William Emery Bolles was born on November 2, 1865. At that time his father, George Bolles, was 44 and his mother, Mary Angeline (Powers) Bolles, was 38. He married Ada A. Ridge on August 7, 1901.
William attended college at Brookings, South Dakota in 1885 and then switched to Ames, Iowa (Iowa State) in 1887, graduating in 1891. He worked as civil engineer draftsman in New Jersey. In 1893 he tried raising coffee in Mexico then returned to being a draftsman in Paterson, New Jersey. In 1900 he started working for American Bridge in Minneapolis. He later worked as a engineer on the Panama Canal. He became a theosophist in California.
He died in the Los Angeles Veterans Administration Hospital, California.
William Emery Bolles had 3 brothers and 3 sisters: