Sarah T. Bolton
Biography of Sarah T. Bolton
Sarah T. Bolton (Sarah Tittle Botlon, née Barrett, an American poet and Indiana's "pioneer poet," is best known for her poem “Paddle Your Own Canoe” (1850). An activist for women’s rights, she worked with Robert Dale Owen during Indiana's 1850–1851 Constitutional Convention to include the recognition of women's property rights. Her husband Nathaniel Bolton (25 July 1803–26 November 1858) co-founded Indianapolis’s first newspaper, the Gazette, and was Indiana State Librarian from 1851 to 1854.
She was born in Newport, Kentucky but moved to Indiana as a child. The family first settled in Jennings County, and later Madison.
As a young woman she contributed poems to the Madison newspaper. These poems attracted the paper's editor Nathaniel Bolton, and the two were soon married.
The couple moved to Indianapolis where Sarah gained a wide reputation as a poet. In 1855 Nathaniel Bolton was appointed consul to Geneva, Switzerland, and Sarah accompanied him to his new post. They remained in Switzerland for three years. During this time Sarah acted as a correspondent for the Cincinnati Commercial. In 1858 they returned to Indianapolis. Nathaniel died a few months after their return.
Sarah was Indiana's foremost female singer for many years. A complete collection of her poetry was published in Indianapolis in 1886. She died there in 1893. She has been called the "Pioneer Poet Laureate of Indiana". She is commemorated by the Sarah T. Bolton Relief, a 1941 bronze relief in the Indiana Statehouse, Indianapolis.
Sarah T. Bolton's Works:
The Life and Poems of Sarah T. Bolton, F. L. Horton, Indianapolis, 1880. from Archive.org
Songs Of A Life-Time, The Bowen-Merrill Company, 1892.
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Paddle Your Own Canoe
Voyager upon life's sea,
To yourself be true,
And where'er your lot may be
Paddle your own canoe.
Never, though the winds may rave,
Falter nor look back;
But upon the darkest wave
Leave a shinning track.