O'Fallon Progress

Horn from first settler in O’Fallon-Shiloh area horn on loan to historical society

Becky Willard, a descendant of Captain Joseph Ogle, has shared the Ogle Powder Horn artifact from 1795 with the O’Fallon Historical Society Museum on State Street in O’Fallon.
Becky Willard, a descendant of Captain Joseph Ogle, has shared the Ogle Powder Horn artifact from 1795 with the O’Fallon Historical Society Museum on State Street in O’Fallon.

The O’Fallon Historical Museum has acquired a rare and closely related historical artifact known as a powder horn that belonged to Captain Joseph Ogle with his name and date of 1795 carved into the bone of an animal horn.

Ogle was the infamous Revolutionary War officer who has been identified by local historians to be one of the first O’Fallon-Shiloh settlers. Ogle was also attributed with founding the United Methodist Church located at 210 S. Main St. in Shiloh. He later settled on his farm in O’Fallon, just north of the Family Sports Park where subdivisions were developed off Obernuefemann Road, and near Ogle and Porter roads.

“I first learned of its existence when I opened the museum to the Ogle family before the Capt. Joseph Ogle Memorial Dedication last September (2015),” said Tom Schwarztrauber, the historical society’s vice president.

More specifically, Schwarztrauber was introduced to an Ogle descendant Bill Willard, whose sister Becky Coffman owned the horn, and thereby agreed to a one-year loan to the museum in O’Fallon. The two are the great grandchildren of Ogle, five generations removed.

Generally derived from cattle, ox or buffalo horns, a powder horn is an container for holding gun powder for easy access or dispensing the powder, which is shaped like a funnel making it easier on the user to transfer the gun powder into the end of a soldier’s gun. Most often they were mounted to a long, sturdy threaded or leather strap, and slug over the soldier.

“Which is why they’re shaped like that, and most likely why the horn of an animal became a foolproof resource during that period of time,” said Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society president.

Keller noted, “this one is so special because of who it belonged to, the name and date inscription, and that it has remained in the safe hands of the Ogle family descendants for all this time.”

“He didn’t use it for the war based on the date, but he would’ve used it after the war when heading out west. So this would’ve been a newer powder horn,” Keller said. “Who knows what happened to his war horn?”

So here’s a chance to take a step back in time for anyone who is interested in visiting the Ogle Horn at the O’Fallon Historical Society Museum, at 101 W. State St. The museum is open to the public from 1-4 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Robyn L. Kirsch: 618-239-2690, @BND_RobynKirsch

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