Wells Family Genealogy

The study of my Family Tree

10 Sep 2014 …. It’s genealogy road trip time again!! September 10, 2014

Yep, it’s time to hit the road again for more genealogy fun.  Every other year I drive up north from Sunny, hot and uber humid Orlando to enjoy the cooler fall weather of Connecticut and Rhode Island.

So what’s on the agenda this year?  Well, I thought I’d through out a few sites I’m planning on visiting and see if anyone has any suggestions of Wells, Rogers, Crandall, Stillman, etc, family sites to see.

In Rhode Island:

Visit Oak Grove Cemetery in Ashaway.  Time to do my check on the Wells family plot.  I’m pretty sure my grandparents stones are in need of a cleaning.

Visit the Thompson Wells Lot in Hopkinton.  Believe it or not, there are no photos on findagrave.com of this small cemetery, so I’ll stop by and snap a few pics of all the stones.  It’s small so shouldn’t take long.

Head through the woods to the Wells Lot where Randall Wells and Lois Maxson are buried.  It’s a fun hike through some treacherous underbrush, but I have a strong connection to those two grandparents seeing as they’re characters in my novels.  Besides, I heard the land the cem is on has changed hands.  Need to make sure the bulldozers aren’t on stand by …

I’m also planning on doing some hiking in Hopkinton on the Nature Conservancy trails up to Long Pond.  Absolutely beautiful trails to the most scenic spot in Hopkinton.   I’m thinking about going to Newport and wandering around as well.  I’ve driven through but have never really walked the town.

In Connecticut:

Visit the New London County Historical Society Library to see what goodies I can find.  Found tons of great stuff on the Rogers family last time.

Visit Cedar Grove Cemetery.  I got a message through findagrave.com that my entry for Moses Rogers was in error and he isn’t buried there.  thought I might go take me a looksy and see what Rogers are there.

Visit the Brown-Randall Cemetery in North Stonington.  Again, no photos on findagrave.com.  Lots of really old Randall stones.

Revisit the Burdick-Culver Cemetery in the Barn Island sanctuary over in Stonington.   Was a fun and easy hike to a lovely cemetery.  If I have time, I’ll squeeze it in.

There’s a Rogers Burying Ground in Salem I’d like to see.  No photos or map on Findagrave.com  All it says is it’s off of 82 about 1500 feet.  Gee, what a help…  Anyone know where it is?

I may also stop by the Rogers Cemetery at Mamacock Farm down on the grounds of Connecticut College.

I’ll also be doing a lot of wandering around Mystic and of course Stonington.  Since my third novel, the one about the Rogers family, mostly takes place in Stonington, I’m excited to revisit the town that inspired my writing journey.

So far, that’s all I’ve got.

So, got any suggestions.


3 Aug 2014: The Rogers family … Truth in fiction August 3, 2014

So I thought I’d share a snippet from my third novel, the one that delves into the history of the Rogers family.  For those of you who don’t know, I have written a series of five novels that interweave my true family history in with the story of my fictional characters.  This snippet is from The Purity of Blood Volume III: The Blood that Binds and is available for sale on Amazon.com.  I will advise that if you’re interested in reading more, the books are all sequels and just reading the third book will be mighty confusing as you pick right up in the middle of the story.

In this snippet, Sara (my protagonist) is telling her brother about the Rogers family history.  For reasons you’ll have to read the book to find out, the current descendants of the family are very much involved in Sara’s brother’s life.  His name is Roger (just to confuse you more :-)  This part of the book is meant to give the reader the proper perspective on the Rogers family as later on we introduce the story you never knew about the family, the story I make up for the book.   Anyway, I hope you enjoy.


When I finished around four, I headed back to the house and as I came up the front steps found Roger sitting on the porch. Sliding down into the chair next to him, I asked if he’d been waiting for me. He laughed and said no, but by the guilty look in his eyes I wasn’t so sure I believed him.

After a minute of watching the cars go by, he said “When I first met Henry, he asked me how I got interested in maritime history so I mentioned our uncles, the Rogers’ brothers who were whalers. I was wondering, what else do you know about that family, the Rogers family.”

I glanced his way with a raised eyebrow. It was an unusual question coming from Roger who’d never shown much interest in my research before.

“Quite a bit. What do you want to know?”

“I don’t know. They lived around here, didn’t they?”

“Yes, for the most part. The Rogers family moved to New London County back about the mid 1600’s when James Rogers came down to work the Old Towne Mill in New London. The mill’s still there, if you’re interested. Believe it or not it’s directly under Interstate 95, just north of the city and south of Connecticut College.”

“It’s still there? That’s a pretty old mill.”

“Well, it’s been rebuilt a time or two, but I’m pretty sure it’s basically about the same. Anyway the more interesting family history comes from his son John. John founded a religious movement in the area that continued for a few generations after him.”

“Like a cult?”

“No, more like a real Bible believing church from what I can tell. Anyway, from what I’ve read John was a gentleman farmer sort of guy with a wife and son. Then one day he saw the light. Like he had this religious revelation or something. I think in today’s terminology we’d say he was saved. I think he realized that God can’t be contained in a building or by rules created by a church established here on earth. He realized God is in His word and that His church on earth should be established as set forth in the Bible.

“The church that people attended back in his day was different. It defined a lot of who you were – your status in society, and it had odd rules that were created by men to control the behaviors of its parishioners. I think when he realized that what was being imposed on them had nothing to do with what God had intended His church to be, he rebelled. He spoke up and tried to make others see what he’d been shown by God.

“I have to say of all our ancestors, he’s probably one of the ones I wish I could have met the most. He must have been a fascinating individual. Anyway, his father-in-law was appalled at what John was doing. He took him to court and had his daughter divorce him on the grounds that he was a heretic. It will tell you something about what John was fighting against that the town granted his wife the divorce and she left him and took their son along with her.

“John had a lot of woes in his life. Lucky for him, he was already a pretty wealthy man when all this was happening. I guess he could afford to support himself on his farm. I think they must have been pretty self-sufficient because I don’t think many of the town’s folk would have associated with him too much after all this.

“So eventually he married for a second time, but it didn’t take long before the town moved against him again. You see, he never stopped organizing little protests against the church. John had a following now and became a continual thorn in their side. He’d send women into the church services to do something radical like knit in the back row. It would cause an up roar and the women were kicked out of the church. People weren’t allowed to do anything on the Sabbath, not even knit. These were some of the man-made rules the church imposed that he would protest against.

“Some time later, the town went to his second wife and told her that she was never legally married to John, that in the eyes of God, he was still married to his first wife, and that if she didn’t admit that they were living in sin and leave him, well, let’s just say there’d be consequences. I’m sorry to say, she caved in to their threats and left him. Poor guy, when he’d married her, he’d taken her into a town meeting, walked up to the front of the assembly and announced in front of the entire town that they’d been married. He threw it out there on day one to make sure something like this would never happen, but it did.

“I think they thought he’d give up eventually, that they could wear him down, but he just kept chugging along. Eventually, they locked him up. Not that it was the first time they’d done that. He’d been locked up and fined who knows how many times. But his son, John Junior, that was his son by the first wife, the one who’d left him, had come back to live with his father when he came of age. Well, John Junior got wind that the town leaders wanted to execute his father. So he went and broke him out of jail in New London and sent him across the Sound in a boat in the dead of night. While hiding out there, he met another woman. They later married and stayed together for the rest of their days.

“Eventually, he came back to New London and died on his farm. He’s buried there in the family burial ground but his stone is gone. His farm was pretty large from what I could tell. Connecticut College sits on most of it now. Take note, don’t start a cemetery so close to a river. It’s on the bank of the Thames and has flooded several times. Most of the stones have washed away over the years. Only a handful remain. The students of Connecticut College did a ground penetrating radar study of the area a few years back and found at least forty burials there, but there’s only like four of five stones left. We know several names of those buried there, but like I said, there’s not much left of it now.

“John Junior kind of picked up where his father left off as the head of the Rogerenes. That’s what they were called. He led the movement until he died. We assume his son Alexander was also a member of their church because his wife Rachel was buried in the Rogerene Cemetery in Ledyard. I’ve been there too. It’s totally cool; it’s in a suburban neighborhood in these people’s back yard. How neat would it be to have an ancient burial ground in your backyard?” When he gave me a look that said only I would think that, I ignored him and continued. “Alexander was our … let’s see … I think fourth great grandfather.”

Humm … the same as Randall.

I looked over to see if he was still listening. We were way past the point where his eyes usually glazed over before he politely turned his attentions elsewhere. But to my great surprise, he was still listening, rather attentively too. Talk about strange. Since he seemed in the mood to listen, I decided to enlighten him a little more.

“Anyway, the beginning of the story actually starts a lot earlier than that.   I believe it really starts in the year 1555 in London, England when John Rogers was burned at the stake by Queen Mary, better known as Bloody Mary. He was our twelfth great grandfather. She burned him alive because he wouldn’t convert to Catholicism.   He was raised in an affluent catholic family in London and entered the church as a profession. He gets sent to Antwerp by the Catholic Church to be a priest and while living there ends up being converted to Protestantism by William Tyndale. They say he even helped Tyndale translate the Bible into English.

“So years later here he comes back to London and everyone is like, ‘Hey, wasn’t he catholic when he left?’ John set up a protestant church and starts to get a big following. Now there’s nothing wrong with this until Queen Mary takes over and tries to convert the country back to Catholicism. Her father, Henry the Eighth had set up the Church of England. You know, so he could get his divorces and all. So here’s poor John. He sort of stands out like a sore thumb, so Mary has him arrested. He had plenty of opportunities to recant and convert back to Catholicism, but he wouldn’t do it. In the end, she burned him to death in front of his family.

“There are some people who say the paper trail of evidence isn’t there to prove conclusively that this John was our grandfather. They may be right, but I still believe it’s true.”

“Why is that?”

“Because I believe God rewards that kind of faith, a martyr’s faith. If you look at our family line, the one consistent thing about the Rogers family is that they were all deeply religious men and women who refused to turn their backs on God. When you examine the pattern of their lives, I think it’s fairly obvious.”

“That’s an amazing story.”

“Martha Ann Rogers, the Rogers who married into the Wells family was a deeply religious woman. The Wells family was a very prosperous family in the Hopkinton community, but as much as you see them in town records, they’re all secular records. After Martha Ann married into the family, the name Wells fills the church records with a vengeance. I think Martha Ann brought her family’s blessing with her into the Wells family and that blessing continues to this day. I know I believe it’s what continually draws me back to God.”

He leaned back in the chair and looked out at the top of the lighthouse poking up from the roof of the house across the street.

“I think I understand why you’re so into genealogy now. Its history, but with such a personal view point. You can follow a family and see how they were affected by history, and how the forces of that history changed and molded the family for generations. It’s like a God point of view in a way.”

“I suppose so. It’s also being able to stand in that cemetery and know that where I’m standing was the original Rogers farm. That John himself probably stood in the exact same spot almost four hundred years ago. When I stood there myself, I had to wonder did he have any idea that all those centuries later his descendant, me, would be standing in that very spot thinking about him.”

“So you’ve really been there?”

“Sure, it’s on the river bank down by the Connecticut College sports fields. I can take you there some time if you’d like. There are lots of other cool Rogers family places like that around the area as well. Really what I’ve told you is the ancient history of the family, but I’ve got a lot more data on them. They sure were an interesting bunch. – I probably gave you a lot more information than you were looking for. Sorry about that,” I added, realizing I’d been babbling.

“Don’t be. I think it’s fascinating. I had no idea we came from that kind of stock. I wonder what the Wells family was like way back when.”

I kind of snorted and said “An ornery bunch, that’s for sure, but not that much different from us.”

“Sounds like you’ve got stories about them as well.”

“You could say that … You know you’re named after the Rogers family.”


Want to read more? check out this book and my others on Amazon.com.  Just put “Jennifer Geoghan” in the search box and they all come up.

The Purity of Blood Novels by Jennifer Geoghan

The Purity of Blood Novels by Jennifer Geoghan


8 July 2014 – An interesting Article on the Rogers Family July 8, 2014

Filed under: Rogers Family — jgeoghan @ 7:41 pm
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To show you how behind I am on my reading …. I finally got around to reading my New London Historical Society Newsletter for March.

In it is an interesting article on the members of the Rogers Family buried in what they call the Antientest Burial Ground.  In my records I call in The Ancient Burial ground in New London.   One of the interesting things they discuss in the article is how many of the dates on the headstones are incorrect.

I scanned the article.  Click on the links to below to open up each of the pages ( 2 pages in all)

NLHS Newsletter March 2014 Article on Rogers Fam page 1

NLHS Newsletter March 2014 Article on Rogers Fam page 2

It’s interesting.  I have to say in all my travels in the area, I’ve never visited this cemetery that I recall.  I’m just now starting to prep my itinerary for my big genealogy road trip up to CT, RI, PA and NY in the fall.  I may have to add this on list of places to stop by and visit.







The Will of John Rogers Jr of New London, CT (1674-1753) June 19, 2014

Filed under: Rogers Family — jgeoghan @ 7:20 pm
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So it’s been like a year and a half since I went on my Genealogy Road Trip and I’m just now getting to some of the cool things I found. What can I say, I was in the middle of writing my novels. Now that I’m half way done publishing them, I’m trying to get through some of my backlog of work.  Plus I got back into my study of the Rogers family since they figure so prominently in my third Novel (The Blood That Binds, The Purity of Blood Vol III available on amazon.com)

This week I’ve been working on the handwritten copy of the will of John Rogers Jr (1674-1753, husband of both Bathsheba Smith and Elizabeth Dodge) that I photographed while I was up at the New London County Historical Society. This copy is located in the Shaw Mansion where the Society’s little library is located. I have to say, it’s small but very impressive. I’m totally planning to stop back in when I take my next trip up to the area this fall.  Now that I think about it, I actually mention the Shaw Mansion and the Society in my third book as a place my main character want’s to visit.  She’s a genealogist too. :-)

So, down to the will …. This is what it says on their little library card slip that was in the file with the will:

Ms Q .R63jo   Rogers, John

Will of John Rogers, N.L., 11 Sept. 1750, witnessed by Joshua Hempsted, Joshua Rathbun, Abigail Ames, executors to be Andrew Davis, son John Rogers, John Waterhouse. Mentions wife Elizabeth, sons John, James, Ichabod, Alexander, Nathaniel, Jonathan, Daniel, daughters Elizabeth Whipple, Bathsheba Stoddard, Jemima Cooley, Deborah, Sarah.

4p., 12 ½ x 7 ½.


Here’s a recap of John’s family so you know the players:

John Rogers Jr (1674-1753)

Married 1700: Bathsheba Smith (?-1721)


John Rogers III (a) (1700-1721) Died before will was made.

James Rogers Sr. (1701-1754)

Samuel Rogers (a) (1703-1704) Died before will was made.

Samuel Rogers (b) (1704-1708) Died before will was made.

Elizabeth Rogers (1706-?) Married Zachariah Whipple

Bathsheba (1708-?) Married Robert Stoddard

Ichabod (1709-1771)

Jonathan (1711-?) Not mentioned in will so he may have died before September 1750.

Samuel (c) (1713-1805)

Jemima (1714-?) Married Unknown Cooley

Deborah (1716-?)


Married 1722/3: Elizabeth Dodge (1695-?)


John III (b) (1724-1799)

Mary (1725-Aft 1800) Married Ebenezer Bolles

Sarah (1725-?) Since only one Daughter Sarah is mentioned in the will, one could assume that this Sarah died before 1730 and they named their next daughter Sarah as well.

Sarah (1730-?) This daughter Sarah is probably the one mentioned and although I have no reference for a death date, since the will is dated 1750 and she’s in it, it’s safe to assume her death occurred after September 1750.

Alexander (1728-1817)

Nathaniel (1732-1802)

Elizabeth (1734-1804)

Jonathan (1736-?) Not mentioned in will so he may have died before September 1750.

Daniel (1739-1773)


(Words in BOLD are my personal notes and not in the original will)

John Rogers Will Page 1

John Rogers Will Page 1

The 11th Day of the 7th month called September in year 1750

I John Rogers of New London in the County of New London Colony of Connecticut being weak of body but of sound mind memory considering my age and the mortality of my body and that it is appointed for all men once to dye, do make and ordain this my last will and testament, that is to say that first I do freely submit and surrender my spirit to god that gave it and my body to the Earth to be decently buried at the discretion of my executors nothing doubting xxx xxxx said last day of judgment, by the mighty power of God my Spirit and body shall again be united together. And as touching such world estate where with it hath pleased God to bless me in this life I give devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and from – first for the payment of my just debts if any should be and the maintenance of my Beloved wife Elizabeth and the bringing up of our small children. In case I should die before our youngest son Daniel comes to the age of fourteen years that then an inventory shall be taken of the movables and my son John xxx xxxis to pay his own part and my son James —— xxx till my son Daniel comes of the age of 16 years together with all-

Implements and for managing the farm as carts plows taxes hoes chains and all other tools of husbandry what sowes as alto what stock of creatures he sees cause to take for stocking the farm, that part of it above mentioned also all my servants to be at his command during said time in Consideration where of he is to maintain the family in and same way and manner as it now is and to pay such a rent annually towards the legacy hereafter mentioned as John Walterhouse Broth, John Bolles and my son Ebenezer Bolles (I believe this is probably his son-in-law, husband of daughter Mary) shall judge moderate and shall appoint him

Item, after my son Daniel comes to the age of fourteen years (In 1750, Daniel would have been 11 years old) I would have him put out to a trade and my son James is the to take his part of the farm which I now give unto him and is Bounded as followeth being the South part of the farm where I now dwell bounded on the North with a line from the Cold Spring

John Rogers Will Page 2

John Rogers Will Page 2

Spring which runs into the Cove near the old barn near I xxx to a heap of stones at the road from New London to Norwich errected by Capt Joshua Hempsted near a niery? Cassway in said road and on the west with said road to John Prentiss s land and South with said Prentess s land to the river (Probably Thames River) and east bounded by the river and Cove to the first mentioned Cold Spring with all xxx ledges and appartinances to him my said son James Rogers and to his heirs and assigns for ever upon some small considerations hereafter mentioned

Item to my son Samuel I give and bequeath that part of my farm on which he now dwells bounded as follows North with land now in said possession of the Wheelers west with the road from New London to Norwich (Probably the current Old Norwich Road/Williams Street that runs parallel to the Thames River) to a heap of stones errected Capt Joshua Hempstead near about 20 rods (About 330 feet or 110 yards) northward of Bakers barns an apple tree standing in the place thence running north to a stone in a Crocthed tree on a side hill near the Round pond and to in said same line to a heap of stones att a stump on the back of the bank of the round pond thence northward a straight line about thirteen rods (about 214.5 feet or 71.5 yards) to a rock with stones on it by a bit of Salt marsh xx westerly from the narrowest place in the gut thence bounded by the river (Probably Thames River) and coves to the before mentioned land in the possession of the Wheelers all which I give my said son Saml his heirs and assigns for ever

Item to my son John I give and bequeath the middle part of my farm I now live upon bounded as following on the north with Samuels part on the west with the road on the south with James part on the east with the Cove and river (Probably Thames River) containing mamacock and the Round pond.

Item, my land on the west side of the road I give and bequeath unto my three sons James Samuel and John to be equally divided between them James to have said south part Samuel the north part and John the middle part and as to said maintenance of my beloved wife Elizabeth my will is that after my son Daniel comes to the age of 14tn years in case I should not be living that then my executors here after named shall have full power to let

John Rogers Will Page 3

John Rogers Will Page 3

Let her out such bedding and household stuff together with all such privileges and convenencey as my and executors shall from time to time judge most proper as garden or fowls or any other privilege for the comfort of her life and also my executors shall have full power to order my three sons which have my homestead (viz) James, Samuel and John to provide her with wood and summering and wintering a cow or two as and Executors shall see needful and help convenient to make fire or other business as they shall from time to time shall judge needful both for herself and to entertain her friends in a proper manner and in case any or either of my And sons shall refuse or neglect to perform their part as theX and Executors shall order them so much of his or their land as they shall to neglect or refuse shall be chargeable with it my will is that my wife shall have then Eastroom of my dwelling house at her command and chamber over it and bedroom joining to it only my two youngest daughters is to have the liberty of living in the afore said East chamber and keeping their beds in it and other XXX until such time as they can be married if their mother sees case and if she dies before they marry their priveledge to remain what is above mentioned concerning my wife is to understood while she remains my widow but in case she marry again my will is she shall have two hundred pounds old tenour? In the room & stead of her hew dowery in my house and lands,

Item, I give to my son Ichabod my land att alewife cove Commonly called our upper place which I bought of Thomas Williams being about twenty acres to him his heirs and assigns for ever—

Item, I give and bequeath unto my son Alexander the land which I bough of Joseph Bolles xxx head of alewife cove being six acres and some rods the deed from said Bolles to me will describe the bounds att large to him his heirs and assigns for ever also I give my said son Alexander twenty pounds equal to New York money out of said moveable?

Item, to my son Nathaniel I give one hundred pounds in or equivalent to new york money

Item, to my son Jonathan I give one hundred pounds in or equivalent to new york money

Item, to my son Daniel I give one hundred pounds in or equivalent to new york money

John Rogers Will Page 4

John Rogers Will Page 4

Item, to my daughter Elizabeth Whipple I give xxxx one hundred and thirteen pounds as may be seen by my book my wife is that after my death she shall have one cow more.

Item, to my daughter Bathsheba Stodder I have given sixty nine pounds as may be seen in my book my will is that she be made equal with her sister Whipple in quality and quality in respect to the fall of money and also to have a good cow in part.

Item, to my daughter Jemima Cooley I have given one hundred and thirty pounds as may be seen in my book my will is that she shall have xxx pounds in or equal to new york money and xxx

my son Ebenezer Bolles to lay xxx for her in what she sees cause the reason on my giving her more than her Elder sisters is for the loss of her tender mother when she was young

Item, to my daughter Deborah I give fifty pound in or equal to new York money to be paid out of the moveable or rent a soon after my death as conveniently may be as also to have full liberty to live in the house and use the cellar and other conveniency about the house as she may have occasion of and the Little Chamber wholly to her self so long as she sees cause to live single XXX what she hath had already is not to be rekond as part of the 50 this I do in consideration of xxx xxxx she was very young

Item, to my daughter Sarah I give thirty five pounds in or equal to new york money also one bed and furniture to it equal to the best bed that either of my three eldest daughters has had

Item to my daughter Eliz the younger (John had two daughter named Elizabeth, one by each wife) I give thirty pounds in or equal to new York money as also a bed and furniture as is above expressed to my daughter Sarah, also my will is that in case X moveables and rents do not answer to pay my debts and legacy that they my 3 sons viz James, Samuel and John shall be accountable for them and that my son James in consideration of seventy eight pounds XX which he has formerly had of me when money was much more valued than now it is which is to be seen in my book as also so that his part of land with the buildings is more valuable then his brothers for these considerations my will is that in case the moveables and rents as afore said should not answer said legacy then James shall pay one half and Samuel and John each one a quarter of what remains yet none of them shall be compeled to pay their part xxx

John Rogers Will Page 5

John Rogers Will Page 5

Item, my son Samuel is to enter upon his part of the farm immediately after my death yet to pay such a rent as those three persons above mentioned shall order him till his brother Daniel comes to the age of fourteen years the rent is for the payment of the legacy hereafter mentioned.


Trying to decipher exactly where the land that is bequeathed in this will is located is very difficult seeing as it’s hard to determine where the apple tree and heap of stones were located in 1750 that define the borders of land.

About the only place mentioned that I was able to locate with certainty is Alewife Cove. Here is a map showing where it is located:

Alewife Cove

Alewife Cove

John gives the land at the head of the cove to his son Alexander (My grandfather)

“Item, I give and bequeath unto my son Alexander the land which I bough of Joseph Bolles xxx head of alewife covebeing six acres and some rods the deed from said Bolles to me will describe the bounds att large to him his heirs and assigns for ever”

John leaves what I would presume is the land below the head of the cove to his son Ichabod:

“Item, I give to my son Ichabod my land att alewife cove Commonly called our upper place which I bought of Thomas Williams being about twenty acres to him his heirs and assigns for ever”

I find it odd that John calls this parcel of land by Alewife Cove to be his “Upper Place” as geographically it’s more of a lower place.

The farm where John’s father & Grandfather (John Rogers Sr/James Rogers) lived is mentioned. Called Mamacock Farm (Sometimes spelled mamacocke or mamacoke) The farm was in the general vicinity of where Connecticut College stands as we know the family burial ground was located on its grounds and the Rogers Burial Ground is located down by the river just off the C.C. sports fields (see other blog entries I’ve done on this cemetery)

These entries in History of Montville and James Rogers of New London confirm that general location:

History of Montville, Connecticut, By Henry Augustus Baker, Published by, 1896, Pages 179-181

“II JOHN (4), b. 1 Dec., 1648, third son of James Rogers and Elizabeth Rowland; m. 17 Oct., 1670, Elizabeth, daughter of Mathew Griswold. The rite of marriage was performed by the father of the bride, and accompanied with the formality of a written contract and dowry, the husband settling his farm at upper Mamacock upon the wife in case of his death or separation from her during life.. This farm was situated about two miles north of New London, on the Thames River.”


James Rogers of New London, Ct: And His Descendants, By James Swift Rogers, Page 42

4. John Rogers (James), born Dec. 1, 1648 ……. John Rogers’ home farm extended on both sides of the Norwich road, two miles from New London, and was Mamacock farm, from the small rocky peninsula of that name which was one of it’s eastern boundaries. It was boarded for some distance by the Thames River. The central portion – Mamacock proper – was originally a grant to Rev. Mr. Blinman. It was but a part of his landed estate, much of which was disposed of in his life-time by gift. He was buried upon the bank of the Thames within the bounds of his Mamacock farm. This portion was set aside as a burial place, and was secured by his son John to his descendants for this purpose, by deed dated Nov. 13, 1751. (See page 23, supra.) It has been crossed by the railroad, and a portion bordering on the river was washed away by the great “September gale” (Sept. 23, 1815). A part of this burial place is still intact.


In his will, John leaves part of this land to his son John.

“Item to my son John I give and bequeath the middle part of my farm I now live upon bounded as following on the north with Samuels part on the west with the road on the south with James part on the east with the Cove and river containing mamacock and the Round pond.”

Here is a map showing what is now called Mamacoke Cove. On this map it is just a little north of where the cemetery is located and may be the cove mentioned in the above bequest to John from his father.

Mamacock Farm Location

Mamacock Farm Location


Round Pond is mentioned as being close to Mamacock but I have not been able to find any reference yet to where it might be other than what it say below:

“Item to my son John … part on the east with the Cove and river containing mamacock and the Round pond.”

“Item to my son Samuel … near about 20 rods northward of Bakers barns an apple tree standing in the place thence running north to a stone in a Crocthed tree on a side hill near the Round pond and to in said same line to a heap of stones att a stump on the back of the bank of the round pond thence northward a straight line about thirteen rods to a rock with stones on it by a bit of Salt marsh xx westerly from the narrowest place in the gut thence bounded by the river (Probably Thames River) and coves…”

What we can take from the above: Round Pond is …

Close to Mamacock

Has a stump on the bank on the pond with a heap of stones by it.

Lies 13 rods south of a rock with stones on it by a bit of salt marsh.

Not much to go on, is it L and so I still have no idea where Round Pond is. Anyone out there know??


Another place that is referenced several times is a cold spring.

From the will we can deduce that the Cold Spring ran into a cove near the old barn. It is north of the farm that John Jr lived on. Not terribly far from the River. I did a lot of googling to see if I could find any other references that would help me, but didn’t find anything. I think this might take a bit more in person research.

If anyone out there has any insights on the boundaries described in the will, I’d love to hear from you.



6 Oct 2012 – Road Trip Report: John Rogers’ Book in CT College Library October 6, 2012

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One of the reasons I wanted to visit Connecticut College (besides the fact that the land it sits on was once part of the farm of John Rogers) was to visit the college library and see a copy of the book  “A mid-night-cry from the temple of God to the ten virgins slumbering and sleeping, Awake, awake, arise, and gird your loyns, and trim your lamps, for behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye therefore out to meet him” written by John Rogers (1648 to 1721) my 6th Great Grandfather.  To my knowledge this book has never been digitized and the only copy I’ve seen for sale on EBAY was listed for like $400 so it was obvious I wasn’t going to be getting my own copy any time soon.  John is one of my favorite ancestors just because we know so much about his personal life.  Boy, did that man have troubles!!  But I admire him for sticking to his beliefs no matter what the cost. 

Unfortunately the book is very brittle and there was no way to photograph each page or time to read it through but was fascinating none the less. 

Here are a few pages to look at. 

To give a little context of the author, below is an excerpt from the History of Montville, CT about him.

History of Montville, Connecticut, By Henry Augustus Baker, Published by , 1896, Pages 179-181

II  JOHN (4), b. 1 Dec., 1648, third son of James Rogers and Elizabeth Rowland; m. 17 Oct., 1670, Elizabeth, daughter of Mathew Griswold. The rite of marriage was performed by the father of the bride, and accompanied with the formality of a written contract and dowry, the husband settling his farm at upper Mamacock upon the wife in case of his death or separation from her during life.. This farm was situated about two miles north of New London, on the Thames River.  In May, 1675 after having two children born to them, she applied to the General Court for a divorce, grounding her petition not only upon the heterodoxy of her husband (that of being a Quaker), but upon certain alleged immoralities. The court, after a delay of nearly a year and a half, granted her petition, but in less than two years she mad married again.  This marriage was to Peter Pratt, 5 Aug., 1679.  She had by him one son,Peter.  Her second husband, Peter Pratt, died 24 march, 1688, and shortly afterwards she married a third husband, Mathew Beckwith, 2d, by whom she had one daughter, Grisell.  Elizabeth Griswold, the wife of three husbands, died in 1727.

Mr. Rogers was greatly incensed at the decision of the court in granting a divorce to his wife. He lived a single life about twenty-five years,and then married himself to Mary Ransford. She is reported to have been a servant, whom be had bought, and probably of the class of persons then called Redemptionists. Mr. Rogers would not united in the marriage rite by any minister or magistrate, and proposes to his intended that both go in to the county court room while the court was in session, and there publicly declare their marriage intentions, which proposal was agreed to by the intended.  He, leading the bride by the hand, entered into the presence of the assembled court, and there requested the whole assembly to take notice that he took the woman he held by the hand to be his lawful wife, the bride also assenting.  This connection was however, an unhappy one, violent quarrels afterwards arising between the reputed wife and the youngest son of Mr. Rogers. To preserve peace and quiet, the law in several instances was invoked. The elder Rogers himself was compelled to apply to the court for assistance in quelling their domestic broil.

In 1703, upon the presentation of the grand jury, the court summoned the reputed wife of John Rogers, Sr., before them, declaring her marriage invalid, and sentenced her to pay a fine of forty shillings or receive ten stripes, and prohibited her return to her reputed husband under still heavier penalties. Upon receiving the sentence she came around to the side of the court; acknowledged her marriage illegal, cast off the protection and authority of Rogers and refused to regard him as her husband.  Soon after this she escaped from the confinement in which sire had been placed by order of the court end fled to Block Island, leaving her two children by Rogers with him. She was afterwards married to Robert Jones of Block Island.

In 1714, John Rogers was again married to Widow Sarah Cole of Oyster Bay,L. I., the ceremony being performed in the State of Rhode Island. With this connection there was no trouble- He died of small pox 17 Oct., 1721, and was buried upon the bank of the Tames River within the bounds of his mamacock farm, where he had set aside a place for a family sepulcher.

Children by first wife,

23.       Elizabeth, b. in New London 8 Nov., 1671; m. Stephen Prentice.

24.       John, b. at New London 20 March, 1674; m Bathsheba., dau, of Richard Smith.

Children by second marriage.

25.       Gershon, b. at New London 24 Feb., 1699; died at sea

26.       Mary, b. at New London 6 March, 1702; m. John Hobbs.. She died 5Oct., 178l, leaving two children, James b. 3 Oct 1721; Jonathan, b. Aug.,1723



Road Trip Report: Rogers Articles from the New London Historical Soc. October 4, 2012

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For the past few days I’ve been transcribing the items below from the New London Historical Society library.  It is a folder of misc. articles written by I don’t really know who about Waterford and the Rogers Family.  There is a handwritten name of Mary Stillman Anderson who may be the author.  A google search of her name didn’t come up with anything.  I’m not sure when it was written except that it talks of something still standing in 1947 giving me the impression that it was probably written about that time.  Below are the photos I took of the articles and my transcriptions of them.  I wish I could say that the information the author gives is sourced but is not.   It is however information that can be used to follow up on and see if we can find proof of it farther down the line.   I wish I knew the authors connection with the Rogers’ family as he/she gives some interesting personal anecdotes especially about Mary Jordan.   If anyone has any further information on any of the houses mentioned, I’d love to know and be able to follow up more on them.



Roger’s Houses

The Goshen section of Waterford was t one time the home of many of the descendants of James I who has been already mentioned having many heirs saw to it they had homes as near his own house at Magonk as possible.  Besides that of John just across the home driveway there was one yet standing farther to the east and another just a stones throw to the North and father east at one time stood a sizeable structure near where now stands the Bascomb home.  While across from it a two story house, home of Squire David Rogers which while it has been altered has kept the Colonial style with white pillars supporting the high piazza, dormer window in the south roof and even a box bordered flower garden.  It is not he home of Col. W. Ellery Allen, the name of Rogers having entirely disappeared from the Goshen section.  The name David seems to have been very popular among the Rogers heirs for besides Squire David there was David first and second and David P. whose house now is summer hotel at Pleasure Beach and follows the design of that of the homes already mentioned as well as that of two houses somewhat altered on the Harkness estate once owned by a David Rogers.

The remains of a cellar can be seen near the house once occupied by Deacon Gilbert Rogers later the home of Mr. Harkness’ mother which built many years previous to those already mentioned was of the square story and half type and was at one time owned by Peleg Rogers of whom no other mention is made in annals of the Rogers one may safely conjecture he was lost at sea as so many of that section were.  Another very old house of that style has been repaired and furnished after the style of its period by Mr. Nathaniel Holmes while across from it a two story sizeable house has been repaired yet the style within and without carefully preserved by Mr. and Mrs. Wikin Brown.

Daughters of James Rogers were provided homes nearby as in the case of the Maxson and Darrow houses, the latter now the home of Albert B. Perkins Jr.

These in that section may well be pleased that a man of wealth was led to settle at Mogonk which like all acreage bordering Long Island Sound offers picturesque building sites for the houses Mr. Rogers built so solidly have needed but little alteration to make them artistically worthy of their setting.


(I did find this vintage postcard from the 1920’s of Pleasure Beach near Waterford, CT on line)

Solomon Rogers

Grandson of James I by James II as nearly as can be determined at least the one who inherited Poquyogh and was also owner of the Jordan Mill.  He was born in 1754 and his mother is mentioned “as a notable woman” altho no further act to that title is mentioned having eight children and the care of other duties pertaining to many acres and a large number of slaves – well perhaps the husband was not as efficient a manager as she was, yet in those days it would not have been correct to say the least or even mention that.  Certain it was that when son Solomon married Lucretia Parker, he was given 650 acres known even then as Miner Hill and extended a long distance south along Miner Lane.  His house built on the site now occupied by the commodious home of Mr. Arthur H. Davis was a smaller one which was moved around the corner from the Post Road into Clark Lane when Mr. Davis bought the site.

Nearly every one of that period engaged in fishing but Solomon who has been described as a large portly man liked better to smoke a huge pipe: altho moved to plant three large Elms in front of his residence in commemoration of the birth of three sons.  Later he decided and easier way of livelihood than even overseeing the tilling of his large farm or grinding corn for farmers was to turn the house into a Tavern where travellers along what was then known as the Turnpike could stop for rest and refreshment for travellers by stage coach, oxcart and on horseback were increasing and when his wife provided such refreshment as spicy gingerbread and cookies and Solomon added mugs of medford rum, they no doubt attracted many customers.

In fact by 1776 the household was greatly excited by the coming of a company of soldiers led by General Washington and further stirred as they stopped for refreshment, the General tieing his horse under the shade of the, by then, sizeable Elms.  Even the small daughter Hannah remembered the event as long as she lived.  It is further recorded of her that upon her marriage to a man named Merriman, her Father gave her a number of parcels of land among them the Joel Hill Farm later the property of the Holt brothers the old house home of William Holt probably the Merriman homestead.  The Merrimans unlike most early families left no descendants and the others of Solomon’s heir’s have left only the house the great Elms to perpetrate the memory that the stones in the old part of Jordan Cemetery substantiate.



James Rogers I

This no doubt should have preceded the short biography of the sons, but beside some of the characteristics of the Father have been noted with that of the sons, we return to James Rogers the first noting that through the help of Governor Winthrop he was by 1666 assessed double as much as any other person in the Town that included New London and Waterford.  He seems to have then reached the heights of his prosperity and popularity for soon after he became involved in a lawsuit with Mr. Wintrop, thereby suffering a reprimand from the general Court for laxity in grinding the farmers corn which must have been especially hard to bear since he had been of the Court Officials for six consecutive terms.  Another cause of hostility was the leaving the Congregational Church then the ruling one throughout New England to join the Sabbartarians, largely the influence of his sons James and John.  In fact they and other members of his large family became so enthusiastic with that faith, the members were for some years called Rogerines.

Their house of worship being in Waterford, Mr. Rogers looked about that Town for a building spot deciding upon Magonk as near the Church and also the Sound which offered much allurement to his sons as means of livelihood extending over many generations of his descendants.  Therefore from the time he had decided to build, he transferred his activities from New London to his large land holding in Waterford and the establishment of the Church for all his belief, his zeal extending to those outside of its membership whom he tried to win my strenuous arguments, especially those who shared the use of the Church building, often it is said sitting on the doorstop to argue with the Preacher altho it is not recorded who with Philip Taber when he forced the Rev. Gorton from the pulpit, undoubtedly James both Jr. and Jr. as well as son John were among them.

All of which did not hinder the building of a sizeable gambrel roofed house, mostly of stone with large center beams and a number of fire places.  Soon after moving from New London he began to dispose of some of his land holdings beginning with the 2400 acre tract in Groton which he had held with Col. John Pyncheon of Springfield and next the large grant in Montville gained from Uncas thro is being one of a committee on fortifications in the Indian war of 1675 while his Waterford holding extended from Jordan Cove or Robin Hoods Bay ( as has been previously noted) eastward to Alewife Cove.

As his sons married he provided homes for them, the first shown by a cellar built for his son John in 1679 while a short distance east of the driveway that led  to the beautiful beach, the connection of the drive is broken by high stone pillars and a sizeable flower garden and many shrubs added to the beauty of a truly picturesque building spot so noticeable where later the immediate home was purchased by Mr. Erastrus N. Smith of Brooklyn Bridge fame, and ell was added to the west side bringing an inlet from the Sound yet closer to the terraced flower garden.  Miss Mary Sussman, a teacher of art, painted a picture of house and grounds much cherished by the Smith Family.

As to the Rogers heirs, Jonathan born in Milford in 1656 was drowned near Gull Island trying to kill a seal Mar 2, 1678.  His wife being Naomi daughter of the Burdicks of R.I.  He followed the steps taken by his brothers James and John and was baptized in New London by Elder Hiscox of New port as there was then only a few Sabbatarians outside of R.I.  Many of the houses yet standing in the Goshen section of Waterford were built by heirs of James Rogers even the Harkness Mansion was designed by James Gamble Rogers noted New York architect who like Mrs. Harkness can trace their ancestry back to the first James Rogers of Waterford whose will covers seven pages of sizeable paper so thoroughly itemized as to show that he was still a man of intellectual ability as well as spiritual foresight convinced as was Roger Williams of the need of the need of greater freedom of conscience willing to pay the price of loss of friends, suffer criticism, and ay the fines then exacted by the Congregationalists.  His aggressiveness becoming more peaceful as the years passes helped no doubt as the Sabbatarians moved to a Church building farther west on land given by some of his descendants.  He passed to his reward Feb. 1688.

           (Handwritten on this pave is Mary Stillman Anderson but I don’t know if she is the author or not.)



James Rogers Jr. and the Waterford Mill.

According to records, some years before the division of Waterford from New London, one may find the extent of the large land holdings of James Rogers who came from Milford to settle in New London in 1658 and was soon after friendly with John Winthrop from whom he received the privilege to operate the Town Mill yet standing in New London.  As he was a baker he secured the contact of making se biscuits for the many boats sailing from the New London harbor and also later for the Colonial troops so that he soon became a notable personage, and when later he added grinding corn for the farmers over a wide territory, it was little wonder that in 1666 he was assessed double as much as any other person.

Like other early settlers he had a large family among whom James Jr. appears to have been a favorite for altho he was a seafaring man, he was given a large tract of land in Waterford which probably stimulated his decision to sail to Ireland having with him a number of sailor lads whose purpose was to induce a number of redemptioners to embark to the New World where according to terms of the voyage, they would become betrothed of Captain James Rogers Jr.

There seems to have been no family objection to the simple marriage ceremony upon their arrival in Waterford, and very soon after the grant of land the sizeable two story house was built with the assistance of local builders and James many relatives, the roof having an octagon shaped cupola not only for ornament but also as a watch tower from which to watch the slaves working on the distant farm acres which then extended as far west as Jordan Cove and this now called Pleasure Beach.

To the house a number of buildings were added, a wood shed, corn house and out house after the manner yet common in northern New England and as yet customary house and outbuilding were painted white giving the estate the name White Hall Farm for many years.

Before the arrival of Mary Jordan the Rogers family had severed their connection with the Congregational Church in Milford and joined the Sabbatarians, James and John, his brother, being among the first converts in Rhode Island led the family to that decision which is cited as one reason of their building a home in Waterford where others of like faith built a Church on Pepperbox Hill, but as in other lands, the State Church sent their excise men to collect annual dues whatever the landowners faith might be which appeared to James Rogers Jr. and his fiery Irish wife an outrage, therefore as the excise men were rolling away a barrel of beef, James assisted by his wife threw scalding water upon them wich act so aroused the hostility of the town that James was obliged to stay on his farm for the protection of it, as well as that of his family and slaves.  

His son James became the chief inheritor and also first Townsman of New London which there included Waterford.  His advancement beyond that of his Father as a Townsman led him to develop his home tract making a driveway through it from east to west, marking the entrance with two high granite posts (yet standing 1947) and on the grass plot around the house, he planted fruit trees.  Elms and old time shrubs including silver leafed maples whose dancing leaves still shimmer in the breeze.  He with his wife became a member of the Congregational Church.  Because of this and also of his having built a windmill in Ocean Avenue his Grandfather in 1712 gave him the grant to the Jordan Mill one tract was not only a lucrative one then, but that has continued to make Waterford history over a long period of years under many different managers for in 1727 james Rogers sold his homestead to Philip Taber for 2970 lbs. having moved to Norwalk the previous year.  His reason for Selling his farm being largely due to the loss of his wife in 1713 due to his marriage to Freelove Hurlburt who owned a home there.  Solomon Rogers one of his sons who lived in a house on the Post Road was an inheritor of the mill. 


30 Sep 2012 – Road Trip Report: The Old Town Mill in New London September 30, 2012

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One of the first stops on my road trip was to visit the Old town Mill in New London, CT.  Located just a ways north of where the ferry gets in, the mill sits right underneath and between the North and South bound lanes of 95.  In the photo below you can see the Southbound land of 95 looming not to far in the distance and the shadow on the mill itself is from the Northbound lane. 

If you google “Mill Street, New London, CT” you can see it’s location easy enough.  Mill Street is very small.  Here is what you’ll see.   The mill is just above the red circle with the A.  If you look closely, you can see it’s roof.  (Click on the image to see it close up)

James Rogers (2 Feb 1615 to 16 Feb 1687, husband of Elizabeth Rowland) my 7th Great Grandfather came from Milford, CT to work the mill and so the Rogers family established itself in the are of New London, CT.

While researching this post, I came across an interesting article on the Mill from The New London Day from 2 Oct 1986.  Here it is:    (FYI, she says it’s easy to find because of good signage but don’t believe it.  I saw one sign off the main road but completely missed the turn I was supposed to take.  I only found it because I drove down roads that went under 95 and using that logic it was pretty easy to find.  Not much traffic there so I could drive slow till I spotted it.)

Here is the Mill and James Rogers mentioned in History of Montville:

History of Montville, Connecticut Formerly the North Parish of New London from 1640 to 1896, by Henry Augutus baker, 1896, Pager 176-178

JAMES ROGERS the first came to America in the ship Increase,” from London, in England, in 1685, at the age of twenty years. He is first known at Stratford, New Haven county, where lie married Elizabeth (1) daughter of Samuel Rowland. They afterwards removed to Milford, where his wife united with the Rev. Mr. Prudden’s church in 1645, and he in 1652.Their children were, baptized at Milford. Mr. Rogers had dealings in New London in 1656, and, liking it as a place of business, fixed himself permanently as an inhabitant of the plantation there, previous 1660. Here he soon achieved property and influence, and was much engaged, both in the civil and ecclesiastical affairs of the place. He was six times elected representative to the general court.

Governor Winthrop had encouraged his settling in New London, and accommodated him with portion of his own house lot next the mill, which afterwards leased to him.  On this lot Mr. Rogers built a dwelling house of stone. He was a baker,and carried on the business on a large scale, often furnishing biscuit for seamen and thee colonial troops, and between the years 1661 awl 1670 had a greater interest in the trade of that post then any other person in the place.

His landed possessions became very extensive, consisting of several hundred acres on the Great Neck, a tract of land at Mohegan at the place called Pamechog, now called Massapeag, several house lots in town, and twenty-four hundred acres on the east able of the river, which was held in partnership with Colonel Pyncheon of Springfield.

James Rogers, the ancestor of a great throng of descendants, was an upright and circumspect man. At his first settlement in New London, both himself and his wife united with Mr. Bradstreet’s church. They, however,after a few years, became dissenters in some sort from the established Congregational church and joined the Sabbatarians and were afterwards called Quakers.

There is no account of any dealings with him and his wife on account of their secession from the church. . Of his latter years, little a known.Mr. Rogers was born about 1615, and is supposed to be the son of Rev.John Rlogers of Dedham, in England, who died in 1636, and his descendants hold to a tradition that he was the grandson of the Rev. John Rogers of London, who was burned at the stake in Smithfield in 1555, during the reign of “Bloody” Queen Mary. . Recent genealogical researches have,however, thrown much doubt as to this lineal connection of this stock of Rogers with that of the martyr.

James Rogers died at New London in February, 1687-8, when the government of Sir Edmund Andros was paramount in New England. His will was therefore proved in Boston. The first settlement of the estate was entirely harmonious. The children, in accordance with his earnest request, made an amicable division of the estate, which was sanctioned by the general court, May 12, 1602.


2. Samuel, b. at Stratford 12 Dir. 1640; m. 17 Nov., 1061, Mary Stanton,day of Thomas Stanton.

3. Joseph, b. at Stratford 14 May, 1646; m. about 1671, Sarah ______

4. John, b. at Stratford 1 Dec., 1648; m.17 Oct., 1670, Elizabeth Griswold, dau, of Mathew Griswold.

5. Bathsheba, b. at Stratford 30 Dec., 1650; m. 4 March 1669-70, 1stRichard Smith; 2d, Samuel Fox.

6. James, b. at Milford 15 Feb, 1652;.m. 5 Nov., 1674, Mary Jordan, dau,of Jeffrey Jordan.

7. Jonathan, b. probably at Milford 31 Dec., 1655; m. Naomi Burdick, dau.of Elder Burdick of Newport, R. I.

8. Elizabeth, b. probably at New London 15 April 1658; m. Samuel Beeby.


Here are some more photographs I took at the mill and a few old postcards that have older but similar views of the mill.

I also came across this paperwork from the National Register of Historic Places on the Mill.  Has some interesting onfo on it.  Natl Reg Historic Places – Old Mill in New London

Unfortunately the mill wasn’t open to go inside when I was there but it wasn’t locked up either.  I went on into the fenced area and walked around the exterior to take these pictures.   No one was there at all when I stopped by.



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