ROGERS, James F.
JAMES F. ROGERS Died – at his home in German twp., January 1st 1893, at 8 o’clock, A.M. James Ferris Rogers, aged 78 years and 13 days.
James F., son of Jonathan and Martha (Haviland) Rogers, was born in Patterson Township, Putman County, N.Y., December 10th 1814, where with his parents he resided until the winter of 1819-1820, when with them he moved to the township of Tyrone, Steuben Co., N.Y. Here with his parents he remained until the autumn of 1832, when with them and the rest of their family he moved to Reed Township, Seneca County, Ohio, where four miles east of the site of the present village of Republic, the father entered an eighty acre farm and began its improvement and cultivation. In 1838, James F., purchased of one Nathan Dix, for the sum of $175, eighty acres of land then in Lucas County, but now in German Twp., Fulton County, Ohio.
In the fall of 1839 Mr. Rogers, A.S. Fleet, John Baker, one Gehring and a McEaton, founder of Eatonburgh, better known as Edinburgh, all residents of Seneca County, came together in a wagon to German Twp., where and when Mr. Rogers first saw the land he had purchased the previous year. After remaining a few weeks and doing some under brushing on his land he returned to Seneca County. In the autumn of 1840 he came again to German and there erected on his new farm a neat little cabin of 16x18ft, into which Mr. Albert S. Fleet, with his wife moved soon after its erection. After the completion of the cabin Mr. Rogers again returned to Seneca County March 8th 1840. Prior to the building of the above named cabin, Mr. Rogers with one William Simmons left the village of Melmore in Seneca County and drove all the way to Steuben Co., N.Y, in a cutter. There and then for the first time he became acquainted with his future excellent wife, Miss Eliza Crosson, daughter of James Crosson, of Orange Twp., Steuben County N.Y. They were married in April 1842. During the time that elapsed from their first acquaintance to their marriage, correspondence by letters was kept up between them, not withstanding the fact that then on every letter sent 25 cents postage had to be paid and only 50 cents could be obtained for a common day’s labor. The spring and summer of the year of their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Rogers spent in the service of a Mr. Sylvanus Arnold, a wealthy farmer and merchant of Melmore, Seneca County. In the fall of that year (1842) they moved to German Twp., and began house keeping in the little cabin he had built in 1840. One George Blackman moved them to their new home. Their personal effects, all told, consisted of one cow, one chest, containing his clothing, a small trunk with his wife’s apparel; a box with a meager supply of house hold goods and another with a part of a set of cooper tools. These, with $1.50 in his pocket, and an indebted of $25.00 constituted the total invoice of his “goods and chattels.” Thus, without money or friends, with no improved land, in the deep unbroken wilderness, with wolves howling hideously about their lone cabin at night, without roads, churches, school houses, mills, stores, or post offices, did this plucky couple begin pioneer life in this township fifty years ago. Mr. Rogers was a man however of robust constitution and great energy and activity. When he came to German Twp., there were but about a dozen votes in the entire township. Maumee was then the county seat, and many a weary trip thither did Mr. R. perform in order to do jury service, pay taxes and carry the ponderous poll book freighted with the expressed sovereign will of German’s electors. In the Spring of 1843, Mr. Rogers was chosen overseer of the poor, the next spring a twp., Trustee and from that time up to almost the time of his death he was almost constantly a public officer of some (missing sentence’s) ?? the duties of the office, he soon resigned. He was a man of clear head and noble principles and was trusted, respected and loved by all who knew him. He and wife became members of the M. E. church, at Elmira in 1857 and both remained active loyal members up to death. In zealous service and liberal contribution, both in church and Sabbath school, Mr. Rogers was an example and a power for good. He was one of the Stewards in the church of his choice at the time of his death. His faithful wife died about 1862 leaving the following children: Elmer H., Frank H., Martha H., James O., and Marcus P., all of whom are still living. Their oldest child, Eunice Lillian a young lady remarkable for her intelligence, goodness and rare beauty died in 1857 age about 14 years. Sometime after the death of his first wife, Mr. Rogers married a Miss Anna Sauerbeck by whom he has the following children: Henry O., Arnold J.F., Thomas W., Charles E., William W., and Grace L.P. Of all these none are living except Thomas W., who died only a few months since. His second wife, an intelligent, affectionate, active woman, died about a year and a half ago.
Many incidents of Mr. R’s., pioneer life might be related, many of them common to pioneer life in the back woods. One of the difficulties arose from distance of mills and markets and the absence or badness of roads. Said he to the writer “It was very often worth more than the market price of grain to get it to the mill and back again, or to deliver it at the market, owing to the distance and the condition of the roads. At one time” said he “I carried a bushel of corn five miles to Birds mill and brought the meal home on my back, through the dense forest and over innumerable logs” Pork, he said, used to be hauled by ox teams to Maumee and there sold for
1¼ cents per pound. Wheat, he said, was taken in the same way to the same place, and there sold for 50 cents a bushel and this not infrequently the farmer had to take in trade. To reach Maumee from German Twps., they had to go by way of Ottokee, Weir’s tavern, Watkins and Swanton, three full days being required to make the round trip. Ten cents, he says was more difficult to get then, than is a dollar now, and yet, say he, to purchase store goods a dollar then had vastly less purchasing power than it has now. He maintained that farmers can now better afford to raise and sell wheat for 25 cents a bushel than they could fifty years ago for 50 cents a bushel. Until nearly fifty years of age Mr. R. used tobacco in large quantities. Last year he wrote a private letter to the New Hampshire Anti Tobacco Gem., at Melvin. It was so good the Editor published it though not at all written for publication. Though the letter has once before appeared in the Republican we produce it again as evidence of the worth of our departed friend. Here it is:
“Archbold, Ohio June 1892”
SIR: - When I was 45 years old, I had used tobacco over 30 years, smoked and chewed. For the last 32 years I have not used it in any form. I was an abject slave to the habit. I was thoroughly convinced of the sinfulness of the habit and was by God’s help enabled to abandon its use instantaneously and have not used a particle since, for which I am thankful for sustaining grace. I do abhor and detest the vile stuff. It has done more to sustain and encourage the drink habit than any other one thing. I fear prohibition of the drink traffic never will be reached until the tobacco mills are stopped. I would be glad to see every branch of the Christian Church sending orders for anti tobacco literature. Hope you will be encouraged to battle on. I am in my 78th year. God bless you in your work.
J. F. Rogers.
His funeral was held here on the 4th. A large concourse of friends, neighbors and relatives were present. Rev. F.M. money preached an able discourse from these beautiful and appropriate words “Enoch walked with God, and he was not; for God took him.” Gen. 5, 24. Verily a good man has died, “Sustained and soothed by an unfaltering trust” our dear old friend “approached his grave like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him and lies down to pleasant dreams.” J.W.R.