Thomas J. Ogle
b. 1784 d. 1862
Thomas J. Ogle led a long life with the love of his life at his side.
Thomas J. was born in 1784 in Wilkes Co., GA. His parents were William (Old Billy) Ogle (1756-1803) and Martha Jane Huskey Ogle (c1760-1827). William was the son of Thomas Ogle and Elizabeth Robeson. Martha Jane’s parents were probably John Frederick Huskey (1702-1733) and Rebecca Washington (?-1733). Thomas J. was the third child and second son born to William and Martha Jane. (The J. in Thomas’ name is a mystery. Since his paternal grandfather was named Thomas, that may be the source of his first name, but I was unable to find any records giving either of the two Thomases’ middle names. One of the “cousins” suggested that since Thomas was born around the time of the Rev. War, his middle name might be Jefferson.)
Move to SC
Somewhere around 1786. while Thomas was still a toddler, his parents moved the family to the 96th District of South Carolina.where the rest of Thomas’ siblings were born. Thomas grew up in a family of seven children:
1. Hercules (1780-1854) m.(1) before 1803 to Elizabeth Unknown. m.(2) c1840/50 to Rebecca Huskey (1822-1850/60) Hercules and Elizabeth had 8 children
2. Rebecca (1782-c1880/1890) m. before 1803 to (1) James McCarter (?- c1818) m.(2) Middleton Whaley (1790/1800 – ?) Rebecca and James had 8 children, all boys. Rebecca and Middleton had three children: two girls and a boy (Rebecca and James are both our ancestors, too. James is one of “our” McCarters. They are both Papaw’s great grandparents)
3. Thomas J (1784-1862) our ancestor for this AOM
4. John ( 1786-1841) m. c1808 to Elizabeth McBryant (1786/1790 –1840) John and Elizabeth had 11 children: 7 boys and 4 girls
5. Isaac (1788-2 Sep 1881) m.c1809 to Susannah Bohanon (1793-before 1770). Isaac and Susannah had 14 children: 8 girls, 5 boys, and an infant whose gender was not recorded
6. William (Black Bill) (1790-25 Aug 1855) m.c 1710 to Nancy Bohanon (1792-3 Jun 1869). Black Bill and Nancy had 11 children: 4 boys and 7 girls
7. Mary Ann (Polly) (1793-1872/1880) m. 26 Dec 1811 to William M. Whaley (1789-1880). Polly and William had 16 children: 9 boys, 5 girls, and two infants whose gender was not recorded.
In Edgefield, SC, Thomas J.’s parents were close to two other families, the Huskeys and the McCarters. The Huskeys and Ogles had been neighbors in Wilkes Co., GA. Thomas’ mother had been a Huskey, and Thomas’ sister Rebecca would grow up to marry James McCarter. The Ogles, Huskeys, and McCarters were all farmers with an urge to own land.
The Lure of TN
In 1803 Old Billy returned to SC from a trip he had taken to the mountains of Eastern TN. Stories vary as to the reason for the trip. The two major reasons were hunting and scouting out land. Family tradition says that Old Billy had received land from the government for his service in the Revolution. Whatever the case, Billy was impressed with what he had seen in TN and came home determined to take his family to the “paradise” he had found. Unfortunately, an epidemic (probably typhoid or malaria) swept the SC region, and Billy succumbed to it.
Two Funerals and a Wedding
Martha took her family to VA to pay a bereavement call on her in-laws. Not only had her husband Billy died, so had his father, Thomas Ogle. After a few weeks the family returned to SC, stopping on the way to visit Hercules Ogle, (Old Billy’s brother) who lived in East TN. Upon her return, Martha announced her decision to fulfill Billy’s plan to take the family to TN.
In 1803 Thomas J was about 19 years old and had been smitten by a young red-haired girl named Sophia Bosley, (1789/1790-13 July 1857) Sohia’s family was from Maryland, but there is no other information about them. She was only about 14 years old, but she and Thomas J married before his mother led the family to TN. The young couple went with the group.
Before he left, however, Thomas J. had to serve as executor with his brother Hercules for their father’s will. Until 1811 Thomas still held land in SC that had been part of the acreage William had left his “four boys” in his will. He and Sophia also apparently had other land in SC that they rented out after moving to TN. This land may have been the young couple’s home place after they married and before they left for TN. They sold this land in 1825.
The Trek to TN
The caravan to TN was quite large because Martha’s brother Peter Huskey decided to come, too. He brought all his grown children and their families plus some of their extended family members and a few friends. In addition, Rebecca Ogle had by this time married James McCarter so she and James’ family and possibly one or two of James’ brothers signed on for the move. (See “Pioneer Travelers” on the Eli and Betsy McCarter web page for a list of the people who made the SC to TN trip. Link is on homepage for this website.)
Upon arrival in the mountains of TN, Martha and her sons found the area that Old Billy had cleared and described to them. They found the logs he had hewn for a cabin, and with the help of the Huskeys and McCarters, build a cabin where the family could stay. Rebecca and James McCarter and the Huskeys moved on–the McCarters about 6 miles to the northeast and the Huskeys further north to Walden’s Creek .
Life in White Oak Flats
Soon Thomas J. and Sophia had their own cabin in White Oak Flats, the area the family had successfully reached in their quest for Old Billy’s “paradise.” The settlement was called White Oak Flats because of the many white oaks that grew in the flat areas beside the river. (A replica of Martha Jane’s cabin can be seen in downtown Gatlinburg.)
In most cases, land in White Oak Flats and the region in general was procured by “squatting.” People moved in, build cabins, farmed, and filed for ownership of the land by virtue of “seizure and occupancy.” A large number of early settlers in the area also received their lands as compensation for Revolutionary war service. One version of why Old Billy went to the region in the first place was to scout out land for his military service.
As with most of our ancestors, the way to wealth was through hard work and land acquisition. Thomas J. followed this path. The Sevier County courthouse fire destroyed many records, and this could be a reason that there are no land records for Thomas J before 1807. In 1807, however, a deed was recorded which shows that Thomas J and his brother Hercules sold some land they owned on Walden’s Creek (the area where some of the Huskeys had settled) to William Murphy. There are also land deeds dated in the 1820’s for lands granted to Thomas J. from the State of Tennessee. Thomas J would also later receive land grants in the 1850’s from the government for his service in the War of 1812.
Thomas J. and Sophia’s Family
After their arrival in White Oak Flats, Thomas J and Sophia began their family. They eventually had fourteen children.
1. Easter (7 May 1806-6 Jan 1888 ) m. c1824 to (1) James Bohanon (1800-c1825/1826) m. 1826 to (2) William Trentham (27 Mar 1793-10 Dec 1848) Easter and James had two boys. She and William had 11 children: 5 girls and 6 boys
2. Martha (1807-1885) m. c. 1823 to Jacob Evans (1797-c1878) Martha and Jacob had three children: 2 girls and a boy
3. William T. (Rev) (27 May 1810-29 Dec 1894) m. 22 Dec 1825 to Sarah Bohanan (1807-25 Sep 1887) William and Sarah had 9 children: 5 girls and 4 boys
4. Nancy (our ancestor) (24 Aug 1810-18Feb 1844) m. 30 Jan 1830 to Daniel Wesley Reagan (15 Oct 1802-25 Jan 1892) Nancy and Daniel Wesley had 9 children: 4 boys and 5 girls
5. Harkless T. (1811-21 Mar 1892) m.1898 to (1) Margaret (Peggy) Ownby (20 Mar 1810-6 Feb 1849) m. c 1849 to (2) Serrena Huskey (1820-21 Jul 1888). Harkless and Margaret had 10 children: 5 boys and 5 girls. Harkless and Serrena had 7 children: 4 boys and 3 girls
6. Thomas T. 1813-?) m. c1838 to (1) Maria Clark (1822-1851/1856) m c.1856 to (2) Sarah Eslinger (1838-?) No record of any children
7. Mary (24 Jan 1815-aft. 1864) m.1834 to Nicholas Ownby (11 Dec 1812-15 Aug 1883). Mary and Nicholas had 15 children: 7 boys and 8 girls.
8. Isaac T. (1819-?) m. 1839 to Nancy Conner (11 Feb 1823-28 Mar 1890). Isaac and Nancy had 12 children: 5 boys and 7 girls
9. Eliza (9 Apr 1823-9 Apr 1910) m. c1839 to David Ownby (24 Jan 1816-10 Oct 1889). Eliza and David had 13 children: 6 girls and 7 boys
10. Marriah (1825-?) m. c1841 to James Madison Trentham (c1820-?) Marriah and James moved west and there is no information about their children.
11. Preston (1827-20 Jun 1864) m. 4 Dec 1845 to Rebecca Conner (1828-13 May 1892) Preston and Rebecca had 8 children: 3 boys and 5 girls
12. Levi (Apr 1829-?) m. c1848 to Charity A. Huff (1829-?) Levi and Charity had five children: 3 boys and 2 girls
13. Caleb 1831-1 Dec 1893) m.c1848 to Lydia Huff (Mar 1834-1916) Caleb and Lydia had 7 children: 6 boys and 1 girl
14. Sophia Elvira (1833-30 Aug 1897) m. c1850 to Andrew J. Conner (1832-25 Nov 1887). Like Caleb and his wife, Sophia and Andrew had 7 children; but they had 6 girls and 1 boy.
(Two items of interest: a) All the Ogle family tended to name their children the same names. There were lots of Williams, Thomases, Harklesses, etc. To keep them all straight, the families started using the father’s first name as a middle initial for the boys as a method of family identification. Ie: William T was the son of Thomas whereas William H was the son Harkless. b) Sophia was still having babies in her 40’s; this was common.)
War of 1812
When the War of 1812 came along, Thomas J. served in Captain Andrew Lawson’s Company of East Tennessee Drafted Militia. His regiment was commanded by Colonel William Johnson, His service involved fighting against the Creek Indians, and for this he later received land grants.
Importance of Religion
Thomas’ wife Sophia was quite religious and worked long and hard for a church in Gatlinburg. She held weekly prayer meetings and led her family and friends on foot for 13 miles (each way) each Sunday to attend church services in Sevierville. (The group carried their shoes to keep them from getting muddy.) She prayed that White Oak Flats could have its own church and minister. (For more information on Sophia, , scroll down the navigation bar on the left side of this page until you get to Sophia Bosley. Click and there you are.)
When the White Oak Flats community built a church in 1855, Thomas J donated land that was centrally located for the building. In addition to the building, Sophia was also instrumental in getting ministers for the church. Two of her sons, William T and Caleb, became ministers, and a number of her other relatives and descendants became ministers, too. In 1857, two years after Sophia’s battle to get a church in Gatlinburg was won, she died. Thomas J. never remarried. In 1861 he officially deeded the land to the church and died himself a year later.
Thomas J. Ogle vs. Radford Gatlin (mixed martial arts)
Near the end of his life in the late 1850’s Thomas J. was plagued not only with the sorrow of his wife’s death, but also with hostile encounters with a fellow townsman, Radford Gatlin. Gatlin was a cantankerous soul who kept things in an uproar. He was involved in questionable land claims; he tried to get the main road moved so that it would be more advantageous to his store; he had slaves in an anti-slavery community; he was a secessionist in a highly union area. He even had actual physical altercations with some of his neighbors. None of these actions made him more likeable.
Though many of Gatlin’s neighbors disliked him, his wrath seemed to be focused on Thomas J Ogle and his son Levi Ogle. There are numerous court battles recorded between the Ogles and Gatlin on both the county and state levels. In 1857 Gatlin’s wife Elizabeth flew into an actual physical attack on Thomas J. Shortly after, Gatlin’s barn and stables burned down. His cattle were killed. (No one knows the culprit(s), but I don’t think TJ had anything to do with it. Of course, I am a bit biased). When the grand jury issued no indictments, Gatlin swore out peace warrants on a number of the Ogles and other neighbors. He said he was afraid these people would burn his
dwelling house and other buildings and perhaps destroy the lives of him…and his wife or that they [the Ogles, et al]’ will procure or cause the same to be done by putting into circulation false reports.”
The result of all this was that a local justice of the peace threw out all Gatlin’s charges as “frivolous” and required Gatlin to pay all court costs. (All this was going on around the time of Sophia’s death.) In 1858 Gatlin went to court again, asking that the decision about the 1857 peace warrants be reviewed. In November 1858, Gatlin was found guilty of assault on Thomas J. Ogle. Four months later Elizabeth Gatlin was also found guilty of assault on Thomas J. In both cases, the Gatlins were fined one dollar each.
It was not long after this that Gatlin decided to leave Gatlinburg for good (The town’s name was changed from White Oak Flats to Gatlinburg [at Gatlin’s request] when the US post office opened a branch in Gatlin’s store. This renaming happened during all the hubbub. (When I was a little girl I was told that the people of White Oak Flats told Gatlin that they would name the town after him if Gatlin would leave. At that time the reason was said to have been because Gatlin had cast the one vote for secession in Sevier Co. I’ve since found that neither story was quite true.)
Thomas Joins Sophia
Thomas J Ogle died in 1862. His will decreed that his estate be equally divided among his heirs, and son William Thomas was designated executor.
Thomas J Ogle lived almost 80 years. He amassed a great deal of land and did a great deal of good. His life had its share of joys and sorrows. His children brought him much joy and gave him over 100 grandchildren who lived in the area. In addition, two of his sons made him proud when they became ministers. His son Thomas T. (Is that Thomas Thomas?) brought both happiness and sadness. Thomas T. became an herbal doctor but moved away to North Carolina.
As to be expected, Thomas J’s children also contributed sorrow to his life. Daughter Easter’s husband James Bohanon drown after falling off a log bridge over the river below Gatlinburg. He was carrying a large sack of maple sugar and lost his balance on the log. Bohanon was the first person to be buried in White Oak Flats. Another sad day occurred when Thomas J received word that his son Preston, a Union soldier serving in KY, had died of typhoid.
All in all Thomas J. is to be envied. Perhaps the most enviable feature of his life is his long loving marriage to his wife, Sophia. Luckily the couple spent over 50 years together, and he seems to have supported her in all that she endeavored to do.
Line of Descent from Thomas J Ogle to Eli McCarter
Thomas J. Ogle (1784-1862 + Sophia Bosley (1794-1857)
Nancy Ogle (1810-1844) + Daniel Wesley Reagan (1802-1892)
Marriah Reagan (1842-1923) + Thomas Hill McCarter (1846-1923)
Rev. Eli McCarter (1886-1955) + Mary Elizabeth Hatcher (1889-1969)
Line of Decent from Thomas J Ogle to Evelyn Goode Miller
Thomas J Ogle Sr (1784 – 1862)
Nancy Ogle (1810 – 1844)
daughter of Thomas J Ogle Sr
Richard Reason Reagan (1830 – 1912)
son of Nancy Ogle
Nancy Elizabeth Reagan (1849 – 1931)
daughter of Richard Reason Reagan
Martha Elizabeth Abbott/Whitaker/Goode (1872 – 1911)
daughter of Nancy Elizabeth Reagan
Ben Cates Goode (1909 – 1980)
son of Martha Elizabeth Abbott/Whitaker/Goode
Evelyn Deloris Goode
You are the daughter of Ben Cates Goode
Sources- Eli and Julia Ogle Website
Ahnentafel Chart of Eli McCarter from Sevier County Genealogy Library Data Base
Gatlinburg Interpretive Outline 3/14/2007 http://www.gatlinburg-tennessee.com/library/cms/File/Interpretive%20Outline.pdf
Greve, Jeanette S. The Story of Gatlinburg. Nashville, TN: premium press America, 1931; reprint 2003.
McCarter charts, traditions
Reagan, Donald B. Smoky Mountain Clans, Vol 1. Knoxville, TN, 1978