Oglesby Park, named after one of the property’s early owners, is now open! The 199-acre park offers shelters, natural surface and paved trails, and a playground.
Benjamin Oglesby was born a slave in 1825 in Bedford, Va., and was brought to Missouri in 1837 at the age of 12 by his owner, Marshall Bird. He worked on a farm near present-day I-70 and Highway W in the Foristell/Wentzville area. In 1864, at the age of 39, Oglesby fled captivity of Bird and enlisted in the Union Army in St. Charles. His wife and children remained in captivity while he went through basic training in St. Louis to eventually fight for their freedom. Oglesby was assigned to the 56th United States Colored Infantry and was honorably discharged in 1865.
After the Civil War, according to the 1870 census, Oglesby, his wife, Martha and their six children—Medora, Samuel, Oskar, Bell, Albert, and Charlie—worked on a farm in Hickory Grove Township in Warren County. In 1871, he purchased 146 acres of land in Foristell. He financed the property through a $2,000 Deed of Trust and paid off the property six years later.
Oglesby farmed the land for 30 years. His wife died in 1900, and he died in 1901. He is buried in Smith Chapel Cemetery, a mile from his farm. The Oglesby children owned the property through the mid-1900s.