Ancestral Family Topic 488

 488   James Oliver (-1787)
Pedigree Chart 09

James Oliver, in his own words
If he could speak to us today, James Oliver might describe his life as follows.

I moved from Hanover County to Amelia County by 1738 to work as an overseer for John Hall but since Hanover records are mostly missing, my parents are unknown. In 1743 I got my own 400 acres on both sides of Snail Creek,  and was living in Raleigh Parish, Amelia County, with my wife, Elizabeth, later that year when we sold the tract to James Purcell. 
A tobacco planter, I later went on to accumulate land in Amelia, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, and Halifax counties. In November 1749 the court judged my slave boy Peter to be 10 years old, giving me 2 more years before I had to begin paying taxes on him.  The next year the court ordered me to be sure a road in my neighborhood was properly maintained and appointed me surveyor of another. 
During the Revolution, General Greene ordered our militia to gather all the guns, powder, and lead in the county before joining him in North Carolina. Because that left us defenseless against British raiding parties, usually made up of just “two or three Negroes and one soldier,” my son Richard and I added our names to a petition asking the government to refurnish our militia with arms and ammunition in 1781. 
It is a family tradition that Elizabeth and I had 7 sons in the Continental Army, 6 of whom survived the war. That may be the case, but no surviving records confirm it. Although I was too old to fight, I did provide 900 pounds of beef to the Army, for which I was eventually reimbursed.  We had two daughters, also, and at least a couple of our descendants were congressmen.
My 1787 will divided my land among my 7 surviving children, my wife already being dead.

The Olivers may have originated in Petsworth Parish, Gloucester County, where Isaac Oliver owned 100 acres and Dorothy Oliver, 130 acres in 1704.  Dorothy may have been the Widow Oliver mentioned in its vestry book 1714-17,  where Isaac Oliver appeared in as early as 1694, was freed of parish levies as he, “is Very Old & past his Labour” 5 May 1716, and was mentioned last in May 1717.  He was undoubtedly connected to Nicholas Oliver for in Oct. 1701 both were caring for Elizabeth Starr’s child, whom Isaac buried. 
The connection of the Gloucester and Hanover Olivers is evidenced by a deed of Richard Clough of Hanover County who sold 594 acres in Hanover to John Oliver of Gloucester 1 Dec. 1727. 
Both Isaac Oliver and John Oliver appeared in the same processioning precinct of St. Paul’s Parish, Hanover County, first in 1731.  Their neighbors show that the same precinct included Benjamin Oliver who appeared in processioning records 1752-84,  and had an account at the general store of Thomas Partridge in 1756 where his purchases included nails, a spelling book, and a prayer book.  By the beginning of tax records in 1782, quite a number of Olivers resided in the county.
Because James Oliver had sons named John and Isaac Oliver and a grandson named Benjamin, he was undoubtedly connected to these men.
Elizabeth, the name of Oliver’s wife, appeared only when she relinquished her dower right in land her husband sold.

Deeds and other court records
James secured a patent for 25 acres on both sides of Deep Creek in 1749,  and one year later bought 200 acres on both sides of Deep Creek from Robert Moody,  who had patented it 9 Feb. 1737/38.  In July 1751 James secured another patent for 400 acres on the Nottoway River, which he deeded to Robert Maddox of Henrico County in 1755.  On 1 Oct. 1751 James sold 625 acres on Ledbetter Creek to Joseph Billups of Gloucester County. 
Because James owned some cattle or hogs, he went to the Amelia County court during the Jan. 1749/50 session to register his livestock mark: “smooth crop and slit in left ear, sloping slit on upper side right ear.”  James bought 400 acres on the lower side of Buffalo Bed Creek from Charles Irby in 1762.  By 1769 James and his wife no longer wanted their 25-acre patent of 1749, so Samuel Cobbs bought it for £5. 
James secured a patent to 1,900 acres on the head of Allens and Horsepen creeks in Mecklenburg County for £9 on 15 July 1760.  As James Oliver of Amelia County, he deeded 700 acres of this tract to James Easter for the nominal consideration of 5 shillings, gave his son Asa 600 acres 8 April 1771, and sold 600 acres to William Wills Green for £300 on 25 June 1777.  Sons Asa and William Oliver witnessed the latter deed.
On 22 Jan. 1778 James and Elizabeth Oliver, in consideration for their love and affection for their son Isaac, gave him the 400 acres they owned on Buffalo Creek in Amelia County.  James later, in 1783, gave a granddaughter Sally Oliver, whom we have not placed, a “Negro girl named Tabb.”  In 1780 James Oliver Sr. was granted 200 acres in Halifax County, which is undoubtedly the land he later willed to his son James. 
In 1782 Amelia County listed James head of a household of 4 whites and 16 blacks. Just two whites were there 3 years later. 

James prepares his will
James Oliver made his will in Amelia County 27 Feb. 1787, and died soon afterwards for they proved it 27 April 1787. 

Will of James Oliver
27 February 1787
To granddaughters Frances Bottom and Patty Forrest.
To son James Oliver 200 acres in Halifax and I lend a Negro slave named Bob during his natural life and after his death I give the said slave to Benjamin Oliver, the son of the aforesaid James Oliver.
I have already given property to my sons and daughters to wit: John Oliver, Asa Oliver, Isaac Oliver, James Oliver, William Oliver, Elizabeth Forrest, and Sarah Bottom, land below deep creek.
To son Richard Oliver slaves and plantation on north side of Deep Creek.
James Oliver

James appointed executors “friends Simeon Walton and Abraham Hatchett,” and son Isaac. John Howson, David Craddock, John Howson Jr. witnessed the will.
Amelia County listed his estate as owning 150 acres in 1787.

Descendants of James Oliver
Information about the children of James Oliver, their descendants, and allied families previously found at is now available as Southside Virginia Genealogies. Learn more 
Names found in this topic include the following.
 James Oliver,  
Benjamin Oliver,  
 John Oliver,  
Elizabeth Forrest,  
James Easter,  
Frances Oliver,  Joseph Butler,  
Sarah Butler,  David G. Hutcheson,  
Elizabeth Oliver,  Major Butler,  
Armistead Oliver Butler,  
Charles G. Butler,  
Elizabeth D. Butler,  Edward T. Marable,  
John Oliver Butler,  Frances Collier Hutcheson,  
Alexander Butler,  
Joseph W. Butler,  Martha D. Walker,  
Theophilus W. Butler,  Elizabeth Toone,  
Martha A. Butler,  Charles King,  
Elizabeth F.H. Butler,  Edmond O. Daves,  
Albert Gallatin Butler,  Mary W. Walker,  
Frances S. Butler,  John J. Daves,  
Richard Oliver,  Elizabeth Jeffries,  
Robert Oliver,  Martha Moss,  
Eliza I. Oliver,  Hezekiah Puryear,  
John Oliver,  Elizabeth Bailey,  William Knight,  
William Henry Oliver,  Lucy Hyde,   
 Capt. Asa Oliver (-1796),  
Sarah Wray,  
Col. James Wray Oliver,  Elizabeth Green,   William Wills Green,   
Sally Oliver,  
Dr. William Oliver,  
James Oliver,  
 Isaac Oliver (-1799),  
Raleigh Carter,  
Judith Betts,  Elisha Betts,  Mary Ann (—) Betts,  
Carter Oliver,  Sarah E. Mitchell,  
Carter B. Oliver,  
Isaac H. Oliver,  
Charles Oliver,  Lucy Yelverton Neal,  Yelverton Neal Oliver,  Catherine Mitchell,  
Asa Oliver,  
Elizabeth Oliver,  Thomas Walton,  
Mary Oliver,  Spraggins,  
Matilda Oliver,  
Rebecca S. Oliver,  
Sally C. Oliver,  
William Oliver,  
Elisha Oliver,  
Isaac Oliver,  Mary A.G. Bacon,   
Henry D. Smith,  Richard Smith,   
Martha C. Oliver,  Peter Epes,  Col. Richard Epes,   Martha Greenhill Williams,   
John Fitzgerald,   James Henderson,  Mary Marshall Parham Booker,   
Richard Epes,  Agnes Atkinson Batte,  Judge Peter Poythress Batte,  
Horace Epes,  
Elizabeth P. Epes,  
Martha Oliver Epes,  
Charles A. Epes,  
Cary B. Epes,  
Sydney Parham Epes,  
Lucy A. Jones,   
Richard Epes,  
Isaac Oliver Epes,  Maria Rosalie Beverley,   
Robert B. Epes,  
Susan Virginia Epes,  
Helen Harns Epes,  
Rosa Beverly Epes,  
Mattie Epes,  
Iza Epes,  
Andrew Jackson Epes,  
Mary Helen Epes,  Dr. William J. Harris,  
Matilda Oliver Epes,  William Richard Bland,   
Judith Oliver,  
Edmund Parks Oliver,  Sarah Ward,  
James Henderson Oliver,  
William C. Oliver,  William Bacon Oliver,  
Mary Booker Oliver,  Alexander White,  
Isaac Oliver III,  Julia Murphy,  
Dr. Charles Augustus Oliver,  Sarah Spann,  
Ann B. Oliver,  Henry Coleman,  Elisha Betts,  
 William Oliver,  
Joshua Echols,   Joseph Echols,   
Mary Jennings,   
Thomas Yuille,  
James Oliver,  Henrietta Britton Murray,  Judith Blackwell,  
 Richard Oliver I (-c.1810),  
 Elizabeth (Oliver) Forrest,  
Richard Forrest,   Rowland Ward,   
William Smith,  
Martha Forrest,  Daniel Richardson,  
Judith Forrest,  Richard Priddy,  
Marcy Forrest,  Matthew Wilson,  
James Forrest,  Polly Wilborne,  
Eliza Forrest,  William R. Epperson,  
Richard Forrest,  
Elizabeth Forrest,  Robert Lumpkin,  
John Forrest,  
Armistead Forrest,  
Richard Forrest,  
Nancy Forrest,  John Moore,  
Asa Moore,  
James Moore,  
Sarah Moore,  
 Abraham Forrest (-1759),  
James Oliver,   Robert Moody,  
Judith (—) Forrest,  
John Forrest,  Martha Womack,  Thomas Womack,  
Abraham Forrest,  John Foster,  Elizabeth (—) Forrest,  
Judith (—) Forrest,  
Elizabeth Forrest,  Mitchell,  
Judith Forrest,  Hurt,  
Sarah Forrest,  William Hurt,  
Mary Forrest,  Robert Foster,  
Bathsheba Forrest,  Obediah Jackson,  
John Forrest,  
Abraham Forrest,  
Josiah Forrest,  
George Forrest,  William Purnell,  
Frances Atwood,  James Atwood,  
John Jennings,   Charles Knight,   
Richard Forrest,  Elizabeth Oliver,   
Ann Forrest,  Henry Williams,  
John Williams,  
Abraham Williams,  
Judith Armistead Williams,  William Sydnor,   
Elizabeth Forrest,  Joseph Motley,   
Mary Forrest,  George Foster,  Richard Harris,  George Bagley,   
Susanna (—) Foster,  Thomas Hamm,  William Foster,  William Ware,  Ann —,  John Green,   
Abraham Forrest Foster,  Annas —,  
James Foster,  
George Foster,  Judith Price,   
Elizabeth (Jones) Foster,   
John Foster,  Lucy —,  
Travis Foster,  
Giles Foster,  
Judith Foster,  Shadrach Holt,  
Mary Foster,  Noton Dickenson,   
Sally Foster,  James Fowlkes,   
Temperance Foster,  
Joyce Forrest,  
 Sarah (Oliver) Bottom,  
Thomas Bottom Jr.,   Drury Thompson,  William Bottom,   Peter Stainback,  
Frances Bottom,  John Newbill,  
Mary Bottom,  
Prudence Bottom,  Jeremiah Inman,  
William Bottom,  
Elizabeth Bottom,  
Thomas Bottom,  Betsy Robertson,  Henry Robertson,  
Ann Bottom,  Thomas Garrett,  
 son Oliver,  

This family topic includes the following notable individuals.
Soldiers of colonial and American wars
Robert Oliver - War of 1812 Charles Oliver - War of 1812

Members of congress - U.S. and Confederate
Sydney Parham Epes - U.S. William Bacon Oliver - U.S.

Legislators - colonial and state
Asa Oliver - Virginia Sydney Parham Epes - Virginia

Selected sources
Bell, Landon C. The Old Free State: A Contribution to the History of Lunenburg County and Southside Virginia. 2 Vols. Richmond: The William Byrd Press, 1927(2):149-154. • Information on the Betts family of Lunenburg County, including Spencer Betts who married Nancy Fowlkes and Judith Betts who married Isaac Oliver.
Saunders, Col. James Edmonds. Early Settlers of Alabama. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1982:408-433. • Details on the family of Isaac Oliver and Judith Betts.

This topic, which represents .27% of all the family history material at, includes 235 citations and the names of 266 individuals.
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