Thomas Jefferson Rodgers was the fifth child of Joseph and Ellen. He was born May 13, 1855 in Garrard or Rockcastle County. He grew up in Garrard and Rockcastle Counties.
On September 17, 1887, he obtained license and made $100 bond demonstrating his intent to marry Miss Amanda Wylie, daughter of Salem and Sedonia Johnson Wylie. His brother-in-law, John Bales signed the bond as surety. On the bond, Thomas stated that he had been born in Rockcastle County, KY and that he was age 32. He said that his bride was 22 and that she had been born in Garrard County. Thomas signed the bond twice and both times, plainly wrote his last name as "Rodgers". Thomas used this spelling consistently throughout his life. The marriage occurred on September 20, 1887, at the home of Amanda's parents. Witnesses were George Michel and Henry Wylie. The marriage was performed by Rev. Baker.
Immediately following their marriage, Thomas and Amanda moved to Breckenridge, Caldwell County, Missouri. Lucille Irwin Stoneman wrote of Tom and Amanda, "My grandmother and grandfather Rodgers never saw their parents again after coming to Missouri. Seems too bad, doesn't it?"
Thomas's younger brother, Travis Rogers and older sister, Margaret Rogers Woolwine, already had moved to Breckenridge. The History of Caldwell County, Missouri describes Breckenridge:
"The part of the township, a little south and east of Breckenridge was known as 'New Kentucky' from its fancied or real resemblance to certain portions of the bluegrass region of 'Old Kentucky'."
Thomas, Travis, and their brother-in-law, John Bales, were employed by a wealthy stockman named Bothwell. The February 19, 1880, Breckenridge Bulletin, included an article entitled "Breckenridge - A Model Town and its Business Men," which describes G. B. Bothwell as the great cattle and sheep raiser who lived near Breckenridge. Bothwell had 3,000 head of fine sheep, requiring 3,000 acres of land.
On September 22, 1888, Thomas and Amanda's first child was born. Amanda plainly entered her name in the family Bible as Ellen Francis Rogers. She was obviously named for her grandmother, Ellen Stewart Rogers. No one in the family ever called her Ellen. She was referred to as Ella throughout her life and she always used the name Ella on all official documents. Ella's middle name, Francis, was the same as that of her grandmother, Sedonia Francis Johnson Wylie.
Two sons were also born while Thomas and Amanda lived near Breckenridge - Robert Franklin Rodgers was born December 10, 1892, and Fred Douglas Rodgers was born September 12, 1895.
Lucille Irwin Stoneman wrote,
"Mother (Ella) told about coming by covered wagon from north Missouri to Jerico Springs. I think it was for Grandma Rodgers' health. They'd stay awhile and then go back to north Missouri. I don't know if this happened more than once or not."
Jerico Springs is in Cedar County, Missouri, and was known for its mineral water springs which supposedly had health benefits. Mandy Bales Crawford, a niece of Tom and Amanda, verified this story. She said that while in north Missouri, her Aunt Amanda became "sickly", weak and just could not do much, so Tom took her to Jerico Springs several times.
In the late 1890's, the Tom Rodgers family moved to southwest Missouri to stay. By 1900, the family had moved to Barton County, Missouri. The census taken that year showed them living in Barton City Township, north of the village of Liberal:
Soon thereafter, the family moved a few miles north into Vernon County. On July 6, 1904, a fourth child was born to Thomas and Amanda. John Wylie Rodgers was born near Nevada, Missouri.
left: Thomas and Amanda Wylie Rodgers, Ella and Robert, Moundville, MO
below: Robert, Fred and Ella Rodgers.
Thomas Rodgers and wife Amanda
In 1905, Thomas Rodgers purchased an eighty acre farm in Vernon County, southeast of Moundville. They paid $1,000 for the farm and purchased it from James and Elizabeth Bales (Tom's sister). At this location, the Rodgers children attended nearby Moore School.The 1910 Missouri Census showed the Thomas Rodgers family residing in Moundville Township in Vernon County:
It should be mentioned here that Ella was already married by this time and she and her husband, Robert L. Irwin were living at his family home east of Moundville. Ella was listed with her husband, Robert and therefore, was counted twice in the 1910 census.
Later that year, Tom and Amanda sold the farm to Robert Irwin's mother, Marilla Irwin for $1,600. The Tom Rodgers family may have continued to live in the neighborhood for a little longer. Their son, John Rodgers attended Moore School about 3 years (until age 8) which would be about 1912.
The Tom Rodgers family was listed as living in Center Township, Vernon County, near Nevada, in the 1920 Census:
Tom and Amanda continued to live south of Nevada in several rental properties. Most of their grandchildren recall their home on "Smelter Road". Douglas Rodgers recalled that his grandfather, Tom, had been injured in a farm accident. and his leg had been caught in a hay bind. Therefore, he had one short leg and had to wear a built-up shoe (about 4"). Marion Irwin told that Tom "had got his leg in a 'Foot Press' Hay Baler and that the horse had stopped just in time to prevent him from losing his leg."
Lucille Irwin Stoneman wrote the following about her grandparents, Tom and Amanda:
"I remember visiting my Grandfather and Grandmother Rodgers, my mother's parents, who lived on a farm near Milo, MO. We'd get in our carriage and go see them. On the way there, we kids would get out and walk alongside the carriage. The grandparents were always glad to see us. Grandma always had baked beans, pork, and a freshly baked cake. My Uncle John, Mother's youngest brother, was still living at home - he was only four years older than I was. He would play with us, and, of course, he would tease us. I remember one time he was walking on stilts that were real high and when one stilt broke and he fell down. We laughed at him and teased him then! When I was older, I stayed a few days with my Grandparents. They went to bed at 7:00 pm and then got up at 4:00 am. They didn't have a radio then, no newspaper either, so I guess there wasn't anything to keep them up and they were tired after having gotten up so early! I would awaken in the morning to the smell of delicious sausage cooking and a pot of coffee boiling. I'd get up and hurry downstairs to have breakfast with them. I always thought the sausage was so good and that my Grandmother made the best biscuits. Usually, she made sausage gravy to have over the biscuits. Supper would be beans, and pork and maybe potatoes. In the summer, they had a garden and had lettuce, green beans, and the like but, of course, no fresh vegetables in the winter. The only fruit they had in the winter was apples and dried fruit."
Norma Rogers Meisenheimer told that she remembered that her grandfather, Tom, grew tobacco in Missouri. He dried it in the barn and then twisted it into his own chewing tobacco. She said that Tom was seldom without his chew. Marion Irwin told that his grandpa Tom, preached against cigarette smoking yet he grew and smoked Long Green tobacco in a pipe. Irene Irwin Wolfe, another granddaughter of Tom and Amanda, said that Mandy kept money in little tobacco sacks in a trunk and when grandchildren visited, she would give them a little money from the trunk. Both Norma and Irene described their grandfather as very even tempered. They said that Tom never carried a gun or even had one in the house. This characteristic is quite different from Tom's father and brothers.
Douglas Rodgers wrote that he:
"Remembers times spent on Grampa Tom Rodgers farm with his brother, Willard, and cousins, Bill Tom, and Robert Stanley Rogers. They had corn cob fights and sneaked grandpa's long green tobacco from the barn to smoke it down at the swimming hole. They were always afraid that Grandpa would catch them as he was a very stern, gruff man who expected them to behave. Grandpa was often sitting on the front porch as he was already old enough that he didn't farm - just gardened some and grew his tobacco."
Amanda Wylie Rodgers died February 20, 1942, at the age of 77. Her funeral was held at Ferry Funeral Home on February 24, with Rev. Sullivan of the Milo Baptist Church officiating. Burial was in Moore Cemetery. Following her death, Tom lived with his son, Bob Rogers.
The obituary for Thomas Rodgers was on page 1 of the November 4, 1946, Nevada Daily Mail:
DIES AFTER FALL
Funeral services for Thomas Jefferson Rogers, 92, pioneer resident of Vernon County who died Sunday at the Nevada hospital will be held at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday at the chapel of the Ferry Funeral Home. Burial will be in Moore Cemetery. Mr. Rogers entered the hospital October 31 suffering from injuries sustained in a fall when he slipped on a rug at the Sunderwith convalescent home, 322 N. Cedar on October 30.
Mr. Rogers was born in Garrard County, Kentucky, September 13, 1855. He was married to Miss Amanda Wylie on September 20, 1887. The couple moved to northern Missouri soon after and later came to Vernon County.
Mrs. Rogers died February 20, 1942, and since that time until the first of October, Mr. Rogers made his home with his sons Robert and Fred Rogers south of Nevada. In October, he was taken to the convalescent home.
Survivors other than Robert and Fred Rogers include Mrs. R. L. Irwin of Bronaugh and John W. Rogers of Ft. Scott, KS, one sister, Mrs. Emily Bales of Nevada, 14 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
The Thursday, November 7, 1946, Nevada Daily Mail then told of Thomas' funeral:
TO THOMAS J. ROGERS
IN RITES WEDNESDAY
Funeral services for Thomas Jefferson Rogers, 92 of south of Nevada, who died Sunday at the Nevada Hospital, were held at 2 pm Wednesday at the chapel of the Ferry Funeral Home. The Rev. C. A. Stevenson, minister of the Bronaugh Methodist Church conducted the services.
Mrs. Alice Milligan, accompanied by Mrs. L. B. Ferry sang "City Four Square" and "In the Garden."
Pallbearers, all grandsons of Mr. Rogers included Herbert Irwin, Douglas Rogers, Stanley Rogers, Willard Rogers, Lloyd Rogers and Marion Irwin. Burial was at Moore Cemetery.
Reference: This information was extracted from "The Rogers Family of Paint Lick and Crab Orchard" by Lyndon Irwin
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