Several dedicated Ollis family researchers have traced the Ollis family to Boston Ollis, an immigrant from Wales. Much of the following information comes from Avery County Heritage, Volume 3, and from Ollis family web sites.
THE OLLIS FAMILY
Boston Ollis was born in Wales about 1744. In 1774 or 1775 he came to America, probably landing in Charleston, SC. About 1777 he joined the 5th Infantry Regiment of South Carolina, under the command of Gen. Benjamin Lincoln, and fought against the British. After Charleston was captured by the British Army in 1780, he escaped to Orange County, NC. He then re-enlisted in the Revolutionary Army for a period of two months and fought at the battle of Camden, SC. Again he re-enlisted, served as a private for three months, and participated in a battle with British forces at Beatty’s Ford on the Catawba River in which an American officer, General Caswell, was killed. He then rejoined the Revolutionary Army for a fourth time near Hillsborough, NC, took part in a march to Yorktown, Virginia, and served as an artilleryman at the siege of Yorktown. He was an eyewitness to the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. After the battle of Yorktown, he served as a guard of British prisoners on a march from Yorktown to Winchester , VA. At Winchester he was discharged, having served another seven months as a private. After the Revolutionary War he lived in North Carolina and Tennessee, and died in Morgan County, Tennessee on March 9, 1834.
Boston Ollis married Barbary ____ on December 4, 1781. Barbary Ollis
was born in North Carolina in January 1759. On May 29, 1839 she appeared
before a Justice of the Peace in Morgan County, Tennessee to make a declaration
in order to qualify for a pension given to veterans’ widows. She later
moved to Missouri with her daughter and son-in-law, Charles and Barbary
Asher. She died in Reynolds County, Missouri in 1862 at the age of 103.
CHILDREN OF BOSTON AND BARBARY OLLIS
1. Peter Ollis (b. Sept. 1, 1782)
2. Frederic Ollis (b. January 1, 1785)
3. John “Swansey” Ollis (July 1, 1787- June 10, 1871) m. Elizabeth Chambers
4. Elizabeth Ollis (b. March 10, 1790)
5. Daniel Ollis (b. April 24, 1792)
6. Adam Ollis (b. Sept. 15, 1795)
7. Unnamed child, died young.
8. Barbary Ollis (b. January 1, 1800) m. Charles Asher. Lived in Morgan County, TN, and Reynolds Co., MO.
9. George Ollis (b. February 1, 1802)
10. Sarah Ollis (b. July 15, 1804)
John “Swansey” Ollis was probably nicknamed for the town of
Swansea in Wales, the country from which his father came to America. He
served a term of 60 days in the War of 1812 before being released at Salisbury
due to health problems.
Like his father before him, Swansea Ollis moved around. Swansea's son Boston was born in Kentucky; the rest of his children were apparently born in NC. In his later years Swansea probably lived around Three Mile in what is now Avery County, NC, and his death was recorded by Jake Carpenter in Carpenter’s “Anthology of Death”. Carpenter writes that Swansey Ollis was a great deer and turkey hunter who had killed hundreds of rattlesnakes and thousands of deer.
CHILDREN OF JOHN “SWANSEY” OLLIS AND ELIZABETH CHAMBERS
1. Boston Ollis (b. @1811) m. Elizabeth Wiseman
2. John Ollis, Jr. (Sept. 27, 1819- Oct. 18, 1891) m. Frances (Fannie) Burleson
3. Dan Ollis m. Margaret Whilnhoug
4. George Ollis m. (Elizabeth?) Burris
5. James Ollis m. Liza Weatherman
6. Sallie Ollis m. William Harvel
7. Polly Ollis m. Major Gragg
8. Betsie Ollis m. Jim Gragg
Boston Ollis married Elizabeth Wiseman (see THE WISEMAN
FAMILY). Sometime around 1859 he went on a trip to Missouri and never returned;
he apparently remained with his Missouri relatives. Elizabeth (Wiseman)
Ollis died on March 1, 1889 and is buried beside her brother, Alexander
Wiseman, at Pine Grove Methodist Church Cemetery near Spruce Pine.
CHILDREN OF BOSTON OLLIS AND ELIZABETH WISEMAN
1. John Abram McKarney “Mack” Wiseman (b. August 7, 1834). (He was the illegitimate son of James
Henry Taylor and took his mother’s maiden name.)
2. Mary Anna “Emily” Ollis (April 16, 1838- June 9, 1921) m.1st William Huskins m. 2nd James Wilson
3. Martha Jane Ollis (Sept. 18, 1840- April 15, 1936) m. Aaron Thomas
4. Alexander Sutherland “Souz” Ollis (b. February 7, 1843) Served in the Civil War.
5. Daniel Dudley “Dud” Ollis (b. Jan. 8, 1845) Served in the Civil War.
6. Joseph Taylor Ollis (Sept. 17, 1847- May 1, 1936) m. 1st Kate Buchanan m. 2nd Delzie Mace
7. Lucy Ann Ollis (b. October 8, 1857)
Mary Anna Ollis married William Huskins on Nov. 6, 1862 in Mitchell
County. He died about 1867.
CHILDREN OF MARY ANNA OLLIS AND WILLIAM HUSKINS
1. Samuel Huskins (May 15, 1865- Feb. 14, 1891)
2. William M. Huskins (March 22, 1867- April 11, 1954) m. Catherine Grindstaff
On January 26, 1868 Mary Anna Ollis married
a second time. Her second husband was James W. Wilson, who lived on White
Oak Road, Bakersville. This was James Wilson’s second marriage, too, and
he had several children from his previous marriage to Mahala Wilson.
James Wilson was born on Feb. 8, 1808 in Burke County, NC. He was the son of a William Wilson who had been born in Virginia around 1774.
James Wilson died on July 31, 1898, and his wife Mary Anna Ollis died on June 9, 1921. They are buried in the Wilson Cemetery on White Oak Road.
CHILDREN OF JAMES WILSON AND MARY ANNA OLLIS
1. Elizabeth “Betty” Wilson (June 27, 1869- Dec. 24, 1890) m. Thomas C. Grindstaff
2. Jonathan L. Wilson (Jan. 4, 1872- May 10, 1944) m. Naomi E. Wilson.
3. Robert Vance Wilson (May 6, 1876- Nov. 8, 1944) m. Alice McNeil.
According to the 1910 Mitchell census, Mary Anna Ollis was the mother
of 10 children, 4 of whom were still living in 1910.