Thomas Egenton Hogg
|Thomas Egenton Hogg|
|Died||December 8, 1898
|Allegiance|| United States of America
Confederate States of America
|Service/branch||Confederate States Navy|
|Years of service||1863–1865|
|Other work||Railroad promoter, Corvallis, Oregon|
Thomas Egenton Hogg (1828–1898) was a master in the Confederate States Navy who participated in raids on Union ships during the American Civil War. He was captured and sentenced to death, but was eventually released from prison, after which he became a businessman and railroad promoter in the U.S. state of Oregon. He worked to build the Oregon Pacific Railroad, though his dream to create a transcontinental railroad with its western terminus on the Oregon Coast was never realized.
Hogg was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1828, the son of William Hogg, a prominent Baltimore merchant, and Jane Moffitt Hogg. By 1861, Hogg had moved to Louisiana. That year, the state seceded from the United States of America and joined the Confederacy, and Hogg was sympathetic to their cause.
On November 16, 1863, Hogg and five other Confederate sympathizers from Ireland boarded the Joseph L. Gerrity, a Union schooner loaded with cotton, in Matamoros, Mexico. On November 26, they seized the ship without harming the crew and then abandoned them on the Yucatán Peninsula. The pirate crew proceeded to Belize in the British Honduras, where with forged documents that gave the ship the new name Eureka, they sold the ship's cargo. By this time, the ship's real crew had alerted British authorities; Hogg and one other man escaped into Nicaragua and across the Isthmus of Panama, but British authorities captured three others in Liverpool, charging them with piracy.
Word of Hogg's success in capturing the ship and eluding capture reached Confederate Navy Secretary Stephen Mallory. In May 1864, Mallory instructed Hogg to seize a Union steamship, either the Salvador or the Guatemala, and use it for commerce raiding of Union shipping along the West Coast and the whaling fleet in the Pacific Ocean. On November 10, 1864, Hogg's party boarded the Salvador in Panama City to carry out the plan, but Union officials had received word of the plot and a party from the USS Lancaster arrested Hogg and his men.
Hogg was sentenced by a military commission to be hanged for violating the rules of war, but his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by Union General Irvin McDowell. Hogg began serving his sentence at Alcatraz in 1864 and was transferred to San Quentin in August 1865. On May 7, 1866, he was released from prison by another order issued by General McDowell.
Oregon railroad interests
In 1871, Hogg moved to Corvallis, Oregon, where he styled himself a "Colonel" despite having no military claim to the title. Hogg began exploring the idea of building a railroad from Corvallis to the Oregon Coast, following the route of the existing Corvallis and Yaquina Bay Wagon Road. Hogg began gathering investors, who were sold on the idea of reducing the time it took Willamette Valley farmers to get their produce to California. In October 1872, Hogg incorporated the Corvallis and Yaquina Bay Railroad; two years later, he re-incorporated it as the Willamette Valley and Coast Railroad and obtained land grants from the state in what is now Lincoln County on which to build the railroad. The company made little headway in raising capital and building until Hogg teamed with Corvallis banker Wallis Nash. In 1880, Hogg and Nash incorporated the Oregon Pacific Railroad and began promoting the idea of Corvallis as the hub of a transcontinental railroad that would establish Newport as the "San Francisco of the North" to east coast financiers. Hogg and Nash raised millions of dollars. In 1885, The line was completed from Yaquina on the Oregon Coast to Corvallis across the Oregon Coast Range, and in 1887, the Corvallis Depot was completed.
But the railroad was running into difficulty. Established shippers who used Portland and Astoria opposed the new route and bought up land adjacent to the land grants to make routing difficult. Other problems included the fact that the Yaquina Bay harbor was too shallow for large ships, which was not an issue for the Columbia River; moreover, building the railroad over the mountains proved to be expensive and plagued by mismanagement of funds.
Eastward from Corvallis, the line made it as far as Idanha, 15 miles (24 km) short of Santiam Pass, though a line was taken up Santiam Pass to what is now Hogg Rock, to preserve the right of way. By 1891, the railroad was out of money and went into receivership. In 1895, it was purchased at a sheriff's auction by lumberman A. B. Hammond and the railroad's name was changed to Oregon Central and Eastern Railroad, and later to the Corvallis and Eastern Railroad.
Hogg moved back to Baltimore with his wife Naomi, a native of England who was 35 years his junior, in the late 1880s. They purchased his parents' farm and built a large estate that he named Cecil Manor. The house, one of the most expensive homes in Maryland at the time, was destroyed by fire in 1890. On December 8, 1898, he died of apoplexy on a streetcar in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Land holdings and intrigue
Hogg had retained thousands of acres of land in Oregon granted to him for the railroad, but after his death, the estate became mired in legal entanglements. His attorney was Schuyler C. Spencer, who had studied in the law offices of Edgar D. Crumpacker of Indiana, and who was one of the founders of what would become the Portland law firm of Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt. Spencer worked to restore 15,000 acres (61 km2) to Hogg's widow in 1908, and within two years, had divorced his wife and remarried Mrs. Hogg. In 1920, in what was attributed to his ill health and financial concerns over a horse farm they owned, Spencer attempted to kill his wife with a revolver. She survived, but Spencer then turned the gun on himself, committing suicide.
- "A Will case to be tried in the Circuit Court—The Late Col. T. Edgenton Hogg". The Baltimore Sun. December 13, 1898. p. 8.
- Clark, Keith (Fall 1983). "T. Egenton Hogg—A Footnote". Oregon Historical Quarterly. LXXXIV (3): 301–307.
- White, Henry Kidder (1922). Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. 2 3. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. pp. 1111–1112.
- White, Henry Kidder (1922). Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. 1 3. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. p. 356.
- White, Henry Kidder (1922). Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. 1 3. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. p. 352.
- "Alumnus Saves Historic Train Depot". Oregon Stater (Oregon State University Alumni Association). October 1996. Retrieved January 20, 2010.
- Scott, Leslie M. (March 1915). "The Yaquina Railroad: The Tale of a Great Fiasco". Oregon Historical Quarterly XVI (1): 228–245.
- "A rail in the making". Corvallis Gazette-Times. January 5, 2008. Retrieved January 20, 2010.
- "Depot History". corvallisdepot.com. Retrieved January 20, 2010.
- Bennett, Tom; George Edmondston, Jr. "Wallis Nash". Oregon State University Alumni Association. Retrieved January 20, 2010.
- Maudlin, Frank (2004). Sweet Mountain Water. Oak Savanna Publishing. p. 150. ISBN 0-9748668-0-6.
- "Oregon Pacific Railroad". TrainWeb. Retrieved 2010-01-28.
- "Transportation in the Late Nineteenth Century". City of Corvallis, Oregon. Retrieved January 28, 2010.
- "Lawyer weds client". The Oregonian. February 5, 1910. p. 9.
- "Cecil Manor Burned" (PDF). The New York Times. September 7, 1890. p. 5. Retrieved January 22, 2010.
- Corning, Howard M. (1989) Dictionary of Oregon History. Binfords & Mort Publishing. p. 116.
- "Firm History". Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt. Retrieved January 28, 2010.
- "Honeymooning in Los Angeles". Los Angeles Times. February 6, 1910. Retrieved January 28, 2010.
- "S. C. Spencer kills self, shoots wife". The Oregonian. November 11, 1920. p. 1.