Bogle was born before the abolition of slavery, probably between 1815 and 1820 and he lived at Stony Gut in St. Thomas.
Bogle grew up when slavery was ending. The plantation owners did not want the slaves to be free and they did not want them to get land. The people wanted to have land that would give them security and independence. They wanted to grow their own food but the British Government told them to work hard on the planters' sugar estates.
Most people in St. Thomas were small farmers and labourers. Bogle owned about 500 acres of land. He could read and write. He could also vote. Only 106 people in St. Thomas could vote at this time, Bogle was better off than many people.
When the slaves were made free, most of the rulers tried to keep them down. They made the people pay a lot of taxes, and they punished them badly. They did not give them fair trials in court. They did not think freed slaves should get justice or opportunities. Bogle was a friend to the poor people. He wanted to share their problems, and help them so they respected him.
Bogle's neighbour was George William Gordon, a big landowner, and a politician who cared about poor people. Bogle voted for him, and got other people to do so. Gordon was a Baptist, and so was Bogle. In 1864 Gordon made Bogle a deacon in the Baptist church so he became a religious and political leader of the people.
Bogle led a group of people from Stony Gut to Spanish Town to tell the Governor about their problems but people in Stony Gut gave up hoping that the Government would help them.
One day, in 1865, two men from Stony Gut were on trial in the Morant Bay Court House. Bogle and some of his people went to support them. A man called out in the trial and the police tried to arrest him, but Bogle and his men came between them. The man got away. The police went to Stony Gut to arrest Bogle. But the people did not let them. They fought the police and sent them back to Morant Bay.
Then Bogle and his people marched to Morant Bay. They went to the Courthouse where a council meeting was going on. Armed policemen and soldiers were on guard. A fight broke out and the guards fired. About 20 of Bogle's people were killed or hurt. The others drove the guards back into the Courthouse and set fire to the building then killed people who tried to run away.
Bogle and his people went back to Stony Gut. The Government sent troops into Portland and St. Thomas to stop people rebelling against the Government. The troops shot and whipped many people. They burnt 1,000 houses. Bogle's followers killed a few people and burnt some estates but they could not really fight, because the soldiers were well trained and they had lots of weapons.
The troops destroyed Stony Gut, and Bogle's chapel. Bogle was captured and taken to Morant Bay where he was put on trial. Then he was hanged at the Court House. Four hundred and thirty-eight other people were also executed.
The Morant Bay Rebellion of 1865 made the Government listen to the people. It forced the Government to try to make life better for them by setting up fair courts, making better roads and providing better education and better medical services. So Bogle did not die for nothing.
Bogle is a national hero because he did his best to help the people of our country. He died for what he believed was right.