I've written several times previously (four to be exact)on this blog about Alf Bolin, the notorious bushwhacker who operated in the Taney County area during the Civil War. Nearly every time I've written about Bolin, whether on this blog or elsewhere, I have lamented the lack of verifiable information about him, especially information pertaining to events prior to his death. I have recently learned, however, thanks to a book entitled Christian County Memories
by the Old Record Collector, Wayne Glenn, that there is a little more about Bolin that is known for sure than I had previously been aware of.
For instance, Glenn demonsrates in his book that the 26-year-old Alford Bowling of the 1860 Stone County census (whom I had previously thought could possibly be our man) is, in fact, the notorious bushwhacker. He and his siblings, except one married brother, were living with their widowed mother at the time. Glenn's book also identifies eight or nine specific murders that Bolin was known or thought to have been involved in. Although the author relies to a certain extent on reminiscent histories or memoirs written many years after the war, most of the evidence presented seems credible. Another important tidbit that I learned from the Glenn book was that the name of the Confederate-sympathizing woman who double-crossed Bolin and set him up to be killed in order to gain the freedom of her husband was named Cordelia Richards. Her name was not Mrs. Foster, as many post-war reports claimed, although Foster was her maiden name. She was also related to the Laytons of Layton's Mill, where Bolin often hung out, in that her sister was married to a Layton and Cordelia and her husband lived on land owned by the Laytons.
Despite this new information about Bolin, I still maintain that he was not nearly as notorious in life as he became after death. Bolin almost certainly did not kill anywhere near the forty men he is said in legend to have killed, and it cannot be proved even that he or his gang committed all of the murders mentioned by Glenn. And even if the Bolin gang did kill all of them, it is probable, as the author points out, that Bolin did not personally kill all of them by himself.
At any rate, though, I definitely recommend Wayne Glenn's Christian County Memories book for anyone who would like to learn more about Alf Bolin. You can order it directly from him by sending a check for $13 (that price includes shipping)to Wayne Glenn, PO Box 827, Nixa, MO 65714.