Wells Family Genealogy

The study of my Family Tree

30 June 2015: The sordid divorce of John Rogers and Elizabeth Griswold June 30, 2015

I love how you sometimes come across genealogy info in the strangest places, like books on the institution of marriage.  Case in point … see below.  While cleaning out my genealogy files, I came across this item I must have stumbled across some time back.  An interesting telling of the divorce of John Rogers  Sr. (1648-1721) (my 6th great-grandfather) from his first wife, Elizabeth Griswold (1652-1727) (my 6th great-grandmother).

A History of Matrimonial Institutions, by George Elliot Howard, Ph.D.  Volume Two, 1904, Page 356-357

The case of Elizabeth Rogers is of special interest; for it is much to be feared that the worthy deputies and magistrates regarded “free thinking” as a sufficient cause for dissolution of wedlock.  In 1675 she laid her petition before the court of assistants, which found “some difficulties as to a present issue final.”  Yet the case being one which called “for compassion to the woman under so great distress and hazard,” it was referred for settlement to the general court, Mrs. Rogers having liberty meanwhile to dwell with her father.  Accordingly, at its next session the assembly, accepting the “allegations and proofes presented to clear the righteousness of her desires,” released Elizabeth from her “conjugall bond.”  A year later provision is made for alimony with custody of children; and now at last the reason for Goodwife Rogers’s “great distress and hazard,” thus far carefully omitted from the record, is clearly divulged.  “Her husband,” runs the order, “being so hettridox in his opinion and practice,” and having even “in open Court declared that he did utterly renounce all the visible worship of New England, and professedly declare against the Christian Sabboth as to a mere invention,” the court grads the mother and her father, Matthew Griswold, the care and custody of the children “to be brought up and nurtured by them (in the admonition and fear of the Lord),” also ordering John Rogers to pay “towards the maintenance of his children, the sume of twenty pownds” in four equal annual instalments.  In case “he fayle of payment, the reversion of the land by sayd John Rogers made over to Elizabeth his late wife, at Mamcock” is to be held security.

Here’s a PDF Copy of the pages in the book:  History of Matrimonial Institutions – John Rogers and Liz Griswold Divorce

Just another glance into the lives of our ancestors.  I have to say I was surprised to see that John had to pay alimony/child support.  Didn’t even realize that had those things back in the 1600’s.  Whoda thunk!

before I sign off, I’ll mention that my latest novel is due out on Amazon on Friday!!  Don’t forget to check out If Love is a Lie by Jennifer Geoghan for part of your summer reading!


Three More Days!  Until If Love is a Lie is released on Amazon!!

Three More Days! Until If Love is a Lie is released on Amazon!!


15 Oct 2014: Hopkinton, RI Taxes for 1902 October 15, 2014

I was lucky enough to get a copy of the Hopkinton Tax Book and Town Treasurer’s Report for 1902.

Hopkinton Tax Book 1902

Hopkinton Tax Book 1902

Hopkinton Tax Book 1902

Hopkinton Tax Book 1902

Here’s what it had to say about the Wells family:

Hopkinton Tax Book 1902

Hopkinton Tax Book 1902

Williams R. Wells is listed with his mother Martha Ann (Rogers) Wells with holding of real estate valued $4500 for which he paid $36 in taxes.  Martha Ann is also listed separately with real estate valued at $3100 for which she paid $24.80 in taxes.  In 1902, the real estate Williams would have owned (although it might not have been the only real estate) would have been his house that was located in what is now called Crandall Field in Ashaway.

Wells House, Ashaway, RI

Wells House, Ashaway, RI



14 Oct 2014: Rogers Articles from the New London Co Historical Assoc October 14, 2014

While on my road trip, I stopped into the New London Co Historical Society to visit the library and see what other info I could find.  While there I looked through a roll of microfilm that was a collection of articles compiled by Richard B Wall on the history of the county.  I found a few on the Rogers family.  Here is a transcription of one.  xxx’s are parts I can’t read:

Published: 1915, article 231 of the Articles compiled by Richard B Wall.

Stories of Waterford

Some Traditions of the Rogers Family By R.B. Wall

It used to be said in the memory of aged persons now living that everybody in Great Neck was either a Rogers, a Beebe or a Beckwith. For more than 200 years the Rogers family was more numerous in its various branches than any other. Many of the name belonged to the Sabbatarians, while a few were associated with other denominations. The first James Rogers who came from England and settled in New London, where he soon proved to be influential, spent his last days in Great Neck. He was one of the first to show his independence in religious matters by not associated himself with the only church in town where everybody was supposed to go and worship God whether he liked the service or not. For this he was brought into court and fined over and over again. Much of his money went in that way, but it is not the purpose of the writer to dwell on the persecutions that he suffered because he would not accept the doctrines of the Puritan church. It is possible that he removed from the town plot to Great Neck, the whole of which he is said to have owned and fenced in because of persecution. There is a tradition that he was buried at the Strand, a summer place near Long Island Sound.

James Rogers of Stern Mold

James Rogers, a grandson of the first James Rogers, lived in what is now called the Brigham place, and he was the father of a large family of boys and girls. As a rule the boys followed the sea and were notable mariners. Stevens Rogers, sailing master of the Savannah, the first steamship to cross the Atlantic belonged to this family. James, grandson of James Rogers who came from England and who as before stated lived on what is now the Brigham place, was a very strict parent and one of his many sons is reported to have said that he never saw his father show any real affection for his children but once. It seems that the boys went to school in a small building that stood on the west side of pepper box hill and to reach it they had to cross the meadow and woodland that lay between it and home.

Lost in a Snow Storm

One winter morning after the Rogers boys had reached the school house the snow began to fall and before the close of the day’s session, it was very deep. The school master was solicitous about them and hope they would reach home in safety. The density of the storm brought on the night before it’s time and in the depths of the woodland the boys could not see their way. After walking hither and thither in vain endeavor to reach the meadows that lay beyond, they became exhausted and sought shelter under the branches of a fallen tree, where they huddled together and were quite comfortable in the shelter. The snow xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx sound of a human voice and they xxxx for its repetition. Again they heard a voice nearer than before and they recognized xxxx to be their father’s. They scrambled out from beneath the branches of the tree and halleed a reply to their parent’s call and they were soon beside him.

James Rogers must have been a powerful man for he carried his three boys home. One bestrode his broad shoulders, another clasped his waist with feet and hand while the third hugged his neck from the front and the father ploughed through the drifts over the wind swept plain and rested not till he reached his home. The sons were always under strict orders to rise in the morning at the first crowing of the cock when they had to begin their day’s work. Some of them at least did not enjoy rising at such at early hour and they conspired to cut the tongue of every rooster so that their father would not hear the signal of the cocks and they could lie in their snug beds a little longer.

The Rogers boys removed the tongues of all the roosters and that night they went to bed and slept later in the morning than had been their wont. Their father was not long in discovering that his sons did not rise from their beds as early as usual and he called them to account for it. Accustomed to getting up early in his younger days he would awake as soon as his sons and knew their movements. Calling them together before they appeared at the breakfast table he demanded to know just why they did not arise when the cock crew in conformity to his orders. The boys replied that the roosters had been silent about announcing the dawn and finally confessed their guilt.

Worked His Sons Without Pay

James Rogers, the father, is said to have kept his sons at work on the farm till they were past their majority without paying them wages. Just how many of his sons went to sea and how many remained at home till the farm tradition failed to specify, but to those who worked the farm until they were grown men tradition tells this story: One day a son past 21 asked his father for a monthly wage, averring that he wished to have some money like other young men. The father said he had not made up his mind on that point and he would not state then what his future intentions were to be. The son was indignant and told his father then and there that he would sue him for back wager and carried his case to court and won it. Thinking his father would disown him for his summary method of obtaining reimbursement for labor the son made up his mind to leave the paternal roof and seek employment elsewhere. He had many traits of his tribe. He had constructive industry, was exact in speech, just in his relations toward God and man, steadiness of character and more sympathetic than his father. He had come home from the court alone and did not see the defendant in his case until he was ready to leave home.

Surprised By His Father

Young Rogers had gently but firmly declined to grant his mother’s entreaties to remain. He had kissed her and his sisters and had embraced his brothers xxxxx he turned into the highway and walked to the northward with scarce an idea as to his destination. As he rounded a curve in the road not many rods from his home he met his father face to face and he was not a little astonished when his parent extended his hand which contained a paper. The son opened xxxx congratulate you my son for winning your case and xxxxxxxx act and will said the father and there was a kindly tone to his words as he spoke. This place is now (1915) owned by E.C. Hammond.

Stevens Rogers, Master Mariner

There are many old and middle aged people in this city who will recall Capt. Stevens Rogers, sailing master of the Savannah, the first steam vessel to cross the Atlantic Ocean. He is better remembered as a tax collector and as a Bible carrier in Masonic processions. None know personally of his sailor days because he was master of sailing vessels plying between New York and European ports. His son James was also master of many ocean going merchant ships. As a tax collector, Stevens Rogers used to advertise that he would be at certain stores in the city on specified days when he would be pleased to received taxes and if everybody did not come he would call at their houses.

Stevens Rogers, the son of Stevens Rogers was born in Great Neck on a farm now in the possession of E.S. Harkness. Many of his ancestors had been notable navigators and from his early boyhood he had a craving for the sea. The water of Long Island sound were before him daily from the time he was a toddling child and the sight of ships sailing up and down was the most pleasing spectacle to him when was a rugged lad he worked in the fields along the shore. He would be a sailor but his father and mother strove hard to eliminate the idea from his mind. He was the only boy in the family and his father wanted him to take charge of the place when he got too old to work, while his mother thought the sea had claimed too many of the Rogers family and that if it should now swallow up her son if she could help it.

Sent to Plainfield Academy

Stevens much against his will was sent to Plainfield Academy to get a higher education but he did not get along very well because his mind was on the sea and not in the study of grammar, mathematics and rhetoric. One day he collected his books and without telling the principal he started for New London. When he got off the ferryboat he hastened up Water Street asking every sea captain if he wanted a cabin boy and meeting with no success. As he stood Hallam Street looking northward he spied some smaller vessels than those that were tied up to the Water street wharves. One was being loaded with staves and hoops and baled hay. He straightaway sought the captain who said he would take him along but he must have his father’s verbal consent first.

Hurrying along toward home Stevens wondered how his parents would feel when they saw him and knew what had had done. Reaching the homestead he walked in with a confident stride and after embracing his father and mother he frankly told what he had done and asked for their forgiveness. He pleaded to be allowed to go to sea as he knew that was his calling. After a while he got their consent and the next morning he rode with this father into the city to see Captain Blinn for that was the name of the master of the vessel. Captain Blinn and the father of Stevens proved to be old-time friends and were glad to see each other. “Now Captain,” said Stevens’ father, “I want you to make that boy as sick of the water as is possible. Neither myself nor my wife wishes him to be a sailor and you will do me a great favor to discharge the youngster of the sea habit.”

Meets British Man-o-War’s man

The vessel sailed for Cuba and on the way she was stopped by a British war vessel which had fired a shot across her bow xxxxx a Leutenant xxxxxxxxxxxx officer threatened to impress him, but xxxxxxx Captain Blinn who said that it was his own fault and not the boy’s as he had forgotten to call at the custom house before leaving New London the officer returned to his ship. Stevens had a shipmate print an eagle and an American Flag on his arm before the vessel reached Havana. On the return voyage the ship was again stopped and boarded by an officer from an English warship and as before everyone but Stevens had his papers. “Where are your credentials?” thundered the officer, addressing Stevens. “These are my credentials,” replied the young sailor as he bared his arm and placed his fingers on the flag and eagle.

Rogers Locomotive Builder

Thomas Rogers, founder of the Rogers Locomotive works at Paterson, N.J. was a native of Waterford where he grew up on a farm. He had a relative, Jason Rogers, who was a blacksmith with a shop in Water Street, this city and with him young Thomas learned the trade, boarding with Jason at his home in Main Street. The first night he was told that being the youngest apprentice it was his duty to rise early in the morning and boil the kettle. Thomas was out of bed early and was soon busy making a fire in the kitchen. Jason heard a commotion downstairs a little later and hastily dressing himself he repaired to the kitchen. He laughed heartily as he viewed the situation, while Thomas stood one side as mum as an oyster. The great pot hung on the crane in the fireplace and in it was a small kettle sailing around in the superheated water which boiling over hissed and sputtered on the coals. “What in thunderation are you a-doing?” shouted Jason though vainly trying to suppress his merriment. “I done just as you told me to,” said Thomas.

After serving his time Thomas Rogers drifted to Paterson and in the course of time he founded the locomotive works which still bears his name. He used to come to New London after he made a notable record in the business world and once he said that a thousand men were on his payrolls. He often referred to the happening at Jason’s house on the first morning of his stay there.

Rogers Article 231 Part 1

Rogers Article 231 Part 2


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
Tags: , ,

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.




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