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Rankin Family History Project

Sebastian Olivar


Sebastian Olivar, a wealthy farmer of Bois Brule Township, Perry County, was born on the island of Majorca on December 1, 1847. He is a son of Antonio and Catherine (Company) Olivar, both of whom were of Spanish blood, and also born on the island of Majorca.

When a lad of ten years Sebastian, prompted by a desire to see something of the world, left his parents home, and unattended and alone, secured a steamboat passage to Barcelona. For nine long years afterward he was on the sea, first serving as a cabin boy, then as matricule. Before his four years all a marine had fully expired he deserted on account of severe punishment to which he and two other marines were forced to submit. He escaped from Havanna, making his way to New Orleans with the assistance of Cap. Mike Parade, who had charge of the sail vessel. Upon his arrival at New Orleans Mr. Sebastian contracted the yellow fever, but managed to make his way up the Mississippi River to St. Mary’s where he recovered, but his comrade, who accompanied him, died of the disease.

For several years our subject was employed at St. Mary’s Seminary, and in 1875, his good management being recognized, he was made overseer of the bottom farm. Having made investments in stock, and carefully saved his money, the next year he took charge of the farm himself, which he managed very successfully. After three years he had saved money enough to buy some land. He purchased seventy-six acres in the bottoms, and from this date his good management and superior judgment have made him conspicuous among the farmers of the county. Other lands have been added to his farm until now comprises 528 acres, within full view of the grand Mississippi River, and about one mile from Chester.

On May 28, 1876, he was married to Matilda Miles, a native of the county. Her parents came from Marion County, Ky. and were among the early settlers of Perry County. Mr. and Mrs. Olivar have one daughter, Mary now ten years of age.

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The Goodspeed Publishing Company compiled a series of histories of various counties in the U.S. in the late 19th century. The information in the History of Southeast Missouri, published in 1888, was provided by the contemporary residents of Perry County and her neighboring counties. The biographies are a valuable source of genealogical information, despite a few minor inaccuracies. We are glad to present the transcribed biographies here for anyone researching Perry County's history.

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