America Waldo Bogle: Her Early Life and the Question of her Ancestry

By Brian W. Johnson

Updated March 21,2023

America Waldo and her husband Richard Arthur Bogle were two early African American pioneers who lived and prospered in Oregon and Washington during the period when those territories transitioned to statehood. Unfortunately, as often happens in families, much of the information concerning their family origins and early experience was not passed down to the next generation. It wasn't until several generations later that their descendants began the difficult task of researching their family history. Kathryn Bogle, wife of Richard Waldo Bogle, Sr., a grandson of Richard and America, describes the obstacles they faced (Oregonian, September 10, 1989):

"The wish to have a history of the Bogles didn't start with me, but with my husband's father," she said. "He did not know how to go about finding it out. He knew his father came from Jamaica, but that's about all he had. He charged us with finding it out. When he was talking about it, most of his family had died, and it seemed like such an impossible thing to do. We were middle-aged and had a lot of things to do taking care of our family and aging parents."

 Fortunately, they were eventually successful in rediscovering much of their family's history and were able to pass those stories on to their son and grandchildren. The information they uncovered helps shed an important light on the diversity of the individuals that settled the American Northwest prior to 1900.

 Brief Biographies of America Waldo and Richard Bogle

 America Waldo was born in Missouri on June 2nd 1844 and as a young girl or adolescent came to Oregon on one of the early wagon trains. Unfortunately, no firsthand accounts have been discovered which provide any information on either of her parents or on the exact year she came to Oregon. Based on her last name, it has been generally assumed her mother was a slave of one of the Waldo brothers that lived in Missouri (slaves were often given the last name of their "owners") and that she probably came to Oregon with either Joseph Waldo in 1846 or John Waldo's widow, Avarilla, in 1854. It is known that after she arrived in Oregon she spent some time living with the family of Daniel Waldo on his farm east of Salem.

 When still a teenager she met an enterprising young African American barber named Richard Arthur Bogle. Richard was born in Jamaica in 1835. At the age of twelve he moved to New York where he eventually became associated with John Cogswell, who had recently returned from a successful trip to the California gold fields. The two men moved briefly to Michigan before traveling west by wagon train to Oregon in 1851, where Richard probably stayed with Cogswell in Lane County.  A few years later Richard moved to California where he tried mining and apprenticed as a barber, eventually opening his own restaurant and barbershop in Deadwood, California. But always on the lookout for new opportunities, three years later he moved back to Oregon where he established a barbershop in Roseburg before moving in 1862 to Walla Walla Washington.  (Sources: An Illustrated history of Walla Walla Country by W.D  Lyman, 1901; and, "John Cogswell" by Charlotte Mitchell, from the Lane County Historian, June, 1961.)

 America and Richard were married on January 1, 1863 in Salem, Oregon. The wedding was very controversial at the time because the service was performed by the abolitionist pastor, Obed Dickinson with both blacks and whites in attendance (Oregon Historical Quarterly, 92:1, 1991, pp. 15-17). Daniel Waldo publicly supported the wedding and gave the couple "several gifts of great value with which to start their home." (Portland Scanner, Feb 23, 2005)

 After they were married, America and Richard settled in Walla Walla, in the Washington Territory. At first things did not go well for the couple. Richard tried his hand at mining but met with limited success, and, based on cemetery and US Census records, their oldest three children died tragically during a two and a half year period from 1876 to 1878. Fortunately, through hard work and perseverance, the couple's circumstances improved and they prospered and became respected members of the community. Richard returned to his profession as barber, then made enough money ranching that he went into banking and became one of the founders of the Walla Walla Savings and Loan Association. Their remaining five children all grew to adulthood and the three boys followed their father's profession and became barbers.

 America Waldo Bogle died on December 28, 1903, and her husband died eleven months later on November 22, 1904. On the day of America's funeral all the barbershops in Walla Walla closed early out of "profound respect the employing barbers entertain for the late Mrs. Richard A. Bogle".[The Evening Statesman, Walla Walla, Wahington, January 1, 1904.

 There are numerous web sites and printed articles which provide more details on the lives of America Waldo, Richard Bogle, and their descendants, but the remainder of this article is directed at two issues: A) What additional information can be gleaned from historical records that might shed light on the early life of America Waldo prior to her marriage in 1863; and, B) The controversy over recent statements claiming Daniel Waldo was America Waldo's biological father.

 Section A: Speculation on the Early Life of America Waldo

Other than her self-report that she was born June 1844 in Missouri, there are no known records created during her lifetime that directly shed light on America Waldo's life prior to her marriage in 1863.  This has led to many unsubstantiated claims about her birth and early years that are often stated as though they were fact. Two examples are Elizabeth McLagan's 1980 claim that Daniel Waldo was her father and brought her to Oregon when he came in 1843 [1], and Gregory Nokes' claim that she came to Oregon "with her mother" [2]. Neither of these claims is backed by any contemporary evidence (i.e. created during her lifetime) but both have been picked up by other authors and repeated as though they were fact.

 Although there is little direct evidence about America's life prior to her marriage, there is a great deal of circumstantial evidence available. When put together, a strong case can be made for the following: America Waldo was born in Missouri in 1844, a slave of the John Waldo family; she came to Oregon in 1854 with John's widow Avarilla; after a brief stay with the Daniel Waldo family she moved with Avarilla and settled in the Roseburg area where she met her future husband Richard Bogle; in about 1861 she moved with Avarilla back to Daniel Waldo's farm near Salem and lived there until her marriage to Richard in January 1863.

 The following expanded outline of America Waldo's early life, although speculative, is based on, and consistent with, the available contemporary sources referenced in this section's footnotes. (Note that while there is evidence America was a slave of one of the Waldo brothers in Missouri, this does not equate to proof that one of those was her father. Without DNA or other evidence, her biological father could be her "owner" or it could be one of his relatives, other whites living or working on the farm, other slaves, neighbors, visitors, etc.)

 America Waldo was born on June 2, 1844 in Missouri [3]. Currently no contemporary evidence has been found that sheds light on the names or any other information about either of her parents. Since it was common for slaves to have the name of their owners, it is likely she and her mother were slaves of one of the Waldo brothers that lived in Missouri at the time of her birth (i.e. David, William, John, Joseph, Calvin, or Lawrence [4]). The most likely is John Waldo because, unlike any of his brothers, he both owned female slaves of the appropriate age and his family later brought several blacks to Oregon [5].

 In 1849 John Waldo, his wife Avarilla, and a slave, probably Nathan Brooks, went by wagon train to California with the intent of going from there to settle in Oregon [6]. John Waldo died in California and Avarilla returned to Missouri [6]. In 1854 Avarilla sold her property and left Missouri along with about seven blacks [7]. This included Nathan Brooks [8] and probably America Waldo [9]. When they arrived in Oregon they stayed briefly at the home of Daniel Waldo in the Waldo Hills east of Salem [10]. In the spring of 1855 Avarilla and the blacks that had come with her moved to the Roseburg area [9] where Avarilla established a Donation Land Claim [6], and the blacks, including Nathan Brooks and America, settled nearby [11]. America apparently lived in the Roseburg area from 1855 until 1861 [10]. During that period America met Richard Bogle who at that time was a barber in Roseburg [12].

 In 1861 Avarilla, and the blacks with her, moved to Salem [10]. America then lived with the Daniel Waldo family east of Salem until she married Richard Bogle on January 1, 1863 [13]. America and Richard then settled in Walla Walla, Washington Territory where Richard had earlier established residency [12].

 Supporting Sources:

 [1] A Peculiar Paradise by Elizabeth McLagan, 1980, p.84. In her otherwise well documented and important book on early African-Americans in Oregon, McLagan fails to give any contemporary source for her claim that Daniel Waldo brought slaves with him in 1843 and that he was America's father. The actual historic evidence indicates both of these assertions are false (see Section B: Controversy over America Waldo's Parentage). [NOTE: A second edition of McLagan's book was published in November 2022, with updates and corrections by the Oregon Black Pioneers. It includes the following new footnote on page 71: Daniel Waldo arrived alone in Oregon in 1843 (i.e. without any Blacks). America, born in 1844, and her mother were enslaved by one of Daniel's brothers, Joseph or John. The identity of her father is unknown, but Bogle family sources claim it was one of the Waldo brothers. In 1854, America, and perhaps other Blacks, came to Oregon with John Waldo's widow Avarilla.]

 [2] Breaking Chains by Gregory Nokes, 2013, p.17. The book includes the undocumented statement, without any qualifiers, that America Waldo came to Oregon "along with her mother." This was later cited as the source for an identical statement in the Wikipedia article on America Waldo Bogle (retrieved February 10, 2022) and on several other websites. Since nothing is known about America's mother -- not her name, where she was born, where she lived, or when and where she died-- this is an example of how an unsupported supposition, stated as fact, can quickly spread, giving it the false appearance of validity.

 [3] Her birth date and place are based on the numerous reports made by America and Richard Bogle on government censuses, and on her tombstone which states she was born June 2, 1844. (For full details see FOOTNOTE #1 later in this article.)

 [4] Source: US censuses of Missouri (from and Genealogy of the Waldo Family by Waldo Lincoln, Vol I, 1902, pp. 269, 270, & 432-444.

[5] Of the Waldo brothers living in Missouri in 1840, only three reported having female slaves (or freed blacks) of reproductive age on the 1840 US Census (i.e. possibly America's mother): Calvin (one age 10-24 and one age 36-55), Lawrence (two between the ages of 10 and 35), and John (two between the ages of 10 and 35). On the 1850 US Census the only Waldo brothers reporting owning slaves were Calvin (I have not been able to check the details of this record), David (seven slaves including two females ages 36 and 2), and the estate of John Waldo (he died in 1849). John's estate indicated he owned nine slaves including three young females, one of whom who could have been America (reported ages 2, 5 & 9). Since John was the only Waldo brother that is both known to have owned female slaves of the appropriate ages and came to Oregon after America's birth (he only made it to California before dying but his widow did move to Oregon with several blacks), circumstantial evidence indicates that if America Waldo was a slave of one of the Waldo brothers it was probably John.

 [6] Sources: Genealogy of the Waldo Family by Waldo Lincoln, Vol I, 1902, pp 432-433; Avarilla Waldo's Douglas County Oregon Donation Land Claim #667; and Avarilla Waldo's 1856 deposition that is summarized in Covered Wagon Women 1854-1860 by Kenneth Holmes, 1998, pp 22-23.

 [7] Oregonian, Dec 15, 1930 includes an obituary for Thomas Davis, who came to Oregon with other blacks as "chattel" of Avarilla Waldo. Covered Wagon Women 1854-1860 by Kenneth Holmes, 1998, p74 includes an Oregon Trail diary entry dated August 8, 1854 by Sarah Sutton: "Mr Tipners 4 wagons are campt with us to night, and the widow Waldo with 7 negroes.(See also Judge Chadwick's statement in FOOTNOTE #2 later in this article.)

 [8] In Lincoln's 1902 Genealogy of the Waldo Family, Clara Waldo, Daniel Waldo's daughter-in-law, describes "Uncle Nace" as the black that accompanied John & Avarilla to California and then, after Avarilla returned to Missouri, later followed her back to Missouri prior to her departure for Oregon.  It is likely this is a misspelling or another nickname for "Uncle Nate," which was the common name for Nathan Brooks, a black associated with both Avarilla and Daniel Waldo in Oregon.  In Nathan's obituary (Oregon Statesman, July 25, 1874) it states he came to Oregon "with the Waldo family." Because his name first appears in Oregon living in the Roseburg area near Avarilla (see [9]), it is likely he was one of the blacks she brought with her in 1854. But based on his last name (not Waldo), and because he listed his birth place on censuses as either Illinois or Maryland (not Missouri or Virginia where the Waldo's lived), he was probably not born a slave of the Waldo's.

 [9] If America Waldo was born on John Waldo's estate, the most likely way she got to Oregon would have been as one of the "7 negroes" that came to Oregon in 1854 with Avarilla Waldo. The 1860 US census lists a black girl named "America Brooks" living in the Roseburg area with Nathan Brooks and near Avarilla Waldo. Given how few blacks lived in Oregon at that time, and America's unusual name, it is likely America Waldo had just taken the last name of the head of the household she was living with, as was often the case for blacks at that time. The census lists America's age as 19 but this information probably came from Nathan who was known to exaggerate ages. On the 1860 census he said he was 70 (i.e. born about 1790), while on the 1870 census he reported his age as 90 (i.e. born about 1780). There was only one black adult male slave reported by John Waldo's estate on the 1850 census (age 42). If that was Nathan, his birth year was probably closer to 1808.

 [10] The obituary for Thomas Davis (Oregonian, Dec 15, 1930), who was one of the Avarilla Waldo blacks, states that when Avarilla and her blacks arrived in Oregon they settled in the Waldo Hills and "the following spring Mrs. Waldo, whose husband had died in California before the trip began, moved to Douglas County, ... Tom, the little slave boy, was taken along. In 1861 Mrs. Waldo returned to the Waldo Hills" where Thomas lived until he moved to Salem in 1863. Thomas Brooks (probably Thomas Davis) is one of the five blacks listed on the 1860 US Census living in the Roseburg area with Nathan Brooks and America.

 [11] The 1860 US Census for Mount Scott, Douglas County, Oregon (Roseburg post office) lists Nathan Brooks living with five other blacks including America Brooks (probably America Waldo) and Thomas Brooks (probably Thomas Davis).

 [12] The 1860 US Census, for Roseburg, Douglas County, Oregon lists Richard Bogle as living alone, occupation Barber. An illustrated history of Walla Walla County, state of Washington by Lyman (1901) provides many details of Richard's life. It reports that Richard Bogle operated his barber shop in Roseburg until 1862 when he moved to Walla Walla, Washington; returning to Oregon in 1863 for his wedding to America. Despite what has often been reported,there is no evidence Richard Bogle ever lived, or had a barber shop, in Salem (the Oregon Argus January 24, 1863 announcement of their marriage lists America "of Marion" and Richard "of Roseburg".. This supports the theory that Richard and America must have met and got to know each other during the period they both lived in the Roseburg area. Also note that Richard and America's wedding certificate lists "Richard Bogle of Walla Walla W.T. and America Waldo of the City of Salem." Richard was already living in Washington at the time of their marriage.

 [13] Oregon Historical Quarterly, 92:1, 1991, pp. 15-17 describes the wedding and some of the controversy surrounding it.


Section B: Controversy over America Waldo's Parentage

 Statements that the early Oregon pioneer Daniel Waldo (1800-1880) was the father of America Waldo by one of his slaves, and that he brought her with him when he came to Oregon in 1843, are common on the internet -- but this does not mean they are true. Based on US Census records and the dates on her tombstone, America Waldo was born June 2, 1844 in Missouri [see Footnote #1 below]. Since Daniel Waldo and his family left Missouri for Oregon by June, 1843, neither America Waldo nor her mother could have accompanied him on the 1843 wagon train; and Daniel Waldo could not be her biological father.

 The commonly held belief that Daniel Waldo was the biological father of America Waldo is based solely on relatively recent statements made by her descendants.  However their earliest statements about America's parentage do not specifically identify Daniel Waldo as her father (see a description of the changing Bogle Family Traditions in FOOTNOTE #3 later in this document). The following quote is taken from a 1974 taped interview with the Bogle family:

 "This wagon train was coming across the plains to the Walla Walla area. In this wagon train was a young woman, a slave. Her name was America Waldo. Her mother was a slave woman and her father was said to be ... [tape paused, then restarts] ... her father was one of the two Waldo brothers' who left their home in Waldo Bend in Missouri to come and settle in the Oregon country." Transcribed from a September 10, 1974 taped interview with Kathryn Bogle; her husband, Richard Waldo Bogle Sr., a grandson of America Waldo, was present during the interview. Black Oral History Interviews; Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections; Washington State University Libraries. The following is the beginning of that interview.  The entire taped interview can be listened to at the Washington State University Libraries Digital Collections web site.

Kathryn Bogle 1974 Interview

 Even the widely held belief that Daniel Waldo brought slaves with him when he came to Oregon in 1843 is totally unsupported by facts. On the 1830 U.S. Census of Missouri he did report he owned four slaves (all males), but although three of Daniel's brothers reported owning slaves on the 1840 US Census, Daniel Waldo reported he no longer owned any slaves (1840 US Census, Wablean, Rivers, Missouri; Roll 229; Page: 366; Image: 741; Family History Library Film: 0014857). Of the numerous contemporary accounts written by individuals that traveled with Daniel Waldo on the 1843 wagon train, as well as the remembrances and biographies written by individuals that knew him well, I know of none that mention he brought any blacks or "slaves" with him in 1843.

 The belief that Daniel Waldo brought America and/or her mother with him in 1843 is not supported by the research of Sarah Hunt Steeves. In 1927, based on extensive interviews with pioneer families in Marion County, she published "Book of Remembrance of Marion County, Oregon Pioneers 1840-1860", in which she concluded that, at least for the pioneers that settled in Marion County,  Rachel Belden, who accompanied Daniel Delany on the 1843 wagon train, was "the first known slave woman who came to Oregon." "Can the reader imagine some of the heartaches this poor black girl must have had at parting with all her own people to go to an unknown land, as the only woman of her color?" (Daniel Waldo came on the same wagon train as Daniel Delany and the two settled near each other in what is now Marion County.)

 The clearest statement that Daniel Waldo did not bring any slaves with him in 1843 comes from R.J. Hendricks (1863-1943), editor of the Oregon Statesman newspaper from 1884 to 1928 and a person very familiar with the history of the Waldos in Oregon. In 1930 he addressed the issue in his "Bits for Breakfast" column (Oregon Statesman, Dec 26, 1930): "Daniel Waldo came in 1843, in the Applegate train, and took his donation land claim east of what became Salem (at the present Macleay); and the Waldo hills section was named for him. He brought no slaves." Hendricks goes on say: "His brother, Joseph Waldo, came [to Oregon] with the immigration of 1846, and brought his slaves. ... Joseph Waldo never married." [see FOOTNOTE #2 for additional references supporting Hendricks' statement and Daniel Waldo's views about slavery]

 Without any existing historical evidence, speculation about the identity of either of America's parents is pure conjecture. But if the family tradition described by Kathryn Bogle in 1974, that America's father was one of the Waldo brothers, were true, the most likely candidates would be either Daniel's brother Joseph, who remained in Missouri until 1846 before moving to Oregon, or Daniel's brother John, who owned female slaves that, based on age, could have been America and her mother and whose family was known to have brought blacks to Oregon in 1854.

 America Waldo did eventually move to Oregon (probably accompanying Daniel's sister-in-law Avarilla Waldo in 1854, or possibly Daniel's brother Joseph in 1846) where Daniel Waldo, as head of the family, may have taken responsibility for raising her and thus acted as a father figure.

  - - - - - - - - -

 FOOTNOTE #1 -- America Waldo's Birth Date

 America Waldo spent time living with the Daniel Waldo family and must have known he left Missouri for Oregon by June of 1843, yet throughout her life she repeatedly reported she was born in early June, 1844 in Missouri, a full year after Danial Waldo left Missouri. This is the best evidence that America Waldo herself did not believe Daniel Waldo was her biological father.

  Data provided directly by America Waldo and her immediate family reporting she was born in early June, 1844 in Missouri include the following:

 Cemetery Records

Mountain View Cemetery

Walla Walla County, Washington

[Bogle, America Waldo Bogle, b. Jun 02, 1844, d. 1904 Jan 01 (actually died Dec 28, 1903 and was buried Jan 01, 1904.)  Her husband: Bogle, Richard Arthur, b. Sep 07, 1835, d.1904 Nov 24 (actually died on Nov 22, 1904 and was buried Nov 24, 1904)]


[Richard Arthur Bogle, born 9-7-1835 in Jamaica, buried 11-24-1904. America Waldo Bogle, born 6-2-1844, buried 1-1-1904.]

 Washington Death Records

Washington Deaths, 1883-1960; county death registers; Microfilm, Washington State Archives, Olympia, WA.

[America listed as dying on Dec 28, 1903, age 59 & born in Missouri, i.e. consistent with a birth date of June 2, 1844.  The county death register also usually includes the names of the deceased's parents, but the names of both America's father and mother were left blank.]

 1870 United States Federal Census

Data collected: June 27, 1870

Census Place: Walla Walla City, Walla Walla, Washington Territory

Roll M593_1683; Page: 313A; Image: 630; Family History Library Film: 553182

[America listed as 26 years old, born in Missouri; i.e. consistent with a birth date of June 2, 1844]

 1880 United States Federal Census

Data collected: June 11, 1880

Census Place: Walla Walla City, Walla Walla, Washington

Enumeration District: 47

Roll 1398; Family History Film: 1255398; Page: 188C

[America listed as 36 years old, born in Missouri; i.e. consistent with a birth date of June 2, 1844]

 1885 Washington Territorial Census

Data collected: February, 1885

Washington Territorial Census Rolls, 1857-1892

Olympia, Washington

Washington State Archives. M1, 20 rolls.

[America listed as 40 years old, born in Missouri; i.e. consistent with a birth date of June 2, 1844]

 1900 United States Federal Census

Data collected: June 11, 1900

Census Place: Walla Walla Ward 1, Walla Walla, Washington

Enumeration District: 87

Roll T623_1752; Page: 10B

[America listed as 56 years old, with her birth specifically reported as June, 1844 in Missouri]

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FOOTNOTE #2: - Additional Comments about Daniel Waldo and Slavery

 R.J. Hendricks' statement that Daniel Waldo did not bring slaves with him in 1843 is further supported by Judge Stephen James Chadwick in an address he made to the Oregon Historical Society in 1930 (The Recollections of Stephen James Chadwick; The Pacific Northwest Quarterly, 1964). His family had been neighbors of the Waldos and Applegates in Missouri, and "a firm friendship was established between these families, which has been maintained through the succeeding generations." Growing up in Oregon, Judge Chadwick often visited the Waldo farm. "I can remember the books in the library of Daniel Waldo. He had most of the classics in translation. I had more than one occasion to consult the text to ease me over the hard places in Caesar, Cicero, etc." In his address, Judge Chadwick mentions the issue of blacks in Oregon. "Several Negroes were brought to Oregon, either as servants or in anticipation that Oregon might become a slave State. Some of them were known as the Waldo Negroes; they were brought by John Waldo, a brother of Daniel Waldo."

 Judge Chadwick confirms that a brother of Daniel Waldo, not Daniel, brought the "Waldo Negros" to Oregon. His reference to John refers to Daniel's brother John B. Waldo (1796-1849). John was a slave owner in Missouri who died on a trip to California in 1849. His widow, Avarilla, moved to Oregon in 1854 and brought several blacks with her (Portland Oregonian, Dec 15, 1930, and Covered Wagon Women 1854-1860 by Kenneth Holmes, 1998, p74). [See FOOTNOTE #4 for Waldo name clarifications and the earlier Section A in this article for details about America's early life with John Waldo.]

 It is clear that numerous Oregon blacks did spend varying amounts of time on the farm of Daniel Waldo, but there is no indication they were treated as slaves. Rachel Belton is a good example. She was brought to Oregon in 1843 as a slave of Daniel Delany. Two decades later she got her freedom and in 1864 married Nathan Brooks. In 1865 Nathan and Rachel brought a suit against the Delany's and "during this time, the Brooks' lived on the nearby farm of Daniel Waldo." This seems more consistent with a place blacks considered a refuge from ill treatment rather than a place associated with slavery.


 In his article "Slavery Question in Oregon" (Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society; Sept, 1908; Vol VIII, No. 3) Daniel Waldo's contemporary, T.W. Davenport, links Daniel Waldo with his friend and neighbor in Missouri, Jesse Applegate, as two of the early Oregon pioneers that were outspoken against slavery. "The anti-slavery crusade east of the Rocky Mountains was ... more noticeable than any within the purview of our [Oregon's] history." "Still, there were men here who, if not so highly endowed, were as courageous and devoted and acted as wisely according to their peculiar conditions as their brethren of the East." "Jesse Applegate, a man of scholarly tastes and habits, and by common consent called 'the Sage of Yoncalla,' was not gifted for public speech and left such exhibition to others less diffident or more fluent of tongue, but his influence was more potent than that of the orators. Daniel Waldo was another fire-side orator, full to overflowing of trenchant wisdom, and who, by the strength of ideas and the spell of conviction, swayed a large circle of acquaintances. Every locality had such men; quiet, foresighted, persistent characters whose 'daily walk and conversation' was an education and an inspiration to those who lingered behind in the path of progress."

  - - - - - - - - - -

 FOOTNOTE #3: - Bogle "Family Tradition"

 There are two distinct Bogle family traditions concerning America Waldo's origins which can be roughly distinguished as pre-1980 and post-1980.

 Pre-1980 Bogle Family Tradition:

 The pre-1980 Bogle family tradition is that America was born in Missouri on June 2, 1844 and came to Oregon later as a child or young woman. Her exact parentage is unknown but this tradition holds her mother was a slave woman and her father was believed to be one of the Waldo brothers that lived in Missouri during the early 1840's.

 Evidence for this pre-1980 tradition comes from America and Richard Bogle themselves. On four different US and Washington Censuses, between 1870 and 1900, America and Richard reported her age as one consistent with a birth date of June 1844, and on the 1900 Census, the only one to specifically ask for a birth month and year, they reported America was born in June, 1844. These censuses also consistently report she was born in Missouri and that both her parents were born in Missouri (Daniel was born in Virginia). When America died, the information provided by her family to the County Death Register included both her age (consistent with a birth date of June, 1944) and her place of birth (Missouri), and it left blank the fields for the names of her parents. Her tombstone also lists her birth date as June 2, 1844. (There is some question about the source of the tombstone information, but whether it came from the family at the time of her death, or was provided by America's descendant's Richard and Kathryn Bogle in the mid-1900's, it is still consistent with the pre-1980 tradition.)

 The pre-1980 Bogle family tradition concerning America's parents and her arrival in Oregon can be found in the 1974 interview with Kathryn and Richard Bogle (see the beginning of Section B: Controversy over America Waldo's Parentage). It reports that America was a "young woman" when she came to Oregon, her mother was an unidentified slave woman, and her father was believed to be one of the Waldo brothers that moved from Missouri to Oregon.

 It was well known by those who knew him that Daniel Waldo came to Oregon on the 1843 wagon train, and it is known America Waldo lived for a time with the Daniel Waldo family. Her stated belief that she was born June 1844 in Missouri would appear to eliminate Daniel Waldo as her biological father.

 Post-1980 Bogle Family Tradition:

 In her 1989 Oregonian interview (see the very beginning of this article), Kathryn Bogle admits almost all the details of America and Richard's early life were lost by the time the last of their children died (Belle and Waldo, who both passed in 1964), but subsequent generations of the Bogle family imply there has been a strong, unbroken tradition on at least one point, America's father.

 The post-1980 Bogle family tradition begins with the belief that Daniel Waldo was America's father. "We had always been told through family tradition that Daniel Waldo was the father of America ... and so we as a family will keep this tradition until we find out otherwise." (Renita Bogle-Byrd, Nov. 26, 2012 email to Gregory Nokes quoted in his book Breaking Chains, p105.) Since it is known that Daniel Waldo left Missouri for Oregon in May of 1843, this tradition holds that the pre-1980 Bogle family tradition concerning America's birth, including America and Richard's own statements, must be wrong. Without any corroborating evidence they believe she and her mother were slaves (or freed blacks) of Daniel Waldo and that her birth (conception) must have been at an unspecified time and place consistent with Daniel Waldo being her father.

 The numerous inconsistencies between the pre-1980 and post-1980 traditions are attributed to errors in the earlier family tradition. This later tradition does not attempt to explain the interesting biological dilemma that while nothing is known about America's mother, they claim the identity of her father is known for certain. (Biologically, at least before DNA testing, there can be a 100% certainty as to a child's mother - she gave birth - but rarely can there be the same level of certainty about a child's biological father.)

 The change from the pre-1980 to the post-1980 Bogle family tradition can be traced to around the time of the publication of the book "A Peculiar Paradise: A History of Blacks in Oregon, 1788-1940" by Elizabeth McLagan, published in June, 1980. In the book, McLagan states that Daniel Waldo came to Oregon "with his family and a number of black people, including a daughter, America Waldo, whose mother was a slave." She gives no reference for this statement, and a review of her research notes for the book, located at the Oregon Historical Society, turned up no source as well. She did extensively interview Kathryn Bogle, and it is likely that sometime during those interviews the story got simplified from Kathryn's 1974 "said to be ... one of the two Waldo brothers" to simply settle on Daniel Waldo as the father. Daniel was by far the better known of the Waldo brothers that came to Oregon, his house was still standing (so McLagan could include a picture), and it was known that at the time of her marriage, America was living with the Daniel Waldo family.

 With the publication of McLagan's book, the Bogle family could point to a published source for America's parentage, and thereafter a new family tradition was born. This post-1980 Bogle family tradition is reflected in several statements made by Richard and Kathryn Bogle's son, Dick Bogle (e.g. the "Portland Scanner", 2/23/2005), and by Dick Bogle's daughter, Renita Bogle-Byrd (e.g. in "Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory" by R. Gregory Nokes; 2013; p.105).

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 FOOTNOTE #4: - Waldo Family Names

 Published materials about the Waldo family often confuse some of their names.

 -- Daniel Waldo had eight brothers including an older brother named John B. Waldo (1796-1849) and younger brothers David (1802-1878) and William (1812-1881). Daniel named his first three sons after those brothers; David (1827-1853), William (1832-1911), and John B. (1844-1907). Daniel's sons, William and John (both Republicans, the party of Lincoln), were prominent figures in early Oregon politics. Daniel's brother William also spent time in the West. He ran for governor of California, and the small town of Waldo in southern Oregon was named after him (thought at the time to be part of California). He never lived in Oregon and eventually moved to Texas where he died.

 -- One of Daniel's daughters was named Avarilla (1834-1885), apparently after Daniel's sister-in-law, Avarilla (Turpin) Waldo (c.1810-1891), John's wife. After John died in 1849 on a trip to California, Avarilla (Turpin) Waldo moved to Oregon in 1854, and in 1863 married Rev. Jesse Moreland. Daniel's daughter, Avarilla, married Richard C. Hayne in 1855, then, after his death, Samuel Bass in 1862.

 -- Joseph Waldo (1805-1871) was another of Daniel's brothers. Other than the statement by R. J. Hendricks that Joseph brought slaves with him when he came to Oregon in 1846, there is little additional evidence about his possible slave ownership. After arriving in Oregon he lived for a few years with his brother in the Waldo Hills east of Salem. Eventually Joseph established his own Donation Land Claim south of Salem and took up farming. He was a strong supporter of Willamette University and other Methodist institutions. He died in 1871 while visiting family in West Virginia. He never married.

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 Brian W. Johnson
Associate Research Fellow (retired)
The Research Institute
Western Oregon University
Monmouth, Oregon


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