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Civil War years take a toll on Hannibal-based family

Two now-demolished houses in the 100 block of South Maple Avenue in Hannibal, Mo., are pictured in the background during a construction project at McCooey School. The house at right is believed to be the historic home of W.D. Anderson and later his son, Morris Anderson, both Hannibal attorneys. The house at left is believed to be that of Mrs. Eliza Rogers and her family. Mrs. Rogers was the widow of Col. John B. Rogers, who headed the Second Missouri State Militia Cavalry at Cape Girardeau during the later part of the Civil War. Charles Doty photo, Steve Chou collection.


In mid August 1861, Ellen Benton, a guest in the hill-top home of her sister, Sarah Benton Selmes, penned a diary entry describing the state of anxiety existing in Hannibal, Mo., following the deadly Wilson’s Raid in Southern Missouri.

At the time, Hannibal and its citizens, protected by armed Federal troops, anxiously awaited a feared attack from Confederate forces. Miss Benton wrote: “We were up nearly all night one night looking for the enemy and last night the soldiers all slept on their arms in line of battle, awaiting an onset, but they were disappointed. Rumors and stories and reports assail our ears continually and it is with difficulty that we can ascertain the truth. Of one thing we are sure, troubles and distresses are growing upon us thick and fast and the end looks farther off than ever, but I cannot believe that God intends to destroy us utterly, but that our good government is to be preserved and come out from this fiery trial purified and refined like gold tried in the fire. I pray Heaven it may be so.”

John B. Rogers

At the onset of Missouri’s long-extending battle against the Confederates, John B. Rogers, a civil engineer by trade, was raising his young family in Bloomington, then the county seat of Macon County, Mo. He enlisted with Union forces in 1861, participating in subsequent battles across Missouri.

He worked his way up the ranks of the 2nd Missouri Cavalry Regiment, rising from Captain to Major in May 1863, and ultimately to Colonel of the Second Missouri State Militia Cavalry at Cape Girardeau.

Upon his discharge in 1865, he located with his family in a stately house on the north side of Broadway in Hannibal, Mo., across the street from the St. Joseph Seminary, between 11th and Maple streets. By 1866 he was working as a lawyer, according to Hannibal’s city directory of that same year.

Post-war career

Ultimately, Col. Rogers was named marshal of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri.

In November 1868, this leader of men who protected Missouri’s interests as a contributing partner to the Union, was dead. The cause: Consumption. (1890 Veterans Schedules of the U.S. Federal Census for Eliza Rogers)

“Col. J.B. Rogers, serving as United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Missouri, died unexpectedly at the residence of Charles M. Elleard in St. Louis,” on Saturday, morning, Nov. 28, 1868. (Weekly People’s Tribune, Jefferson City, Mo., Dec. 2, 1868)

The impact of his premature death was felt most deeply in Hannibal, Mo., where his wife, Eliza, and their four children lived.

Wartime widow

The widow and her children had already endured the absence of the family’s breadwinner, during the time of his enlistment to his discharge in the Union Army during the Civil War, and now faced a permanent loss, just three years following the war’s end.

The children, Frank, Minnie, Nellie and Frederick, would grow into adulthood in Hannibal, and their mother, Eliza, would claim a pension on behalf of her husband’s gallantry during the war between the states.

For a number of years, Mrs. Rogers and her adult children lived on South Maple Street, described in early days as the third house from Broadway, on the west side of the street. That house would later have the address of 112 S. Maple.

The Rogers family

Daughter Minnie Rogers, born in 1854 at Cuyahoga County, Ohio, died in 1908.

In 1873, both Frank K. Rogers and his younger brother, Frederick Rogers, worked for Quealy Car and Iron Works.

Later, both brothers became railroad workers.

Frank Rogers, while working as a fireman on an ill-fated MK&T run near Nevada in Vernon County, Mo., during late November 1877, was scalded by steam during a derailment which killed Engineer Farnsworth of Sedalia and the crew’s head brakeman. (Hannibal Clipper, Nov. 22, 1877)

Frank Rogers died 20 years later, in 1897, at the age of 44-45.

Daughter Nellie, who married George Hosman Carter, died in 1928 and is buried with her husband at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. During their lifetime, the Carters lived on the northeast corner of Grace and Locust streets, in a stately home they named “Clearview.” Their only daughter, Miss Nellie Carter, was married in this house in January 1907, and Mrs. Eliza Rogers, while staying with her daughter, died in this house on March 10, 1911.

Fredrick Rogers, the youngest, and the longest-living member of the family, died Sept. 18, 1941, at the age of 82, at Bellingham, Whatcom County, Wash.

Riverside Cemetery

Col. Rogers, his wife, Eliza, and children Frank and Minnie are buried together in Section D7 of Hannibal’s Riverside Cemetery.

Note: The 2nd Regiment, Missouri State Militia Cavalry was enrolled between Dec. 1861 and 19 March 1862. They were mustered between 4 December 1861 and 1 November 1862. The Regiment was discharged between 28 February 1865 and 17 April 1865. The Regiment was led by Colonel Hiram M. Hiller, Colonel John McNeil, and Colonel J.B. Rogers. Source: Kenneth E. Weant, Civil war Records Union Troops Enrolled Missouri Militia, Vol. 6 (Arlington, Texas: K.E. c2007) Wikipedia

This portion of the 1890 Hannibal Sanborn fire prevention maps includes the four houses that once occupied the west side of the 100 block of South Maple Ave. Second from the top is the home of the Anderson family, first Walter and then son Morris. The house to the south is believed to have been occupied by Eliza Rogers, widow of Col. John B. Rogers, who headed the Second Missouri State Militia Cavalry at Cape Girardeau during the later part of the Civil War. Library of Congress

Mary Lou Montgomery, retired as editor of the Hannibal (Mo.) Courier-Post in 2014. She researches and writes narrative-style stories about the people who served as building blocks for this region’s foundation. Books available on by this author: "The Notorious Madam Shaw," "Pioneers in Medicine from Northeast Missouri," and "The Historic Murphy House, Hannibal, Mo., Circa 1870." She can be reached at Her collective works can be found at


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