Major Robert Rogers
Robert Rogers was born in Londonderry, New Hampshire, (or Methuen Massachusetts), in 1727. His parents, James and Mary McFatridge Rogers were Scotch-Irish, also had three other sons James, Richard, and John.1 They lived in a small town in Massachusetts, which was a frontier town with log houses along the Merrimack valley. Robert was fourteen or fifteen years of age when his father founded a settlement in the wilderness on 2,190 acres of land, which he named Munterloney. From his youth, he was inured to the hardships of the frontier, acquiring character traits of decisiveness, self-reliance and boldness, which distinguished him later in life.2 Rogers, acquired his scanty stock of “book –learning,” as he termed from a log school house that was sixteen feet long and twelve feet wide.3 Most of his knowledge came from his father’s farm, where he learned to hunt, trap, and fish which he earned a small living from. While he was on hunting excursions he mingled with the Indians and learned some of their language, hunting methods and their habits.4 He was six feet in statute, well proportioned, and one of the most athletic men of his time, well known in all the trials of strength and activity among the young men of his vicinity, and for several miles around.5 About six years after they moved, Robert’s father James was walking through the woods on his way to visit a friend, when he was shot by the far away neighbor, thinking that he was a bear. He died later that night from his wound. Robert told some locals at a town tavern, that his mother was also killed by some hunters that thought her tracks were a bear. Everyone in the tavern thought he was telling a huge lie and tallest tale so they bought him a drink for the greatest lie. Robert was not lying; he did lose both of his parents.6 Robert joined the military service when he was twenty-eight. In 1746, when King George’s War broke out, Robert joined the New Hampshire militia as a private in Captain Ladd’s Scouting Company and then again later (1747) in Eastman’s Company, to guard the New Hampshire frontier.7 there were ample details given of his adventures; most of them were given by himself in his journals. He wrote a book ‘A Concise Account of North America”, which was a success and attracted royal attention.8 In 1754 Robert became involved with a gang of counterfeiters; he was indicted, but never brought to trial because the war broke out. 9 In 1755, France and Britain had declared war on each other, and conflict was spreading to the colonies of Europe. They were fighting over the right of discovery and occupation, each one wanting more of America. Since Rogers was an experienced frontiersman, the colonial government dropped the counterfeit charges against him, meanwhile he was appointed as an official recruiter for Colonel John Winslow.10 In 1756, Rogers started recruiting soldiers for his militia. Rogers had an unusual talent for training his men in the most dire circumstances. He trained them in live fire, they learned to handle the extreme cold, how to live off of very little food.11 By the end of 1756, Rogers had raised four regimens of rangers. He himself commanded one of them, and they were known as Rogers Rangers. He wrote a guide for the Rangers to follow that had twenty eight rules for ranging. This guide later became famous, and was called Robert Rogers’ 28 “Rules of Ranging”. 12 Robert’s brothers all served in a regimen of the Rangers. His brother Richard died in 1757 of small- pox at Fort Henry, his body was dug up and found mutilated and scalped by hostile natives.13 His brother James stayed on with the King’s Rangers and assumed Robert’s post after the American Revolutionary War ended. Not much is known about brother John after the war was over. Rogers was personally responsible for paying his soldiers, He went deeply in debt, and had to take...
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