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Ramanan Pannirselvam

8th Period

ROBERT R. ROGERS
Rogers-Bell Local History Project

Rogers-Bell Local History Project: Robert R. Rogers


The Gwinnett Weekly Herald describes Robert R. Rogers as this: He was a noble
specimen of a man physically; and mentally was far above mediocrity. His face was very
much after the type of Commodore Oliver H. Perry. He became a Methodist preacher, and for a
time was a member of the Georgia Conference. Being an integral member of the Rogers family,
he is buried at the Rogers-Bell cemetery today. With a vivid personality, Robert R. Rogers, a man
of Cherokee blood, trekked across America as a clergy and aided numerous persons as a
physician.
Begotten by John Rogers and Sarah Cordery Rogers, Robert was born on June 4th, 1804.
The same year on May 14th Lewis and Clark depart on an expedition to

the

west. Residing in the Cherokee nation, later becoming Gwinnett County

in

1818, Robert was one of 12 children. John Rogers was born in 1744,
and lived through the American Revolution. Sarah Cordery was in 1786
and was of Cherokee blood. His father, John, had arrived to the area
around 1802 where he was later wed to Sarah Cordery a year later
according to tribal law.
The family making their living off of their farm, Robert most probably spent his
childhood and adolescent years working alongside his father. Most probably after cumulating
enough money, He attended the newly opened Lawrenceville Academy in 1823 at the age of 18
or 19. In 1824, Mexico becomes a republic, and a year afterwards, the Erie Canal project is
completed. His interest in medicine grew.

Following his fathers adherence to Methodism, Robert joined the Methodist ministry as
a circuit-rider in 1827 with the South Carolina Conference. Slavery is also outlawed in New York
in 1827. Circuit riders were a common name for clergy who travelled across the country while
preaching to settlers and constructing congregations. They usually rode horses, carried little
material possessions, and were nomadic in nature.
It was laborious work essentially. They were officially named the travelling clergy and
by 1839, there were 3,557 travelling clergy. He was assigned to many different missions such as
the Orangeburg Mission in Charleston, the Yellow River
Mission in Athens, and the Ashbury Mission in
Columbus. Expelled from the conference in 1831 at the
same time as Nat Turners slave rebellion, he had been a
travelling clergy for 4 years. However, he continued
being a minister and missionary.
He married Mary Ann Baptiste, who was of French and
Creek descent. Mary Ann was born in Alabama in 1810.
They had two sons Charles Wesley Rogers who was born in 1830 and Gilbert Rogers who was
born in 1833. A little number of years later, he admitted himself into the Metropolitan Medical
School in New York City.
Rogers and his family was residing near the Chattahoochee River in Cherokee county.
Robert had received the plot of land, Fractional Lot 42, from a land lottery. However, if he had
claimed had not been verified yet. So, James Bonner had drawn the same lot and had sold it to
Aaron Collins of Milledgeville. Technically, the land that the Rogers were living was owned by
Collins, not by Robert R. Rogers. Offering to give Collins a liberal price for the plot, he sent a

letter to Aaron Collins on February 17th, 1834. On March 7th, he received the deed to the plot in
exchange for $100.
Due to his father, John Rogers Jr., and his own titles of doctor and preacher, Rogers is
appraised in the Cherokee community. This made him one of the prime delegates that convened
on December 21st, 1835 at New Echota to converse about the removal treaty. New Echota was
the capitol of the Cherokee nation as well as a large meeting place/market that welcomed many
tribes. The treatys purpose was to remove the Cherokee east of the Mississippi River and
relocate them to a territory in the west. At this
time, Andrew Jackson, a populist, was
president. Rogers signature is able to be
viewed on the treaty.
Perhaps because of the New Echota treaty,
Mary Ann

Baptiste left with their son to Indian land in 1846. This left him

with the older children. On August 2nd, 1845, Rogers sold the deed for his lot to Major George M.
Waters probably because he didnt require it after Mary Ann left. In August of 1847 he filed for a
divorce to the Forsyth Superior Court and again in February of 1851. The trial was on February
27th and on August 29th the divorce was final. The foreman stated, We the jury find that
sufficient proof have been referred to our consideration to authorize a total divorce
Based on the 1850 census, he was 46 years old and his home was worth $8000. His land
encompassed 450 acres; 250 improved and 200 unimproved. The farm machinery was worth
$125, all his livestock was $683, he had, 298 bushels of wheat 250 bushels of Indian corn;
100 bushels of oats; 1 bale of cotton; 8 pounds of wool; 200 bushels of peas and beans; 20
bushels of Irish potatoes; 700 bushels of sweet potatoes; 200 pounds of butter; and $164 value of

slaughtered animals. He had worked up quite an amount of food, supplies, and land. Since the
1850 Census of Georgia Slave Owners does not include the name of Robert R. Rogers, Rogers
only owned slaves towards the end of his life, specifically in 1853. As he grew older, he grew
weaker and utilized slaves. The 8 slaves that he owned were valued to be $3,100.
He died on January 5th, 1858 to blood poisoning when he had cut himself when chopping
logs. He passed away intestate, or without making a will, so his belongings were not given away.
He led a life that may have been dull, but righteous. Robert R. Rogers had a lively nature that he
used to adhere his faith and God to everything he did and became a physician when most were
not.
I silently passed into lights Eternal DayMe, a member of the powerful Treaty Party,
Preacher, missionary, and M.D.From an incurable malady of the blood.
-Unhallowed Intrusion: A History of Cherokee
Families In Forsyth County, Georgia

Bibliography
"Circuit Rider (religious)." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2015.
Cox, Jack F. The 1850 Census of Georgia Slave Owners. Baltimore, MD: Clearfield, 1999. Print.
Shadburn, Don L. Unhallowed Intrusion: A History of Cherokee Families in Forsyth County,
Georgia. Alpharetta, GA: WH Wolfe Associates, 1993. Print.