West Olive: What’s in a name?

According to Shakespeare, “that which we call a rose, by any other word would smell as sweet.” However, names are important in history! In this series of posts, I’m going to focus on some names in local history.

When I started to study West Olive (in Ottawa County, Michigan), I ran into this sentence on the Internet:

” This village was platted by R.M. Paget in 1870.”

Headshot of Robert Padgett

Actually, Robert Miller Padgett platted the Village of West Olive. He was born in New Jersey in 1844. The 1850 Census lists him in Pennsylvania. By 1860 he lived in the town of Flagg, Ogle County, Illinois.

Robert enlisted in Battery G 2nd Illinois Light Artillery on September 16, 1861.

At the time of his enlistment he was living in Lane, Illinois and was working as a farmer. Padgett served with Battery G through the entire war. He was discharged as a sergeant when the battery was disbanded on September 9, 1865. Following the Civil War, Padgett moved to Chicago and joined the George H. Thomas Post #5 Grand Army of the Republic.

After the war, he married Lydia Crandall. However, she died in 1868. By 1870, he was buying property in Olive Township. He purchased much of the property that would become the Village of West Olive from James O. Austin. He recorded the Plat by June of 1870.

Padgett married Mary Cornelia Moulton on December 19, 1870. He spent the rest of his life in the Chicago area and died in 1922. So … there you have it. R.M. Padget was actually Robert Padgett. Civil War veteran and founder of West Olive.