Charles Bolton was born in Jefferson County, New York, in 1830. He moved to California in about 1850 and later became a stagecoach robber. His first recorded hold-up was in August 1877 when he stopped a Wells Fargo stagecoach outside Fort Ross and stole the strongbox that contained $300. Over the next six years he is believed to carry out about 30 robberies.
During his raids Bolton (known as Black Bart) wore a flour sack over his head with eyeholes cut out. He never robbed passengers and never wounded anyone in his crimes. However, in 1883 he was shot by a passenger. Bolton fled but left behind a handkerchief with a laundry mark on it which enabled Wells Fargo detective to track him down. On 17th November, 1883, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years at San Quentin.
Charles Bolton died in 1917.