Thomas H. Boling (1846-1896)
Thomas H. Boling was born to John B. Boling, a carpenter, and an unknown mother. Born in 1846, Boling had one younger brother, James H. Boling who joined the United States Colored Troops. Boling entered the Institute for Colored Youth in 1860, but was oddly missing from the Board of Manager’s 1861 report. In any case, Boling resumed his studies in 1862 and was a fine student who won a $15 prize for math. In 1864, Boling placed at the top of his graduating class of ten students by scoring a 9.37/10 on the final examination. Following graduation, Boling became a prosperous flour dealer and ran his own grocery store. Despite his economic success, Boling stayed incredibly active in the African-American community. Boling used his business acumen in roles such as: secretary for Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, secretary for the Social, Civil and Statistical Association of the Colored People of Pennsylvania, and secretary for Lebanon Cemetery. Moreover, Boling was a member of the Philadelphia Building and Loan Association and the secretary for the Century Building and Loan Association, an organization for African-American businessmen. In addition, Boling became an officer at the Home for Aged and Infirm Colored Persons which was commonly called the Old Folks’ Home. In June 1885, Boling traveled to Ohio to witness the commencement of Wilberforce University, the first African-American run college.
Boling married his classmate Margaret Masten (Class of 1864) and they had three children, Mary E. Boling (b. 1873), Sarah F. Boling (b. 1876), and Fanny C. Boling (b. 1880). In February 1889, Boling was severely injured when he was thrown from his wagon while transporting flour. The Christian Recorder described the accident as, “Mr. Thomas H . Boling the grocer, on Tuesday, Feb. 12th, was thrown from his wagon; the wheel passing over his body was seriously injured about the body. The accident was caused by his horse taking fright at a passing street car.” It is not known whether Boling fully recovered from his injuries. Boling died on May 5, 1896 at age 50 and was buried at Olive Cemetery.
1860 Federal Census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 8, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Roll: M653_1158, Page: 72, Image: 76, Family History Library Film: 805158, Ancestry.com; Objects of the Institute for Colored Youth, with a list of the officers and students, and the annual report of the Board of Managers, for the year 1860, Philadelphia, 1860; Objects of the Institute for Colored Youth, with a list of the officers and students, and the annual report of the Board of Managers, for the year 1861, Philadelphia, 1861; Objects of the Institute for Colored Youth, with a list of the officers and students, and the annual report of the Board of Managers, for the year 1862, Philadelphia, 1862; “Institute for Colored Youth,” The Christian Recorder, May 21, 1864; Roger Lane, William Dorsey’s Philadelphia and Ours : On the Past and Future of the Black City in America: On the Past and Future of the Black City in America, 220 and 289; “Citizens Meeting in Bethel A.M.E. Church,” The Christian Recorder, December 3, 1864; “The Right of Suffrage,” The Christian Recorder, July 22, 1865; “Local Column,” The Christian Recorder, July 4, 1878; “Personal,” The Christian Recorder, June 25, 1885; “On Wednesday evening, November 10th,” The Christian Recorder, November 18, 1886; 1880 Federal Census, Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1170, Family History Film: 1255170, Page: 37D, Enumeration District: 116, Image: 0254, Ancestry.com; “Mr. Thomas H. Boling,” The Christian Recorder, February 21, 1889; “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803–1915,” Ancestry.com.