Robert F. Boles
Robert (Bob) Boles was born in Overton County, Tennessee and was the son of Captain
John Boles, (June 6, 1802-March 18, 1869). Bob's mother was Matilda Beaty, the daughter of
George Beaty (1785) and Lydia A. Wilson of Boatland, Tennessee. Tinker Dave Beaty was Matilda's brother. Bob Boles' first wife was
Naoma Worley, (11-7-1829 to 1-14-1873). His second wife was Martha Reagan, the daughter of
1802 John Reagan and Nancy Findley Reagan, (1813). Bob's third wife was a sister to the
above Martha. Her name was Susannah Reagan Owen. Martha was born December 16, 1855 and
died November 3, 1886. She left six young children, so her sister, Susannah, said she
married Bob in order to raise her sister Martha's children. Susannah had been a widow for
years before she married Bob.
Bob and Naoma had ten children. Listings of these may be found on pages 478-479 in Oma
Smith's book, Garrett and Allied Families.
Bob and Martha Reagan Boles' children were: Ulysses Grant, born June 6, 1875; William,
born June 3, 1876; Mary A., born June 26, 1877; Sarah, born December 25, 1881; Savage,
born March 19, 1883; and Blaine, born October 23, 1885.
All of Martha's children were born in Fentress County. Bob and Martha and some of their
children are buried in the Bob Boles' Cemetery which is located in the yard of the Bob
Boles home place just off the Sandy Mountain on the head waters of East Fork of Obey River
in the Big Piney Creek area. The old home is now occupied by Bob and Martha's
granddaughter, Alice Boles Ledbetter and her daughter, Peggy. This former home of Bob and
Martha is well-preserved. The surroundings, including the yard cemetery of about fifteen
graves, are unusual because of the cemetery being located so near the dwelling. According
to granddaughter Alice, Bob Boles was about five feet, eight inches tall, weighed about
400 pounds, and had to turn sideways to enter the front door of his home. He had an
enormous appetite, and it has been said that he and his sister, Katy, ate a whole sheep at
one meal. John and his son, Bob, both fought in the Civil War on the Union side. Bob
served in the 2nd Tennessee Volunteer Regiment. In the war, he was injured by a musket
ball in his knee. He was captured by the Confederates and imprisoned at Bells Island but
escaped. Father, John Boles, served with Captain David (Tinker) Beaty's Independent
Scouts. Note that John had married Tinker's sister, Matilda. This same John can be called
a politician. He represented Overton County in the General Assembly 1851-1853 as a
representative. From 1853-1857, he was senator for Overton, Fentress, Morgen and Scott
Counties. After the war he was sheriff in Overton County, 1865-1867. During this period he
officiated at the only public hanging in Overton County.
Bob and his father, John, (1802-1869) were both large land owners. On October 3, 1835,
John received Tennessee land of 1000 acres in Fentress County on the East Fork of Obey
River. On July 31, 1882, Bob transferred for $1.00 (and other considerations) to Claiborne Beaty 3,000 acres on Piney Creek in Fentress County.
There was other buying and selling of lands in Fentress and Overton Counties which was the
usual for the pioneer of that period. Bolestown, now in Pickett County near State Highway
52 west of Jamestown, is where many of the early Roles settlers are buried.
by Wilma Reagan Pinckley, a greatniece of Martha and Robert F. Boles and a distant
cousin to 1810 Matilda Beaty Boles