The Olmstead Family
Contributed by Ken Olmstead
Henry Olmstead was born in New York state April 23, 1784. Henry married Sarah Merritt from New York. They had four children. The first three were born in New York; Oliver, Daniel and Jane. A fourth son Henry Jr.was born in Canada about 1830 after Henry and family migrated to Canada about 1820. They settled in Gore District (what is now Hamilton, Ontario).
Henry's oldest son, Oliver migrated to Illinois from Canada in 1835 and settled first in Plainfield, Illinois. In 1837 he moved to what is now Whiteside County near present day Prophetstown, Illinois. There were few white settlers in the area. The Black Hawk Wars had only been concluded in 1832 with a treaty between Chief Black Hawk of the Sauk-Fox Indian Nation and the U.S.
Henry and family migrated from Canada to Whiteside County in 1838. Henry, sons Oliver and Daniel, had farms appoximately 4 miles southwest of Prophetstown on Washington Street Road. Daniel moved on to Nebraska in 1865. Henry died December 28, 1866. Whiteside County plat shows Henry's oldest son, Oliver Olmstead, owned 480 acres in 1872. This was the largest farm in that area.
The cemetary where Henry Olmstead is buried in on Washington Street, approx. 4 miles southwest of Prophetstown. The cemetary is across the road west of the old Oliver Olmstead homestead. Today, nothing remains except large trees outlining a one acre homesite.
Oscar was born in Whiteside County in 1840, the Second Son of Oliver and Electa, Olmstead (maiden surname Hunt). The family farm was located about 4 or 5 miles southwest of Prophetstown, Illinois. on Washington Street (road).
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Oscar enlisted for 3 years in the Illinois 34th Infantry. This unit was formed under the command of a Colonel Kirk from Dixon, Illinois. Company B was the contingent from Whiteside County. Oscar was elected or appointed Corporal. The 34th's basic infantry training was done at Camp Butler, Springfield, Ill.
At the conclusion of basic training, the Illinois 34th was transferred to Indianapolis and was included into what would be become the Army of the Cumberland commanded by General William S. Rosecrans. This union army moved from Indiana across Kentucky and first encountered the Southern Army under Braxton Bragg in Tennessee.
Nashville, Tennessee, was taken in April 1862 by the Union Army at the battle of Shiloh. Another battle the largest one in the west was The Battle of Stones River. Hailed as a victory for the union because the southern army retreated after three days of fighting, today historians say this battle was more a draw than a victory for either side. The first day of the Battle of Stones River, near Murfreesboro was fought Dec. 31, 1862. The southern army overran the union right flank and the Illinois 34th.
Oscar Olmstead and many members of the 34th were captured. They were sent to a Confederate Prison in Richmond, VA. The Confederate records show that Oscar held the rank of Sargeant and was interned at Belle Isle Prison until Jan. 24,1863, when he was parole and exchanged at City Point, VA. Federal records show that he was transferred and admitted to a hospital in Nashville, TN.., after being exchanged. After 4 weeks of convalescing, he was reunited with his unit in Chattanooga, TN., and fought across Georgia before being Honorably Discharged after the fall of Atlanta, GA., in December 1864.
Oscar married Mary Elizabeth Clifton in 1867. They had eight children, six sons and two daughters. In 1883 they joined the western migration and moved to Conway Springs in Sumner County, Kansas. Conway Spring is approx 25 miles south southwest of Wichita,KS. and appox. 15 miles west of I - 35. He passed away in 1932 and is buried in Spring Hill Cemetary, two miles south and 1 mile west of Conway Spring, KS.
The Olmsteads are "original founding Pilgrims". We arrived in Massachusetts in 1632 from England on the ship "Lyons". Our ancestor founded Hartford, Norwalk, and Ridgefield, Connecticut. All of this information can be documented and I will supply you with this documentation. My ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War, there were three Olmsteads at Valley Forge, cousin and relatives of earlier generations. And my great-grandfather fought under Sherman across Georgia to Atlanta. 4th Generation Olmstead
1)Henry Olmstead and family, migrated to Whiteside county around 1838. He followed his oldest son Oliver Olmstead from Canada. Henry is buried in Whiteside County.
2)Oliver Olmstead settled there around 1835 and married the daughter of one the original families. Oliver Olmstead suffered poor health in his senior years and moved to Iowa and was cared for by his family until his death. He is buried in Iowa.
3)Oscar Merriott Olmstead was the second son of Oliver and Electa (Hunt) Olmstead. He was born in 1840. Oscar Merrriott Olmstead migrated to Kansas in 1883. He is buried in Conway Springs, Kansas.
4)The fourth generation was Eugene Butler Olmstead, born in 1869 he is the second son of Oscar Merriott Olmstead and Elizabeth (Cliffton) Olmstead. Eugene Butler Olmstead was 14 years of age when he moved to Kansas with his father, Oscar M. Olmstead. Eugene is buried in Marshall, Oklahoma.
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