Biography of E. R. Rogers

E.R. ROGERS. – The subject of this brief sketch is a son of Charles and Jane P. Rogers, and was born in Freeport, Maine, November 29, 1829. He there received a common-school education, and early took to the sea, “a life on the ocean wave” being the bent of his inclinations. He at the early age of fourteen shipped in Boston for New Orleans and Europe. he continued in that calling until he arrived in San Francisco, on October 10, 1849, in the bark Sarah Warren, a vessel subsequently well known on Puget Sound as one of its early lumber vessels.

On arriving in San Francisco, he met his uncle, Captain Denison, who was master of a vessel homeward bound, and who not only offered him, but urged him to accept the position of first officer on his vessel; but he declined, and in June following was at Big Auburn Gulch, Placer County, mining for gold. A few days afterwards he was taken ill with brain and bilious fever, the first and only sickness since his childhood. Want of medical attendance and care protracted his illness until the following February. He then prospected for a season, and met with but very indifferent success. Later in the season he joined a company to the American River at Haniseeket bar; but the season proved short; and, the freshet coming on before the race-dam and water-wheel were completed, all was washed away, making a total loss to all concerned in the undertaking.

Leaving the mountains in the fall of 1851, he spent that winter in San Francisco, there making the acquaintance of one Samuel McCaw, with whom and others he organized an expedition to Queen Charlotte Island on the west coast, buying and fitting out the old schooner Mexico. They sailed from San Francisco in March, 1852, in search of gold, and arrived at the island in the latter part of April of that year. The search for gold having proved fruitless, they headed for Puget Sound, and arrived at Steilacoom on the 25th of May, 1852. There they contracted with Mr. John B. Chapman to furnish them with a cargo of piles, Mr. Chapman having located a Donation claim at what is now known as Chapman’s Point. It was whilst there that Mr. Rogers met for the first time the following well-known gentlemen, viz.: Doctor Tolmie, W.W. Miller, Lieutenant Slaughter, Captain James M. Batchelder, John M. Chapman, James Hughes, and Captain Lafayette Balch, who had located a Donation claim east of Chapman’s in 1850. Having secured their cargo of piles, they sailed for San Francisco, taking with them John B. Chapman, who there and then abandoned his Donation claim to his son, John M. Chapman. Arriving in San Francisco, they sold their cargo and vessel. Mr. S. McCaw returning to Puget Sound and locating at Steilacoom, from whence he frequently wrote to his old friend Rogers, who remained near and south of San Francisco for the next two years.

In February, 1854, Mr. Rogers again made his way to Puget Sound, and arrived at Steilacoom, Washington Territory, in that month, where he found Mr. McCaw engaged in merchandising, having bought a stock of goods the fall before in San Francisco. He shortly afterwards entered into co-partnership with him; and with their joint capital they returned to San Francisco and purchased an enlarged stock of goods. This prosperous partnership continued until within a few weeks of Mr. McCaw’s death, which occurred in April, 1881. This firm built the first brick building north of the Columbia River and west of the Rocky Mountains in 1859, such being thirty by eighty feet, one story high, with sixteen-inch walls, and well plastered throughout, a view of which will be found in this work.



History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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