Biography of Edward Tarpley “E. T.” Bolding

Educator, Farmer, Gentleman

Edward Tarpley (E. T.) Bolding, one of the prominent educators of Franklin county of later years, was born September 17, 1878, at Pleasant Site, Franklin County. Son of J. T. and Mary Fannie (Rogers) Bolding, deceased. J. T. Bolding, father of E. T. Bolding, was a successful farmer, a highly respected gentleman, and an outstanding teacher and school worker of his day. J. T. Bolding’s parents came from one of the Carolinas to Franklin prior to the Civil War, and settled on Little Bear Creek, near Fordton. J. T. Bolding, himself, was a sergeant in the 27th Alabama.

Mary Fannie Bolding, mother of E. T. Bolding, is said to have been a very excellent lady. She was a sister of Capt. Isaac Rogers, who lived at Old Burleson and who was one time County Superintendent of Education, very prominent in educational work and a prominent church worker.

The following is reproduced from Mrs. Bolding’s obituary which was published in the “Southern Idea,” February 6, 1893, which was then edited by John H. West.

“Mary Fannie Bolding was born at Elyton, Jefferson County, Alabama, September 20, 1841. Died at her home near Pleasant Site January 24, 1893. She was the daughter of J. B. and Margaret Rogers. Those who know and love her best, remember with pleasure when in her gladsome girlhood days she made a profession of the Christian religion and joined the Missionary church at this place (Pleasant Site) of which she was a consistent member. She was married to J. T. Bolding Dec. 20th 1865. This was a union of true love and perfect happiness. . . . . . . . .

‘In her home her government was tender and gentle, her tongue was the law of kindness. . . . . . She was not only gentle, but ever cheerful and glad, thereby winning the love of all.”

Prof. Bolding was very fortunate in being reared by such honorable parents as these. At a very early age he and his twin brother, Jack, entered school at Pleasant Site. Their most outstanding teacher was the venerable H. J. Williams. They attended school under this great character for some time. Later Edward Tarpley, subject of this sketch, attended school at the Iuka Normal Institute at Iuka, Mississippi; Oakland Normal Institute, Yale, Mississippi; Southern Norman School, Bowling Green, Kentucky; Polytechnic Institute, Auburn, Alabama; and the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa.

Prof. Bolding began teaching in the rural schools of Franklin County at an early age, and for seven (7) years carried on this work in that county. He was very popular and greatly loved by his pupils. Among the places that he taught were Burleson, Cherry Hill, and Pleasant Site. He also taught some in Colbert County.

But his most prominent work as a teacher has been in high schools. In this work he has had a very wide experience. The high school with which he has been affiliated to the greatest extent is the Franklin County High School at Russellville. He was an assistant teacher in that institution for some time before coming principal, and served as principal for six or seven years. He exercised a great influence over the school as well as the immediate vicinity going out into the several districts and urging the county boys and girls to attend school. Many of whom responded to his earnest invitation.

It was our own good fortune to be a student of the Franklin County High School for three years while Prof. Bolding was at the helm. In that length of time we observed him closely and believe we have a right to say what we think, or rather, what we know. He was a good instructor in text books and as we remember it, he was strongest in general science and mathematics. He possessed a delightful vein of humor, and of this he often made good use, especially when he wished to explain something rather abstruse.

But is was not his instruction in any academic branch that impressed us most, it was the excellent lectures he gave to his students on citizenship, morality and religion, and his daily way of living. He was always courteous to every one. Social or class distinction were ignored by him, so far as the school was concerned.

Besides his association with the Franklin County High School, Mr. Bolding has been principal of the high school at Red Bay; of the public school at Guin; and has taught in the high school at Marietta, Mississippi. He has been superintendent of education in Franklin County since 1925, and is much interested in the welfare of the school.

Prof. Bolding has devoted more than a quarter of a century to the cause of education, and the major part of this work has been done in Franklin County. We believe that he is the most outstanding educator in Franklin County, at the present time. Perhaps he has instructed a larger number of students than any teacher in the county’s history, many of them are now filling responsible places in life.

He is an active member of the Baptist church, a great believer in Sunday Schools, a Democrat, and a worthy Mason.

He was married in 1922 to Miss Iva Averett of Birmingham. Two children have been born to them, the eldest having died. Their living child, a son, is named William Edward.


Source: Source: James, R. L. Distinguished Men, Women and Families of Franklin County, Alabama. Russellville, Ala., Private Publication, 1928. 111 p.

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