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Life Story of David White Rogers 1787 – 1881

Compiled by Helen W. Crandall, a great, great granddaughter. 1982
Updated by Junell Thomas, daughter of Helen W. Crandall.

Apparently David White Rogers did not leave a written account of his life for his posterity to enjoy. Therefore, the following story is gathered from “bits and pieces” taken from various sources which will be noted as the story unfolds.

From a little pamphlet entitled “Genealogy of John Rogers of Boxford” by Sheldon and Dodge, published February 1907, we learn that David White Rogers was born 4 October 1787 at Franconia, Grafton County, New Hampshire. He was the 4th child of Samuel and Hannah Sinclair Rogers and the time of his birth was synonymous with the birth of our United States of America. The Revolutionary War was barely over and the whole country was struggling to become a NATION and to no longer remain a group of loosely knit colonies dominated by King George III of England. Times were hard and people “lived off the land” so to speak.

It is believed that David White’s grandparents, Nathaniel and Rebecca Symonds Rogers, lived with or near Samuel and Hannah because one record states that Samuel “hired” someone to serve in the Revolutionary War in his place because of the circumstances of his parents.” Samuel was the 12th and youngest child of his parents and only the 2nd son to live to maturity, therefore it probably fell to him to care for his parents. David’s grandparents were quite old when they died, Rebecca in 1776 (age 56) and Nathaniel in 1789 (age 72). Rebecca died in Haverhill, New Hampshire, and Nathaniel’s death occurred in Bradford, Vermont.

Samuel, his parents, all of his brothers and sisters, and his wife were born in Boxford and Leominister, Massachusetts but when he become an adult Samuel moved to the state of New Hampshire. After removing several times between New Hampshire and Vermont, he finally settled in Franconia, Grafton County, New Hampshire. (This place was also called Lincoln or Morristown.)

It was here that Samuel met and married Hannah Sinclair on 4 November 1782. She was the daughter of Joseph Sinclair and Martha __________. Their first child was born just across the border from Franconia, at Bradford, Orange County, Vermont. The next three children including David White were born back in Fanconia. They next moved to Barre, Washington County, in upstate Vermont where three more children were born. Samuel’s next move was to Swanton, Franklin County, Vermont, close to the Canadian border, where his 8th child was born. In 1795 Samuel moved his family to Colewell Manor, just across the Vermont border into Canada. From thence he moved to St. Armand, east of Missisquoi Bay, the county of Bedford, Quebec Province, Canada. Here his last two children were born, making nine brothers and sisters of David White.

The Samuel Rogers family lived in Lower Canada for several years. His wife, Hannah, died on 19 February 1804, in Stanbridge, Bedford County, Quebec Province, Canada, where she is buried. Samuel married again two years later to Elfreda Joy and to them were born three children. It is believed that Samuel and most of his large family eventually returned to the States even though many of the older children married while in Canada.

David White married Martha Collins on 5 December 1811 in Montreal, Tower, Canada. She was the daughter of Ebenezer and Anne Stowe, born at Bradford, Orange County, Vermont. Their first two children were born at Montreal, Quebec Province, Canada. Their next two children were born at Queenstown, Ontario Province, Canada. Between the years of 1821 – 29, five more children were born in or near Dunkirk, Chautauqua County, New York, in the extreme western part of that state on the shores of Lake Erie.

Up to this time, as a maturing boy and a family man, David White lived on or near rivers and lakes. He worked at fur trapping, logging, working in the sawmills and lumber mills and all other work a “woodsman” would be associated with as a means of supporting himself and his family. His travels took him all over the states of New Hampshire and Vermont, to their numerous rivers and lakes, including Lake Champlain, which he followed into lower Canada. Other lakes and rivers connected with the St. Lawrence River which he followed west from Montreal, Canada, to Lake Ontario on the Canadian side. From there to Lake Erie, on the United States side, settling at Dunkirk (near Buffalo) New York. Here the family remained for the next ten years.

For some unknown reason, between the years of 1829 – 30, David White went alone to New York City, New York, leaving his family in Dunkirk. Here he set up a shop to do carpentery work naming it “ROGERS & SON HOUSE CARPENTERS & JOINERS,” evidently capitalizing on skills he had learned earlier in life.

According to his son (Ross Ransom’s Story), it was in the fall of 1830 that David White sent for Martha and the children. The boy’s story of the excitement of the trip and sadness of leaving their friends in Dunkirk; the 30 mile wagon trip to Buffalo; the 363 mile trip by “canal boat” down the Erie Canal from Buffalo to Troy, New York; the transfer to a tow boat of the SWIFT-SURE LINE (a chartered boat service) down the Hudson River to New York City; is most interesting and informative.

From this account we learn that the family was once again united and continued to live in New York City for about four more years. During this time the last two children were born, making eleven in all. Seven lived to maturity. Between 1833–4 David White sold his carpentry shop and moved to Caldwell (possibly just across the state line in New Jersey). Here he tried his hand at brick-making but the venture proved unsuccessful. However, while here he fulfilled a contract to make yokes for oxen and axe handles for a South American market.

In late 1835 the family moved back to the upper part of New York City. Once again David White and the older boys did carpentry work of all sorts. They were living at the corner of Spring and Greenwich Streets in the fall of 1837. Two Mormon Missionaries, by the name of Parley P. Pratt and Elijah Fordham came to the area preaching “The Restored Gospel.” Their coming and the message they bore fulfilled two rather remarkable dreams that David White and Martha had experienced sometime earlier, The dreams were also responsible for the deep interest they early manifested in the new faith.

From Ross Ransom’s story we read:
“Martha dreamed that she was in the midst of a heavy washing when she heard a knock on the door and, rather vexed, she opened the door and was accosted by two men who asked for her husband, declaring they had a message of great importance to deliver. One was a large and dark man with a pleasant, intelligent countenance while the other was a small but very earnest man. She did not remember their message but was impressed that somehow it was of great worth. Her dream, however, had long since passed from her mind when one morning, while engaged in a heavy washing, she was disturbed by a knock at the door and, rather impatiently, she left her work and went to the door. There, she recognized to her surprise, the two men of her dream. They asked for her husband and she informed them that he was away form home and would not return until nightfall. They promised to return in the evening saying they had a message of importance for him.”

While living in New York City, David White dreamed that he was taken by a guide to a point where he was shown a terrible, swift destruction which seemed to embrace the whole face of the land. He was told by his guide that he “would learn more about this terrible event when he was 50 years of age.”

In 1837 David White attended a preaching service conducted by the Mormon Elders, Parley P. Pratt and Elijah Fordham. Following the service, one of the speakers announced that they would leave the city the next day as they seemed to be making no headway with their work in the community, whereupon David White arose and invited them to come to his home to hold services saying that he thought there were many in the city and community who would like to hear their message. The Elders agreed to delay their departure and made an appointment for his home the next evening.

When the Elders visited the home of the Rogers family the next day the dream of Martha was fulfilled for she beheld the men of her dream. They explained the Gospel Truths, and delivered to them the record of the Book of Mormon. This book gives the account of the great destruction that took place upon this continent at the time of the crucifixion of the Savior. David White saw the fulfillment of his dream. David was in his 50th year! The entire Rogers family was converted and together with may others of the community were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, December 1837.”

It was less than two years later that the Rogers family and presumably other church members in the area decided to join with the main body of the Church. Having suffered terrific persecution in the state of Missouri at the hands of the mob-militias, and having been expelled from the state, they were now assembled at Commerce, Illinois. Commerce was later named Nauvoo, “The City Beautiful”. Ross Ransom, David
White’s 5th child, had recently married another convert to the Church, namely, Helen M. Curtiss. Her parents persuaded Ross to leave Helen with them while he accompanied his father’s family to Nauvoo and set up a home. He could then return for his wife. This he did, re-joining his father in Nauvoo some two or three years later. At this time he had two living children, another child having died. One of the two was Joseph Knight who had been born in route in the State of Indiana. From then on these to Rogers families stayed together in their travels.

They were not long to enjoy their new-found peace. Dissentions within the city caused by apostates such as the Laws and the Fosters culminated in the destruction of the press of the dishonest sheet, “The Nauvoo Expositor,” which was published by this group. The dissenters fled the city after setting fire to their own homes and spreading the lie that the Mormons had driven them from their homes. By this means the non-Mormons were roused to a fever pitch of mobocratic spirit which finally climaxed in the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum. The Saints were then expelled from the city of Nauvoo, their homes and property confiscated, and their temple burned. Thus began the 1846 exodus of the Church across the plains to a new sanctuary in the “Rocky Mountains.”

While living in Nauvoo, David White and his boys again operated a cabinet and joiner shop and assisted in building up “The City Beautiful.” They did not make the journey across the plains until in the fall of 1850 because they spent their time traveling between Montrose, Iowa, (just across the Mississippi River from Nauvoo, Illinois) and Council Bluffs (on the extreme western border of Iowa) a distance of some 350 miles. Because the Rogers men were accomplished wheelwrights and also experienced in making wagons, they helped families get outfits together to make the trip across the plains. While assisting others they were also making their own preparations for the journey westward. They made the trip with an Independent Company – possibly with Joseph Kelting’s train.

On their arrival in the valley of the Great Salt Lake, the Rogers families settled in Provo and for awhile remained near each other. As the older children married they scattered. As far as is known, David White and Martha always lived in Provo. He may have lived for a while in Idaho with a second wife and their children. He was living in Provo at the time of his death which occurred on 21 September 1881, at the age of 93. His wife, Martha Collins, had died just two months previously, on 18 June 1881, age 88. They had been married for 70 years. They are both buried in the Provo City Cemetery.

Existing records indicate, David White was 78 years old in 1865*75 years old when he married Ellen Bennett Darnley (widow of Edward Darnley) who had a young son named William. This couple had five children; two daughters, Mary Elvira, who presumably died young, leaving only* and Martha Ellen, and a son David Bennett Rogers, one set of twins, Samuel and Lemuel, who died soon after birth,. Thus, while he fathered a total of 16 children (Martha had 11 and Ellen had 5) only nine ten lived to adulthood.

One record states that David and Ellen were married for time only. Ellen died 6 February 1887 or 9 in Idaho, but is buried in Provo City Cemetery near David White. The Early Church Information Card Index shows that David White was baptized 25 December 1837, in New Your City, New York, by Elder Parley P. Pratt. He and Martha Collins received their endowments in the Nauvoo Temple 5 January 1846 and were
sealed there on 6 February 1846. He received a patriarchal blessing in Nauvoo from Patriarch John Smith 17 December ___?___. (Patriarchal Blessings Historian’s Office, Vol. 9, p. 518 #1518.) In October 1844, in Nauvoo, he was ordained a Seventy by G. A. Smith (Book N. 6, 6th Quo. Seventies, p. 48). Another card from Early Church Information Card Index (possibly a Membership Card because children were to be listed on the back), shows he was ordained by Joseph Young (Record No. I C Seventies, p. 217 34th Quo.). The Church Historian’s Office supplied the information that David White was ordained a patriarch on 13 May 1873 at Provo, Utah, by Brigham Young, J. W. Young, and Wilford Woodruff, states that he was a lineal descendant of John Rogers, the martyr, who was burned at the stake in London in 1554. (This has yet to be proven.)

An excerpt from a brief story of David White prepared by three of his grandchildren (Henry Clay’s children) reads:
“David White Rogers was and all-round handy man. He worked at his trade of cabinet maker and wheelwright in and around Provo and he also managed a sawmill. He was sometimes called ‘Doctor Rogers’ as he helped people out in sickness so much. At one time he accidentally chopped off a big toe. He sewed it back on but after it healed it was not entirely straight so he cut it off again and sewed it on again. At another time he nearly severed his foot at the ankle. He was in the hills at the time with two young boys. He sent one of the boys for a doctor and told the other boy to keep poring water on the foot and if he died not to let the doctor cut it off but to sew it back on and ‘be sure it is straight’. He fainted but the boy kept his promise and when the doctor came he said there was no need to try to save the foot. The boy insisted, so it was sewed on and healed up and was alright. At another time David White broke his leg while at the sawmill and, with the help of some of his workers, he set it himself.
As an old man he was active. When two of his sons (Ross Ransom and Henry Clay) and their families left Utah to go to Arizona to help settle that area in the fall of 1876 he rode horseback with them for a while. After he got back home he found a cabinet maker’s plane he felt sure the boys would need. He mounted his horse again, caught up with them at Springerville, and delivered the plane. One of the boys remembered seeing his grandfather for the last time riding his hours back to Provo at a fast trot. He was 89 years old at the time.”

Two years later, in 1878, one of David White’s grandsons, Joseph Knight, (Ross Ransom’s son) also left Utah to help settle Arizona. J. K., as he was called, along with 28 others in his party arrived in the area now know as Pima, Arizona, on 8 April 1879. By the fall of 1880 there were enough settlers in this area to warrant a representative to the State Legislature and J. K. was elected to a term in the Eleventh Legislature. He was proud of this honor and wrote to his grandfather, David, about it on 14 February 1881. It is evident that David was proud of J. K. and asks the blessing of the Lord to be with the legislative body so that wise and equitable laws would be enacted. In this same letter David also mentions the health of different member of the family. He advises J. K. to keep in touch with his relatives and asks that the “blessing of God rest upon us all, forever, Amen.”

David White died 6 months later in Provo at the age of 93. He was buried in the City Cemetery in Provo, Utah.

Note: In addition to Martha Collins and Ellen (Bennett) Darnley three other women were sealed to David White Rogers: Elizabeth Anderson Banks (1853), and two sisters, Lydia and Julia Allen (1872).

Compiled by Helen W. Crandall, a great, great granddaughter. 1982
Updated by Junell Thomas, daughter of Helen W. Crandall.

* From Ellen Bennett’s Story by Vivian Karen Bush we learn that … “Mary Elvira attended Brigham Young Academy and took her teaching exams.” Ellen’s sons, Will Darnley and John Rogers, “went up to Lost River, Idaho and began hmesteading. The next year, Ellen and Mary Elvira followed to do housekeeping for them.”

Date30 Dec 2011
Linked toROGERS David White

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