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THE ROGERS AND McDONALD FAMILIES IN EARLY CALDWELL COUNTY

Narrator: Elwood Rogers, 68, of Hamilton, Missouri

The interview with Mr. Rogers is quite important because he is a great grandson of Jeremiah McDonald who made the first land entry in Caldwell County in the present Rockford Township 1832. Moreover Mr. Rogers is a son of George F. Rogers who in the period 1860-85 was widely known as a Mason and a well-to-do sporting gentleman of the community north of town.

Jeremiah McDonald never lived in Caldwell County, but lived at the foot of the Devil's Backbone in Ray County and died there after the Civil War. He was a well known character, especially for his frugality, living poorly in spite of his large land holdings. In 1839 Randolph his son entered a quarter section in this county. Part of the present Rogers farm north of Hamilton is land entered by him. He had two daughters, one Lockie married George Rogers and the other, Eliza, married Haman Hemry of North of Hamilton. When George Rogers came to this vicinity, he lived in a log cabin which is still standing in part on the Rogers farm.

Elwood, the son of George lived for awhile in his youth near Lisbonville a village less than one hundred yards south of the Caldwell County line, with his grandfather Randolph McDonald who lived near the south line of Rockford township in the county. The common name for Lisbonville then was "Chicken bristle" or "the Bristle." This little hamlet became a dead town when the Milwaukee railroad went through the south part of the county and the post office moved from Lisbonville to Elmira.

Elwood's uncle by marriage was Haman Hemry who was the son of Abraham Hemry - an early settler (1856) in this county and quite a queer fellow. Abraham loaned money and had many notes on people in Daviess, Caldwell and Ray Counties. He used to ride around collecting interest, his notes stuffed in saddle bags. If a man could not pay interest, Hemry would stay at his house and board it out. Haman's brother Issac was mysteriously murdered near Kidder 1885 - a murder never solved.

But the most interesting of all Elwood Roger's kin was his father George F. Rogers a son of George Rogers a pioneer of Daviess County. Swarthy, tall and erect, he affected a wide-rimmed black hat of the southern type, Prince Albert coat, heavy watch chain and flowing ties. He was a ladies man by instinct and manner. He was self educated to such a degree that he became Deputy Grand State Lecturer for the Masonic Lodge. A farmer by blood and living but he hired most of the work done.

He was an old fiddler and loved to play for dances. When he died he left his fiddle to Bob Bryant. He wanted it to go to a good fiddler and his son did not play. In his youth he used to ride clear from Rockford Township twelve miles up to Daviess county to dances. It was at a dance he met his future wife from Rockford township. In this connection, it may be said that girls too rode long distances to attend dances, spending the night, while young men went home after the dances.

The following story shows George Rogers, the hot-tempered fire eater. He had a little trouble with a fellow named Harrah who worked for him on the farm, and fired him. Harrah came back and "agged" him into a quarrel. Finally he invited Rogers to bring out his shooting irons. Rogers replied with a motion of his fists that they were the only shooting irons he needed. Finally he got his revolver and they shot it out. It ended in the wounding of Harrah. Rogers rode to town after a doctor and paid the bill and gave himself up but no action was ever taken. Afterwards, the two men being Mason made up their quarrel.

Interviewed 1933. (See also the story of George Rogers by S.R. Guffey.)

 

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All photos are copyright KingsCross Farm, 1997 & 1998
All written material other than reference material copyright KingsCross Farm 1998