NORTHERN NEW YORK
Genealogical and family history of northern New York: a record of the achievements of her people
in the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation.
New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co. 1910.
Transcribed by Coralynn Brown
Thomas Olney, ancestor of the Olneys in America, had his birthplace in the city of Hertford, Hertfordshire, England, which city formed a part of the parish of St. Albans, the seat of one of the most ancient monasteries, and long celebrated in English history as the center of spiritual influence. Of his early life we know nothing. He received a "Permit to emigrate to New England," April 2, 1635, and came to Salem, Mass. by the ship "Planter."
He was appointed a surveyor is January, 1636, and granted forty acres of land at Jeffrey Creek, now known as Manchester, near Salem. He was made a freeman the same year, and early associated with those who accepted the peculiar views of Roger Williams. With a number of others he was excluded from the colony, March 12, 1638. Previous to this, however, in company with Williams, he visited Narragansett Bay while seeking some place where they might live outside the jurisdicition of Massachusetts Colony, and decided upon the west side of the Seekonk river. Accordingly, with seven others, they formed a new settlement at the head of the bay, which they called Providence, in grateful remembrance of their deliverance from their enemies. They thus became the "Original Thirteen Proprietors of Providence," having purchased their rights from the Indians.
In July, 1639, he and his wife and their companions were excluded from the church at Salem, "because they wholly refused to hear the church, denying it, and were re-baptized."
His prominence in the colony is shown by the various duties which he was called upon to perform. In 1638 he was chosen the first treasurer. In 1647 he was chosen commissioner to form a town government, in 1648 he was chosen assistant for Providence, and held the office almost continuously until 1663. In 1656 he was chosen to treat with Massachusetts Bay about the Pawtuket lands; in 1663 his name appears among the grantees of the Royal Charter of Charles II; in the same year he was chosen assistant under the new charter; in 1665, with Roger Williams and Thomas Harris, he was chosen a judge of the justices court.
He was one of the founders of the First Baptist Church in Providence, and at one time the acting pastor or minister. He was the leader in a schism in the church upon the question of "laying on of hands," about 1652-54. He was evidently a man of stern and decided opinions, who did not hesitate to advance his views among his neighbors. Of him, in his contemplation as a surveyor, it is said: "as he entered upon the surrounding lands with his field book, chain and compas, and mystic words, with the peculiar dignity of official characters of that day, he may well have inspired the Indians with profound awe, and led them to feel that no Indian could henceforth dwell upon that part of their tribal property again."
His homestead was located on North Main street, a short distance south of the State House, and what is now (1910) known as Arsenal land led through his land. The place of his burial was in the family ground at the rear of his dwellings. All that remained of the earlier member of the family was probably removed to the burial ground on Olney street, from whence a second removal took place to make room for the church now (1910) occupying the spot.
He was the possessor of a large real estate and personal estate, and occupied one of the better houses in the plantation.
He was born in the year 1600; married in 1631, Maria Small, and died in 1682.
Thomas, born 1632, in England.
Epenetus, mentioned below.
Nedediah, born 1637.
(II) Epenetus, son of Thomas Olney, was born in England in 1634, and was probably less than a year old when brought to this country. He married Mary, daughter of John Whipple, March 9, 1666, and died June 3, 1698. Though not as prominent in public matters as his older brother, yet we find him an active member of the little colony and taking a part in the administration of its affairs, serving as a member of the colonial assembly and of the town coucil.
Mary, born July 13, 1668.
James, Nov. 9, 1670.
Sarah, Sept. 10, 1672.
Epenetus, Jan. 18, 1675.
John, mentioned below.
Thomas, May 18, 1686.
Lydia, Jan. 20, 1688.
(III) John, son of Epenetus Olney, was born in 1678. He married Rachel Coggeshall, Aug. 11, 1699, and died Nov. 9, 1754. His home was in Smithfield, Rhode Island.
John, born May 27, 1701.
William, Sept. 7, 1704.
Abigail, Feb. 22, 1706.
Jeremiah, mentioned below.
Freelove, Nov. 29, 1711.
Nedediah, Feb. 10, 1714.
Jabez, Feb. 23, 1721.
Tabitha, Nov. 20, 1723.
(IV) Jeremiah, son of John Olney, was born Nov. 3, 1708, in Smithfield, Rhode Island, died Dec. 10, 1756. He married Susannah Brown, 1734.
Mary, married James Seamans, 1755; died 1804.
Hezekiah, mentioned below.
Jeremiah, born 1746.
(V) Hezekiah, son of Jeremiah Olney, married Orpha J. Hawkins, March 27, 1774. He lived at Canterbury, Connecticut.
Joseph, mentioned below.
Elizabeth, married ____ Cory.
Daughter, married ____ Stone.
Triphemia, born 1786.
Hezekiah, March 22, 1793.
(VI) Joseph, son of Hezekiah Olney, married Nancy Dixon. He lived in Connecticut.
John D., born Aug. 7, 1799.
Hezekiah, mentioned below.
Lewis D., May 12, 1814.
(VII) Hezekiah (2), son of Joseph Olney, was born Oct. 4, 1808. He married Adelia Johnson, June 5, 1831. His home was at Ogdensburg, New York.
Charles, born April 16, 1833.
Melissa, March 18, 1836.
James, born Dec. 5, 1838.
Edwin J., mentioned below.
Amelia, May 8, 1844.
Henry J., Aug. 19, 1848.
Mary A., Dec. 29, 1853.
Willie D., March 27, 1856.
(VIII) Edwin J., son of Hezekiah (2) Olney, was born Dec. 25, 1841, in Madrid, New York, and is now (1910) living in Wilmington, N.Y. He was educated in the common schools. For a time he was a clerk in a store, then engaged in the banking business in the west. For a number of years he has conducted a summer hotel at Riverside, in the town of Wilmington, under the name of Hotel Olney.
In politics he is a Republican. He has been auditor of the town and justice of the peace. He is a member of the local lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, at Malone, N.Y.
He married, Nov.1 2, 1867, Helen, born 1849, daughter of Jasper and Sarah Bliss.
1. Frank, deceased; married Julia Hecock; son Edwin.
2. Bessie, married Frank Everest, a hotel proprietor, Wilmington; daughter: Marion Everest.
3. Oscar L., mentioned below.
4. William, married Annie Clark; children: Helen, Hazel and William.
(IX) Oscar Louis, son of Edwin J. Olney, was born at Minneapolis, Minnesota, Oct. 18, 1875. He was educated in the public schools of Wilmington and Moriah, N.Y. He was for a time a clerk in the employ of W. A. Leonard & Company, merchants, of Bangor, Franklin county, N.Y., doing business as proprietors of Hotel Olney under the firm name of Olney & Son. The firm has been very successful and the hotel takes rank among the best in this section.
In politics he is a Republican, and he acceptably filled the office of town clerk for several years.
He married, in 1902, Alice, daughter of William and Fannie (Wood) Bell.
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