Saturday, Dec 03, 2022

Charles Bolingbroke

Charles sitting in chair, Maggie standing by window on left.

Charles Bolingbroke and Margaret Roberts Bolingbroke

Charles Edward Bolingbroke was born 11 January 1853 in Savannah, Missouri. His family immigrated to Utah in 1864 by ox team when he was eleven, first going to Logan, in Cache Valley, Utah, and later to Malad, Idaho.

At age twenty-three, Charles married Margaret Roberts on 8 September 1876 in Malad, Oneida, Idaho. She had an interesting story herself. Born in Wales in 1857, she was eight when her family, converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, immigrated to the United States in 1866.  After a stormy two-month crossing, they traveled up the Missouri by steamboat to Wyoming, Nebraska (about forty miles south of Omaha), which was the outfitting place at that time.  They came across the plains by ox team to Salt Lake City, eventually going to Malad, a settlement which was only two years old at that time. Charles and Margaret knew each other in Malad as they were growing up.

The couple eventually had a family of ten children: Mary May (1876); Elizabeth (1879); Margaret Louise (1881); Minnie (1884); Charles Edward (1886); Claribel (1889), who later married Arbon farmer, Lorin Bailey; Thomas John (1892-1893); Alfred (1894); Leo (1897-1898); and Guy (1901).  Charles and Maggie took the precaution of having all of their children born in Malad, where a doctor was close by if needed. Two of their children died in infancy (Thomas and Leo).

The Bolingbroke family came into the Bannock Valley just before the turn of the century. They settled on Bannock Creek, at the north end of the valley (about a mile north of the school). Their children attended school in what was at that time called Pauline. When winter threatened, the family moved back to Malad, returning early in the spring.

Charles and his sons “had to harness up to eighteen horses each day to pull the machinery to do their farming, for in those days they didn’t have any tractors. It was about the early 1930s when they bought their first Caterpillar tractor. What a great improvement this was” (Bannock Valley, p. 175). Horses were used for plowing, planting, haying, harvesting, transportation, and all other work, including getting house logs and firewood out of the canyons.

For these homesteading families, when it took two days to get to town, feeding your family was a do-it-yourself project. Along with a large garden, the Bolingbroke family milked cows, and raised their own chickens and hogs. Hogs were butchered in the fall when the weather was cooler. The meat was cured and then buried in the wheat in the bin to keep it cool (p. 174).

Maggie made so much cheese and sold it to her neighbors that her husband was known as the “cheese man.” A hundred pounds of milk would make ten pounds of cheese. The milk was put into a clean wash tub to sour. It was then set on the wood-burning stove and heated until it was lukewarm, when a rennet tablet and a little coloring were added. Then the whey was drained off, and fed to the pigs. Additional whey was pressed out by a heavy weight; if this was not done, the cheese would be sour. She had a homemade cheese press that Charles had made for her. “A hoop with a cloth on its bottom was made to hold the curded cheese [which] was poured [out] on it. A round board was fashioned to fit in the hoop….The weight of the board did this with the pressure from a screw jack.  The cheese was made into a round or a square weighing ten pounds. The cheese was set on shelves inside the house and were turned and rubbed with butter to keep [them] from molding, every day for ten days. After ten days they were ready to eat or sell for ten cents a pound. She always had some cheese ageing in the cellar” (p. 174).

Charles and Maggie were “neighborly people having friends throughout the valley. They were always friendly and generous with the Indians and sold cheese to them. One old Indian (Dave Dover) would come every Sunday for his dinner.  Many people freighting grain from the south end of the valley spent the night at their place as well as other travelers throughout the valley. Young people were always welcome and congregated there a great deal” (p. 175).

It is hard to believe now, but even before any kind of phone communication, Arbon Valley had an extensive social network. Along with parties, school functions, and church gatherings, with a family on each quarter-section (160 acres) there were enough young men for a baseball team. They even had homemade uniforms. The Bolingbroke boys were avid and valuable players – son Alfred was the catcher for many years, and youngest son Guy was the pitcher. This team traveled to games in American Falls, Pocatello, Holbrook, Juniper, Buist, Daniels, Samaria, Malad, and more.

Toward the end of his life, Charles was injured in a horse accident, making him unable to walk for a number of years, but being a proud man, he refused to use a wheelchair. Charles died at age seventy-one on 22 June 1924 in Pauline, Idaho.  He was buried in Malad. Maggie outlived her husband nineteen more years. She died at age eighty-five in Pocatello, Idaho. She was buried in Malad alongside her husband.


Ward, Laurie Jean, Bannock Valley (Providence, Utah: Keith Watkins and Sons, 1982).  Much of the information in this article came from memories of Guy Bolingbroke, Hazel Bolingbroke, and Carolyn Munn.

These links will connect to other family members.