Olney ( /ɔːlni/ awl-nee) is a city in Richland County, Illinois, United States. The population was 8,631 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Richland County.
Settlement of the Richland County area began around 1815 when Thaddeus Morehouse, a native of Vermont, arrived by wagon and built a log cabin along a stagecoach route that ran from Vincennes, Indiana to St. Louis. This log cabin operated as a hotel and tavern.
Richland County was organized as a county in 1841, when it was formed by a partitioning of Edwards County. There was some controversy regarding the location of the county seat, however, Olney was determined as the choice based on a donation of land and the central location. The name of the town Olney was suggested by Judge Aaron Shaw who desired to honor a friend, Nathan Olney. It was not until 1848 that Olney was incorporated as a village.