The Olden Brothers
Major William P. Olden
William Pomeroy Olden was born in Montpelier, Vermont, January 5, 1831. He began his
education at McKendree in 1852 and graduated in 1861 finishing both law and the classical
courses. He received the degrees of A.B. (Bachelor of Arts) and L.L.B. (Bachelor of
Laws) at the same time upon his graduation. He was a member of the first law class
to graduate from McKendree. He was a member of the Platonian Literary Society. Plato
was founded in 1849 by members Henry C. Fike, Alexander Van Winkle, and Alonzo Thompson.
Many members of Plato planned to pursue ministry and members frequently engaged in
competitive debate and games against the campus’ other male literary society, Philo.
After Olden’s graduation, he taught school one year at Moro, Illinois, and in the
summer of 1862, he became captain of Company D of the 117th Illinois Volunteer.
First Lieutenant Benjamin F. Olden
Benjamin Franklin Olden, a younger brother of William P. was lieutenant of the same
company. Captain Olden later earned the title of major. After the war, he began the
practice of law in Springfield, Illinois, where he spent the remainder of his life.
In addition to law, Benjamin F. Olden was an inventor and secured many patents. He
was married January 5, 1872 to Mary Q. Staley. Their children are William Q. born
in 1873, Mary E. born in 1875, and Ulysses S., born in 1879. Benjamin F. Olden died
on March 3, 1904.
Guandolo, Joseph, ed. Centennial McKendree College with St. Clair County History. 1928.