The Oliver Family


Use your back button to return to this site when required!! 

This page is in honor of our foremost citizen Franklin Oliver and his family.



Note: I have been given permission of the webmaster of the following site to use this information pertaining to the Oliver family here. As I am using only highlights, you may read further at (This link is not working-looking for the new one.) 


Note: Per an email with George Carman, it seems that many of the Oliver family members founded communities. Seems to be carrying on with the  "Oliver's Crossing" project. 



Franklin Oliver was born 8 April 1787at Bordentown, Burlington, New Jersey and died 19 September 1881 in Chenoa, Illinois. He married in 1819 at Bordentown, Burlington, New Jersey, Hannah Rockhill, born Bordentown, New Jersey. She died at Chatsworth, Livingston County, Illinois. Children of Franklin and Hannah (Rockhill) Oliver: Edward Rockhill Oliver - born 23 June 1819 at Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He died 11 February 1902 at Corpus Christi, Nueces, Texas. Elias Borenott Oliver, Helen F. Oliver, Franklin C. Oliver, Jr. and James M. Oliver - born in 1832 and moved out to California.


Franklin Oliver marriages: Sarah Wert-Peoria-4/24/1848 and Amoret S. Smith-Livingston County-10/2/1850

Memorials of children by first wife: 

Memorial of Edward Rochill Oliver

Possible Memorial of Elias Borenott Oliver 

Helen F. Oliver

Memorial of Franklin C. Oliver,Jr.

James M. Oliver

Children by second wife:

Caroline Oliver Honecut Dorr -b. 1849  d. 1936 -read her obit here. Burial has not been found yet.

Children by third wife:

Memorial of Revilo Oliver

Memorial of John L. Oliver-Read his obit here.

Memorial of Florence Oliver Ross-Read her obit here.


Franklin C. Oliver, Jr. was born 15 May 1827 at Bordentown, Burlington, New Jersey. He died 21 April 1893 in Chatsworth, Illinois. He married Ellen McBerry Green, born in 1842 in Ireland, she died on 3 November 1892 at Chatsworth, Illinois and is buried in the Chatsworth Catholic Cemetery. Children of Franklin and Ellen (Green) Oliver: Mary Ellen Oliver - born 2 December 1856 and died 27 March 1944, she married Paul Kurtenbach. Patrick H. Oliver - born 1860 and died 26 April 1893. He married Margaret McCune, John F. Oliver .

Memorial of his wife Ellen McBerry Green Oliver

Memorial of daughter Mary Ellen (Oliver) Kurtenbach-Read her obit here.

Mary Ann (Oliver) Kurtenbach
Courtesy of Jim Hornickel

Memorial of son Patrick H. Oliver

Memorial of Mrs. Patrick (Margaret McCune) Oliver

Memorial of Mary Ellen "Birdie" Oliver Lahey - Daughter of Patrick Oliver

Read about Mary Ellen's marriage here.

Memorial of John F. Oliver


John F. Oliver was born 25 September 1861 at Chatsworth, Livingston County, Illinois and died there on 11 April 1899. He married in 1895, Catherine Miller.  John died just 4 years after he was married, on 11 April 1899 at Chatsworth, Illinois. The children of John F. and Catherine were: James Franklin and John Merton.

Read about their marriage here.


John Merton Oliver was born 15 August 1896 at Chatsworth, Livingston County, Illinois and died 28 July 1989 at Wilmington, Illinois. He married on 25 January 1921, Mary Agnes Ginter, born 24 April 1901 at Cullom, Illinois, she died 16 October 1971 at Joliet, Illinois.The children of John Merton and Mary were: James Jerome, Mary Lorraine and LaVonne Ann. 

Memorial of LaVonne Ann "Bonnie" Oliver



SEPTEMBER 24, 1881
At the Advanced Age of 94 Years 9 Months and 11 Days
On Monday, the 19th, at 10:23 p.m., Franklin Oliver expired at Chenoa, Ill. He had been temporarily stopping at Chenoa, and was taken ill about one week ago; which sickness, at his advanced age, proved too much for his enfeebled constitution, and resulted in his death, as above stated. 
Oliver was in many things a remarkable man, and for years has been very eccentric in many respects. He lived to a great age, having been born at Bordentown, New Jersey, on the 8th day of April 1797. Had he lived to his next birthday, he would have been 95 years of age. Born in comfortable circumstances, his parents offered him advantages for an education, but being of a wild disposition he did not make much progress in this direction in his boyhood, but age caused him to realize the necessity for an education, and he acquired a most excellent knowledge by his own exertions after arriving at his majority. The subject of this sketch was married three times. The result of the first union was five children, as follows: Edward R., who now resides in Texas; Bordenott, who now resides in Kansas; Helen, since deceased; Franklin Jr., who resides at the west end of Oliver's Grove; and James, who resides in California. The result of the second union was one daughter, Caroline, who lives near Pontiac. His third wife, who was divorced some years since, survives him, and now resides southeast of the grove, with their three children, Revilo, John L. and Florence F. Mr. Oliver started from the east intending at the time to go to Missouri; but while crossing this state learned of this grove, which bears his name, through a Frenchman, when he changed his original intention, came to the grove, and was the first white settler in what is now Chatsworth township. 
He came from the state of New Jersey in 1833, and settled here among the Indians, with whom he ever remained on the most friendly terms. When other white people in the surrounding settlements, becoming frightened at the warlike reports of the Black Hawk campaign, retreated toward the Wabash settlements, Oliver remained upon his claim and "went in and out among the red men without molestation." His father, he informed us, was a Quartermaster in the Revolutionary War, and many of the old soldier's official papers were in his possession until some years ago, when his house was burned and they met the fate of much of his household property. Many of these papers, he said, were rather quaint, and would present a marked contrast, doubtless, to the ponderous accounts and vouchers of a Quartermaster in our late war. Mr. Oliver and his family were the only white people in the township for many years. A number of settlements were made in Indian Grove and other timbered localities, but not till away up in the "fifties" were other settlements made in Chatsworth. 
Mr. Oliver, thirteen years ago, was worth, say seventy-five thousand dollars, having the entire grove property free from encumbrance, besides other lands and property in the east. And while not a man of extravagant habits, at the time of his death, not sufficient of this vast wealth was compatable to pay the funeral expenses. His body was brought to this place on Wednesday, by his grandson, Mr. Patrick Oliver, and placed in the silent tomb, Wednesday afternoon. 
"The ghostly shade of a man he seemed; 
His teeth were white as milk;
And the long white hair on his forehead gleamed
Like skeins of tangled silk"    
Personal Service Records

From"Livingston County in the World War"

Oliver, Merton, born August 15, 1895, Chatsworth, Illinois. Enlisted April 25, 1917, Bloomington, Illinois. To Ft. Monroe, Virginia, May 1, 1917. Pvt., Batt. C, 53 C.A.C. Transferred to Ft. Adams, Rhode Island, July 20, 1917. Promoted to Pvt., 1Cl., June, 1917. Sailed from Ft. Adams, August 24, 1917, on Panaman. Landed at Liverpool, England, September 19, 1917. Engagements; St. Mihiel Salient, September 6-20, 1918. Sailed from St. Nazaire, France, February 25, 1919, on Nancemond. Landed at Newport News, Virginia, March 11, 1919; to Camp Grant, Illinois, March 29, 1919. Discharged April 3, 1919. 


Oliver, James F., born September 30, 1898, Chatsworth, Illinois. Mechanic. Enlisted December 3, 1917, Bloomington, Illinois. To San Antonio, Texas, December 15, 1917; to Augusta, Georgia, December 24, 1917. Pvt., Co. 20, 1st Reg. M.M. Landed at Brest, France, February 25, 1918. Trained at Epinal, France, June, 1918- January 1, 1919. Transferred to Co.201, Air Service Mechanics, August, 1918. Sailed from Brest, France, June 4, 1919, on Imperator. Landed at Newport News, Virginia, June 13, 1919; to Camp Grant, June 30, 1919. Discharged July 2, 1919. 


Letters Home From Merton Oliver


MERTON OLIVER-to a friend

Bat. C, 8 C.A.C., A.E.F.

I am sitting tonight on my bunk thinking of home and friends that are far away. My candle is burning low and my cigarette is out but it makes no difference if the war lasts a hundred years. I don't want to come home until the last shot is fired and I don't want to come home until I have accomplished something, so you see we don't get homesick in the army. The boys are singing "Over the Hill to Berlin". It is a song we composed ourselves. 

We are regular soldiers over here. Our French comrades treat us like brothers and they try hard to please us. The Y.M.C.A. gives us entertainment and all kinds of amusements. We want for nothing and we are the happiest bunch you ever saw. Why, we seem to be on a vacation. There is not one of us that would want to be drafted for the world. Battery C is worthy of all volunteers and we are certainly glad we volunteered. I hope the war is over before the drafted men get here or they will be getting all the credit; just the same as the public gives them now. We never had any band follow us to the train and we didn't want any, but we think we have seen a better time than the drafted men will ever see because by the time they get here the peoples' curiosity will be over. 

I must close as my candle is just about burned out, so I will light a cigarette and retire to my little bunk on the boards. Answer soon.

Your friend, Merton Oliver 



A letter to his father

Camp Eustis, Virginia, March 18, 1919

I will tell you something about the guns we worked on and what battles we were in. Our gun is called a 400, and shot a shell weighting 1980 pounds, almost a ton. Batter A and battery C of the 53d Artillery were the two batteries that used the largest guns the Americans used in France. The shell was about five and one-half feet tall and sixteen inches through. It sure was some shell. Tomorrow I will send you a picture of the gun.  

When we were in the front we had one spell where we worked seventy-two hours without any sleep and only hard tack and salmon to eat, and the mud was knee deep. We worked awfully hard and I threw my barber tools to one side and worked getting the gun ready. I wanted to go along with the boys. I worked on the break and shoved powder. For one shot it takes a sack of powder sixteen inches through and three feet long. Every shot makes the ground shake. There was a building over two hundred yards away which had over a hundred windows in it and when the first shot was fired from our gun it broke every window in the building. We were in the Saint Mihiel drive and fired on one of the largest forts the Boche had and we destroyed it in twenty-nine shots. The next day our major told us that one shot of ours killed three hundred Germans. When the shell hit it exploded and the explosion broke every bone in their bodies, so we certainly did our bit. 

If another war breaks out I will be among the first to enlist. We had lots of air raids last summer. About the time we would get to sleep we would hear a Boche flying. The bugle would blow and we would have to run for a trench with our helmets on. We cursed the Germans more than once for waking us up and getting us out of bed. We went through lots of hardships, but the war is over and I am satisfied. There is so much to tell of my experiences that if I were to write it all I would have to send the letter home by express so will tell it when I get home. When I get home we will sit down right after breakfast and we will spend the rest of the day going over it all. 

Your loving son, Merton Oliver

Revilo Oliver
(Revilo is Oliver spelled backwards)
One time Mayor of Chatsworth.

Revilo Oliver was born on a farm in Livingston county, Illinois, and followed the occupation of farmer and stock- raiser until 1890, when he purchased a beautiful estate in Chatsworth, IlI., where he now resides.
Mr. Oliver is a composer of many well-known songs including " Soldiers of the Maine," "The Hero of Manila," "Nineteen Hundred Years Ago," "The Volunteers," and "Prosperity and Protection."
He is widely known as the author of many beautiful poems, which are elevating in tone and character. He is an inventor as well as an author, a characteristic seldom found in one person. He is a natural orator, a good judge of law and equity and possesses a kind and sympathetic nature.
Mr. Oliver's songs show considerable musical skill and the melodies from his pen are bright and catchy. The words are far above the average and show the author to be a man of keen discernment and one well versed in the affairs of life as well as a good student of human nature. His compositions will undoubtedly gain a national reputation in the next few years.
Mr. Oliver is an ex-mayor of Chatsworth, Illinois. He exemplifies a type of true Christian manhood, which shows that a man may be of sterling integrity and yet carve out a successful fortune and win the esteem of his fellow men.
A poem by Revilo Oliver from
The Biographical Record of Livingston County, Illinois 1900 


Life is a narrow vale between the new and the old, A narrow path between two mountains bold.

In vain we try to look beyond these peaks so high, Still we see nothing but the varied blue in the sky.

Tho’ we weep aloud with anguish and care, Our voice is lost on the empty air.

The only answer we receive as the years roll by, Is the resounding echo of our wailing cry.

But love and hope see a star, and listening can hear, The rustle of angels wings as their shadowy forms draw near. 

We are humble mortals born of hopes and fears, And our path in life is strewn with smiles and tears.

Of all there is in life of sad griefs and joys bright, There is not much between the happy morn of birth and the death’s sad night.

We march on through life ever veiled in mystery and dread, For there comes no answer from the voiceless lips of the dead.

Tho’ the stars look down upon us with compassion and love, From their far away places in the heaven above,

Tho’ learned in art and science as taught here below, We can never tell in what cannels our lives will flow.

Tho’ we cry aloud in our vain efforts the future to learn, No answer will ever—no never—return.

Tho’ the heavens for information we eagerly scan, We never can tell the true destiny of man. 


Read about the divorce of Revilo Oliver and Maude here.

This 1924 article says that Revilo deeded his land to his lawyer. The must have been appealed by relatives later.


Gertie Ross
The daughter of Florence (Oliver) and Thomas Ross
She lived her young life in Chatsworth, living with her Uncle Revilo and Grandmother Arametta Oliver. 



The name of Franklin Oliver has been referenced in much of Chatsworth and Livingston county history. This paragraph will quote some of that and guide to links to read more. 

These quotes are from "Livingston County History" at Rootsweb-Illinois-Livingston County 


This settlement was within a short distance of the headquarters of  the terrible chief, Black Hawk.  The Black Hawk war was then in active operation.   In 1832, William Popejoy, John Hanneman and Franklin Oliver located here and took an active part in the affairs of the settlement. .

Note:The settlement referred to here is Avoca Township, along the Little Vermillion. 

The government had just removed the the last Kickapoo west of the Mississippi and Franklin Oliver, this year, permanently located at Kickapoo Grove, which since that date, has borne his name. That is how Kickapoo Grove became Oliver’s Grove.

Note:The year mentioned here was 1833.

In August 1839, Franklin Oliver was elected to the office of surveyor for Livingston County

See land purchases here for the Oliver family.

Oliver Family Land Purchases 1836 to 1887 

Enter "Oliver" in  purchasers name search. Use "statewide" search as he also purchased land in Ford County.

Note: At one time you could see the actual paper written out as a deed, however you can not now. 


See the original town plat for Chatsworth here


Entered at the Surveyor General's Office

Saint Louis, August 27, 1839

Once there---click "Enter"---click "View Plats" on top right hand of page---read intro---click"View Plats" on left side of page, near the compass---click "Central Illinois"---click "Livingston" on clickable map---click "Chatsworth" on next clickable map.

Use the magnifying glasses to zoom in and out. By doing this you will see the pond or lake that must have been Oliver's.



From "Chatsworth Area Centennial Celebration" 1967

 From "Wagons to Wings-a History of Piper City" 


 The Haskins boy at the 1967 Centennial celebration.

They are the 3rd Great-Grandchildren of Franklin Oliver

From the"Chatsworth Area Centennial Celebration"


The Headstone of Orville Orvan and Luella C. Oliver  and his service stone taken 2008 by Mary Runyon Hanshew.
He is the son of John L. Oliver, who ran the farm before Orville. 

Headstone of John L. and Mary Oliver


Subpages (1): Oliver Family Page 2