I. Lewis Olmstead, farmer, owning 137 acres located on sections 25 and 36, Shabbona Township, was born in Wilton Township, Fairfield Co., Conn., May 13, 1802. He is the son of David and Rebecca (Jackson) Olmstead, who removed to the vicinity of Ithaca, N. Y., when the city was but a small hamlet. Mr. Olmstead was brought up on a farm of his father's, alternating his labors thereon by attendance at the common schools.
He was married in Tompkins Co., N. Y., Feb. 27, 1823, to Miss Eleanor, daughter of Jesse and Betsey Owens, and by her had six children. The eldest, Betsey, married James Hare, and died when 32 years of age. Aaron, second child, married Huldah Bayley and resides in Butler Co., Iowa. Hector died at the age of 25 years. Harmon married Miss --- Lee and resides in Dakota. Silas married Lucetta Bayley and resides in Leland, Ill. Lewis died at the age 18 years. John was a member of the Second Illinois Light Artillery, in the late Civil War, and died in the hospital at Vicksburg. Mrs. Olmstead died May 4, 1852, and Mr. Olmstead was a second time married Nov. 14, 1852, in Somonauk (now Sandwich), to Mrs. Marietta Witherspoon, widow of Rev. Frederick Witherspoon and daughter of Dr. John and Mary (Powell) Heath. She was born in Liverpool Township, Medina Co., Ohio, April 7, 1820. Of their union three children were born, --- two boys and one girl. Mary E., born Aug. 11, 1855, is the wife of George Goodrich, a resident of Lincoln, Neb. Lewis M., born Dec. 5, 1859, married Maudie Lane and lives on the old homestead. Frederick J., born Dec 26, 1863, lives at home.
Mr. Olmstead came to this State in 1837, and located in La Salle County. In August, 1838, he came to Shabbona. The county was not surveyed, and the town contained only two families, --- those of Mr. E. Town and Nathan Olmstead, a brother. He made his home on the farm on which he now resides and on which he has since continued to reside. He and his wife are both members of the Congregational Church.
Politically, Mr. Olmstead has been a Republican ever since the party was organized. He is a man of powerful physique, and, although 83 years of age, he would be hale and hearty were it not for an accident a few years since in which his leg was broken. He is now confined to a wheel chair for locomotion.
Mrs. Olmstead came to Somonauk, this county, with her parents on the last week of 1833. She was the oldest lady settler of De Kalb County present at the old settlers' picnnc held at Pritchard's Grove, Sept. 8, 1881, on which occasion she was presented with a fine case of silver spoons. The presentation speech was made by Hon. M. B. Castle, of Sandwich, this county. Mrs. Olmstead had five children by her first marriage, a record of whom will be found in the sketch of Rev. Frederick Witherspoon in this work. [from: Portrait and Biographical Album of DeKalb County, Illinois, Chicago: Chapman Bros. 1885, p 467.]
Submitted by Terry Todd