Cyrus Olney Biography



       Cyrus Olney died at Astoria, Oregon, Wednesday, December 21, 1870. There are few persons in Oregon, especially of the old settlers, who did not know Judge Olney, and all who knew him will receive the announcement of his death with sincere regret. His death, however, was not unexpected, since he had been in feeble health for some years. During the last two years he had failed rapidly, and, for some months before his death, an attack of paralysis had almost completely prostrated him.

        Judge Olney was a native of Ohio. He grew to manhood in that state, received his education there, studied law at Cincinnati and was admitted to the bar. He began the practice of his profession in Ohio, and his name appears as an advocate in cases in the Ohio Reports. From that state he moved to Iowa. He was four years a circuit judge in Iowa. In 1851 he came to Oregon. He lived first at Salem and then at Portland where he acquired some property. In 1853 he was appointed a justice of the supreme court in Oregon, his colleagues on the bench being M. P. Deady and George H. Williams. He held this office until 1857, when he resigned, and Judge Boise took his place. Sometime before this, he had moved to Clatsop County. He was a member of the convention that framed the constitution of the state, and did valuable service in that body. After resigning his position on the bench, in 1857, he went to the Hawaiian Islands, with an intention of remaining there; but, after a brief residence, returned, since which time he resided at Astoria. He was a member of the legislature in 1866, and was again elected to that body last June. Though in feeble health, he was present during the whole of the session last fall and participated actively in the deliberations.

        His efforts for several years have been devoted, in large part, to the interests of Astoria. He has accomplished much for that community, and there his loss will be deeply felt. He was twice married and had seven children, but none of his family survives him.

        Judge Olney was a ready man, of active mind, quick perception, full of suggestion and fertile in expedients. He had a faculty of talking in such a way as to draw out of a subject everything that was in it, and of enabling those who followed him to look at it from every point of view. He has been a useful man to Oregon, and death, in taking him away, deprives the state of one who has been prominent for twenty years.

        The town of Olney, Clatsop County, bears his name.

Arthur F. Benson's Original Biography Document