Stephen Olin

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Stephen Olin
Stephen Olin.jpg
President of Wesleyan University
In office
Preceded by Willbur Fisk
Succeeded by Nathan Bangs
3rd President of Wesleyan University
In office
Preceded by Nathan Bangs
Succeeded by Augustus W. Smith
1st President of Randolph Macon College
In office
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by Dr. Landon C. Garland
Personal details
Born (1797-03-02)March 2, 1797
Leicester, Vermont
Died August 15, 1851(1851-08-15) (aged 54)
Middletown, Connecticut
Spouse(s) Julia Matilda Lynch
Parents Henry Olin
Lois Richardson
Alma mater Middlebury College

Stephen Olin (March 2, 1797 – August 15, 1851) was an American educator and minister.[1]

Early life[edit]

Oline was born in Leicester, Vermont on March 2, 1797. He was one of ten children born to Henry Olin (1768–1837), a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Vermont,[2] and Lois Richardson (d. 1814). His father was the nephew of Gideon Olin (1743–1823) and the cousin of Abram B. Olin (1808–1879), both of whom also served as members of the House of Representatives from Vermont.[3]

In 1820, Olin graduated Middlebury College in 1820.[4]


After having a religious awakening at the age of 25, he gave up the practice of law and became ordained into the Methodist Episcopal Church.[5] He taught at the Tabernacle Academy in South Carolina and served a pastorate in Charleston. He became professor of belle-lettres at the University of Georgia in 1827. He was the first President of Randolph Macon College (1834–1836) but resigned for health reasons and was succeeded by Dr. Landon C. Garland.[6] He later served as president of Wesleyan University (1839–1851).[5]

In 1844, at the general conference of the Methodists, Olin called on his friend, Bishop James Andrew, to resign his office, on the grounds the latter owned slaves. Olin himself was criticized because his first wife (Mary E. Bostwick, whom he married in 1827) had owned slaves.[4]

Personal life[edit]

He was married to Julia Matilda Lynch (1814–1879), the daughter of James Lynch. Together, they were the parents of:[4]

  • Stephen Henry Olin (1847–1925), who married Alice Wadsworth Barlow (1853–1882), daughter of Samuel Latham Mitchill Barlow (1826–1889) and Alice Cornell Townsend (1833–1889).

Olin died on August 15, 1851 in Middletown, Connecticut.[4]


The Bronx, New York neighborhood of Olinville, began as two towns named for him (founded in 1852).[4]


  • Travels in Egypt, Arabia Petræa, and the Holy Land (1844) Harper, New York.
  • Early piety, the basis of elevated character: a discourse to the graduating class of Wesleyan University 1851 Lane & Scott.<
  • The Works of Stephen Olin (1852) and Greece and the Golden Horn (1854) were edited by his second wife, Julia Matilda Olin, and published posthumously.
  • College Life: Its Theory and Practice (1867) Harper, New York.


  1. ^ "Stephen Olin and Julia Olin letters". Manuscripts and Archives Division | New York Public Library. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  2. ^ "OLIN, Henry - Biographical Information". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  3. ^ Brown, John Howard (2006). The Cyclopedia of American Biography V6: Comprising the Men and Women of the United States Who Have Been Identified with the Growth of the Nation. Kessinger Publishing. p. 61.
  4. ^ a b c d e Olin, Stephen (1852). The Works of Stephen Olin. Harper & Brothers. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Stephen Olin, Office of the President". Wesleyan University. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  6. ^ "College Presidents :: Randolph-Macon College". Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  • Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography James Grant Wilson & John Fisk, eds. (1888) New York, Appleton.
  • The History of Methodism in Georgia and Florida: From 1785 to 1865 George Gilman Smith (1877) J. W. Burke & Co.