The life of James J. Rogers has not been one of unvarying monotony, circumscribed by the habits, thoughts and customs of some narrow community, but contains many interesting incidents that come with travel and extensive intercourse with the world. Born on the Atlantic coast, he has visited foreign lands, has viewed many of the interesting scenes of our own country, and is now located in the beautiful city of Boise, which nestles in one of the loveliest valleys of the Pacific slope. There he is successfully engaged in the practice of law, and in the political affairs of the state he is no unimportant factor.
A native of Maryland, he was born in the city of Baltimore, on the 24th of July 1862, and is of Irish lineage. His parents, Joseph P. and Elizabeth (Donahue) Rogers, were both natives of Belfast, Ireland, and in 1858 crossed the Atlantic to Baltimore, where the father devoted his energies to bookkeeping. In politics he was a Democrat, and in religious belief both he and his wife were Catholics. His death occurred on the 14th of April 1895, when he had reached the age of sixty-two years, and his wife passed away on the 22d of February 1878, at the age of thirty-nine years. They were the parents of nine children, seven of whom are residents of either Illinois or Iowa.
During his childhood James J. Rogers removed with his parents from his southern home to New York City, and in America’s metropolis he spent his early boyhood. He there attended the public schools, and after the removal of the family to Peoria, Illinois, he was a student in the Christian Brothers’ College of that city for several years. On putting aside his textbooks he entered the theatrical profession, and played with several companies in the south and southwest. In 1882, however, he abandoned the histrionic art and entered the Washington University, at St. Louis, Missouri, where he pursued a special course in painting, and for some time thereafter engaged in portrait painting and decorating. He has traveled extensively and has gained that knowledge and culture which only travel can bring. He has visited China and Japan in the Orient, our new possessions in the Pacific, the lately annexed Hawaiian islands, the cold regions of Alaska, and many points in the United States that are of interest to the traveler. For six years he resided in Nevada, and two years in Utah and Montana, and on the 12th of February 1892, arrived in Boise. Here he entered upon the study of law in the office of Hon. J. H. Richards, and was admitted to the bar in 1895, after which he began the practice of the profession as a partner of his former preceptor. He is now alone; occupying a suite of rooms in the Sonna Block, and at the bar is meeting with success. He is also a very active and influential factor in politics, and was one of the founders of the Populist party in Idaho. He served as secretary of the first state central committee, and also held that office in 1894 and 1895. The following year he was elected to the house of representatives of Idaho and was recognized as one of the most effective debaters and active workers in that assembly. In 1893 he served as secretary of the state senate.
On the 2d of January 1889, while residing at Elko, Nevada, Mr. Rogers was happily married to Miss Rose Gertrude Garrecht, a native of that place. They now have two interesting children: Lucille Mary and James J. Mr. Rogers and his wife enjoy the hospitality of the best homes of Boise and occupy an enviable position in cultured society circles. He is a gentleman of much ability and great versatility of talent. On the stage, in the field of painting and at the bar he has scored notable successes. His broad culture and wide general knowledge, arising from his travels, makes him a most entertaining conversationalist, and he is a most companionable gentleman, whose unfailing courtesy renders him a favorite with all.