Ruffin Paige Boulding (1895-1976)

By Edward Hopson

Ruffin Paige Boulding was born on January 4th, 1895 to Benjamin and Florence Boulding in Norfolk, Virginia. He was the oldest of three children, with a brother Benjamin Boulding, Jr. and sister Dorothy Boulding. In his early life, Boulding attended four years of high school before attending a commercial college special course. He then took his talents to the U.S. Navy Yard, now known as the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, as a typist.

With WWI raging in Europe, Boulding decided that the best thing for him to do was to serve his country in a military setting. He enlisted into the Army on September 18th, 1918 and attended training at Camp Pike in Arkansas as a part of the Infantry Central Officers’ Training School. When asked why he joined the military, he said “I prefer to volunteer than to be called.”  Boulding was placed in the 1st Colored Company as a Private Infantryman. Two short months later on November 11th, 1918, Germany surrendered bringing WWI to an end. On December 6th, 1918, Ruffin Boulding was discharged from the U.S. Army and returned to Norfolk retaining his job as a typist.

Boulding then spent the next few years in Norfolk, VA before ultimately moving to Charlotte, N.C. to start a life for himself. It was around this time that he met Mrs. Julia I. Wyche and they were happily married on August 11th, 1927. Little is known as to why, but he and Julia soon after moved to Wewoka, Oklahoma. It is a possibility that he had been chasing a profit in striking oil himself as the land in this county was said to be rich with oil.

Little is known about his later life as he moved back to a suburb of Charlotte, Mecklenburg, North Carolina where he would live for the remainder of his life. Ruffin Paige Boulding died on May 31st, 1976 at the age of 80 years old.

Sources Census 1910, Census 1930, NC Marriage Records 1762-1979, United States WWI Draft Registration Cards 1917-1918, United States Veterans Administration Master Index 1917-1940, North Carolina Deaths 1931-1994

WWI Commission Files: Ruffin P. Boulding pgs. 1-4