Mathew W. Olmstead, retired farmer, residing in the village of Shabbona, was one of the first pioneers of Shabbona Township, being the fourth person to effect a settlement in it. He was born in Wilton, Farifield Co., Conn., Nov. 22, 1804, and is the son of David and Rebecca (Jackson) Olmstead.
When 13 years of age he removed with his parents to Tompkins Co. N. Y. He attended the common schools in that county, and learned the blacksmith's trade, and removed to Chemung County, that state, where he worked at his trade until 1837. During this year he, in company with his brothers, Lewis and Nathan, came to La Salle County, ILL. One year and two months later he came to Shabbona, locating there in September 1838. On arrival at Shabbona, he found Edmond Towne, Oliver P. Johnson, Nathan Olmstead, and David Smith.
Mr. Olmstead selected his claim prior to the Government survey. After the survey was made, he found that his land comprised a portion of section 25 and 36, his house being located on section 25. His farm comprised 207 acres, which he sold some years later and removed to section 36 in the same township.
In 1878 he removed to the village of Shabbona, where he has a fine residence and three acres inside the village corporation.
Mr. Olmstead was married in Chemung Co., N. Y., June 28, 1828 to Catharine, daughter of Benajah and Agnes Lockerby. She was born in Veteran Township, Chemung Co., N. Y., April 6, 1801 and was the mother by Mr. Olmstead, of five children --- two boys and three girls. The eldest, Robert L. was married to Louisa Clapsaddle and was a member of the Iowa Inf. Reg., was wounded in the Red River expedition, taken prisoner, and died from the effects of his wound in Texas. Hannah was the wife of Howell Leyson, and died in June 1881. Araminta is the wife of Lewis Larkin, a resident of Iowa. Rebecca is the wife of William Van Vlack. William W. Olmstead married Ellen Walker, and was a member of the same regiment as his brother, was taken prisoner, exchanged and died soon after from disease contracted while in the service.
Mrs. Olmstead died Jan. 8, 1857, and in June 28, 1858, Mr. Olmstead married Mary Walker, at Sycamore, DeKalb Co., Ill. She died in 1863, without issue. Mr. Olmstead was married a third time Jan. 2, 1882, at Northfield, Minn. to Miss Armina, daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth Lockerby. She was born in Washtenaw Co., Mich. March 15, 1836, and accompanied her parents to Northfield in 1885. They were pioneers of that place and resided there until her marriage.
Politically, Mr. Olmstead is Republican. He has held the office of SCHOOL Treasurer some 10 years. [from: Portrait and Biographical Album of DeKalb County, Illinois, Chicago: Chapman Bros. 1885, p 508.]
Submitted by Terry Todd