DR. OLIVER was born on 7th March, 1827, at Jedhead, in the parish of Southdean, Roxburghshire, the region in which Thomson, the author of "The Seasons" got his early associations and inspiration. His boyhood, however, was passed in the valley of the Bowmont, where he received his elementary education, first at Mowhaugh and afterwards at Yetholm. He proceeded to Edinburgh University in 1843. There Sir William Hamilton and "Christopher North" were among his professors, and during his five years' study he took seven prizes in Greek, mathematics, moral philosophy, and rhetoric. He afterwards attended the class of senior mathematics in Glasgow University, and took the degree of B.A. there in 1853. Meanwhile, in 1849, he had entered the Divinity Hall of the U.P. Church, and during his studies there took a prize of £25 for the best essay on the Sabbath, a composition which was published at the time. Shortly after receiving licence from Glasgow Presbytery he settled, in 1854, in the East U.P. Church, Galashiels, as colleague and successor to Dr. James Henderson, remembered by the estimate of him made in Dr. John Brown's Horae Subseciva. In 1858 Dr. Henderson died, and his young colleague had sole charge till he removed to Regent Place Church, Glasgow, in 1865. This church, noted for its succession of able ministers, then stood in Blackfriars Street, near the old college, but it was bought up by the North British Railway Company, and the congregation removed to its new site, at Craigpark, Dennistoun, in 1877. Here the church has 600 members, and Dr. Oliver celebrated the jubilee of his ministry in November, 1904.
    Among movements not strictly connected with his congregation, Dr. Oliver has taken a strong practical interest in the temperance cause, and in the objects of the Liberation Society, which seeks the separation of Church and State. He has also appealed to a wide audience as an author. In his younger days he wrote for Hogg's Instructor, the U.P. Magazine, and other periodicals, and was for many years a contributor to the N.B. Daily Mail. Early in his Glasgow ministry he published a discourse on "The Universal and Perpetual Obligation of the Sabbath," which showed a full knowledge of the literature of the subject. He has written on "The Scottish Teinds" and on "National Religion," and perhaps his most valuable work is "In Defence of the Faith," a series of his Sunday evening lectures. In 1888, and again in 1891, he was appointed lecturer in the U.P. Divinity Hall on Practical Training, and the volume of lectures which he published on the subject, "What and How to Preach," was characterised by one reviewer as "one of the best books on preaching."
    In recognition of his distinguished labours he received the degree of D.D. from Edinburgh University in 1888. Four years later he was appointed a delegate to the Pan-Presbyterian Council at Toronto, where he read a paper on "The Minister as a Teacher." In 1894 he was elected Moderator of the U.P. Synod.

Back to Index of Glasgow Men (1909)