Thursday, 2 August 2012

The Ogier family in Guernsey County, Ohio

In 1806, the first party of immigrants, mainly members of the Sarchet family, from Guernsey in the British Channel Islands arrived in the then newly-settled area of North America which later became Guernsey County, Ohio. They were followed, in 1807, by members of another Guernsey family, the Ogiers. A fascinating, and possibly apocryphal, story surrounds the arrival, probably in 1808, of another member of the Ogier family named Thomas. This story has become part of Ogier family lore.

In 1938, Alfred S. Campbell, an American cattle-breeder and journalist, visited Guernsey in the Channel Islands and was entertained by Thomas Ogier at their family home, Les Duvaux, where Mr. Ogier related the story of his ancestor, also called Thomas, who had been forced to leave Guernsey as a wanted man. An account of his visit to the Ogiers, including this story, appears in Campbell’s book, Golden Guernsey, which was published in 1938. This is how the story goes:

At the end of the eighteenth century, the Napoleonic wars were being waged in Europe and Guernsey became a base for allies of the English, including Russians. This caused difficulty and disruption on the island as food became scarce and the poorly-disciplined soldiers took to pillaging and theft. Thomas, an affluent farmer, returning to his home from a hunting expedition, found a Russian soldier on his land and shot at him, intending only to wound him. The soldier made it back to his base but, having identified his attacker, died of his injuries, Thomas Ogier therefore became a wanted man and fled from his home before he could be arrested. He first went to France and later took ship to America and, after some wanderings, joined other family members in Cambridge, Ohio. Relating this story to Alfred Campbell, Mr. Ogier told him that ‘…in all his wanderings Thomas Ogier carried with him one relic of his home – the family cradle!’ One might doubt the practicality of a fugitive from the law choosing to burden himself with a wooden cradle, carrying it to France, then over the Atlantic to America; but the cradle is real enough and is in the possession of the Guernsey County Historical Society!

Enquiries are in train and if I can get a pic of the famous cradle (and permission to use it, of course) I’ll post it here.


Ann Morris said...

please contact me as I know the family very well and may be able to assist.
In Guernsey we plan to visit with a group of Girl Guides to celebrate 100th anniverary.

Celia said...

Just picked up your message,Ann. Am very keen to get in touch with you but need an e-mail address.Hope you see this and send me a message on

Lock Smith said...

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