Frank Ogden, c. 1886 10 Used with permission.

Frank Burroughs Ogden (April 26, 1858 – October 6, 1918) was a long-time superior court judge and lawyer in Oakland. “Judge Ogden” is mentioned in countless newspaper articles from c.1892 to 1918.

Ogden was born April 26, 1858, in Newark, New Jersey, to Jonathan T. Ogden and Rosalie Burroughs (Ogden). The family moved to California in 1870, and he studied law in San Francisco.

He married Laura Irene MacDonald (Ogden) (January 5, 1861 – 1921) on December 20, 1886, and they had 4 children: Marguerite Ogden (Steele), (Robert) Clarence Ogden, (Laura) Rosalie Ogden, and Frank MacDonald Ogden. The Ogdens clearly took education seriously. Marguerite went to UC Berkeley and then became a lawyer before marrying. It was announced that Rosalie would get her degree from UC Berkeley before marrying, too. 4 Robert also attended UC Berkeley, and Frank went on to become a superior court judge.

Ogden was admitted to the bar in 1882, and he was elected a justice of the peace in 1886. In February, 1893, he was appointed a superior court judge by Governor Markham to fill a vacancy 9. After that he was re-elected every four years. 1 Ogden’s work included hearing cases at a juvenile court. 5 Ironically, his son, Frank MacDonald Ogden, was suspended from Oakland High School for a year for joining the “Good Enough Klub”, which the school board considered to be an illegal fraternity (at the time many states had laws against high school fraternities), formerly Gamma Epsilon Kappa. Judge Ogden had to recuse himself from hearing the case, but was actively involved in his son’s defense. 8 Frank M. Ogden went on to become a judge, too. 11

In 1902, Ogden made rulings regarding Oakland’s attempts to regain control of the waterfront from the Oakland Waterfront Company. Ogden originally ruled for the city, but the California supreme court overruled his decision. 7

He was a member of various groups, including the Odd Fellows. He was elected master of the grand lodge of Odd Fellows in 1907. 3

One of the odd stories surrounding Judge Ogden’s career was when someone placed dynamite near the Ogden home at 1175 Alice St. and attempted to blow it up and kill the judge. The judge wasn’t home, but Laura and the children were. The explosion tore away the front porch and broke all the windows on the front of the house. 6Isabella J. Martin was later tried and convicted for the crime.

CC SA-BY Our OaklandJudge Ogden died October 6, 1918, in Lake County, California, after a long illness. He’d gone to their home in Lake County to recuperate. He was still working as late as February, 1918. 2 He is buried in Mountain View Cemetery, plot 2.

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Sample of Court Cases

A wide array of cases were brought before Judge Ogden over the years: arson, divorce, insanity, embezzlement, murder, you name it. Below are just a few:

Links and References

  1. Judge Frank B. Ogden is Called by Death Sausalito News October 12, 1918
  2. Edna Metcalf Found to Have Sound Mind Sausalito News February 23, 1918
  3. Family Deny Report of Judge Ogden’s Injury San Francisco Call August 14, 1907
  4. Sheepskin Put Before Wedding San Francisco Call June 28, 1913
  5. Juvenile Court To Sit On Wednesdays San Francisco Call October 14, 1909
  6. Fires Infernal Machine at Judge Ogden’s Home San Francisco Call March 20, 1907
  7. Defines Title to Water Front San Francisco Call March 29, 1902
  8. McClymonds Not Regular Prophet San Francisco Call February 14
  9. Superior Judge for Alameda Sacramento Daily Union February 15, 1893
  10. Frank Burroughs Ogden on
  11. Superior Judge Says Experience Proved Valuable Oakland Tribune April 28, 1940