The story is compiled by the wife of Noah’s grandson, Raley Rogers, Julia Fellows Rogers.
The information for this sketch was obtained from:
The story Elisha Henry Rogers told of his father; his daughter, Ada, recording same, as he told it, in 1905;
A letter written by Amanda Hollister Rogers (Mrs. Chandler Rogers) and Eda Hollister Rogers, to Freeman Rogers, a brother of Noah’s;
From the journal of Noah Rogers kept while on his mission in the Society Islands; and
Some of the letters written while on his mission.
Noah Rogers was the son of Philemon Rogers and Sarah Pritchard. He was born the 17th of March, 1797, at Bethlehem, Litchfield County, Connecticut, the ninth child in a family of eleven children.
At the age of 22, he married Eda Hollister, the 8th of Oct. 1819. She was born the 19th of Aug., 1801 in Sharon, Litchfield County, Connecticut, a daughter of Samuel Hollister and Experience Smith.
Following their marriage, they moved to New York, where Noah studied to become a physician. Later they moved to Edinburgh, Ohio, where their first child, Russell, was born, the 17th of May, 1820 or 1821. Theodore was born the 3rd of Feb., 1824, at Franklin, Portage County, Ohio; Washington Bolivar, the 16th of Sept., 1826 at Mantua in the same County, and the next four children; David, the 24th of May, 1828, Chancey Foster, the 23rd of Aug., 1829, Henrietta, May 30th, 1832, and Elisha Henry, the 17th of May, 1834; were all born at Shellersville [Shalersville], Portage County, Ohio. Clarissa Marina was born at Mantua, the 27th of March, 1836.
When Noah Rogers joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in Feb., of 1837, he gave up his practice as a physician, so he could put all his time in promoting the gospel and proclaiming it to the world.
He moved his family to Davis County, Missouri where their last child was born, May 10, 1838. His name was Nephi Rogers.
Noah Rogers endured many hardships in helping promote the work of the Lord in the early days of the church. In company with his brother, Chandler, and Silas Smith, they started for Far West, Mo., with their families, arriving in the vicinity of Huntsville, Missouri, November 13, 1838. Here they met a company of saints who had been stopped by a mob and ordered back on the pain of death. Later Noah gathered with the saints at Commerce, Illinois and became one of the founders of Nauvoo.
Noah Rogers and James Allred was kidnaped by a party of mobbers in Hancock County, Ill., July 7, 1840 and taken to Tulley Missouri where he was removed into the woods, bound, beaten and otherwise mistreated for no other reason except that he was Mormon.
Together with Benjamin Boyce he was thrust into jail, put in irons, and kept prisoner until the 21st of August, 1840 when he made his escape and returned to Nauvoo. On one occasion mobs caught him and whipped him with a cat-o-nine-tails. Noah owned some riding horses and one time he and Brother Schofield were riding and a mob chased them in the direction of a large gulch knowing it was so wide it was almost impossible for a horse to jump it, and the mobs were in full pursuit. When they approached the gulch the horse Noah was riding cleared the banks and on the other side, but the horse Brother Schofield was on struck its hind foot on the bank but was able to gather itself safely on the other side. When the mob came up, their horses stopped so quickly they almost threw their riders over their heads. This was acknowledged as the Hand of God, protecting his servants.
[The following was added by Rita Bartholomew whose husband was a descendent of Lucius Scoville: ”Brother Schofield” was probably Brother Scovill. In a history of Lucius Nelson Scovill the following incident is recorded:
“Two weeks after arriving in Diahman [Adam-ondi-Ahmen], mob violence began, and soon became so bad that it was necessary for a guard to be placed night and day. As all members were required to take their turn at the guard duty, Lucius Scovill, in company with Noah Rogers was one day doing picket guard about four or five miles from town. They had been riding through the timber most of the time but had left it sometime before. They were about a mile and a half from it when they suddenly found themselves confronted by a large mob, which had seen them leave the timber and had ridden into a gulley to be hid until the two men approached. Scovill and Rogers were almost upon them when they rode into view and told them to halt. Instead of doing as they were ordered, they turned their mounts and rode hard for the timber line. Two members of the mob had much faster horses than the others and had drawn steadily away and were riding for their lives because it was known by them that if they allowed themselves to be caught, the mob might shoot them down in cold blood as all of them were heavily armed and it was the practice of the mobs to fire upon the Saints whenever the opportunity arose. And now as they were about to ride into the timber which meant safety, they were confronted by a deep ravine with perpendicular walls. This ravine was fully 16 ft. wide, and the horses were running with such speed that stopping was almost out of the question, but it was not left for them to decide. The horses kept straight on and making a tremendous leap, spanning the ravine landed safely on the other side. Members of the mob who were close behind at once started to fire upon them. None of the shots at first took effect, but were so close that they could be heard whistling by their heads. One shot just before they rode out of range, did take effect, grazing Scoville’s ear which caused a slight deafness he was to suffer all his life. They were soon in the timber, out of range and for the present safe. After winding their way through the heavily wooded country, in order to lose anyone that might be following, they at last arrived back in town.”]
In April Conference, 1843 Noah Rogers was called on a mission to Vermont, with Addison Pratt and four others. Soon after this he was called with others to open up a mission in the Society Islands. He was set apart for this calling, May 23rd, 1843. His name went down in the history of the church, as the first president of Society Islands. On June 1st, 1843 Noah left home to fill this mission. The other brothers who were with him were Addison Pratt, Benjamin F. Grouard, and Knowlton Hanks. They did much missionary work in the States while waiting for their passage to the islands. They boarded the ship, Timelion, and bid their families and friends farewell, Oct. 9, 1843. (Noah Rogers’ journal tells his story of his experiences on this mission) They landed at Papeete, Tahiti, Society Islands, April 14th, 1844. It took nine months and five days to make this voyage. During his mission he had many hardships and trials to contend with and many heartaches and discouragement.
On Feb 24th, 1845, news came to them about the martyrdom of the prophet Joseph and Hyrum Smith. It took from June 27, 1844, to Feb. 1845, for this information to reach the Islands of Tahiti. This filled their hearts with sorrow. Brother Rogers and Grouard wrote a letter to Brigham Young on the 15th of August, 1844, and its closing paragraph was: “We have not as yet heard one syllable from home since we left. It is certainly unpleasant to be shut upon a lone Island of the Sea and be as it were, from all communication with the world, especially when so many who are near and dear to us by the strong and tender ties of everlasting covenants are exposed to the relentless persecution of their unmerciful enemies. Please write on the receipt of this letter what to do.”
In a letter written by Noah Rogers to his wife, Eda Hollister Rogers, we read an excerpt: “Dear Wife and Friends, if you know how lonely we are it seems to me you would try very hard to get some papers and letters or some kind of news to cheer us in this place of iniquity. We know not where you, or the church is; whether you are in Nauvoo or whether you have been scattered to the far winds. I knew that when we left the States they were making a big fuss at Carthage about the Saints. I want to see you and the children very much but I cannot at this time.”
Things seemed to become worse and more discouraging as time passed for Noah and he felt he wasn’t accomplishing as much as he could at home, so he asked to be permitted to return back to America, and he was given his release and on July 3rd, 1845 he sailed from Papeete, Tahiti, on board the “Three Brothers” homeward bound. After a tedious passage of 130 days, he arrived in Philadelphia, the 22nd Nov., 1845 where he stopped to baptize two passengers he had converted on board the ship coming home. On the 24th of Nov., he had been absent two and a half years, and in this time had become the first missionary to circumnavigate the globe.
He arrived in Nauvoo, Ill., the 29th of Dec., 1845 finding his family, along with the body of the saints, driven out of the city, and living on the outskirts, he gathered his family together and went as far as Mount Pisgah, Iowa, (now Talmadge) and were preparing to go west with the saints, when Noah took sick, was ill for ten days, then passed away, the 31st of May, 1846. Some of his sons were carpenters and they made a coffin out of a wagon box and he was the first person buried in what was to become the resting place for hundreds of saints along the trail, who perished.
Eda Hollister Rogers held her family together and continued to prepare to come to Utah with the saints. One son, Russell was married. He never came until later. She must have been a remarkable woman, wife and mother, to be able to hold her family of seven sons and two daughters together while her husband was away from home preaching the gospel, besides preparing a way for her family to come to Utah with the saints.
In a letter written to Freeman Rogers, a brother to Noah, written by Amanda Hollister Rogers and Eda, who were sisters, married to brothers, follows:
April, 1848 Brother Freeman as we have learned by Si Sackett, that you wish if Chandler or any of the rest of your brothers were here you wish them to write, but as there is none here, Sister Eda and myself take the opportunity. We must inform you that we have had much affliction by Sickness and death in our midst. Chandler, Noah and Amos has been called by death. Noah died May 31, 1846 after a sickness of ten days. Amos died June 26, 1846 after a sickness of seven weeks and two days. They both died at Pisgah 100 and 40 miles east of this place. Amos left a wife, she had a daughter born Oct. after his death. They remain here with me. Chandler died Oct. 1, 1846 after a sickness of nine days. Our afflictions seemingly were greater than we could bear, yet we trust in God and feel that He will support and Comfort the widow and the fatherless.
We feel that we have been fed and clothed better than we could have expected under the circumstances that we were left. We feel not to complain nor murmur but to go ahead in the things of the Lord. We mean to prepare ourselves to go west one year from this Spring if possible. As concerning our health it is good. We are all well and in good spirits. I suppose that you have heard that 500 of our brethren was called to the United States Army. Last year Samuel was one of the number, he has not yet returned. It will be 2 years the second day of July since I have seen him, so you see that has left us alone except for Mark. I expect Mark will leave us for eight months in company with about 70 brethren to drive teams from Fort Carney to Grand Island for the Government. They are to have 20 to 25 dollars per month for it. I did not know how to better ourselves for the journey any other way. He is to start 28th of this month.
Eda’s boys are all at home with her except Russell who is married. Theodore and Washington has been south the past winter. Washington is calculating to go to the Valley with the company that goes West this spring to prepare a place for the rest of the family when they go next spring. We are settled on the East side of the Mo. River on the Potowatomi land in different branches. We are in what is called Council Point Branch.
We learned that you are coming here this season. We would be very glad to see you. If you should not come we would like to have you write but come if you can. If you write direct to Thaine Post Office Potowatami County, State of Iowa by the way of St. Joseph, Mo.
Milton and Noble we expect here this Spring. We have heard that they was at Edysville about 80 miles beyond Pisgah. I expect you will have to hire a wagon passage from St. Joseph, Mo. It is seldom that a boat runs by here. We have had very dry weather this spring had no rain since the 13th of February”(We haven’t the ending of this letter.)
This letter was written by Amanda for both of them. The names referred to in this letter were: Freeman – Chandler – Milton and Noble – They were sons of Philemon Rogers who died the 20th of April 1780 and Sarah Pritchard, who died in 1840 or 1844.
Amos – Mark – and Samuel were sons of Chandler and Amanda H. Rogers
Russell – Theodore – and Washington were sons of Noah and Eda H. Rogers.
The original letter is in possession of Raley Rogers (before mentioned.)
Amanda Hollister Rogers died without having the privilege of coming west, at Council Point Branch, Iowa.
When Eda H. Rogers left Nauvoo she had a cedar churn which she cherished very much so she took it along with her and somewhere along the way, someone took it out of her wagon. This made her feel very badly as she was afraid she would never find it again. When she did find it someone had used it to put fish in, and although she washed and scrubbed, she couldn’t get the fish smell out of it, so she filled it with dirt and let it stand for a while and Mother Earth cleaned the smell out so that she was able to use it again.
Their trials and tribulations were typical of Pioneer life filled with many hardships, heartache and discouragement. They arrived in Salt Lake Valley in 1849. After reaching the Valley, Eda worked six weeks for six yards of calico which she used to make her a dress. In those days calico cost sixty cents a yard and she valued her dress beyond expression.
Washington and Theodore had come ahead to prepare a place for their mother and family but they never stayed in Salt Lake Valley for long. They moved to Brigham City, Utah. At this time there was only a few families settled there. They passed through the trying ordeals the saints had to go through because of grasshoppers. They were forced to live on scanty rations. They had to live on Sego roots which they dug for subsistence for a long time. They didn’t taste bread for over six months. They had the money to buy flour but there was no flour to buy. Through the winter Eda wintered her cow on bark her children whittled from willows they used for firewood.
She took the straw from her bed ticks to feed the cow she would have to milk for her family until spring.
From Brigham City, she moved to Logan, Cache County, Utah. At this time were no houses built there, just a few families living along the Logan River in wagons. This was about 1859.
From there, they moved to Bloomington, Bear Lake County, Idaho, when it was first settled. They stayed there for several years but the frost would take everything they raised. The boys would have to come to Cache Valley each fall to work to earn their flour and necessities to carry them through the winter.
In the Fall, October 9, 1871, her son Elisha married Susannah Julia Rogers. They spent their first winter in Bear Lake County and the next spring, 1872 they moved to Richmond, Cache County, Utah, and Eda came to Richmond with them. She spent her last five and a half years of her life there, and died March 6, 1877 and was buried at Richmond at the age of 76 years.
TAKEN FROM THE JOURNAL OF NOAH ROGERS
Having been set apart together with Addison Pratt, B. F. Grouard and Knowlton Hanks, to go to the South Sea Islands in order to fulfill our appointment, we made ourselves ready and took leave of our families and friends in Nauvoo on the first day of June 1843 about 2 o’clock in the day. We traveled by steam boat, rail and horse–preaching the Gospel along the way, meeting many friends and baptizing some.
The 9th of October we went on board the ship “Timelion” and bid farewell to our friends. We got under way, the winds being South West we beat down below the lighthouses and came to anchor. Next morning got out to sea. Brother Hanks is very feeble and weak. There are eight passengers on board the ship besides ourselves. Dr. Winslow and wife and 3 children, a servant girl, Mr. Lincol and wife, who have been very kind to us so far. We had some high seas so that they ran over our decks, winds were fair and it began to be more pleasant to me had not Brother Hanks been sick but such was the case, and he grew weaker all the while until the 3rd day of November. He departed this life without a struggle, about half past five in the morning. Before he died he had a vision of the spirits in prison. We laid him out, the same as on shore, and we sewed him up in a piece of canvass, and attached a bag of sand to his feet. The flag was displayed at half mast and there were prayers with other ceremonies as is common on such occasions. When the sailors hoisted one end of the plank he was committed to a watery grave. He died in Lat. 26 deg. Long. 27 deg. Otherwise we had a very speedy passage to the cape of Verds Islands.
We arrived at St. Nichols Island on the 9th of November. Several of us went on shore, bought some oranges and bananas, also got some donkeys and rode to the city of Bravo, which is in the interior of the island. These islands are very barren and rocky and looks like lava thrown up in the midst of the sea. The houses are built of stone and clay mortar, and only one story high. The streets are very narrow from 4 to 8 feet wide. We took dinner with them. The inhabitants are called Portugese, but I think they are very much mingled with the Africans, as they are very black. However, they treated us very fine. They are all Catholics. There are but a few whites there.
We went aboard at night and sailed for St. Jago where we arrived the next day. The mate went ashore, did not trade much, then we undertook to go to the principal town. It came on a calm, we lay between the islands of St. Jago and Tiego (the latter has a burning mountain on it) until Saturday. In the evening there sprang up a breeze and we continued on our course with light breezes and calms continually until December 10th when we crossed the equator.
We continued our course towards Tristan Da Cunha which is Lat. 37 deg. south, long. 120 deg. west, had pleasant weather. We came in sight of the land on January 3, 1844. The next day had quite a gale of wind which lasted for about 24 hours. We saw several whales, but could not catch any but one small one which made 18 barrels of oil. We took our course again, which makes three months since we left America. This island is barren, they raise potatoes only. There is about 50 inhabitants on it. A Mr. Glass is governor of the island; he is an Englishman; he used to be a solider in the English army and draws a pension from that government. We left the island January 10 and steered for Cape Good Hope, which we made in 15 days.
The 25th of January we were 37 miles south of Cape Good Hope, all the time fair and pleasant weather. We continued our course towards St. Pauls Islands which we made on the 21st of February. We lowered 3 boats and went on a fishing excursion; the fish were very plentiful. We caught about 20 barrels in 6 hours. The next day we went ashore. We found a few Frenchman, and one man from Albany, New York, who had made a fishing establishment of it. He seemed very pleased to see us. This island is a curious place; it seemed to have been formed by Volcanic eruptions as there is a basin forming almost an entire circle with an in or outlet into which small vessels can enter, forming a perfect harbor.
Brother Grouard and myself ascended a mountain which is 2,000 feet high where we had a chance to kneel down by a rock and pray to the Lord without being disturbed, which was the first opportunity we had had for four month, which we considered a great privilege. On the top of this mountain there are many mounds thrown up by the burning of the mountain. There were several places where the smoke issued out of it and the ground very hot, that we could not dig with our hands without burning them. Down around the basin there were several boiling springs in which we boiled crawfish. I saw one about as warm as dishwater which was the water the people used to drink and cook in. There was another whale ship in here getting fish. We met the Captain and went aboard his ship and had supper and stayed until 12 midnight. When we made went to our own ship and steered on our course towards New Holland until March 20 when we made the South Cape of Van Diemons Land.
A breeze sprung up and continued to grow stronger until it became a perfect gale. We made our course toward the North Cape of New Zealand which we passed on the last day of March and the first day of April. In these two days the winds were nearly a head so that we made but slow progress. But on the 2nd of April, 1844, the wind hauls around so that we could steer on our course.
Taken from “The Society Island Mission,” Church Historians Library, Tuesday, April 30, 1844. Elder Pratt heard the cry of “Land Ahoy,” he forthwith went on deck and obtained a plain view of the Island, soon afterwards he imported the good news to his Missionary Companions, Elders Grouard and Rogers who slept below. The party went on shore during the night.
May 7th. Before leaving America the Elders had bought some bottles of sweet oil in New Bedford, with one of these, Elders Rogers and Grouard now retired to a secluded spot for prayer and consultation and then consecrated the oil.
Monday, February 24, 1845. News concerning the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith reached Elders Rogers and Grouard on the island of Tahiti. This filled their hearts with much pain and sorrow.
August 16. The captain gave Elder Rogers leave to preach on board, which he did four or five Sundays. The result of this was that seven or eight believed the principles he advocated, two of whom Elder Rogers afterwards baptized in Philadelphia. The Captain himself believed, but finding out that he must obey also, he became bitter which rendered a part of the journey rather disagreeable. After a tedious passage of 130 days from the 22nd he arrived at Philadelphia where he stopped two days and baptized the two fellow passenger already mentioned and another convert.
November 24th Elder Rogers had been absent two and a half years and was the first Latter-day Saint who circled the globe as a Missionary.
Dear and Respected wife:
I take my pen again to write a few lines to you, as there is a chance of sending by a French ship by the way of Panama, which is across the Isthmus of Darian, Which is much the quickest way for letters to go to you–or from you to us. If you would send your letters from Nauvoo to New York, to be sent to us by way of Panama we should get them, I think. You would have to pay the postage to New York.
We have not had a letter, or any news from home since we left, which makes me almost despair of ever hearing from you again. One thing to comfort me is that we have good health and tolerable spirits. We, that is, Brother Grouard and myself, are beginning to talk the language considerable. Brother Grouard thinks of preaching to the native in public soon. The natives that are acquainted with us think a great deal of us; and some begin to take quite an interest in the work, not withstanding the priests say all they can to injure us.
We have baptized four foreigners only, but soon expect more. Truly this place is one of the worst sinks of iniquity that I ever saw. It is full of abomination of almost every kind, which I cannot write now, but when I return I will tell you about them, for I think I shall come back to you again and behold you in the flesh.
We are in hopes of doing a good work here with the help of the Lord, although we have not much chance at the natives, in consequence of the unsettled state of affairs. The French hold the lace that they have got, and the natives are back in the mountains. How the matter will terminate I cannot tell. The natives appear to be firm and determined not to give up to the French; however, there appears to be two parties of natives. Some few of the principal men have signed to the French, but the Queen, and the majority of them stand out and say they never will come under the French protection. They expect that the English will help them to drive the French away from their land.
There has been several battles fought since we have been here; in one engagement, which was in sight of where I live, and I could hear every gun that was fired, there was an English missionary shot in the head and killed by accident, on the part of the French; and on the part of the missionary, worse than foolishness, because it is said that he was drunk and went out and exposed himself and the consequence was death. This may seem strange that so righteous a man as the priests of the sects of the day should be drunk at so critical time. They are so righteous that they could not talk to us about Mormonism on the Sabbath.
I will tell you a story that one of the missionary’s daughters told me that she had known them to get so drunk that when they went to hold meetings that they went to sleep in the middle of their prayers and another had to go and finish it. That there was not any of them but what would drink, and some of their women will get drunk. I know because I have seen them so from day to day; and while the priest in the meeting house is attending to service their sons are out in the bush playing the whore, so say the natives.
And now if their teachers are in this situation, what situation do you think that the natives must be in? This part of the story I will leave for you to judge for yourself.
In my last letter I told you that we left Brother Pratt about 500 miles to the south of this, where there are no missionaries to disturb him, where he has done a big business, for he had baptized all of the white inhabitants on the island, and the last account we had from him he had baptized quite a number of the natives, and has organized a branch of the Church, and things seem to prosper in his hands, which makes us rejoice. He has got the advantage of us because He has no Priests to fight him; and the white men can speak the native language well and have interpreted for him from the beginning.
Dear wife and friends if you know how lonesome we are it seems to me that you would try very hard to get us some papers or letters or some kind of news to cheer us in this place of iniquity. We know not where you or the Church are; whether in Nauvoo, or whether you are scattered to the four winds. I knew that when we left the states they were making a fuss at Carthage about the Saints. I want to see you and the children very much but I cannot at this time. I want you to write, and Noble, and William, if he is there with you. I want you and the Church to pray for us.
We feel that the Lord is with us and prospers the way for us.
Brother Grouard sends his love to you, and says God bless You. Give my love to all. Tell them to pray for us, and may the God of Abraham bless you and prosper you, and feed and clothe you, is the prayer of your friend and husband. So am I Forever Yours,
To Eda Rogers
Blessing given to Eda Rogers my great grandmother
by Joseph Smith Sr. father of the prophet. 1837-
At a Blessing meeting held in the Lord’s house Kirtland Ohio the __th day of July 1837. By Joseph Smith Senr the Patriarch of the Church of Latter-day saints a Patriarchal Blessing was confered on the head of Eda Rogers Daughter of Samuel Holister and wife of Noah Rogers Born in Sharon Litchfield County Connt the 19th of August 1800
Sister Rogers – Let thy heart be at peace let thy mind be calm and serene. In the name of Jesus Christ the son of God and by the authority of the Holy Priesthood I lay my hands on thy head and pronounce on thy head a Fathers blessing. Yea I give thee a blessing of a Father in common with thy husband thy joy shall be as his joy thy life as his life and thy blessing as his blessing so far as thou canst be blest as he is blest. If thou hast sins charged against thee I pray my heavenly Father that they may be blotted out. God who has seen thee from eternity has written thy name in heaven. The Angels rejoice over thee. Tribulations and trials may come upon thee for a trial of thy faith yet thou shalt be delivered if thou dost put thy trust in God. Thou hast shed tears in secret places and God has regarded thy tears. Thou must teach thy children all the principals of righteousness and the principals of faith and virtue thou must hold them up in the arms of faith in the absence of thy husband thou must pray with thy family when they are sick thou shalt lay thy hands on them and they shall recover. Sickness shall stand back they shall understand prophecy.
Let thy heart sister be composed God will give thee friends they shall stand with thee in the covenant thou hast desired at the hands of God Thou hast desired to see angels thy desires were not granted because of thy fears. If thou will visit lonely places and pour out thy heart to the Son a light shall shine about thee thou shalt rejoice in thy redeemer. If thou wilt hold on to the faith once delivered to the saints of old Thou shalt behold John the Revelator and the three Nephites. Thou shalt rest a little space in the grave and then come forth in the first resurrection and be forever with the Lord. This is thy blessing. I seal it on thy head. I seal thee up to eternal live. Amen
Sister Rogers will understand that she has something of the priesthood conferred on her for in the absence of her husband she can lay hands on her children. She has formerly belonged to the Cambellites. She must be faithful in talking to them or as Father Smith called it preaching to them and some of them shall come into the church.