Biography of J. Newton Rogers, M. D.
J. Newton Rogers, M. D. While too much credit can never be given the pioneers as a class, the work of the physician in a new and frontier country is deserving of special consideration. Not even the minister of the Gospel did so much to relieve affliction and distress as the hard working, patient and skillful doctor who rode his rounds, often for many miles between calls, and disregarded weather and every hardship in order to be of service to those who needed him.
Of pioneer, physicians there was perhaps no finer type than the late J. Newton Bogers, who came to Marion, Kansas, in 1865, when that was a village of some few years’ growth and in the same year that Marion County was organized. His was truly a life of service and devotion to humanity.
Doctor Rogers was born October 28, 1841, on a farm in Williams County, Ohio, a son of Adolphus and Cornelia (Whaley) Rogers, his father a native of Massachusetts and his mother of New York. Though Doctor Rogers lived an arduous life, he lived the full span allotted by the psalmist and died at Marion, Kansas, in peace and follness of honor and esteem August 19, 1912, aged seventy-one.
He grew up on his father’s farm, attended country schools, also an academy at Hillsdale, Michigan, and in order to secure the means required for his medical education taught school and raised sheep. His medical studies were pursued in the University of Michigan Medical Department at Ann Arbor, and after completing the full course was graduated with the honors of his class. His first practice was done in Northern Iowa. He soon became a victim of smallpox during a smallpox epidemic, had to leave, and on returning to Ohio, spent a year at the old home and at the same time pursued post-graduate work in medicine.
Doctor Rogers arrived at Marion, Kansas, November 6, 1865, finding here a typical frontier community, a few houses marking the site of the present county seat, and the cabins of the pioneers scattered at long intervals over the unbroken wilderness. He made the entire journey from Ohio to Kansas by wagon, in company with his brother Dallas. Doctor Rogers had two brothers and two sisters: Jasper, Dallas, Celestia and Laura. They are all now deceased except Laura, who is the wife of Myron Chilsen, of New Mexico.
At Marion Doctor Rogers at once began the practice of medicine and was the first physician to locate in the town. For several years there was not enough medical practice to absorb all his time and energies and he taught several terms of school. He was a teacher in the first school house of the county, a log building, which afterwards served as the farm residence of D. H. H. Klein, father of Mrs. Rogers. He also became active in democratic politics and was elected to various county offices. He was the first county superintendent of public instruction. For two terms he represented Marion County in the State Legislature. For a number of years he was a member of the board of county commissioners, filled the office of coroner a long time, and was also county health officer.
While the country was new and in process of development he attained a wide reputstion as a successful physician and surgeon. His practice was by no means bounded by the limits of the county. As a matter of fact he went to patients over a radins of 100 miles around Marion, even to Great Bend and beyond. He encountered blizzards, winds, swollen streams, and had to camp out by the roadside at night and sleep under the stars. For most of those journeys he made use of a sturdy Hambletonian horse; known far and wide as “Old Prines.” Doctor Rogers was one of the real builders of the present City of Marion. Many times he filled the office of mayor and also served as member of the city council. He was a Knight Templar Mason and for thirty-five years was treasurer of Marion Lodge No. 147, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.
There was no meanness in his character. He practiced not for love of money but for love of humanity. It is said that during his residence in Marion he paid out in security debts over forty thousand dollars, and when after his death his private books were opened they showed unpaid accounts upwards of fifty thousand dollars, representing the value of his practical charity, though that by no means measured the entire account.
Doctor Rogers’ first wife was Joanna Griffith, who died without children. On September 11, 1871, at Marion, Doctor Rogers married Miss Florence E. Klein. Mrs. Rogers, who now resided at “The Maples,” the original homestead in Marion, was born at Goshen, Indiana, January 29, 1855. Before her marriage she had taught school in Marion County for two years. She is a daughter of D. H. and Mary E. (McClary) Klein, her father a native of Virginia and her mother of New Jersey. Her parents came to Marion County in 1869, and were also among the pioneers. Her father died April 8, 1890, and her mother died in California June 12, 1910. They were the parents of four children, three sons and one daughter: Mrs. Rogers; a son that died in infancy; Ira, living at Los Angeles, California; and Joseph, of San Diego, California.
Doctor and Mrs. Rogers were the parents of four children, a danghter and three sons. Lena, born September 13, 1874, now the wife of M. L. Mowry, of Denver, Colorado; Lynn G., born April 6, 1877, died in infaney; Fred Newton, born February 24, 1880, died June 25, 1910; Harry Klein Rogers, the only surviving son, was born August 18, 1889, and is still living at Marion. On October 25, 1914, he married Lena Shearer, a native of Abilene, Kansas. They have one child, Josephine, born February 25, 1916.