Samuel P. Oyler was born in Hawkhurst, Eng., August 26, 1819, second son of Samuel and Sophia (Rabson) Oyler. His father was a farmer and a freeholder in England. The early years of Samuel Oyler were spent principally in London, where he attended school for several years. He afterward went to school in Westminster for some time. In 1834 he immigrated to America, settling in Rochester, N. Y., where he continued his studies as best he could. In 1841 he came to Indiana and settled in Tippecanoe County, where he farmed and studied theology until 1843, when he united with the Universalist Church, and preached continuously for eight years in that cause, dividing the time equally between Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois. February 4, 1845, he was married to Julia A. Wooding, of Switzerland County, Ind. She died in November, 1847, and in December, 1849, he was married to Lucy Howe, daughter of Solomon Hicks. This lady is his present wife. In 1850 he removed to Franklin, Johnson Co., Ind., and commenced the study of law with Gilderoy Hicks, then an attorney at Franklin. Finding the law fitted to his abilities, he relinquished the ministry, and was admitted to the Johnson County bar in 1851. He readily passed examination to practice before the supreme court in 1852, and subsequently, upon examination, was also admitted to practice before the supreme court of the United States. He devoted himself assiduously to the practice of law after he was admitted to the bar. In 1852 and 1854, he served as prosecutor for his district, and continued working faithfully and successfully in his chosen profession until 1861, when he left everything and entered the union army. He was one of the first to enter the service, and by his own efforts raised the first company of volunteers in this county, which was the third raised in the state. He was elected captain, and subsequently commissioned as major of the Seventh Indiana Volunteer Infantry. He served during the campaign in West Virginia, returning home in August. He then resumed his law practice, but for a short time only, as in 1862 he organized the second company of the Seventy-ninth Volunteer Infantry; was commissioned lieutenant colonel, and assigned to duty in the Army of the Cumberland. He was first with Buell, and afterward with Rosecrans, taking part in those memorable campaigns that aided so materially in bringing the war to a close. He was in the battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga, where his regiment suffered severely. He returned to Chattanooga the day after the battle of Chickamauga, with 1,900 men, all that were left of the twenty-first corps, of which he was the ranking officer. He had the honor of leading the charge at Mission Ridge, and his regiment, with the Eighty-sixth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, was the first to scale the ridge, and capture the works of the enemy. During the winter of 1863 and 1864, he was stationed in the valley of the Tennessee and the following summer, was with Sherman in his march upon Atlanta, but in July, was disabled by sickness, and in October, was compelled to resign his commission and return home. Upon his return, he was at once chosen by the republicans to represent his district in the state senate, and he did his duty as well in the halls of legislation, as on the field of battle, serving his country in both positions with honor and distinction. He served two regular, and one extra session in the senate, was made chairman of the committee on organization of courts, and a member of the judiciary committee, and in 1868, he was appointed judge of the sixteenth judicial circuit, serving till 1870, since which time he has been engaged in the practice of his profession in Franklin. In 1866, he was a delegate and member of the platform committee of the soldiers’ convention held in Pittsburgh. Col. Oyler has always taken a deep interest in local affairs, is, and has been, earnest in his efforts to advance the cause of education. As an attorney, he ranks among the best in Johnson County, and has acquired handsome competence by his practice of law. He is a worth citizen, and highly esteemed where known.

Transcribed by Cheryl Zufall Parker

Banta, D. D. History of Johnson County, Indiana. Chicago, IL: Brant & Fuller, 1888, page 645.