Bio of William Wheeler Bolster
A Collection of Biographical Sketches.
Prepaired under the direction of Henry Chase
Portland, ME.
The Lakeside Press, Publisher

WILLIAM WHEELER BOLSTER, of Auburn, Maine, was born in Rumford, Maine, July 6, 1823. Isaac Bolster, his great-grandfather, came to this country, from England, soon after he reached his legal majority, and settled in Sutton, Mass., thence to Hebron, Maine. He enlisted and served as Captain in the Revolutionary Army. With the same rank he did excellent service in the War of 1812. Two of his sons, Isaac and David, settled in Paris, Maine, where Isaac married Hannah Cushman, a descendant of Robert Cushman, of the Mayflower. Alvan, the eldest son of Isaac Bolster, married Cynthia, daughter of Col. William Wheeler, of Rumford. Colonel Wheeler served in the Legislature of Massachusetts, before the separation of Maine.

William Wheeler Bolster was the eldest son in a family of five daughters and three sons. He was educated in the common schools and the academies of Bethel, Maine, and Peacham, Vermont, in the latter of which he fitted for college. His vacations were employed in teaching until he entered the practice of law in 1847.

He graduated from the Harvard Law School in 1846; was admitted to practice in all the Courts of Maine in April, 1846, at Portland, Maine. He began his practice at East Rumford, and remained until October, 1852, when he removed to Dixfield, Maine, and, in October, 1872, he removed to Auburn. His law office was in Lewiston until 1887, when he removed it to Auburn. In 1877 and 1878 he was Alderman, and for three years was City Solicitor of Auburn. He served from 1848 to 1858, with the exception of a single year, in the office of Secretary of State. In Oxford County he was County Attorney for six years, being elected in September. 1864. In 1869 and 1870 he was State Senator from Oxford County, and, in the latter year, was chosen President of the Senate. In 1873 he was appointed State Bank Examiner, by Governor Perham, which office he held for six years. In 1883 he was elected to the Executive Council, for the Third Councillor District, and served two years.

In 1849 he was elected First Lieutenant in Company A, of the Riflemen of Rumford, of the Second Brigade of the Sixth Division of Maine Militia; in 1851 was promoted to the Captaincy, and honorably discharged April, 1852. In 1864 he was appointed to the office of Division Advocate, with the rank of Major, on the staff of Major General W. Wirt Virgin, later Judge of the Supreme Court of Maine, who commanded the Third Division of the State Militia. This office he held during General Virgin's term of office, and up to the organization of the citizen soldiery of Maine.

In 1846 he identified himself with the Sons of Temperance, and always retained an interest in the cause. In 1856, at Livermore, he was admitted to the Third Degree in the Oriental Star Lodge, No. 21, F. and A. M., under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Maine.

Since 1878 he has been President of the Little Androscoggin Water Power Company, which embraces a cotton mill of twenty-two thousand spindles, and a large real estate in Auburn.

In 1871 he compiled the "Tax Collector and Form Book," and, in i88o, the "Tax Collector and Town Officer." Both are in general use throughout the State, and are valuable to town officers and the Bar. In connection with these valuable works he compiled an "Invoice and Valuation Book." an "Assessment Book," a "Tax Collectors' Book," a Highway Surveyors' Book," for the use of town officials. These compilations have been generally adopted as standards by the town officers of Maine. Since the adoption of the Revised Statutes of 1883, they have been revised to agree with them.

In 1885 he was appointed Trustee of the State Reform School, by Governor Robie; was reappointed, in 1889, by Governor Burleigh, for another term of four years. He was largely instrumental in the establishment of the "Cottage System." which is proving so beneficial in every way.

He has served on the School Committee in different places where he has lived.

At the organization of the American Banking and Trust Company, succeeding the Maine Mortgage Loan Company, which was organized in 1887, he was elected its President, which office he now holds.

In March, 1893, he was elected Mayor of Auburn, on the "Citizens' Ticket," by a vote of 1,861, out of a total of 1,999. The issue was the municipal ownership of the water system in the city, the Legislature having empowered the city to purchase it from the corporation owning it. This office he now holds.

In religious belief he is a Universalist; in politics, a Republican. Before the organization of the Republican party he acted with the Democrats, but before that time he was, virtually, a Republican. He had taken an active part in the memorable County Convention, composed of Anti-Slavery Democrats, Free Soilers, and Whigs, which met at Norway in 1852, which formed a party that adopted the title of Republican, and nominated a full set of county officers.

Mr. Bolster married, October. 1848, Martha Hall, daughter of Joseph Adams, M. D., of Rumford. Mrs. Bolster died August, 1866, leaving three sons and two daughters. One son died before, and two sons since, her death. In 1868 he married Florence Josephine, daughter of Col. Lewis Reed, of Mexico, Maine. Their children are one daughter and one son.

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