OLIVER BELDEN CULVER (1791 VT - 1852 IL)
-- Abolitionist, Pioneer Farmer and Lincoln Neighbor
--- My wife's 2x-great-grandfather
OLIVER BELDEN CULVER
Oliver Belden Culver was a sergeant in the War of 1812. Oliver served in Captain Dorrance's Company, Colonel William Williams' Regiment of Detached Militia. He was in U.S. Service four months and twenty-nine days in 1812. First as a corporal, then as a sergeant.
Oliver Belden Culver was mentioned in 1816, 1817 and 1819 as a road overseer in the early records of the town of Stockholm, New York.
Oliver Belden Culver, his wife Betsy Holcomb and their young family moved from Stockholm, St. Lawrence County, New York to Sangamon County, Illinois about 1835. As a result of legislative actions by Abraham Lincoln and other Illinois Legislators, the area would become Menard County in 1839.
Farming northeast of Indian Point and about twenty miles north of Springfield, IL, Oliver's pioneer family lived and worked near a young Abraham Lincoln. Oliver reportedly took wheat to be ground at the New Salem Mill, where he would see the young Abe Lincoln.
Oliver and Betsy's daughter, Laura Stone Culver (1827-1881), married Abel Wilder Estabrook (1815-1905) on April 23, 1846. Abel, who earned his A.M. (masters) from Illinois College, owned the Springfield Academy, a private subscription school. Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln sent their eldest son, Robert Todd Lincoln to Abel Wilder Estabrook's Springfield Academy that was located on the west side of Fifth Street, between Monroe and Market (now Capitol) Streets. For three years (1850-1853), Abel was the teacher of Robert Todd Lincoln, Abraham and Mary's oldest son. Robert was aged 7 through 9.
Oliver Belden Culver was an active abolitionist, and a member of the Illinois Anti-Slavery Society. Oliver was also a member of the Springfield Anti-Slavery Society Constitution. Together with several family members, Oliver was one of the Springfield residents attending Alton's Elijah Lovejoy's Anti-Slavery Convention on October 26, 1837 (see signers below). A week later in early November 1837, Lovejoy was murdered by an angry mob.
Oliver was affiliated with both North Sangamon Presbyterian Church (Indian Point Presbyterian) and Second Presbyterian Church (Westminster Presbyterian). Second Presbyterian was originally known as the "abolitionist church." Oliver was one of the thirteen founding members of Second Prsbyterian.
Original Illinois Tract Farmland purchased by Oliver Belden Culver:
Name of Purchaser -- Legal - Sec - Twnsp - Rnge - Mer - Date --- County
CULVER OLIVER B - W2NE - 17 - 18N - 05W - 3 - 10/28/1836 - MENARD
CULVER OLIVER B - E2NW - 17 - 18N - 05W - 3 - 10/28/1836 - MENARD
CULVER OLIVER B - SWSE - 08 - 18N - 05W - 3 - 10/28/1836 - MENARD
CULVER OLIVER B - SESW - 08 - 18N - 05W - 3 - 10/28/1836 - MENARD
Illinois Anti-Slavery Society Organizational Convention & Constitution:
Elijah P. Lovejoy’s Call for Anti-Slavery Society Convention:
On September 27, 1837 (August 15, 1837), Elijah P. Lovejoy called for an Anti-Slavery Convention to be held at Upper Alton, Illinois on October 26, to discuss slavery and freedom of the press.
One month later on October 26, 1837, Elijah P. Lovejoy‘s call for a three-day Illinois Anti-Slavery Society Convention at Upper Alton was answered by 245 persons from ten Illinois counties. The list of those attending was the first public listing of Illinois abolitionists. The call was signed by 255 individuals including fifty-six men from Quincy, forty-two from Galesburg, thirty-two from Jacksonville, twenty-three from Alton, twenty-one from Springfield, seventeen from Farmington, five from Chatham and seventy-two from other places. It is significant hat no one south of Alton signed the Convention call. The list included the names of twenty residents of Springfield and thirteen members of the Second (Westminster) Presbyterian Church, the abolition church. The minutes of the convention are in the manuscript division of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, Illinois.
"On Motion, Resolved, That the cause of Human rights, the liberty of speech & of the demands that the press of the Alton Observer be reestablished & located at Alton, with its present editors. And that with the assistance of our friends at Alton and elsewhere, and by the help of Almighty God we will take such measures as shall secure its reestablishment and Safety. Resolved, That we express our fraternal feelings towards the American Anti-slavery Society, and all others who are arising to promote the sacred cause of civil & religious liberty throughout the world, & engage to cooperate with them in all appropriate ways for the attainment of these great ends."
Transcription of the Lovejoy Broadside
Alton Observer -- Extra
Alton, September 28, 1837
The present aspect of the slavery question in this country, and especially in this State, is of commanding interest to us all. No question is, at the present time, exerting so strong an influence upon the public mind as this. The whole land is agitated by it. We cannot, nor would we remain indifferent spectators in the midst of developments so vitally interesting to us all, as those which are daily taking place in relation to the system of American Slavery.--We have duties to perform, as Christians and as Patriots, which call for united wisdom, counsel and energy of action.
The undersigned would, therefore, respectfully call a meeting of the friends of the slave and of free discussion in the State of Illinois, to meet in Convention at Upper Alton, on the last Thursday of October. It is intended that this Convention should consist of all those in the State who believe that the system of American Slavery is sinful and ought to be immediately abandoned, however diversified may be their views in other respects. It is desirable that the opponents in this State of Domestic Slavery--all who ardently long and pray to witness its immediate abolition, should co-operate together in their efforts to accomplish it. We therefore hope that all such will make it a point of duty to attend the Convention, not thereby feeling that they are pledged to any particular course of action, but that they may receive as well as impart the benefit of mutual counsel and advice.
It is earnestly to be hoped that there will be a full attendance at the Convention. Let all who feel deeply interested in this cause, not only attend themselves, but stir up their neighbors to attend also. And let each one remember that this call cannot be repeated. But for the destruction of the “Observer” press it would have been circulated some time since. It is hoped, that it will have some time to circulate in season to bring together a large number of our friends from all parts of the State.
Springfield, Sangamon County
E. (Eliphalet) B. Hawley
R. (Roswell) P. Abel
William M. Cowgill
Isaac Bancroft, Jr.
J. (Johnathan) C. Bancroft
Oliver B. Culver
J. (John) B. Watson
C. (Calvin) B. Francis
J. G. Rawson
Edmund R. Wiley
George N. Kendall
E. W. Thayer
Chatham, Sangamon County
L. N. Ransom
H. T. White
Farmington, Sangamon County
Asahel Stone (Oliver B. Culver's brother-in-law)
Haroldus Estabrook (Oliver B. Culver's daughter's father-in-law)
B. B. Moore
H. P. Lyman
O. L. Stone (Oliver B. Culver's nephew)
A. S. Lyman
Jacksonville, Morgan County
Abel W. Estabrook (Oliver B. Culver's son-in-law)
(Abel was a student at Illinois College, but his residence was at Farmington)
Children of Oliver Belden Culver and Betsey Holcomb:
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The Civil War Journal of Andrew Jackson Nickell
Honoring Other Civil War Ancestors