Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs Library
Manuscript Group 386, Ogden Family (Newark and Elizabeth, NJ)
Papers, 1767-1822 (Bulk dates: 1767-1769, 1802-1813), 0.2 linear feet / 9 items
Call Number: MG 386 + folder number
Correspondence of David Ogden (1707-1798), David B. Ogden (1775-1849), Aaron Ogden (1756-1839), and Uzal Ogden, Jr. (1744-1822); petition from Aaron Ogden and Thomas Gibbons to the United States Circuit Court, New Jersey District, concerning a dispute over land owned by a stock company founded by Ogden and two other residents of Elizabethtown (now Elizabeth). Correspondents include Samuel Allinson, Ebenezer Elmer, Charles Ewing, James Parker (1725-1797), and Elias Van Arsdale.
Gifts of David A. Hayes, 1848, and William A. Whitehead, ca.1848.
John Ogden came to Long Island from Hampshire, England in 1640. He moved to New Jersey in 1664 and was a settler of Elizabethtown (now Elizabeth). The Ogdens represented in this collection are descended from him.
David Ogden (1707-1798)
David Ogden was born in 1707 in Newark, New Jersey, to Josiah Ogden and Catharine Hardenbroeck. He graduated from Yale College in 1728, studied law in New York City, and then settled in Newark, New Jersey where he set up a law practice. He was named sergeant-at-law in 1764, became head of the New Jersey Bar, and also served as a member of and counsel for the East Jersey Proprietors. He was appointed an associate judge of the New Jersey Colonial Supreme Court in 1772.
Ogden remained loyal to Great Britain when the Revolution started. In 1777, he fled his home in Newark for safety among the British forces in New York. Colonial troops ransacked his house and lands, and in 1778, patriots confiscated all of his property. Ogden left for England in 1783 where he was compensated for his losses. He returned to America in 1790, settled in Jamaica, Long Island and stayed there until his death in 1798.
David Ogden married Gertrude Gouverneur with whom he had six surviving children: Isaac, Abraham, Peter, Nicholas, Samuel, and Sarah. The loyalties of his children were split during the Revolution.
David Bayard Ogden (1775-1849)
David B. Ogden was the grandson of David Ogden (1707-1798). He was born on October 31, 1775 in Morrisania, New York, the eldest of the twelve children of Euphemia Morris and Samuel Ogden. Davids father, unlike his grandfather, sided with the colonies during the Revolution.
Ogden received a Bachelors of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania in 1792 and then studied law with his uncle, Abraham Ogden. David B. Ogden was admitted to the bar as an attorney in 1796 and as a counselor in 1799. He settled in New York City where he set up a law practice.
David B. Ogden married Margaretta Ogden with whom he had eight children. He died on Staten Island, New York on July 16, 1849.
Aaron Ogden (1756-1839)
Aaron Ogden was born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey on December 3, 1756. He was the son of Phebe Hatfield and Robert Ogden, and the great-grandson of John Ogden.
Aaron Ogden graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1773 and was a teacher for three years before the Revolution. He fought with the New Jersey patriots during the war and afterwards studied law with his brother Robert. He was admitted to the bar as an attorney in 1784, and as a counselor and sergeant-at-law in 1794. He lived and practiced in his hometown of Elizabethtown.
Ogden fought against the French at the turn of the century, rising to the rank of colonel. After the war, he was the clerk of Essex County until 1801 when he was appointed to fill the remaining two years of a vacant U.S. Senate seat. In 1812, he was elected to the office of governor of New Jersey and served for one year.
Around this time, Ogden turned his attentions to the steamboat business. With his partner Daniel Dod, he established a steamboat ferry between Elizabethtown and New York City. Ogden and Dod faced problems in the New York waters with the Fulton-Livingston New York monopoly and the New Jersey waters where Thomas Gibbons, Ogdens former partner, was becoming increasingly competitive. Ogden ran out of money while the matter slowly reached its way to the United States Supreme Court where all water monopolies were declared null and void. With that decision he lost sole claims to the route between Elizabeth and New York and was financially ruined. He moved to Jersey City, New Jersey and was soon imprisoned for debt in New York City. When his predicament became known, he was released under the terms of a law drawn up for his assistance that stated that Revolutionary War soldiers could not be imprisoned for debt. The position of collector of Customs of Jersey City was created for him, and he remained in that job until his death on April 19, 1839.
Aaron Ogden married Elizabeth Chetwood on October 27, 1787 and they had seven children together.
Uzal Ogden, Jr. (1744-1822)
Uzal Ogden, Jr., was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1744 to Elizabeth Charlotte Thébaut and Uzal Ogden.
From an early age Uzal Ogden pursued missionary work in Sussex County. He studied theology with the Rev. Dr. Thomas B. Chandler and was ordained a minister by the Bishop of London on September 21, 1773. He continued with his missionary work, became the assistant rector of the Trinity Church of New York, and was named rector of the Trinity Church of Newark in 1788.
On August 16, 1798, Uzal Ogden was elected the first Bishop of New Jersey. However, the General Assembly would not confirm him in that position and New Jersey remained without a bishop for the next eleven years. In 1804, Ogden was asked to resign as the rector of the Trinity Church. He refused and was soon suspended from performing ministerial duties in New Jersey, instead becoming a member of the New York Presbytery until his death in 1822.
Uzal Ogden married Mary Gouverneur in 1776 with whom he had six children. He died in Newark in 1822.
These papers seem to have been compiled from a number of different sources. The copy of the David Ogden letter (folder 1) was a gift of David A. Hayes, 1848. The copy of the Uzal Ogden, Jr. letter (folder 9) was probably a gift of William A. Whitehead, ca.1848. The Charles Ewing letter to Aaron Ogden (folder 5) was removed from the James E. Howell Papers (MG 109) in 1900. The source of the remainder of the items in the collection is unclear.
These papers consist of nine documents dating from 1767-1822 that were generated by four members of the Ogden family: David Ogden (1707-1798), David B. Ogden (1775-1849), Aaron Ogden (1756-1839), and Uzal Ogden, Jr. (1744-1822).
The papers consist mainly of correspondence. The three letters of David Ogden, one of which is a handwritten copy, all deal with business of the East Jersey Proprietors. David B. Ogdens letter concerns a Newark land dispute with Elisha Boudinot, and Uzal Ogdens letter, also a copy, discusses the religious makeup and practices of Sussex County. There are three letters of Aaron Ogden that deal with the arming of New Jersey troops during his time as governor of New Jersey and with court cases, one of which is his own steamboat case. The papers also contain a petition to the U.S. Circuit Court in the Ogden-Gibbons case against Walter Rutherfurd.
Manuscript 252, Amzi Dodd (1793-1838) Papers: Contains papers on the Gibbons v. Ogden case
Manuscript Group 859, Essex County, New Jersey Clerk's Office Book of warrants: Contains writs issued by Aaron and Robert Ogden
Processed by Kim Charlton, October 1999 as part of the "Farm to City" project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
The New Jersey Historical Society