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At the spot where the old Buckhead Road crossed the railroad tracks at the J.W. Brinkley home, there was a settlement called Maxwell.  A post office was established on January 15, 1858.  The land were Maxwell was located is now within the city limits of Bolton.  The name of the post office was changed from Maxwell to Bolton on April 26, 1866.

The town of Bolton was incorporated in 1915.  Apparently it was named for Samuel Bolton.  At the time of his death in 1872, he and William Lloyd operated Bolton and Company.

Bolton eventually became known for timber.  The Waccamaw Lumber Company began operation in 1907. In 1937, Riegel Paper Corporation purchased the Waccamaw Lumber Company and established an office in Bolton. Riegel Paper was purchased by The Federal Paper Board Company in 1972 and it was eventually bought out by International Paper Company.  During all this change the office was never moved from Bolton.  The “Woodlands” Division of International Paper was a main employer in Bolton until its closing in the late 1990’s.

In its heyday Bolton was a bustling town.  There were hotels, medical offices, schools, and restaurants.  People used to catch the train from Whiteville and come to Bolton to have Sunday dinner.  At one time the population of Bolton was near 1800.  Today the population is officially listed as 492.

Although the lost of the timber industry hit Bolton hard, the Town still managed to survive.  Under the leadership of several mayors and council members, Bolton managed sustain itself.