Oliver, James, Capt., 1617 - 1682

James Oliver was the son of Thomas and Ann Oliver of Bristol, Somersetshire, England, who with his family immigrated to Boston in 1632.  A merchant by trade, Oliver became a member of the Boston Artillery Company, rising to the ranks of ensign (1651), lieutenant (1653), and captain (1656, 1666).  He also was captain of Boston’s militia (1673), one of Boston’s selectmen, and agent for Massachusetts Colony to mediate with Philip in 1675.  Later in that year, he commanded a company in the Narragansett campaign and fought in the Great Swamp Fight.  Oliver was known for his distrust of those who were sympathetic to Christian Indians, such as Daniel Gookin and John Eliot.  In 1680, he petitioned the Massachusetts Court for a grant of Weikeset, an island near Dunstable where the sachem Wanalansit had lately dwelt.  Bodge, Soldiers in King Philip’s War, 126-127.  Wilson Waters, History of Chelmsford, Massachusetts (Lowell, MA: The Courier-Citizen, 1917), 83.


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