A SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF
David Rogers - Mormon Pioneer
David Rogers was born 24 May 1828 at Shelbyville, Portage, Ohio. His parents were Noah and Eda Hollister Rogers.
His father was a very prominent man in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the summer of 1840 he was one of three men kidnapped by a party of mobocrats who came from Missouri to Nauvoo and took Noah Rogers, James Allred and Alamon Brown by force but they finally escaped. In 1843 Noah Rogers with Addison Pratt, Knowlton F. Hanks, and Benjamin F. Groward went as the first Latter-day Saint missionaries to the Pacific Islands.
David Rogers was baptized in 1840 when twelve years of age. While living in Nauvoo he worked on the Temple; no doubt that was where he began learning the carpenter trade. He was sixteen when the Prophet and his brother, Hyrum, were killed. He went through all the persecutions with the church in Kirtland, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. He received his endowments in the Nauvoo Temple before coming to Salt Lake Valley in 1849.
In February 1853 he married Mary Ann Mayers, a daughter of one of the early pioneers. For eight years he worked at his trade as carpenter and was doing well until in 1861 when he was called to the "Cotton Mission" at St. George. When this call was made it was the men and women who were tradesmen and those with ability and experience who were chosen. Men who had been tried and found true.
This move of pioneering was the hardest of all. Most of those called had been in the valley ten to fourteen years and had comparative peace, building homes and farms to provide a living of safety and comfort. These calls were made to provide room. There were so many gathering to the valleys of the mountains that the boundaries must be extended by those best qualified to make the sacrifice regardless of the cost or loss each must make. David and his small family were on the move responding to the call. In the early part of December 1861 they arrived in the valley where it had been deemed best to locate the new city to be named St. George.
When the first survey was finished and the drawing or selecting of lots took place David Rogers received lot 5, block 10. This was a northwest corner lot. On this block he had as neighbors Henry Eyring, Solom Foster, and Edward Parry. With these and other characters of note he was to join in the building of a city showing their vision and workmanship. Some of the first buildings they constructed were St. George Hall, Gardeners Club Hall, County Court House, Tabernacle, and St. George Temple. When this great work was done attention was directed to building better homes. This was accomplished in a large measure by the exchange of work and material. David, by this exchange, obtained adobes, lumber, and mason work to build a large home, which after seventy years of use is still an evidence of the workmanship of the builder.
He did the carpenter work on a home for Isaac Hunt, a mason, who in return built a rock wall fence eight by sixteen rods around the Rogers lot in payment for the carpenter work done. Each tradesman must not only follow his line of work but he must plant vines, trees, and garden. This gave added security to the family by improving their living standard. David also kept a few stands of bees, thus supplying honey for his family and some to sell. The skill and workmanship of David Rogers is shown in the homes he built for John D.T. McAllister at 2nd East and 3rd South, for Joseph Price on Diagonal at the head of 2nd West, and an entrance porch for Daniel D. McArthur. When the Stake Tabernacle was first finished there was only a small stand in the west end of the large assembly room, the choir used the east gallery. During the 1880s the building was remodeled as it now is. Much of the fine work of the stand and pulpit was done by this master tradesman.
David and Mary Ann Rogers raised a family of eight children, six girls and two boys. Two of their daughters married young men from Pine Valley, Benjamin (Bench) and Abram Burgess and went there to make their homes. As a result the father of the girls and Ephraim Wilson spent many summers at Pine Valley building fine homes. Here the pay would mostly be in kind offered such as potatoes, grain, meat, and vegetables that could be used by their families.
As David advanced in years and the time came when he must lay down the burden of hard work he spent much time working in the temple. He could now enjoy some of the fruits of his labors of pioneer days and do the work for his dead family and friends.
December 30th 1903, at St. George, Utah, David Rogers passed away in his sleep having spent forty-three years in service in the growth and establishment of the work to which he was called in 1861, to build a central city and erect buildings that would be "an ornament to their city and a credit to their enterprise."
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