Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association


    The name of few families have been longer or more honorably identified with the history of the nation than that of Rogers. Since an early epoch in colonial days its representatives have resided in America and have been prominent factors in public affairs which have contributed to the welfare and progress of the communities which they have represented. "The proper study of mankind is man," said Pope, and aside from this, in its broader sense, what base of study and information have we? Genealogical research, then, has its value, and we of this end-of-the-century democratic type cannot afford to hold in light esteem the bearing up of a escutcheon upon whose fair face appears no sign of blot; and he should thus be the more honored who honors a noble name.

    The lineage of the subject of this review is one of the most distinguished and interesting order, and no apology need be made in reverting in this connection to the individual accomplishments of the subject himself.

    When the Mayflower brought its little band of Puritans to the rock- bound coast of New England the original American ancestors of the Rogers family were among the number.

    In England, the ancestry can be traced back to Bishop John Rogers, who, was the first martyr of Queen Mary's reign, being burned at the stake in London, February 14, 1554, on account of his adherence to the Protestant faith. The Rev. Ammi Rogers was of this family, as was James Rogers, the great-grandfather of Mrs. Grover Cleveland, who, was a brother of Major William Rogers, the grandfather of the subject of this sketch. General Thomas Rogers, and the late Mrs. John M. Francis, of Albany, New York, wife of our former Russian minister, were also near of kin.

    Judge William Rogers, the great-grandfather of Mr. William Cook Rogers, was a pioneer of Wayne county, New York, then Ontario, locating there in 1792, on his removal from Richmond, Rhode Island. For many years he was judge of the court of Ontario county, and was a prominent member of the state assembly. He was twice married, his first union being with Ruth Hayward, and his second with Mrs. Cynthia Dennison Rogers, widow of James Rogers. Major William Rogers, his son and the grandfather of our subject, was born at Richmond, Rhode Island, May 16, 1779, and died at Williamson, New York, on the 10th of January, 1865, at the ripe age of eighty-six years. He married Hannah Selby, of East Haddam, Connecticut. During the war of 1812 he held the rank of major, and as such commanded a battalion in defense of northern New York, his special duty being to protect Pultneyville and Sodus against invasion by the British. He was a strong and influential citizen, prominent in all public matters, and in its prosperous days he was connected with the packet Enterprise in the Erie canal. Of strong convictions and fearless character, he was ever zealous in behalf of the right and labored constantly to advance the moral and material development of that part of the Empire state. An earnest Christian, of unfailing integrity, throughout his long life he enjoyed the high esteem and unbounded confidence of all, and his life illustrated the character of a steadfast Christian gentleman.

    Hon. William Hayward Rogers, the father of the gentleman whose name heads this review, was born at Williamson, New York, November 5, 1813, and died July 8, 1895, at the age of eighty-two years. He was an old-line Whig in his early political affiliations, and afterward became a staunch Republican. He was recognized as a prominent citizen of Wayne county and northern New York, being a leader in public thought and opinion. In 1865-6 he represented his district in the state legislature. His wife was Mary Caroline Cook. She was born in Sodus, Wayne county, New York, May 12, 1839, and was a daughter of Dr. William Darby Cook, a resident of Sodus and a native of Genesee county. Her mother, Caroline M. Cook, was a daughter of General Jasper and Ann (Egbert) Ward, and a granddaughter of General Stephen and Ruth (Gedney) Ward. Stephen Ward was born February 21, 1730, and was a prominent and influential worker in the public affairs of the state. He served as a member of the New York provincial congress, of I775-6, of the provincial convention, April 20, 1775, of the New York assembly in 1778-9, and of the state senate from 1779 to 1787. He was also a member of the council of appointments, in 1780, and was one of the committee of safety of Westchester county. His great-grandfather, Andrew Ward, was a magistrate of the Connecticut colony, in 1636, and was one of the six who ordered the Pequod war, being an active assistant the of the governor at the time of hostilities with the Indians.

    William Cook Rogers, whose ancestors we have been thus briefly reviewing, was born in Williamson, Wayne county, New York, April 4, 1867. He obtained his education in the high school of that city, and after his graduation pursued a commercial course in Philadelphia, where he began his business career in connection with a large hardware and manufacturing firm. Here he remained until 1892, when he came to Piqua, where he became a director and, later, vice-president of the Piqua Handle & Manufacturing Company, manufactures of wooden wares, and has been an active factor in the successful promotion of this business, and is also interested in other enterprises of this city. He is a representative American business Man, possessed of great energy, industry, of keen discrimination and sound judgment. Intelligent and enterprising, he is quick to note and utilize opportunities, and his well-merited success is due to these qualities. With strict regard for the ethics of commercial life he has commanded the respect and confidence of his fellow men, and has been able to attain a commanding position in commercial circles. In politics he is a stanch Republican, unswerving in his advocacy of the principles of the party, yet he has never sought nor desired political preferment. His attention is largely taken up with his extensive business interests, and his leisure hours are devoted to the enjoyment of the pleasures of his own fireside. He and his wife are active and zealous members of the Episcopal church, and their home is the center of a cultured society circle. They have one child, Eleanor Margaret.

    He was married on the 25th of January, 1893, in Philadelphia, to Margaret Douglas, a daughter of Robert L. and Margaret (Drake) Douglas, then of that city, but formerly residents of Cincinnati, Ohio, her father being a prominent insurance man of that state, the founder, and for many years president, of the National Life Underwriter's Association, organized in that city. In 1887 he removed to Philadelphia to become manager of the Provident Savings Life Assurance Society, and in 1899 to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he was made a vice-president of the Interstate Life Assurance Company. His early home was at Trenton, New York, and he is a descendant of a very ancient Scotch family, whose long line of earls include the famous James, earl of Douglas, or the "Black Douglas," as he is best known in history. Royal blood was introduced into this family by the marriage of one of the line with the Princess Margaret, daughter of King Robert III, of Scotland. Mrs. Rogers comes of Revolutionary stock on both her father's and mother's side, her mother, who was Margaret Drake, being the daughter of Daniel S. Drake, a prominent and wealthy resident of Marion county, Ohio, and one of the family of which Admiral Sir Francis Drake was an ancestor. Mrs. Rogers was educated in Cincinnati and Philadelphia, completing her education in the Philadelphia Seminary, and is a lady of scholarly attainments, recognized as a leader in the literary circles of Piqua. That city is famed as one of the foremost in the state along the line of women's club organization and Mrs. Rogers has been prominent and active in the work, having organized the Town and Country Club, once of the first of its kind in this country. In 1893 she published a volume of her own poems, indicating high talent, and which met with most flattering reviews.

    She has put in poetic form some of the many Indian legends which have been handed down through generation from the red race that once lived in this section of the country. It is with pleasure that we present one of these poems to the readers of this volume, as indicative of the literary accomplishments of the county, as well as the talent possessed by Mrs. Rogers. The following is called "Talawanda--A Legend of the Miami." The part of the river chosen by Talawanda for her fatal plunge is in the town of Piqua.

        TALAWANDA.   A legend of the Miami.
        On a bank of the Miami
           (Gently flowing, lovely water),
        Lived there once an Indian maiden,
           Of a chief the cherished daughter;
        Like she was unto her father,
           Far-famed chieftain of the Shawnees,
        Famed for mighty deeds of valor
           In his conquest with the Maumees.
        Lovely was the Indian maiden,
           Noted for her grace and beauty,
        And her skill in basket weaving,
           And her deeds of loving duty;
        And when swift she flew to meet him,
           Glad the chief was in his daughter,
        And he called her Talawanda,--
           Talawanda--Winding Water.
        And her eyes like mighty arrows
           Smote each young brave's heart and wounded,
        And with one accord they loved her;
           Far and near her praises sounded;
        But the heart of Talawanda 
           Was as stone was to their arrows--
        All their love thrusts darted backward, 
           Tortured them like toothed harrows. 
        Then there came unto the waters, 
           All their mystic charm beholding,
        Soldiers skilled in mighty warfare, 
           Peacefully their tents un folding.  
        And they traded with the Indians, 
           Traded for their skins and horses, 
        And the red men met them kindly--
           Welcomed all the neighboring forces. 
        But among the pale-faced warriors,
           One there was of kingly graces,
        Noble brow, and eyes like sunshine,--
           Handsomest of all pale faces;
        And the heart of Talawanda
           Melted  'neath those eyes of sunshine,
        And the brave pale face to her was
           As the tree is to the woodbine,
        As the clay is to the potter,
           So her heart was to her lover,
        When he vowed his faith eternal
           By the sun and moon above her;
        And the eyes of Talawanda
           Shone like stars as to his pleading
        She gave ear, and promised truly
           She would follow at his leading,
        But one morning Talawanda
           Woke to find their camp forsaken;
        All the neighboring pale-faced warriors
           In the night their flight had taken,
        And the heart of Talawanda
           Broke, and knew no more consoling;
        Ne'er was heard her merry laughter,
           And her grief knew no controlling.
        Then uprose the tribe of Shawnees,
           By her chieftain father headed,
        Vowing vengeance on the soldiers
           For the maiden left unwedded;
        And they massacred the white men,
           Left not one of all their number,
        Left them lying where they'd fallen,
           Wrapped in Death's long, heavy slumber.
        But ere they the deed accomplished,
           Talawanda, Winding Water,
        Loveliest of all the maidens,
           Still the chieftain's cherished daughter,
        Rose and sought the smooth Miami,
           Paddled o'er its surface shining,
        And she plunged into its bosom,
           Buried there her grief and pining.
        Then arose her chieftain father,
           When, returning on the morrow,
        Gathered many squaws around him
           Wailing forth the tale of sorrow;
        And with hand out-stretched in warning,
           And with eyes and nostrils swelling,
        "Cursed," he cried, "be every pale-face
           Who shall on these banks find dwelling!"
        Thus the legend of Miami--
           Gently flowing, lovely river--
        Thus the tale its bosom carries,
           Where the sun and moonbeams quiver;
        Thus the old chief called for vengeance
           For the death of his loved daughter,
        Thus the tale of Talawanda,
           Talawanda--Winding Water.

    Return to the Biography Index

    Return to Main Page

    Copyright © 2000 by Computerized Heritage Association.
    All Rights Reserved.