William Montford Boylan, Sr

William Montford Boylan, Sr

Death 15 Jul 1861 (aged 83)
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Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, USA
Plot Section: E-1. Lot: 43
Memorial ID 28032036 · View Source
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William Montford Boylan, Sr. was born 1777 to a prominent New Jersey family at the outbreak of the War of Independence. Born in Pluckemin, NJ he was the son of John Boylan and Eleanor Hodge, who served as a Minute Man in the Revolutinary War. The "Boylan House", (photo here) was built in 1751, and is located in Pluckemin across the street from the Pluckemin Presbyterian Church. The house was built by William's grandfather, Aaron Boylan, who also helped provide funds to build St. Paul's Church across the street. The Boylans had a store in Basking Ridge at the time the Boylan house was built. John Boylan died in 1793, and his widow Mrs. Eleanor Boylan died in 1846. The house was then left to their son, William Boylan of Wake County, North Carolina. When he died in 1864, he left the Boylan house to his sister, Sarah B. Parker.

William M. Boylan Sr. married Elizabeth Stokes McCullouch in Pluckemin in 1801 when he was 24 years old, and she just 21.

Boylan Sr. started working in the newspaper industry for his uncle, Abraham Hodge, at the Minerva newspaper in Halifax sometime before 1797. In 1797 they moved their operation to Fayetteville and renamed it the North Carolina Minerva and Fayetteville Gazette. In 1799 they moved to Raleigh and renamed their paper the North Carolina Minerva and Raleigh Advertiser. In addition to his newspaper business, he had a bookstore, and also became president of the State Bank, succeeding Colonel William Polk. Both Boylan and Polk were Federalists of the deepest dye, and strong friends. For many years Hodge & Boylan were printers to the State, and held that position as long as their party remained in power.

William Boylan was strongly political and his paper was a staunch supporter of the Federalist Party. His rival, Joseph Gales, headed the Raleigh Register, which was the mouthpiece of the Republican Party in North Carolina. This fierce rivalry eventually resulted in a fistfight between the two men over which Joseph Gales sued William Boylan for $100. Partly due to the knowledge he gained as a result of his work in politics, as a city commissioner and in the state legislature, William Boylan became a shrewd land speculator and purchased two hundred and seventy acres on what were then the outskirts of Raleigh in 1818.

In 1818, William Sr. purchased "Wakefield" the plantation once belonging to Raleigh founder, Joel Lane (built ca. 1795). The Lane "Wakefield" house, along with "Montfort Hall", which Boylan Jr. build in 1858, remained in the Boylan family until 1909.

William Boylan Sr. was credited with introducing cotton to Wake County, embracing slave ownership to support this cash crop. The senior Boylan also owned plantations in neighboring Johnston and Chatham counties and in Mississippi. These, along with his lucrative businesses, made him one of the wealthiest men in North Carolina. He also became a proponent for public education as well as a railroad magnate. He also later purchased Yates Mill from Samuel Pearson, a water-powered mill that served Wake County for more than 200 years.

William Sr. and Elizabeth "Betsy" McCulloch were parents to at 11 known children, many of whom died young. Betsy died in 1825, at age 45, and the widower later married Jane Elliot as his second wife in 1830, by whom one known daughter was born. [See Elizabeth Boylan memorial for more information on his children.]

Boylan died in 1861 at the age of 84, survived by his 2nd wife, Jane Elliot Boylan. Only two of his 11 children from his 1st marriage survived him -- Daughter Catherine (who never married) and his youngest son and namesake, William Montford Boylan, Jr., who took up where his father left off, becoming one of Raleigh's leading editors, landowners and businessmen.


Son of John and Eleanor Hodge Boylan, born in Somerset Co., NJ.




  • Created by: pbfries
  • Added: 4 Jul 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 28032036
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Montford Boylan, Sr (1 Sep 1777–15 Jul 1861), Find A Grave Memorial no. 28032036, citing City Cemetery, Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by pbfries (contributor 46951237) .