Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Biography of Cornelius W. Bolton Published in 1899

For many years, one of the sons of the Rev. Robert Bolton who founded Christ Church in Pelham Manor served as the rector of the Church of the Redeemer in the area once known as Pelhamville and, later, the Village of North Pelham. His name was Cornelius W. Bolton.

In 1899, The Lewis Publishing Company published a two-volume Biographical History of Westchester County. Among the many biographies contained in the two volumes was one for Cornelius W. Bolton. The text of that biography appears immediately below.


The rector of the church of the Redeemer, Pelham, N. Y., Rev. C. W. Bolton, has been identified with this place fifty years. His history is therefore of interest in this connection, and is as follows:

Rev. Cornelius Winter Bolton was ushered into life at Bath, England, June 3, 1819, and may be said to belong to a family of ministers, his father and grandfather having passed their lives in the active work of the ministry. His parents, the Rev. Robert Bolton and Anna (Jay) Bolton, were natives respectively of Savannah, Georgia, and England. Robert Bolton was educated in England and entered the ministry there, and was there married and lived for a number of years. In 1836, accompanied by his wife and family of thirteen children, he returned to the United States and settled near Pelham, New York, having purchased a farm near that place. He was the rector of St. Paul's Episcopal church at East Chester, New York; built Christ church at Pelham, and finally returned to England and died there. His wife's death occurred a few years later.
The grandfather of our subject, Robert Bolton, was a native of Georgia and was for several years a merchant in Savannah, that state. The maternal grandfather of Mr. Bolton was Rev. William Jay. He was a Congregational minister and was well known, being the author of the work entitled the 'Morning and Evening Exercises,' which became famous throughout the civilized world.

Cornelius Bolton spent the first eighteen years of his life in England, receiving his early education at Millhill and Henley, and in 1836 coming with his parents and other members of the family to this country and settling, as already stated, on a farm near Pelham. For ten years he lived on his father's farm and in that time gained a practical knowledge of agriculture. From farming he then turned to the ministry. Entering Alexander Theological Seminary, in Virginia, he pursued a course in that institution, and graduated in 1847. After his graduation he accepted a position as assistant minister of Christ church in Baltimore, Maryland, where he remained four years. At the expiration of that time he returned to Pelham, where he spent the next two years, and was called thence to Kingsbridge, New York, which was the scene of his labors the next year. After this he was in mission work, at St. George's church, New York city, for six years and a half, and from there went to Mount Kisco and Armonk, New York. Again returning to Pelham, he became rector of the church of the Redeemer, where he has served his congregation very acceptably ever since.

Rev. Mr. Bolton married Miss Cornelia Van Rensselaer, daughter of Cornelius G. Van Rensselaer. She was born and reared in Albany, New York, is a cultured and charming woman, and with becoming grace presides over her husband's home. They have no children."

Source: Rev. Cornelius W. Bolton in Biographical History of Westchester County, New York. Illustrated, Vol. I, pp. 226-27 (Chicago, IL: The nLewis Publishing Co. 1899).

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