Old Billy Rodgers' Family History
Compiled By: Carl D. Rogers Jr.
Written By: Matthew B. Rogers
It's believed William Rodgers "Old Billy" was born about 1770 in North Carolina. There's been speculation he was born in Western Virginia. We know he died on December 25,1846, from the result of injuries received when thrown from his wagon after its horse broke loose.
From North Carolina, Old Billy went to South Carolina with an Indian women and one young son named James, who was born in North Carolina in 1803. The Indian died shortly after their arrival around 1805.
Old Billy then married a woman who was born in South Carolina, nothing else is known about her background. Between 1807 and 1834 they had seven children together, William Malichi "Buck", Telitha, Luke R., Chesley, Rebecca Ann, Elizabeth and Catharine born December 28, 1833.
Some time after 1833, Old Billy's second wife passed on and he married for a third time. We know a little more about his third bride. Her first name was Elizabeth and speculation makes us believe her maiden name was Taylor. Old Billy and Elizabeth (Taylor) went on to have three more children. Their first child was Sophia, the second child was Drucilla, born in 1843 she never made it out of her childhood and died in 1849 at six years of age. Their third, Old Billy's eleventh and final child was John Allen born April 30, 1844. Old Billy crashed his buggy a year and half later and died at the age of 66, but his legacy continued on.
Old Billy's first son, James had seventeen children. In 1821 he married his first wife, Frances Duncan. Those listed living with them in the 1850 census are Emiline, Caroline, William, Josiah, Frances, James "Monk", Sinthia, Martin and Margaret.
Rodgers interviewed Monk Rodgers' daughter Julia (Rodgers) Dubose. Julia
said her father was born near Stone Mountain, Ga. James left Edgefield District South
Carolina to take part in the Georgia Land Lotteries and lived in Georgia between 1830 and 1840.
Four of his children were born there, Caroline, and Emiline, William and Monk.
The girls may have been twins. Wallace is the Great, Great,
Great Grandson of James Rodgers.
Old Billy's second son Buck married Sarah Sallie Salter. Sarah was the daughter of John and Hannah (Eidson) Salter. Sarah had a brother James who married Buck's sister Telitha and a sister named Mary "Polly" who married John Gillion.
Bucks family lived on a 518 acre farm in South Carolina it was conveyed to him by Governor, David Johnson, May 21, 1848. The land was in Edgefield County and eventually became part of Saluda County in 1895, when part of Northeastern Edgefield was used to create Saluda. Remaining in the family the Black's currently hold the deed to Buck's land as well as copies of the original deeds.
Buck and Sarah had nine children; Malachi Augustus "Gus", Jane, Emily Crystal, Francis "Frank" M., Lucretia, Laura Ann, William "Billy" Russell, John Lemuel "Lem" and Larken "Lark". Sarah died at the age of 78 ,June 17,1885. Buck lived to be 86 years old and died May 22, 1894.
Telitha was Old Billy's oldest daughter, she was first married to Sarah Salter's brother, James with whom she had several children, John Coffee "J C", Charity, William R, Malachi, Lawrence Gideon and Telitha Caroline. Telitha's second marriage was to Uriah Hodges. The 1850 census lists Telitha and Uriah along with 4 young children, Sally age 9, Nancy age 5, Alvin age 3 and Caroline Salter age 12. Caroline would go on to marry Thomas Jefferson Forrest.
During the enumeration of the 1850 census Telitha and James Salter's youngest son Lawrence Gideon is twelve years old and listed as living with his older sister Charity and her husband Jacob Crouch. John Coffee is 22 living with the family of Arthur Smith, probably working as a farm laborer. William is 20, living with his Aunt Eliza and Uncle Luke Rodgers, likely working as a farm laborer too.
Lawrence Gideon served in the in the Army of the Confederacy, 19th Regiment Co. "D" SC Volunteers and was wounded during battle sometime in early 1862. John Coffee and William served in the same Company, both died in action near Franklin Tennessee.
Eliza's father was John Webb, his grave marker at the Richland Springs Baptist Church Cemetery near Saluda, South Carolina states "He was Adjutant General during the Revolutionary War". Eliza died September 7, 1882, Luke followed just a few months later on December 24, 1882, both were laid to rest near her parents gravesites.
Old Billy's fourth son Chesley, married Risby Hanson February 26, 1838 in Walton County Georgia. We Believe the two met while Chesley was visiting his Uncle James near Stone Mountain. The couple is listed in the 1850 census of Edgefield District as Risley and Chisley Rodges with a young daughter named Ena Sardinia. But we believe their children to be, Edy, Clarissa, Ena Saranda, Lauri, Harriett and Luke W. Chesley and Risby later settled in Blum Georgia.
Old Billy's second daughter Rebecca Ann married Seaborn Temples. They had 14 children: Mary Ann Tilitha, Sarah Ann, Selemma, William Albert, Martha Telitha, Margaret, Andrew Jackson, John Calvin, Elender Caroline, James Pickens, Marina Harriet, James Henry, Rebecca Almetta Lurie, and Charlie Luke.
Rebecca's son Charlie Luke married his cousin Montee Rodgers who was a daughter of Hillary Q. and Sallie (Boddie) Rodgers and granddaughter of Luke R. Rodgers. Montee's ancestral line is quite interesting.
Old Billy's daughter Elizabeth married John A Parrish their children were Martha, Abbie, Savannah, Jefferson, Lamna, Lizzie, and Mary.
We seem to have lost track of Old Billy's Daughter Catherine after she married James Allen Dubose.
John Allen, like most of his cousins served in the War Between the States enlisting in the 14th Infantry Co. "H". After the war he married Sallie C. Newton. They had one child William Clarence who married Mildred Bell (Hall) Rodgers.
Buck's children formed several unions with the offspring of Obadiah and Jeannette "Jane" (Fulmer) Boddie. Jane (Rodgers) married Chesley Boddie, Gus married Jane (Boddie), Lem married Frances "Fannie" Hannah (Boddie) and Billy married Narcissa (Boddie), theirs was the fourth union between the two families, but not the last.
After Jane (Boddie) died Gus married his cousin Clarissa Rodgers on November 4, 1860 and after her death, he married his cousin Martha Parrish.
It's difficult to sort out the children from Gus's marriages, though were pretty sure no children were born from the union with Jane (Bodie). The children enumerated in the 1870 census with Gus and Clarissa are, Regina, Cornelia, Edgar and Augustus. The children living with Gus and Martha in 1880 are Benjamin, Josephine and Menora.
The Boddie family is rich in military history, Obadiah's father was John Boddie III, a soldier in the Revolutionary War. Four of Obadiah Boddie's sons and at least one grandson entered the Confederate Army. Nathan, Elijah, Obadiah Jr. all served in the 14th South Carolina Infantry Co "B". Elijah and Obadiah Jr. died from decease in Richmond. David was killed the last day of the Union siege on Petersburg, April 2, 1865, just nine days before Lee's surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia. Chesley enlisted in Henry Grey’s 28th Louisiana Infantry Co. " A" and along with his wife Jane died from decease in a Lousianna field Hospital. Only Nathan returned, he married Sarah Anne (Younce) after the war.
More than a dozen of Old Billy's grandsons, granddaughters and their husbands would go on to fight, bleed and some even die for the cause of Southern Independence. You can find the Rodgers, Salter and Boddie cousins throughout the muster rolls of the Armies of Northern Virginia and Tennessee. The 14th and 7th Infantries and the 6th Battalion Co. "D" of South Carolina are just a few of the units in which the family served.
Old Billy's sons Buck And James both had sons named William. William Anderson the son of James and William Russell the son of Buck. Both served in Hampton's Legion, one of the more prestigious units in the Army of Northern Virginia.
Frank was Bucks second son. On April 15, 1861, he enlisted as Private in the 7th SC Infantry, Company "E" and served under General Lafayette McLaws. On September 13, 1862 the 7th Infantry was ordered to attack the Union defenders atop Maryland Heights in preparation for the siege of Harpers Ferry. They successfully dislodged the Yankees, but Frank was shot and killed during the attack, becoming one of 13 fatalities the 7th suffered that day.
In the 1850's Buck's daughter Jane (Rodgers) and her husband Chesley Boddie moved from South Carolina to Bienville Parrish in northwestern Louisiana. They had four children, Sallie, Katurah, William Elbert and, Idonia Lucretia. On May 8, 1862 Chesley enlisted as a Private in Henry Grey’s 28th Louisiana Infantry Regiment Co. "A". He got sick in an epidemic and Jane along with the four children went to care for him. Jane and Chesley succumbed to illness and died in late 1863.
Buck Rodgers received news of his daughter and son-in-law's death in late November 1863. His four small grand children were shipped back To South Carolina from close to the Louisiana battle fields in a crate to either there Louisiana home or to South Carolina. When Buck went, and picked up his four orphan grandchildren, he found them having nothing more than ragged clothes ridden with lice on their bodies and no diapers for the young ones. He applied for guardianship and along with his wife Sara raised the four grandchildren.
For more insight about Jane and Chesley, the letters Jane wrote to her family in South Carolina from Louisiana are still in existence today and offered for your viewing by Delores Thompson.
Bucks daughter Laura Ann married James P. Thompson. James was a private in the 14th South Carolina Infantry. He served alongside Laura's brother Gus and Laura's cousins Allen, Pressley and John Gilleon, James Salter and the Bodie brothers and son. After the war Laura and James had at least two children, Florence Virginia and Edwin.
Buck's daughter Emily Crystal married Emanuel Marion Black, they had 9 children. Martin Luther, Mary Belle, and Tincy Virginia died in infancy. They're buried with distinguishing markers in the same plot with William Malichi and Sarah (Salter) Rogers and Malachi Augustus, and Martha (Parish) Rodgers. The other children were John S., Jacob, Sallie Eleanor, Olanda, Pearl Inez, and Eunice Atholine.
John married Mary Louise Breedlove. Their daughter Nena "Cookie", married Daniel R. Zemar and they had three children... Stephanie, Jeremy and Jonathan.
Buck's youngest son Lark graduated from Clemson University. He and his first wife had 8 children in South Carolina. Then he migrated to McRae, Georgia in 1881, married his second wife in 1889, Carrie Gillion who was likely his first cousin and they had 7 more children.
It was understood if Buck ever decided to give up farming, his land would be split between brothers Billy and Lem. Billy said "if your gonna cut it in two, I don't want none of it." According to Gus's daughter Alice Storey, Old Artemus Rodgers visited Telfair County, Georgia as far back as 1849. He returned to South Carolina, and brought back tales of "the Land of Milk & Honey." Billy decided to find out for himself and headed down that way with his wife Narcissa and their six children.
Billy and Narcissa had six children... Wesley, Henry, Mose, Leah, Cora and Sophia. After they left South Carolina they stopped in Washington County near Wadley, Georgia where they made a crop or two. While there typhoid fever killed Henry and his mother Narcissa. William then moved on to Camps, Georgia where he became Postmaster. Mose got sick and died of the measles at some point and we’re not sure what happened to Leah.
After Narcissa died, Billy married M. J. Graham, November 21, 1889. They had six children Sallie, Mattie, William Russell Jr. Etta, Lillie, Hugh and Doshia. Billy died in 1903 and Nee 15 years later in 1918. They're buried side by side at Dodges Chapel just outside of Lumber City Georgia.
Buck's son Lem and "Fannie" were married in 1867, They had 15 children, six girls and nine boys. Their names were, William "Billy" Marion, Jeannetta, Charlie "Weeds", Margaret "Maggie", Claude Carrie, Clarence Goode, Nora , Earnest "Pete", Lemuel "Lem" Pierce, Lula Jane, Obadiah "Obe", Lucy, Carl Dovis, one still born and George Cephus "Buckshot".
In 1878, Lem and Fannie had 5 children and more on the way. They needed a larger home and the old Good Hope Lutheran Church building became a convenient solution, they bought it when the new Church was built. They would live there eleven years, until 1889.
Nora died before her eighth birthday in 1888. Fannie gave birth to Lucy early in 1889, this was her and Lem's last child born in South Carolina.
Billy married his cousin Margaret "Mag" Emaline (Boddie) in January 1889. Nathan Bodie was Mag's father, according to his grandson, Ted Rogers... after his grand dad shot R. L. "Doc" Gunter in 1889, Mag hid the Ely Whitney autographed revolver, in her petticoat, and this pistol is still an heirloom in Ted's family.
What may have been the last time Lem signed his name using a "d" in Rodgers was when he deeded his land back to his father on September 14, 1889. After this Lem and Fannie, Billy and Mag, packed up the rest of the kids and the home and led by Nance, Pat and Rodie the family mules, they started walking to Telfair County Georgia.
It took nearly three weeks for them to cover the distance of about 250 miles between Edgefield County, South Carolina and Telfair County, Georgia. Henry Ford wouldn't have made his first automobile for another seven years and the modern interstate was still a long time off. Because the wagons were heavily loaded with all the family's possessions, there was only room enough for baby Lucy, Fannie and the youngest children to ride inside. The rest of the children would have had to walk. In those days, the structural integrity of the old wooden bridges wasn't anything you'd bet all of your worldly possessions on, so they forded most of the rivers they encountered, making the trip long and laborious. When they arrived in Georgia they grew their first crop in Neeley about 14 miles northwest of Lumber City, where they would later make their home.
Lem's son Buckshot supposed his family followed Uncle Billy to Georgia, because in the late 1880's the soil had pretty much played out in South Carolina and the Black Root devastated most of the cotton crops.
Fannie bore her last three children in Lumber City, Carl Dovis, a girl who only lived a few hours and George Cephus. The baby girl was buried out on the edge of the property. Ted Rogers said when Earnest got his fingers chopped off in a mill accident, Fannie took a little ole blue bottle, dropped the fingers in it, and buried them out by the baby’s grave. On Sundays his Grandma would take a hymnbook out to the grave and sing hymns to her lost child.
Lem died, November 11, 1917 leaving Fannie the farm near Lumber City, valued at about $8,000. Because of Lems service in the 6th Battalion of State Troops Senior Reserves Company D, she applied for a Confederate Widow's Pension. According to The Times-Journal she "dropped dead or died suddenly" six months later, February 8, 1922. Lem and Fannie are buried side by side at Riverside Cemetery, just outside of Lumber City, along with their sons Obe and Billy, his wife Mag and several grandchildren.
If approved for the Widows Pension Fannie would have received about $120 a month. Lem's cousin Hillary Q Rodgers served with him in the confederate Army. Together with Buckshot and Emanuel Black, they helped Fannie with the Widows Application. In order to qualify for a Confederate Pension back then, you had to be completely destitute or crippled to the point of not being able to function at all. Owning a farm probably disqualified Fannie and if the Government ever found out about the gold she kept sewed into the hems of her clothing, she surely would have forfeited a pension. For whatever reason she was never approved for the pension and died within 6 months of filing the application.
Meanwhile back in South Carolina:
Old Billy's son Luke had two sons Henry and Hillary who married two of the orphaned daughters Chesley and Jane Boddie left behind.
Henry Married Katurah and they had at least four sons John, Hillary, Oscar and Loran.
Luke's son Hillary married Sally. They had ten children some of whom were Walter, Daniel Boone, Luke, Fulton, Maude (Rodgers) Scott, Montee (Rodgers) Temple, Myrtle (Rodgers) Morris and Bruce. We’re not sure of the other two names.
Luke's Daughter Jane married Thomas Towles their children were Owen D, Rodger W. and Magdalene O.
Jane and Chesley's son William Elbert Boddie married twice. First to Talula (Denny), the couple had at least seven children, Earnest, Mattie, Geneva, Clarence, Luana, Ora and Idelle. Williams second wife was Edna (Crouch) we don’t know of any children from that marriage.
Jane and Chesley's daughter Idonie married Levi David Whittle, their children were Georgia, Ira, Corrie, Buford, Wella, Callie, and Nara.
Carl Dovis Rogers Jr. recollections
Lem's oldest son Billy went around to get a petition signed, and he became the first mail deliveryman for Wheeler County in 1903. He and Aunt Mag had four children, Mary Etta, William, Theodore "Ted", and Joseph.
I first met Joseph when his family and mine all visited cousin Anna Anderson's farm near Wagener, South Carolina in 1938. Her son Matt would play his guitar and try to drown out Joe's playing Chopin Sonatas on the piano. Matt wrote his own country songs. I still remember the names and words of several of these songs such as "Meet Me Tonight In The Moonlight" and "I Got Lonely Just The Other Night And Went Down To See Miss Sandra Lee White". The complete words and lyrics of these songs are stuck in my memory.
Later when I was at Columbia University, Joe was employed in New York City, early on in World War II. Joe had advanced linguist education degrees from years in Europe. After I left Columbia, and was finally assigned to my US Navy ship, Joe wrote me a letter addressed correctly to my LST 581 in care of the Pacific Fleet before I even knew the ship was assigned to that fleet! He must've had a pretty high security clearance to get that information.
I became better acquainted with Ted Rogers after he worked 47 years with Firestone Tire Co. in Akron, Ohio and retired. He divorced his wife Ocie Coon, and returned to Lumber City with his two children; Sam and Margaret. Ted was told there were 67 widows in the Lumber City area. He said he picked the best of the lot, Frankie Brewer and married her in 1967. Frankie passed away at age 84.
Jeannetta (Rogers) (Thompson) Varnadoe was first married to John Thompson. He was accidentally killed Tapping pine trees for turpentine, they had a son; John Thompson who had several children in Lumber City. One was Jeannette and the other was J.T.
In 1892 aunt Jeannetta married Stephen Laten Varnadoe. From this marriage they had Vera Varnadoe, William Varnadoe, Earnest Varnadoe, Earl Varnadoe and Clarence Varnadoe.
Vera (Varnadoe) Walker Bird, had two children from her marriage to John Walker. I kept in close contact by letter exchange for many years with the oldest of Vera's children; Eugene Everett Walker was a staunch member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. He died at 80 years of age in Exeter, California. Gene dearly loved to pen letters, which he put his heart and soul into. Vera's daughter, Dorothy (Walker) Wilkerson lives in Santa Barbara, California. Earl's wife, Lettie Mae (Smith) Varnadoe passed away in August 2002, and Clarence Varnadoe's wife Susy died a few years ago. Clarence has a son Malcolm, he and his wife run a package liquor store in Lumber City, Georgia.
Charlie "Weeds" Rogers married Emma Graham. Aunt Emma ran a restaurant in Lumber City, primarily for railroad crews. Her children were John who married Jewell (Green) Rogers, Marion "Charlie Mae" and Audrey (Rogers) Huff. Both Marion and Audrey were registered nurses.
"Maggie" (Rogers) married Tom Bennett who had other children from a first marriage. Together they had John, Tommy, Anna Mae, and Rogers, and they lived in Fitzgerald, Georgia. Tom Bennett's daughter Carrie never married. She was an expert photographer, and lived to age 90.
All of aunt Maggie's children are deceased. Rogers' widow Lula Roger Bennett, still lives in Fitzgerald. The ACL railroad didn't want to give Tommy Bennett, Jr. a 25-year award until he proved he started with the railroad when he was 12 years old. Tommy retired from the railroad, and was an attorney in Brunswick, Georgia with a home in Saint Simons, Georgia. His daughter, Joan Harris, is still living near Brunswick.
Lizzie's parents were John B. McDonald who was born in North Carolina and Sarah Frances (Varnadoe) McDonald. John Edward ran a grocery store in Lumber City, Georgia for many years, and Frances, now deceased, retired in Lumber City after a divorce. Pearl married Harker Candler Davis on June 28, 1926. They had four children: Bobby Davis, Catherine (Davis) Johnson, Mary Helen (Davis) Hendrix, and Jerry Davis. Mary Helen has a daughter, Vicki Hendrix.
Uncle Will could say the longest blessing I ever heard. Following his blessing, uncle Will would tell us about the latest words of his relative Charlie Jones and Reece Jordan. Uncle Will thought a lot of them. Ever since, I have wondered? Who is Reece Jordan? In South Georgia you pronounce that "Jerdan" not "Jordan".
Newell's husband, L. H. Brown and Edna's husband, Harry Stoddard are gone now. Newell is still kicking, Edna lives in Florida and has one son. Woodrow Wilson passed on, he graduated from Mercer University Law School in 1937. We visited him and his wife several times in Atlanta where he was an Atlanta attorney.
Parks died after farming all his life, and as of the summer of 2005, his wife was still living. The last time I saw Parks was early one morning when I stopped by his farm as I was driving to our home in Florida. He and his wife Ruby were feeding thousands of white egg laying chickens. Parks cracked one of the eggs and the brightest red yolk I'd ever seen was sitting in the middle of the shell. Parks said the chickens were fed Red Alfalfa to make the yolks red? Chinese companies on the east coast purchased the eggs, to use in their red noodles. The federal government had banned the red dye they used previously, so Parks was able to dominate the market of red yolk eggs.
Lemuel "Lem" Pierce and wife Elizabeth "Lizzie" Rebecca (Smith) Rogers five children were Gilbert Hamilton, Ronald Pierce, Clara Jeanette (Rogers) Minor, William Frederick, Julian "J.D.". Lem was a homebuilder. He and Lizzie left Lumber City for Alamo, Georgia, then moved back to Lumber City, then down to and DeLand, Florida, and back up to Rochelle, Georgia for a short time and finally they lived the remainder of their lives in Macon, Georgia.
Ronald worked, retired, and lived in Macon, Georgia most of his life. His son Ron and wife Lee live in the Atlanta area. Julian David (J.D.) is living in Arkansas.
Lucy married Lee Martin. They lived their married lives in Florida and had a son, Albert and a daughter, Alva. Albert and his wife Margery had 3 children; Lee Martin, Dina and Mark Martin. Alva, Albert and his wife have all passed on.
Carl Dovis and wife Rosa Mae (Bivins) had two daughters and one son... Melba, Frances and Carl Dovis Jr. Carl left Lumber City in 1912 when he was 20. He went to work for the Case Filer Lumber Co. in Macon, Ga. He then worked for various divisions of the Southern Rail Road. When the Great Depression set in, he temporarily lost his job with the Rail Road. During this period he tried his hand at farming for a while and also worked for the Federal Government with the Home Owners Loan Corporation, at various times living in Augusta and Waycross Ga., where his son Carl Dovis Jr. graduated High School. After the depression he went back to Macon and worked for the Rail Road again. He also built several homes around Macon where he lived until his death in 1974.
Carl Dovis' daughter Melba was the widow of Peyton Wanzie Watson of Albany, Georgia. They lived in Aiken, S.C. and had one son Peyton (Tommy) W. Watson, Jr. of Charlotte, North Carolina and wife, Jenny, and grandchildren.
Frances is the widow of George F. Taylor of Louisville, Kentucky, and Alabama. They had a son Alph (Copeland) Taylor of Kentucky, a son George F. Taylor, Jr. Virginia, and a daughter Nancy (Taylor) Watson as well as grandchildren and great grandchildren in Kentucky, Alabama, and Florida. Nancy's husband is Slade Watson.
Carl Dovis Jr. and wife Peggy (Coyne) have homes in Florida and Missouri. They have 6 grown kids, 2 daughters: Patricia & Shawn and 4 sons: Carl "Butch" Dovis III, James "Jamie", Daniel, and Matthew. They have 11 grandchildren scattered across the country.
Buckshot's son George Jr. and his wife Gerry have two grown sons, and 3 grandchildren by the oldest son, Bruce.
The sources for the preceding are: (1) Cassettes of recorded conversations with Theodore (Ted) B. Rogers of Lumber City, Georgia long before before his death on February 3, 1998 at age 97, (2) Records of J.C. Crabtree of Aiken, South Carolina, (3) Rodgers files of 9/14/00 of Robert Michael Temples' of Lynnwood, Washington, (4) Records of John E. & Marylouise Black of Naples, North Carolina, (5) References to A History of Good Hope Lutheran Church dated 8/13/1989, (6) Some information such as birth and demise dates were confirmed with cemetery markers or with immediate family members, (7) In addition Delores Thompson of Columbia, South Carolina reviewed the section dealing with direct relatives of William Malichi Rodgers. (8) South Carolina Archives (9) Washington Memorial Library in Macon, GA with the assistance of Dr. Christopher Stokes (11) Much of what Ted Rogers said was repeated by J.C. Crabtree, and to my knowledge these two people never met one another.
Compiled by Carl D. Rogers, Jr. November 16, 2002
That’s my Dad, he’s currently working on his own biography “A Georgia Cracker” it will include the history of LST 581, July 27, 1944 through January 28, 1946, which he served on during WWII, in the South Pacific and Asian Theatres.
“Having served honorably and having done her part in defeating Japan, she held her stern anchor to the end, thanks to the skill of the crew and Captain O. F. Rapelyae. Thank God all hands survived to return home”
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