Henry Olin, II

Henry William Olin II was born January 2, 1803 in Shaftsbury, Vermont to Henry Olin and Silence Greene. He died September 26, 1877 in Austin Twsp, Mecosta, Michigan.

Henry married in 1825 to Lydia Corey (Cory/Corrie) in Cattaraugus, Allegheny, New York. Lydia died May 27, 1861 in Austin Township. The marriage date of 1825 as well as the birth year and spelling for Lydia Corey were all taken from Stella Vanauken’s DAR registration, Vol. 100, page 154. Willard’s letter said that Lydia was born in France, however, the Ashtabula branch maintains that she was Canadian. She was probably French Canadian. There is some speculation that she may have been French Canadian and Indian though no Native American blood has been detected through DNA tests yet.

The family migrated from Vermont to New York where all of their children were born. Henry is listed in the 1830 New York Census for Geneseo, Orangeville, New York. This would be around the time that Sally was born. Willard Olin’s letter (below) says that there were 16 children altogether, but he only knew 7-4 boys and 3 girls as the rest were before his time. The Olin Family Cemetery in Austin township holds many children’s graves, a sad testament to the dangerous diseases that children succumbed to in those days. The 1870 Michigan State Census shows Henry remarried a woman named Louisa. Since her age at that time is given as 60, she would have been 54 yrs old or more at the time of Lydia’s death, I am assuming that she would have been too old to have children from this marriage.

About the year 1860 or 1861, Henry W. Olin and Lydia Corey moved with their family from Chemung, New York to Stanwood, Mecosta, Michigan. According to the 1879 Mecosta County, Michigan Plat Book, page 29 Austin Township, Henry Olin owned 160 acres. Eighty of those acres are south of the highway and the other 80 are north. Also, Jas. Mansel owns 80 acres north of Henry. Giles Olin has 120 acres bordering his fathers. John Olin has 80 acres bordering Giles’ and also containing the Olin Family Cemetery. Sisters Susan Potter (40 acres) and Mrs. S.M. Taylor(145) (80 acres) border John’s land. Just above Sally Taylor’s land is another 40 acres plot marked simply Taylor. The Olin name is also shown as Olen. Also on page 58 where patrons are listed, R.B. Van Auken and his son Eugene Van Auken are listed as farmers from NY who settled in 1865 in Sec. 32 of Stanwood. On page 39, Mecosta township I show J. Burgess, McCabe, Barton, Van Aukin, and De Gear. Their children William, Sally, Hannah, Phebe, Giles, John, Henry, Tom, and Susan were all born in New York. Henry and Lydia were buried in the family cemetery along with many other Olins.

This photo was probably taken at the funeral of their mother, Lydia Corey Olin, but since their father is not present and he died in 1877, it could be his funeral too. Standing L to R is John C., Thomas B., and Sally. Sitting L to R is Hannah, Giles, Susan and Henry. Apparently, William was unable to make it to the funeral.

Henry and Lydia’s children:

William Edgar Olin

William Edgar Olin was born May 30, 1828 in Baldwin Twsp, Chemung, New York died June 1, 1905 in Baldwin, Chemung, New York, married May 26, 1850 Baldwin, Chemung, New York Sarah A. Parmer born February 29, 1829 New York, died May 19, 1893. They resided in Baldwin, Chemung, New York, where Will was “poormaster”. William worked at Joseph Rodburns Mill near Breesport, New York at one time.

William’s and Sarah’s children:

  • Henry A. Olin born February 4, 1851 North Chemung, Chemung, New York, died November 8, 1928 married 1871 possibly in Chemung, New York to Adelia Woolever born December 24, 1856 in MI and died March 18, 1916 in Chemung, New York. She was the daughter of Charles Howard and Mary Woolever. (Barbara Crawford’s information says that Adelia was born in Michigan)
  • Twins Olin born February 5, 1853 died before 1855
  • Biancia D. Olin born April 9, 1854.
  • Emma S. Olin born December 8, 1856, died December 31, 1887, married Henry Bunto ca. 1883.
  • Giles W. Olin born January 1, 1858 died August 14, 1859 age 7m, 14d Chemung, New York (buried at North Chemung Cemetery, New York).
  • Sarah Melissa Olin born November 14, 1861 at Baldwin, Chemung, New York, died 1944 married 1882 to William Nurse born 1858.
  • Mary Etta Olin born April 9, 1864 Baldwin, Chemung, New York, died January 27, 1950 Elmira, New York, married February 23, 1889 Elmira, New York William Henry Tong born December 4, 1867 Horseheads, Chemung, New York died April 29, 1925 Elmira, New York.
  • Horace William Olin born December 23, 1866, died September 17, 1876 10y, 8m, 25 d.
  • Louise(a) Olin born September 3, 1869, married Elmer Westbrook born c.1869.

William Edgar Olin married 2nd to Lovina born February 1826, New York

Information regarding the family of William Edgar Olin was received from their descendant’s Gary E. Olin, Suzanne Mettler, Debra J. Groom, Barbara Crawford, and Ron Tong. Willard Olin’s letter states that William stayed in Elmira, New York and Bianca was the only child he could remember.

Sally M. Olin

Sally M. Olin born c. October 1, 1831 in Baldwin, Chemung, New York and died May 27, 1892 at 60y, 8m, 27d, (headstone says 1892) in Austin, Mecosta, Michigan. She married in 1855 to Andrew M. Taylor (1821-1895). Sally and Andrew followed the Olin family to Austin Twsp, Mecosta, Michigan.

Their children:

  • Charles Taylor born ca.1855 in Horseheads, Chemung, New York.
  • John A. Taylor born November 23, 1859 New York, died February 12, 1884 at 25y, 9m, 11d. Spouse is unknown. John was declared insane and his family committed him to an asylum. He probably had a son John who died March 18, 1926. The probate record lists Jennie Maynard as the daughter of this second John.
  • William Henry Taylor born about 1868/9 MI, died February 26, 1900 in Mecosta Township, Mecosta, Michigan.
Hannah Adelia Olin

Hannah Adelia Olin “Deal” was born February 1834 Chemung, New York, died in 1928 at Stanwood, Michigan, married September 5, 1852 Chemung, New York Richard B. Van Auken (also Vanauken and Vanaken/Van Aken/Van Akin), born September 7, 1834 New York, died 1906 Michigan.

Their children:

  • Eugene W. Van Auken born June 28, 1853 Chemung, New York died 1930, married Ella M. Boyer.
  • Hestells E. Van Auken (Stella) born May 20, 1855 Chemung, New York, married 1875 to Henry Kierk in Kalamazoo, Michigan, married 2nd to Charles A. Barton.
  • William H. Van Auken born February 1, 1857 Chemung, New York, died June 1, 1858 Chemung, New York
  • Sarah A. Van Auken (or H.) born October 31, 1858 Chemung, New York, died August 26, 1862 New York
  • Lydia Van Auken born October 21, 1860 Chemung, New York, died September 18, 1862 Stanwood, Mecosta, Michigan
  • John Van Auken born August 11, 1862 Chemung, New York, died December 30, 1986 Stanwood, Michigan, married Mattie Smith November 22, 1883.
  • Emma A. Van Auken born August 25, 1864 Chemung, New York
  • Nancy E. Van Auken born September 2, 1866 Michigan, died April 6, 1882

I found Stella’s DAR registration #99491 on Page 154 of the DAR. Lydia’s surname is spelled Corey (1811-1865) there.

Van Auken

Richard Van Auken(162) was born to William Van Auken. His four siblings were: Elizabeth Van Auken married Sawyer; Rachel Van Auken m: Rogers; James Van Auken m: Caroline Blair and had Willie Van Auken, Herbert Van Auken, Nora Van Auken and then m: 2nd to Jannette McGriffin Hazelton; and William Van Auken. (Submitted by their descendant, Amanda Van Auken Szot.)

Van Aken/Auken web site: www.vanaken.org

Special thanks to Connie and Lena Sims for submitting the photos of Hannah and Richard Vanauken.


I am searching for information on the family of William A. VanAken or VanAuken; spelled either way depending on the source. William A. VanAken was born 1819 in Pennsylvania to Martha Baird (born 1792 in Pennsylvania) and an unknown VanAken who died before 1840. William had at least 4 siblings, Andrew L. b. about 1824, Benjamin W. b. about 1826, Sarah E. born 1832 in Ohio and another sister who’s name I have not been able to locate, but was born about 1828. William married first Susan Hall who died about 1850, they had one daughter Mary M. 2nd he married Martha (surname unknown) about 1851 in Iowa. Most of the family remained in Iowa, but William and Martha moved to Missouri. I have combed through census records for any VanAken / VanAuken families that might fit as Martha Baird’s husband but have not come up with a solid connection. I would love to exchange information with anyone else researching the family.

Contact Marie

Phoebe E. Olin

Phoebe was born August 4, 1835 in Baldwin, Chemung, New York and died June 14, 1838 in Baldwin, Chemung, New York .

Giles O. Olin

Giles O. Olin born April 13, 1837 Chemung, New York and died April 24, 1901 in Stanwood, Mecosta, Michigan. He married on February 2, 1856 in Erin, Chemung, New York to Lydia Moulter. She was born September 20, 1836 in Chemung, New York to David Moulter and Sarah Bennett and died June 11, 1912 in Mecosta County, Michigan.

Giles was listed in every census as a farmer, yet he also worked in the lumber industry.

Mecosta County History

After marriage Mr. Olin [Giles] passed two years as a common laborer. He then purchased 25 acres of forest land, and resided thereon until the spring of 1862, when the family came to Mecosta County, and he bought 120 acres of land in Austin Tp.; to this he has added 40 acres, and now owns 160 acres of land, in one of the best located sections of the township. Fifty acres of this are under cultivation, and the owner has erected good and suitable buildings thereon.

In this family are four children living: William H., Dec. 4, 1857; Almeda E., July 22, 1860; Eliza J., Feb.21, 1867; Sivillian, July 13, 1871; Sarah A., born Sept. 12, 1858, died March 8, 1861. Mr. Olin is a Democrat, and has served his township as Treasurer six terms. Himself and wife are active members of the M.E. Church.”

Giles and Lydia’s children:

  • William H. Olin was born December 4,1856 in Erin, Chemung, New York and died in 1880 in Austin, Mecosta, Michigan. He married June 10, 1883 Stanwood, Mecosta, Michigan Mary J. White.
  • Sarah M. Olin born July 22, 1860 in Chemung, New York, died March 8, 1861 in Chemung, New York.
  • Almeda Evelyn Olin born July 22, 1860 in New York and died May 8, 1929 in Lake County, Michigan. She was married June 6, 1876 in Mecosta, Michigan to James Mansel born July 22, 1850 in Chemung, New York. Almeda married second to Nicolas Richart.
  • Eliza Jane Olin born February 21, 1867 in Austin, Mecosta, Michigan and died January 16, 1945 in Millbrook, Mecosta, Michigan. She was married on August 6, 1885 in Greenfield, Wayne, Michigan to William Bloomfield. She married January 22, 1923 to Lester G. Willett (1863-1937).
  • Scevillian C. Olin was born July 13, 1871 in Mecosta, Michigan and died April 9, 1945 in Big Rapids, Mecosta, Michigan. He married on December 17, 1891 in Mecosta County, Michigan to Cora E. Thietge (1875-1964).

John Coltson Olin

John Coltson Olin born January 25, 1840 in Chemung, Chemung County, New York, died November 8, 1906 Big Rapids, Michigan. Picture is of John and Sarah.

John married Hulda Stage born February 15, 1842, died March 2, 1877 Michigan. Their children:

  • Lydia M. Olin born June 15, 1860 Chemung, New York, married October 24, 1875 James Burgess, farmer.
  • John Henry Olin born October 2, 1862 Jackson, Michigan, died September 15, 1863 Stanwood, Mecosta, Michigan
  • Ida B. Olin born September 27, 1866 in Jackson, Michigan married first to Elbert E. McCabe January 1, 1883 Mecosta, married 2nd Charles O. Potter November 22, 1885 in Mecosta.
  • James B. Olin born August 16, 1868 in Mecosta, died October 15, 1869 in Jackson, Michigan.
  • Fred B. Olin born August 29, 1870 in Mecosta, Michigan, and died in 1910 in Austin, Mecosta, Michigan. He married first to Venney Holenbeck on July 3, 1893 in Colfort, Michigan. Fred married December 6, 1902 in Big Rapids, Mecosta to Emma J. Flick (Gage?) of Winston Twsp. The record shows parents as John C. Olin and Sarah J. Wheaton (Wharton?) and James Flick and Catherine Swich. Witness was Sarah J. Olin. They are shown as living in Ontario, Canada in 1901. Fred was close to his cousins, Clara and Grace. He lived with Clara her after his divorce from Emma. He was living also with Grace as a “servant” the year he died.
  • Emmagene ( or Emma J.) Olin born April 9, 1873 in NeWaygo, Michigan, died December 28,1898, married November 4, 1892 in Big Rapids, Mecosta, Mecosta, Michigan. to Edgar J. Decker of Battle Creek. Parents are listed as John and Hulda Stage Olin and Walter Decker and Caroline Reymor. Contact Joanne Decker for more information on this family.
  • Frances Olin born April 18, 1873 in Austin Twsp, Mecosta, Michigan.
  • Eugene Olin
  • Charles H. Olin born February 14, 1877 Mecosta, Michigan and died August 18, 1877 Mecosta, Michigan

John Olin married second on September 6, 1877 Sarah J. Bassett, born June 1st or 7th, 1846 Franklin, Ohio, died April 15, 1934 in Lansing, Michigan. Their child:

  • Alford/Alfred Olin born February 26, 1879 Austin Twsp and died May 25, 1960 in Bath, Clinton, Michigan. He married Margaret May “Maggie” Gage on August 21, 1898 in Austin. Maggie was born May 6, 1880 in Mecosta, Michigan and was the daughter of Joseph Gage and Lucy L. Jordan. Maggie died May 14, 1950 in Bath (or Newaygo County, Michigan). Alfred’s second marriage was to June 2, 1952 in Laingsburg, Shiawassee, Michigan, to Hattie B. Leland. Hattie was the daughter of Loranzo Thompson and Emma Benson and was born November 25, 1887 in Perry, Michigan. Leland must have been her first husband. She died 1961.

Sarah Jane Bassett was the daughter of Charles M. and Martha (Lowery) Bassett. She married 4 times to: Loflad “Ed” Baum, July 6, 1865; Porter U. Yates, 6-29-1876. They may have divorced circa 1877; Porter U. Yates, son of Jeniah Barzilla and Abigail “Naba” (Smith) Yates, Jr., was born in Jun 1825 (1827?) and died 30 Nov 1900; John Coltson Olin; and Restore Douglass.

Thank you to Terri for information on Alfred’s family!

My great-grandfather, Willard Olin, said there were four children and that Mike was only child by his second wife. As Hulda died in childbirth with Charles, Fred was the son of John and Sarah. I have since come into contact with their descendant, Jack, and he believes that Alfred was the only child of John and Sarah. Jack also submitted the picture of John C. Olin and Hulda Stage above. Terri confirms that Alfred was the son of John and Sarah. Another mystery is where the name Sarah Wharton originated.

John’s Civil War History

Civil War History: He was a 21-year-old farmer from Austin township, Mecosta County, Michigan at the time of his enlistment in the Civil War. His military record shows that he was 5 feet 11 1/2 inches tall with light complexion, grey eyes and black hair at the time of his enlistment as a private in Captain Judd’s Company, 10th Regiment of the Michigan Infantry Volunteers. He mustered in on December 1, 1861 in Moscow, Michigan for a period of 3 years. He re-mustered as a private in Co. K, 10th Regiment, Michigan Infantry on February 5, 1864 in Rossville, GA. The company mustered out in Louisville, Kentucky on July 19, 1865.

John received a gunshot wound in the left knee at Kenesaw Mountain, Jonesborough, near Atlanta, Georgia on September 1, 1865. In his own words, John C. Olin said that the “Regiment was ordered to charge the works. Frank Preston, Sheldon W. Curtis, Milo Curtis and myself composed the front file of Co. K. My form had just reached the top of works when I received shot in left knee. Frank Preston, Sheldon Curtis and Milo Curtis would be my witnesses, soon after I was shot, Captain (illegible) ordered me to the rear. After the battle was over Milo Curtis extracted the ball. (He being a surgeon.) Eben Leavin of Morley, Michigan and David Griffin of Big Rapids Michigan were present and saw Milo Curtis take out the ball.”

Also in his pension file, are depositions by brothers: Giles Olin and Henry Olin and sister Susan Olin Potter. Other relatives: James B. Van Auken, J.M. Van Auken, and John Potter, gave information about Olin’s health prior and subsequent to the war. The file gives information about the death date of his first wife (Hulday Stage) on March 7, 1877. It also gives the marriage date to widow Sarah J. Bassett Baum, September 6, 1877 and lists the two witnesses-John and Susan Potter. It gives the date and place of his death, November 8, 1906 in Big Rapids. Furthermore, it gives the name of one of his children, Alfred Olin and his wife, Maggie.

Additionally, the pension file tells a little of the history of his widow who was born Sarah J. Bassett. Her first marriage was to Lofland Baum who died in Luray, Ohio on June 17,1875. Her second husband was John C. Olin and finally, she married Restore Douglass of Big Rapids on July 23, 1914. The file has a copy of her death certificate which gives birth date and place, her father’s name, her date and cause of death and her burial place. She was born August 1, 1846 in Ohio to Charles Bassett. She died April 15, 1934 of Myocarditis and acute hepatitis. She is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Lansing.

In a bonus, there is also communication in this file between Restore Douglass and the Bureau of Pensions. It lists his children and their mother (Dinna Didean Fox). The children: Perry Arthur Douglass born 1874 and Amanda Dilila Douglass born 1872 lived in Big Rapids. Amanda Douglass married Fred W. Druell.

[Special thanks to Linda Hull for providing the military history of John.

Henry L. Olin

Henry married May 13, 1863 in Mecosta to Sarah Ellen Griffin (1849-1908). They must have divorced and Sarah remarried in 1883 to Charles H. Blackford (1850-1931) and had two additional children.

Henry Olin III born August 23, 1842 in Horseheads, Chemung, New York, died December 24, 1921 in Austin Twsp, Mecosta, Michigan.

Henry’s and Sarah’s children:

  • William born January 19, 1865 must have died young.
  • John B. Olin born January 19, 1865 in New York and died November 24, 1871
  • James E. Olin born March 24, 1867 and died November 24, 1871 4y,7m,15d in Austin Twsp, Mecosta, Michigan
  • Rosetta E. Olin born March 6, 1869 and died November 26, 1871 2y,6m,10d Austin Twsp, Mecosta, Michigan
  • Elmer Olin born January 7, 1871 Austin Twsp, Mecosta, Michigan and died February 14, 1929 in Mecosta, Mecosta, Michigan. He married October 15, 1892 in Newaygo, Michigan to Ethel Blanche Lloyd (1878-1904). He married May 13, 1912 Morton, Michigan to Vina Wade.
  • Darwin G. Olin born January 7, 1876, died May 1, 1881 of Diphtheria
  • William H. Olin born October 12, 1878, died May 16, 1881 of Diphtheria
  • Harriet Olin born April 29, 1887 [year must be incorrect], died May 29, 1887 of Diphtheria.
  • Possibly another daughter born and died young.

Henry married October 16, 1886 to Eva Stein (1866-1925). They divorced and she never remarried. Their children:

  • Daughter Olin (stillborn) born August 29, 1887
  • Clara Etta Olin born July 31, 1896 in Austin Twsp, Mecosta, Michigan and died October 28, 1973 in Litchfield, Hillsdale, Michigan. She married first on married January 27, 1915 in Mecosta to Leonard A. DeGearrs of Deerfield, a farmer. She married secondly to Hazen A. Wright.
  • Hattie or Kattie Olin was born and died on September 1, 1899 in Austin, Mecosta, Michigan.
  • Catharine Olin was born (May 19, 1901?) in Michigan and died August 29, 1904 ae.3y,3m,10d.

Thomas Benjamin Olin

Thomas Benjamin Olin was born March 15, 1844 in Chemung Cty, New York and died June 28, 1917 in Grand Rapids, Itasca, Minnesota.

More information about Thomas>>>

Isaac Olin

Isaac was born approximately 1850/51. He must have died young.

Susan Biancia Olin

Susan B. Olin was born on April 9, 1854 in Elmira, Chemung County, New York. She married on March 9, 1872 in Stanwood, Michigan to John Grover Potter and died January 29, 1918 in Austin, Mecosta County, Michigan. John was born November 9, 1849 in Tonawanda, Niagara, New York and died 1918 Austin, Michigan.

Susan’s and John’s children:

  • Florance E. Potter born April 18, 1873 in Michigan. [1880 Michigan census shows that this Florence was a female, a letter from Susan Potter to Mary C. Olin listed all the children and she said specifically that “her” Florence (not Mary’s) was born on Mach 28, 1873, not only was she the mother of this child but she references her family bible for exact dates. However, if you look at the Mecosta County Biography you will see another date entirely.]
  • Stella B. Potter born August 30, 1874 Stanwood, Mecosta, Michigan, died May 10, 1876 Austin. [There is a Della E. for this same birth date who died at 1y, 7m, 20d and that makes her birth the same as Stella B. Stella’s headstone however, reads born August 30, 1870, died May 10, 1871 at 1y, 6m, 6d. I believe the headstone to be in error. Six months from August is February! Also, Mecosta County Biographies show her as Stella “E.” and has a different birth day.]
  • Jerry E. Potter born July 6, 1877 Stanwood, Mecosta, Michigan (not listed in 1880 census-a twin to Grace–died young?)
  • Grace Potter born July 6, 1877, died December 5, 1957 married 1893 to John Pettit.
  • Alberta Potter born August 3, 1879 Austin, died October 13, 1879.
  • Albert Potter born August 3, 1879 Austin, died October 2, 1879 Austin (not sure if this child existed–may have been a twin).
  • Charles E. Potter born July 13, 1880 Stanwood, Michigan
  • Claude Emery Potter born July 13, 1880 Austin, died May 14, 1956 in Montcalm, Michigan. He was married to Nellie L. Hopkins (1885-1977).
  • Harry (Henry) J. Potter was born July 28, 1882, married October 3, 1909 in Austin to Bessie Hopkins age 19 (daughter of ___ Hopkins and Jane Sharp, he married Leo Gladys Ward on September 2, 1919 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was a plumber.
  • Grover Cleveland Potter was born September 21,1884 in Stanwood, Michigan.
  • Myrtle M. Potter (Myrtie) was born June 10, 1887 in Stanwood, Michigan, married August 30, 1909 in Big Rapids to George W. Finch of Akron, Ohio. He was the son of Charles Finch and Lomia M. Bassett.
  • Clarabell E. Potter (Clara) was born September 5, 1889 in Austin, married December 20, 1911 to Arthur R. Rausch of Akron, Ohio, a printer. Clarabell was a teacher until her marriage to Arthur. Arthur’s parents were George C. Rausch and Emma R. Riffert.
  • Irvine Potter born September 27, 1891 in Austin.

Mecosta County Portrait & Biographical was published in 1883 and contained information on the children above with the exception of Cleve, Myrtie, Clarabell and Irvine who were not born by the publish date. However, there are some inconsistencies between the book and Mecosta County vital records and the headstones. It is also possible that some children would not be mentioned at all such as Alberta who was killed.

This picture was discovered recently in the photographic collection of Rena Olin Andler. We were able to identify the women though not the boys. I have also displayed the back as I would be interested in what others think it says.

Looks like the grandmothers are Hannah (Deal) Olin Vanauken, Susan Olin Potter and Mary Cunningham Olin. Susan being the grandmother to all three babies of course. Myrtle married George Finch, Grace married John Pettit and Clara married Arthur Rausch.

Potter Family

Russell Potter b. 1797, of Rensellaer, New York, was married about 1830 to Ann Butts. Their children: William, George Washington, Sarah, Stephen, Eliza and Russell. Russell married again in 1847 in Carlton, Orleans, New York to Clarinda Emaline Grover. Their children were: Emaline L., John Grover, Kate, Jerald, Charles, Edwina, and Clarissa. He died in 1871 in Barry, Michigan.

This information and the information on Claude E. Potter was submitted by Virginia Potter.


1880 MI census shows this Potter family in Mecosta County: Orley age 55 born in New York, Flure age 60 b: New York, Herbert age 20 born New York and Syndila (F) age 17, born in New York.

There is a marriage on file at Mecosta County for Gertrude M. Potter, age 24 b: New York of Big Rapids m: John P. Webster of Detroit, Michigan on January 13, 1880.

A Potter married a Cynthia D. Pixley and she remarried a Millie.

In the 1880 census, John Potter’s brother Charles Potter age 21, born New York and sister Minnie Potter age 18, born in New York were living with John and Susan Potter. A probate record was found for John G. Potter which lists Grace E. Pettit as Administratrix. The probate for Susan B. Potter lists the following heirs: Grace E. Pettit, Claude E. Potter, Harry J. Potter, Grocer C. Potter, Myrtle M. Finch, Clara E. Rouse (Rausch), Irving R. Potter, Charles Martin, Hazel Martin, Roy Martin and Ralph Martin. The Martins each received 1/32 of estate which would indicate that they were grandchildren. There is a Clarence Pettit buried in the Austin Township Cemetery.

There is a Joseph Potter (1859-1931) and his wife, Clara E. Potter (1857-1936). Relationship to this Potter family unknown. I expect that Joseph was most likely a cousin to John Grover Potter.

Stephen A. Rausch has done extensive research and pieced together an awful lot of the Potter family. Please visit his website.


[1] 1880 Michigan census shows that this Florence was a female, a letter from Susan Potter to Mary C. Olin listed all the children and she said specifically that “her” Florence (not Mary’s) was born on Mach 28, 1873, not only was she the mother of this child but she references her family bible for exact dates. However, if you look at the Mecosta County Biography you will see another date entirely.

[2] There is a Della E. for this birth date, obviously an error. This child died at 1y, 7m, 20d and that makes her birth the same as Stella B. Stella’s headstone however, reads b: Aug. 30, 1870, d: May 10,1 871 at 1y, 6m, 6d. I believe the headstone to be in error. Six months from August is February! Also, Mecosta County Biographies show her as Stella “E.” and has a different birth day.

Additional Information (courtesy of Linda Hull)

Henry W. Olin – Awarded 80 acres for the sum of $1.00 under the Settlers Swamp Land Act. Certificate #1253 describes the land as: The North East quarter of the South West quarter and the North West Quarter of the South East quarter of section twenty two in Township Fourteen granted on the 16th day of June in 1870 and signed by governor Henry P. Baldwin.


Mecosta County, Big Rapids, Michigan records

Austin Township Cemetery, Stanwood, Michigan

Information on Giles and Lydia was found in the Mecosta County History, page 251. In this item their marriage date is given as February 2, 1856, obviously a typo.

Associated Families


Lydia Corey was born July 18, 1811 in Newport, Newport, Rhode Island. She died May 27, 1864 in Austin Township, Mecosta County, Michigan of small pox. Lydia Corey married Henry Olin in 1825 in Cattaragus, Allegheny County, New York. I originally thought that her father’s name was Caleb Corey and her mother’s name was Hannah Borden. They were married May 17, 1804 in Newport, Rhode Island. But I am starting to have doubts and I will be writing a blog soon about my research efforts (and frustration).

There is a Caleb H. Corey who served in the war of 1812 and was mustered in on April 17, 1812.

Family oral history says that Lydia was born in France, however, the Ashtabula Olin branch maintains that she was Canadian. It is possible that she was French Canadian, especially considering the proximity of New York to Canada. Her daughter was fond of sitting cross-legged on the floor smoking a pipe and that branch of the family believes that they have Native American blood. It may also be possible that she was Metis (French Indian Canadian). That would explain the “french” and the “native” aspects.

Willard E. Olin Letter

Letter from Willard E. Olin to his nephew, Merton Olin dated October 14, 1941

Dear Merten and Family:

I was out to your Dad’s place yesterday, and he said you wanted to know what I knew about the Olin’s, so if you will excuse poor writing and spelling, I will tell you what I know as I am about the oldest Olin living now and it may be of interest to you.

I will tell it to you as I remember and know of the family. I can remember my grandfather but not Grandma as she died before I was born of small pox. The family moved to Stanwood, Mecosta County, about the year 1860 or 61. I go by my father’s age as he was born in 1845 and I have heard him say he was 16 years old when they moved. There, Grandpa died at the age of 65. I remember him quite well as I must have been about 5 or 6 years old at the time of his death.

As for their family, there were 16 children, but all I ever knew were 7, 4 boys and 3 girls, as the rest had died before my time. So I will give you the history of those that I know. There was Uncle Will, Uncle John, Uncle Giles, Uncle Henry, and my father, Thomas Benjamin, girls there were Aunt Sall, Aunt Deal, and Aunt Susan. Uncle Will stayed at Elmira and raised his family there, had a family of 7 or 8 children which I never knew except one girl by the name of Byanca that got  married and came up in the settlement to live, as they called it. Grandpa’s name was Henry.

Uncle John was the next oldest as I remember, he served in the Civil War. He had a family of 4, 2 boys and 2 girls. Oldest was Lydia, second was Ida, third was Fred by first wife, and Mike by second wife. I do not know if any of them are living or not.

Next, Uncle Giles, with a family of 4, Will the oldest boy, Almeda, the oldest girl, and Eliza, the second girl and Cenelion who is still alive and you went to call on him. Then there was Uncle Henry, had a family of I think, 6 children, 4 of which I have a faint recollection that were taken with Diphtheria and all died within a week. Then there was Elmer, which grew up to be a man and is dead now of the first wife and Clara which is the only one alive of that family.

Next the girls: Aunt Deal married a man by the name of Dick Vanauken. They had 5 children 2 boys and 2 girls: Eugene, Stella, John, Delia, and Nancie. Then there was Aunt Sall, married a man by the name of Andrew Taylor, had 2 sons, John and Will which grew up to be a man, all are dead now. Then there was Aunt Susan, married a man by the name of John Potter, had a family of 7, 4 girls and 3 boys: Florence, Grace, Myrtle, Clara, Claud, Harry and Cleve.

Now this is about where we moved to Minnesota. I was 11 years and 6 months old when we came here having landed at Fridley station about 15 miles west of Minneapolis, Minnesota on Northern Railroad in November 1879. Stayed there about 3 weeks then moved to Dayton, Minnesota, and there I started going to school. On February 27, 1880, my sister Sadie was born. Then the next October we moved to Little Falls and it was there that winter, my mother took up a homestead, description: southeast ¼ of section 2, Parker Township, Morrison County, Minnesota. Lived there about ten years while there your uncle Henry was born in the year 1883, April 16, and April 16, 1885, your father was born. In 1892 we moved to Staples and 1896 we moved to Grand Rapids, so you can take it from there.

Your father spoke of an Olin you run against. I think that Olin must be a son or else a grandson of William Olin, the one that remained in Elmira. If you could get a line on his father and grandfather you might line him up. Better put this in a frame, it might make history. I doubt if there are anyone else that could give you this information.

Well, I have improved a lot since last winter, but I still have light heart attacks. Hope this finds you all well and you can read it, you know my schooling was very limited. Write some day when you have time.


Willard did pretty well recounting cousins considering how young he was when he left Michigan. But here is a little cleanup…

For reference, Merton Olin was the son of Frank Herbert Olin, the brother of Willard.

How many of Henry Olin’s grandchildren survived Willard?

  • Willard Olin was born in 1868 and died in 1946, at that time he had two siblings that survived him, Sadie died in 1966 and Frank who died in 1959.
  • Clara Olin, daughter of Henry, died in 1973. She was born in 1896.
  • Susan Potter’s children who outlived Willard were Grace died in 1957, Claud died in 1956, Harry died in 1952, Clarabell died in 1955, and Irvine died in 1952. These cousins were born considerably later than Willard though. In fact, they were born after Willard’s family had moved to Minnesota.
  • John Olin’s son, Alfred lived until 1959
  • William Olin’s daughter, Mary Etta died in 1950.

Willard’s father, Thomas, was actually born in 1844.

It is doubtful there were 16 children born to Henry and Lydia. But Henry and Lydia were married in 1825 and their first recorded child was William who was born in 1828. Maybe a child or two was born before him but otherwise, the birth years are pretty tight for additional children. Susan was the last recorded child in 1854. At this point their older children were already having children of their own. But it has been said that there were possibly 40 children buried in the Olin cemetery due to the small pox and diphtheria pandemics. Perhaps some of those children were Henry and Lydia’s. Having lost a couple of their own children, Thomas and Mary Olin certainly had the motivation to move their family out of there.

Willard was about 9 years old when his grandfather died in 1877.

There were actually 8 children born to Henry and Lydia that survived to adulthood-William, Sally, Hannah (Deal), Giles, John, Henry, Thomas, and Susan. Willard erroneously said 7, but listed 8. Another daughter, Phoebe, died young.

Willard’s grandfather Henry died at age 74.

In the order of birth, the children of Henry and Lydia:

  • Uncle Will had ten children but it appears that only five survived to adulthood. Adelia Biancia did move to the “settlement” and she married a Hollenbeck.
  • Aunt Sall (Sally) had John and William—but it appears there was an older son named Charles. Though all three of them made it to adulthood, none of them lived very long.
  • Aunt Deal (Hannah Adelia) had 8 children and only four made it to adulthood. Delia was Adelia.
  • Uncle Giles had 5 children and only 4 made it to adulthood. Cenilion was actually Scevillian. Scevillian died in 1945.
  • Uncle John was married twice as stated but he and his first wife had 10 children by first wife and two by second. Alfred was actually the second wife’s child. Only 6 of the children survived childhood.
  • Uncle Henry had 9 children by his first wife and 4 by his second wife. Of the first wife’s children only, only Elmer made it out of childhood. Clara was the only one that survived from the second marriage.
  • Thomas had 7 children and 2 died before they left Michigan. Their second youngest son, Henry, died in a logging accident at just 20 years of age in Minnesota.
  • Aunt Susan had 9 children and 8 survived to adulthood. Cleve was Grover Cleveland.

Suffice it to say, the “settlement” was a harsh place to live!


Letter written by Willard E. Olin October 14, 1941. See above.

The marriage date of 1825 as well as the birth year and spelling for Lydia Corey can be found on Stella Vanauken’s DAR registration, Vol. 100, page 154.

“Rhode Island, Births and Christenings, 1600-1914,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F87V-RHT : accessed 12 Nov 2014), Lydia Tillinghast Corey, 18 Jul 1811; citing NEWPORT,NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 908270.

“Rhode Island, Marriages, 1724-1916,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F8KG-F8Q : accessed 12 Nov 2014), Caleb Corey and Hannah Borden, 17 May 1804; citing Newport,Newport,Rhode Island, reference ; FHL microfilm 908270.

“United States Registers of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914”, index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/QJD5-JSL4 : accessed 12 Nov 2014), Caleb H Corey, 1812.

There are two other Lydia Coreys born in 1811. I am including them here to help defray the confusion they might cause for researchers:

There is a Lydia Corey born in Pennsylvania. And another in the same area as the Olins during the same timeframe. But this is not our Lydia:

Source: Vermont, Births and Christenings, 1765-1908; Vermont Vital Records, 1760-1954

Lydia Corey, born June 14, 1797 in Shaftsbury, Bennington, Vermont to David Corey and Damasas Aylsworth. This Lydia was married in 1834 to Roswell Curtis.

Last Updated on January 15, 2022 by rootie

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