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Thread: Martha Stephens Rogers and Hester Rogers

  1. #1
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    Martha Stephens Rogers and Hester Rogers

    Martha Stephens was born in Virginia in the early 1800s and married Dean Rogers. Martha and Dean Rogers are my great-great-grandparents. I believe that they were Cherokees who were forced to migrate in 1838-39 on the Trail of Tears. However, I think that they escaped from the Trail of Tears somewhere in southern Illinois or Missouri and then went north to Iowa. They settled in the town of Rome, Iowa, in extreme southeast Iowa. Their daughter Hester Rogers was born in Rome, Iowa, in 1840 or 1841. Hester Rogers is my great-grandmother. Both Martha and Hester have strong faces, with charismatic eyes and cheekbones. I wish I knew more about the hardships Dean and Martha Rogers must have suffered and what they had to overcome to reach Iowa. The fact that they did is a tribute to them. Hester Rogers, upon reaching adulthood, married my great-grandfather, Thomas Fitzgerald, after his honorable discharge from the Union Army. He returned to the Midwest after having been wounded in the famous Civil War Battle in Mississippi, the Battle of Corinth.

    Martha Stephens Rogers

    Hester Rogers
    Gussie

  2. #2
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    Welcome, Gussie,

    Dean Rogers, b.abt. 1809/10, is reported born in Canada on the 1850 Des Moines Co., 1860 Lee Co., & 1870 Lee Co., Iowa census records. On the 1870 census, he's shown as b. "Canada West".
    Dean Rogers marr'd Martha Stephens on 7 January 1841 in Henry Co., Iowa, which is next door to Des Moines and Lee Counties.

    On the 1850 Des Moines Co., Iowa Census, Dean is shown as Head of household containing Martha, 40, b. Va; Hester, 9; Georgietta, 6; Madlen (Ada M) 3; the three children all born Iowa.

    In 1850 Lee Co., Iowa, is a Henry Stephens, b.abt. 1799, "Va"
    who may be related to Martha.

    I'm curious to know how far back the Cherokee information came into your family.
    Bill

  3. #3
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    the Stephens and Rogers families

    Hi Bill, Thank you for this wonderful background information on my family! I had no idea that Dean Rogers was born in Canada. Where exactly is "Canada West?" I have a document showing that Martha Stephens Rogers was born in Virginia. I also know that Hester Rogers was born in Rome, Iowa. Thank you for providing the names and ages of her siblings. To answer your question, there are several key elements that lead me to believe that the Stephens and Rogers families are Cherokee. First, I know that there are many Cherokee who share these two surnames. Second, it did not make sense that Martha was born in Virginia and her daughter Hester was born in Rome, Iowa. Then I learned about the Trail of Tears, which leads me to the third key element which makes me believe that my ancestors are Cherokee. This is the fact that the birth rate dramatically increased immediately after the Trail of Tears was over. Dean and Martha were married in Iowa in 1841 and had their first child Hester that same year. Dean had been born in Canada and Martha in Virginia. Neither Dean nor Martha had any connection to Iowa and no reason to go there unless through a forced migration (which they escaped). The Trail of Tears ended in 1839. Also, the northern land branch of the Trail of Tears came through southern Illinois and Missouri. If you look at a map, you will see that Rome, Iowa is very close to both the Illinois and Missouri borders. It is located in the extreme southeast corner of Iowa near the Mississippi River. If Dean and Martha escaped they could not have gone south or they would have been captured. Their only alternative was to go straight north to Iowa. Martha must be related to Henry Stephens, as he was also born in Virgina. Do you know if he is a brother or cousin to Martha? This is the first I have heard of him. Thank you again for this priceless research! I hope I have answered some of your questions.
    Gussie
    Gussie

  4. #4
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    Gussie,
    I emailed you privately earlier. I don't want to burst your balloon, but in my research, I found at least two groups who immigrated from Canada at about the same time your folks arrived in Iowa. Scotch Grove, IA was populated by folks coming from the area populated by mixed folks, the Red River. I found a family another family in my research a little farther north in IA where the parents come from Canada at the same time. And part of my family leaves for Western Canada too. My point is, the traveling appears to be somewhat fluid. I have come to believe that there was a network of church people, people who were sympathetic to the situation of native peoples, and maybe Indian agents of the time who seem to have been connected in many cases (at least two agents from the 1800s are names from my family) to the mixed or full-blood NA peoples, who passed word on of "safe" areas. The Indian agent of the time, in Iowa, was Joseph Street, stationed initially in Prairie Du Chien, WI, but later in Agency, IA and covering as far south as Rock Island (He surveyed a great deal of eastern IA around 1830.). I have found in researching him (I have the name Street in my IA NA line.), that his family comes from VA.

    All this being said, my IA family has the story of Cherokee too, Blackfoot Cherokee. They came to IA from VA, PA, OH, MD, and possibly as far east as DE. And one comes from near Canada in the east, Canandaiga (sp), NY.

    Techteach

  5. #5
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    On the 1880 Lee Co., Iowa census, Martha E. Rogers, 68, widowed, b. Va, lists father as born Maryland and mother b. Va.

    When Martha m'd Dean Rogers in 1841, she would have been about 29 yrs old, which opens the possibility that Stephens may not be her maiden name, and that she was previously married.
    Something to consider.

    Henry Stephens, b. 1799 Va, d. 1 Oct 1869 Lee Co., Iowa, m'd Susan Murphy, b. 1 Nov 1799 Lexington (Independant City surrounded by Rockbridge Co.) Va. (d. Sept 1892 Lee Co, Ia)
    Lexington is on U.S. 60, a westward migration route out of Virginia.
    He appears to be the Henry Stephens of 1830 Hampshire Co, Va., (now WVa).
    Two other Stephens families in Des Moines and Lee Co's Iowa have connections to Maryland and Va.

    "Canada West", may be any area 'west' of Toronto, I don't know.

    It makes perfect sense for Martha to have been born in Va since there are other Stephens in 1840's Iowa who were also born in Va, and they are probably her connection to Iowa. Since Martha m'd Dean in Iowa, it then makes sense that Hester was born there.
    Bill

  6. #6
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    Act of Union, 1840

    The Act of Union of 1840, which sought to unify Canada, identified Upper Canada as "Canada West" and Lower Canada as "Canada East." There are many internet sites which discuss this subject in great detail. I have found from my own genealogical documents that my great-great-grandfather Dean Rogers was born in or near Lake George, Canada. I have just begun to do research on this subject to determine the indigenous tribes of this area in Canada in the early 1800s. It is impossible to determine exactly how any of our ancestors arrived at their ultimate destinations. We will never know. However, it is possible that both Martha and Dean Rogers were on the Trail of Tears of 1838-39. I think the speculation that they were both brought to Iowa at the exact same time by sympathetic church people is even more improbable, given that Martha was born in Virginia and Dean was born in Canada. That's a lot of sympathetic church people working internationally, given the fact that Iowa was then a frontier state. I don't believe it was even admitted to the union until 1838. Remember, Martha and Dean came from DIFFERENT COUNTRIES. Also, Rome Iowa is about 100 miles south of Rock Island, Illinois, and Joseph Street, the Indian agent, covered only as far south as Rock Island. So, no, you have not burst my bubble.
    Gussie

  7. #7
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    Iowa admitted to union in 1845

    Iowa was admitted to the Union in 1845. I wanted to clarify this point, as I previously just guessed that it was admitted in 1838.
    Gussie

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    Hi Gussie,

    My 3rd great-grandparents are Margaret ROGERS and Jacob DAVIS. Martha was born about 1828 in North Carolina (possibly Davidson or Rowan County). Her parents are Nathan ROGERS and Nancy PEACOCK. Jacob DAVIS was supposedly from Belmont County, Ohio. I was always told that these lines were Scottish-Irish or Quakers. My grandpa told me that his grandpa (he was born in 1845) used to tell him stories about when he was little he used to ride around on the back of ponies with the Indians. I don't know how much truth there is in that story, but his grandpa is the son of Margaret ROGERS and Jacob DAVIS.

    Stacey

  9. #9
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    Hi Stacey, What a great memory your grandpa told you about his grandpa riding around on the backs of ponies with the Indians. Rogers appears to be a prevalent name among the Cherokee. The most famous Cherokee bearing this name, in my opinion, was Will Rogers, the great humorist. I read one biography of Will Rogers which contained photographs of his parents. Do you have any early photographs of the ancestors you described to me? Gussie
    Gussie

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by Bev Stayart
    Do you have any early photographs of the ancestors you described to me? Gussie
    Hi Gussie,

    I do have a couple of pictures of Isaac DAVIS, the son of Margaret ROGERS and Jacob DAVIS, but none farther back than that.

    Margaret's siblings were Harrison, Susannah, Phebe, Jesse, Elizabeth, Nancy, Nathan Riley, William, Eli, George, Matthew, and Levi. Their names were proven by their father's will. The older children were all born in North (or South) Carolina and the younger three were born in Indiana. I have been in contact with a few of their descendants. I can check and see if any of them have any pictures, if you want.

    Stacey

  11. #11
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    Hi Stacey, Yes, please share any photos you may have by posting them on this forum. These photographs are the best glimpse we have into the past.
    Gussie

  12. #12
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    Hi Gussie,

    I have posted Isaac's picture on my Jones page. It's at:
    http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com...0006photo.html

    Stacey

  13. #13
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    Hi Stacey,

    Thank you for the photo. I will be asking Bill more questions about the Rogers family soon.
    Gussie

  14. #14
    Techteach.....you mention a Joseph Street as your Blackfoot Cherokee ancestor originally from VA. I also have Street in my line too....a Peyton Street who married Jaidah ?. She was full-blooded Cherokee. They had a dau. named Emmeline Street m. William Conway.......they were from Middlesex Co. VA.....the next county over. Was your Joseph Street from Middlesex?

    Roni
    Roni

    DAD: Waller, Mayo, Holmes, Young, Braxton, Key(s), Conway, Street, Morris, Law(s), Jackson, Lee

    MOM: Green, Whiting, Richardson, Kemp, Harris, King, Jones, Reade

  15. #15
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    Roni,
    Street is one of the names that marries into my Green/Butt families. I don't think I have direct Street ancestors, but I have lots of g-something aunts and uncles and cousins named Street. They settle with the whole group in IA.
    Joseph Street, however, is not one of this group, as far as I know it, nor is he an ancestor or relative of mine (My Blackfoot ID name is McLane.), as far as I know. However, it is very interesting to me that he surveyed the newly opened land in NE IA and became the Indian agent and then my Street-related mixed ancestors moved into that area.
    Joseph Street (a general, I believe), was, however, from VA, or at least his family was. There is a newspaper article on the WI historical society web site that outlines his family history. I am not sure where his family was from in VA. I am not sure the site. either, but if you google for the information, you should find it. I once read a thesis on Joseph Street. He was very liked by the NDN, so much so, that he is buried next to Chief Wapello (I think it is Wapello) who insisted on the burial land before he would move his tribe west.
    Techteach

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