From the History of Muscatine County Iowa 1911

Ogilvie House, now the Commercial Hotel


ADAM OGILVIE, In the month of June, 1836, a westward bound sailing vessel had among

its passengers Adam Ogilvie, then a young man in his early thirties. In July he landed at New York and soon afterward started for the Mississippi valley, arriving in September at the little trading post then known as Bloomington, predecessor of the present flourishing city of Muscatine, Iowa. With marked prescience he recognized the opportunities here owing to the advantageous geographical situation and resolved that he would locate. He was for many years the oldest general merchant in the city and no history of Muscatine would be complete without extended reference to him who was ever an honored and respected citizen here during the period of his residence in the county.


He was of Scotch birth and parentage. At the manse of Glengarrick, which figures in Scottish history, he was born in January, 1804. This farm, which is situated in the parish of Keith in Banffshire, Scotland, has been in possession of the family from remote generations and is still owned by one of the branches of the Scotch Ogilvies. He was the tenth son of William and Margaret ( Anderson) Ogilvie, and his early life was passed at the manse. When eighteen years of age he was apprenticed to a merchant, John Ingraham, in the city of Keith, serving a three years' term of indenture, and his ability was such that in course of time he was promoted to the position of head man of the establishment. Subsequently he engaged in the same line of business on his own account, being numbered among the merchants of Keith for eight years.


In the spring of 1836, however, he sold out and in the month of June, as previously stated, sailed for the United States. He remained for a brief period in New York City and then started with relatives for the" far west. " As the Mississippi valley was then considered. It was about the 1st of September when he reached Bloomington, a little trading post on the western frontier. He purchased several lots and decided to establish his home. Yet desiring to know something of this section of the country, he started on a trip that took him up the river as far as Dubuque, thence eastward to Galesburg, Illinois, and from that point across the country to Burlington. Iowa, and on back to Bloomington. He traveled the entire journey on foot, much of the way in deep snow through an almost unsettled country. His sagacity was the source of his belief in the future and in 1837 he opened a general stock of goods in a little log cabin on Water Street. This was the second mercantile house in Bloomington, if the old trading post is to be regarded as the first. The log cabin was soon supplanted by a substantial two-story structure on the same street, the lower story of which he occupied for business purposes, while the second story was used as a residence. Thirteen years later this building was removed to make way for a brick building of much greater pretentions. The timbers of the old wooden building were all fitted, squared and framed on the lot where the house stood, Joists, studding, rafter and weatherboarding were made from trees generally growing in close proximity to the lot, while the flooring, which was of oak, was brought from Drury's Mills in Illinois, and the pine lumber for sash, doors and finishing and all the shingles were brought from Cincinnati, Ohio, at considerable expense. In 1844, having purchased a tract of sixty acres adjoining the town, Mr. Ogilvie built an elegant and commodious residence, which in h<Dr. of the ancestral home of his native land he called the Manse of Glengarrick. There he spent the remainder of his days in the company of his wife and children and his home was ever the center of his universe.


Mr. Ogilvie was married in New York City, August 9, 1837, to Miss Isabella Milne, a daughter of Peter and, Isabella Milne. Mrs. Ogilvie was born in Keith, Scotland, and after her mother's death in that country, she, accompanied her father to America, the time of their arrival in the new world being in June, 1837. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Ogilvie were born four sons and one daughter. Charles Duff, the eldest, died in childhood. William Henry, who lived to middle age, died unmarried on the 9th of March 1878. Charles B., who was born in Muscatine, January 14, 1845, was graduated from Princeton College with the class of 1867. He later studied law in Columbia College of New York and was admitted to the bar in 1872. He was married in Muscatine, October 17, 1877, to Miss Lucy Jackson, a daughter of Alexander Jackson, a prominent pioneer of this city. Frank A., the next member of the family, passed away April 17, 1878. Isabella, the only daughter, and the second in order of birth, is the wife of Colonel C. C. Horton, who served in the Civil war as a member of the Second Iowa Cavalry and was later an officer of the pension department, making his home in Muscatine.


Mr. Ogilvie continued in active connection with merchandising up to the time of his death and for a long period was the oldest merchant in years of continuous connection with the trade in Muscatine. His business increased with the growth of the city and he became one of the prosperous and substantial residents here. He also engaged during the later years of his life in the real-estate business but his success was mainly attributable to his operations in mercantile lines. He was an upright, honorable man in every relation of life, both public and private, was genial and affable in, manner and was always ready to accommodate a neighbor or a friend to the extent of his ability. His substantial qualities therefore won him the good will and high regard of all with whom he came in contact. His death occurred on the 5th of February, 1865, when he was in the sixty-first year of his age and was sincerely mourned by the community in which he had so long occupied a prominent place as one of the most worthy pioneers. His estimable wife survived him for many years.


His part as a factor in public life was such as contributed in large measure to the improvement and development of this section of the state. He was regarded as a most enterprising and progressive citizen and, moreover, he was a man of most charitable and kindly spirit, giving freely of his means to benevolent and religious work. He contributed most generously toward the erection of the Presbyterian church of this city, of which he was a devoted member. In the early settlement of Muscatine, section 35 of township 77 norths, range 2 wests, was granted to Muscatine County for public purposes and the county commissioners appointed Mr. Ogilvie their agent to receive payments and to deed to each one his particular lot. This delicate duty was performed with entire satisfaction to all concerned. No trust reposed in him was ever betrayed in the slightest degree. He deserves to be honored as one of the up builders of the community, his labor at all times proving an element in the substantial growth, progress and development in material, intellectual, social and moral lines.


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