Otto Bolds was born January 19, 1869, in Fayette County, Illinois, a son of George E. and Mary Ann (Beck) Bolds. At some point the George Bolds family moved to the state of Missouri.
C. E. Brown says, “The work in Missouri was growing rapidly by the year 1887. Jeremiah Cole had been preaching in the neighborhood of St. James for several years, and there was quite a congregation of Church of God people assembled in that place. James Pine and George Bolds came into the work in Missouri at a very early time. … George Bolds really came into the reformation under the preaching of Jeremiah Cole in 1881, and a little later D. S. Warner came to his place. [George] Bolds began preaching probably in the year 1881. This family was noted for its leadership in the reformation work. George Bolds’ four children were all preachers, all of them beginning to preach in 1888 when Otto was 19, his sister Mattie nearly 18, Rissa 17, and Louie 16. In 1888 Otto Bolds married Lillian Pine, daughter of James Pine at Carthage. Soon they went to the Gospel Trumpet company in Grand Junction, where Lillian helped with the work and Otto traveled and preached. … Otto enjoyed a long and useful ministry in the Church of God. … [His father] George E. Bolds was a minister in the Church of God for forty-two years.” – When the Trumpet Sounded, pages 136-137.
Otto’s sister, Mattie Bolds, married Ostis B. Wilson, Sr. in the summer of 1895. They were both ministers and pioneers in the movement as well. D. S. Warner performed their wedding ceremony.
Otto Bolds was an uncle of Ostis B. Wilson, Jr., who also entered the ministry at a young age. Ostis Jr. was instrumental in negotiating the publication of the Evening Light Songs hymnal by Faith Publishing House in 1949. Bro. Ostis Wilson, Jr. was well known for his writings in the Question and Answer column of the Faith and Victory paper in later years.
I once heard Bro. Ostis Wilson, Jr. say that his mother’s family was a singing family. One time they went somewhere to hold a meeting and were invited to sing at a local singing event in that vicinity. Those present were astonished at the beauty of the a cappella harmony, and the singing served as a door opener to invite folk out to the meeting.
Otto Bolds wrote the words to Evening Light Songs #170, “What I’ve Found in Jesus,” and the melody and chorus to Evening Light Songs #365, “My Life-Work.” He also wrote the words and air to #156 in Salvation Echoes, 1900, “Yielding All to Jesus,” and melody to #84 in Truth in Song, 1907, “Trust and Follow On.”
Otto Bolds passed to his eternal reward on July 10, 1935, at the age of 66, at Anderson, Indiana. He is buried in Anderson Memorial Park, Anderson, Indiana.
Otto’s wife, Lillian, who was born July 3, 1871, at Charleston, West Virginia, departed this life on March 30, 1944, at Richmond, Indiana, aged 72. She is buried in the Maplewood Cemetery, Anderson, Indiana.