Bouldin was born on September 28, 1838, in Charlotte Court House, the son of Wood Bouldin (1811–1876) and his first wife, Maria Louisa Barksdale Bouldin. His father was a prominent attorney, member of the, and a judge of the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals from 1872 until his death.
Bouldin’s education began at Rough Creek Church in Charlotte County. He attended the University of Virginia from 1855 to 1857 and returned for one year in 1859 to study law with James P. Holcombe and John B. Minor. Bouldin began the practice of law with his father in Boydton, but on September 23, 1861, he joined the Staunton Hill Artillery and served as aduring the Civil War. Afterward he practiced law in Charlotte, Halifax, and Mecklenburg counties until 1871, when he moved to Richmond. There he practiced in partnership with his father and Hunter H. Marshall and later with James Alfred Jones until 1879. On December 9 of that year he married Florence H. Easley, daughter of James S. Easley, of Halifax County. Bouldin resided for the rest of his life in that county’s seat of Houston, later called Halifax. He and his wife had three sons and three daughters.
Constitutional Convention of 1900–1901
In this 1901 broadside, Democratic leaders reassure white men in Virginia that proposed amendments to the state constitution will not strip them of their voting rights. The Constitutional Convention of 1901–1902 produced the Constitution of 1902 and is an important example of post-Reconstruction efforts to restore white supremacy in the American South by disfranchising large numbers of blacks. The convention was dominated by Democrats, including state party chairman, J. Taylor Ellyson; the convention's president, John Goode; and the party's gubernatorial candidate, Andrew J. Montague, all of whom are quoted here. Goode emphasized that the party "is pledged in its platform to eliminate the ignorant and worthless negro as a factor from the politics of this State without taking the right of suffrage from a single white man." Despite such assurances, many working-class whites were effectively disfranchised by the Constitution of 1902.
Individual portraits of the 100 delegates elected to the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1901–1902, the administrative staff for the convention, and members of the press covering the proceedings are arrayed around a photograph of the State Capitol in Richmond. This grouping was created by Foster's Photographic Gallery, which faced Capitol Square.
A broadside produced by the Negro Educational and Industrial Association of Virginia urges citizens to attend a meeting at Richmond's Mount Zion Baptist Church on May 3, 1901, to discuss "the saving of our public schools and other matters of grave importance to be brought before the Constitutional Convention" of 1901–1902. The constitution that emerged from the convention effectively disfranchised most black voters and reaffirmed segregated public schooling. For decades after, there was an increasingly wide gap between expenditures for white and black schools in Virginia.
This is the leather cover of a volume of photographs featuring the delegates to and officials of Virginia's Constitutional Convention of 1901–1902. The book features 111 portraits made by Foster's Photographic Gallery in Richmond. The name of Hill Carter, who represented Hanover County at the convention, is embossed on the bottom half of the cover; this book likely belonged to him.
After the convention, Bouldin returned to the quiet practice of law in Houston, but in 1905 he succeeded William Leigh as commonwealth’s attorney after Leigh moved from Halifax County. Bouldin subsequently won election to a full term and was a candidate for reelection when he died suddenly at his home on April 11, 1911. He was buried the following day in the graveyard at nearby Saint John’s Episcopal Church.