Thomas Oliver of Friar's Hill, Antigua

5th Jan 1734 - 29th Nov 1815


Father of (among others) Lucy Tobin (q.v.), Mary Partridge, Penelope Cave, Anne Anderdon, and Harriet Haynes, father-in-law of Capt. Henry Haynes (q.v.). Born into an Antiguan slave-owning family, Lieutenant-governor in Massachusetts in the mid-1770s, proscribed in 1778 and his American property confiscated. He has an entry in the ODNB as 'colonial official.'

  1. Born 05/01/1774 in Antigua, son of Robert Oliver (c. 1700-1762) and his wife Anne nee Brown. Graduated Harvard University 1753. "He was heir to his grandfather James Brown and to his great-uncle Robert Oliver... Lt. Col. Oliver was a quiet reserved man, but little known in public life, though ever distinguished by his amiable and gentlemanly graces..." "[Thomas Oliver] afterwards lieutenant-governor [of Massachusetts], had a fortune, much exceeding that of his father, left him by a grandfather and great-uncle, so that Oliver pere did not feel called upon to make any provision for Oliver fils in his will, beyond the usual mourning-suit and ring. The younger Oliver removed to Cambridge before the Revolution, where he lived in great state in the elegant seat now known as Elmwood — the late residence of the lamented James Russell Lowell... Thomas Oliver, a dapper little man, pleasant of speech and courtly of manner..."

  2. Will of Thomas Oliver of Bristol [made in 1812] proved 04/01/1816. Under the will he left his house on Park Street Bristol to four of his daughters Frances Oliver, Lucy Tobin widow of Henry Hope Tobin, Harriet Watkins Oliver and Emily Freeman Oliver for as long as they remained unmarried, together with £2500 to each of his three unmarried daughters to make them equivalent to the settlement of £2500 each on their sisters on their marriages. The will includes reference to John Cave & Charles Antony Partridge (both q.v.), both Oliver's sons in law.


Gordon Goodwin, ‘Oliver, Thomas (1731/2–1815)’, rev. Philip Carter, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 17 March 2015]

  1. Vere Langford Oliver, (1894) vol. 2 pp. 346-351.

  2. PROB 11/1576/61.

We are grateful to Ruth Hecht for her assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

(1) Elizabeth Vassall (2) Harriet Freeman
With (1) Anne, Eliza, Penelope, Mary, Lucy, Frances. With (2) Harriet Watkins, Emily Freeman

PROB 11/1576/61 - precis.

Thomas Oliver of the city of Bristol Esquire.

My dwelling house and premises in Park Street, Bristol, with all my household furniture etc to my daughters Frances Oliver, Lucy Tobin (widow of Henry Hope Tobin Esquire), Harriet Watkins Oliver and Emily Freeman Oliver for their residence so long as they shall respectively remain unmarried. In case they marry in the lifetime of Lucy Tobin then the same to her absolute use and benefit.

To my daughter Harriett Watkins all money advanced and paid by me in discharge of any judgements and other debts due from Byam Freeman late of Antigua secured or from his estate in Antigue and all securities taken by me for the same debts and moneys with the interest thereof.

All rest and residue of my real and personal estate to my sons in law Joseph Rogers, John Cave and Charles Anthony Partridge Esquires upon trust to see as much as is of a saleable nature and to pay the following legacies.

To my grandson Thomas Oliver Anderson [sic - Anderdon] Esquire, £750.

To my grand-daughter Lucy Claxton (wife of Butler Claxton of Bristol Esquire), £750.

£500 each to my grandsons James Hughes Anderson [sic - Anderdon], John Lavicount Anderson [sic] and Freeman Anderson [sic] Esquires, children of my late daughter Ann Anderdon deceased by her husband John Proctor Anderdon Esquire.

These legacies to my grandchildren at age 21 or marriage.

To each of my daughters Mary Partridge (wife of Charles Anthony Partridge), Frances Oliver, Harriet Watkins Oliver and Emily Freeman Oliver, £2500, being the sum which I gave to each of my other daughters on their respective marriages. The sum to my daughter Mary Partridge to be on condition that my bond made to Samuel Peach Peach and John Gordon Esquires on her marriage for serving the money therein mentioned to be delivered up cancelled to my executors within six months after my decease.

To pay Mrs Abigail Taylor of Bristol, widow, £100; to my housekeeper Mrs Mary Kennedy, £50; to my servant Nurse Dunscombe £20.

The residue of the net proceeds of my residuary estate to be divided equally between my daughters Elizabeth Rogers, Penelope Cave, Mary Partridge, Frances Oliver and Lucy Tobin, my other daughters being otherwise provided for, share and share alike.

Lucy Tobin, Joseph Rogers, John Cave and Charles Anthony Partridge to be executors.

Signed 08/09/1812.

Proved at London 04/01/1816 by the oath of Lucy Tobin.

Oxford DNB Entry

Associated Estates (1)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
- 1815 [EY] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Physical (1)

Town house
Elmwood House [Built] 
description →
Elmwood House, Cambridge Mass., the house of successive Presidents of Harvard since 1971, was built by Thomas Oliver in...

Relationships (11)

Son-in-law → Father-in-law
Father → Daughter
Father-in-law → Son-in-law
Father → Daughter
Father → Daughter
Father → Daughter
Father-in-law → Son-in-law
Father-in-law → Son-in-law
First Cousins
Father → Daughter
Father → Daughter

Addresses (3)

Dorchester, Massachusetts, USA - United States of America
Elmwood House, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA - United States of America
Park Street, Bristol, Gloucestershire, South-west England, England