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Some Olivers of Clark County, Kentucky
Submitted by Jim Faulconer

Some Olivers came to Jamestown from England in the 1620s. However, since this is such a common name, the relationships have been difficult to establish. One of the more determined efforts was made by the late Oliver Lienhard. Fortunately he distributed copies of his work prior to his untimely death. Other researchers have also added to what is known. Bessie Taul Conkwright did impressive research back in the 1930s on the Olivers of Clark County, Kentucky, and other related families. Nellie Adams and Bertha Walton wrote Fox Cousins by the Dozens, including their lineage charts of the Olivers of Clark County. The last word is yet to be said, however, for I have found inconsistencies and errors in what has been published. Therefore, I will make my attempt to trace my line of the Oliver family in Clark County.

What follows is information about Isaac Oliver of Clark County, and some of his descendants. But before discussing him, it is important to first discuss his older brother, Richard. Richard was in the Revolutionary War, and left behind his Pension Application, which has material relevant to Isaac as well. Here it is:

State of Kentucky: Clark County - On the 24th, of December 1832, the above named Revolutionary soldier appeared in Clark Circuit Court, Aged 80, and made his declaration for pension. That he was born in Halifax County, Virginia 12-20- 1752, that he has a record of his age, made by his father in his common prayer book, which was at his house in Clark County, Kentucky where he now resided and has resided since the Revolutionary War, between the U.S. and Great Britain.

He was drafted October 1779 in Mecklenberg County, North Carolina for three months in the militia and marched under Capt. Joseph Shinn and under General Rutherford to Wilmington.
He said, "Before we reached Wilmington, the dragoons attached to the corps fall in with a body of Tories going to join the British of whom said dragoons killed 18(?). One Peter Simmons commanded one company. I cannot tell the name of the place through and to which we marched on said tour. He was discharged 1780. Second Tour - Afterwards I moved into Irandell County, N.C. and in the month of March 1781 was drafted for a tour of three months in the militia and marched under Capt. George Davis, Col. McDowell and brother of Col. McDowell. Drafted again in November 1781 (still living in Iradell County, N.C.) under George Smith. In 1782 I moved from Iradell County, N.C. to Mecklenberg County, N.C. and in the course of two or three years I moved from Mecklenberg County and settled in Clark County, Kentucky, where I have resided ever since. I am known in my present neighborhood to David Hampton, Esq., Chilton Allen, Esq."

The affidavit of Isaac Oliver, Sr. appeared in open court on October 28, 1833, and says he is the brother of Richard Oliver who made application for pension. That said Isaac is about 68 years of age and that he resides in Clark County, Kentucky, and that during the Revolutionary War, the affiant, Isaac Oliver, lived in Rowan County, N.C. and about 50 miles distance from Richard Oliver, and that during the war he heard in the family that Richard Oliver served a tour first as a substitute for one Henry Coulman (Goldman) who has since died but how long said Richard Oliver served as a soldier in said Revolutionary War, the affiant does not recollect. He had a personal knowledge of the matter and now speaks from the rumor prevailing in his father's family, which he then believed and now believes to be true.

John Conkwright, (59 years of age) said that Richard Oliver married said John Conkwright's sister and that he has frequently heard said Oliver say many years ago that he had served in the Revolutionary War as a militiaman. Affidavit was made in Clark County, Kentucky.

Affidavit of Charles Coulman (50 years of age) states that he married the daughter of Richard Oliver about 37 years ago and that he has always heard in said Oliver family and in the affiant's father's family that said Richard Oliver of the Revolutionary War was a militiaman and that he then and now believes said reports to be true, moreover he has frequently heard his father, Henry Coulman (who died 37 years ago), say that the said Richard Oliver served 2 tours in the Revolutionary War as a militiaman and the said affiant believes that his father told him the truth and he has no doubt from the tradition on the subject, that the said Richard Oliver was a Revolutionary soldier. The above affidavit's made in open court, Clark County, Kentucky, October 1833.

Richard was allowed his pension on his application executed 12-24 1832, at which time he was 80 years of age. (Clark County Court Order Book 10, pp. 102, 146

The pension application notes that Richard married John Conkwright's sister. She was Hannah Conkwright, and the marriage took place about 1778 in North Carolina. Hannah was the daughter of Herculius and Dorothy "Dolly" Arckje Conkwright, and was born on January 28, 1761. She died after 1828. Richard spent his last years in Madison County, living with his son, Isaac, and died on December 28, 1847. Their children were Sally, Nancy, John, Isaac, Joel, William, Mary, Minnie, and Joseph.

From the above, we may surmise that Isaac Oliver, brother to Richard, was born in Halifax County, Virginia, about 1765. He lived in Rowan County, North Carolina, during the war, and sometime later migrated to Clark County, Kentucky. The above affidavit suggests this was about 1785, but it was certainly before 1790. Both Richard and Isaac were listed in the Fayette County Tax List of January 1790. In 1792 Kentucky was made a state, and Clark County was formed from Fayette County. The register of the Old Providence Church in Clark County shows that Richard and Hannah Oliver were received in the church on Febuary 11, 1790.

Various family histories note that Isaac Oliver married Rachel Conkwright, a younger sister of Hannah. This idea is supported by the fact that a grandchild was named Rachel Conkwright Oliver. Eleanor "Nellie" Conkright married Henry Goldman in Rowan County on September 9, 1780, which puts these three families in the same area. It seems more than coincidental that these three families ended up in Clark County, Kentucky, as neighbors. We believe that Isaac married Rachel about 1787, for the first known child was born in 1789.

Isaac Oliver bought 50 acres in Clark County from John W. Holder in 1815, farmed it, and apparently lived there until he died. He died on October 15, 1835; and Rachel died after December 1835. Here is a copy of Isaac's will, as found in Will Book 8, page 480:

In the Name of God Amen. I Isaac Oliver Sr. of the County of Clarke being sick and weak in body but of sound mind and disposing memory for which I thank God, and calling to mind the uncertainty of human (life) and being desirous to dispose of all such worldly estate as it hath pleased God to bless me with, I give and bequeath the same in manner following, that is to say 1st that out of my personal estate all of my just debts & funeral expenses be paid. 2nd after my just debts and funeral expenses is paid I give to my wife Rachel Oliver all of my estate both real and personal during her natural life. 3rd after her death I desire that my land and personal estate shall be sold and the money arising from the sail shall be divided in manner and form hereafter named, that is to say to make each and every one equal taking into consideration the advances heretofore maid if my estate will hold out sufficiently. I have made the following advances - my son Isaac Oliver four hundred dollars in land, my son William Oliver two hundred dollars in land, my son Joseph M. Oliver two hundred and sixty three dollars in land, James Oliver two hundred and ten dollars land, my son Benjamin A. Oliver two hundred and ten dollars in land, my daughter Nancy Wright fifty dollars cash, my daughter Polly White one hundred & ten dollars in cash the above being the amount I have advanced to each of my children. The portion of my estate that falls to Joseph M. Oliver deceast is to be equally divided amongst his children and also the portion that will fall to Nancy Wright deceast is to be equally divided amongst her children, and I do lastly appoint my friend Pleasant Bush Executor of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all other or former wills or testaments by me heretofore made. In witness whereof I have hereunto affixed my seal this 15th day of October 1835. Isaac x Oliver
A. Hood
Charles x Goldman

The will was proved on December 23, 1835. Pleasant Bush, executor, had the estate appraised on January 8, 1836 (WB 8 p. 456-457). Then a couple of sales were conducted, and in the October Court of 1838, the proceeds of $1704.60 were distributed to the legatees: John Oliver, William Oliver, Joseph Oliver, Benjamin Oliver, Nancy Wright, Elizabeth Miller, Polly White and Isaac Oliver.

Here, then, are the known children of Isaac and Rachel Conkwright Oliver, in the approximate order of age:

1. Nancy Oliver was born on December 3, 1789, (Adams and Walton) probably in Kentucky. She married William Wright, Jr., on December 12, 1807, in Clark County. Isaac Oliver was bondsman. William Wright was the son of William Wright Sr., Methodist Minister, and Susanna Threlkeld Wright. Nancy had died prior to the father's will of October 15, 1835. Family records say she died on December 11, 1832, in Montgomery County, Missouri. William S. Bryan's Pioneer Families of Missouri includes a brief portrait of the family, page 300. According to family records, the children were Henry Saunders, James Tilman, Elizabeth Mitchell, William Madison, Stephen Rossel, Rachel Emeline, Susan Thrailkell, Nancy Whitaker, Lucinda, Isaac Washington, and Louisa.

2. John Oliver was born on January 28, 1792. He married Margaret "Peggy" Miller, daughter of Abraham Miller, on January 3, 1816. They also settled in Montgomery County, Missouri, where the 1850 census, page 202, lists them as John 58, Margaret 55, Shelton 28, Rachel 26, James 21, Sarah 19, John 16, Isaac 14, and Albert 13. John Sr. died in September 1870.

3. Elizabeth “Betsy” Oliver was born in about 1795. She married Henry Miller on February 23, 1818, and Isaac Oliver was bondsman. According to Jennifer Perkins, a descendant, the Millers moved to Callaway County, Missouri, in 1826. There, the 1850 census notes that Henry was 54, and Elizabeth 55. Both were born in Kentucky. The census also listed the children: Isaac, Elizabeth, Rachel, Henry, John, Wickliff and Nancy. Henry wrote his will on March 30, 1859, and it was proven on October 12 the same year. It mentions the wife, Elizabeth, and eight children: William Henry Jr., Lucinda Dolin, Isaac, Rachel, John, George and Nancy.

4. Isaac Oliver, Jr., was born about 1796. He married Elizabeth "Bettie" Conkwright on April 16, 1821. John Conkwright, signed the surety bond. Bettie was the daughter of John and Kitturah "Kitty" Conkwright, and a cousin to Isaac. Isaac Oliver, Jr., continued to live in Clark County, where he wrote his will on August 9, 1841. He left his estate to his wife, Elizabeth, to his daughter, Nancy Gravit, and "to the rest of the children when they are of age to marry." The will was proved on July 22, 1850. We find in the census of that year, page 54, Elizabeth Oliver 48, Katy 37, Isaac 19, Eveline 16 and Mary 12. (Note: This Isaac Oliver, Jr., is not to be confused with another Isaac Oliver, a first cousin, son of Richard Oliver).

5. Polly Oliver was born about 1802. On August 25, 1828, she married Edward White, and Isaac Oliver was the bondsman.

6. William Oliver settled in Montgomery County, Missouri, along with others in the family. Some say he married Angeline ? , and others Sally Davis. Both Richard and Isaac Sr. had sons named William Oliver, leading to the confusion. (Adams and Walton list both Williams as marrying Sally Davis, most unlikely). The 1850 census of Montgomery County, page 187, clears up the confusion, for there is listed Angeline Oliver 40, from Tennessee, Drury 22, George 19, Angeline 15, Nancy 11, and William 9. We suppose that William Oliver had died by this time.

7. James Oliver was born on January 7, 1804. He moved to Callaway County, Missouri, where he married Nancy Broughton on December 1832. William S. Bryan's Pioneer Families of Missouri includes this sketch:

James Oliver, of Clark County, Ky., married Rachel Conkwright, and they had-- John, James, and Benjamin. James married Nancy Broughton, of Kentucky, by whom he had--William, Richard, Robert, James, Taylor, Thomas, Rachel, Margaret, Ellen and George. Margaret married Richard Swearinger. Rachel married R.F. Gregory, of Callaway county. William died unmarried. The rest of the children are living in Callaway county, unmarried.

The sketch erred in that it was Isaac Oliver, not "James," who married Rachel Conkwright. Also, some of the children were omitted. Otherwise, it confirms that this is the same Oliver family.

According to family records, James Oliver died in Callaway County on July 21, 1873.

8. Joseph Mourning Oliver was born about 1806. More later.

9. Benjamin A. Oliver was born on January 12, 1812. He married (1) Elizabeth Goldman, daughter of Charles and Sarah Oliver Goldman, on November 29, 1830. They were cousins. Elizabeth died a few years later, and on August 31, 1836, Benjamin married (2) Nancy Jane Brock, daughter of John Tinne Brock, Sr. and Frances Wright Brock. Benjamin and Nancy Jane settled in Callaway County, Missouri, where he died on November 5, 1880. Nancy Jane Brock Oliver died on October 17, 1859.

* * *

Joseph Mourning Oliver, son of Isaac and Rachel Conkwright Oliver, was born about 1806 in Clark County. On November 17, 1828, he married Milly Bybee, daughter of James and Margaret Baber Bybee, of Clark County. On April 25, 1833, his parents sold him land on Howard's Upper Creek for $1. (DB 27, p. 1) On August 18, 1835, Joseph sold this same 65 acres to William Tuttle for $487.50. (DB 27, pp. 373-374)

Joseph died young, in 1835, shortly before his father. Here is his will from Will Book 8, page 326

I Mourning Oliver of Clarke County Kentucky, being sick of body but of sound and disposing mind do make and ordain the following as my last Will and Testament. First I will & bequeath to my wife Milly my negro girl Eleanor to keep if she chooses to do so or to sell her at any time that she may think proper and the proceeds of sale to be at her disposal. It is my deisre that my personal property shall be sold, or so much thereof as my wife is willing to spare and the proceeds thereof to go towards paying for the land on which I now live and also all the money due or coming to me shall be collected and paid over as far as it will go to the satisfaction of the sd. debt which will hereafter become due for the aforesaid land. I will to my wife my land with all its appurtenances during her natural life, and request that she thereon raise and educated my children among whom I will that my land at the death of my wife be equally divided. I constitute and appoint my wife Milly Oliver Executor of this my last Will and Testament as witness my hand & seal this 22 day of August 1835.
Witness His
Allen H. Cox Mourning -- Oliver
James Bybee Mark

The will was proved on October 26, 1835.

Apparently, Mourning Oliver had pledged to buy some land and was making payments when he died. On March 3, 1837, James Wood and his wife, Nancy, sold 200 acres on the Kentucky River for $700 to Elizabeth Oliver, James Oliver, Susan Oliver, and Josephine Oliver, "infant heirs of Mourning Oliver, dec'd." (DB 28, p. 372)

The court appointed John Conkwright as administrator, and he sold of some of the assets. (WB 9, p. 324, Jan. Court 1839) On February 15, 1839, he reported to the court more items sold to pay for the debt. He also noted that the widow and her present husband, Jesse McChristy, had made payments on the debt.

As seen above, Milly Bybee Oliver, the widow, remarried after the death of Joseph. She married Jesse McChristy on February 2, 1837. They are listed in the 1850 Clark County Census, with the additional children from the second marriage:

Jesse McChristy 45 Farmer Ky.
Milly " 42 "
James O. 18 "
Susan O. 17 "
Josephine 15 "
Nancy 12 "
Sarah 6 "
John W. 4 "

Jesse McChristy assumed the guardianship of the children of Milly and Joseph Mourning Oliver, and made financial reports to the court on June 5, 1850; June 23, 1851; and finally on February 9, 1853. In this last report the heirs of J.M. Oliver acknowledged the final settlement of the guardian's account: Simpson W. Brock, William Wilcox, Susan Wilcox, James Oliver, and James Oliver as guardian of Josephine Oliver. (WB 13, p. 340)

On January 24, 1853, the Joseph M. Oliver estate was settled according to the provision of the will, and the land was divided among the four children: James Oliver, 31 3/4 acres; Susan Oliver, 52 1/4 acres; Josephine Oliver 57 1/2 acres; and Elizabeth J. Brock, wife of Simpson Brock, 53 1/2 acres. (DB 36 p. 404)

We suspect that Milly had died by 1853, when the land was divided, as stipulated by the will of Joseph.

Here, then, are the childen of Joseph Mourning and Milly Bybee Oliver:

1. Elizabeth Jane Oliver was born on December 7, 1829. More later.

2. James Oliver was born in 1832. This writer has a brief financial record book of Simpson William Brock, the brother-in-law of James Oliver. Simpson noted many business dealings with his "partner," James Oliver in the early 1860s. One entry was that James owed him some money for clothes sent to James while he was in prison. We wondered about that, until we discovered that James Oliver was a private in the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, commanded by Walter Chenault, during the Civil War. James was in Company A, 2nd Corp. James was captured by the northern troops, taken to Chicago, and imprisoned at Camp Douglas. He died of dysentery on August 26, 1864. Simpson noted the death in his record book. Simpson was the executor of the estate, and one entry in the record book was for money to send the body to Paris, Kentucky. (Note: It was another James W. Oliver who married Catherine Stubblefield on January 14, 1862).

3. Susan L. Oliver was born in 1833. She married William Wilcox on February 3, 1853. The marriage record indicated that she was 19 and he was 26. Apparently, her 20th birthday was a short time later. The Vital Records notes the birth of their son, Daniel Wilcox on August 4, 1854. Then, John Foster Wilcox was born on June 2, 1857. The 1880 census, page 340, lists William Willcox 55 and Susan 44.

4. Josephine Oliver was born on August 30, 1835. She married Henry Nelson Brock, a Methodist Minister, on April 11, 1853, at the home of her brother, James Oliver. She died on August 28, 1866. For more on her and her family, see the John Tinne Brock history by this writer.
* * *

Elizabeth Jane Oliver was born on December 7, 1829. On June 30, 1847, she married Simpson William Brock, son of James "William" Brock and Jane Brooks Brock who had died in 1843. Surety was provided by Jesse McChristy, guardian of Elizabeth Oliver. Consent was given by Allen H. Cox, and a witness was Samuel F. Taylor. Simpson was born on February 8, 1828, and since both he and Elizabeth Jane were not of age, such consent was required by law.

Elizabeth Jane and Simpson had thirteen children. They and the children were active in the Methodist Church. Then, Elizabeth Jane died in 1879, and her obituary was published in the "Democrat," a Winchester paper:

Elizabeth Brock, the wife of Simpson W. Brock, died February 11, 1879.

Mrs. Brock was born December 7th, 1829. Her life span was 49 years, 2 months and 4 days. Baptized in infancy, she sought the Lord early--when 12 years old-- under the ministration of Rev. Drummond Welburn, who is now the presiding elder of the Maysville district.

Her father, M. Oliver, died when she was 6 years of age. She was the last of her family to leave this earth...

Her illness was short, as will be seen from the statement below:

Winchester, Ky., Feb. 18, 1879. Mrs. E. Brock, wife of S.W. Brock, was taken ill of "Pleuritis" the 8th day of February, 1879. Taken quite violently and continued quite sick, suffering very severely a part of the time up to the 11th day, until about noon, when she quietly expired. A lady was she, much beloved and respected.
Thomas J. Wilkerson, M.D.
M. Welburn Hiner

The grave sites of Simpson and Elizabeth Jane are not known for sure, but they were probably buried in the Brock Cemetery, off the Red River Road. Their home, now gone, was nearby. This writer is a descendant.

Before concluding, we may wonder about the parents of Richard and Isaac Oliver. Oliver Lienhard and others have tried to connect them to the Olivers of Virginia, particularly James Oliver of Amelia County. Thus far we are not convinced. Aside from name similarities, other evidence does not fit.

More recently, Col. Hugh R. and Margaret T. Oliver wrote Sketches of the Olivers: A Family History 1727 to 1966. These writers included a section on "Richard Oliver of Virginia." (p. 195) They note that in the Rowan County, N.C. Court Minutes of 5 November 1774, two Richard Olivers were putting in a claim for wolf scalps, a Junior and Senior. This suggested to these writers that the Richard Oliver, Sr., was possibly born about 1730. (Richard Oliver, Jr. was born on 20 December 1752) Perhaps this is as far as we can go in the quest.

Compiled by Jim G. Faulconer, 5200 Oakbrooke Drive, Kettering, OH 45440.
July 4, 2002. (JFaulconer@aol.com)


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