John Rogers


Here and there the biographer in the course of his travels through the rural districts discovers a "diamond in the rough" and sometjmes out of it. In the subject of this history he finds a gentleman who, though having given his labor to the farming industry, gave his thoughts largely to books, and within his residence is a library of uncommon excellence. From the volumes which he has gathered, from time to time he has obtained much useful information, and thus we find in him a man of more than ordinary intelligence, one whom it is both pleasant and profitable to meet.

Mr. Rogers is an old resident of Jo Dayiess County, and has now practically retired from active labor. He has a good farm of 161 2/3 acres, with a neat and substantial residence, and also 160 acres in Iowa, and ranks among the men of Sterling worth in his community. A native of Cornwall County, England, his boyhood home was in Wen--dron Parish, where his birth took place Dec. 25, 1821. He was reared to farm pursuits, although also employed considerably in the grist-mill until a youth of sixteen years. Afterward he entered the mines, and before attaining manhood performed a man's work.

Young Rogers, a youth more than ordinarily thoughtful and ambitious, had not been satisfied with his surroundings and attainments, and determined upon a change. He imagined that in America would be presented the opportunities for which he wished. Accordingly in the year 1849, bidding adieu to the friends and associations of his childhood, he engaged passage on the sailing-vessel "Oregon" under command of Capt. Carey, embarking at Penzance, and six weeks later landed in New York City. Thence he proceeded to Albany and Buffalo, and Milwaukee, Wis., and from there directly to this county overland. He began prospecting for himself in the lead mines, and was engaged there until in (sic) July, 1850. On the 3rd of that month he removed to the unimproved tract of school land, from which he constructed his farm. He put up a log house, but on account of the need of ready capital was obliged to continue mining a number of years.

In 1852 Mr. Rogers purchased thirty-seven acres additional land, which he proceeded to clear, and did his first plowing with a spade. As soon as he accumulated a little more capital he invested further in land, buying twenty-two acres of his brother-in-law. Upon this he effected considerable improvement , and added to his estate eighty-five acres, which was partially improved. He cleared the balance, built fencing of lumber and wire, set out forest and fruit trees, and in 1880 put up the present residence. His land is well watered by White Oak Creek, and his stock-raising operations forms an important feature of his transactions. His favorite cattle are graded Short-horns; his swine, the Chester White and his horse's, graded Normans.

Prior to his emigration from his native country Mr. Rogers was married, in Cornwall County, Oct. 9, 1845, to Miss Betsey, daughter of Richard and Mary A. (Pascoe) Perry. This lady is a native of the same county as her husband, and born in Elston City. Her paternal grandfather, Richard Perry, was a millwright by trade, and died in his native England. On the mother's side Grandfather Richard Pascoe was a carpenter, and well-to-do, owning considerable town property, including five houses in Elston. He lived to be over eighty years of age. William Perry, Mrs. Rogers' uncle, was also a millwright by trade, and a skilled mechanic. He prepared the machinery that was sent first to America and then to Canada. He died in Canada when over seventy years of age. The mother passed away prior to the decease of her husband, in 1817. She was a member of the Episcopal Church. Mr. Perry was married a second time. Of his first union there was born one child only, his daughter Betsey (Mrs. Rogers). Of his second marriage there were three children of whom only one survives, Matilda, who continues in England. The two sons, John and Richard, died after their marriages.

Mrs. Rogers was born in Elston, Cornwall County, England, Aug. 25, 1817, and received a good education in the parish schools. Of her union with our subject there were born six children, the eldest of whom, a son, John, is mining in the region of Silverton, Colo. During the late Civil War he served ten months in the Army of the Tennessee, and was also with the 100-days' men. He married Miss Jane Porter; they have two sons: Harry and Frank. The second son James took kindly to his books, and was graduated from the German-English Normal School. He is now farming near Null, Buena Vista Co., Iowa. He has three children, named Wilbur W., George, and Lulla. Walter married Miss Ida Jewell, is the father of one child, a son, Thomas A., and operates the home farm; Elizabeth is the wife of Thomas Harris, an artist of Galena; Richard was graduated from the German-English Normal School, at Galena, married Miss Louisa Kerslake, a graduate of the same, and is now Principal of the Elizabeth school; Thomas remains at home with his parents. He and Walter run the home farm.

Mr. Rogers is a sound Republican, politically, and has served on the Grand and Petit Juries. He has held most of the local offices, being school Director and Trustee, also Road Supervisor. Both he and his excellent wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which Mr. Rogers has officiated as Steward, Class-Leader, and Trustee, also as Superintendent of the Sunday-school.

Walter Rogers, the father of our subject, was born in Cornwall County, England, and married Miss Mary Richards, a native of the same. They were reared in a mining community, and the two grandfathers followed this as their life occupation. Walter Rogers was a natural mechanic, and master of several trades - carpenter, miller, and mason. Later in life he engaged in agricultural pursuits, subsequently returned to milling, and died in Wendron Parish at the age of forty-five years. The mother passed away before the decease of her husband, and was a member of the Wesleyn Methodist Church.

Their family consisted of seven children, three sons and four daughters, of whom Elizabeth, Mary, Walter, Jr., and Grace are deceased. James is farming in Woodbine Township, this county. Priscilla lives in Saline County, Kan.

Source: Portrait & Biographical Album of Jo Daviess Co., IL (1889)