Continuing from yesterday….. From the Book.. The Rogerenes…
On page 231 it says: “1712. Under date of March 7th of this year, we find a deed of gift 2 of some land (adjoining Mamacock farm) from John, Sr., to John, Jr., with the statement therein that this gift is to make up to his son for the land that had been taken from the latter for a fine of £20 imposed upon himself (Part I., Chapter V.), also for a choice cow and a considerable number of sheep that had been taken from his son to satisfy like claims against himself.
He states that this gift is also to stand as a testimony of his appreciation of the fact that this son who
“was taken from me in his infancy, upon the account of my differing in judgment, and ordered by the Authority to be brought up in their principles, incensing him against me his own father, and thus kept from me till he came to a young man’s estate; yet, notwithstanding, last winter now past, hath been an instrument in the hands of God, to preserve my life in an unfinished prison, with an open window facing towards the northwest, I being fined and imprisoned by two several courts with. out any trial of law by a jury.” It will be remembered that John Rogers is still in prison, awaiting the sitting of the March session of the Superior Court”
On pages 235-236 it says : (1712) ” Two days after, the sheriff is instructed that, after adjournment of the court, he is to convey John Rogers to the Hartford prison and see that he is shut up in a dark room, where a certain French doctor will “shave his head and give him purges,” to cure him of his madness. Such treatment, added to all the memories of past wrongs, would seem enough to give the sanest man the temporary appearance of a maniac. The more he can be made to appear like a maniac, the more plausible will be the excuse for consigning him to a worse than prison cell. Had it remained for Gurdon Saltonstall to carry out this inhuman purpose, the statement that John Rogers died in Hartford prison, or in a madhouse, would probably have ended this man’s history. Some person, to whom the sheriff confided the inhuman plot, being friendly to the prisoner, John Rogers is informed of the doom prepared for him. He goes directly to the sheriff, to inquire into the truth of the statement, and asks to see the warrant for this new procedure, which the sheriff shows him. He there recognizes the handwriting of Gurdon Saltonstall. Few men could be readier in resources than the man in custody. A person is quickly found to carry word, this very (Saturday) evening, to John Rogers, Jr., at Mamacock, of the impending peril. The hurried message quite suffices: With all possible speed, before the night is far advanced, John, Jr., is at hand, with a staunch boat, near by, well manned, to convey his father to Long Island. He has also money for his use, and, finding him in need of a suitable shirt, takes off his own and gives him. The boat was easily moored not far from the prison, which is by the Mill Cove, and also not far from the Thames River, into which the cove leads. This boat, propelled by hands well skilled, pulls out from shore, in cover of the night, and goes to brave the winds and waves of March across Long Island Sound. John, Jr., returns to Mamacock, with thrilling tale of this, so far, successful rescue. Many a follower besides John Bolles anxiously awaits the tidings. Eagerly, no doubt, they gather in the big front room at the Mamacock “mansion house,” to talk the matter over and speculate regarding the result, noting the weather betimes and praying for a bon voyage. Before dawn, John Rogers is landed at Southold, and makes his way to the tavern.”
On Page 241 it says: 1714. Mary, the second wife of John Rogers, was, a number of years since, married to Robert Jones of Block Island.l It is now fifteen years since John Rogers took her for his wife and twelve years since their enforced separation. He has recently become attached to an estimable widow, by the name of Sarah Cole, of Oyster Bay, L.I., a member of the Quaker Society of that locality. Although favorable to his suit, she is yet inclined to hesitate, on account of rumors that have been circulated in regard to his separation from Mary. In his prompt, straightforward way, he desires her to accompany him to Block Island, to learn from Mary herself if she has anything to say against him. This request is so reassuring, that the publication of their marriage intentions takes place at New London, July 4, 1714 (“Hempstead Diary”), after which they visit Mary at her home on Block Island. Mary gives Mrs. Cole so favorable an account of John Rogers and the treatment she herself received from him, that the ceremony is performed by Justice Wright before they leave the island.
[There is evidence, from the court records and testimony of Peter Pratt,2 that this wife, Sarah, was of attractive personality, also that she was a zealous religious co-worker with her husband, and that they lived happily together at Mamacock, with John, Jr ., and his family and the two children of Mary.]”
On Page 262-3: (1721) “Fast and far is spread the alarm that John Rogers, just returned from his foolhardy visit to Boston, is prostrated at Mamacock with the dread contagion. There are in the house, including himself, thirteen persons. Adding the servants who live in separate houses on the place, it is easy to swell the number to “upwards of twenty.” The large farm, spreading upon both sides of the road, is itself a place of isolation. On the east is a broad river, separating it from the uninhabited Groton bank. On the north is wooded, uninhabited, Scotch Cap.1 There is possibly a dwelling within half a mile at the northwest. A half-mile to the south is the house of John Bolles. What few other neighbors there may be, are well removed, and there are dwellings enough on the farm to shelter all not required for nursing the sick. To what degree the family might take the usual precautions, if left to themselves, or how efficacious might be their scriptural methods, can never be known; since the authorities take the matter in hand at the start.
Had this illness occurred in the very heart of a crowded city, greater alarm or more stringent measures could not have ensued. There is a special meeting of Governor and Council at New Haven, October 14, on receipt of the news that John Rogers is ill at Mamacock with the smallpox, and that “on account of the size of the family, upwards of twenty persons, and the great danger of many persons going thither and other managements ” (doubtless referring to scriptural methods of restoration and precaution) “there is great liability of the spread of the infection in that neighborhood.” It is enacted that “effectual care be taken to prevent any intercourse between members of the family and other persons, also that three or four persons be impressed to care for the sick.” ……… ” Three days after the official order that every relative and friend be banished from his bedside, and so with no one near him but the immunes pressed into the service, John Rogers yields up his life unto Him whom he has faithfully striven to obey, fearing not what man or any earthly chance might do to him. Thus dies John, the beloved and trusted son of James Rogers, and the last of that family.” ……. ”
The day after this death, at another special meeting of Governor and Council, it is enacted that “constant watch be kept about the house, to seize and imprison all persons who may attempt to hold any intercourse with the quarantined family.” Little do those who have been forced to take charge at Mamacock and to punish all friendly “intruders about the premises” appreciate the deep sorrow and sympathy of these long-time neighbors and friends, who desire to hear the particulars, to show respect for the departed and to render aid to the family. Rudely rebuked, no doubt, are the most reasonable efforts on the part of these friends, to prove their love and fellowship in grief, although as yet no one else has the contagion and all thoughts are centred on this one great bereavement.
When shortly Bathsheba, wife of John Rogers (now 2d) and their eldest son, John, are stricken, the dark shadows deepen over Mamacock, and friends of the family would fain show some sign of fearless fidelity, not only to those afflicted, but to the teachings of the New Testament and the Old, in regard to the power and good will of God to hold even the direst pestilence in His hand. Much of the endeavor on the part of these friends appears to be to provide the family with such necessaries for their comfort as have not yet been supplied by the authorities.”
On page 265 it says: “Two more of the family die of the disease, Bathsheba, wife of John Rogers, 2d, and John, their son. When all is over, John Rogers, 2d, is called upon to pay the expenses of official nurses, guards, provisions and medicines, a large bill, on which he is allowed no reduction.
John Rogers having died intestate, his son John is appointed administrator. The only heirs allowed by the court are the widow, John Rogers, 2d, and Elizabeth Prentice, “only son” and “only daughter,” among whom the estate is divided by due course of law. When this form is ended, John Rogers, 2d, ignoring the fact that he, as only son under the law, has “a double portion,” and Gershom and Mary, the two children by Mary, are awarded nothing of this estate, pays to each of these a liberal sum out of his own portion for “share in” their “father’s estate” (as is still to be seen on the town records). Well may Mary, if living, forgive this honorable man for some things that displeased her in the past. He claims her children as his father’s before the world; he claims them as brother and sister of his own. He afterwards buys of them land at Mamacock, which was given them by their father, Gershom’s land “having a house thereon.”
On page 266 it says: “Mamacock farm has been much enlarged since, by that name; it was the old Blinman farm, and as such given to Elizabeth Griswold; it has taken in lands to the north, south and west (across the Norwich road). In a southeast corner of its present (1721) boundaries, close by the river bank, are three graves that mark the earthly loss to family and friends of that fearless visit to Boston. The sentiments of the Rogerenes who view those mounds are: “The Lord hath given and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”
On page 277 it says: “About 1740, Capt. Benjamin Greene, of Rhode Island — a younger brother of Gov. William Greene — established a home farm near Mamacock, at the point caned “Scotch Cap.”
On page 279 it says: “In June, 1753, occurs the death of John Rogers, 2d, in his eightieth year. He has made a long and heroic stand, since at the age of seventeen years he joined his father in this contest. To him is largely due the size and strength of a sect that has called for the bravest of the brave — and found them. Fifteen children gather at Mamacock, to follow the remains of this honored and beloved father to the grave, eight sons and seven daughters, of the average age of thirty-four years, the eldest (son) being fifty-two and the youngest (son) fourteen years of age. Besides these, with their families, and the widow in her prime, is the large gathering of Bolleses and other friends and followers in the locality, also those of Groton and doubtless many from other places.
They lay the form of this patriarch beside his father, his wife Bathsheba and the children gone before, in the ground he has set apart, in the southeast corner of his farm, as a perpetual burial place for his descendants, close by the beautiful river that washes Mamacock. They mark his grave, like the others in this new ground, by two rough stones, from nature’s wealth of granite in this locality, whose only tracery shall be the lichen’s mossy green or tender mould.1
1 The early graves still discernible in this old family burying-ground are marked by natural, uninscribed stones, which was the ordinary mode before grave-stones came into common use in New England. In family burying-places, on farms or in out-of-the-way places, the lack of inscriptions continued to a comparatively late period. Many such old family burying-places have been long obliterated. The preservation of this one is probably due to its being secured by deed. (See New London Record, November 13, 1751.) It is said that, despite the lack of inscriptions, descendants in the earlier part of the nineteenth century could tell who was buried in each of the old graves. The railroad has cut off a portion of this burial ground, which originally extended to the verge of the river. Tradition states that some of the graves on the river bank were washed away at the time of the great September gale (1813).
On page 280-281 it says: “John Rogers, 2d, was a man of remarkable thrift and enterprise as well as of high moral and religious character.1 His inventory is the largest of his time in New London and vicinity, and double that of many accounted rich, consisting mainly of a number of valuable farms on both sides of the Norwich road, including the enlarged Mamacock farm, the central part of which (Mamacock proper), his home farm, is shown by the inventory to be under a high state of cultivation and richly stocked with horses, cattle and sheep. His children had received liberal gifts from him in his lifetime.
Four of the eight sons of John Rogers, 2d, are now in the prime of life, and not only landed proprietors but men of excellent business ability. John, the youngest of the four, now in his thirtieth year, is appointed administrator of his father’s estate and guardian of his two minor brothers. James, the eldest, is a very enterprising business man. That his coopering establishment is a large plant is shown by the fact that he is, immediately after the death of his father, the richest man in New London, his estate being nearly equal to that left by his father.2 The preamble of his will proved in 1754, shows him to have been a Christian of no ordinary stamp. Thus soon, after the death of John Rogers,2d, this worthy and capable son, who must have been a man of large influence in the Society, is removed. For some time previous to his death, he occupied, as a home farm, the southern third of the enlarged Mamacock 1 — which fell to him later by his father’s will — upon which was a “mansion house” said to have been built of materials brought from Europe. His brother Samuel has inherited the northern third of the enlarged Mamacock, upon which he resided for some time previous to the death of his father. His brother John has inherited the central part, or Mamacock proper, which his father reserved for his own use.
There are numerous allusions to John Rogers, 2d, in the “Hempstead Diary,” but a number of references to “John Rogers,” which in the published Diary are credited to John, 2d, refer to his cousin, Capt. John Rogers, of Great Neck vicinity, as does the statement under October 4, 1735, that John Rogers “girdled the apple trees” on the “Crossman lot.” This “Crossman lot,” on the Great Neck, by “Lower Mamacock,” was in litigation between Capt. John Rogers and Mr. Hempstead, for some time, and was finally accorded to Mr. Hempstead. “Lower Mamacock” by “lower Alewife Cove,” is easily confounded with “Upper Mamacock,” by “upper Alewife Cove,” although they are six or seven miles apart.
2 This coopering establishment was located on Main Street, by the Mill Cove, on land which had been given him by his father in 1725 (New London Record); it bordered the Mill Cove and there was a wharf belonging to it. Tradition has confounded this James with his son James, the only son of the former who reached middle life. James, Jr., was remembered by some of the older people of the middle of the nineteenth century and familiarly called “Jimmy Rogers.” He succeeded to the business of his father, by the Mill Cove, and continued it on a still larger scale, packing beef of his own preparation, in barrels of his own manufacture, and shipping it to southern markets. He was a very successful business man; but the piety conspicuous in the character of his father is not ascribable to this James, who appears not to have made any profession of the Christian faith. He was a young man at the time of the persecution of the Society to which his father belonged, which was instituted by the denomination of which his mother was a member, and which resulted in the blood-curdling scenes attendant upon the countermove of 1764-6. Such scenes enacted by professing Christians, in vengeful punishment of other professing Christians, were calculated to make anything but a religious impression upon a youth of the strictly practical turn of mind that is ascribed to this James.
1 The farm (Speaking of Mamaock) now (1904) occupied by Mr. Henry Benham is a portion of what was the James Rogers farm. A southern portion of the latter was sold by heirs of James, Jr., to the Lewis brothers. The farm inherited by Samuel Rogers is now owned by Mr. Stephen Comstock. Mamacock proper, left to John Rogers, 3d, is the farm now owned by Mr. Fitzgerald, including Mamacock peninsula. Each of these farms had, originally, pasture and woodland on the west side of the Norwich road.
From: The antecedents and descendants of Noah Whipple: of the Rogerene community … By Clara Hammond McGuigan, Page 14…. of John Rogers “He was mater of a plantation called mamacock Farm which occupid several thousand acres on the western side of the Thames River near the present site of the Connecticut College for Women.”
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