James Edward Oglethorpe 1696 – 1785



General Oglethorpe is one of many people of note featured in Havering Museums’ permanent displays.

As well as being a military man, Oglethorpe was a Member of Parliament, a philanthropist, and founder of the colony of Georgia in the U.S.  As a social reformer, he hoped to resettle Britain’s poor, especially those in debtors’ prison.

In January 1788 Georgia voted to ratify the U.S. Constitution, becoming the forth State in the Modern United States.  The State was named after George II.  55 years earlier, Oglethorpe led a group of British debtors up the Savannah River and established the town of Savannah.

Until he was nearly 50, Oglethorpe lived an adventurous but solitary life.  This changed in 1744 when he met and married Elizabeth Wright.  Wright was a recent heiress and had her own estate in Cranham.   From the 1760s the couple divided their time between Cranham Hall and their London home in Lower Grosvenor Street.  They particularly enjoyed entertaining those from the literary circles of the day.

Oglethorpe died at Cranham Hall in 1785.   He was buried in a vault beneath the chancel floor of the Parish Church of All Saints.

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