Thomas Olney

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Thomas Olney (ca. 1600-1682) was an early minister at the First Baptist Church in America and a co-founder of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

Immigration to New England[edit]

Olney was born in England before 1605 and was trained as a shoemaker. Olney married Marie Ashton at St. Albans Abbey in Hertfordshire, England on September 16, 1629.

Thomas Olney, Marie and their sons, Thomas and Epenetus, immigrated to Salem, Massachusetts on the ship Planter in April, 1635. The family was requested to leave Massachusetts Bay Colony, and they moved to Providence, Rhode Island in 1638 following Roger Williams.

Thomas Olney signed the first Providence compact and received a land in Providence. He was one of the 12 persons to whom Roger Williams deeded land purchased from Canonicus and Miantonomi on October 8, 1638. He was also one of 39 who signed an agreement for a government in Providence in 1640. Thomas Olney served the town in various capacities including as the first Treasurer, Court Assistant, Town Councilman, Clerk, Assistant to the General Court of Tryalls, Commissioner, Justice of the Peace, tax collector, and on a sub-committee to prevent sale of ammunition to the Indians. He was named as one of the ten Assistants to the Governor in the Royal Charter of 1663, a document that would serve as the basis for Rhode Island's government for nearly two centuries.

First Baptist Church[edit]

Thomas was one of the original members of the First Baptist Church in Providence, but in 1653/4 he and several others withdrew from the Six-Principle Baptists under William Wickenden's leadership to found a second church. Olney became lay pastor for this small congregation until his death in 1682.

He died in Providence, Rhode Island between June 16, 1682 and October 9, 1682. [1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ James H. Olney, A genealogy of the descendants of Thomas Olney: an original proprietor of Providence, R.I., who came from England in 1635 (Press of E.L. Freeman & Son, 1889) [1]

External links[edit]