Col Josiah Ogden

Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, USA
Death 17 May 1763 (aged 83–84)
Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, USA
Burial Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, USA
Plot Old Burying Ground relocated to Fairmount Cemetery
Memorial ID 11883204 View Source

Col. Josiah Ogden was a leading member of the community, a pillar of the First Church. He was a man of energy, wealth and influence. His father was David Ogden, who came from Elizabethtown and settled in Newark about the year 1676. Col. Josiah’s mother was the noted Elizabeth Swaine, whose first husband, the gallant Josiah Ward, died soon after the settlement of the town, leaving her a comely widow. From 1716 to 1721 the colonel represented the town in the General Assembly. He appears to have been a man of strong individuality, holding positive and decided views regarding things spiritual as well as things temporal. On a certain Sunday in the fall of some year close to 1733, Col. Ogden, contrary to a rule of the First Church, went into his field and saved his wheat, which was exposed to serious loss from long-continued rains. En passant, it may be remarked that Col. Josiah seems to have been, like many truly good and worthy Christian people of the present day, a firm believer in the new dispensation which says the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. For his daring conduct he was subjected to the discipline of the church, accused of having violated the sanctity of the Lord’s Day, and publicly censured. The Presbytery reversed the decision of the church, righteously deeming the act of Col. Ogden one of imperative necessity, and tried to pour oil on the troubled waters. It was too late. Around Col. Ogden rallied a considerable body, who openly began to declare themselves dissatisfied with the Presbyterian form of church government. A bitter controversy ensued. Col. Ogden carried the matter to the Philadelphia Synod. For several years an animated correspondence took place. Jonathan Dickinson, the distinguished Presbyterian divine, was called to the pulpit to controvert certain strong points in Episcopacy, and controversial pamphlets passed between him and Rev. John Beach, a Connecticut Episcopalian. "Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth!" Out of this trivial matter sprang the Episcopal Church in Newark, and a conflagration of local feeling which it took nearly half a century to entirely extinguish. "This separation," says Dr. McWhorter, "was the origin of the greatest animosity and alienation between friends, townsmen, Christians, neighbors and relatives that the town ever beheld. The storm of religious separation and rigor wrought tumultuously. The openly-declared Episcopalians were few in comparison to the Presbyterians; yet there were two leaders, one on each side, who were pretty equally poised in point of abilities, wealth, connections and ambition. This religious brand," adds the doctor, "kindled a flame which was not extinguished till the conclusion of the late war," the Revolutionary war. During the Ogden excitement Pastor Webb seems to have had small influence, either as a controversialist or as a pacificator. We are told that he possessed no gifts for controversy, and was hated and contemned by the new party, while sinking into neglect and disrespect with the other. Upon application of a majority of the congregation, he was dismissed by the Presbytery in 1736. Mr. Webb appears, however, to have been a good, faithful, painstaking pastor. In 1731, while visiting friends in Connecticut in company with his son, both were drowned in crossing Saybrook Ferry, on Connecticut River. Col. Ogden, the founder of Trinity Church, died in 1763, at a ripe old age. He was buried somewhere in the old burying ground. In emulation of Azariah Crane and his bequest to the First Church, Col. Ogden said, in his will: "I give to the rector, church wardens and vestry of Trinity Church, in Newark, my silver cup or porringer with two handles to the same, for and to the only use of said Church." His tombstone, which still preserves itself in the old burying ground pile of such memorials, despite the vandals, bears the following simple inscription:

"Here Lyes Interred

ye body of


Who died May 17th 1763

In the 84th year of his age."
Colonel Josiah Ogden died before the Revolutionary War and is buried somewhere in the Old Burying-ground. (These internment's were later moved to Fairmount Cemetery). He was the son of Elizabeth Swaine and David Ogden, and the grandson of John and Jane Ogden. He was born and resided in Newark, where he was a member of the General Assembly from 1716-1721. On a Sunday in 1733, Josiah Ogden saved his wheat fields from flooding and thereby came into conflict with the First Presbyterian Church of Newark, of which he was a member. This episode was the beginning of a split in the First Presbyterian Church and led to the founding of the Trinity Episcopal Church of Newark. Josiah had three children with his first wife Catharine Hardenbroeck: David, Catharine, and Mary. He had two children with his second wife Mary Bankes: Jacob and Josiah, Jr. In 1733, Newark suffered a torrential rainstorm that lasted several days. It was after this storm that Colonel Josiah Ogden, a faithful member of the First Church, hitched up his horse and harvested his wheat. If not harvested, the wheat would have spoiled. Unfortunately it was a Sunday and word of this deed quickly got around. Colonel Ogden was disciplined for Sabbath-breaking. Ogden, the son of Elizabeth Swaine, did not take this harsh criticism and punishment lightly. The controversy was long and bitter. Finally Colonel Ogden withdrew from the church stating "I'll have a church to attend, if I have to build one." It just so happened that Episcopal missionaries were working in New Jersey. Because of this, correspondence between Colonel Ogden, his followers and the Synod of Philadelphia began in 1734. While doing this, the bitter religious controversies in Newark continued. "This separation" says Dr. MacWhorter, "was the origin of the greatest animosity and alienation between friends and townsmen, Christian, neighbors, and relatives, that this town ever beheld. The storm of religious separation and rage wrought tumultuously. The openly declared Episcopalians were few, in comparison of the Presbyterians, yet there were two leaders, one on each side, who were pretty well poised in respect of point of abilities, wealth, connection, and ambition. This religious brand kindled a flame which was not extinguished till the conclusion of the late war." The two leaders referred to where Colonel Ogden and the Rev. Joseph Webb, sixth pastor of the First Church. The war was the Revolutionary War. The animosities died down during the Revolutionary War when both churches were used as hospitals. It was during this time that the seats in the church were torn up and chimneys were erected in the middle of the auditorium. But before this happened, the Rev. Joseph Webb was dismissed from the pulpit. Not long afterward he and his son were both drowned in crossing Saybrook Ferry on the Connecticut River. The first charter was granted on February 4, 1746 and a year later it was suspended. The present charter was granted in 1748 by George II. The original church structure was erected in 1733-34. It was made of hewn stone, 63 feet long by 45 feet wide and 27 feet high. The steeple was 95 feet high and 20 feet square.

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