Wells Family Genealogy

The study of my Family Tree

12 April 2018: Those crazy Rogerenes … Recapturing the beef for Christ April 12, 2018

Alright, I’ll admit it. I’ve been a bad genealogist as of late. I’ve been hoping to move soon so I’ve been spending a lot of time quilting.  You’re probably wondering how these two things are related. I want to have a little to move as possible, but as a quilter I have a large collection of fabric. I’m finishing off a scrap quilt (a quilt made entirely of fabric I already had) and by doing so reducing the amount of fabric in my large plastic totes. Yes, I’ll have to move the quilt when it’s done, but it’s the principal of the thing.  I’m sure you understand 🙂

Deciding I needed to get back to posting interesting family info, I’ve been working on a good transcription of a Rogers’ chapter of Frances Manwaring Caulkins’ History of New London, Connecticut.  Specifically chapter XIV, entitled: The Rogers Family and the Sect of Rogerenes.  There’s a really bad transcription of it online, but it’s a scan that was never proofed and FULL OF ERRORS. I’ve attempted to fix those errors thereby making it a copy that you can copy and paste into your own genealogy programs.

Below my transcription are some thoughts and questions of mine on the chapter, so keep reading to the end. 

If you’re going to reference any of the below, here’s how you can cite the source: History of New London, Connecticut from the first Survey of the Coast in 1612 to by 1860 by  Frances Manwaring Caulkins.  New London: Published by H.D. Utley, 1895. Chapter XIV: The Rogers Family and the Sect of Rogerenes, Pages 201-221.

Since mine is a transcription, I’ve inserted the citation footnotes into the text in parentheses.

Chapter XIV: The Rogers Family, and the Sect of Rogerenes.

The unity of religious worship in New London, was first interrupted by James Rogers and his sons. A brief account of the family will lead to the history of their religious doctrines.

James Rogers is supposed to be the James Rogers, who came to America, in the Increase, 1635, aged 20. (Gleanings. Mass. Illst. Coll., 2nd series, vol. 8, p. 161.) As James Rogers, he is first known to us at Stratford, where he married Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel Rowland, (Samuel Rowland left his farm to Samuel Rogers, his grandson, which leads to the supposition that Elizabeth was his only child.) and is afterward found at Milford, where his wife united with Mr. Prudden’s church in 1645, and himself in 1652. Their children were, Samuel, whose birth has not been found on record, but his will, dated Feb. 12th, 1712-13, states his age to be “72 and upwards,” which will place it in 1640;

  • Joseph, baptized in Milford, 1646;
  • John, in 1648;
  • Bathsheba, in 1650;
  • James, not recorded, but next in order:
  • Jonathan, born Dec. 31st, 1655;
  • Elizabeth, 1658.

Mr. Rogers had dealings in New London in 1656, and between that time and 1660, fixed himself permanently in the plantation. Here he soon acquired property and influence, and was much employed both in civil and ecclesiastical affairs. He was six times representative to the General Court. Mr. Winthrop had encouraged his settlement in the place, and had accommodated him with a portion of his own house lot, next to the mill, on which Rogers built a dwelling-house of stone. (This spot was afterward re-purchased by the Winthrop family, and was the site of the house built by John Still Winthrop, and now owned by C A. Lewis, Esq.)  He was a baker on a large scale, often furnishing biscuit for seamen, and for colonial troops, and between 1660 and 1670 had a greater interest in the trade of the port than any other person in the place. His landed possessions were very extensive, consisting of several hundred acres on the Great Neck, the fine tract of land at Mohegan called the Pamechaug farm, several house lots in town, and twenty-four hundred acres east of the river, which he held in partnership with Col. Pyncheon, of Springfield.

Perhaps no one of the early settlers of New London, numbers at the present day so great a throng of descendants as James Rogers. His five sons are the progenitors of as many distinct lines, each tracing to its immediate founder, and seldom cognizant of their common ancestor. His daughters were women of great energy of character. Elizabeth married Samuel Beeby; Bathsheba married first Richard Smith, and second Samuel Fox. She was an early seceder from the church, courting persecution and much persecuted.

Samuel Rogers married, Nov. 17th, 1664, Mary, daughter of Thomas Stanton; the parents of the two parties, entering into a formal contract, and each pledging £200 as a marriage portion to the couple. Mr. Rogers, in fulfillment of his bond, conveyed to his son his stone house and bakery, at the head of Winthrop’s (or Mill) Cove, where the latter commenced his housekeeping and dwelt for fifteen or twenty years. He then removed to the out-lands of the town, near the Mohegan tribe, and became the first English settler within the limits of the present town of Montville.

Joseph, James and Jonathan Rogers, though living at first in the town plot, removed to farms upon the Great Neck, given them by their father. Like most active men of that time, they had a variety of occupations, each and all operating as tradesmen, mechanics, boatmen, seamen and farmers.

James, the fourth son, married, November 5th, 1674, Mary, daughter of Jeffrey Jordan, of Ireland. According to tradition, he commanded a vessel which brought over from Ireland, a number of redemptioners, and among them a family of the name of Jordan. On their arrival he became the purchaser of the oldest daughter, Mary, and married her. In after life he was accustomed to say, sportively, that it was the richest cargo he ever shipped, and the best bargain he ever made. Several of his descendants of the same name in a right line, were sea-captains.

John Rogers, the third son of James, having become conspicuous as the founder of a sect, which, though small in point of numbers, has been of considerable local notoriety, requires a more extended notice. No man in New London county was at one time more noted than he; no one suffered so heavily from the arm of the law, the tongue of rumor, and the pen of contemporary writers. His followers still exist, a handful indeed, but yet a distinct people, venerating the name of their founder, and esteeming him a man eminent for piety and filled with the love of God and his neighbor. His opponents, on the other hand, have left us an image of the man that excites not only indignation and pity, but profound disgust. Ample materials exist on both sides for his history, but the two faces of Janus could not be more unlike. Rogers himself produced tracts and treatises in abundance, which often refer to his own experience; and his followers have been, to a considerable degree, a print-loving people. His son, John Rogers the second, was a ready writer. John Bolles, a noted disciple, was fluent with the pen, and adroit in argument; and the family of Watrous, the more recent leaders of the sect, have issued various pamphlets, to vindicate their course and record their sufferings. This is not therefore a one-sided case, in which the arraigned have had no one to speak for them. It may be said, however, with truth, that the accounts on one side have been but little consulted, and that the statements which have had the widest circulation, come from the opponents of the Rogerenes. This may be regarded as a sufficient reason for entering more at large upon their origin and history.

John Rogers was married, Oct. 17th, 1670, at Black Hall, in Lyme, to Elizabeth, daughter of Matthew Griswold. The rite 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, on the wife, in case of his death, or separation from her, during her life. On this farm, two miles north of New London, after their marriage, they dwelt, and had two children:

  • Elizabeth, born Nov. 8th, 1671.
  • John, born March 20th, 1674.

James Rogers and his wife and children, and those connected with the latter as partners in marriage, with the exception of Samuel Rogers and wife, all became dissenters in some sort from the established Congregational church, which was then the only one recognized by the laws of the land. The origin of this dissent may be traced to an intercourse which began in the way of trade, with the Sabbatarians, or Seventh-day Baptists of Rhode Island. John and James Rogers, Jun., first embraced the Sabbatarian principles, and were baptized in 1674; Jonathan, in 1675: James Rogers, Sen., with his wife and daughter Bathsheba, in 1676, and these were received as members of the Seventh -day church at Newport. Jonathan Rogers still further cemented his union with the Seventh-day community, by marriage with Naomi Burdick, a daughter of one of the elders of the church. Of the baptism of Joseph Rogers we have no account. His wife went down into the water on Sunday, Nov. 24th, 1677, near the house of Samuel Rogers, at the head of Winthrop’s Cove. Elders Hubbard and Hiscox, from Rhode Island, were present, and it was expected that one of them would perform the rite; but the town authorities having interfered and requested them to do it elsewhere, on account of the noise and tumult that might ensue, they acquiesced in the reasonableness of the proposal, and declined acting on the occasion. But John Rogers would assent to no compromise, and assuming on the spot the authority of an elder, and the responsibility of the act, he led the candidate into the water, and performed the baptism. (A more particular account of this affair may be found in Backus’ Church History’ and in Benedict’s History of the Baptists, vol. 2, p. 422.)

From this time forth, John Rogers began to draw off from the Sabbatarians, and to broach certain peculiar notions of his own. He assumed the ministerial offices of baptizing and preaching, and having gained a few disciples, originated a new sect, forming a church or society, which were called Rogerenes, or Rogerene Quakers, and sometimes Rogerene Baptists.

A great and predominant trait of the founder of the sect, and of his immediate followers, was their determination to be persecuted. They were aggressive, and never better pleased than when by shaking the pillars, they had brought down the edifice upon their own heads. They esteemed it a matter of duty, not only to suffer fines, distrainment, degradation, imprisonment and felonious penalties with patience, but to obtrude themselves upon the law, and challenge its power, and in fact to persecute others, by interrupting their worship, and vehemently denouncing what they esteemed sacred. This point the followers of Rogers have abrogated. At the present day they never molest the worship of others, and are themselves unmolested.

In respect to the most important articles of Christianity, Rogers was strenuously orthodox. He held to salvation by faith in Christ, the Trinity, the new birth, the resurrection of the just and unjust, and an eternal judgment. He maintained also obedience to the civil government, except in matters of conscience and religion. A town or country rate the Rogerenes always considered themselves bound to pay, but the minister’s rate they abhorred — denouncing as unscriptural all interference of the civil power in the worship of God. Of their peculiar characteristics a brief summary must here suffice.

In respect to baptism, and the rejection of the first day Sabbath, they agree with the Sabbatarians, but they diverge from them on other points. They consider all days alike in respect to sanctity, and though they meet for religious purposes on the first day of the week, when the exercise is over, they regard themselves as free to labor as on any other day. They have no houses set apart for public worship, and regard a steeple, a pulpit, a cushion, a church, and a salaried minister in a black suit of clothes, as utter abominations. They hold that a public oath is like any other swearing, a profanation of the Holy Name, and plainly forbidden in Scriptures. They make no prayers in public worship or in the family: John Rogers conceived that all prayers should be mental and not vocal, except on special occasions when the Spirit of God moving within, prompted the use of the voice. They use no means for the recovery of health, except care, kindness and attention, considering all resort to drugs, medicines and physicians, as sinful.

The entire rejection of the Sabbath, and of a resident ministry, were opinions exceedingly repugnant to the community at large, and were rendered more so by the violent and obtrusive manner in which they were propagated. Their author went boldly forth, exhorting and testifying in streets, disturbing public worship, and courting persecution with an eagerness that seemed akin to an aspiration after martyrdom. His creed was also exceedingly distasteful to the regular Seventh-day people. It was probably in opposition to them, that having his choice of days, as regarding them equal in point of sanctity, he held his meetings for religious purposes on the first rather than on the seventh day.

In 1676, the fines and imprisonments of James Rogers and his sons, for profanation of the Sabbath, commenced. For this, and for neglect of worship, they and some of their followers were usually arraigned at every session of court, for a long course of years. The fine was at first five shillings, then ten shillings, then fifteen shillings. At the June court in 1677, the following persons were arraigned, and each fined £5.

James Rogers, senior, for high-handed, presumptuous profanation of the Sabbath, by attending to his work; Elizabeth Rogers, his wife, and James and Jonathan Rogers, for the same.

John Rogers, on examination, said he had been hard at work making shoes on the first day of the week, and he would have done the same had the shop stood under the window of Mr. Wetherell’s house; yea, under the window of the meeting-house.

Bathshua Smith, for fixing a scandalous paper on the meeting- house.

Mary, wife of James Rogers, junior, for absence from public worship.

Again in September, 1677, the court ordered that John Rogers should be called to account once a month, and fined £5 each time; others of the family were amerced to the same amount for blasphemy against the Sabbath, calling it an idol, and for stigmatizing the reverend ministers as hirelings. After this, sitting in the stocks and whipping were added.

In May, 1678, (says Backus,) Joseph Clarke wrote to his father Hubbard, from Westerly, that John and James Rogers, with their father, were in prison; having previously excommunicated Jonathan, chiefly because he did not retain their judgment of the unlawfulness of using medicine, nor accuse himself before authority of working on the first day of the week.

Jonathan Rogers now stood alone among the brothers, adhering steadfastly to the Sabbatarian principles, from which he never swerved. His family became the nucleus of a small society of this denomination on the Great Neck, which has ever since existed. From generation to generation they connected themselves with churches of their own faith in Rhode Island, at first with that of Newport:, and afterward with that of Hopkinton and Westerly, until in the year 1784, 109 years after the baptism of their founder, Jonathan Rogers, they were organized into a distinct church and society. A further account of the Seventh-day community on the Neck will be given in the sequel of our history.

In 1680, the magistrates of Connecticut, giving an account of the colony to the Lords of Trade and Plantations, say:

“Our people in this colony arc some strict Congregational men, other more large Congregational men, and some moderate Presbyterians, &c. — there are four or six seventh-day men, and about so many more Quakers.” (Hinman’s Antiquities, p. 142.)

These Quakers and Seventh-day men were probably all in New London, and nearly all in the Rogers family. The elder James Rogers was an upright, circumspect man. There is no account of any dealings with him and his wife on account of their secession from Mr. Bradstreet’s church. No vote of expulsion or censure is recorded. Of his latter years little is known. Elder Hubbard, of Newport, is quoted by Backus as stating that Mr. Rogers had one of his limbs severely bruised by the wheel of a loaded cart that passed over it, and that he himself saw him when he had remained for six weeks in a most deplorable condition, strenuously refusing the use of means to alleviate his sufferings, but patiently waiting in accordance with his principles, to be relieved by faith. Whether he recovered from this injury or not is unknown. His death occurred in February, 1687-8, when the government of Sir Edmund Andross 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 the earnest request of their father, made an amicable division of the estate, which was sanctioned by the General Court, May 12th, 1692.

The original will of Mr. Rogers is on file in the probate office of New London. It is in the handwriting of his son John, and remarkable for the simple solemnity of its preamble.

“The Last Will and Testament of James Rogers Senr, being in perfect memory and understanding but under the hand of God by sickness: – this I leave with my wife and children, sons and daughters, I being old and knowing that the time of my departure is at hand.

“What I have of this world I leave among you, desiring you not to fall out or contend about it; but let your love one to another appear more than to the estate I leave with you, which is but of this world.

“And for your comfort I signify to you that I have a perfect assurance of an interest in Jesus Christ and an eternal happy state in the world to come, and do know and see that my name is written in the book of life, and therefore mourn not for me, as they that are without hope.”

In a subsequent part of the document he says:

“If any difference should arise, &c, my will is, that there shall be no lawing among my children before earthly Judges, but that the controversy be ended by lot, and so I refer to the judgment of God, and as the lot comes forth, so shall it be.”

In this respect unfortunately the will of the father was never accomplished: his children, notwithstanding their first pacific arrangement, engaged afterward in long and acrimonious contention, respecting boundaries, in the course of which earthly judges were often obliged to interfere and enforce a settlement.

Soon after John Rogers connected himself with the Sabbatarians, his wife left him and returned to her father. In May, 1675, she applied to the legislature for a divorce, grounding her plea not only upon the heterodoxy of her husband, but upon certain alleged immoralities. The court, after the delay of nearly a year and a half, granted her petition.

At a session of the General Court, held at Hartford, October 12th, 1676:

“The Court having considered the petition of Elizabeth Rogers, the wife of John Rogers, for a release from her conjugal bond to her husband, with all the allegations and proofs presented, to clear the righteousness of her desires, do find just cause to grant her desire, and do free her from her conjugal bond to the said John Rogers.”

By a subsequent act of Assembly, (October, 1677,) she was allowed to retain her two children wholly under her own charge; the court giving as a reason the heterodoxy of Rogers, both in opinion and practice, he having declared in open court that he utterly renounced the visible worship of New England, and regarded the Christian Sabbath as a mere invention.

Rogers was incensed at these decisions of the court. The bill of divorce did not specify any offense on his part, as the base upon which it was granted, and he ever afterward maintained that they had taken away his wife without rendering to him, or to the public, any reason why they had done it. He seems to have long cherished the hope that she would repent of her desertion, and return to him; but in less than two years she married again.

“Peter Pratt was married unto Elisabeth Griswold, that was divorced from John Rogers, 5th of August, 1679.” (Recorded in Lyme.)

The children of Rogers remained with their mother during their childhood, but both when they became old enough to act for themselves, preferred to live with their father. Elizabeth was sent to him by her mother, of her own free will, when she was about fourteen years of age, and resided with him till 1689 or 1690, when she was married to Stephen Prentis, of Bruen’s Neck. At her wedding, her brother John, then about fifteen years of age, came also to his father, by permission of his mother, to stay as long as he pleased. She afterward sent a constable forcibly to reclaim him, and he was seized and carried back to Lyme; yet he soon returned to his father, embraced his doctrines, (In the phraseology of the sect, he discipled in with him immediately.) and pursued a similar course of itinerant testimony against the public worship of the land.

An agreement was signed in 1687, by which Elizabeth, daughter of Matthew Griswold, senior, engages to relinquish all claim to the Mamacock farm, “provided John Rogers will pay her £30 and never trouble her father about the farm again.” By this arrangement the farm reverted to Rogers, and his son, John Rogers, junior, marrying his cousin, Bathsheba Smith, settled at Mamacock. There, notwithstanding his long testimony and his many weary trials and imprisonments, he reared to maturity a family of eighteen children, most of them like their parents, sturdy Rogerenes. (John Rogers, 2d, by his two wives had twenty children: two died in infancy.) Mamacock, and the neighboring highland over which they spread, has ever since been known as Quaker Hill.

Peter Pratt, the second husband of Elizabeth Griswold, died March 24th, 1688. Shortly afterward she contracted a third marriage with Matthew Beck with, 2d. (By this third marriage she had one daughter, Griswold Bekwith, afterward the wife of Eliakim Cooley, junior, of Springfield.) By the second marriage with Mr. Pratt, she had a son, Peter, who while a young man, studying for the profession of the law, in New London, very naturally renewed his youthful intimacy with his half-brother, John Rogers, junior, of Mamacock. This brought him often into the company of the elder Rogers, to whose exhortations he listened complacently, till at length embracing his dogmas and becoming his disciple, he received baptism at his hands, and endured fines, imprisonment and public abuse, on account of his Quakerism. But after a time, leaving New London, and entering upon other associations, he relinquished the Rogerene cause, and made a public acknowledgment that he had labored under a delusion. Still further to manifest the sincerity of his recantation, he wrote an account of his lapse and recovery, entitled: The Prey taken from the Strong, or an Historical Account of the Recovery of one from the dangerous errors of Quakerism.”

In this narrative, Rogers is drawn, not only as an obstinate, heterodox enthusiast, but many revolting circumstances are added, which would justify the greatest odium ever cast upon him. It was not published till 1724, three years after the death of Rogers. He could not therefore answer for himself, but the indignation of the son was roused, and in defense of his father, he entered into controversy with his brother, and published a rejoinder, from which portions of the preceding narrative have been taken. He meets the charges against the moral and domestic character of his father, with a bold denial of their truth; but his erratic course in matters of faith and religious practice, he makes no attempt to palliate, these being points in which he himself, and the whole sect, gloried. He denies, however, that his father was properly classed among Quakers, observing:

“In his lifetime he was the only man in Conn, colony, I have ever heard of, that did publicly in print oppose the Quakers in those main principles wherein they differ from other sects.”

But the term Quaker had been firmly fixed upon them by their opponents, and they were customarily confounded with the Ranters, or Ranting Quakers, known in the early days of the colony. Yet they never came under the severe excision of the law enacted against those people in 1656 and 1658; that is, they were never forcibly transported out of the colony, nor were others prohibited from intercourse with them. Yet John Rogers states that under the provisions of this law his books were condemned and burnt as heretical. The law itself was disallowed and made void by an act of the Queen in Council, October 11th, 1705. There were other laws, however, by which the Rogerenes were convicted. By the early code of Connecticut, absence from public worship was to be visited by a penalty of five shillings; labor on the Sabbath, twenty shillings; and the performance of church ordinances by any other person than an approved minister of the colony, or an attendance thereupon, £5.

Though in most of the cases of arrest and punishment, the Rogerenes were the aggressors, and drew down the arm of the law on their own heads, it must be acknowledged that they encountered a vigorous and determined opposition. Offense was promptly met by penalty. Attempts were made to weary them out, and break them up by a series of fines, imposed upon presentments of the grand jury. These fines were many times repeated, and the estates of the offenders melted under the seizures of the constable, as snow melts before the sun. The course was a cruel one, and by no means popular. At length the magistrates could scarcely find an officer willing to perform the irksome task of distraining. And it is probable that all penalties would have been silently dropped, had they not kept up the aggressive system of testifying, as it was called; that is, presenting themselves in the religious assemblies of their neighbors, to utter their testimony against the worship. In this line, John Rogers, and the elder sister, were the principal offenders; often carrying their work into meeting, and interrupting the service with exclamations and protests against what was said or done.

The records of the county court abound with instances to verify these statements. Only a sample will be given:

“April 14th, 1685. Judge’s upon the bench, Fitch, Avery and Wetherell. John Rogers, James Rogers, Jr., Samuel Beebee, Jr., and Joanna Way, are complained of for profaning God’s holy day by servile work, and are grown to the height of impiety as to come at several times into the town to re-baptize several persons; and when God’s people were met together on the Lord’s day to worship God, several of them came and made great disturbance, behaving themselves in such a frantic manner as if possessed with a diabolical spirit, so affrighting and amazing that several women swooned and fainted away. John Rogers to be whipped fifteen lashes, and for unlawfully re-baptizing to pay £5. The others to be whipped.”

One of the most notorious instances of contempt exhibited by Rogers against the religious worship of his fellow- townsmen, was the sending of a wig to a contribution made in aid of the ministry. This was in derision of the full-bottomed wigs then worn by the clergy. It was sent by some one who deposited it in his name in the contribution box that was passed around in meeting. Rogers relished a joke, and was often represented by his opponents as shaking his sides with laughter at the confusion into which they were thrown by his inroads upon them. What course was pursued by the authorities in regard to the wig is not known, but the following candid apology is found on the town book, subscribed by the offender’s own hand.

“Whereas I John Rogers of New London did rashly and unadvisedly send a perewigg to the contribution of New London, which did reflectt dishonor upon that which my neighbours ye inhabitants of New London account the ways and ordinances of God and ministry of the word to the greate offence of them, I doe herebye declare that I am sorry for the sayde action and doe desire all those whom I have offended to accept this my publique acknowledgement as full satisfaction. 27th, 1: 91.        John Rogers.” (New London Town Rec, lib. 4, folio 46.)

The regret here expressed must have been but a temporary emotion, as he resumed immediately the same career of offense. In Nov. ,, 1692, besides his customary fines for working on the Sabbath, and for baptizing, he was amerced £4 for entertaining Banks and Case (Itinerant exhorters) for a month or more at his house. In 1693 and 1694, he and others of his family were particularly eager to win the notice of the law. Samuel Fox, presented for catching eels on Sunday, said that he made no difference of days; his wife Bathshua Fox went openly to the meeting-house to proclaim that she had been doing servile work on their Sabbath; John Rogers accompanied her, interrupting the minister, and proclaiming a similar offense. James Rogers and his wife assaulted the constable as he was rolling away a barrel of beef that he had distrained for the minister’s rate, threw scalding water upon him, and recaptured the beef. (Records of County Court.)

To various offenses of this nature, Rogers added the greater one of trundling a wheelbarrow into the porch of the meeting-house during the time of service; for which after being set in the stocks he was put into prison, and there kept for a considerable time. While thus held in durance, he hung out of the window a board with the following proclamation attached:

“I, John Rogers, a servant of Jesus Christ, doth here make an open declaration of war against the great red dragon, and against the beast to which he gives power; and against the false church that rides upon the beast; and against the false prophets who are established by the dragon and the beast; and also a proclamation of derision against the sword of the devil’s spirit, which in prisons, stocks, whips, fines and revilings, all which is to defend the doctrines of devils.” (Rogers himself in one of his pamphlets gives a copy of this writing. It is also in Benedict’s Hist., vol. 2, p. 423.)

On the next Sunday after this writing was hung out, Rogers being allowed the privilege of the prison limits on that day, rushed into the meeting-house during service, and with great noise and vehemence interrupted the minister, and denounced the worship. This led to the issuing of a warrant to remove him to Hartford gaol. The mittimus, dated March 28th, 1694, and signed by James Fitch, assistant, sets forth:

“Whereas John Rodgers of New London hath of late set himself in a furious way in direct opposition to the true worship and pure ordinances, and holy institutions of God, as also on the Lord’s Day passing out of prison in the time of public worship, running into the meeting-house in a railing and raging manner, as being guilty of blasphemy,” &c.

At Hartford he was tried and fined £5, and required to give a bond of £50 not to disturb the churches hereafter, and seated upon the gallows a quarter of an hour with a halter about his neck. Refusing as usual to pay the fine and give the security, he was remanded to prison and kept there from his first commitment three years and eight months.

During this imprisonment, according the account of his son, he was treated with great severity, and at one time taken out and cruelly scourged. (Answer of John Rogers, Jr., to Peter Pratt.)

While Rogers was in prison an attack upon the government and colony appeared, signed by Richard Steer, Samuel Beebe, Jr., Jonathan and James Rogers, accusing them of persecution of dissenters, narrow principles, self-interest, spirit of domineering ; and that to compel people to pay for a Presbyterian minister, is against the laws of England, is rapine, robbery and oppression.

A special court was held at New London, Jan. 24th, 1694-5, to consider this libelous paper. The subscribers were fined £5 each, whereupon they appealed to the Court of Assistants at Hartford, which confirming the first decision, they threatened an appeal to Cesar, that is to the throne of England. In all probability this was never prosecuted.

Rogers had not been long released from prison before he threw himself into the very jaws of the lion, as it were, by provoking a personal collison with Mr. Saltonstall, the minister of the town.

“At a session of the county court held at New London, Sept. 20, 1698. Members of the court, Capt. Daniel Wetherell Esq. and justices William Ely and Nathaniel Lynde. Mr. Gurdon Saltonstall minister of the gospel plf. pr contra John Rogers Senr, deft in an action of the case for defamation. Whereas you the said John Rogers did sometime in the month of June last past, raise a lying, false and scandalous report against him the said Mr. Gurdon Saltonstall and did publish the same in the hearing of diverse persons, that is to say — did in their hearing openly declare that the said Saltonstall having promised to dispute with you publicly on the holy scriptures did contrary to his said engagement shift or wave the said dispute which he had promised you, which said false report he the said Saltonstall complaineth of as to his great scandal and to his damage unto such value as shall to the said court be made to appear. In this action the jury finds for the plaintiff six hundred pounds, and costs of court, £1, 10.” (County Court Records.)

It would be wearisome and useless to enumerate all the instances of collision between Rogers and the authorities of the land, which even at this distance of time might be collected. It is stated by his followers that after his conversion he was near one-third of his lifetime confined in prisons. “I have,” he observes, in writing, in 1706, “been sentenced to pay hundreds of pounds, laid in iron chains, cruelly scourged, endured long imprisonments, set in the stocks many hours together,” &c. John, the younger, states that his father’s sufferings continued for more than forty-five years, and adds, “I suppose the like has not been known in the kingdom of England for some ages past.”

It was certainly a great error in the early planters of New England to endeavor to produce uniformity in doctrine by the strong arm of physical force. Was ever religious dissent subdued either by petty annoyance or actual cruelty? Is it possible ever to make a true convert by persecution? The principle of toleration was, however, then less clearly understood, and the offenses of the Rogerenes were multiplied and exaggerated both by prejudice and rumor. The crime of blasphemy was one that was often hurled against them. Doubtless a sober mind would not now give so harsh a name, to expressions which our ancestors deemed blasphemous.

In reviewing this controversy we cannot avoid acknowledging that there was great blame on both sides, and our sympathies pass alternately from one to the other. The course pursued by the Rogerenes was exceedingly vexatious. The provoking assurance with which they would enter a church, attack a minister, or challenge an argument, is said to have been quite intolerable. Suppose, at the present day, a man like Rogers of a bold spirit, ready tongue, and loud voice, thould rise up in a worshiping assembly, and tell the people they were entangled in the net of Antichrist, and sunk deep in the mire of idolatry; then turning to the preacher, call him a hireling shepherd, making merchandise of his flock, and declaring that the rites he administered, viz., baptism by sprinkling — the baptism of infants — and the celebration of the sacrament at any time but at night — were antichristian fopperies; accompanying all this with violent contortions, coarse expletives and foaming at the mouth: would it not require great forbearance on the part of the congregation not to call a constable, and forcibly remove the offender? Yet the Rogerenes frequently used more aggressive language than this, and went to greater lengths in their testimony against the idol Sabbath. Their own narratives and controversial writings prove this; nor do they offer any palliation of their course in this respect, but regard it as a duty they must perform, a cross they must bear.

Viewing the established order of the colony, only on the dark and frowning side, they considered it a righteous act to treat it with defiance and aggression. The demands of collectors, the brief of the constable, were ever molesting their habitations. It was now a cow, then a few sheep, the oxen at the plow, the standing corn, the stack of hay, the thrashed wheat, and anon, piece after piece of land, all taken from them to uphold a system which they denounced. Yet our sympathy with these sufferers is unavoidably lessened by the fact, that they courted persecution and gloried in it; often informing against themselves, and compelling the violated law to bring down its arm upon them. Says John Bolles:

“God gave me such it cheerful spirit in this warfare, that when I had not the knowledge that the grand-juryman saw me at work on the first day, I would inform against myself before witness, till they gave out, and let me plow and cart and do whatsoever I have occasion to on this day.”

What should a magistrate do? Often in despite of himself he was forced into severity. He had sworn to enforce the laws; he might shut his eyes and ears and refuse to know that such things were done, but here was a race who would not allow of such connivance: they obtruded their violations of the law upon his notice; and he felt obliged to convict and condemn. The authorities were not in the first place inclined to rigor: they were not a persecuting people. New London county more than any other part of Connecticut, perhaps from its vicinity to Rhode Island, has ever been a stage whereon varied opinions might exhibit themselves freely, and a difference of worship was early tolerated. Governor Saltonstall was perhaps more uniformly rigorous than any other magistrate in repressing the Rogerene disturbances. Nevertheless, while sitting as chief judge of the superior court, he used his utmost endeavors, by argument and conciliation, to persuade them to refrain from molesting the worship of their neighbors.

“He gave his word [says John Bolles] that to persuade us to forbear, if we would be quiet, and worship God in our own way according to our consciences, he would punish any of their people that should disturb us in our worship.”

Here was an opportunity for a compact which might have led to a lasting peace. But the principles of the Rogerenes would not allow of compromise.

It is somewhat singular that in the midst of so much obloquy, John Rogers should have continued to take part in public affairs. He was never disfranchised; when out of prison he was always ready with his vote; was a warm partisan and frequently chosen to some inferior town office, such as sealer of leather, surveyor of highways, &c. Crimes, such as the code of the present day would define them, were seldom or never proved against the Rogerenes, but it must be allowed that coarseness, vulgarity, and impertinent obtrusiveness, come near to crimes, in the estimation of pure minds.

In the year 1700 Rogers having lived single, from the desertion of his wife twenty-five years, married himself to Mary Ransford. She is said to have been a maid-servant whom he had bought; probably one of that class of persons called Redemptioners. The spirit and temper of his new wife may be inferred from the fact that she had already been arraigned before the court, for throwing scalding water out of the window upon the head of the constable who came to collect the minister’s rate. As Rogers would not be married by any minister or magistrate of Connecticut, he was in a dilemma how to have the rite solemnized. His mode of proceeding is thus described by his son:

“They agreed to go into the County Court, and there declare their marriage; and accordingly they did so; he leading his bride by the hand into court, where the judges were sitting, and a multitude of spectators present; and then desired the whole assembly to take notice, that he took that woman to be his wife; his bride also assenting to what he said. Whereupon the judge (Wetherell) offered to marry them in their form, which he refused, telling them that he had once been married by their authority and by their authority they had taken away his wife again, and rendered him no reason why they did it. Upon which account he looked upon their form of marriage to be of no value, and therefore he would be married by their form no more. And from the court he went to the governor’s house, (Fitz-John Winthrop’s) with his bride and declared their marriage to the governor, who seemed to like it well enough, and wished them much joy, which is the usual compliment.”

This ceremony thus publicly performed, John Rogers, Jr., supposes “every unprejudiced person will judge as authentic as any marriage that was ever made in Connecticut colony.” The authorities did not look upon it in this light. Rogers herein set at defiance the common law, which in matters of civil concernment, his own principles bound him to obey.

A story has been currently reported that this self-married couple presented themselves also before Mr. Saltonstall, the minister, and that he wittily contrived to make the marriage legal, against their will. Assuming an air of doubt and surprise, he says. Do you really, John, take this your servant-maid, bought with your money, for your wife? Do you, Mary, take this man so much older than yourself for your husband f and receiving from both an affirmative answer, he exclaimed: Then I pronounce you, according to the laws of this colony, man and wife. Upon this Rogers, after a pause, shook his head, and observed. Ah, Gurdon! thou art a cunning creature.

This anecdote, or something like it, may be true of some other Rogerene marriage, but not of this, for then no doubt would have arisen respecting the validity of the union.

The connection was an unhappy one; violent family quarrels ensued, between the reputed wife, and John Rogers the younger and his family, in the course of which the law was several times invoked to preserve peace, and the elder Rogers himself was forced to apply to the court for assistance in quelling these domestic broils.

The complaint of John Rogers against his son, and “the woman which the court calls Mary Ransford, which I have taken for my wife, seeing my lawful wife is kept from me by this government,” is extant in his own handwriting, dated 27th of 4th month, 1700.

In 1703, on the presentment of the grand jury, the county court summoned Mary Ransford, the reputed wife of John Rogers, before them, declared her marriage invalid, sentenced her to pay a fine of 40s. or receive ten stripes, and prohibited her return to Rogers under still heavier penalties. Upon this she came round 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 confinement and fled to Block Island, leaving her two children with their father. Rogers appears to have renounced her as heartily and as publicly as she did him; so that actually they both married and unmarried themselves. They had never afterward any connection with each other.

About this time Rogers made a rash and almost insane attempt to regain his divorced wife, then united to Matthew Beckwith. A writ was issued against him in January, 1702-3, on complaint of Beckwith, charging him with laying hands on her, declaring she was his wife, and threatening Beckwith that he would have her in spite of him — all which Rogers confessed to be true, but defended, on the plea that she was really his wife.

“In County Court, June, 1703. — Matthew Beckwith Senr appeared in court and swore his Majesty’s peace against John Rogers, for that he was in tear of his life from him.” (County Court Records.)

In 1710, Mary Ransford was married to Robert Jones, of Block Island; and in 1714, Rogers married the widow Sarah Coles, of Oyster Bay, L. I., the ceremony being performed within the jurisdiction of Rhode Island, by a magistrate of that colony. (Narrative of John Rogers, Jr.) With this connection there was never any interference.

The troubles of Rogers did not cease with old age. His sea was never smooth. His bold, aggressive spirit knew not how to keep the peace. In 1711, he was fined and imprisoned for misdemeanor in court, contempt of its authority, and vituperation of the judges. He himself states that his offense consisted in charging the court with injustice for trying a case of life and death without a jury. This was in the case of one John Jackson, for whom Rogers took up the battle-ax. Instead of retracting his words, he defends them and reiterates the charge. Refusing to give bonds for his good behavior until the next term of court, he was imprisoned in New London jail. This was in the winter season, and he thus describes his condition:

“My son was wont in cold nights to come to the grates of the window to see how I did, and contrived privately to help me to some tire, &c. Hut he coming in a very cold night called to me and perceiving that I was not in my right senses, was in a fright, and ran along the street crying, ‘The authority hath killed my father,’ and cried at the Sheriff’s, ‘You have killed my father.’ — upon which the town was raised and forthwith the prison doors were opened and fire brought in and hot stones wrapt in cloth laid at ray feet and about me, and the minister Adams sent me a bottle of spirits and his wife a cordial, whose kindness I must acknowledge.

“But when those of you in authority saw that I recovered, you had up my son and fined him for making a riot in the night, and took for the fine and charge three of the best cows I had.”

His confinement continued until the time was out for which the bond was demanded. He was then released, but the very next day he was arrested on the following warrant:

“By special order of his Majesty’s Superior Court, now holden in New London, you are hereby required in her Majesty’s name, to take John Rogers, Senior, of New London, who to the view of said Court, appears to be under an high degree of distraction, and him secure in her Majesty’s Gaol for the County aforesaid, in some dark room or apartment thereof, that proper means may be used for his cure, and till he be recovered from his madness and you receive order for his release. Signed by order of said Court, March 26, 1712.    “Jonathan Law, Clerk.    “Test, John Prentis, Sherriff.”

This order was immediately executed. Rogers was removed to an inner prison and all light excluded. But the town was soon in an uproar; the populace interfered and tore away the plank that had been nailed over the window. Some English officers then in town also made application to the authorities to mitigate his treatment, and he was carried to the sheriff’s house and there kept. Two days afterward, he received, he said, a private warning that it was determined to convey him to Hartford, shave his head, and deliver him over to a French doctor to be medically treated for insanity. Whereupon by the aid of his son and the neighbors, he escaped in the night, and was rowed in a boat over to Long Island. Thither he was followed by the constable, and pursued by the “hue and cry,” from town to town, as he traveled with all possible secrecy and dispatch to Now York, where at length arriving safely, he hastened to the fort, and threw himself upon the protection of Governor Hunter, by whom he was kindly received and sheltered. Here he remained three months, and then returned home, where probably he would not have been molested, if he had remained quiet. But no sooner was he recruitod, than he returned to the very position he had taken with so much hazard before his imprisonment, resuming the prosecution of the judges of the inferior court before the general Court, for judging upon life and death without a jury in the aforesaid case of John Jackson. He was nonsuited, had all the charges to pay, and another heavy fine.

The next outbreak, and the last during the life of the elder Rogers, is thus related by the son:

“John Rogers and divers of his Society living as good a right to New London meeting-house as any of the inhabitants of the town, it being built by a public rate, every one paying a proportion according to their estate, (The building of the meeting-house cost me three of the best fat cattle I had that year, and as many shoes as was sold for thirty shillings in silver money.” — John Rogers, Sen.) did propose to hold his meetings there at noon time, between the Presbyterian meetings, so as not to disturb them in either of their meetings. And accordingly, we came to the meeting house and finding their meeting was not finished, we stood without the door till they had ended and were come out; and then John Rogers told the people that our coming was to hold our meeting, between their meetings, and that we had no design to make any disturbance, but would break up our meeting as soon as they wore ready for their afternoon meeting. Whereupon several of the neighbors manifested their freedom in the matter; yet the Constable came in the time of our meeting with an order to break it up, and with his attendants violently laid hands on several of us, hauling men and women out of the meeting, like an Saul did in his unconverted state, and for no other crime than what I have here truly related.

“John Rogers was had to Court and charged with a riot, &c. If myself had been the Judge, as I was not, I should have thought the constable to have been guilty of the riot, and not John Rogers. However, he was fined 10a., for which the officer first took ten sheep, and then complained they were not sufficient to answer the fine and charges, whereupon he came a second time and took a milk-cow out of the pasture, and so we heard no more about it, by which I suppose the cow and ten sheep satisfied the fine and charges. This was the last fine that was laid on him, for he soon after died.”

Joseph Backus, Esq., of Norwich, writing in the year 1726, gives this account of the death of the Rogerene leader:

“John Rogers pretended that he was proof against all infection of body as well as of mind, which the wicked only (he said) were susceptible of, and to put the matter upon trial, daringly ventured into Boston in the time of the Small Pox; but received the infection and dyed of it, with several of his family taking it from him.”

In answer to this statement, John Rogers the second observes:

“It is well known that it had been his practice for more than forty years past, to visit all sick persons as often us he had opportunity, and particularly those who had the Small Pox; when in the height of their distemper he has sat on their bed-side several hours at a time, discoursing of the things of God; so that his going to Boston the last time, was no other than his constant practice had been ever since he made a profession of religion.

“Now let every unprejudiced reader take notice how little cause J. Backus has to reflect John Rogers’s manner of death upon him who lived to the age of seventy-three years, and then died, in his own house, and on his own bed, having his reason continued to the last and manifesting his peace with God, and perfect assurance of a better life.”

“Oct. 17, 1721 died John Rogers Sen.

“Nov. 6,   ”    ” John Rogers 3d, aged 21 years and 6 days.

“Nov. 13,  “   “Bathsheba, wife of John Rogers 2d.

“All of small pox.”  (Town Record of New London.)

Rogers was buried directly upon the bank of the Thames, within the bounds of his Mamacock farm. Here he had set aside a place of family sepulture, which his son John, in 1751, secured to his descendants by deed for a burial place. It is still occasionally used for that purpose, and it is supposed that in all, sixty or eighty interments have here been made: but the wearing away of the bank is gradually intruding upon them. As the Rogerenes do not approve of monuments to the memory of the dead, only two or three inscribed stones mark the spot.

Rogers was a prolific writer. In the introduction to his “Midnight Cry,” he observes:  “This is the sixth book printed for me in single volumes.” He argued upon theological subjects with considerable skill and perspicuity. The inventory of his estate was £410. Among the articles enumerated are:

Several chests and packages of his own books.

Seven Bibles: Powel’s and Clarke’s Concordances.

*****************************************************************

Some notes and comments on the above:

Of James Rogers Senior, it says “His landed possessions were very extensive, consisting of several hundred acres on the Great Neck, the fine tract of land at Mohegan called the Pamechaug farm, several house lots in town, and twenty-four hundred acres east of the river, which he held in partnership with Col. Pyncheon, of Springfield.”  This got me wondering where Pamechaug farm could be on today’s map of the greater New London area.  I did a little digging and found this reference:

The Bostonian, An illustrated monthly magazine of local interest, Vol. 1, October-March 1894-5, Page 380: The Mohegans.  “The first grant of land within the Mohegan reservation was made by Uncas in 1658 to Richard Haughton and James Rogers, and consisted of valuable farms on the river and places called Massapeag and Pamechaug. The former place was situated north and west of the cove now called Haughton’s Cove …”

So Pamechaug farm was north and west of Haughton’s Cove.   So where’s Haughton’s Cove?  Haughton’s Cove is in Uncasville, CT, just north and west of Comstock Cemetery, a cemetery I have visited to take pictures of the graves of many Rogers family members.

The above also says “Mamacock, and the neighboring highland over which they spread, has ever since been known as Quaker Hill.” I wasn’t aware the Mamcock Farm, John Rogers (founder of the Rogerenes) farm of Mamcock had extended as far north as Quaker Hill. I do know that it extended at least as far south as the grounds of Conn College as that’s where the Rogers cemetery is. It would seem that at some point, the Rogers’ family owned the land all the way from Conn College up to Comstock Cemetery in Uncasville.

The point, while reading the above, that I started to laugh … “James Rogers and his wife assaulted the constable as he was rolling away a barrel of beef that he had distrained for the minister’s rate, threw scalding water upon him, and recaptured the beef.” (hence the title of my post today)

The above says John Rogers was cruelly scourged. Curious as the difference between a whipping and a scourging, I googled it. Wikipedia says the following: “A scourge is a whip or lash, especially a multi-thong type, used to inflict severe corporal punishment or self-mortification on the back. Usually made of leather.” Makes you wonder what poor John’s back must have looked like. He’d been scourged and whipped who knows how many times over the years.

I was curious about the story where John Rogers first breaks from the church in the baptism in Winthrop’s Cove.  Above, after the story, it says “(A more particular account of this affair may be found in Backus’ Church History’ and in Benedict’s History of the Baptists, vol. 2, p. 422.)”  So I googled Benedict’s History of the Baptists and found this:

A general history of the Baptist denomination in America, and other parts of the world by Benedict, page 422: 

In September, 1676, the three Rogerses and Japheth, the Indian, went in a boat and brought Messrs. Hiscox and Hubbard to New London again, when the father and mother of one of the sisters of the Rogerses were all baptized by Mr. Hiscox, and were also added to the church with which they had united. These frequent visits and administrations of the Baptists, awakened the jealousies and resentment of the people of the town, and the power of the magistrate was soon exerted in rigorous measures, against this new and obnoxious sect. These few persons, having adopted the Seventh Day of the week for their Sabbith continued to pursue their worldly business on the Firsts a practice very common with people of this belief; for which they soon began to be harassed, imprisoned and beaten. But opposition seemed only to inflame their zeal, and hurried them on to an extravagant and almost unexampled extreme. Hitherto these persons, who afterwards broke over all bounds of order and decency, were not known as a distinct set, but had a regular standing in the Seventh-day Baptist church at Newport. John Rogers, who afterwards became the fantastick leader of this deluded community, on the following occasion, began the wild and heedless career, by which he exposed himself so much to the censure of his friends and the persecuting violence of his enemies. In the year 1677, Messrs. Hiscox and his companion Hubbard visited New London a third time, and proposed to baptize the wife of Joseph Rogers, another brother of the Rogers family. Their meeting was held. It is related by Morgan Edwards that she was afterwards married to a lawyer, b/lbv; liimie of f^ratt (Not having the original book to look at I have no idea what those words were supposed to be) two miles from the town, where it was proposed that baptism should be administered; but John was for no retirement; lie must needs have the company go up to the town, and have the administration in sight and hearing of their enemies. John was finally listened to, and led on the procession. This provoking measure turned out as might have been expected in those days of intolerance and persecution; for while Mr. Hiscox was preaching, he was seized by the constable and immediately carried before the magistrate, where he was detained a short time, and then released. They new repaired to another place, and began to prepare for the administration; when, to the astonishment of the company, John stepped forward and prayed, and then led the woman down into the water, and baptized her. From this time this singular man took it upon him to baptize, and also to administer in other things in a ministerial capacity. His relatives, excepting his brother Jonathan, imbibed his spirit and followed his dictates. The church at Newport attempted to reform and regulate them; but their exertions proved ineffectual, and their connection was soon dissolved.

I find it interesting that the most interesting part in the above was left out of Caulkin’s the entire chapter on Rogerenes, and that is: “This sect took its rise at New London, in Connecticut, about the year 1674; for in that year one John Rogers and James his brother, and an Indian by the name of Japheth, were baptized by a Mr. Crandal.”  An Indian? I love it! Say what you want about how crazy John was, he saw all men as equal under God. I wonder why in all her history of the man, Caulkins left that out?

I do believe that John wanted a return to the church as it is explained in the New Testament, but I do find one item a little odd and would love to have the opportunity to sit down with old John for a little chat about he thoughts on medicine.  The above states “They use no means for the recovery of health, except care, kindness and attention, considering all resort to drugs, medicines and physicians, as sinful.”  Didn’t anyone tell him that the apostle Luke was a doctor?

I’m a little confused by reading this: “A further account of the Seventh-day community on the Neck will be given in the sequel of our history.”  Does anyone have any idea where to find the sequel to our history? I can’t seem to figure out where it would be in the book.

I wish I could get my hands on a copy of the mentioned “The Prey taken from the Strong, or an Historical Account of the Recovery of one from the dangerous errors of Quakerism.” I couldn’t find a digital copy or transcription online.

One place I’d like to locate is the home owned by C.A. Lewis, Esq in the year 1895, the year the book was published, as it was the site of James Roger’ first home in New London. “Mr. Winthrop had encouraged his settlement in the place, and had accommodated him with a portion of his own house lot, next to the mill, on which Rogers built a dwelling-house of stone. (This spot was afterward re-purchased by the Winthrop family, and was the site of the house built by John Still Winthrop, and now owned by C A. Lewis, Esq.)   Anyone have any idea where that might be?

-Jennifer

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18 Oct 2017: The Wheel on the Mill goes Round and Round … annoying the groundhog October 18, 2017

You’ll have to pardon my first attempts at video. I’m more of a photographer than a videographer.  Anyway, although the Old Town Mill  in New London is closed, I was able to get the city to open it up for me.  I’d never been inside, but wasn’t expecting much, but when Judy from City Hall met me, I got the grand tour!  She even turned on the wheel for me! Pretty awesome! The Old Town mill was originally operated by my Rogers family ancestor, John Rogers.

The inside is super cool! It has a two grind stones for grinding corn.  I visited two other grist mills on my trip but they were only single grinding operations.

Me in front of the Old Town Mill in New London.

As soon as you come in the front door, off the left is a platform.  Up top are the two grinding stones.  Down below are the gears and the big thing I can only describe as long and barrel-shaped that is the lever the wheel turns on the inside of the building.  (see video of that below)

Just inside the front door of the Old Town Mill

Grindstone #1 is in its housing.

Grindstone #2, not in housing

Judy showing me where they stored the corn that was to be ground in the mill.

Gears below the grind stones. Not operational yet. They’re waiting on a grant to raise the money to fix it next.

Most of the original mill burned down when Benedict Arnold burned New London, but some pieces of the structure they believe are original. If you look at the beam that runs along the ceiling, you can see how originally, it was post and beam construction, but when it was rebuilt, they didn’t use the notches, but laid new beams on top of the beams.

The exterior of the building and the flume have already been rebuilt by grant money.

The Flume

And now for the video.  First is of the wheel where it enters the building below the grind stones.

The mill … on.

Side view of the wheel.

The wheel and my little furry friend. I think he was annoyed we turned it on.

Want to see the mill operating for yourself? Check it out this Saturday. Sure with I was still in town to go.  Looks like a lot of fun.  If you go, let me know how it was.

-Jennifer

 

3 Oct 2017: On my Genealogy Vacation … a mural to remember October 3, 2017

I arrived in the Mystic, CT area last night!  Long drive from Orlando! Today I went to New London to visit City Hall in search of Land Grant records for Thomas Wells, the oldest of the known Wells in my family.  According to The History of New London (Page 60) He had a land grant dated Feb 16, 1649/50.

Although the N.L. Historical Society pointed to the City Hall when I asked them for info on land grants, City Hall pointed me to the State Library in Hartford as they sent all the records there.  So, no joy at City Hall … that is until I walked back into the entry hall and spotted this wonderful mural on the wall.

Mural in City Hall

According to the mural, it’s a representation of the city and the plots of land and owners as they were before Benedict Arnold burned the city in 1781.

You can even see the Town Mill that was previously operated by John Rogers.  This is the town mill that still stands today under the I-95 overpass.

The Old Town Mill in New London

Here are some closeups I took of portions of the map:

Lower Mamacock

First Church and Burial Ground

North of Winthrop’s Cove

New London City Hall

Cool map! Hope you enjoy!

-Jennifer

 

17 Aug 2017: Planning a trip to my homeland August 17, 2017

It’s that time of year again when I get to blow this pop stand and head north.  YAY!! I’ll be up in CT/RI on vacation the beginning of October and have started my list of things to do and places to see. HOWEVER, my list is incomplete.

Read to the VERY BOTTOM for things I need help/suggestions for.

Visit Randall & Lois Wells’ graves in Hopkinton, RI.  My annual pilgrimage to my 4th great grandparent’s graves back in the woods.  Let’s face it, not too many of us still can even find them. I usually visit John Rogers grave on the grounds of Connecticut College as well.

Take my favorite hike.  There’s a great Nature Conservancy trail up to Long Pond in Hopkinton. Super scenic, like something out of Lord of the Rings.  There’s a timelessness to the landscape there that seems untouched, like some native American tribe from long ago could come strolling around a boulder.

Visit Mystic Pizza in Mystic, CT.  I know, the cheesiest and most wonderful of the chic flicks of the 80’s.  Not only that, the pizza is like … totally awesome (to quote the 80’s) Not sure how well it will fare now that I’ve had gastric bypass, but I’m willing to give it a shot. It’s worth a visit if for nothing but to inhale deeply and take in the scent of wonderful food.  Plus it’s a location I used a few times in my novels so it’s fun to visit.  I ever wrote some of my books sitting at the table in the bay windows up front.

Speaking of food …. I’m also planning meals at Abbots in Noank, CT and Ford’s Lobsters in Noank. I plan on being so tired of lobster by the time I drive out of New England that it will hold me for a long time!

Visit the Lighthouse Museum in Stonington.  Yes, the infamous lighthouse that is the setting for my third novel. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it and knew I had to feature it in a book.  I’ll also spend time roaming the streets of picturesque Stonington.

Visit B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill in Mystic.  Again, after my gastric bypass surgery, this should be an interesting experience.  I love their apple baked goods and plan on sampling quite a bit.

Visit Oak Grove Cemetery in Ashaway.  Not only my future resting place, but also the current resting place for a good portion of my mom’s side of the family.  I always stop in to pay my respects but also to inspect the condition of our stones and do any necessary cleaning of them that may need to be done.

Fulfilling any Findagrave.com photo requests that are online for the area. Need any photos taken of a headstone in the area? I’ll be checking them out while I’m up there to see who I can help out.  I also plan on updating FAG.com on new burials in Oak Grove and finishing adding photos of all the stones.

Visiting Kenyon’s Grist Mill in West Kingston, RI. I’ve never been to a grist mill before so I’m looking forward to learning something new. I’m also in the market for some corn meal to make me some Johnny Cakes upon my return to FL.  

Popping over to Stonington Vineyards to buy a case of my favorite wine of theirs. Sadly, I can’t get it here in Orlando. Also sadly, gastric bypass severely limits how much alcohol I can drink, so that case will last me a couple of year!

Shop Craigslist.com for cool stuff in people’s basements! Sounds odd, but I bought a cool old trunk off of Craigslist last time I was up there from some couple in Ashaway. I’m on the hunt for cool antiques. I’m also looking for some good antique stores to visit if you know of any you can suggest. Not the shiny, all cleaned up kind of antiques, but the paint chipping off, just pulled out of the barn kind. Will also be looking for yard sales and estate sales as well.

If time permits, I’d like to visit Mystic Aquarium.  Haven’t been there since I was a kid.

Pop into the Mystic Seaport Gift Shop.  I’ll be honest and say I’ve been to the Seaport enough that I don’t need to go again …. for a long time, but the gift shop is awesome! I love the book section up stairs too. Always worth a visit.

Get out on the water.  No plans finalized for this yet, but I will get out on the water for a few hours, if not longer. I did a sunset sail out of Mystic a few years back that I could do again, but ideally I’d love to take sailing lessons.  I’m just having a hard time finding a place to do that so late in the year.  Seems sailing season ends the week before I arrive!!!

A day at the Coggeshall Farm Museum in Bristol, RI.  I can’t wait to spend some time here so I can do some research on farm life in the late 1700s.  Valuable info I can weave into my stories of the vampire, Randall Wells!!

St. Edmund’s Severed Arm.  Yes, you read me right. This one just has to be seen to be believed, at least by me.  It’s in Mystic and apparently on display.

CAN YOU HELP ME?

I’m looking for:

  • Good antique stores/malls. Ones that sell reasonably priced items of local origin. Items that are not all spit and polished, but need love and have chipped paint.
  • Scenic hiking trails (other than my favorite up to Long Pond in Hopkinton.)
  • Restaurants that serve good local cuisine.  Rhode Island Clam Chowder?  Johnny Cakes?
  • How can I get out on the water?  Boat tours you can suggest.  I’d even be up for whale watching. Ideally I’d love to take a sailing lesson or two.
  • Know of any places of local history interest like Kenyon’s Grist Mill? I love to learn about local history.
  • If you know where I can buy a courting candle, you’re my new best friend!!!

-Jennifer

UPDATES:

From Bruce: “Know you are connected to the Crandall family. Think about a trip north of Mystic to Canterbury, CT (Windham Co.) to the Prudence Crandall museum. Check their hours – I don’t think they are open every day.”  Thanks, Bruce.  I’ll add the museum to my list of possibles.  I’m sure a trip there would make a nice subject for a blog post.

From Wayne:  “Hi Jennifer – I too am a direct descendant of Samuel Hubbard (my mother is a Burdick), living now in southern RI. We are distant cousins. If you haven’t been, you might consider seeing the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace in Saunderstown, and maybe taking the Francis Fleet Whale Watch out of Galillee. BTW, white corn meal is ubiquitous here! Wayne”  Thanks Wayne. I’ve added the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace to my list. Looks really cool. Sadly, Frances Fleet Whale Watching closes in September so they won’t be open.  Too bad, they looked ideal.

 

6 Dec 2015: Colonial Park … A Southern Cemetery with Family Connections December 6, 2015

Last weekend I went up to Savannah, Georgia for my cousin’s wedding.  Of course Savannah is known for many things, among them for its great cemeteries.  Partially publicized by books such as Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, I visited two of Savannah’s historic cemeteries.   One of the things I love about visiting cemeteries in different parts of the country is to see how many different approaches one can take to bury someone.  In this, Savannah did not disappoint.

One of the cemeteries I visited was the old Colonial Cemetery, called Colonial Park, which is located just on the edge of the historic section of town where the famous squares are located.

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P1050317One of the things I loved about this cemetery is that it’s a park.  People just strolled in off the street and walked around.  There was none of the stiff formality of a place of the dead, but a warm coziness that the people of Savannah seem to have with those that have lived in their city before them.  I have to say, I really liked that a lot.

Now let’s get on to our family connection to Colonial Park.  I was wandering around taking pictures when I came across this:

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20151129_151511Yes, I know, look how they set the headstones in the brick like that.  Talk about cool.  But it was the marker beside it that caught my eye.  “William Scarbrough, Promoter of the First Transatlantic Steamship.”  I’m not history genius but I remember our family history pretty well and sure as can be, when I got back to my hotel and looked it up, my fourth cousin four times removed, Stevens Rogers, was on the very ship they’re talking about on this plaque, the Savannah.  How on earth did I remember that?  Because he has one of my favorite headstones and it happens to have a carving of that very same ship, the Savannah, on it.  Here’s a photo of it in Cedar Grove Cemetery in New London, CT:

Rogers - Stevens Rogers Captain 1Did William Scarbrough of Savannah, GA know my cousin Stevens Rogers? Odds are pretty good they did.  So that’s our family connection to Colonial Park.

Now I’ll share some pictures I took of the interesting ways they are preserving old stones here:

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Wooden Frame

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Metal Braces

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Cement Inlay

There must be a lot of stones that have been dislodged from their grave sites, because the brick back wall of the cemetery is something of an art project, a collage of homeless stones.  It’s beautiful and sad at the same time.  Here’s some photos so you can see what I’m talking about:

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For Blog 1

For Blog 2

For Blog 3

I’ll also share some pictures of some odd and beautiful stones I found.  The first one has to be about the largest stone I’ve come across.  I put my cell phone on top of it to give you an idea of the scale of it.

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This next one has lovely imagery carved in it.  I love the detail on the woman’s dress:

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This carver was apparently getting paid by the word!!!!

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This carver apparently didn’t believe in under doing it!  It’s got so many design elements in it, it should be a little garish, but I like it.

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I have the feeling that in life no one ever accused Archibald Bulloch of being understated.  Check out his grave:

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Here’s some other neat carvings I found:

For Blog 5

For Blog 6

With this one, I had to wonder which came first, the headstone or the brick monument.  It almost looked like the cut up the white headstone to the oval shape you see now to set it in the brick.

For Blog 4

Well, I hope you enjoyed your tour through Colonial Park and are inspired to stop in a visit for yourself should you ever find yourself in the lovely city of Savannah.

-Jennifer

 

20 Sept 2015: Rev. John Maxson 1714-1778 September 20, 2015

I’ve been spending my morning cleaning out my email inbox.  Between emails about my books and genealogy stuff, I tend to get backed up and have to spend a day untangling the web that is my in and to do boxes.  While weeding through my emails from findagrave.com, I found that someone had fulfilled a photo request for a great family member of mine, the Reverend John Maxson, born 1714 and died 1778.

Here’s the photo they kindly provided:

John Maxson: 1714-1778 Common Burying Ground, Newport, RI

John Maxson: 1714-1778 Common Burying Ground, Newport, RI

Isn’t it a lovely example of the carving used at the time?  John is buried in the Common Burying Ground in Newport, RI.  He is my First Cousin 7 times removed (Being the son of Johnathan Maxson and Content Rogers.)  John married Tacy Lucy Rogers (1715-1753) who was my 5th Great Grandaunt (being the daughter of Jonathan Rogers Jr and Judith Potter)

Here’s a link to John’s memorial page on Findagrave.com:  CLICK HERE FOR LINK

On the Rogers sides of their families John and Tacy were not only husband and wife, but first cousins as well.  I keep telling my friends that marrying your first cousin wasn’t uncommon back in the 1700’s but they don’t believe me.  I site that in Jane Austen’s books it happens quite a bit, but still … they think it’s weird.  Weird it is today, but back then, not so much.

Anyway, as I said above, I got this photo through findagrave.com.  If you’re familiar with this site, as a member (which is free) you can go on a memorial of a person and if there is no photo of their headstone posted, you can request a photo.  when you do this, it sends the request out to other members on the site who live in the area of that cemetery.  If you’re lucky, one of them will trot on over to the cemetery and take a photo that they will then post on the site for you.  You then get an email alerting you that your request has ben fulfilled.  Hence my cleaning out my email inbox and find old John there.

-Jennifer

 

2 July 2015: The Rogers family and the Rogerenes July 2, 2015

Today I thought I’d post another interesting Rogers Family item I found while cleaning up my Genealogy files on my hard drive. I keep the vast majority of my genealogy computer files on a portable hard drive, which has come in handy when I’ve bought a new laptop. However, it’s been a while since I’ve backed it up and I’ve been spending a little time every day cleaning and organizing the files. Seems I’ve been a little neglectful of my files over the past year or so. Lots of little items that needed organizing and/or pasting onto profiles in my RootsMagic genealogy program.

In the meantime, here’s a little history of the Rogers family as it relates to the Rogerenes.

The Rogerenes: Some Hitherto Unpublished Annals Belonging to the Colonial History of Connecticut, By John Rogers Bolles, Anna Bolles Williams, 1904. Part II: History of the Rogerenes, starting Page 121

THE GREAT LEADERSHIP: Chapter I
1637-1652
AMONG noticeable young men in the Colony of Connecticut, previous to 1640, is James Rogers.1 His name first appears on record at New Haven, but shortly after, in 1637, he is a soldier from Saybrook in the Pequot war.2 He is next at Stratford, where he acquires considerable real estate and marries Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel Rowland, a landed proprietor of that place, who eventually leaves a valuable estate to his grandson, Samuel Rogers, and presumably other property to his daughter, who seems to have been an only child. A few years later, James Rogers appears at Milford. His wife joins the Congregational church there in 1645, and he himself joins this church in 1652.

He has evidently been a baker on a large scale for some time previous to 1655, at which date complaint is made to the General

1 The parentage and native place of James Rogers remain undiscovered. He may, or may not, have been the James Rogers who came over in the Increase (Hotten). There were several of the same name and date in New England. There is a tradition in the New London family, which can be traced as far back as 1750, that James Rogers of New London was a grandson, or greatgrandson, of John Rogers the martyr. Up to this date (1904) no proof has been found to substantiate this claim. The same claim has been made by descendants of other first settlers of the name of Rogers, and their traditions are also proven to have been of early date. These long-standing and very persistent traditions may possibly be explained by some future discovery.

2 1679– James Rogers sells Thos. Parker 50 A. of land that were granted James Rogers of N. London, by the Gen. Court, he being a Pequot soldier. – New London Land Records.

Also in “Memorial History of Hartford,” by J. Hammond Trumbull (pub. 1886), p. 81, is a chapter on the Pequot war, by Rev. Increase N. Tarbox, which names the men from Saybrook, viz. “John Underhill, Edward Pattison, James Rogers, Edward Lay, John Gallup and John Wood.”

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Court in regard to a quantity of biscuit furnished by him, which was exported to Virginia and the Barbadoes, upon which occasion he states that the flour furnished by the miller for this bread was not properly ground. The miller substantially admits that he did not at that time understand the correct manner of grinding.

In the course of ten years, Milford proves too small a port for the operations of this enterprising and energetic man, whose business includes supplies to seamen and troops. Governor Winthrop is holding out inducements for him to settle at New London. In 1656 he is empowered by the General Court to sell his warehouse at Milford, with his other property, provided said building be used only as a warehouse. He now begins to purchase valuable lands and houses at New London, and so continues for many years, frequently adding some choice house-lot, Indian clearing, meadow-land, pasture or woodland to his possessions. In 1659 he sells to Francis Hall, an attorney of Fairfield, “all” his “lands, commons and houses in Stratford, Milford and New Haven.” – (History of Stratford. )

At New London, in addition to his large baking business, he has charge of the town mill, by lease from Governor Winthrop, at the head of an inlet called Winthrop’s Cove and forming Winthrop’s Neck, which neck comprises the home lot of the governor. That James Rogers may build his house near the mill,1 the Governor conveys to him a piece of his own land adjoining, upon which Mr. Rogers builds a stone dwelling. He also builds a stone bakery by the cove and has a wharf at this point.2

The long Main street of the town takes a sharp turn around the

1 An ancient mill built in 1728, on or very near the site of the first mill, is still standing (see “Hempstead Diary,” page 200). Less than fifty years ago, the cove was a beautiful sheet of water commencing just in front of the mill, separated from it by little more than the width of the winding street, and from thence stretching out in rippling, shining currents to the river. This cove has been so filled in of recent years that considerable imagination must be exercised to reproduce the ancient sweep of clear, blue water known as Winthrop’s Cove.

2 In 1664 he gave his son Samuel land “by the mill” “west side of my wharf.”

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head of the cove, past the mill and to the house of the Governor, the latter standing on the east side of the cove, within a stone’s throw of the mill.

The native forest is all around, broken here and there by a patch of pasture or planting ground. One of the main roads leading into the neighboring country runs southerly five miles to the Great Neck, a large, level tract of land bordering Long Island Sound. Another principal country road runs northerly from the mill, rises a long hill, and, after the first two or three miles, is scarcely more than an Indian trail, extending five miles to Mohegan, the headquarters of Uncas and his tribe. Upon this road are occasional glimpses, through the trees, of the “Great River” (later the Thames).

James Rogers is soon not only the principal business man of this port, but, next to the Governor, the richest man in the colony. His property in the colony much exceeds that of the Governor. He is prominent in town and church affairs, he and his wife having joined the New London church; also frequently an assistant at the Superior Court and deputy at the General Court. His children are receiving a superior education for the time, as becomes their father’s means and station. Life and activity are all about these growing youth, at the bakery, at the mill, at the wharf. Many are the social comings and goings, not only to and from the Governor’s house,1 just beside them, but to and from their own house. His extensive business dealings and his attendance at court have brought James Rogers in contact with intelligent and prosperous men all over the colony, among whom he is a peer. His education is good, if not superior, for the time. He numbers among his personal friends some of the principal planters in this colony and neighboring colonies.

1666.

In 1666 James Rogers retires from active business. His sons Samuel and Joseph are capable young men past their majority.

Samuel is well fitted to take charge of the bakery. Joseph inclines to the life of a country gentleman. John, an active youth of eighteen, is the scholar of the family. He writes his father’s deeds and other business documents, which indicates some knowledge of the law. Besides being sons of a rich man, these are exceptionally capable young men. That there is no stain upon their reputations is indicated by the favor with which they are regarded by certain parents of marriageable daughters. In this year occurs the marriage of Samuel to the daughter of Thomas Stanton, who is a prominent man in the colony and interpreter between the General Court and the Indians. The parents of each make a handsome settlement upon the young people, James Rogers giving his son the stone dwelling-house and the bakery. This young man has recently sold the farm received from his grandfather, Samuel Rowland. Having also grants from the town and lands from his father (to say nothing of gifts from Owaneco), together with a flourishing business, Samuel Rogers is a rich man at an early age.

Somewhat before the marriage of Samuel, his father, in anticipation of this event, established himself upon the Great Neck, on a farm bought in 1660, of a prominent settler named Obadiah Bruen. This is one of the old Indian planting grounds so valuable in these forest days. Yet James Rogers does not reside long on the beautiful bank of Robin Hood’s Bay (now Jordan Cove), for in this same year his son Joseph, not yet twenty-one years of age, receives this place, “the farm where I now dwell” and also “all my other lands on the Great Neck,” as a gift from his father. All the “other lands” being valuable, this is a large settlement. (It appears to mark the year of Joseph’s marriage, although the exact date and also the name of the bride are unknown. The residence of James Rogers for the next few years is uncertain; it is not unlikely that he takes up his abode in one of his houses in town, or possibly at the Mamacock farm, on the Mohegan road and the “Great River,” which place was formerly granted by the town to the Rev. Mr. Blinman, and, upon the latter’s removal from New London, was purchased by Mr. Rogers.)

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1670.

How far from the mind of the young lover, when, on the night before the happy day when he is to call Elizabeth his bride, he pens the writing1 which is to give her the Mamacock farm, recently presented to him by his father, is a thought of anything that can part them until death itself. To this writing he adds: “I do here farther engage not to carry her out of the colony of Connecticut.” This sentence goes to prove the great fondness of the parents for this daughter, her own loving desire to live always near them, and the ready compliance of the young lover with their wishes. He marries her at Blackhall, October 17, and takes her to the beautiful river farm which upon that day becomes her own. He does not take her to the farmhouse built by Mr. Blinman, but to a new and commodious dwelling, close by the Mohegan road, whose front room is 20 by 20, and whose big fireplaces, in every room, below and above, will rob the wintry blasts of their terror . The marriage settlement upon the young couple, by James Rogers and Matthew Griswold, includes provisions, furniture, horses, sheep, and kine.1

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1674.

Although John Rogers resides at Mamacock farm, he is by no means wholly occupied in the care of that place; a young man of his means has capable servants. As for years past, he is actively interested in business, both for his father and himself. At Newport, in the year 1674, he meets with members of the little Sabbatarian church of that place, recently started by a few devout and earnest students of the Bible, who having, some years before, perceived that certain customs of the Congregational churches have no precedent or authority in Scripture, resolved to follow these customs no longer, but to be guided solely by the example and pre-

1 See same “Book of Crimes and Misdemeanors” for Marriage Settlement.

2 In after life he was accustomed to say that it was the richest cargo he ever shipped and the best bargain he ever made. – History of New London.

It was a frequent custom in those days, for persons emigrating to the colonies to pay the expenses of their passage by selling their services for a term after landing. Such passengers were called “redemptioners.” Thus, Captain James actually purchased, as the term was, his wife Mary.

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cepts of Christ and his apostles. In attempting to carry out this resolve, they renounced and denounced sprinkling and infant baptism and attached themselves to the First Baptist Church of Newport. About 1665, they were led, by the teachings of Stephen Mumford, a Sabbatarian from England, to discern in the first day Sabbath the authority of man and not of God. Under this persuasion, the little company came out of the First Baptist Church, of Newport, and formed the Sabbatarian Church of that place. Mr. Thomas Hiscox is pastor of this little church, and Mr. Samuel Hubbard and his wife (formerly among the founders of the First Congregational Church of Springfield, Mass.) are among its chief members. During this year, under the preaching and teachings of this church, John Rogers is converted.

Hitherto this young man and his wife Elizabeth have been members of the regular church, as ordinary membership is accounted, and their two children have been baptized in that church, at New London. If children of professed Christians, baptized in childhood, lead an outwardly moral life, attend the stated worship and otherwise conform to the various church usages, this is sufficient to constitute them, as young men and young women, members in good and regular standing. The daughter of Elder Matthew Griswold has been as ignorant of the work of regeneration as has been the son of James Rogers.

The conversion of John Rogers was directly preceded by one of those sudden and powerful convictions of sin so frequently exemplified in all ages of the Christian church, and so well agreeing with Scriptural statements regarding the new birth. Although leading a prominently active business life, in a seaport town, from early youth, and thus thrown among all classes of men and subjected to many temptations, this young man has given no outward sign of any lack of entire probity. Whatever his lapses from exact virtue, they have occasioned him no serious thought, until, by the power of this conversion, he perceives himself a sinner. Under this deep conviction the memory of a certain youthful error weighs heavily upon his conscience.

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He has at this time one confidant, his loving, sympathetic and deeply interested young wife, who cordially welcomes the new light from Newport. In the candid fervor of his soul, he tells her all, even the worst he knows of himself, and that he feels in his heart that, by God’s free grace, through the purifying blood of Jesus Christ, even his greatest sin is washed away and forgiven.

Does this young woman turn, with horror and aversion, from the portrayal of this young man’s secret sin? By no means.1 She is not only filled with sympathy for his deep sorrow and contrition, but rejoices with him in his change of heart and quickened conscience. More than this, understanding that even one as pure as herself may be thus convicted of sin and thus forgiven and reborn, she joins with him in prayer that such may be her experience also. They study the New Testament together, and she finds, as he has said, that there is here no mention of a change from a seventh to a first day Sabbath, and no apparent warrant for infant baptism, but the contrary; the command being first to believe and then to be baptized. Other things they find quite contrary to the Congregational way. In her ardor, she joins with him to openly declare these errors in the prevailing belief and customs.

Little is the wonder that to Elder Matthew Griswold and his wife the news that their daughter and her husband are openly condemning the usages of the powerful church of which they, and all their relatives, are such prominent members, comes like a thunderbolt. Their own daughter is condemning even the grand Puritan Sabbath and proposes to work hereafter upon that sacred day and to worship upon Saturday. They find that her husband has led Elizabeth into this madness. They accuse and upbraid him, they reason and plead with him. But all in vain. He declares to them his full conviction that this is the call and enlightenment of the Lord himself. Moreover, was it not the leading resolve of the

1 The account given by their son of this joint conviction of John Rogers and his wife furnishes evidence of a considerable period in which they were in full friendship and accord after the disclosure made to the wife. For account, see Part I, Chapter III.

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first Puritans to be guided and ruled only by the Word of God and of His Son, Jesus Christ? Did they not warn their followers to maintain a jealous watchfulness against any belief, decree or form of worship not founded upon the Scriptures? Did they not urge each to search these Scriptures for himself? He has searched these Scriptures, and Elizabeth with him, and they have found a most astonishing difference between the precepts and example of Christ and the practice and teachings of the Congregational church.

Elder Matthew Griswold is ready with counter arguments on the Presbyterian side. But “the main instrument” by which Elizabeth is restored to her former church allegiance is her mother, the daughter of Henry Wolcott. This lady is sister of Simon Wolcott, who is considered one of the handsomest, most accomplished and most attractive gentlemen of his day. Although she may have similar charms and be a mother whose judgment a daughter would highly respect, yet she is evidently one of the last from whom could be expected any deviation, in belief or practice, from the teachings and customs of her father’s house. That her daughter has been led to adopt the notions of these erratic Baptists is, to her mind, a disgrace unspeakable. She soon succeeds in convincing Elizabeth that this is no influence of the Holy Spirit, as declared by John Rogers, but a device of the Evil One himself. Under such powerful counter representations, on the part of her relatives and acquaintances, as well as by later consideration of the social disgrace attendant upon her singular course, Elizabeth is finally led to publicly recant her recently avowed belief, despite the pleadings of her husband. At the same time, she passionately beseeches him to recant also, declaring that unless he will renounce the evil spirit by which he has been led, she cannot continue to live with him. He, fully persuaded that he has been influenced by the very Spirit of God, declares that he cannot disobey the divine voice within his soul.

One sad day, after such a scene as imagination can well picture, this young wife prepares herself, her little girl of two years and her baby boy, for the journey to Blackhall, with the friends who have

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come to accompany her. Even as she rides away, hope must be hers that, after the happy home is left desolate, her husband will yield to her entreaties. Not so with him as he sees depart the light and joy of Mamacock, aye, Mamacock itself which he has given her. He drinks the very dregs of this cup without recoil. He parts with wife and children and lands, for His name’s sake. Well he knows in his heart, that for him can be no turning. And what can he now expect of the Griswolds?

Although his own home is deserted and he will no more go cheerily to Blackhall, there is still a place where dear faces light at his coming. It is his father’s house. Here are appreciative listeners to the story of his recent experiences and convictions; father and mother, brothers and sisters, are for his sake reading the Bible anew. They find exact Scripture warrant for his sudden, deep conviction of sin and for his certainty that God has heard his fervent prayers, forgiven his sins and bestowed upon him a new heart. They find no Scripture warrant for a Sabbath upon the first day of the week, nor for baptism of other than believers, nor for a specially learned and aristocratic ministry. They, moreover, see no authority for the use of civil power to compel persons to religious observances, and such as were unknown to the early church, and no good excuse for the inculcating of doctrines and practices contrary to the teachings of Christ and his apostles. Shortly, James, the young shipmaster, has an experience similar to that of his brother, as has also an Indian by the name of Japhet. This Indian is an intelligent and esteemed servant in the family of James Rogers, Sr.

At this time, the home of James Rogers is upon the Great Neck. By some business agreement, his son Joseph resigned to his father, in 1670, the lands upon this Neck which had been given him in 1666. In this year (1674), his father reconfirms to him the property bought of Obadiah Bruen, by Robin Hood’s Bay. The younger children, Jonathan and Elizabeth, are still at home with their parents. Bathsheba and her family are living near, on the Great Neck, as are also Captain James and his family.

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Although John may still lay some claim to Mamacock farm, while awaiting legal action on the part of the Griswolds, it can be no home to him in these days of bitter bereavement. Warm hearts welcome him to his father’s house, by the wide blue Sound, and here he takes up his abode. Never a man of his temperament but loved the sea and the wind, the sun and the storm, the field and the wood. All of these are here. Here, too, is his “boat,” evidently as much a part of the man as his horse. No man but has a horse for these primitive distances, and in this family will be none but the best of steeds and boats in plenty.

Near the close of this eventful year, Mr. James Rogers sends for Mr. John Crandall to visit at his house. Mr. Crandall has, for some time, been elder of the Baptist church at Westerly, an offshoot of the Baptist church of Newport. He has recently gone over with his flock to the Sabbatarian church of Newport. If the subject of possible persecution in Connecticut is brought up, who can better inspire the new converts with courage for such an ordeal than he who has been imprisoned and whipped in Boston for daring to avow his disbelief in infant baptism and his adherence to the primitive mode by immersion? The conference is so satisfactory, that Mi. Crandall baptizes John Rogers, his brother James, and the servant Japhet. – (Letter of Mr. Hubbard.)

News of the baptism of these young men into the Anabaptist faith by Mr. Crandall, at their father’s house, increases the comment and excitement already started in the town. The minister, Mr. Simon Bradstreet, expresses a hope that the church will “take a course” with the Rogers family. The Congregational churches at large are greatly alarmed at this startling innovation in Connecticut. The tidings travel fast to Blackhall, dispelling any lingering hope that John Rogers may repent of his erratic course. Immediately after this occurrence, his wife, by the aid of her friends, takes steps towards securing a divorce and the guardianship of her children. From her present standpoint, her feelings and action are simply human, even, in a sense, womanly. He who is to suffer will be the last to upbraid her, his blame will be for

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those who won her from his view to theirs, from the simple word of Scripture to the iron dictates of popular ecclesiasticism. If John Rogers and his friends know anything as yet of the plot on the part of the Griswolds to make the very depth of his repentance for an error of his unregenerate youth an instrument for his utter disgrace and bereavement, their minds are not absorbed at this time with matters of such worldly moment.

1675.

In March, 1675, James Rogers, Sr., and his family send for Elder Hiscox, Mr. Samuel Hubbard and his son Clarke, of the Sabbatarian church of Newport, to visit them. Before the completion of this visit, Jonathan Rogers (twenty years of age) is baptized. Following this baptism, John, James, Japhet and Jonathan are received as members of the Sabbatarian church of Newport, by prayer and laying on of hands. (Letter of Mr. Hubbard.)

This consummation of John’s resolves brings matters to a hasty issue on the part of the Griswolds, in lines already planned. There is no law by which a divorce can be granted on account of difference in religious views. In some way this young man’s character must be impugned, and so seriously as to afford plausible grounds for divorcement. How fortunate that, at the time of his conversion, he made so entire a confidant of his wife. Fortunate, also, that his confession was a blot that may easily be darkened, with no hindrance to swearing to the blot. At this time, the young woman’s excited imagination can easily magnify that which did not appear so serious in the calm and loving days at Mamacock, even as with tear-wet eyes he told the sorrowful story of his contrition. Thus are laid before the judges of the General Court, representations to the effect that this is no fit man to be the husband of Elizabeth, daughter of Matthew Griswold. The judges, lawmakers and magistrates of Connecticut belong to the Congregational order – the only élite and powerful circle of the time; this, taken in connection with the unfavorable light in which the

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Rogerses are now regarded in such quarters, is greatly to the Griswold advantage.

Yet, despite aversion and alarm on the part of the ruling dignitaries regarding the new departure and the highly colored petition that has been presented to the court by the daughter of Matthew Griswold, there is such evident proof that the petitioner is indulging an intensity of bitterness bordering upon hatred towards the man who has refused, even for her sake, to conform to popular belief and usages, that the judges hesitate to take her testimony, even under oath. Moreover, the only serious charge in this document rests solely upon the alleged declaration of John Rogers against himself, in a private conference with his wife. This charge, however, being represented in the character of a crime 1 (under the early laws), is sufficient for his arrest. Very soon after his reception into the Sabbatarian church, the young man is seized and sent to Hartford for imprisonment, pending the decision of the grand jury.

Although John Rogers has been a member of the Sabbatarian church but a few weeks, he is already pastor of a little church on the Great Neck (under the Newport church) of which his father, mother, brothers and sisters are devout attendants, together with servants of the family and neighbors who have become interested in the new departure. Who will preach to this little congregation, while its young pastor is in Hartford awaiting the issue of the Griswold vengeance? Of those who have received baptism, James is upon the “high seas,” in pursuance of his calling, and Jonathan is but a youth of twenty. Yet Mr. James Rogers does not permit the Seventh Day Sabbath of Christ and His disciples to pass unobserved. The little congregation gather at his house,

1 There were, on the law books, so-called capital crimes which were never punished as such. “Man-stealing” was a so-called capital crime, yet we shall find, further on, that it was punishable by an ordinary fine. No mention is made on the court records or files of the crime of which John Rogers was accused by the Griswolds, on charge of which he was examined at Hartford. No record was made of this matter, and we have only vague mention on the court files of the petition of Elizabeth for this divorce by which to even conjecture the nature of the charge.

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as usual, and sit in reverent silence, as in the presence of the Lord.l Perchance the Holy Spirit will inspire some among them to speak or to pray. They are not thus gathered because this is the Quaker custom, for they are not Quakers; they are simply following a distinct command of the Master and awaiting the fulfilment of one of His promises.

William Edmundson, the Quaker preacher, driven by a storm into New London harbor on a Saturday in May, 1675, goes ashore there and endeavors to gather a meeting, but is prevented by the authorities. Hearing there are some Baptists five miles from town, who hold their meetings upon that day, he feels impressed with a desire to visit them. Meeting with two men of friendly inclinations, who are willing to accompany him, he goes to the Great Neck and finds there this little congregation, assembled as described, “with their servants and negroes,” 2 sitting in silence. At first (according to his account) they appear disturbed at the arrival of such unexpected guests; but, upon finding this stranger only a friendly Quaker, they welcome them cordially.

After sitting with them a short time in silence, the Quaker begins to question them in regard to their belief and to expound to them some of the Quaker doctrines. He sees they are desirous of a knowledge of God and finds them very “ready” in the Scriptures. He endeavors to convince them that after the coming of Christ a Sabbath was no longer enjoined, Christ having ended the law and being the rest of His people; also that the ordinance of water baptism should long ago have ended, being superseded by the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Although in no way convinced (as is afterwards fully demonstrated), they listen courteously to his arguments and to the prayer that follows. Not only so, but, by his declaration, they are “very tender and loving.” The next day, this zealous Quaker, having obtained leave of a man in New London, who is well inclined towards the Quakers, to hold a meeting at his

1 Here is an apparent variation, at the outset, from the Newport church.

2 By negroes is meant negro and Indian servants or slaves, of which there were a number in the Rogers family, the slaves being held for a term of years.

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house, finds among his audience several of the little congregation on the Great Neck. In the midst of this meeting, the constable and other officers appear, and break it up forcibly, with rough handling and abuse, much to the indignation of those who have been anxious to give Mr. Edmundson a fair hearing.

The week after his visit to New London, Mr. Edmundson is at an inn in Hartford, where he improves an opportunity to present certain Quaker doctrines to some of those stopping there, and judges that he has offered unanswerable arguments in proof that every man has a measure of the Spirit of Christ. Suddenly, a young man in the audience rises and argues so ably upon the other side as to destroy the effect of Mr. Edmundson’s discourse. This leads the latter to a private interview’ with his opponent, whose name he finds to be John Rogers, and who proves to be “pastor” of the people whose meeting he had attended at New London, on the Great Neck. He also learns from this pastor that he was summoned to Hartford, to appear before the Assembly, for the reason that, since he became a Baptist, the father of his wife, who is of the ruling church, had been violently set against him and was, endeavoring to secure a divorce for his daughter on plea of a confession made to her by himself regarding “an ill fact” in his past life, “before he was her husband and while he was one of their church,” with which, “under sorrow and trouble of mind,” he “had acquainted her” and “which she had divulged to her father.”

Mr. Edmundson informs the young man that he has been with his people at New London and “found them loving and tender.” -(Journal of Mr. Edmundson.)

Since John Rogers remains at the inn for the night, he is evidently just released from custody. So interwoven were truth and misrepresentation in this case, that either admission or denial of the main charge must have been difficult, if not impossible, on the part of the accused. Moreover, there is for this young man, now and henceforth, no law, precedent or example, save such as he finds in the New Testament, through his Lord and Master. That Master, being asked to declare whether he was or was not the King

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of the Jews, a question of many possible phases and requiring such answer as his judges neither could nor would comprehend, answered only by silence. Ought this young man to repeat before these judges the exact statement made to his wife, in the sacred precincts of his own home, even if they would take the word of a despised Anabaptist like himself? It is not difficult to see the young man’s position and respect his entire silence, despite all efforts to make him speak out in regard to the accusation made by his wife in her petition.1

The case before the grand jury having depended solely upon the word of a woman resolved upon divorce and seeking ground for it, they returned that they “find not the bill,” and John Rogers was discharged from custody. Yet, in view of the representations of Elizabeth in her petition regarding her unwillingness, for the alleged reasons, to remain this young man’s wife, backed by powerful influence in her favor, the court gave her permission to remain with her children at her father’s for the present, “for comfort and preservation” until a decision be rendered regarding the divorce, by the General Court in October. No pains will be spared by the friends of Elizabeth to secure a favorable decision from this court.

The Rev. Mr. Bradstreet, bitter in his prejudice against the young man by whose influence has occurred such a departure from the Congregational church as that of James Rogers and his family and such precedent for the spread of anti-presbyterian views outside of Rhode Island, writes in his journal at this date: “He is now at liberty, but I believe he will not escape God’s judgment, though he has man’s.”

Mr. Bradstreet reveals in his journal knowledge that the charge advanced against this young man related to a period previous to

1 That John Rogers could not be induced to either admit or deny the charge presented for the purpose of obtaining the divorce, is from a statement to that effect made by Peter Pratt, in “The Prey Taken from the Strong.” This is one of the few statements made in that pamphlet, which seem likely to be true and are not invalidated by proof to the contrary. It will be seen that, at a later date, this attitude of complete silence is frequent with the Rogerenes, before the court.

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his marriage and conversion, and rested upon a confession that he had made to his wife under conviction of sin and belief in the saving power of Christ, which cleanses the vilest sinner.1 Yet knowing this, he says: “I believe he will not escape God’s judgment.” Truly New England Puritan theology and the theology of the New Testament are strangely at variance in these days.

1 May 25, 1675. ” The testimony against him was his own wife – to whom he told it all with his own mouth, and not in trouble of mind, but in a boasting manner as of free grace, yt he was pardoned. This was much about ye time he fell into yt cursed opinion of anabaptism.” – Journal of Mr. Bradstreet. (See “New England Genealogical and Historical Register,” Vol. 9, p. 47.)

With above compare: –

After it pleased God, through His rich grace in Christ Jesus, to take the guilt of my sins from my conscience and to send the Spirit of His Son into my heart, whereby he did reveal unto me His love and His acceptance of me in Jesus Christ, this unspeakable mercy did greatly engage my heart to love God and diligently to search the Scriptures, that thereby I might know how to serve God acceptably, for then I soon became a seeker how to worship God.” – Epistle of John Rogers to the Seventh Day Baptists.

“And the coming to witness-the truth of those Scriptures, by God’s giving him a new heart and another spirit, and by remitting the guilt of his sins, did greatly engage him to love God with all his heart and his neighbor as himself.” – John Rogers, Jr. – Reply to Peter Pratt.

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ONE MORE DAY!!!

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