Lunsford's full name was Alfred Lunsford Oliver, but he was most commonly known as Lunsford.
Colonel "Lunsford" Oliver & his wife, Millie, must have possessed a spirit of adventure as they left their native state of TN to travel to AR in the 1820's with their large family. Then, in 1829, they left AR and moved to the unsettled wilderness of MO. Here Lunsford found a claim along the Shoal Creek where they were the first white inhabitants of present day Newton County. They were alone, and there were no neighbors within 60 miles. It was here that Oliver lived until his death in 1836.
Oliver's Prairie was named in his honor. The first town, Prairie City, was later changed to Newtonia. The Oliver farm was located three and one-half miles northeast of Newtonia.
The parents of Alfred "Lunsford" were:
Douglas Oliver (1753 - 1843)
Mildred "Milly Carnelle (1753-1793)
His siblings were:
Charles Yarbrough Oliver (1783-1854)
Durrett Oliver (1787-1847)
His father second marriage was to Catherine Durrett (1768-1843). Their children were:
Amelia Milly Oliver (1794-1854)
Henry Oliver (1796-1870)
John Oliver (1798-1869)
Richard Oliver (1800-1861)
Mary Ann 'Polly' Oliver (1802-1860)
Douglas Oliver Jr (1804-1854)
Nancy Oliver (1807-1840)
William Oliver (1809-1833)
James M Oliver (1812-1813)
Frances Oliver (1814-)
Lunsford married Millie Boyd in Anderson Co, TN on October 8, 1803. Their children, all born in Anderson Co, TN, were:
Alfred, born - February 23, 1805
Dixon - August 02, 1806
Mary "Polly" Elizabeth - October 6, 1808
Harrison - July 9, 1811
Wayne - March 02, 1813
Cynthia - December 17, 1814
Agnes - June 01, 1816
Narcissa - October 17, 1821
Tilitha - October 18, 1824
Lunesford was a Captain in Col. John Brown's Regiment of East TN Volunteers in the War of 1812 from September 1813 - January 1814. The men who served under Brown's command were mostly from Roane, Anderson, Knox, & Sullivan Counties.
The date Lunesford moved with his family to AR is unknown. However, he was in Crawford Co, AR on October 22, 1827 where was appointed as one of the commissioners:
Acts Passed by the General Assembly of the Territory of Arkansas
"An Act to locate the Seat of Justice in the Crawford County
Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Territory of Arkansas, That Joshua Fisher, Lunsford Oliver, Walter Cotterane, Robert Burton, and Jeremiah Cravens, be, and they are hereby, appointed commissioners to fix and locate the seat of justice for Crawford County. . . . etc."
Alfred Lunsford Oliver and his son, Alfred, are on the 1828 tax rolls of Crawford Co, AR.
Article, in part, by John H. Miller published in The Newton County Times in Newtonia on January 15, 1891, describes Oliver Prairie in 1835, six years after Alfred & Millie Oliver had settled there.
As It Was Fifty-five Years Ago
"Now the first time I ever laid eyes on Oliver Prairie was in the fall of 1835, now over fifty-five years ago. There was no Newtonia nor Neosho then, the county was almost a vast wilderness.
There was then a little log cabin owned and occupied by Thomas Isbell on the spot where David Kilgore now resides east of Newtonia. I was then nineteen years old, and a company of us were moving a lot of Shawnee Indians out of the county. The next human habitation we struck as we proceeded toward the setting sun was a small cabin one mile above where Neosho is, which was occupied by Joshua Brock.
This was indeed a beautiful country in those days. All nature was then clothed in its beauteous habiliments. No tools had been used to improve the country. Several tribes of Indians inhabited portions of this region and long afterwards some of them returned and said the country was ruined; 'White man done spoil ‘em, too many axes, too many plows, don't look good.'
Speaking of Newtonia or Olivers Prairie, it was named for Col. Lunsford Oliver, who in 1829, settled and lived on Shoal creek three and one-half miles northeast of Newtonia, where Mr. Stader now resides; Mrs. Osborn, his daughter now of Peirce City, is all that I can now remember of his family yet living. Mrs. Witherspoon deceased was one of them, so was Burkett Hearrill's wife."
(Mrs. Osborn was Lunsford & Millie's daughter, Agnes, who married John Pinkney Osborn; Mrs. Witherspoon was their daughter, Mary "Polly" whose first marriage was to Col. James Wilson and after his death married William Winfrey Witherspoon; Their daughter, Tilitha, married Burkett Hearill.)
The date of Lunsford's death, as reported from various sources, has varied from 1834 to 1840. No one can say for certain where he was buried, however, it was probably on his farm.
His wife, Millie, died on Jun. 12, 1837.
Lunsford's father, Douglas:
Douglas Oliver, Sr., moved from the state of Virginia to present-day Anderson County in 1797 where he bought 380 acres of land from Stockley Donelson located on the East Fork of Poplar Creek being part of a 1500 acre survey. It adjoined the lines of Boyd, Robinson, and McKamey. He continued to acquire nearby land until at the time of his death he owned five tracts with a total of 1268 acres.
In addition to being a farmer and trader, he operated a large distillery. One item of record in the settlement of his estate in 1844, showed James England to be indebted to the estate for 50 gallons of whiskey purchased March 14, 1842.
In 1817 the Anderson Co., TN elections were held at the home of Douglas Oliver.