Thomas J. Ogle 4th Great Grandfather

Thomas Goode War of 1812
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)
4th great-grandfather

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

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

Thomas Edward Ogle, 6th Great Grandfather

Thomas Ogle
b. 25 Jul 1721 d. before March 1803 Thomas Edward Ogle Sr.

Thomas Ogle was the second child and second son of John Ogle III (1690-1741) and Elizabeth Robinson Ogle (1700-1743). He was from a long line of British subjects who could trace their lineage back to Charlemagne and the early kings of England. His great grandfather John (of Delaware) Ogle (1649-1684) (“The Immigrant”) had arrived on American soil in 1664 as a British soldier serving under Colonel Robert Nicholls who had come to protect British interests in the colonies–especially against the Dutch in Delaware and New York. At that time John was only about fifteen years old, but he performed his duties and stayed in the colonies after his military service was complete. It is he who began the Ogle family dynasty in America that spread to Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee and other parts of the new world.

(John Ogle [“The Immigrant”] was the AOM for October 2006. To read more about him, Go to the link at the top of this page; then, when you reach the Archives, scroll down the Navigation bar on the left side to “John [of Delaware] Ogle.”)

Parents and Siblings

Thomas’ parents John Ogle III (c1690-c1741) and Elizabeth Robinson Ogle (!700-1743) lived in New Castle, Delaware, and at least one source indicates that John may have owned or run a tavern or inn on one of the main roads in the area. This idea is suspect, however, since the Ogles had traditionally been tobacco planters and farmers. The family was large, though not for the time, and Thomas grew up in a family of nine children.

(There is speculation that Elizabeth’s maiden name may have been Ball rather than Robinson. In addition, there is speculation that John III was the son of Thomas Ogle and Mary Crawford Ogle rather than the son of John Ogle, Jr. and Ellizabeth (Graham?) Harris Ogle. The Ogle/Ogles Family Association gives equal weight to both sets of parents as being the true parents of John Ogle III. Early Ogle history is maddeningly replete with duplicate names and unclear relationships.)

1. William B. (b. 31 Mar 1719 in New Castle, Delaware d. 19 Oct 1805 in Perry Co., PA)
2. Thomas (our ancestor)
3. John (b. 27 Dec 1723 d. before 1790 in Mecklenburg Co., NC.) m. Mary Elizabeth Robinson
4. Alexander (b. 1724. d. ? in KY)
5. Mary (b. 18 Jun 1726 d.1797 in Mecklenberg Co., NC)
6. Benjamin (b. 1727 d.1753 in Augusta Co., VA)
7. Elizabeth (b. 19 May 1729 d.?) m. John Stille 26 Sep 1754 in New Castle Delaware

After the birth of Elizabeth, the Ogles apparently moved for a time to Lancaster Co., PA because their last two children were born there.

8. Hercules (b. 6 Apr 1731 in Lancaster Co., PA d. Sep 1804 in Grayson Co., VA) m. Mary Carson (1739-1825) Dec.1755 in Botecourt Co., VA
9. Lucretia (b. 19 Apr 1733- d. 1800 in Randolph Co, NC) m. Abraham Stroud 1 Apr 1752 in New Castle Co., DE

John III’s Death and Related Problems

Sometime after Lucretia’s birth, the family moved back to Delaware. Eight years later (c1741) John Ogle, III, died. Although the family had been tobacco planters and farmers for three generations, they may still have had money problems. On 15 Nov 1743, the year of their mother’s death and two years after their father’s death, the two youngest daughters were “apprenticed out” until they were eighteen. Lucretia was about eight and Elizabeth was about twelve. Money may have had nothing to do with the apprenticeships. The girls were, after all, orphans, and if none of their married siblings could take the girls, the family may have decided that Elizabeth and Lucretia needed a more stable environment than their unmarried brothers could provide. In any event, the girls’ apprenticeship papers were signed by their “Uncle Thomas.” There is debate as to which Thomas this might be. Some Ogle researchers think that the Thomas in question was actually the girls’ brother Thomas (our ancestor) who at the time was about twenty and was the oldest male living at home.

Thomas’ Marriage and Family

In 1748, when he was twenty-seven years old, Thomas met and married Elizabeth Robeson. The two were wed in the Holy Trinity Church (Old Swedes Church) in New Castle.

(There is some speculation that Elizabeth’s name may have been Robinson or Robertson since no Robeson family was found in the area. If this is so, then she fits in well with the Ogle Elizabeths. Not only was there a plethora of Elizabeths chosen by the Ogle men to be their wives, several of these women, beginning with Elizabeth Wollaston and Elizabeth Petersdotter, have mysteries surrounding their surnames.)

(See the AOM article on John Ogle for the controversy concerning his wife’s name)
(As a point of interest, our Thomas. his father, his grandfather, his great uncle, and his great grandfather all had wives named Elizabeth. In addition, he had a sister, aunt, and great aunt named Elizabeth. Is it surprising that he also named one of his daughters Elizabeth? Whew!)

Thomas and Elizabeth started a family in New Castle and eventually had a total of eight children:

1. John (b. 1749/1755-d.?) m. 18 Jan 1773 Sarah Dennis (b. 1755-d. ?) John and Sarah had thirteen children. They eventually migrated to White Co., TN, then on to KY and IN.
2. Thomas, Jr. (b. 1749/1755-d.after 1802) m. Isabella (Ibby) Wilson (b. 1755/1760-d. after 1802) Thomas and Isabella had eleven children. They eventually settled in KY where they are buried, but their children moved on to MO.
3. Hercules (b. 1749/1755-d. 1827/1830) m. Sarah Morris (b. before 1775-d. 1825-1830) Hercules and Sarah had ten children. They eventually settled in White Co., TN.
4. William (our ancestor) (b. c1756-d. 1803) m. c1778 Martha Jane Huskey (b. c1760-d.1817/1826). William and Martha had seven children. The family moved to GA and SC where William died. Martha brought the family on to TN.
5. James (b. 19 Nov 1770 d. ?) m. (1) Hannah Brown (2) Catherine Wilkes. James and Hannah had ten children; James and Catherine had three children
6. Sarah (b. 1757 in New Castle-d.?) m. Unknown Sargen (or Largen)
7. Elizabeth (here she is—another one!) (b. 5 Mar 1761, New Castle DE-d.?) m. 1773 William Jennings (b. 16 Dec 1750, Bedford Co., VA-d. 15 Oct 1843, Carroll Co., VA). Elizabeth and William had eleven children
8. Hannah (b. 18 Apr 1764 Rowan Co., NC –d. Sep 1840 Grayson Co., VA) m. Jonathan Richardson (b.? – d. before 1839). Hannah and Jonathan had four children.

(Notice the tendency of the Ogles to name their children after family members, adding to the “which one?” confusion. This tradition continued in the 1800’s in the Smokies where by the second generation of living there, the men began to use their father’s first name to determine a middle initial in order to keep everyone straight. For example, “William H.” was “William, son of Hercules.” “William T” was “William, son of Thomas,” etc.)

The Ogle Inn (or Tavern)

In the 1990’s the Delaware Department of Transportation discovered the remains of a cellar containing artifacts from the 1700s while they were clearing lands for a highway. One of their project reports says: “The archaeologists think this cellar was part of an inn operated by Thomas Ogle and his son James Ogle from 1739 to 1794.” (I’ve tried to match up all the Thomases and Jameses and the dates, and nothing works out exactly right. Our Thomas fits as far as dates are concerned. His son James, however, was not born until 1770. James would have been old enough to help his father during the last portion of the period, but not for the whole time. This inn was in all probability owned by one of our Ogles as there appears to be a Thomas with a son named James in every generation, including brothers and cousins. The problem of determining which of them might have been the owner is compounded since dates of birth and death are not available for all the connected Ogles. (Perhaps the Thomas who owned the inn was the same “Uncle Thomas” who signed the apprenticeship papers. The Ogle Tavern could also be the reason that John, III, was reputed to have been an innkeeper.)

Owning an inn or tavern during that time would have been significant because as the Delaware Dept of Transportation article points out, “In that period taverns were one of the main centers of community life for men, who gathered in the tavern to drink, eat, and talk. Politics, in particular, was often managed from taverns more than from state houses or court rooms.” The period of the inn’s existence covers the entire Revolutionary War period.

The Augusta County Adventure

Several situations go against our Thomas owning the inn. For example, in 1763 with a new country and new opportunities calling, Thomas, two of his brothers (John and Hercules) and his sister Lucretia and her husband Abraham Stroud reportedly decided to leave Delaware and move west where land was plentiful, inexpensive, (and sometimes free), and where opportunities were more likely to present themselves. Their destination was Augusta Co., VA, an area that played an important role in the settlement of America. Augusta Co. was huge; it had no western boundary and contained much of the Shenandoah Valley as well as parts of several later states. It was an enticing destination for pioneer families although insufficient government for such a large area posed problems for the settlers.

At the time of their move to Augusta Co., Thomas was 42; John was 40; Hercules was 32, and Lucretia was 30, the baby of the group. Thus, this was not a group of young people off to seek adventure. These were adults with families who knew the dangers they were facing. When they set off to Augusta County in the southwestern part of Virginia in 1763, they probably hoped to establish a more profitable life for themselves. Unfortunately, after about a year in Virginia, Indian problems in the area caused them to move south across the border to North Carolina. Their final destination was not a great distance from where they had tried to settle in Virginia. It seems unlikely that Thomas would have participated in this Augusta County venture if he had had an inn in Delaware.

Move to North Carolina

By 1760-64 Thomas and Elizabeth and their family were in Rowan County, North Carolina. There they bought 320 acres from Andrew Smith and wife Anna, paying ₤60 for the property. In the deed, Thomas was described as a “groom,” (one who feeds, exercises, and cares for horses).

(Years later, from 1793-1795, these 320 acres would be divided among three of Thomas and Elizabeth’s five sons: William, Thomas, and Hercules. In 1793 Thomas received 100 acres and Hercules 120. In 1795 William received the remaining 100 acres. At this time, the three sons were in their late 30’s to early 40’s [about 37-43 years old]. James was only 23; perhaps his age kept him from receiving land at this time. However, back in 1789, Thomas had bought 140 acres of land in Grayson Co, VA from Thomas Black. This land he deeded to James in 1801, just a year or so before Thomas died. James did not receive the land until after his father’s death as the deed was not proven until then. I was unable to find land that had been deeded to John, Thomas and Elizabeth’s first son.)

The Revolutionary War Era

When the Revolution came, Thomas Ogle and his family were living in Virginia. Thomas was in his late 50’s and there is no evidence that he participated in the Revolution. (There was a Thomas Ogle from Virginia who joined the Revolutionary forces and served three years from 1777-1780 at Ft. Pitt and Ft. Henry under Gaddis. This Thomas Ogle, however, was not ours.)

Though our Thomas did not serve, his sons participated in the Patriot cause. Two of Thomas’ sons definitely fought in the Revolution. Sons 1 and 3 (John and Hercules) volunteered and served in the Montgomery County Virginia Militia under Capt. Jonathan Isom. Revolutionary war service for Son 2 (Thomas, Jr.) is not as certain as John’s and Hercules’, but family belief is that he was in the war. Although he is listed along with his brothers William and Hercules as one who did not sign the oath of allegiance, this does not mean he was opposed to the war. Hercules, for example, did not sign the oath but did serve as a volunteer soldier during the Revolution. The same could be true of Thomas, Jr. As far as Son 4 is concerned, there is no available evidence that says William (our ancestor) fought in the war, but family tradition says that he did. In addition, some sources indicate that William’s reason for going to TN at the turn of the century was to scout out land he had received for his war service. Thomas’ fifth son, James, was born 10 Nov 1770 and was therefore too young to participate in the war.

End of the Journey

Thomas wrote his will on 2 March 1802 and died in March 1803. We do not know his cause of death, but in his will he stated that he was “sick and weak in body but of sound mind and desposing [sic] memory.” Thomas was buried in Peavine Ridge, Carroll Co., Virginia, and his will was proven in March 1803.

(Interestingly, the Ogle family suffered a relatively large number of deaths within a relatively short period of time. Our Thomas died in 1803; his son William (also our ancestor) died the same year. In addition, Thomas’ son Hercules died in 1804. Thomas’ brother William died in 1805. These death dates are no doubt coincidental, but they are noticeable.

Provisions of Thomas’ Will

Thomas’ will left all his movable property to his wife, Elizabeth. After her death, the movable property was to be equally divided among the children. In addition, he gave one dollar to each of his five sons (whom he named in the will) and one dollar to two of his daughters, Sarah and Elizabeth. To daughter Hannah, he gave one cow. Often testators leave one dollar to a person just to make it clear that that is all he or she is to receive from the will and that the person in question was not forgotten or inadvertently left out. The sons who received one dollar had already received their inheritance in the lands their father had deeded to them previously—except John. Sarah and Elizabeth had probably received their inheritance early, too. Why Hannah received a cow is a mystery.

(John, like his four brothers, received one dollar in Thomas’ will, even though I did not find land deeded to him by his father. In 1804, however, a year after his father’s death, John bought 115 acres of land in TN from his brother Hercules. He sold the land four years later in 1808. Perhaps this transaction had something to do with the brothers’ inheritance, although John and his family did live in Grainger Co., TN for a while and may have just bought this property to have somewhere to live.

Family Migration

After Thomas’ death, his family continued to grow and prosper. Like many settlers in the New World, the Ogles were almost nomadic—or at least had a touch of wanderlust. Son John and his family migrated from the Edgefield District of SC to Grainger County, TN, lived there for a while and then moved on to KY and finally to IN where they settled for good.

Thomas, Jr. and his family lived originally in Rowan Co., NC. In the 1780’s they moved to Wilkes Co., GA and then to Edgefield County, SC. Later they moved to KY. Thomas and his wife Isabella are buried in Kentucky, but their children chose to move on to MO.

Hercules and his family lived in Montgomery Co., VA, Rowan County, NC, and Edgefield District, SC. Finally they moved to Grainger Co., TN. (In 1803 when Martha Jane made her bereavement visit to her mother-in-law in VA, she swung west and stopped on the way home to visit with Hercules, who lived at that time in Grainger Co, TN.)

William and wife Martha lived for a time in Rowan Co., NC, in Wilkes Co., GA, and finally settled in the Edgefield District of SC. William traveled to TN—tradition says to check out land he had received for military service—found a spot to his liking, and planned to bring his family there. When he returned to SC to get his family and prepare for the move to the Smokies, however, he became the victim of a malaria or typhoid epidemic and died. His wife and family made the journey and established the Ogle family as a major influence in that region. (See more info in “South Carolina to the Smokies” Click the navigation bar for that title on the left side of this page.)

James and his family lived for a time in GA, but apparently returned to Grayson Co., VA. Sarah’s fate is unclear, but Elizabeth and Hannah both seem to have kept to their roots in VA.

Thomas Ogle was Papaw’s great, great, great grandfather. If you are Eli McCarter’s great great grandchild, Thomas Ogle is your 6 great grandfather.

Line of Descent from Thomas Ogle to Eli McCarter

Thomas Ogle (1721-1803) + Elizabeth Robeson (1721-?)
William Ogle (1756-1803) + Martha Jane Huskey (1756-1826)
Thomas J. Ogle (1784-1862) + Sophia Bosley (1789/1790-1857)
Nancy Ogle (1810-1844) + Daniel Wesley Reagan (1802-1892)
Marriah Reagan (1842-1923) + Thomas Hill McCarter (1842-1923)
Rev. Eli McCarter (1886-955)+ Mary Elizabeth “Betsy” Hatcher (1889-1969)

Line of Decent from Thomas to Ben C. Goode

Thomas Edward Ogle sr (1721 – 1803)
6th great-grandfather

William “Billy” Ogle (1756 – 1803)
son of Thomas Edward Ogle sr

Thomas J Ogle Sr (1784 – 1862)
son of William “Billy” Ogle

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


“Children of William Jennings and Elizabeth Ogle.”
VACaroll-L Archives

DAR Patriot Index, Vol. II, p. 158

“Elizabeth Petersdotter Yocum, Wife of the English Soldier, John Ogle,” The Ogle Genealogist, Vol. 18, 1997, pp. 19-27.

Gwalhmey, John Hastings. Historical Register of Virginians in the Revolution. Richmond: Dietz Press, 1938. p. 593.

“Ogle” in Looking for a Horse Thief

“Interchange of Views Regarding the Identify of Elizabeth, Wife of John Ogle, Immigrant to Delaware and the Parents of John Ogle.” The Ogle Genealogist, Vol.18, 1997, pp. 27-52

McCarter Family Charts and Pedigree Charts

“My Kentucky World”

‘Notes Concerning Ogles in Early Colonial America” The Ogle Genealogist, Vol.18, 1997, pp.123-125

Ogle Family Charts and Pedigree Charts

Pattersons of Augusta Co., VA

Reagan, Donald B. Smoky Mountain Clans, Vol 1. Knoxville, TN: np, 1978, 129 ff.

“Sharon’s Family” History Page.”

“Smoky Mountain Ancestral Quest.”

State of Delaware. Delaware Department of Transportation. Archaeoloogy Archives Del DOT Archaeology Series: No. 77 Coleman, Ellis E., Wade P. Catts, Angela Hoseth, and Jay F. Custer “1990 Final Archaeological Investigations of the John Ruth Inn Site, 7NC-D-126, Red Mill Road and Delaware Routes 4 and 273”

Martha Jane Huskey 5th Great Grandmother

Martha Jane Huskey

Dec. 9, 1756
Wake County
North Carolina, USA
Sevier County
Tennessee, USA

The little settlement of White Oak Flats, nestled in the Great Smokey Mountains on the south end of Sevier County, Tennessee was “Pioneered by Martha Jane “Huskey” Ogle”
Martha Jane Huskey and her husband William “Billy” Ogle
are a great part of “Sevier County History”

Martha was born in Wake County, North Carolina. She was the daughter of John Frederick Huskey and Rebecca Washington-Huskey.

Martha Jane Huskey married William “Billy” Ogle, he was born in New Castle, Delaware and was the son of Thomas Ogle and Elizabeth “Robeson” Ogle.

Martha Jane Huskey and William “Billy” Ogle married in 1778 in North Carolina. Martha and William had the following Children;

1. Hercules “Hike” Ogle
2. Rebecca Ogle
3. Thomas J. Ogle    ****our ancestor
4. John “Johnny” Ogle
5. Isaac “Shucky” Ogle
6. William “Black Bill” Ogle
7. Mary Ann Ogle

Historical “Ogle Cabin”-tarted by William “Billy” Ogle and finished by Matha Jane Huskey-Ogle her son’s and other family members

Martha’s husband, William “Billy” Ogle, came to Tennessee from South Carolina and was among one of the first to permanently settle in the Gatlinburg area. It is said that William Ogle hunted with the Indian friends in the area and decided to build a Cabin and move his family there. With help from the local Cherokee, he cut and hewed logs to build Cabin. He returned to South Carolina to retrieve his family. William had to grow a crop, in order to bring supplies for the family’s survival an epidemic of malaria broke out and William “Billy” Ogle died of the fever Around 1803-1807 Martha Jane Huskey-Ogle her children and her brother Peter Huskey and several other family members, journeyed to the area now called Gatlinburg to complete her late husband “William “Billy” Ogle Dream”. They found the waiting logs and Martha’s son’s Built the Ogle Cabin.It still stands today in the Great Smokey Mountains *Historical Ogle Cabin

After the death of William, Martha took her five sons and two daughters for a short visit with relatives in Virginia. Her brother, Peter Huskey, and his family then accompanied them on their long trip to the East Tennessee area to establish their home

According to the church minutes of “Fork of Little Pigeon Church”, Martha Ogle was the one of the group of people from White Oak Flats Community that asked the Fork of Little Pigeon Church to establish a church in White Oak Flats as an arm of the church in Sevierville in December 1817.

“Smoky Mountain Clans”, Donald B. Reagan, 1974, p 37-38.
“Sevier County, Tennessee and Its Heritage”, 1994, p 229.
“Mountain Ways”, Gene Aiken, 1983, p 3.

White Oak Flats cemantery

This is the second view of White Oak Flats Cemetery in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Originally called the White Oak Flats settlement due to the abundant white oak trees in the valley, Gatlinburg was settled by English, Scotch, Irish, and Scotch-Irish immigrants in the early 1800s, with the cemetery dating back to around 1830. The serene, tree lined graveyard nestled above the bustling Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg contains the gravesites of many of Gatlinburg’s earliest settlers and prominent citizens.
Names include Ogle, Huskey, McCarter, Maples, Reagan and Whaley; the first families to settle the valley of the Little Pigeon River and its tributaries. Most heads of households during the early 1800s were Revolutionary War veterans. They came here to claim title to 50-acre tracts of land allotted to each for their patriotic service.
A middle-aged widow, Martha Jane Huskey Ogle, was the first official settler here, settling on the land earned by her husband, who died before he could move here with his family. Nonetheless, Martha Jane led her family across the Smoky Mountains to start a new life in what Billy Ogle had described as a “Land of Paradise” in what is now East Tennessee. She is buried in White Oak Flats Cemetery.
Ogle Family Lore – Smokey Mt Clans

Source: ‘Smoky Mountain Clans’, Donald B. Reagan, 1974, p 37-38. ‘Smoky Mountain Family Album,’ Gladys Trentham Russell, 1984, p 6. IGI, Batch 8113402, Sheet 49, Source Call Number 1260889, Film, also, Film 449514, Ordinance # 280.., Temple Swiss. ‘In the Shadow of the Smokies,’ Smoky Mountain Historical Society, 1993, 575. ‘Sevier County, Tennessee and Its Heritage’, 1994, p 229. ‘Mountain Ways’, Gene Aiken, 1983, p 3.

Ogle Cabin2



Newspaper climping

Martha Jane Huskey (1756 – 1826)
5th great-grandmother
Thomas J Ogle Sr (1784 – 1862)
son of Martha Jane Huskey
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

William “Billy” Ogle 5th Great Grandfather

Birth                                                                                                   William Billy Ogle
Oct., 1754
New Castle County
Delaware, USA
Mar., 1803
Edgefield County
South Carolina, USA

William “Billy” Ogle and his Wife Martha Jane “Huskey” Olge are a great part of “Sevier County History” in Tennessee. William “Billy Ogle born in New Castle, Delaware and was the son of Thomas Ogle and Elizabeth “Robeson” Ogle. In 1778 William Ogle married Martha Jane Huskey in North Carolina. Matha Jane Huskey born in Wake County, North Carolina, she was the daughter of John Frederick Huskey and Rebecca B “Washington” Ogle.

William Ogle and Matha Jane “Huskey” Ogle had the folling Children;

1. Hercules “Hike” Ogle
2. Rebecca Ogle
3. Thomas J. Ogle   *****our ancestor
4. John “Johnny” Ogle
5. Isaac “Shucky” Ogle
6. William “Black Bill” Ogle
7. Mary Ann Ogle

History of William “Billy” Ogle Facts, Sources and Tales

Historical Ogle Cabin-Started by William “Billy” Ogle and finished by Matha Jane Huskey-Ogle, her son’s and other family members

William “Billy” Ogle came to Tennessee from South Carolina and was among one of the first to permanently settle in the Gatlinburg area. It is said that William Ogle hunted with the Indian friends in the area and decided to build a Cabin and move his family there. With help from the local Cherokee, he cut and hewed logs to build Cabin. He returned to South Carolina to retrieve his family. William had to grow a crop, in order to bring supplies for the family’s survival an epidemic of malaria broke out and William “Billy” Ogle died of the fever Around 1803-1807 Martha Jane Huskey-Ogle her children and her brother Peter Huskey and several other family members, journeyed to the area now called Gatlinburg to complete her late husband “William “Billy” Ogle Dream”. They found the waiting logs and Martha’s son’s Built the Ogle Cabin.It still stands today *Historical Ogle Cabin

*Source American Genealogical-Biographical Index

Name: William Ogle
Birth Date: 1750
Birthplace: Delaware
Volume: 127
Page Number: 215
Biographical Info: Revolutionary War
Reference:(813): 1050

*Source– Revolution War Records for Pvt William Ogle in Captain John Bogg’s Co. of Militia of the Delaware State in 2nd Batt’n Commanded by Col Counch

*Source– Rowan County, North Carolina Court Minutes 1773-1786″, William Ogle, with his brothers Thomas and Hercules Ogle, is listed in Names of Persons who have not taken the Oath of Allegiance in Captain Cox’s District.” 1778.

*Source– U.S. International Marriages 1756 in North Carolina

*Source–1790 United Staes Census Name:William Ogle
Home in 1790 (City, County, State):
Edgefield, South Carolina
Number of Household Members:7

*Source– Oct 19,1795, Thomas Ogle of Grayson County, Virginia deeded 100 acres of land in Rowan County, North Carolina, to “William Ogle of Edgefield County, state of South Carolina”. William later sold this same tract of land to Mark Cole and Jacob Skeene on 30 Oct 1795 (Deed Book 14, p 178 and p 179/80).

*Source–On 7 March 1796, William Ogle added to his holdings in Edgefield District, South Carolina, another 100 acres of land purchased from George Hagood. This land was situated on “the branches of Rockey Creek, waters of Savannah River” (Deed Book 13, p 198).

*Source–1800 Census taken in South Carolina
William Ogle is listed Head of Household in Edgefield, South Carolina

*Source–William Ogle-Between the date of his will, 26 Feb 1803, and the date of probate, 5 March 1803, William Ogle died and was survived by his wife, Martha and his children, five sons and two daughters.

William Ogle’s Will “I give unto my son Harculous Ogle that Hundred Acres of Land he Now lives. Also the remainder of the Land is to be Divided among four Boys except a Child’s Share which I give unto My beloved Wife Polly Ogle (Martha in the 1811 deed). Also I give unto my beloved daughter Rebecca (Mc) Carter a cow and Calf, bed and furniture, Pot and Some other furniture. Also I
give unto my beloved grandson William (Mc) Carter a young sow. Also the rest of the property to be Equally among all the rest of my children except my beloved Wife which draws a Child’s share.” His will was recorded in Edgefield County, South Carolina, Will Book “A”, box 22, #783.

William Ogle is buried in the Fruit Hill area.
Birth and Death dates are est

Reference; Smoky Mountain Clans”, Donald B. Reagan, 1978, p 138-139.
“Smoky Mountain Family Album,” Gladys Trentham Russell, 1984, p 6.
“Sevier County, Tennessee and Its Heritage”, 1994, p 229.
“Mountain Ways”, Gene Aiken, 1983, p 3.

Sources; 1.[S104] Cocke County, Tennessee, and its People, Cocke County Heritage Book Committee, (Walsworth Publishing, 1992), 188.
2.[S120] A Place Called Home: Our Story, David L. Popiel, Duay O’Neil, et. al., (2006, The Newport Plain Talk / Jones Media Inc.),, 1


william ogle cabin


Relationship to me
William “Billy” Ogle (1754 – 1803)
5th great-grandfather

Thomas J Ogle Sr (1784 – 1862)
son of William “Billy” Ogle

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


uster rollWilliam Ogle flag

Sophia Bosley 4th Great Grandmother



Mountain Laurel

The Life of Sophia Bosley

Sophia Bosley (1789 July 1857), wife of Thomas J. Ogle (1784-1862 would probably fit in just as well in the twenty-first century as she did in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth. an examination of her life shows that she must have been a determined, strong, adaptable woman who could survive- and prevail-almost anywhere.                Early Life  Born  in MD in 1789, Sophia somehow ended up in SC. No information on her family has been found so far. There were Bosley families in the Edgefield-Abbeville-District 96 region of SC. around the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and probably Sophia belonged to one of those groups who had migrated from Maryland. Apparently there are five major branches of Bosley’s and perhaps one day we will be able to place Sophia on her proper twig. In 1803 Sophia was fourteen years old, and Thomas J. Ogle was nineteen. Something about her attracted Thomas’ eye-perhaps her distinctive red hair. Whatever the reason-beauty, personality, or red hair-there was an attraction between the couple.  Eighteen hundred three had been an eventful year for Thomas. His grandfather died; his father died; he made a long a long trip with his family to Virginia to visit his grieving relatives, an now, in 1804, his mother wanted to take the family west to the wilderness of the East Tennessee mountains. That would mean leaving Sophia. We would probably would not be too far from reality in guessing that his marriage proposal was one of the “O, come with me and be my love,” varieties. No matter how much she loved him, Sophia needed to have been brave too. The trip would be long. She would be far from her family. There was danger from animals and unfriendly Indians. Maybe Thomas pled his case for a long time or maybe Sophia right away. Whichever happened, the two were married, and off they trekked with the rest of the Ogle, Huskey, and McCarter clans to Tennessee.                                                                Life in Tennessee The group named the new area White Oak Flats after the flat lands along the river and the White Oaks that grew there. It remained White Oak Flats until the Civil War era when it became Gatlinburg. Sophia and Thomas had fourteen children, all born in Sevier County. They were Easter (years later Easter’s husband would be the first person buried in White Oak Flats), Martha, William T. Nancy (from whom we descended), Harkness T, Thomas T, Mary, Isaac T, Marriah, Eliza, Preston, Levi, Caleb, Sophia, and Elvira. The fourteen children alone are enough to attest to Sophia’s strength and stamina. Sophia’s Religious Life Sophia was a farmer’s wife, but her husband fared well and acquired from his father, from purchases, from a grant for his service in the War of 1812 and Indian wars, and even by seizing and occupying unclaimed land.  When Thomas donated the first land for the White Oak Flat church, Sophia may have been in the background. She was a very religious woman and meet weekly with other women of the settlement to pray that God would send them a minister of their own and a church of their own. Sophia’s mother-in-law, Martha Jane Huskey Ogle (1760/64-1825/26), led a group of people who portioned The Forks of the River Baptist Church in Sevierville to establish a branch of that church in Gatlinburg. That fledgling church was formed 1817, but no church building was built until 1855. Sophia and Thomas were charter members of the original White Oak Flats church group, but Sophia still campaigned for a “real” church of their own. One of the stories about Sophia’s steadfast drive for a minister and church say’s that she led prayer meetings each week in a laurel grove. According to the book Sketches of Tennessee’s pioneer Baptist Preachers, Sophia, her family, and her steadfast friends WALKED FOURTEEN MILES EACH SATURDAY AND SUNDAY from White Oak Flats to Sevierville where the Forks of the River Baptist church was located, carrying their shoes to keep them from getting muddy, and walked the fourteen miles back home again. Sophia’s prayers were finally answered. Her third son, William T, became a minister. He was ordained at Bethel Church in Sevier County in 1836. It had taken Sophia about 30 years of praying to get ” their own minister.” A few years later, Caleb, another of Sophia’s sons became a minister, too. She was also the great aunt of Richard Evans, a highly respected pioneer minister, She may have influenced a number of other young relatives to enter the ministry, for a quick count of our assorted Ogle cousins reveals at least nineteen Ogle ministers during the nineteenth century.

End of Life Sophia died 13 July 1857 at sixty-eight years of age. She and her husband had been married over fifty years. Thomas outlived his wife by five years, dying at age 78 in 1862. They were buried in White Oak Flats Cemetery in Gatlinburg. Sophia was a strong, determined woman. She was an early “western pioneer” ; she endured hardships; she raised fourteen children; she shared a long marriage with her husband, and she made a pronounced effect on religion in the community. She made a difference.

Sophia Bosley (1784 – 1857)
4th great-grandmother

Nancy Ogle (1810 – 1844)
daughter of Sophia Bosley

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


Thomas Ogle J Ogle Sr. 7th Great Grandfather


war of 1812
Thomas went with his parents to Ninety Six District, Edgefield County, South Carolina from Wilkes County, Georgia.

Tom was named with his brother, Hercules, as coexecutor of their father’s will in 1803 in Edgefield District, South Carolina. He also signed the 1811 deed of conveyance which disposed of the land left by William Ogle to his “four boys”. Another deed, dated in 1825 and disposing of land in Edgefield District, South Carolina, was signed by Thomas and Sophia Ogle. They had apparently rented out this land after moving to Sevier County, Tennessee.

No Tennessee land grants prior to 1824 were found for Tom Ogle but it is known that he was in Sevier County as early as 1805. He and Hercules Ogle deeded 48 acres of land at the mouth of Walden’s Creek to William Murphy in 1807. According to the deed, found in the Tennessee State Library and Archives, they held title to the land “by virtue of seizure and occupancy”. The exact date of Tom’s settlement in Gatlinburg is not known but he was one of the first settlers there.

Records of Tom’s service in the War of 1812 were found in the National Archives. He served in Captain Andrew Lawson’s Company of East Tennessee Drafted Militia Regiment, commanded by Colonel William Johnson, and fought against the Creek Indians. In 1850 and 1855, Tom received bounty land grants as a result of his service.

In December of 1817 when the White Oak Flats Baptist Church was formed as an arm of the Sevierville church, Tom Ogle and his wife were listed as charter members. The first church building was started in 1855 on Tom’s land. It was located where the Arrowcraft Shop stands now. A deed conveying title of the land to the church by Thomas Ogle was executed on 8 April 1861. This is found in Sevier County Courthouse in Deed Book M, page 211.

Thomas J. Ogle has three land entries, which are dated from 1 May 1824 through 23 Jan 1826, in the Surveyor’s Book No. 1 of Sevier County, Tennessee. These land entries were granted by the state of Tennessee. All these were located in the White Oak Flats community and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Tom left a will dated 27 Sep 1861 and probated in County Court in February of 1862. It is recorded in Will Book I, p 74-75. William T. Ogle is mentioned as Tom’s eldest son and is named executor of the will. Also Tom mentioned “my son Thomas Ogle… my Sons, to wit., Preston, Levi and Caleb…” In the Court records, Thomas Ogle’s will was admitted for probate 3 Feb 1862. On 3 March 1862, Caleb Ogle and Wilson Duggan were appointed administrators of the estate of Thomas Ogle. (Court Minutes Book I, page 747 and 752)

There is a list of “Inventory of the property belonging to the estate of Thomas J. Ogle, Dec’d., late of Sevier County, Tennessee in the Inventory Book, page 190/92.

In the GUARDIANS, EXECUTORS and ADMINISTRATORS Settlement Book for Sevier County, Tennessee, there is a record for the estate of Thomas J. Ogle. From this book, the following list of the living heirs of Thomas J. Ogle is quoted: “the above Settlement shows that there is in the hands of the administrators the sum of $187.23 to be equally divided among twelve heirs, to wit., Levi, Hercules, Isaac, Rebecca wife of Preston, William T., Celeb, Thomas, Esther Trantham, Hichols Ownsby, Jacob Evans, Andrew Conner, and David Owensby & wife.”

The family appears in the Federal Census records of Sevier County from 1830 through 1860. The census and other records found show that the second generation of Ogle sons in Gatlinburg began using their father’s initial in their names when there was confusion created by the same names.
“Smoky Mountain Clans”, Donald B. Reagan, 1974, p 47-48.



Written will of Thomas Ogle of the State of Tennessee and county of Sevier I Thomas Ogle do publish this my last will & Testament hereby Revoking and making void all other wills made by me at any time -1st        I direct that my Funeral expenses be paid, and all my debts be paid after my death, as soon as possible out of any money I may have on hand or the first that comes to hand – Second, I give and bequeath all the Land on the south west side of Bearskin Creek, in other words, all the Land on the Right hand side of said creek when going up the creek – That I am lawfully seized & possessed of, or that I lawfully own, to my son – Thomas Page 75Ogle.  3rd          I Give and bequeath the Remainder of my Land including all on both sides of the River to the other three of my Sons, to wit, Preston Levi and Caleb, to be equally divided between the three above named boys – I also order that it be so divided that Levis part, include the building where he now lives – and that Caleb’s part include the Building where I live -I also direct that in case the three above named sons cannot agree in the division of said Land, that they Elect three unconnected disinterested Men to divide said Land – also in case any one or more of them should Refuse to Elect men as above mentioned that any one or more of them may make such Election – and all be bound thereby as much so as if they had went into such Election of Men.4th        I direct that all my personal Property be equally divided between all of my living children at my decease Lastly I do nominate Wm Ogle my Eldest son my Executor in Witness whereof I do to this my will set my hand and seal this the 27th day of September 1861.                                                                                                his                                                                                    Thomas X Ogle                                                                                                mark Signed sealed and published in our presents and we have subscribed our names hereunto in the presents of the Testator this the 27th day of September 1861.                                                                                    Aaron Ownby                                                                                    Bradford Ogle


Thomas J Ogle Sr (1784 – 1862)
4th great-grandfather

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

Thomas Ogle beside Wife Sophia Bosley-Ogle HeadstoneThomas J Ogle

Timothy Reagan 1660-1714 7th Great Grandfather


Flag of Irland

It seems that Timothy Reagan came to America for political and religious reasons.

In the late 1600 Lord Protector Oliver Cornwall from England and wales began a brutal campaign of destruction and death for Ireland.  In August 1649 he landed at Ringsend, Ireland with his troops, 8,000 infantry and 4,000 cavalry.  He intended to relieve the parliament army in the town of Dublin and to complete the conquest of Ireland.

After taking Drogheda in Ireland, he ordered the slaughter of most of the garrison and the transportation of the remaining survivors to Barbados Islands.  Then he immediately sent one half of the army to take the southern province (Ulster) while he took the other half of the army to take the southern province (Munster). After a brutal campaign, Lord Protector Oliver Cornwell and his army had reduced all the opposition there, but I.t had also reduced the country to a state of hunger, disease and misery. The O’ Riagan families who had lived in the province of Munster for generations were directly in the path of Cromwell’s campaign. Untold numbers were killed, driven off their lands, starved to death or driven into exile.

Of five brothers of the O’Riagan family only two managed to reach America. One settled in Maryland/Pennsylvaniana area and the other settled in Virginia/North Carolina area. Both families dropped the “O” after arrival here. The old family name was changed to a new family  name, RAGAN. During the nineteenth century an “e” was added to the family name…REAGAN. The families still retains both spellings.

Timothy Reagan 1

Timothy married Mary Lary November 24, 1703 in St. Margaret’s Parish, Anne Arundel County, Maryland.


In the Name of God Amen I Mary Ragan of Arnl County in the province of Maryland being weak in Body but of sound Memory like food to God do Nineteenth day of December in the year of Our Lord God One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty Two years and publish this my last Will and Testament in manner of allowing that is to say… Item I give my son  One Shilling Item I give my son Timothy Ragen One Shilling Item I give my son Rezin Ragen One Shilling Item I give my son Cornelius Ragen a cargo chest Item I give my daughter Eloanor Ragen all my pewter and all my iron potts and all Bed and Furniture that I Lye on and one Cow and Calf Item I give all the remainder of my estate after my just Debts is paid to my son Cornelius Ragen and my Daughter Elenor Ragen to be equally divided. And Lastly I Constituts and ordain my son Cornelius Ragen and my Daughter Eleanor Ragen to be my whole and sole executor and letter of this my Last Will and Testament In Will for where of Mothered Mary Ragen have to this my last Will and Testament this my hand and soul first above Written Signed Sealed and Published| tho proved of us who were | her present at the Signing and | Mary O Ragan [Seal] sealing thereof | Mark Brice Worthington| Celeb Dorsey Jr.
On the 23rd Day of January 1764 Came Mr. Brice Thomas Boals Worthington One of the Subscribing Witnesses to the written Will who being duly and solomnly sworn any Holy Evangelist of Almighty God that he did see the Testama sign and Seal the written Will and board him to publish pronounced and declared the name to be her last Will and Testament and that at the time of her so doing she wants the cash of his appraisal of a sound and displaying mind and memory and that so did subscribing his name as a witness to the subwill in the province of this said testama and that he did also see Caleb Dorsey jr. and the other subscribing witness to the said will subscribe his name as a witness to the said will also in the prosoned of the said testama.

Said before,

Gen. Dairge Dy Croning AA County

Source: ‘Book of Ragan/Reagan,’ Donald B. Reagan, 1993, p 7. Maryland Wills 764, Book 6, p 101.

Timothy Reagan (1660 – 1714)
7th great-grandfather

John Reagan (1711 – 1767) *****our ancestor
son of Timothy Reagan

Timothy Reagan (1750 – 1825)
son of John Reagan

Richard Reagan (1776 – 1829)
son of Timothy Reagan

Daniel Wesley Reagan (1803 – 1892)
son of Richard Reagan

Richard Reason Reagan (1830 – 1912)
son of Daniel Wesley Reagan

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

John Reagan 6th Great Grandfather


John Reagan
When John Reagan was born in 1711 in Anne Arundel, Maryland, his father, Timothy, was 51 and his mother, Mary, was 42. He married Mary Morrice on January 21, 1732. They had three children in 16 years. He died in August 1767 in Frederick, Virginia, at the age of 56.

 John Wiliam Reghan 1735-1785
Charles Reagan 1737-1815
Timothy Reagan 1750-        ****our ancestor
All of John and Mary Morrice ‘s sons fought in the Reflationary War.
American Revolutionary Soilder

John Reagan (1711 – 1767)
6th great-grandfather

Timothy Reagan (1750 – 1825)
son of John Reagan

Richard Reagan (1776 – 1829)
son of Timothy Reagan

Daniel Wesley Reagan (1803 – 1892)
son of Richard Reagan

Richard Reason Reagan (1830 – 1912)
son of Daniel Wesley Reagan

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

George Abbott 10th Great Grandfather


GEORGE1 ABBOTT was  born in England, and died in Rowley, Essex Co., Mass., 1647, where he had lived about five years after coming from England with his family, about 1642, being one of the first settlers. The early records of Rowley, including 1647 the year of his death, which covered the entire period of his residence there, are missing, and not much is known of him except what is given in the published accounts of the settlement of the place, which is very little.

The sufferings of the first settlers of the town were probably far greater than its history indicates. They were literally in the wilds of a new continent, surrounded by want, suffering, sickness, wild beasts, hostile Indians, and with none of the comforts of life which they had been used to in England, nor could these be obtained. Probably few who read the brief history of George Abbott’s family will better understand the situation than the writer, whose business for a score of years after the Civil war was to protect frontier settlers from the many dangers that surrounded them. But in George Abbott’s day there was no disciplined government force to guard those helpless people; they were literally alone, and so differently reared from most of the pioneers of the nineteenth century, that their privations were more keenly felt. It is no wonder, then, that George Abbott, and possibly his wife, soon sickened and died from want and exposure, in the early days of Rowley

In accordance with custom Mr. Abbott probably deeded most of his estate before his death to his eldest son, Thomas Abbott, Sr. His inventory of effects amounted to ú95: 2s.: 8d.(*) The estates of his sons, however, indicate that he owned much more land than there is any record of in his day. Of course at his death all land, excepting his house lot, was held by Rogers’ company, but was probably afterwards divided among the settlers, each receiving his share according to the amount contributed to the company on its organization, and his heirs would no doubt receive his portio

The particulars of the settlement are given in the History of Rowley, by Thomas Gage, and in the History of Essex Co., Mass., by D. H. Hurd. The latter says:–

“The town of Rowley, Mass., was founded in 1639, by the Reverend Ezekiel Rogers and his company. The original grant was from Ipswich on the south to Newbury on the north, and from the Ocean on the east to the Merrimack River on the west. Mr. Ezekiel Rogers was the son of the Rev. Richard Rogers, a distinguished Puritan, of Weathersfield, Essex Co., England, and bred at Cambridge; in 1604, he was of Corpus Christi, when he graduated as a Bachelor of Arts, and of Christ College, in 1608, when graduated as Master of Arts. After leaving the university he became Chaplain in the family of Sir Francis Barrington, of Essex, exercising himself in ministerial duties for about a dozen years.

“He was then called to a public charge, at Rowley, in Yorkshire, where he continued with great favor for about seventeen years, when he was compelled to relinquish his charge–as he tells his story in his will–‘For refusing to read that accursed book that allowed sports on God’s holy Sabbath, the Lord’s day, I was suspended, and, by it and other sad signes of the times, driven with many of my hearers into New England.’ The landing was made at Salem, Mass., in the autumn of 1638, and the new town founded in April, 1639–the act of incorporation reading as follows: ‘The 4th Day of the 7th Month [September] 1639….’ Mr. Rogers was a man of great note in England for his piety and ability, while the members of the company he brought with him to Rowley were called by Gov. Winthrop, ‘Godly men, and most of them of good estate.’

“In the tract set off to Rogers’ company several farms had been laid out; these were purchased by the company for ú800. The purchase money was contributed by such as were able to pay, and in the laying out of house lots, all who paid nothing were given one acre and one-half, while those who paid were given lots in proportion to the amount they contributed.”

The distinction becomes more apparent when the rules of the assignment of rights, called “gates,”(+) in the commons which extended five miles from the town “every way” where the company owned property, are known. The rates were as follows:–

“A one and one-half acre house-lot was entitled to one and one-half gates; a two acre lot to four and one-half gates; a three acre lot to thirteen and one-half gates; and a four acre lot to twenty-two and one-half gates…. The time of laying out the several house-lots is unknown. On the 10th of the Eleventh Month, 1643, Mr. Thomas Nelson, Mr. Edward Carlton, Humphrey Reyner, and Francis Parrat, appointed by the town for that purpose, made a survey of the town and registered the lots to all the inhabitants as granted and laid out.”

The names of the fifty-nine to whom house-lots were registered in this survey, together with a brief account of each, are then given, the list being headed by George Abbott, who received two acres. In subsequent divisions, according to a book containing a record of the laying out of lands and divisions of fences from 1643 to 1647, he received, including the foregoing house-lot, 21 1/4 acres, variously located; but this was evidently only a fraction of the land owned by him. A recapitulation shows that lots were distributed to the settlers as follows: One received a one acre lot; twenty-eight received one and one-half acre lots; twenty-two received two acre lots; three received three acre lots; three received four acre lots; and two received six acre lots, making in all fifty-nine. Only thirty of this number, of whom George Abbott was one, contributed anything towards buying the land belonging to the company.

Gage says, in effect, that when Mr. Rogers’ party first arrived in Salem, in the fall of 1638, it consisted of about twenty families: that they spent the winter in Salem, improving the time looking out a place for a “plantation,” during which they were increased to about sixty families. The place where they located was first called Mr. Rogers’ plantation, afterwards Rowley,–from Rowley in Yorkshire, Eng., where he and some of his people had lived. For nearly five years they labored together in common to clear up the land on each side of the brook that ran through the central part of what is now the first parish, the members of the company not owning land in severalty. They were very industrious every way, soon built themselves houses, a fulling mill, put their children to work spinning “cotton wool,” many of them having been clothiers in England, and were the first to manufacture cloth in the western world. (Johnson’s Wonder Working Providence.)

Mrs. Abbott’s death, in case she came to America, was doubtless given in a book used for recording the general affairs of the town from 1639 to 1672, but much before 1647 is illegible, and several leaves, etc., are lost; therefore the dates of early deaths, etc., in the family cannot be given. The supposition is that one or the other of the two children named Thomas in George Abbott’s family was an adopted son. The elder was known as Thomas, Sr., and the younger as Thomas, Jr. The following from the Ipswich, Mass., court records indicates that the latter was not a son of George Abbott whose death occurred in Rowley, 1647, the day and month of which is not known except approximately, as indicated below:–

“30–1mo. 1647 [Mar. 30, 1647]. The court sitting at Ipswich ordered a warrant issued for George Abbott, Thomas Abbott, Sr., Thomas Abbott, Jr., and Nehemiah Abbott about putting out by the town of Rowley of one of the sons of George Abbott. Permission given to the town to set forth Thomas Abbott, Jr., son of George Abbott of Rowley, to be an apprentice to John Boynton for seven years. Boynton to pay Thomas Abbott ú5, at end of term, provided that it be not fully concluded until next court so his father may have an opportunity to object.”

The warrant for the four so-called sons of George Abbott, was issued, without doubt, after his death, as probably no such action would have been taken in regard to this particular child before that event; in case he was a son, it is singular that similar action was not taken with the other minors. The Ipswich court records show that after the division of George Abbott’s estate, the guardians of the children receipted to the court “30. 1mo. 1648” [Mar. 30, 1648], for ú16 as George’s, ú21 as Nehemiah’s, and ú16 as Thomas, Jr.’s, portion of the estate. An “overplus” of “about 50sh, of George Abbott’s children’s estate,” was left in the hands of Mark Simons, “executor to George Abbott, 28–1mo. 1648.” Later on it also appears(*) that the guardians, Humphrey Reynor and Thomas Mighill, were discharged from their trust March, 1654, on acknowledgment by the sons at Ipswich court that they had received satisfaction. According to the Mass. Colonial Records (ii: p. 215), Abbott made a will, for it was referred by the General Court to the Salem Court, Nov. 11, 1647; but, though search has been made for it repeatedly in all the several court and county records, deeds, wills, etc., of an early day, and in every other conceivable place, no trace of it has been found, nor any complete record of the settlement of his estate. Like most of the early records pertaining to him, it seems to have been lost or destroyed.

The following inventory of his effects is taken from the Ipswich court records (i: p. 61):–

“The Inventory of all the goods and Chattels of George Abott late of Rowley deceased praisd [by] Sebastan Brigham. Tho: Barker Mathew Boyes and James Barker the 30. of August 1647.


“GEORGE ABOTT his Inventory Imprimis all his aparell 01 10 00
It: in silver 01 03 00
It: one Gold Ringe 00 10 00
It: two greene Coverings 00 16 00
It: one feather bed two pillows & one Bolster 01 09 00
It: three flock bolsters one Coverlett & one Blankett 00 11 00
It: two Flock beds 00 06 00
It: seaven Sheets two table cloths seaven pillow bers nine napkins two Aprons 4 handkerchiefs with other small linen 04 06 00
It: fower Course Sheetes 00 07 00
It: one Trunke 00 05 00
It: two hogsheads & one Barrell 00 05 00
It: one boiler 00 01 00
It: one kilne haire 00 04 00
It: one whip saw & one cross cutt saw 00 08 00
It: two black Gownes 00 12 00
It: one Satten Capp & white thred 00 04 00
It: one pillow beere & other lininge 00 05 00
It: one Steele mill 01 10 00
It: one Steele Trape 00 10 00
It: three brand Irons fower wedges one fire shovell & other iron 01 00 00
It: two tramels one bar of iron & one gridiron 00 08 00
It: thirty eight pound of pewter 01 12 00
It: one silver ringe & spoone 00 05 00
It: two friing pans 00 04 00
It: one brasse pott & one iron pott 00 15 00
It: three Kettles 01 02 00
It: one Skillet & two Chafing dishes 00 03 00
It: one warming pan 00 03 00
It: three paire of Scales & weights 00 09 00
It: one brasse morter & pestle 00 05 00
It: one Skimer 00 01 00
It: one paire of horse bitts with buckles and furrells 00 03 06
It: one nest of boxes with things in them 00 05 00
It: one little Gun wth bandelers 00 05 00
It: one Spitt & one brush bill 00 03 00
It: one head peice & one axe with some other things 00 05 00
It: one bushell & half of oatemeale and one Tub 00 07 00
It: one Chest & one Churne 00 03 06
It: one bowle fowre trayes & one tunnell 00 04 00
It: one flockbed two Curtains & one pillow 00 10 00
It: one drinking pott & one jugg 00 03 00
It: three Leather bottles 00 05 00
It: thirty bookes 01 10 00
It: the dwelling house and land with the Apurtenances 30 00 00
It: two black Steeres 09 00 00
It: two younger Steeres 06 00 00
It: one yearling Steere 02 00 00
It: one Calfe 01 00 00
It: two Cowes 09 00 00
It: all the Corne and hay 08 00 00
It: one Sowe & three piggs 08 10 00
It: Some land at Newbery 02 00 00
It: one yoake & chaine 00 04 00
It: one brasse ladle 00 00 08
It: all the fowle about the house ??s 00 01 00


It: all the hops & flaxe 00 07 06
It: one Chaire & two Cushions 00 03 00
It: one Short Sithe & old Iron 00 02 00

Sume totall(*) 95 02 08

his mark


“Debt owing to the disceased of Stephen Kent of Newbury 00 07 00


“Essex Registry Deeds, So. Dist., Salem, Mar. 23, 1894. The foregoi
is a true copy of record in this offic
“Attest: CHAS. S. OSGOOD, Reg.”


From the foregoing inventory Abbott seemingly invested all he had with the company at Rowley; and the fact that his son Thomas, Sr., was one of the overseers and leading men of the settlement in 1656, and that in 1650, barely three years after his father’s death, only seven settlers owned more land each than Thomas, Sr., indicate that his father at the time of his death (when the land he probably gave his other heirs is taken into consideration), was one of the leading proprietors, but at this late day little can be found pertaining to his affairs, or to any of his early descendants. His sons, for the time, were all well off.

As his progeny are becoming legion, there can be no doubt that a desire to know as much as possible about his early history exists on the part of every thoughtful living descendant. On this account great pains have been taken to make his record complete, both here and in England, for from him have descended some of the most eminent of their day in the arts and sciences, including scholars, divines, jurists, statesmen, soldiers, educators authors, philanthropists, pioneers, specialists, business men, diplomats, politicians and trusted leaders and representative persons in almost every useful occupation in life, some of whose records are almost as brilliant as those of the chil. of Maurice Abbot, of Guildford, Eng.; and no pioneer bearing the name in America has a more distinguished descent than George Abbott, of Rowley, the most prominent of whom, like the celebrated Guildford family, from poor boys have risen to eminence. One notable fact is that not a saloon-keeper has been found among any of his descendants, covering a period of over two and a half centuries. The Compiler has copies of several scores of Yorkshire and London, Eng., wills,–all obtainable covering the period in which documentary evidence would develop his lineage, and including the Featherstone parish, where it is suggested in the Lawrence family register Abbott came from, but the desired information cannot be found.

George Abbott had 3 children

George Abbott (1600 – 1647)
10th great-grandfather

George Abbott (1631 – 1689)
son of George Abbott

John Abbott (1662 – 1721)
son of George Abbott

Captain John Abbott (1701 – 1782)
son of John Abbott

Cap Joseph Abbott (1723 – 1788)
son of Captain John Abbott

John Abbott (1754 – 1840)
son of Cap Joseph Abbott

Absalom Abraham Abbott (1775 – 1830)
son of John Abbott

Absalom Abraham Abbott (1804 – 1886)
son of Absalom Abraham Abbott

John Andrew Abbott (1825 – 1887)
son of Absalom Abraham Abbott

William Gilbert Abbott (1848 – 1937)
son of John Andrew Abbott

Martha Elizabeth Abbott/Whitaker/Goode (1872 – 1911)
daughter of William Gilbert Abbott

Ben Cates Goode (1909 – 1980)
son of Martha Elizabeth Abbott/Whitaker/Goode

Evelyn Deloris Goode
You are the daughter of Ben Cates Goode

Christmas Outlawed

Life in the Colonies.jpg 2

When my Ancestors arrived in America and settled in Massachusetts Bay Colony this was the law.

Outlawing the celebration of Christmas sounds a little extreme, but it happened. The ban existed as law for 22 years, but disapproval of Christmas celebration took many more years to change. In fact, it wasn’t until the mid-1800’s that celebrating Christmas became fashionable in the Boston area.

The Puritans who immigrated to Massachusetts to build a new life had several reasons for disliking Christmas. First of all, it reminded them of the Church of England and the old-world customs, which they were trying to escape. Second, they didn’t consider the holiday a truly religious day. December 25th was not selected as the birth date of Christ until several centuries after his death. Third, the holiday usually included drinking, feasting, and playing games–all things which the Puritans frowned upon. One such tradition, “wassailing” occasionally turned violent. The older custom entailed people of a lower economic class visiting wealthier community members and begging, or demanding, food and drink in return for toasts to their host’ health If the host refused there was threat of retribution. Although rare, there were cases of wassailing in early New England. Fourth, the British had been applying pressure on the Puritans for a while to conform to the English customs. The ban was probably as much a political choice as it was a religious one for many.

“For preventing disorders, arising in several places within this jurisdiction by reason of some still observing such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other communities, to the great dishonor of God and offense to others: it is therefore ordered by this court and the authority thereof that whoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way, upon any such account as foresaid, every such person so offending shall pay for every such offence five shillings as a fine to the county.”

From the records of the General Court, Massachusetts Bay Colony May 11,1659

Records indicate that the first Christmas the Puritans celebrated in the new world passed uneventfully.  Some of the new settlers celebrated Christmas while others did not. But the events of the second Christmas were documented by the group’s governor, William Bradford. Sickness had wiped out many of their group, and for the first time they were facing hostility by one of the Native American tribes in the area. Bradford recorded that on the morning of the 25th, he had called everyone out to work, some men from the newly arrived ship “Fortune” told him it was against their conscience. He responded he would spare them “until they were better informed.” But when he returned at noon, he found them playing games in the street. His response, as noted in his writings was: “If they made the keeping of it matter of devotion, let them keep their houses, but there should be no gaming or reveling in the streets.”

The second Christmas was the first time the celebration was forbidden in Massachusetts, but the ban didn’t make into the law books until several years later. As the settlement grew and more English settled in the area, tensions grew between the Puritans and the British. The more pressure the English king exerted on the colonist, the more they resisted. In 1659, the ban became official. The General Court banned the celebration of Christmas and other such holidays at the same time it banned gambling and other lawless behavior, grouping all such behaviors together. The court placed a fine of five shillings on anyone caught feasting or celebrating the holiday in another manner.

“The generality of Christmas-keepers observe that festival after such a manner as is highly dishonorable to the name of Christ. How few are there comparatively that spend those holidays (as they were called) after an holy manner. But they are consumed in Compotation’s, in interludes, in playing Cards, in Revellings, in excess of wine, in mad Mirth…”

    Reverend Increase Mather, 1687

The ban revoked in 1681by an English-appointed governor Sir Edmund Andros, who also revoked a Puritan ban against festivities on Saturday night. But even after the ban was lifted, the majority of colonist still abstained from celebration. Samuel Sewell, whose diary of life in Massachusetts Bay Colony was late published, made a habit of watching the holiday-specifically how it was observed each year. “Carts came to town and shops open as usual. Some, somehow, observed the day; but are vexed. I believe, that the Body of the people profane it – and blessed be God! No Authority yet to compel them to keep it. Sewell wrote in 1685.