Jacob William Rogers of the Rogers of Somerset & Devon





MAJOR 77th Regt of Foot 

Jacob William Rogers was born somewhere around 1769 . The burial entry for him in Woodbury , Devon, parish register is dated 28th Nov 1822 and he is said to be 53 years old which makes his date of birth around 1769. 

In Hart`s Army lists for 1814 and 1820 , Jacob William Rogers is shown as appointed Captain in the 77th Regt of Foot ( E Middx) 16th Jan 1812 having achieved this rank in the main army in 1803 ; in 1810 he is serving in the 1st Veterans Battalion ; he is further appointed Major in the army in June 1814 . At this time most ranks would have been purchased rather than earned by long service so perhaps , Jacob William had well to do parents or relatives or a legacy to enable him ot purchase his army rank and he is said to have sold his commission in 1818 .

There is a marriage of a Jacob Rogers and Frances Baker in St Michael , Barbados on 17th Feb 1791 which would fit in with Jacob William`s possible birth date and Barbados was a staging post for the army . And whilst in Barbados , there is a bapt also in St Michael Barbados, of a Jacob Rogers son of Noble and Gertrude Rogers, in 1758 . They have a daughter Joanna Payne Rogers in 1770 which means that it is possible that the 1758 Jacob died and another son was given his name born perhaps closer to 1769 ....but this is guesswork . The only additional clue is that Noble or Noblet Rogers was commissioned in the army as Lt in 1762 into the 56th Regt of Foot ( Ireland) per the Hart`s Army list of 1765 , and is on Irish half pay as a Lt 73rd Regt of Foot in the 1794 and 1820 Army lists . Back to Barbados St Thomas this time , a Noble Rogers married Sarah Astin in 1750 .......but although the Rogers are clearly involved with the army and with Ireland and later with Gibraltar , maybe the use of the Christian name Jacob is just coincidental . There is also a Rogers tradition using the names of friends and family as middle names and no mention of Noble is made subsequently nor Gertrude so perhaps this is not a connection.

The will of Jacob William Rogers , Captain in HM 77th Regt of Foot , is dated 1812 , it pre-dates the battle of Waterloo , and coincides with the re-emergence of Napoleon when every soldier , officer or man was likely to be called upon to fight the last of Napoleon`s armies . He leaves his property , ` my house in Gibraltar ` , to his ` beloved ` wife Frances during her life , whilst she remains unmarried , and after her death to be divided equally between his `lawful begotten children ` . This part is dated 24th Feb 1812 , and is signed by Jacob William at Danbury Barracks which is possibly in Essex. It is signed by Capt Henry Fletcher , also 77th Regt,. James Cruttwill, Lt 83rd Regt, and Geo Mee , Lt 83rd also ....and there is a postscript giving the information that this will shall have full power notwithstanding that it was not on stamp paper as circumstances would not admit of a stamp being provided .......all of which indicates that this was a sudden , eve of departure to war, will .

The codicil is dated March 1822 , 10 years later when he has clearly survived the war and is now able to make more detailed arrangements . Frances his wife gets the plate, household furniture etc including the cattle and stock on the farm ` I now rent out `, and at her death to be left equally between the five children , now named in this codicil, as Maria Wilks Dennis, Henry Blanckley Harrington Rogers, Jacob Glynn Rogers , Thomas James Rogers, and Robert Naylor Rogers . The codicil is signed and witnessed by John Edsall , minister of Woodbury, and Michael Dwyer Lt RN , and John Hall, Lt 1st Life Guards. .The will and codicil are probated in London on the oath of Frances Rogers widow in February 1823 .

The 77th Regiment of Foot did not take part in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 , they were in Ireland , but Jacob William`s son Robert Naylor Rogers , a Lt in the 30th (Cambridgeshire) Regt of Foot , did take part and was awarded the silver Waterloo medal which is treasured by his descendants in Canada . Robert Naylor Rogers senior went on half pay in 1818 and was appointed Staff officer for Pensioners at Amherstburg in Canada West around 1836 and was drowned whilst fishing in the Detroit river in 1854 .

The Devon connection continues with the baptism of Jacob William Rogers the son of the above Robert Naylor Rogers and Elizabeth , baptised in Topsham , nr Exmouth, Devon, in Oct 1820 . This marriage between Robert Naylor Rogers and Elizabeth Coleman probably took place in Ireland as a later son another Robert Naylor was born in co Cork in 1832 . In fact Robert Naylor and Elizabeth had in total 4 sons and 4 daughters , and it was the four youngest children who went with him to Canada ; Jacob William was the eldest b c 1818 , and Alicia was the youngest b c 1840 . There is a death on Freebmd for Maria Wilks Dennis in the June of 1849 in the St Thomas district of Exeter . There is also a death of a Frances Rogers in the June of 1841 again in the St Thomas district of Exeter .

However , on the 1841 census in Littleham , Claremont Terrace , is Maria Wilks Dennis as head of the house and with her are her two brothers Jacob and Henry and their families ......they appear all to be living in the one big house with only 3 live in servants though perhaps more came in daily .

The extended family consists of Maria aged 35, independent , and N for not born in county , and her daughter Maria aged 20 b Ireland . Next comes Jacob (Glynn) Rogers , 40, Army Half Pay not born in the county , his wife Jessy aged 30 who we know was Jessy dau of Dugald Forbes of Stirling , she was born in Scotland , they were married in 1822 . Jacob and Jessy have Jacob William aged 17 also born Scotland, Maria Wilks, aged 11 born Scotland , Frances Eliza , 9 born in Devon , Henry Gordon, 5 , not born in the county . Then comes Henry Rogers, 35, Army , born Devon in fact in 1804 in Axminster , his wife Mary Ann , 30, not born in county , anbd their daughter Sarah aged 4, born in Devon . Two further relatives make up this family party , Elizabeth Naylor aged 75, independent born Ireland and Maria Wickham aged 25 also independent and born Scotland 

There is a further sighting of Jacob Glynn Rogers , in a death registered in Hampstead in 1869 . There is brief sighting in an Admiralty document of an unattributed Lt Jacob Rogers in 1770 when the Lively , of Plymouth , Capt Robert Fanshawe , is ordered to the Bristol Channel to procure more men and that a Lt Jacob Rogers has been employed onshore for that purpose . 

However Maria Wilks Dennis leaves a will proved in 1849 , in which she is living in Littleham , and in which she leaves all her real property to her daugher Maria Frances Dennis , and failing her daughter then the remainder after debts paid is to go to her brothers Robert Naylor R, Jacob Glynn R, and Henry B H R , their heirs and executors . No mention is made of Thomas James R and it could be assumed that he was dead by this date . Maria Wilks Dennis was married to a Captain John Cosbey Dennis from Donoughmore co Cork , his rank is not yet proven, but they must have been married c 1819/20 , their daughter Frances was born in Feb 1820 and John Dennis was dead in June 1820.

Robert Naylor Rogers is in the Army lists as a Lt in June 1815 and on half pay in February 1818. Jacob Glynn Rogers is in the army as a Lt in 1818 and in the 77th Regt on half pay .

The will of Maria Wilks Dennis is proved in 1849 by her daughter Maria Frances now Boles , having married James Thomas Boles , clergyman , and the 1851 census shows them living in Cranford House , in Littleham , a house which subsequently became an hotel and latterly a residential home for the elderly . James Thomas Boles is the 29 year old curate of Littleham and was born in the East Indies . Frances Maria his wife is 30 and born Cork , Ireland as is James Thomas` aunt Jane Boles , a spinster aged 72 .. With them is great aunt Elizabeth B Naylor , aged 88 , spinster, born Dublin ., and the curate and his wife have two small children Thomas G D and Maria aged 2 and 1 both Devon born . 

There is a will for a Lt General Thomas Boles of Exmouth, Devon , in the service of the Hon East India Company dated 1850. The General leaves his property to his nephew James Thomas Boles, the son of his late brother Richard .....and to the Gordon sisters Louisa and Eliza the orphan children of a fellow officer .. With the General in the 1841 census at Cranford in Littleham , is his wife Mary Eliza aged 55 , and a Jane Boles aged 60 as well as the two Gordon girls ....And Elizabeth Brewer Naylor of Exmouth , spinster, leaves a will dated 1857., but she leaves all her unspecified property to her great niece Maria Frances Boles which gets us no further forward .

This family travels with the army and is difficult to pin down in earlier generations . However Nick Boles found a PCC will for Henry Blanckley Rogers dated 1841 and proved in 1843 , in which Henry leaves all his property in Gibraltar to `my nephews and niece , children of my late brother Major Jacob William Rogers ....that is to say Robert Naylor Rogers, Jacob Glynn Rogers, and Henry Blanckley Harrington Rogers , and Maria Wilks Dennis ...` This brother of Jacob William is living in Heavitree in the 1841 census with his wife Charlotte Ann , and a marriage licence allegation has been found for them in Hampshire . It appears they married in 1816 in Alton in Hampshire . He was said to be of Stepney , Mddx, gent, 33, bach, and she was Charlotte Anne Wighting , of Alton , spins, aged 23 . That puts Henry`s birth date at approximately 1783 which makes him a younger by 14years brother of Jacob William.

There is another will of a Henry Blanckley of Gibraltar , gent, dated 1749/50 , which leaves all his property to his wife Elizabeth , and the will is proved in London in 1777 by Elizabeth. There is no mention of any other people in the will but it cannot be just coincidence that this name and place are so closely connected to the Rogers . Equally it is possible that Jacob William and Frances are based in Axminster with a milita regiment in 1804 when their son Henry B H Rogers is bapt . Rob Rogers of Canada provides Jacob William and Frances `s children with the following dates of birth , Robert Naylor Rogers born c 1797 , Jacob Glynn Rogers born c 1800, Henry Blanckley Rogers b c 1804 , Maria Wilks Rogers born c 1806 .......however the latter date would suggest that Maria Wilks was ` married ` aged 14 or at best 15 in 1820 when she had her daughter Maria Frances . And Thomas James Rogers dead before 1841 and there is no birth date guessed at .

The question remains did they come to Devon to retire , as this is the peak period for military retirements to seaside resorts . Were they originally from Middlesex, is it coincidence that the 77th were the East Middlesex regt , and Henry married in 1816 says he is a gent of Stepney , Middlesex , or were the Rogers originally from Devon.

To update this essay on the Rogers the following information was gleaned from the archives in Gibraltar in May 2008.

Jacob William Rogers , Ensign 70th Regt , married Frances Langdon Nailor (sic) in the King`s Chapel , Gibraltar on 20th Oct 1796 , both have good strong signatures and the marriage is witnessed by Jno Naylor and Ellen Wickham . Their son Robert Naylor Rogers is bapt in the King`s Chapel on Jan 18th 1798 . This entry says that the child is the son of " Lt and Frances Rogers, 70th Regt " . The 70th is the Surrey Regt . 

There is also an entry in the baptisms of King`s Chapel of the bapt of a Maria dau of Robert Edwd Henry and Catherine Elizth Rogers, Capt RA , 11th Jan 1796 , she was born Dec 31st 1795 . And a burial for Maria aged 11 months , dau of Capt Rogers RA 11th March 1798 But no further baptisms were found of the children of Jacob and Frances . 

In addition to these entries , there is also a will of Major John Wilks RA , but now 1835, of Somerset , in which he leaves 20 a piece to the children of his late son in law Jacob William Rogers . His will is proved in London in 1838 by Robert Coleman , esq one of his executors . The will goes on to mention a further sum to Henry Blankley Rogers , son of my late wife Alice . And in the King`s Chapel marriages for 1781 is John Wilks, Lt RA to Alice Rogers widow of the late Capt Rogers RA by licence Feb 27th 1781 . And the 1777 census for Gibraltar shows an Alice Rogers with three unnamed children.

So we have achieved a small step backward confirming that the parents of Jacob William and Henry Blankley Rogers were Capt and Alice Rogers , RA , and that Capt Rogers was dead by 1777 /1781 . He should be reasonably easy to find through the Hart`s Army lists for this period . 

(Many thanks to Nick Boles , UK, and Rob Rogers, Ottawa , for their invaluable input, and to Nick copyright of his two miniatures of JWR and MWD ) 



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