Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Gatlinburg Ogles

I've been reading The Story of Gatlinburg by Jeanette S. Greve (Nashville: Premium Press America, 2003) which was first published in 1931 as the National Park was under development. Here in East Tennessee, particularly in Sevier County, the surname Ogle is quite common. I've often wondered about the origin of the name, and this little book gave an account that actually brought a little amused smile to my face. The family's surname apparently was originally Oglesby and of English origin. After they began attending school, according to one old-timer of the Gatlinburg area, they decided Ogle was easier to spell so they shortened the surname.

Maybe we Thorntons should shorten our name to Thorn. It would be easier to spell, and people would be less likely to forget the "n" they leave out when they so often misspell it. It makes me wonder if those Oglesbys got tired of folks spelling their surname "Oglsby" so they decided to force them to put in the "e" by shortening the surname. Perhaps we'll never know the truth of the matter, but it does lend itself to some interesting speculation.

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