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St. Charles County to name new park after Black Civil War veteran

By Alexis Zotos

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    ST. LOUIS, Missouri (KMOV) — The piece of land off West Meyer Road and Highway W in Foristell will be the future home of St. Charles County’s newest park. But it’s the history of the land where it will get it’s name.

The park will be named Oglesby Park after Benjamin Oglesby, an enslaved man who was brought to the area from Virginia in 1837. In 1864, he ran away and enlisted in the Union Army, training at Benton Barracks in St. Louis and served in the 56th Colored Infantry. After the Civil War, he was able to purchase the land in Foristell.

“When I read about Benjamin’s story, he kept fighting. He wanted to do something, not just for him, but for family,” said Barbara Love, his great-great-granddaughter.

Love learned the history when St. Charles County reached out looking for relatives. Her uncle Stanley Luckett grew up on the farm. It was in the family until the mid-1900s.

St. Charles County purchased the land and will honor the Oglesby legacy and history. About a mile away, Oglesby is buried in Smith Chapel Cemetery. On the cemetery property is a one-room schoolhouse where Luckett and others in the area attended school before desegregation happened.

Now the county plans to relocate the structure to the new park.

‘We’re going to move or rebuild that schoolhouse in the park, we’re going to have the history of Benjamin Oglesby but also the history of black education in that area,” said County Executive Steve Ehlmann.

He says the 199-acre park will open in July and will feature trails, structures and eventually a playground. Barbara Love says she can’t wait to take her grandkids to Oglesby Park.

“To have someone who has done so much, someone who was a slave and to come out and purchase his own land, the opportunity to live off the land, and the leave the legacy to his family,” said Love. “To say I’m a descendant of Benjamin Oglesby is a blessing.”

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