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Sat, 09.10.1864

Gaius C. Bolin, Lawyer and Judge born

Gaius C. Bolin

*Gaius C. Bolin was born on this date in 1864. He was a Black lawyer and judge.

He was a descendant of blacks who had lived in or near the Hudson River town of Poughkeepsie, New York, for generations, first in slavery and then, after the adoption of gradual emancipation laws in 1799 and 1817, as free men and women. Bolin was born seven months before the end of the American Civil War.

He described the Poughkeepsie community of his childhood as a place of "rural friendliness and neighborliness. As a teenager, he helped in his father's business, and he was almost certainly aware of Josephine Rhodes, the first African American to attend Poughkeepsie High School. She graduated four years ahead of Gaius, and her father, Joseph, was also a leader in the local black community.

Bolin was a college athlete, playing on his class's football team all four years. He somewhat slyly enjoyed an 1888 baseball victory over Harvard, which he wrote in another letter "ought to be Williams College history forever." He delivered a speech about Abraham Lincoln during the college's commencement program in 1887, and his rhetorical skills won him the nomination as the class speaker or "pipe orator."

After graduation, Gaius returned home, worked with his father for a year, and then signed on to read law with lawyer Fred E. Ackerman. On December 15, 1892, he was admitted to the bar of New York in Brooklyn. Seven years later, he married Matilda Emery, an Irish woman with roots in Northern Ireland with whom he had four children. She died in 1917. Gaius Bolin was a Republican supporter of then-New York Gov. Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt appointed Bolin to the New York State Board of Managers of the 1901 Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo. 

 In 1930, Gaius Bolin Sr, age 65 and widowed. He lived in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess, New York with his son Gaius (28 Married), his two daughters Ivy R and Jane M, and one daughter-in-law Janet. In 1931, Gaius was one of the founders of the Dutchess County chapter of the NAACP. On April 16, 1946, he died in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess, New York. He was then buried in Lot 161 Section 19, Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery.

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