Biography of Lewis D. Oliver

Lewis D. Oliver. Bankers and financiers have been happily compared to pendulums of commerce and progress, and it is very true that they furnish the stability and the steadiness chiefly required for the business world. Every financial institution acquires estimation and influence in its community largely through the character and reputation of the men whose names are most intimately associated with the undertaking.

One of Champaign County’s most prosperous banks is the First State Bank of Fisher and the success and prosperity of that institution are in no small degree a reflection of the personal integrity and business standing of its vice president, Lewis D. Oliver. Mr. Oliver has been identified with Champaign County many years, and his activities have been of such character as to merit the confidence reposed in him by a large community.

He was born in McLean County, Illinois, January 20, 1857. He is the fifth in a family of seven children, five sons and two daughters, born to Jackson and Clarissa (Courtright) Oliver. Four of these children are still living. Henry is a retired agriculturist living at Hennessey, Oklahoma, is a Democrat in politics and is married. Leroy P. is a resident of Morristown, Indiana. John W. is an agriculturist, live stock breeder and dealer living at Ottawa, Kansas.

Jackson Oliver was born in Ohio in 1817, grew up in that state, was educated in the common schools, and took up and successfully pursued for many years the vocation of agriculturist. He died in 1900. Politically he was a Democrat. It was in 1854 that he removed to McLean County, Illinois, and bought land which was the basis of his farming activities for many years. His religious home was the First Presbyterian Church. His wife was born in Ross County, Ohio, grew up in that state, and also was a Presbyterian. Her death occurred in 1896 and both she and her husband are buried at Leroy in McLean County, where a beautiful monument stands sacred to their memory.

Lewis D. Oliver had a common school education. He began his active career in the environment where his youth was passed, and acquired a very thorough knowledge of farming and stock raising in McLean County. In 1891 Mr. Oliver removed to Fisher in Champaign County, and from this locality he continued his interests and activities in the live stock industry for fifteen years. Mr. Oliver has sent many carloads of fat stock out of eastern Illinois and did much of his shipping direct to Boston, Massachusetts, through various Chicago commission houses, including Clark, Bowles & Company, the National Company and Rice Brothers. In live stock circles Mr. Oliver came to be rated as one of the most successful in Champaign County.

He has been active in banking at Fisher since 1906, when he became cashier of the Farmers Exchange Bank. The president of that institution was George W. Busey. Mr. Oliver continued as cashier until the incorporation of the First State Bank on April 23, 1913, when he assumed the post of vice president. He now gives much of his time to the management of the bank’s affairs. His business interests also include extensive land holdings in Shelby and Vermilion counties, where he owns a total of 680 acres. His home at Fisher is one of modern style and architecture and possesses every convenience. Mr. Oliver is also interested in the Farmers Grain Company’s elevator at Fisher.

In September, 1883, he married Miss Mary Phillips. Two children, both sons, have been born to their union. Walter was educated in the Fisher public schools and is now cashier of the First State Bank. While cashier he also took a business course at Brown’s Business College at Bloomington, Illinois, and has thoroughly fitted himself for his duties as a banker. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Fisher. Edgar P., the other son, still at home, was educated in the common schools, and is assistant cashier of the First State Bank of Fisher. He is also a member of the Methodist Church.

Mrs. Oliver was born in McLean County, Illinois, in 1863, a daughter of D. F. and Margaret Phillips. She was educated in the common schools. She takes a very active part in the Methodist Episcopal Church, is a member of the Ladies’ Aid Society and the Foreign Missionary Society.

Politically Mr. Oliver is a man of his own mind and listens to the dictates of his own judgment when it comes to casting his ballot. He is affiliated with Castle Hall Lodge No. 305 of the Knights of Pythias at Fisher, and is the present chancellor commander. Mr. Oliver is a trustee of the Methodist Episcopal Church and was a member of the building committee when the beautiful church edifice was erected in 1912, at a cost of $10,000. This is one of the modern churches of Champaign County and would be a credit to any locality.



Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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