OLNEY, TEXAS, now at the intersection of State Highways 114 and 79 in North Central Young County, was settled in 1879 and 1880 by Boone McCarty, L. Pankonon, and the Neely brothers. Pitts Neal formed a partnership with the Neelys to establish a site for annual roundups held by local ranchers. In 1889 John W. Groves donated two acres for a townsite, and J. M. Brisco built the first general store. A post office was established when pioneer G. W. Hutchings agreed to carry the mail there from the Farmer post office.
Olney’s namesake is a topic of debate. Its origin is rumored to have originated from a news article noticed by Hutchings and the Farmer postmaster concerning Senator Roger Q. Mills' activities at Olney, Illinois, or from Richard Olney, secretary of state for President Cleveland.
The first school opened in 1891. The town was incorporated in 1909 when construction of rail service started with the Wichita Falls and Southern Railway. The community of Olney was moved approximately one mile to the north in order to gain rail-side access to the line. In 1910 the Gulf, Texas and Western Railroad began providing service through Olney’s new and current site.
Oil was discovered in 1923. With the production of the Swastika Pool in 1924 Olney became a leading oil town; it was home to three refineries and a population of 5,000 by 1930. In 1951 a tornado struck, killing two, injuring seventy-five, and causing $2 million in property damage.
To this day Olney remains active in the oil business as well as agriculture. Olney is also home to several industries such as aluminum products and agricultural airplanes. A hospital, clinics, home healthcare, and two nursing homes cater to the physical well-being of the community, and many local churches nourish the spiritual health of the citizens. According to the 2010 Census Olney has a population of 3285.