Olney, Sr., John

Born: 1822-01-10 Shawneetown, Illinois

Died: 1900-10-06 Chicago, Illinois

John Olney, Sr. was a lawyer, military officer, Whig, and, later, a Republican. As a youth, he attended school in Shawneetown, Illinois, then studied law under local attorney, Samuel D. Marshall. After obtaining his license to practice law in 1844, he joined Marshall as a law partner. In February 1853, Olney married Eliza L. Ridgway, with whom he eventually had four children. By 1860, he owned $4,000 in real estate and another $2,000 in personal property. A Whig-turned-Republican, Olney supported Abraham Lincoln during the 1860 Federal Election, and served as one of the Illinois Republican Party’s electors. After the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted in the Union Army and served as lieutenant colonel of the Sixth Illinois Cavalry until he was discharged in 1863. He died at the home of his son, John Olney, Jr., after suffering a stroke.

The Bench and Bar of Chicago: Biographical Sketches (Chicago: American Biographical, [1883]), 621-22; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Gallatin County, 2 February 1853, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Shawneetown, Gallatin County, IL, 214; U.S. Census Office, Ninth Census of the United States (1870), Ward 19, Chicago, Cook County, IL, 111; Chicago Legal News (IL), 13 October 1900, 62:2-4; The Chicago Sunday Tribune (IL), 7 October 1900, 33:6.