by Lt. Col S. Woodruff Bently, Sr. USAF - Retired
Peter Algar and the Bolling Family Association met because Peter took a simple genealogical blood test a number of years ago.
Knowing that he could trace his Algar ancestry to 10th Century Yorkshire, he wondered if he could find any cousins. Much to his surprise, he was contacted by an equally surprised American, Major General Alexander R. Bolling, Jr. (familiarly called Bud) founder and President Emeritus of the Bolling Family Association, who had traced his ancestry to a Tristam de Bolling who had received a land called Bolling from King John in 1199, where apparently the current Bolling Hall of Bradford was built around 1353 and owned by Bollings up until the 19th Century. As you may know, Bolling Hall is now a museum owned by the City of Bradford.
Thus, an email friendship was struck up by the 20th Century descendants, Peter and Bud, of some unknown 9th or 10th Century common ancestor of both. Both Bud and Peter were delighted to find this relationship and Peter became a member of the Bolling Family Association.
Susan and Peter came to the October 2009 Bolling Family Reunion in Richmond, VA where we all got to meet them. Our English cousins simply charmed us all. Peter lighted up the room with his smile and his cheerful demeanor and Susan was every bit the gracious English lady. We all felt that we had known them for years.
As BFA President, I appointed Peter an Associate Director of the BFA Board of Directors in August, 2010 with the request that he strengthen our ties with Bolling Hall and seek out other Bolling descendants in England. He loved to tell us of the Battle of Towton, in which the Bollings father and son fought on the losing side. His interest led him to research, write, and publish “The Shepherd Lord” about a Lord Clifford’s son’s life after the battle, in which the Bolling son played a minor role.
Peter and Susan returned to the USA in October of 2010 for the BFA Board meeting in Wytheville, VA, the birthplace of a famous Bolling descendent, Edith Bolling Wilson, wife of President Woodrow Wilson, where he and Susan visited the Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace and Museum. As always, his presence lighted up the meeting and he was an eager and helpful participant. Together, after the meeting, we both drove to Petersburg, VA, where there is another Bolling home, where we had dinner and parted company, for Peter and Susan wanted to do more touring before returning to England. We maintained regular email correspondence, and we were delighted when Peter and Susan returned for the 2011 Bolling Family Reunion in Williamsburg, VA. This is where in 1660, Robert Bolling arrived in Colonial Jamestowne and eventually married the granddaughter of Pocahontas, Jane Rolfe, and became a major leader of Colonial Virginia.
Peter researched and sent in an article for the November 2010 newsletter that told the story of the Bolling Family in Illkley and sent in a picture of the Bolling home in Wheatley Hall in Ben Rhydding, Illkley. This was all new information to us and most welcome. He also identified a Bolling descendant in England.
We were delighted to elect Peter to the BFA Board of Directors as a full member and he continued his helpful quests for us in England, sending me stories for the BFA newsletter about events at Bolling Hall and the Towton Battlefield Society.
He only recently published his second book about the Bolling Family in the Tudor period titled “Dead Man’s Hill”, which he dedicated to the recently deceased General Bolling.
The entire Bolling family grieves with you over the loss of Peter. A compelling man of many talents, he had many friends on this side of the Atlantic. On behalf of the Board of Directors and the members of BFA, we can only say we are with you in spirit today, grieving a deep loss of a fine man, husband and father who will be missed by us as he will be missed by you.
Farewell Peter, thank you for all you have been and done. You are with your cousin Bud in God’s hands now.
June 30, 2012