John Ogle, 1649-1683, and Elizabeth Ogle, 1650-1713

The earliest exploration of Delaware by Europeans was when Henry Hudson sailed up the Delaware Bay in 1607 (or South River as he dubbed it), before he sailed the Hudson River in search of a northwest passage to Asia. Delaware in 1664 was a Dutch stronghold in America, seen by the English as part of their Pennsylvania Colony. Dutch traders were the first non-natives to settle in the territory around 1631, but were all killed by native Americans shortly thereafter. In 1638, Swedes built a trading post and erected a fort named after the Swedish Queen Christina. In 1655 the Dutch captured the fort and renamed it Fort Altena. The territory was under Dutch rule until it was taken by the British in 1664.

In the 1600's, the non-native population of Delaware is estimated to have been around 700 people. The local Native Americans were primarily members of the Lenape and Assateague tribes. The native people were summarily driven from their lands by the settlers who had received land grants. Many natives were relocated to the Indian lands in the midwest after the arrival of William Penn in the 1680's.

In 1664, James II, the Duke of York and brother of king Charles II had influenced the British Crown to send an expedition of four war ships with 450 soldiers led by Colonel Richard Nicolls, along with Captain Robert Carr to America, to seize the Colonies of New Amsterdam and New Amstel from the Dutch. The ships set sail from Portsmouth in the south of England May 25, 1664. They were the Guinea, with thirty-six guns, the Elias, with thirty guns, the Martin with sixteen guns, and the William, with ten guns.

The expedition landed on Long Island, in British territory on August 27, 1664. Nicolls first sent a list of generous terms for the surrender of New Amsterdam to acting Dutch Governor Peter Stuyvesant, who rejected the terms. After the colonists forced a public reading of the terms, their attitude toward the English invaders changed, because Nicolls stated in writing that all current settlers would retain the use of their land and possessions, with rights to assign heirs as well. Stuyvesant recognized that they were outnumbered and finally agreed to the terms of surrender.

Captain Robert Carr then led a militia in two of the frigates to New Amstel to conquer Delaware for England. Governor Hinojossa did not readily cede the fort. British soldiers pillaged and burned the houses surrounding the fort and finally took it from the Dutch. The fort was renamed New Castle. The inhabitants were driven away, and some were captured and sold into slavery. Robert Carr then began to portion out land parcels to cronies and deserving soldiers in his regiment. One soldier who received a land grant was John Ogle, born in England and only fifteen years of age in 1664.

After the English takeover in 1664, Colonel Nicolls had called for the officials in Delaware to properly assign the lands for the best use of the European inhabitants. European settlers in Delaware in the 1600's were Swedes, Dutch, Finns and English. A 1671 census was ordered by New York governor Francis Lovelace to update the records of “quit rents”, or taxes owed by residents. At the time, Scandinavian residents, Finns, Swedes, and Dutch, far outnumbered British citizens.

For many years, Maryland officials tried to annex parts of Delaware into Maryland, but always met with resistance and the area remained under the control of William Penn and the Pennsylvania Colony.

John Ogle was the patriarch of many Ogle families in the United States. A book written by Sir Henry Ogle, Baronet, in 1921 titled “Ogle and Bothal” goes into great detail of British Ogle family histories, but writes very little about John Ogle who went to America. In the chapter on “Ogles of Berwick, Bousden, Ireland, and America” he said “A Sir John Ogle who came from Somersetshire landed at Newcastle, Delaware, in 1664, and from him in succession descended (2) Thomas Ogle, (3) Thomas Ogle, (4) James Ogle...”. Henry had been in communication with S. S. Todd, MD, of Kansas City, Missouri. Todd had contended, that after a year of diligent research in England, that John Ogle was the son of Thomas Ogle and Anne Ashton Ogle. Todd never published the genealogy or the proof. According to Todd, John was born in London. Henry Ogle may have assumed John was from Somerset because the frigates of the Nicolls Expedition left England from Portsmouth, a coastal city in Somerset.

Another, more widely accepted theory is that John was born in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, the son of Captain John Ogle of Eglingham. The River Tweed, which runs through Berwick serves as the border between England and Scotland. There was a family of Ogles in Berwick in the mid-1600's that had came from the Eglingham branch of the family. In the 1969 self-published “The English Origin of John Ogle First of the Name in Delaware”, Francis Hamilton Hibbard claims to have seen the original record: “Christenings: 30 Sept. 1649. John son of John Ogell, Captain”. By his own affadavit in New York in August of 1680, John referred to his age as “...32 or thereabouts...”, which would roughly corroborate a birth in September of 1649.

It is difficult to imagine that the first-born son of an English lord would leave a life of wealth at age fourteen to be a soldier overseas, with no prospect of returning home, but there are some compelling arguments. There is evidence that Oliver Cromwell had visited the Ogle home at Eglingham Hall during the Civil War in England, and some have speculated that John may have felt that his family had backed the wrong side, and so left to find his own fortune. Wanderlust and the call of the New World in America could also have motivated him to avail himself of free passage as a soldier. The family may have sent him away because of unruly behavior. He later found minor trouble in America related to his temper and attitude.

In 1612, one of the signers of the Third Virginia Charter was a Sir John Ogle, Knight. This may have been Sir John Ogle of Pinchbeck, 1568-1640. The London Company in its' Virginia Charters were encouraging people to go to America and be farmers, mainly to grow tobacco. The Charter outlined the self-governance of the residents as well as the limits of their territory. The Ogle family may have asked young John to be their representative.

John left his native England in 1664 at the age of fourteen to accompany Colonel Robert Nicolls' expedition to America to help secure the New York and Delaware colonies for Great Britain. The four ships and 450 soldiers and officers left Portsmouth, England in May of 1664. In August 1664 the expedition landed in New York (New Amsterdam under Dutch rule at the time), which was secured without resistance from the Dutch.

John served under Captain Robert Carr during the conquest of Delaware after New York was secured. After the siege of Delaware, John remained in New Castle and began buying property. John was originally granted a parcel of land near New Castle known as Muscle Cripple for his military service to England. Around 1675 he bought a larger parcel of land in the area between Christiana and Newark, Delaware, known as the White Clay Creek Hundred.

It is believed that Sir Robert Carr, or Captain Carr who led the British soldiers in two ships to Delaware after the defeat of the Dutch in New York, was also from Northumberland in England. Carr is a fairly common name in England and Scotland, sometimes spelled “Kerr” or “Ker” in Scotland. With Northumberland bordering Scotland there were a large number of Carrs residing in the county, and there are records of men named Robert Carr within close proximity to the Ogles of Eglingham. One of the elder Sir John Ogle's sisters, Mary, was married to a man named John Carr of Lesbury. Lesbury is within shouting distance of Eglingham. They had a son named Robert Carr of Lesbury, but he was probably born after 1664. John Carr also had a brother named Robert Carr of Aledike, which is a few miles further east, close to Alnwyk. This Robert Carr was born in 1622, which would have made him forty-two years old in 1664 when the expedition sailed for America. He could have been a military captain by that age.

It is known that after the British defeated the Dutch in Delaware, Captain Carr was very demanding on a number of issues, favoring the rights of British soldiers over the current Dutch, Swedish, and Finnish residents for rights to property. He also demanded to be installed as the governor of Maine, but was instead called back to England. One story contends that while in Boston the night before his ship was to sail for England, Captain Carr was drunk and started a fight with another bar patron, for which he was detained by police. He did manage to sail, but died the night after the ship had arrived in Bristol, England in 1667.

Another Sir Robert Carr of Etal, Northumberland, England may have been confused with Captain Carr in the previous story. This Robert Carr was a Scot who had a manor in Etal close to the Scottish border. Exact birthdate unknown, he was alive in the early 1600's and purchased the manor at Etal around 1636. Due to some financial troubles, Robert Carr sold much of the Etal estate and gave his remaining property to his children. He later moved to New England in America, and when he returned to England in 1667, this Robert Carr died in Bristol after his arrival. The two stories may have been confused, or perhaps they are actually the same person.

John Ogle was passionately involved in local matters, along with two close friends, Thomas Wollaston and James Crawford. In 1673 the Dutch regained control of New York and Delaware. In 1675 John was arrested along with Reverend Jacob Fabritius for their part in abetting a local rebellion of Swedish and Finnish settlers against a court mandate to build a dike to improve the property of Dutch settler Hans Block. It was decreed that neighbors of Block's would have to assist in the construction, physically and/or financially. Ogle and his neighbors opposed the mandate and he publicly refused to assist. After failing to honor a court order to appear for trial because of an alleged illness, he was ordered to pay a fine of twenty pounds, but the charges against him were eventually dropped.

John's wife Elizabeth is a fairly well known mystery. Some historians believe her to be Elizabeth Wollaston, related to John's close friend Thomas Wollaston, while others believe her to be Elizabeth Petersdotter, the niece of his close neighbor Anders Stille. Not a lot is written of the Wollaston connection, but Elizabeth Petersdotter came from Philadelphia, the daughter of Peter Jochimson, thus the name Petersdotter (or Peter's daughter, which was a Swedish naming tradition). Elizabeth Petersdotter's mother was the daughter of a man named Olof Stille. Olof Stille also had a son named Anders, so it makes sense that Elizabeth Petersdotter would be the niece of Anders Stille. She came to Delaware as a teenager to help out in Anders' household. According to US and International marriage records held by, John Ogle married Elizabeth Petersdotter in 1671. It is possible John had married both Elizabeths, but he died in 1683 at the young age of 34.

Whatever her surname or family, Elizabeth had to fight for what was hers. In 1683, after John died intestate, or without a will, Elizabeth made an inventory of all of his land and holdings and went to the Delaware Probate Court to request they be turned over to her. The court obliged.

In 1684, troops from Maryland led by Colonel George Talbot tried to commandeer her property in Delaware in the name of Lord Baltimore and erected a log cabin to be used as a fort. Colonel Talbot then went around the county demanding residents proclaim their allegience to Lord Baltimore, even though Delaware was officially a part of Pennsylvania. Sheriff William Welch of New Castle County tried to intervene, and wrote a letter to William Penn asking for support. William Penn addressed a letter to Lord Baltimore protesting Talbot's actions on “ belonging to widow Ogle (whose husband came over with Capt. Carr, that under his majesty's government reduced the place) did forthwith cause a fort to be erected.” After the threats from Colonel Talbot, the Ogle, Stille and Arskin families moved to the White Clay Creek area.

From an historic marker of 1932 by the Historic Marker Commission of Delaware in 1932:


Colonel George Talbot, Cousin of Lord Baltimore,

      in defiance of William Penn's claim to Delaware,
      erected a fort nearby, 1684 on land of the Widow
      Ogle. Talbot dispossessed settlers between here and
      Iron Hill who refused to acknowledge Baltimore as
      Proprietor. Fort garrisoned about two years. Boundary
      settled by agreement, 1760. Surveyed by Mason and
      Dixon, 1763. Confirmed by Proclamation of the
      Provincial Governor John Penn, 1775.
      Talbot's Fort historical marker

On June 9, 1686 Anders Stille (written as Andrew Stilly) deeded some of his property to the widow Ogle on behalf of her sons John and Thomas.

John and Elizabeth Ogle were the parents of Thomas, John, William, Mary, and Alexander. Thomas Ogle married Mary Crawford and Elizabeth Graham Arskin and was the father of fifteen children in total. Thomas expanded the White Clay Creek property by an additional 790 acres. John Ogle junior married Elizabeth Graham Harris. They had eight children.

Not much is known about William. No record of marriage is evident. He lived to 1734. Mary apparently died youg, at the age of 2 years. Likewise, the details regarding the life and death of Alexander Ogle is unknown.

There is no mention of a John Ogle, born in 1649 in Berwick-upon-Tweed in any of the histories of Northumberland, nor is he mentioned in “Ogle and Bothal” as an Eglingham Ogle. However, that is not a total surprise, considering that the historic records researched for those books were the Pipe Rolls, Assize Rolls and other records that relied on recorded transactional data. It may be that a fourteen year old boy had not lived to an age when he legally witnessed transactions of deeds, etc.

“British Roots of Maryland Families” also contends that John Ogle of Eglingham is the father of John Ogle of Delaware, but adds the caveat that “The Ogle Family Association does not accept this line. More work needs to be done on establishing the parentage of John who settled at Newcastle, De.”.

The Delaware probate court wrote the following in regard to Elizabeth Ogle's property rights:

“To all whome these presents shall come Greeting know yee that Elizabeth Ogle the widow of John Ogle of this County Planter late deceased hath delivered into this office an inventory of the Lands Goods and Chattles of her said Husband & hath entered into & give bond with suretyes her due Administration according to law, and for as much as her said late Husband dyed Intestate or withou making of his last Will & Testament, She prayed to be admitted administration to his Land Goods & Chattles which is hereby granted unto her accordingly. These are therefore by the King's Authority in the name of the proprietary & Governor of the Province of Pensilvania & Territories thereunto belonging to authorize & empoweer her the said Elizabeth Ogle – To administer upon the Estate goods Chattles Debts & other effects of the said John Ogle her late husband deceased, or to him in any wise whatsoever belonging or appertaining—Hereby giving and granting unto her the said Elizabeth Ogle fully power and authority to enter upon and take possession of all the Estate goods Chattles Debts & other effects whatsoever late belonging or appertaining unto the said John Ogle her late Deceased Husband And to sue for, Recover and obtain the same out of the hands of any person or persons that is indebted or owing unto or hath ought in His or Her Custody of or belonging to the said John Ogle and with the produce thereof to Sattisfy his Just Debts and allott and allow his two children by Her the said Elizabeth Ogle.. Theyer parts shares & portions by Law unto them and further to do Execut & perform Such other needful Act & Acts Thing & Things in or about or touching the premises as fully to all Intents & purposes as any other Administrator or Administratrix Lawfully may can or ought to do Gien under my Hand & Seale at New Castle the 19th day of of the 12th moneth commonly called February 1683/4 In the 36th year of the Reigne of the King & 3d year of the Proprietaries Government.”