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Oliver Family Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SFHL-RG5-334

Scope and Contents

The collection contains the papers of the family of Wendell French Oliver, New England and Pennsylvania Wilburite Quakers. Gamaliel Wallis Oliver (1772-1849) was a successful Lynn, Massachusetts, shoe manufacturer who married Charlotte Breed in 1807. Two grandsons, Wendell French Oliver and William Theodore Oliver, were conscientious objectors in WWI and served with the AFSC in European Reconstruction. The collection includes journals, photographs, and related papers of Wendall, Theodore, and Theodore's wife, Sarah Wood Oliver, a member of Perry City Monthly Meeting. Also a small amount of correspondence, a journal kept by Freelove Owen Pyle, 1909-1920, and genealogical and miscellaneous papers of the Satterthwaite and Buzby families of New Jersey and the Lane family of New York State. In addition to the WWI conscientious objectors material, of special interest are a letter from Quaker minister Mehetabel Jenkins and a letter from William Lloyd Garrison.

Dates

  • 1706 - 1970
  • Majority of material found within 1830 - 1960

Creator

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Rights Information

Some of the items in this collection may be protected by copyright. The user is solely responsible for making a final determination of copyright status. If copyright protection applies, permission must be obtained from the copyright holder or their heirs/assigns to reuse, publish, or reproduce relevant items beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to the law. See http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/UND/1.0/.

Biographical / Historical

The collection contains the papers of the family of Wendell French Oliver (1893-1953), the son of William Theodore Oliver and Elma French Oliver of Lynn, Massachusetts. The Oliver family descended from Gamaliel Wallis Oliver (1772-1849), a successful Lynn shoe manufacturer. Gamaliel Oliver married Charlotte Breed in 1807, and they had three sons: William Breed Oliver (1808-1885), James Purinton Oliver (1810-1873), and Theodore Breed Oliver (1813-1832). William Breed Oliver was a professor of astronomy and friend of William Lloyd Garrison; he married three times: First, Huldah A. Purinton of Salem, Massachusetts, in 1835; she died in 1838, no children. Second, Sarah Jenkins, in 1841, North Berwick, Maine; and third, Rachel Buffington in 1862, who had three children.

He had four children by his second wife, Sarah Jenkins Oliver (1814-1854), three who survived to maturity. Charlotte (1848-1903) married Isaac Packard, a Methodist minister. James Wallis Oliver (1850-1938) in 1884 married Mary Anne Otis, daughter of James D. and Mary M. Otis of Nantucket Monthly Meeting. In 1885 they removed to Poplar Ridge (Otisite) Monthly Meeting, New York, where they are buried. James was a member and minister of Nantucket Monthly Meeting.

The third child, William Theodore Oliver (1854-1933) was a draughtsman and scientific illustrator. He married three times. He and his first wife, Elma French ( 1860-1895) had two sons, Wendell French Oliver (1893-1953) and William Theodore Oliver (1895-1978). In 1897, William T. Oliver married a second time, Georgianna Willard (1868-1912), and they had two children, Herbert W. Oliver (1901-1919) and Elizabeth Brattle Oliver (born 1905). Herbert was a wireless operator and died at sea in 1919. In 1914 William T. Oliver married a third time, to Emma Talbot (1871-1944).

Both Wendell and W. Theodore Oliver attended Westtown School. After graduation, Wendell worked with the William H. Moon Nursery in Morrisville, Pennsylvania. He transferred from Nantucket Monthly Meeting to Falls Monthly Meeting (Orthodox) in 1917. In 1918 he was accepted into the Friends Reconstruction Unit, serving in the Tree Distribution Project in France, and in 1920 he married Mary Sydney Satterthwaite at Fallsington Meeting. She was the daughter of Henry W. and Lucy Sharpless Satterthwaite. Wendall and Mary had four children: Lucille, William Wendell, Elizabeth B., and Miriam. Wendell was a landscape architect and worked with the William H. Moon Company in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, across the Delaware River from Trenton. In 1948-1950, he served on the Westtown School Committee and acted as superintendent of the grounds.

The second son, W. Theodore Oliver (1895-1978), was adopted by his aunt and uncle, James and Mary Anna Oliver; his mother is variously in sources as Elma F. Oliver and Mary Anna Otis Oliver, and Wendall is described variously as brother and cousin. Theodore also was a conscientious objector in WWI and served with the AFSC in European Reconstruction. Theodore married Sarah Wright Wood in 1924. She was the daughter of Edward Wood and Marianne Valentine Wood, members of Perry City Monthly Meeting. In 1933 they transferred their membership from Nantucket to Perry City Monthly Meeting and were members of Ithaca Monthly Meeting at the time of their deaths. Sarah's great-aunt, Freelove Owen Pyle (1834-1920) lived in the Woods' home in the latter years of her life.

The Purinton family of Lynn, Massachusetts, was related by marriage in multiple generations. Gamaliel Oliver married Charlotte Breed, granddaughter of James Purinton and Anna Breed Purinton. Their nephews, James and Ebenezer Purinton, married sisters, Tamesin and Bethia Frye. Ebenezer and Bethia were the parents of Huldah Purinton (1809-1838), the first wife of William Breed Oliver.

Extent

3 Linear Feet (6 boxes plus photographs )

Language

English

Overview

The collection contains the papers of the family of Wendell French Oliver, New England and Pennsylvania Wilburite Quakers. Gamaliel Wallis Oliver (1772-1849) was a successful Lynn, Massachusetts, shoe manufacturer who married Charlotte Breed in 1807. Two grandsons, Wendell French Oliver and William Theodore Oliver, were conscientious objectors in WWI and served with the AFSC in European Reconstruction. The collection includes journals, photographs, and related papers of Wendell, W. Theodore, and Theodore's wife, Sarah Wood Oliver, a member of Perry City Monthly Meeting. Also a small amount of correspondence, a journal kept by Freelove Owen Pyle, 1909-1920, and genealogical and miscellaneous papers of the Satterthwaite and Buzby families of New Jersey and the Lane family of New York State. In addition to the WWI conscientious objectors material, of special interest are a letter from Quaker minister Mehetabel Jenkins and a letter from William Lloyd Garrison.

Arrangement

Arranged in five series: 1. Journals and albums; 2. Wendell French Oliver and William Theodore Oliver family; 3. Miscellaneous correspondence; 4. Legal and financial; 5. Genealogical research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Lucille Koenig and Miriam Swartz, daughters of Wendell French Oliver

Separated Materials

Photographs removed to FHL Photograph Collections.
Title
Oliver Family Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Susanna Morikawa
Date
September 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

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