The African American Ogburns

House of Ogburn Reunion Norfolk Virginia 2006

House of Ogburn Reunion Norfolk Virginia 2006

House of Ogburn Facebook 

The history of this branch of Ogburns in the USA begins with John and Irena (Rena ) Ogburn; they were the first generation. John could be the ‘Negro man John’ named in the estate inventory of Charles Ogburn in 1839.Will of Charles Ogburn 1836
Charles Ogburn had been amongst other things a minister in the methodist episcopal church. John & Rena had eleven children and Rena, lived on to the age of 90 in Mecklenburg Virginia. Of this second generation, two of the brothers, Taylor and Olden Ogburn , were extremely close. They lived next to one another and both had big families . Taylor and his wife Fannie and Olden and his wife Rosa Hayes both had ten children each.Rosa Hayes Ogburn Together these families matured and grew, and gradually many moved to other parts of the country . Of this third generation of Ogburns, Rev. John Taylor Ogburn (1881-1963), the son of Olden Ogburn, graduated from St Paul’s College, Lawrenceville, Virginia and settled in Brooklyn, New York as an Episcopal priest. Herbert Ogburn, the president of an insurance company and the son of Taylor Ogburn, settled in Newark, New Jersey. The two cousins however remained in close contact many years after leaving Mecklenburg.Ogburns were slave owners in the USA from the 18th century onwards – see the collection of wills in this website. When the slaves in the South were freed in 1865 following the American Civil War, many took the family name of their former master as their own. The Ogburn family was no exception to this practice. The Ogburns mentioned below are descendants of slaves of Charles Harrison Ogburn of Mecklenburg, Virginia.

The formation of ‘The House of Ogburn’

Rev John T Oogburn Rev. Ogburn knew many family members lived near New York and, for some time, had been thinking of inviting them to Brooklyn as his guest and forming some kind of family organization. Herbert Ogburn had the desire to get his children together with his brothers’ and cousins’ children so the fourth generation would know each other as the third generation did.

One day the cousins got together and decided to contact every possible member of the family. Herbert said he would supply the financial backing and Rev. John said he would handle the administration of putting the first “Reunion” together.

The first Sunday in August 1942 the first reunion took place at St. Cyprians Church in Brooklyn, N.Y. It was a memorial to Olden and Taylor Ogburn in which more than fifty members were in attendance. Rev. John Ogburn claimed that day to be the greatest day spent during his ministry. After the service, dinner was served in the Parish Hall; and following the dinner, an organization was perfected, to be known as the ‘House of Ogburn.’

First Reunion,  1942

First Reunion, 1942

The first reunion of 1942 (34k) Wilfred Ogburn came up with the name at this historic meeting. The purpose of the organization is “to foster and perpetuate family ties and the right relationship that should exist between all families.”

Since then the House of Ogburn has flourished, and members of the family have met at annual re-unions every two years, and celebrated the 50th anniversary of foundation at the Ramada Hotel, Clark, New Jersey in September 1992.

Virginia Barnwell. niece of the Rev. John T Ogburn

Virginia Barnwell. niece of the Rev. John T Ogburn

Virginia Barnwell. niece of the Rev. John T Ogburn, has been President of the New York/New Jersey branch for over 50 years.
Branches of The House of Ogburn exist in New York/New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Virginia.


David Ogburn (grandson of Rev John T Ogburn) of Washington D.C.
David 'Oggie' Ogburn will be pleased to hear from anyone wanting more information about the House of Ogburn via his website

washingtonpost.com: Style Live: Museums & Galleries – Review of David Oggi Ogburn’s work

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3 thoughts on “The African American Ogburns”

  1. Hi there, I’m trying to get in contact with my Ogburn family orgins. I was born and raised in Australia and have had zero contact with my father’s immediate family. His name is Robert Louis Ogburn, born May 8, 1942. Son of Richard Ogburn and Kate Alexander. I stumbled upon this website and it has made me curious to know more about my family! I believe my father had 5 other siblings so I’d love to hear from any cousins, uncles, aunties. My name is Jacob and I’m 25 years old, living in Melbourne, Australia.

  2. Hey, just curious…what are the chances that some of the African American Ogburns may have actually been descendants of the white Ogburns? I mean I noticed in some pictures that some had very fair skin and although I do not look as if I am biracial, I have been told by many that I have to have African American background somewhere. I do plan to get DNA tested, but I can’t help but to wonder. Thank you for your time. Stay blessed!

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Focusing on the history of the name of Ogbourne, Ogborn, Ogburn and other variants, including the early form of Ocheburne & Okebourne