Poem: "History of Olney"



Have you ever thought of Olneytown
In quite an early day,
Ere Thadeus Moorehouse settled down
And helped to pave the way.
When he moved in, he drove his team
Where none had been before.
There were no engines run by steam
Nor tracks to run them o’er.

T’was eighteen hundred and fifteen
When first he did appear,
And only redskins could be seen
As people living here.
It did not even have name,
T’was just a wild frontier,
Though it was overrun with game,
Bear, bison, elk and deer.

For three long years of grief and joy
Old Thadeus had to wait
‘Til this new land call Illinois
Became a legal state.
And farther south there sprang a town
Quite near where Calhoun stands.
They started cutting forest down
And cultivating lands.

Elijah Nelson settled down
On Fox, some two miles west
And founded there, old Watertown
Which now, has gone to rest.
And then in eighteen forty one
A greater thing was planned.
This famous county was begun
And given name “Richland.”

The county had to have a seat,
But where, nobody knew.
Its every hamlet wished to greet
The county courthouse, too.
And thus began a tug of war
For site of county seat,
And each advantage to and for
The settlers did repeat.

At last the matter simmered down,
A vote was later planned,
‘Twould either be at Watertown
Or on this center land.
The site selected by Judge Shaw,
The voters chose it too
And thus the will of learned law
Came proudly into view.

The new town had to have a name.
‘Tis Olney, said Judge Shaw.
And after contest it became
Another will of law.
Sir Olney was a friend, renown
Of Shaw, who had is will.
He ne’er resided in this town
But lived in Lawrenceville.

And when once started, Olney grew
Unto its present size,
And what it may be coming to,
We only can surmise.
I’ve lived here twice, before this day
And shall not let it down,
And so, in closing, I shall say
“It’s just a darned good town.”


I would like to thank James M. Findley, who shared it in an old "Olney Memory."  We don't know the author.