William Grant Rogers, a member of one of the honored pioneer families of Oklahoma, has the distinction of being the oldest settler in Dewey, coming here long before the establishment of the town. He has been called to public positions of honor and trust and for many years has been engaged in general farming and stock raising in this section of the state but is gradually retiring from the more arduous cares of business, devoting his attention to the supervision of a well improved ranch lying adjacent to the town. He was born April 13, 1865, in the neutral land of the Cherokee Nation, which was sold after the Civil war for “bread money,” and his parents were Hilliard and Martha (Fields) Rogers, both of whom were of’ the Cherokee tribe, the former a native of Georgia, while the latter was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The father acted as interpreter of the Cherokee language for President Zachary Taylor during the Mexican war. In 1866 he came to Indian Territory, settling on the Caney River, one and a half miles north of the present site of Bartlesville. Here he devoted his attention to general farming and stock raising, the country being at that time in a wild and undeveloped state. He passed away in 1871, when still a young man. He was a stanch supporter of Democratic principles and was actively interested in the welfare and success of the party. The mother was a daughter of John and Sarah Fields, who also became residents of Indian Territory. Her grandmother died at Maysville, Arkansas, and Mrs. Rogers passed away on the old homestead eight months prior to the death of her husband.
As the parents of William Grant Rogers both died when he was very young, he was reared by N. F. Carr, who was a sincere friend of the family and also came to the territory in 1866, the year of their arrival. On reaching manhood Mr. Rogers took up the occupation of farming and also engaged in stock raising, being very successful in the management of his business affairs. He is now living practically retired, although he is farming an eighty-acre tract situated a half mile south of Dewey, his principal crops being alfalfa and grain, and he also raises horses and cattle. He likewise owns some good oil-producing property on Sections 31 and 36, in Washington County, and his investments have been most judiciously placed. For nine years he devoted his attention to merchandising, successfully conducting a hardware and furniture business in Dewey and later selling his mercantile interests to R. B. Myers.
In 1891 Mr. Rogers was united in marriage to Miss Lillie Washington, a native of the Cherokee Nation, born in the Delaware district, and a daughter of William and Eliza (Conner) Washington, who died when she was very young. She attended the Cherokee Orphans’ Home on Grand River, in the Saline district, in which institution Mr. Rogers also acquired his education, and seven children were born to their union, all of whom reached adult years: Lula M., the eldest in the family, died soon after her marriage and her daughter, Beautis Lillian Sexton, makes her home with her grandparents. William E., twenty-seven years of age, married Bess Knight and they have one child, Patsy Bess. The other children are Rilla B., Eliza J., Arthur M., Joseph E. and Dewey L., aged, respectively, nineteen, sixteen and thirteen years. The daughter, Eliza J., married William Clark and they have one child, Lula May. The family live in an attractive home on the outskirts of Dewey and their warm-hearted hospitality is often enjoyed by their many friends.
Mr. Rogers is related by marriage to George B. Keeler, who married his cousins, Josie Gillstrap and Josie Cass. Mr. Rogers keeps well informed concerning all matters of public moment and has been a close student of the early history of Indian Territory, being deeply interested in all that pertains to the welfare and progress of his community, state and nation. He has taken an active part in public affairs, serving as deputy United States marshal when Hon. I. C. Parker was judge of the federal court at Fort Smith, Arkansas. He was also Treasurer of Dewey Township for two terms, while for four years he was connected with the work of the federal court at Fort Smith. He is a capable business man who has displayed sound judgment, energy and determination in the management of his affairs and his present success is due entirely for his own efforts. His life has been spent in this state and his mind is stored with many interesting incidents relating to the early days. He has ever led an upright, honorable life, his earnest toil bringing him prosperity and his integrity bringing him the high regard of all who know him, and Oklahoma numbers him among her honored pioneers.