Excerpt From:
Pioneer Families

Bolton Was A Melungeon Who Farmed Moccasin Bend Land
Byline: John Wilson

Solomon Bolton was a Melungeon, a people who were a mixture of Indian, black and white ancestry, and was a soldier in the War of 1812. His lovely daughter, Jemima, had a tragic story. Another Bolton pioneer in Hamilton County was Robert Bolton, whose father was among the state's earliest settlers.  Solomon Bolton was born in North Carolina just before 1800 and was living in South Carolina when he enlisted for the War of 1812. His wife, Rachel, was from South Carolina.  They moved to Tennessee at Blount County, then at Marion County prior to moving to Hamilton County in the 1840s. Solomon Bolton was a tenant on the large farm of the Simmermans at Moccasin Bend.

 The Bolton children included Elizabeth, Sarah, Hiram, Solomon Jr., Eliza and Martha, in addition to Jemima. The latter daughter "was famed for her beauty, her grace of manner and modesty. She was a dark brunette. She had a suit of black hair, which was coveted by all the girls who knew her. Her form was petite, and yet, withal was so plump and so well developed as to make her an irresistibly charming young woman. She was most beautiful of face, and had a rich black eye, in whose depths the sunbeams seemed to gather. When she loosed her locks, they fell almost reaching the ground, and shone in the sunlight, or quivered like the glamour which the full moon throws on the placid water. She was the essence of grace and loveliness."  One of the young Simmermans, Jerome C., fell in love with Jemima. His Bivans step-mother and step-sisters opposed the marriage, fearing to lose a share of the large Simmerman estate.  With the aid of Ab Carroll and John Cummings, Jerome and Jemima made their way across the river and eloped to Trenton, Ga. That marriage occurred June 14, 1856.

 The couple had a son, who died as an infant. Then a daughter, Martha, was born in the latter part of 1858. Eight days later, Jemima Bolton Simmerman died. That event "was such an overpowering shock to the father that he went violently insane, and had to be taken into custody and kept under guard for a long time."  The Bivans family later filed suit seeking the inheritance. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Bolton secreted young Martha Simmerman away for her safekeeping. The suit claimed the marriage was void because a Tennessee law prohibited the marriage of a white person with a person of Negro blood to the sixth degree.  The Jerome Simmerman side finally won the suit after it was proven the Boltons were Melungeons. It was pointed out that Solomon Bolton could not have served in the War of 1812 had he been a Negro or mulatto. He proved his service because he was still able to recall the roll of his company from the captain down to the last private on the list.  The exact date of the marriage was also proven during the trial. Joel Cross said he could remember it because also that day a Baptist preacher leading a revival in Dade County got drunk, some horses broke loose and tore up several acres of his corn, and he had a baby girl born.  When Elizabeth Bolton died at the age of 78 in 1908, she was living in North Chattanooga with her niece, Martha, who had married James M. Carter.

The Bolton Family

Martha Simmerman, age two is listed in household of Jerome Simmerman in Hamilton County in 1860 and in the household of Solomon Bolton in Hamilton County is Martha [as a Bolton] age two, as well as 'Aunt Betsy"-- 

In 1870 Massac County, Illinois

Elizabeth Bolton   M  49    Keeping house
Solomon Bolton   M  19    Steamboat hand
Mary E.               M  16
Martha A.           M   12

In 1880 Martha is married to J.M. Carter listed as #67 on the Hamilton County census.  #69 is Jerome Simmerman, her father.     

In 1900 'Aunt Betsey Bolton ' is  found living with Martha Simmerman Carter.


Obituary of Martha Simmerman Carter    Click Here

Solomon Bolton   Bible Records              Click Here

Simmerman Cemetery
Simmerman, Jerome C - Born 1821 - Feb 10, 1893
Simmerman, Jemima A - Wife of J C Simmerman - April 22, 1834 - Dec 1, 1857  ( Daughter of Solomon Bolton)
Simmerman, John - Son of J C and Jemima A Simmerman - Nov 2, 1856 - Dec 2, 1856

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