William Lewis Oliver

Captain, Co. E, 35th Illinois Volunteer Infantry



William Lewis Oliver was born 4 Feb. 1822 in Henry Co., Kentucky, the oldest son of John Holliday Oliver and Martha Holliday, both of Virginia. In 1836, John H. Oliver moved his family to Marion Co., Indiana.

William L. Oliver married Mary Ann Smith about 1850 in Benton Co., Indiana. Mary Ann Smith Oliver died in Indianapolis, Indiana, 6 Nov. 1860 at age 32. William L. And Mary Ann had two children, Mary Lois Oliver and William Forest Oliver.

William L. Oliver was a dentist, obtaining his liberal schooling at Franklin College, Indiana. In his applications for pensions, he states that he was a carpenter and farmer.

William L. Oliver served in both Mexican and Civil Wars and received a pension from both. In the Mexican War, he was a sergeant, serving in Co. H. 1st Reg't Indiana Volunteers of Capt. John McDougal.

In the Civil War, he served as Captain of Co. E. 35th Illinois Volubteers. He became very ill. "While on the march from Corinth to Booneville on or about the 5th day of June, 1862, he received the disease from which he has present disability, namely disease of the spine-caused by exposure-such as sleeping without tents or shelter in cold and rain and upon the ground-by which he was disabled from marching with his company and sundered unable to walk and was therefore carried in ambulance back to Corinth, Miss. and he was afterward discharged for same." This is from his pension application papers.

In 1883, he went to what is now Washington State with his daughter, Mary Lois, who had married B. F. Dixon, settling in Snohomish Co. In 1889, his son, Dr. William Forest Oliver also settled in Snohomish Co., Wash. and became quite a famous pioneer physician in that area. This information is from the "History of Snohomish County."

William Lewis Oliver died in Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington, 24 Feb. 1996. He is buried in the old Tacoma Cemetery in Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington.


Letter of Captain William L. Oliver to his brother, John S. Oliver

Head Quarters, Co. E. 35th Rgt. Ill. Volunteers
Camp near Rolla, Mo.
January the 15th, 1862

J. S. Oliver
Dear sir,

It has been a long time since I have heard from you. In fact not since I saw you last but would like to hear from you verry well.
Probably you have heard that I was in the Armey. My Co., was sworn in by the U.S. service on the 1st of Sept. last. I have been in a large and long march on Springfield, Mo. (to) help run Price out of the state. Been in (some) scrapes of not much importance. A.B.B. Lewis is in the same Rgt. I am in. He commands Co. I. Mine is Co., E. He (Lewis) is the only man in the command I ever had any acquaintance with before I came to Fort. I raised my Co., in Vermillion Co., Ill. I have got a star fighting Comp., all of them unknown to me prior to enlistment. The soldiers here are wilder than in Mexico and suffer more from diseases and equally as many deaths, but after all the health of the Army here is good. My opinion is there is no more sickness and deaths here than there would be known among as many men. I have lost 3 of my boys by death and one by discharged.
I have been sick for 56 days and an now on the mend. My lieutenants have had charge of the Co. ever since. !st Lt. Yoho, commanding, Lieut. Maxon assisting.
12,000 of our division left here yesterday, gowing in the direction of Springfield, Mo. hunting for Price. We will likely leave in a day or two to form a Reserve. If we catch Price we will slay him. He has no doubt every leg set for running just as soon as he finds out we are coming. It would have tickled you to seen him run last fall when we got after him an (Pan) Springs. Gen. Segul is a good friend of mine and quite a gentleman and was as brave as men ever get. He talks as broken as broken Dutch as Old Germany. Our Rgt. is his brigade. He is a small man with a voice like a lion.
I could speak of Fremont. As both Davis, Pope, Oysterhaus, Hunter, Shafer & others but would not be interesting. I therefore decline to write and describe.
For want of strength, I will have to close. Write me as often as you can & tell me all.
Yours truly,
Capt. Oliver
Direct your letters thus
Capt. Oliver
St. Louis, Mo.
35th Regt. Ill, Vols.
We have no post stamps.

Many thanks to Shirley Oliver who submitted this information.

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