OGLESBY, proprietor of the Oglesby House, at Belknap, was born
in England, April 22, 1839. He is a son of Joseph and Sarah A.
(Dennis) Oglesby, natives of Norfolk County, England. Joseph H. Oglesby
owned a farm of one hundred acres in the county of his birth. After his
death his widow sold the farm and started to the United States with her
family of six children, but died while on the sea. The year after her
demise the children all died with the exception of Thomas L. and his
brothers Joseph and John.
Thomas L. started out in life nearly emptyhanded, as sickness caused
the loss of almost all the property brought to this country. At the age
of twelve years he hired out to work for one year at $10 per month, and
during the year he saved $100, having spent but $20 in that time. In
the fall of 1851 he went to Missouri, and learned the miller's trade at
Cape Girardeau, remaining there until l857, when he went to St. Louis
and followed milling until 1858. In the meantime he had learned
engineering, and in that year he quit milling and took a position on a
packet called the "Northerner." He served on several different boats,
and was engineer on the "Ben Louis," which exploded at Cairo in the
summer of 1859, at which time several on board were killed, including
the captain and second engineer, and many others were wounded. Mr.
Oglesby escaped uninjured, after being in the water an hour and a-half.
Having continued to follow engineering until the breaking out of the
war, our subject enlisted in the Missouri State Militia, and afterward
in the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth Senior Tennessee Regiment, which
had been organized during the Mexican War. He served in this regiment
until the battle of Perryville, and was taken prisoner in September,
1862. He was taken from the battlefield to Louisville, then to Cairo,
and to different places, and was then started for Alton penitentiary,
but managed to escape at Neeley's Landing, and at length reached
Illinois. Locating at Jonesborough in 1863, he there engaged in the
milling business for about one year. From that town he went to Dongola,
and followed milling for all but three years. He continued in the same
line of business at different places, owning different mills, and was
in partnership with his father-in-law in the mill at Dongola some time.
At length be bought an interest in a sawmill in Jackson County, which
he sold after operating about six months. On his return to Dongola he
again bought the old mill there, which he ran about three years, and
then sold. He next bought an interest in still another mill, but sold
that the same year.
In the spring of 1879 Mr. Oglesby opened a grocery store and
boarding-house in Belknap, and in process of time added to his store
different branches, until he finally ran a general store, and dealt in
farming implements and coal. In l892 he sold his grocery and dry-goods
departments, and now deals in hardware, agricultural implements and
coal. He is also the proprietor of the Oglesby House, the best hotel in
the village. Mrs. Oglesby conducts a millinery business. Mr. Oglesby is
one of the leading citizens of Belknap, and is a thorough business man.
He was married August 10, 1864, to Naomi Davis, a native of Union
County, Ill. They have had two children: Lavender W., who was born
December 25, 1866, and died October 3, 1892; and John Dennis, who was
born October 18,
1870, and is now in a grocery house in Chicago. Mr. and Mrs. Oglesby
are members of the Congregational Church. Politically, he is a
Democrat, and in his social connections is identified with Belknap
Lodge No. 251, I. O. O. F., and Vienna Encampment No. 53.