Young John Ogle early became aware of the difficulties which his family were likely to experience after the Restoration, and he undoubtedly had heard tales of adventures in the New World; and so when the opportunity was presented to him him, John Ogle joined Colonel Nicolls’ expedition, bound for America.
In March 1664, the whole of the territory in America occupied by the Dutch on the Atlantic seaboard was granted by Charles II to his brother, the Duke of York, on the plea that it was British soil by right of discovery. On 25 May 1664, Colonel Nicolls, with four ships, 300 soldiers and 450 men, sailed from Portsmouth. The expedition arrived at New Amsterdam, and without firing a shot, Governor Stuyvesant surrendered the town on 29 August and promptly changed the name to New York.
Delaware had been origanally settled by Swedes, who quarrelled with the Dutch, who built Fort Casimir 6 miles from the Swedish Fort Christiana. In 1654 Governor Rising brought a large number of colonists from Sweden; he took Fort Casimir, renaming it Fort of the Holy Trinity, in honor of the day of capture. Governor Stuyvesant, who later came down from New Amsterdam and recaptured the fort, renamed it New Amstel.
John Ogle, who had served under Captain Carr in Delaware, became a permanent resident of White Clay Creek Hundred, named from the deposits of white clay found along its banks. John Ogle first resided at New Castle, where he was a large land-buyer; he afterwards lived at various sites on his extensive holdings. He commenced acquiring land at an early date, probably as soon as the confusion of the conquest and the settlement of Indian troubles permitted it.
The first grant that John Ogle received was in February 1666, from Governor Nicolls, who had empowered the officers of Delaware to dispose of ‘implanted’ land there for the best advantage of the inhabitants. The parcel known as Muscle Cripple was granted to Sgt Thomas Wollaston, John Ogle, John Hendricks and Herman Johnson. It consisted of a part of 300 acres and was bounded by a creek at the head of Bread and Cheese Island and also by the plantations of Hans Bones and James Crawford. Sgt Wollaston had been a comrad in arms, as had James Crawford of the adjoining plantation. James Crawford, having gained some knowledge of medicine in the army, was known as ‘Doctor’ on the early assessment rolls. His daughter Mary was later to marry into the Ogle family. Crawford was one of the heroes of the Nicolls expedition, his grant specifically stating that it was given ‘in consideration of the good service performed by James Crawford, a soldier’.
The story of John Ogle is closely bound up whith that of his friends Thomas Wollaston and James Crawford, who took a liking to young Ogle and formed a friendship which continued throughout their lives.
The three friends settled on nearby plantations in New Castle County, where their wives survived them. The Records of the Court of Newcastle give a picture of their lives after 1676.
The three are the foundation of the Ogle genealogy. John Ogle’s son Thomas married Mary Crawford, daughter of James. Wollastaon connections appear in the fourth and fifth generations. Joseph Ogle married Priscilla Wollaston, and their son Samuel married Deborah Wollaston.
An eye-witness account of the events of June 1675 has revealed something of the character of John Ogle of that period – swashbuckling, rash and reckless, with an amount of courage appropriate to the rough and tumble frontier environment. He was not one to be imposed on, especially by one of the Dutch who certainly did not amount to much in the eys of His Majesty’s soldiers. Under order of the Governor-General, the magistrates met at New Castle on 4 June 1675, and decided that it would be necessary to build a road across the marsh and to build a dyke in the marsh next to the town. Another dyke across Hans Block’s marsh was also thought necessary, and the inhabitants were orderd to assist in the project by contributing labour or money. The project was strenuously opposed by the settlers because the dyke across Hans Block’s marsh was an improvement to private property. John Ogle was a leader of the objectors and peremptorily informed the magistrates that no dykes at all would be built under any such unfair conditions. His objections stirred the people to great excitement in the church where the public meeting was held; and Ogle was put out of the church. Mathys Smith and the Rev. Jacobus Fabricius took up the cause and as a result Ogle and Fabricius were arrested. They were confined in a boat which was anchored nearby, where they continued their public imprecations. Excitement was high, and they were eventually released. Later Hans Block encountered Ogle on the street and was told that if the Finns had been drunk no good would have come from the incident. It was an affront to constituted authority and called for severe disciplinary measures.
Conditions in New Castle were not good at that time; carousals, fights and robberies were the order of the day, and it wasn’t a safe place for a stranger. William Edmunsdon, ‘a Public Friend’ visiting there, found it difficult to secure lodgings, ‘the inhabitants being chiefly Dutch and Finns addicted to drunkenness’, who refused to take him in, even though he had money.
Special warrants were issued by the Governor against Fabricius and Ogle, who with others had signed a remonstrance. The two chief trouble makers were ordered to appear in the August Court, and the other signers before a later court. Fabricius appeared and the proceedings resulted in the unfrocking of the troublesome person; Ogle, who conveniently fell sick, failed to appear, and no further action was taken against him.
After the excitement of the summer of 1675, Ogle proceeded to acquire more land, and the tract known as Hampton, on the south side of St. George’s Creek, consisting of 300 acres, was confirmed to him by Governor Andross on 5 November 1675.
New Castle court records reveal that in February 1676 Ogle accused one of the Dutch residents of stealing his heiffer. As one of the jurmen was Thomas Wollaston, the outcome was predictable.
The above incident marked the beginning of a series of court proceedings which involved John Ogle and James Crawford for the rest of their lives. Ogle was an extensive producer of tobacco, and like other planters he was continually involved in financial and other difficulties. Little ready money changed hands in those days, and the barter system was the common way of doing business.
Various deeds of the period after 1678 record transfers of extensive tracts of land to a number of Ogle’s associates; among them, Swart Neuton’s Island was transferred to John Darby of Maryland, and other lands to John Test and to Augustine Dixon.
In 1675 the Governor ordered the construction of highways, and the inhabitants of New Castle and the surrounding area, and on the south side of Christiana Creek were made responsible for constructing a highway from New Castle to Red Lyon between the first of January and the end of Frebruary. The highway was to be a good passable one, twelve feet wide, and John Ogle was appointed overseer of the residenst around Christiana Creek.
On 25 August 1680, Thomas Wollaston of White Clay Creek wrote a letter to John Briggs of West Jersey which he gave to John Ogle for delivery. Wollaston had a debt of three years standing against Briggs. Ogle made the journey, stopping in New York, where 27 August he made an affidavit concerning the transaction. The affidavit began: ‘John Ogle, aged thirty-two or thereabouts, . . . . .
The incident itself is not important, but Ogle’s statement of his approximate age has been of crucial importance to ogle genealogy, as without it, it would have been impossible to connect him with absolute certainty to his Northumberland Family.
In November 1681 Ogle received a court order to take up 200 acres of land for each of his two sons, Thomas and John Ogle, and on 27 December 435 acres, called the ‘Fishing Place’, on Christiana Creek were surveyed on the warrant. On August of the following year, Northampton, a tract of 200 acres in White Clay Creek Hundred was surveyed for Ogle. On 14 October 1683 more acres in Mill Creek Hundred were surveyed for him, and on 8 December Eagles Point in White Clay Creek Hundred was also surveyed. This ended the accumulation of the original Ogle acreage, for in 1683 John Ogle died.
Source: ‘Smoky Mountain Clans’, Donald B. Reagan, 1978, p 128b. ‘The English Origin of John Ogle’, Francis Hamilton Hibbard, 1967, p 9-14. ‘Pedigrees of Some of the Emperor Charlemagne’s Descendants’, Langston & Buck, 1986, p 199.
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© Copyright 1995, 1996 David L. Beckwith