John C. Hoagland was known as Squire Hoagland by the pioneers of the Lake Worth area. He was a justice of the peace and served as a judge in whatever legal matters arose. He also was called upon to perform marriages when there was no resident minister. A fellow pioneer, Ben Potter, said of him,
“Squire Hoagland was the judge in the only legal court for miles around in those days. All the differences between the early settlers were settled in the Squire’s court. We didn’t have many cases for the Squire,but when the occasion arose he did a mighty fine job of presiding in his court of justice.”
Squire Hoagland was born in 1832 in Somerset County, New Jersey. He was on the lake as early as 1883, when he bought 64 acres of land for $500 from Charlie Moore. In the census of 1885, he gave his occupation as farmer.
That same year, he and David Brown each gave one-half acre of land for a school building site, which was built in 1886, the first school in Dade County. In 1889, Squire Hoagland contributed to the first church building in Dade County, Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church.
Squire John C. Hoagland died in Palm Beach 28 September 1894, leaving everything to his widow, Mary H. Hoagland, and son, Irving Hoagland. He had declared himself to be single in 1883 and again in 1885 but, in 1888, had Mary H. Hoagland sign a quit claim to the property he gave to the school building site, indicating that he had married her between 1885 and 1888 or that they may have married earlier in New Jersey and been separated. He had a brother, William J. Hoagland, also of Palm Beach.