James Roger Marker

Don’t Overlook Colonial Gazeteers in your Research

When researching the history of an area or doing a cluster study it is worth the time to scan historic gazeteers for tidbits of information. Colonial gazeteers are a wealth of useful information that you may not expect. For example, James Rogers, a settler of Londonderry, New Hampshire “disappeared” from the New Hampshire records seemingly without a trace in the late 1700s. Because of the time period, I suspected he may have fled to Canada because he was a Tory. However, I needed proof. Searching the database for the keywords “Londonderry” and “Rogers” found the proof I needed and provided additional pathways for research.

Rogers received a New York land patent from King George for his service in the French War in 1770. He left New Hampshire and settled in that state, naming his new town Kent. Rogers returned to New Hampshire and sold some of this land to his Londonderry friends who then moved to New York to settle their new land with him. Eventually that land, once a part of New York, became part of Vermont. Rogers, a Tory and cousin to King George, ultimately fled to Canada in 1778 and his lands in Vermont were confiscated and re-chartered to his Londonderry, New Hampshire friends who were loyal to the patriot cause. Kent was renamed Londonderry and later part was carved out and called Windham around the same time as that split happened in New Hampshire.

There were several items of interest in this gazetteer listing that were of interest. First, the indication that Rogers was a Tory but additionally that the others who left New Hampshire to settle in New York now Vermont: Aiken, Fletcher and Tyler. These names appear in New Hampshire as well. A scan of the first town meeting held and chaired by Rogers that appears in the gazetteer shows that there were more Londonderry, New Hampshire families in this new Londonderry settlement: Mack, Miller and Cochran. The town of Londonderry, Vermont still exists and their website notes that James Rogers was their founder.

Like all good genealogical finds, the devil is in the details. A good dose curiosity also helps. Now, off to contact Londonderry, Vermont and see what they have on the settlers from New Hampshire!

LONDONDERRY

This township is situated in the N. W. corner of Windham county, bounded N. by Landgrove and Weston; E. by Windham; S. by Jamaica, and W. by Winhall and Landgrove.

CHARTERS

It is the western division of a township granted by New York, Feb. 13, 1770, to Col. James Rogers of Londonderry, N. H., and by him named Kent. The grant was bestowed upon Rogers for services in the French war, and through his influence it was first settled, just before the Revolutionary war. In 1778, Colonel Rogers, who was a torry, fled into Canada and his lands were confiscated.

The town was again chartered by the government of Vermont, April 20, 1780, Edward Aiken, Samuel Fletcher and Jonathan Tyler, a committee appointed by the legislature to carry out a resolve passed March 16, 1780, re-granting the town. In this charter the township is called Londonderry, after Londonderry, N. H., from which the first settlers came.

The first settlers who came, in 1773, were Col. James Rogers, James Patterson, Samuel Thompson, Edward Aiken, James McCormick and John Woodburn. The last three in the division of the town by the legislature in 1795, fell to the part cut off for Windham, to which history we will leave the history of these three.—Mrs. L. B. Wood’s Windham.

Source

Vermont Historical Gazetteer A Local History Of All The Towns In The State, Civil, Educational, Biographical, Religious And Military. – Vol. V. The Towns Of Windham County, With Histories Of Sutton In Caledonia County, And Bennington In Bennington County in Vermont County Histories in our American County Histories collection.

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