Marjorie Bolton Genealogy
  15. Marjorie Bolton Genealogy
  16. For years it was assumed that Richard Paxman was the land donor; however, the original document conferring ownership to the Trustees of the Congregational Church was recently located within a collection of private files
  17. Abstract Index to Deeds, ibid., Peel Archives
  18. Esther Heyes, ibid., p.237
  19. Brampton Times