Rogers, Robert, 1731-1795

Alternative names
Birth 1731-11-07
Death 1795-05-18

Biographical notes:

Robert Rogers was a soldier and frontiersman.

From the description of An estimate of the fur and peltry trade in the district of Michilimackinac, according to the bounds and limits, assign'd to it by the French, when under their government; together with an account of the situation and names of the several out-posts, 1767. (American Philosophical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 122632774

Major Robert Rogers (1731-1795), colonial ranger, Indian trader, frontiersman, and author, gained reknown during the French and Indian War for his daring exploits during battles and intelligence missions. Rogers wrote of his adventures and assessments of England's new Northwest territory in A Concise Account of North America, 1765, after which he was appointed commandant of Fort Michillimackinac (Michigan). Following a court-martial for treason in 1768, Rogers was dismissed, fell into heavy debt, and later attempted to organize a force of loyalists during the Revolution but was imprisoned by the patriots.

From the description of Journal, 1766-1767. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 207167472

Born in Methuem, mass., 1731; from boyhood injured to hardships; commissioned by Sir William Johnson to drill a company of rangers, the "Rogers Rangers", 1775; a very reckless, but skillful body; was active in occupying Detroit, 1760; married Elizabeth Browne, June 30, 1761; served against Cherokee in S.C. in 1761; relieved Detroit, which was besieged by Pontiac, 1763; published journals and "Pontech" in London, 1765; appointed commandant at Michilimackinac, 1766-1768; had troubles with the government, but was acquitted and went to Europe, 1769; returned to U.S., 1775, and was active in the Revolution on British side; imprisoned by Washington as a spy, 1776, escaped, defeated at White Plains; divorced by his wife, 1778; fled to England, 1780; died in London, May 18, 1795. (from Dic. Am. Biog.) (from blue index cards)

From the description of Robert Rogers papers, 1760-1881 (Detroit Public Library). WorldCat record id: 399709098

Colonial ranger.

After serving a year as a recruiting officer and scout for Sir William Johnson, Rogers was appointed captain of an independent company of rangers in March, 1756. In 1758 he was promoted to commanding major of nine scouting companies, known as Rogers' Rangers.

From the description of Letter and agreement, 1761-1764. (Newberry Library). WorldCat record id: 39947694

One of the most famous military figures of the Seven Years War in America, Robert Rogers was born in Dunbarton, New Hampshire, the son of the Irish immigrant James Rogers. Although he saw brief service in the militia during King George's War, his claim to fame came after he was commissioned to raise a regiment of rangers at the outset of the Seven Years War. An efficient leader and crack woodsman, Rogers' stock grew until by 1758 he was in command of nine companies. He gained a hard driving reputation for his daring raid behind enemy lines to devastate the Abnaki Indians at Saint Francis, Quebec, in 1759, and he subsequently served under Wolfe at Quebec and Amherst at Montreal. In pays d'en haut, Rogers' Rangers were present at the French surrender of Detroit in 1760, waged war against the Cherokees at Fort Pitt and further south, and returned to Detroit (and defeat at Bloody Run) in 1763 to counter Pontiac's offensive.

In the hopes of advancing his military career, Rogers traveled to England in 1765. A great self-promoter, Rogers published three works in 1765 based on his experiences in America, A concise account of North America, The Journals of Major Robert Rogers, and a regrettable play, Ponteach, Or the Savages of America, a Tragedy . Lionized as a hero, he was rewarded with command of Fort Michilimackinac, the post that controlled the critical fur trading routes between Lakes Superior and Michigan and the eastern Great Lakes.

Rogers and his wife Elizabeth Browne, whom he had married in 1761 arrived at Michilimackinac in August 1766 with high expectations, but his extravagant administration and rumored disloyalty led Thomas Gage, Commander in Chief of British forces in North America, to recall him in December 1767 and to arrest him the following spring. Although acquitted of treason, Rogers gave up his military career and returned to England, where he remained until the outbreak of the Revolution. His attempts to obtain a commission in the Continental army were viewed with suspicion by George Washington, who had Rogers arrested for a second time. Rogers escaped in 1776 and helped raise a Loyalist regiment, The Queen's Rangers, however after his unit was routed in Long Island, he was relieved of command. After his wife divorced him in 1778 and he was banished from New Hampshire, Rogers returned to England for a final time and lived out his final years in London.

From the guide to the Estimate of the Fur and Peltry Trade in the District of Michilimackinac, 1767, (American Philosophical Society)

Robert Rogers was born on November 7, 1731, in Metheun, Massachusetts, the son of James and Mary Rogers. The family moved to Rumford (now Concord), New Hampshire, when Rogers was a small boy.

Rogers' career was devoted to the military. From 1755 to 1760, he was engaged in many military expeditions connected with the French and Indian War. He was made a captain and later a major of an independent company (Rogers' Rangers) which conducted scouting expeditions for the English against the French. He was also sent to receive the surrender of the various French forts in the Mississippi Valley region following the defeat of the French in the war.

From 1761 to 1768 he commanded various posts in the Indian country, particularly the one at Michilimackinac. Due to charges of illegal trading practices and financial transactions, Rogers was relieved of this post. Following his removal, Rogers went to England in 1765 where he published his journals and a play. He returned to America soon afterward, but was forced by allegations of treasons to return to England in 1780. He died in London on May 28, 1795.

Rogers married Elizabeth Browne on June 30, 1761. They were divorced in 1778. One child was born of this marriage.

From the guide to the Robert Rogers papers., 1760-1843., (Minnesota Historical Society)


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  • Maps shelf
  • Arbitration and award--History--18th century--Sources
  • Indians of North America--Government relations
  • Native America
  • Fortification--Maps--Early works to 1800
  • Manuscripts, American
  • Fur trade--Great Lakes Region
  • Manuscript maps--Early works to 1800
  • Algonquian Indians
  • Land grants
  • Fur trade--Great Lakes
  • Colonial Politics
  • Ojibwa Indians--Land tenure
  • National Archives of Canada Maps
  • Manuscript maps--Facsimiles
  • Commerce
  • International trade
  • Fur trade
  • Indians of North America
  • Government Affairs
  • Carver Grant
  • Land grants--Mississippi River Valley
  • Fur trade--Canada
  • Debtor and creditor--History--18th century--Sources
  • Trade


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  • Michilimackinac (Mich.) (as recorded)
  • New York (State)--Crown Point (as recorded)
  • Michigan (as recorded)
  • Mississippi River Valley (as recorded)
  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)
  • Fort Michilimackinac (Mackinaw City, Michigan) (as recorded)
  • Canada (as recorded)
  • Québec (Province) (as recorded)
  • North America, East of the Mississippi (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • Michipicoten Island (Ont.) (as recorded)
  • Saint Francis River (Québec) (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • Northwest Passage (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Fort Michilimackinac (Mackinaw City, Mich.) (as recorded)
  • Crown Point (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Vermont (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New Hampshire (as recorded)
  • America (as recorded)
  • America (as recorded)
  • Michipicoten Island (Ont.) (as recorded)
  • Northwest Passage. (as recorded)
  • Fort Saint Frederic (Crown Point, N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Fort Michilimackinac (Mackinaw City, Mich.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Michigan (as recorded)
  • Northwest, Old (as recorded)
  • Great Lakes Region (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Connecticut River (as recorded)
  • Crown Point (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Fort Michilimackinac (Mackinaw City, Mich.) (as recorded)