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 Ancestor of the Month

October 2006

 

John (of Delaware) Ogle

b. 30 Sep 1649         d. 1683/84

 

If we were going to make a movie of our ancestor John Ogle’s life, we would probably choose an actor like Erroll Flynn to play the lead.  (I tried to think of a more modern actor—at least one who is alive and known to our younger family members, but I just couldn’t top Erroll Flynn, the swashbuckling, handsome, daring, adventurous heartthrob of yesteryear’s silver screen.  Maybe Antonio Banderas would come close, but the accent needs to be British.)

 

The Ogles of Northumberland

 

John Ogle was born 30 Sep 1649 in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, England.  He was the son of John (of Eglingham) Ogle and Elizabeth Pringle.  John of Eglingham came from a long line of Ogles who traced their lineage back to Edward I, William the Conqueror, and Charlemagne. 

 

Though the Ogle family had been on the losing side during the battle of Hastings when William the Conqueror had taken over the throne of England, they had somehow maintained their holdings, perhaps by pledging loyalty to the new king.  Very few families in Northumberland, the Ogles’ homeland since early times, had managed to keep their properties after the Normans took over the throne.  Humphrey de Ogle, however, was given a special document from King William which returned all the Ogle lands and holdings as they had been before the war.  This included Ogle castle and the town of Ogle, both of which are still in existence in Northumberland.

 

The Civil War, the Commonwealth, and the Restoration

 

In that respect, the Ogles were lucky.  Their luck was not always good, however.  Dissatisfaction with the monarchy led to a period of Civil War that broke out in 1642.  On 30 Jan 1649 the war ended with the beheading of King Charles I.  Eight months later, on September 30, our John Ogle was born.

 

Since the Civil War had been basically “court versus country” (aristocracy versus landed gentry) at first John’s family fared well.  John, Sr. received a commission in the army in 1650, one year after his son was born.  He became captain of the militia for the four northern counties in England, and the next year under the Commonwealth he was a commissioner and also commanded a mounted troop in Scotland.

 

In1661 King Charles II and the monarchy were restored to power.  Our John was only twelve years old, and his future did not look promising.  Whereas the Commonwealth had been good for the Ogles, the period of Restoration would probably not have been, and even at John’s young age, he was probably smart enough to be looking for a way to improve his lot.

 

Charles’ Blunders

 

Though Charles II was well loved by his people, he did a number of things that were unwise, and his reign was fraught with problems   The most compelling at this time were disagreements with the Dutch over lands in America which could easily lead to war.  (Although unknown to John and not influencing his decisions, things would worsen.  Later the winter and summer of 1665 would see the Black Plague ravage England again.  Sixteen-sixty-six would bring the great fire that lasted five days and destroyed London.)  Over some of his problems Charles II had no control; for others he must take complete blame.

 

For example, in 1664, the Dutch were infuriated when Charles cavalierly gave all the Dutch holdings in America  to his brother James, the Duke of York, claiming that they were England’s by right of discovery.   On 25 May, 1664, the Duke of York, later to become  King James II, sent Colonel Robert Nicholls with an expedition of four ships, three hundred soldiers, and four hundred fifty men to America to secure these lands.  At this time, our John was only fourteen years old; he wouldn’t be fifteen until September.  Nevertheless, he quickly saw a way out of his family’s possibly bleak future, joined Nicholls’ group, and sailed to the Colonies.

 

Off to the America Colonies

 

When the expedition reached New Amsterdam, the Dutch, after minor negotiations, surrendered without firing a shot.  Immediately the name New Amsterdam was changed to New York.  John Ogle’s first encounter with war was an easy one.

 

Delaware, like New York, was of prime interest to European powers.

It had been an area of controversy among the Dutch, Swedes, and Finns for some time.  Shortly before the English arrival, the Dutch had captured Delaware from the Swedes and added it to New Netherlands. The British saw an easy solution to all the squabbling.  They simply moved into Delaware and took Fort Casimir, the major stronghold of the area.   John served under Capt. Robert Carr during the takeover of Delaware and actually saw some fighting.  He probably lived at Fort Casimir with the other British soldiers after the takeover.  He remained in Delaware throughout his enlistment and continued to stay as a civilian.

 

Life in Delaware

 

After the British conquered Delaware, John settled first in New Castle and there  lived the life of a conquering soldier.  Shortly afterwards, he apparently caught the land ownership fever that was prevalent in the area.   The early Swedish and Dutch colonists wanted enough land for  “baronial estate[s].”  They dealt in land parcels so large it was hard to make improvements on them.  Such desire for land, however, would make land speculation attractive..  Almost immediately—probably even before being discharged from the army—John began acquiring land and speculating in land and real estate.  He did so for the rest of his life.  Soon he had a home called “The Fishing Place” at Christiana Bridge, Christina River.  His land lay next to that of Anders Stille, a Swedish friend

 

The Marriage, the Elizabeths, and the Controversy

 

Somewhere between 1664-1671 came the biggest mix-up of John’s life, for it was at this time that he met and married his wife.  The confusion is over who the wife was.

 

Version One says that John married Elizabeth Wollaston in 1665   He was sixteen; she was thirteen.  Elizabeth Wollaston was the daughter (or sister) of Sgt. Thomas Wollaston, a comrade-in-arms of John Ogle.  Another account of Version One says that Elizabeth Wollaston was the child of Thomas Wollaston, Sr., and that the couple married in England before John sailed.

 

Version Two says that at Anders Stille’s home sixteen-year-old John Ogle met thirteen-year-old Elizabeth Petersdotter, who had moved from her home to that of her uncle Anders in order to help take care of his household chores.  Elizabeth was the daughter of Swedish colonists Peter Jochimson and Ella Olafsdotter.  In this version John and this Elizabeth married in1671.  Although no record has been found  to show when John was discharged from the army, some of the other soldiers, including his friend Thomas Wollaston, were discharged in October 1669.  Waiting to be discharged before marrying seems logical, but those in love aren’t always logical.

 

Version Three says that Elizabeth(s) Petersdotter and Wollaston were the same person:  Elizabeth Petersdotter Wollaston.  Now if she were the same person, all problems would be solved; however, it is unlikely that she can be melded into one.  First of all we have the ethnic problem.  Petersdotter is definitely Swedish; Wollaston is English.  Secondly, there are at least two sets of parents involved.  Thirdly, there are two different (probable) dates of death.

 

A possible solution would be that John was married twice (Version Four)  Again, there is a problem.  There is no known divorce record for Elizabeth Wollaston, and she apparently lived until 1713.  John supposedly married Elizabeth Petersdotter in 1671.  That would mean that John would have been a bigamist or that he had gotten an unheard of divorce.  What was Elizabeth Wollaston doing in the colonies anyway?  Did daughters accompany their soldier fathers and/or husbands or brothers  to war?

 

Another possibility, Version Five, is that there are two John Ogles with wives named Elizabeth who moved to the same region at about the same time and that the facts of one man’s life have been incorporated into the life of the other.

 

Young John Ogle’s best friends were James Crawford and Thomas Wollaston, both of whom were older than he.  His friendships with these men and with Anders Stille further muddy the waters.  Several marriages occurred among descendents of the Ogle, Crawford, and Wollaston families.  However, there are Stille spouses in the Ogle family, too.  Thus, we need to verify just which of these theories about the Elizabeths is correct.  Won’t that be fun?  The more I look, the more possibilities there seem to be.

 

In any event, John (1) married somebody named Elizabeth and the couple went on to have two sons; Thomas Ogle (b  c1672-d.1734) and John (2) Ogle (b. c1674-d 1720   Either Thomas or John had a son named John (3).  It is from this grandson of John Ogle of Delaware that we descend.  (In 1997 the Ogle/Ogles Family Association determined that “until more positive evidence is available” to ascertain Elizabeth Ogle’s maiden name “she shall be known in Association records as ‘Elizabeth, maiden name unknown’ or Elizabeth??.’” As to our definite ancestor John (3)-- The Ogle/Ogles Family Association has taken the stand that “until more conclusive evidence is available,” John (3) will be noted as a son of either John (2) or Thomas. Perhaps we shall never know for sure.) 

 

Land Deals

 

John continued with his land acquisition.  In 1666 he and three of his friends-- Sgt. Thomas Wollaston, John Hendricks, and Hermann Johnston--received part of a large grant from the Duke of York.  Their land abutted a tract held by James Crawford, another comrade in arms of John Ogle.  Ogle, Wollaston, Crawford, and their families settled on plantations near each other in New Castle County and were friends all their lives.  John and Elizabeth also lived “next door” to Anders Stille.

 

Altercations and Disorder

 

Never one to be put upon, John Ogle’s outspokenness and temper sometimes got him into trouble.  He was said by some to be ”rash and reckless.”  One incident that shows Ogle’s spirit occurred on 4 June 1675.  The magistrates of New Castle voted to build a road and dyke across the marsh near the town.  An additional dyke across a marsh owned by a board member named Hans Block was also approved.   Residents of the area were to contribute either labor or money to the projects.  John Ogle led the group of objectors and informed the governing body that no dykes at all would be built.  He claimed that the conditions were unfair since public labor and money would be used to improve Block’s private lands and raised such a ruckus that he was thrown out of the church where the meeting was being held.  With Ogle gone, Mathys Smith and Rev. Jacobus Fabricius, a Lutheran minister, picked up the battle.  The result was that Ogle and Fabricius were arrested for inciting a riot and held in a nearby anchored boat.  From the boat Ogle and Fabricius continued to shout and curse.  Eventually the two men were released, but when Ogle encountered Hans Block later on the street and insulted Block and “authority,” something had to be done.

 

The atmosphere in New Castle at that time was very much like that of a wild western border town or gold town.  Fights, robberies, drunkenness, and general bad conduct were common.  The town was unsafe in many respects, so Ogle probably thought nothing much would come of his shenanigans.  The governor, however, saw things differently and issued warrants for Ogle and Fabricus who were considered the ringleaders of the fracas.  The two along with several others had also signed a grievance which didn’t help matters.  Ogle and Fabricus were ordered to appear before court in August, and the rest of the signers were to appear at a later court.  When the August court met, Rev. Fabricus appeared, was found guilty, and defrocked.  Ogle, who “conveniently fell sick,” did not appear and some reports say  that “no further action was taken against him.”  Later reports, however, show that both John Ogle and Anders Stille were fined twenty  guilders for refusing to work on Hans Block’s dyke.  John was also fined four hundred guilders for the charge of “inciting a riot.”

 

Public Works

 

Later In 1675 John was appointed overseer of the residents of Christina Creek when the Governor ordered the construction of new highways.  Citizens of New Castle, the surrounding area, and the south side of Christina Creek were to be responsible for constructing a road twelve feet wide—fairly sizable in those days-- from New Castle to Red Lyon.  Perhaps the governor showed good judgment in appointing John overseer (on the government’s side) rather than run the possibility of having him oppose the new road as he had opposed the dyke and road construction earlier in the year.

 

Age 25 and Beyond

 

John Ogle’s life after 1675 continued as before.  He acquired more land and got into more disputes.  One quarrel occurred when he accused a Dutch neighbor of stealing his heifer.  The affair went to court, and since Thomas Wollaston was one of the jury members, should we be surprised that John won?

 

As a tobacco planter, John Ogle suffered the financial ups and downs of farming.  He was almost continually in financial difficulties which he attempted to assuage with land dealings.  Bartering was the high finance of the day, and little money changed hands

 

A seemingly insignificant yet important event occurred 25 Aug 1680.  At that time Thomas Wollaston asked his friend John Ogle to deliver a letter he had written to John Briggs of West Jersey.  Briggs had owed Wollaston a debt for three years.  John Ogle agreed, took the letter, and stopped by New York where he made an affidavit on 27 Aug concerning the transaction between Briggs and Wollaston.  The affidavit begins:  “John Ogle, aged thirty-two or thereabouts,” and—because of his age--permits us to link him with more certainty to the Ogle family in Northumberland.  If there were two John Ogles, the note bearer is ours.

 

John’s Debts fall on Elizabeth

 

For the remainder of his life, John Ogle was involved in acquiring land and participating in lawsuits.  When he died in the winter of 1683/84 at the age of thirty-four, he left many debts and no will.  His wife Elizabeth had to take up the battle.  On 16 December 1684 Elizabeth was in court to complain that her husband had already paid more than the appropriate amount of taxes on their holdings.  She was harassed by claims of owing taxes for most of the rest of her life.  Finally in March of 1698, the court agreed that she “hath over and above paid the inventory of goods belonging to the said [John] Ogle deceased” and discharged her from having to pay any more debts of her husband to the court.

 

There were, however, other debts and problems.  In 1684 Colonel James Talbot from Maryland raided the area, destroyed Elizabeth’s hay by throwing it into the river, and built a fort on her property.  Anders Stille and Elizabeth Ogle sold that property and moved to property called “the Hopyard “in White Clay Creek .  “The Hopyard” had been surveyed for John Ogle the previous year.  In 1687 Peter Petersson Yokum purchased the Hopyard to  protect it from Elizabeth’s creditors. These two events present perhaps the best evidence in the “wife mystery,” as Anders Stille, Elizabeth Petersdotter’s uncle, appears to be helping take care of her, and Peter Petersson, Elizabeth Petersdotter’s brother, was also assisting. (Note:  In The History of Gatlinburg, 1931, the author describes the Ogle family as “blond.”  Could this be a Swedish trait inherited from Elizabeth Petersdotter?  Hmmm.) (Note 2:  The name Yokum comes from Peter Jochimson.  Jochimson was anglicized to Yokum.  Peter Jochimson (Yokum) was Elizabeth and Peter’s father.)

 

Elizabeth’s Death

 

In 1696 Elizabeth’s son John began selling off the other Ogle lands, possibly around the time of his mother’s death, which occurred sometime before 12 Sept 1702.   On that date the executors of the Yocum estate sold the Hopyard property.  (Elizabeth Wollaston reportedly lived until 1713)

 

After Elizabeth’s death and the selling of the Ogle properties, the Ogle families relocated to an area which came to be known as Ogletown.  The lands originally owned by the Ogles are located in what is now Christiana, Delaware.

 

John Ogle’s life was brief but full of action.  Never one to walk away from a fight, he showed the spirit, determination, and occasional brashness needed by the early settlers of our country who wanted to acquire land, establish homes, and  prosper in the new world.  Like many of our forefathers, John Ogle was a young man who came to America hoping to fulfill his dreams of making his own way in life.

 

John (3) (of Delaware)Ogle is Papaw’s 6-great grandfather.  If you are Eli McCarter’s great great grandchild, John (of Delaware) Ogle is your 10-great grandfather.

 

Line of Descent from John (of Delaware) Ogle to Rev. Eli McCarter

 

John Ogle (3) (1649-1683) + Elizabeth Unknown

John Ogle, Jr. (1668-1720) + Elizabeth Harris (1672-1720)

John Ogle III (1690-1741) + Elizabeth Robinson (1721-?)

Thomas Ogle (1721-1803) + Elizabeth Robeson (1721-?)

William Ogle (1756-1803) + Martha Jane Huskey (1756-1826)

Rebecca Jane Ogle (1782-1870) + James McCarter (1722-c1815)

Thomas McCarter (1811-1888) + Mary Ownby (1814-1846)

Thomas Hill McCarter (1846-1923) + Marriah Reagan (1842-1923)

Rev. Eli McCarter (1886-1955) + Mary Elizabeth Hatcher (1889-1969)

 

Sources:

 

Celebrate Boston.com ( American History, Part II.  A History of the Colony of New York Back to Dutch Rule)

 

Craig, Dr. Peter Stebbin.  “Peter Jochim and his Yocum Descendents.  Swedish Colonial News.  Vol. #15, Spring 1997

 

Craig, Dr. Peter Stebbin.  “Elisabeth Petersdotter Yocum, Wife of the English Soldier, John Ogle. “  The Ogle Genealogist.  Vol. 18, 1997.  pp. 19-27.

 

“Exchange of Views Regarding the Identity of Elizabeth, Wife of John Ogle, Immigrant to Delaware and Parent of John (3) Ogle.  The Ogle Genealogist, Vol. 18, 1997. pp. 27-51.

 

Greve, Jeanette.  The History of Gatlinburg.  Nashville: Premiere Press, 1931

 

Hibbard, Francis Hamilton, The English Origins of John Ogle,  1976, pp..9-14

 

“John Ogle of Christiana”  (www.xtinahs.org/Digitaltour/JohnOgleGrave.html)

 

John (of Delaware) Ogle.”  Smokykin.com

 

Reagan, Donald B.  Smoky Mountain Clans, Vol. I. 

 

“Robert Nicholls”  in  “Pioneers of New Jersey”.  Wikipedia

 

Scharf, Thomas J. History of Delaware 1609-88.  Vol. 2. Philadelphia:  W. Richard and Co., 1886., Ch. XLII,  p. 848

 

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