John Watson Ogilbee
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Carey, Charles Henry, History of Oregon (Volume 2), Chicago—Portland: The Pioneer Historical Publishing Company

A notably successful career is that of John W. Ogilbee, who since 1883 has been engaged in the real estate business in Portland, while for a period of twenty-seven years he has occupied his present offices in the Hegele building. He has an intimate knowledge of the worth of all real estate in his locality and is considered an expert in placing valuations upon property. A native of Ohio, Mr. Ogilbee was born in Belmont county in 1846, a son of Robert and Mary Ann (Stonebreaker) Ogilbee, the former born in the north of Ireland of Scotch-Irish parentage, while the later was of Pennsylvania Dutch descent. In 1849 the family removed to Iowa, where the father followed farming and John W. Ogilbee was reared on a farm, acquiring a common school education. On entering the business world he became clerk in a store and was thus employed until 1871, when he removed to Oregon, taking up his residence in Portland. He first secured a situation in a grocery store at the corner of First and Madison streets, conducted by S. A. Stansbury, one of the pioneer merchants of the city. Through the exercise of industry and economy he at length accumulated sufficient capital to engage in business independently and in 1878 established an enterprise which he conducted for a few years and then sold, removing to The Dalles, where for three years he operated a grocery store. In 1883 he returned to Portland and entered real estate circles, and has continued in that line of activity, having occupied his present quarters in the Hegele building for twenty-seven years. He is regarded as one of the most enterprising and reliable real estate operators in the city, being now accorded a large patronage. He has negotiated many important realty transfers, operating largely in the Sellwood district, and through his activity in this field has contributed in marked measure to the development and upbuilding of the city. He is a man of strict integrity and in business matters his judgment has ever been found to be sound and reliable.

In 1868, while a resident of Iowa, Mr. Ogilbee was united in marriage to Miss Agnes E. Laubach, whose father, Rev. Abram Laubach, devoted his life to the ministry as a representative of the Methodist denomination. In 1871 he was sent as a missionary to Port Townsend, Washington and in his later years engaged in publishing the Christian Advocate in partnership with Isaac Dillon, the plant being located in Portland. He was untiring in his labors in behalf of the church and his efforts met with well deserved success. Mrs. Ogilbee was born in Virginia and reared in Ohio and by her marriage she has become the mother of three sons; W. Earl, J. Ray and Paul A.

As one of the few surviving veterans of the Civil war Mr. Ogilbee is deserving of the highest honor and respect. At the outbreak of hostilities between the north and south he was residing in southern Iowa and there engaged in guerrilla warfare before enlisting with the Forty-fifth Iowa Infantry, with which command he served under General Grant and Sherman until the close of the war, when he received his honorable discharge. In 1883 he became one of the organizers of Sumner Post, No. 12, G. A. R., and is one of the four surviving charter members of the organization. During the second year of its existence he served as senior vice commander and since has occupied the post of quartermaster, while he is now serving as adjutant, having filled the latter office for the past twenty years. He has never missed a meeting of his post except during his absence from the city and has been selected as a delegate to the national encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic to be held in Indianapolis in 1921. For his military service Mr. Ogilbee is receiving a pension from the government and he has devoted much of his time to assisting other Civil war veterans in obtaining a government allowance. Since April, 1868, he has been a member of the Masonic order, whose teachings he exemplifies in his daily life, and for the past thirty-five years he has served as a notary public. He resides at No. 595 Tolman avenue, in the Sellwood district, occupying a large modern residence, and is well and favorably known in the community where he has so long resided. His has been a life of diligence and determination, and success in substantial measure has come to reward his labors. He is a reliable and progressive business man, a loyal and patriotic citizen, and his many commendable traits of character have established him in an enviable position among his fellow townsmen.


Oregonian, 7 Jan 1927, page 20

Died at Sawtelle, Cal., Soldier's Home, John W. Ogilbee, formerly of Portland.

Find A Grave

Oregonian, 13 Jan 1927, page 18

Funeral services for John W. Ogilbee, father of Earl, Ray and Paul Ogilbee, will be held at the East Side Undertaking Parlor, East 6th and East Alder sts., Friday, Jan. 14, 1927, at 2 P. M. Friends invited.