The original town of Rogers was surveyed and laid out in March, 1881, by John P. Hely, a land surveyor and civil engineer, for Benjamin F. Sikes, the original proprietor. It comprises parts of the southeast quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 12, Town 19, Range 30, and the west half of the west half of Section 7, Town 19, Range 29. The bearings and courses of the town were surveyed on a magnetic variation of seven degrees east. The plat contains fifteen blocks, with twelve lots each, one tier of blocks being east of the railroad, and two west thereof. The lots are fifty feet north and south, by 140 feet east and west, and all streets are eighty feet wide except Arkansas and Douglas, which are fifty feet each. The town is situated on the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad, at the junction of the Bentonville Railway. The first addition to Rogers was laid out the same year by the original proprietor, and it comprises tracts of land adjoining the first plat on every side thereof. This addition contains in all nineteen blocks, subdivided into lots. It was surveyed by D. W. German.
J. Wade Sikes’ Park Addition to Rogers, embracing the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 12, Town 19, Range 30, was surveyed and laid out the same year. It lies southwest of the original plat, and contains sixteen blocks, subdivided into large residence lots, some being 150×238 feet, some 150 feet square, and some 150×245 feet. It contains the most desirable residence lots.
Reuben Wallace’s Addition to Rogers was laid out in 1882. It lies northeast of the old plat, and contains seven blocks of twelve lots each, and two blocks of six lots each, all lots being 50×140 feet in size.
The Electric Springs Plat, adjoining Wallace’s Addition on the northeast, was laid out in September, 1881. It contains forty-five blocks surrounding the springs, all being laid out in the most ornamental style, for residence lots.
Rogers’ Cemetery, containing five acres, was laid out in November, 1882.
Enough land at Rogers has been surveyed into town lots to make a large city.
Rogers was incorporated on the 28th day of May, 1881, and in June following an election was held for town officials.” In evidence of the fact that the people have always been fortunate in the selection of their officers, Rogers is entirely out of debt, and its paper is at par and has been from the first year. But few young towns can say as much.
When the site of Rogers was chosen, in 1881, it contained nothing but a dilapidated pole cabin. When the St. Louis & San Francisco Railway was making its way through the county, a number of farmers, with a view to their future interests, secured the amount demanded by the company’s right of way agent, some $600, and secured the location of the depot where it now stands. The parties who contributed this amount may truly be called the founders of Rogers. Their names are H. B. Horsley, George E. Wilson, Clark Brixey, Ben T. Oakley, N. S. Horsley, J. R. Swafford, Maj. S. S. Horsley, W. B. Horsley and, possibly, others. B. F. Sikes donated to the railroad company one-half of sixty acres in the original town, and the depot grounds and the right of way. He lived on the land first platted, and was therefore the first resident of the town. The first house built after the town was projected was put up by John Cox, and a saloon was opened therein. The next house was erected by Lowry and Scroggins, and a grocery and the post-office were located therein. Then followed the “Rogers House,” and a number of business houses and dwellings too numerous to mention in detail. The town was named in honor of Capt. C. W. Rogers, who was at that time general manager of the St. Louis & San Francisco Railway, and a good friend of the town. The natural advantages of the place attracted the attention of enterprising men, and before the trains actually got to running there were several business houses in successful operation.
The following is a directory of the first business of Rogers, as it existed a short time after the town was established: C. C. Davis, clothing; George Raupp, furniture; J. L. Merritt, restaurant; W. A. Miller, dry goods; Huffman & Wade, hotel; H. L. & S. T. Stokes, livery stable; Pratt & Gibbs and J. H. Rackerby, hardware; John Cox, A. Greenstreet, Capt. Blue, saloons; Scroggins & Lowry, Stokes and Bowman, groceries; Van Winkle & Blackburn, wholesale lumber merchants; Huffman & Williams, McCubbins & Peck, produce and commission merchants; J. W. Brite, Berryhill & Durham, Mitchell & Dunagin, J. Beasley, general merchandise.
The following, pertaining to the period before the railroad was completed to Rogers, but after it was decided that a depot would be erected there, is an extract from the pen of Maj. A. J. Allen, who wrote a history of the town when it was a year old: “The months of March and April were extremely cold and stormy, as the winter months preceding them had been. We had no railroad and no telegraph line. The wagon roads, most of the time, were entirely impassable. It was impossible to get lumber, and all building operations were delayed in consequence of bad roads. But few people were here then, and they took hotel lodgings in the forest during the night, and kept themselves busy during the day by foraging for subsistence and building huge fires by which to keep warm.
“One man, who had waited patiently and long for good weather and lumber, opened up a business house in the top of an oak tree. The huge oak had been felled to the ground, and he took his wagon body off the wheels, and placed it lengthwise on the trunk of the tree. He then, like a good Southern man with Yankee principles, stuck up a sign with six letters, and spread out his goods for sale; and, judging from the number of people who daily gathered about his place of business, we conclude that he did a good thriving business. He said he would open the first business house in Rogers, and he kept his word.”
During the seven years of the existence of Rogers it has grown to be a thriving and prosperous little city of from 1,500 to 1,800 inhabitants. The following is its present business directory, to wit: Bank of Rogers, W. R. Felker, banker; dry goods, clothing and notions, Finch Brothers, C. A. Nelson, W. A. Miller, H. L. Stroud; groceries, Caywood & Son, J. A. Smith, W. L. Watkins, W. R. Cady, Nance & Oakley, C. Livesay, Williams & Saunders, Osborn & Garnett, Z. H. McCubbins, Kimble Bros.; hardware, C. L. Gibbs, Dyer Brothers; drugs, I. V. Davis, C. L. Alexander, J. E. Applegate, Dr. R. D. Cogswell; restaurants, L. J. Merritt, William Story, W. W. Reynolds; confectioner, A. Bucklin; furniture, George Raupp, W. H. Dwyer; millinery, Miss Alice M. Roberts, Mrs. L. Horsley, Mrs. C. A. Wickes; harness and saddles, Morgan & Stewart; general second-hand store, Joseph Milligan; livery, James M. Vandover, Oakley & McSpadden; bakery, B. F. Woodruff; butchers, C. Juhne, S. Fleek; barbers, K. T. Heflin, W. A. Patterson; hotels, Brown House, Rogers Hotel; boot and shoe maker, F. Duval; watchmakers and jewelers, W. H. Dwyer, J. E. Applegate; painters, James Neal, Charles Clark; blacksmiths and wheel-wrights, Jeffreys & Duff, Robertson & Duff; steam roller mills, Rogers Milling Company; fruit evaporator, D. Wing & Brother; canning and packing factory, Rogers Canning and Packing Company; Arkansas Lime Works, C. A. Wickes; cider and jelly plant.
Lumber yards, J. A. C. Blackburn, W. H. Fowler; mineral waters, ginger ale, etc., King & Co.; water supply works, Rogers Lime & Water Works Company; contractors and builders, W. H. Fowler, R. C. Copp, H. Nelson, J. B. Mills; attorneys, E. R. Morgan, Ed. Finch; insurance agents, Duckworth & Bixler, J. W. Price, Z. H. McCubbin; real estate agents, Duckworth & Bixler, J. W. Price; physicians, H. Weems, R. D. Cogswell, P. C Pennington, J. C. Freeland, E. N. Stearns; dentists, Reynolds, R. F. Stringer; churches, Congregational, Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal, South, Baptist, Cumberland Presbyterian, Christian; Rogers Academy, principal, J. W. Scroggs; Miss Mary G. Webb, J. R. Williams, Elta Scroggs, Hettie C. Tryon, assistants. This was the faculty for the school year closed. Societies, Rogers Lodge No. 460, A. F. & A. M., Rogers Lodge No. 89, I. O. O. F., Rogers Encampment No. 14, George H. Thomas Post No. 29, G. A. R.
The manufacturing industries of Rogers deserve especial mention. It is claimed that the Rogers Flouring Mills are the best and most extensive in the State of Arkansas, and that they are doing an extensive business, running both day and night. D. Wing & Bro.’s evaporating plant was the first one established in the State. Their lead in the industry dates from 1882. The capacity is 450 bushels of apples, or 250 bushels of peaches, per day. The evaporator used by them is the Alden patent, and their parer the Wizard machine. During the working months they employ an average of sixty hands, many of whom are women. The canning and packing company was organized with a capital stock of $12,000, and next to the milling company its business is probably the most valuable single enterprise in Rogers. It has extensive buildings, and has the advantage of a long season for operations, as it cans all kinds of fruits (small fruits included) as well as vegetables. It employs a great many hands.
Business Transactions in 1887
Four dry goods, clothing and notions, $60,000; seven groceriers, $46,000; two hardware and implements, $23,000; three drugs and medicine, $15,000; one harness and saddlery, $2,000; one newspaper and job printing, $4,100; two butchers, $3,400; one variety store, $3,000; three millinery and ladies’ furnishing, $4,000; one furniture and undertaking, $5,000; two hotels, $5,500; one barber, $1,500; one lumber, sash, doors, etc., $16,000; contracting and building, $28,000; produce, hides and furs, $45,000; grain and grain products, $123,300; live stock, $44,500; 374 carloads ties, $18,000; 11,125 barrels apples shipped, $22,500; 15,000 bushels potatoes shipped, $6,000; evaporated fruit transactions, $60,000; miscellaneous, $20,000total, $565,600. Bank transactions and loans, $663,872. Grand total, $1,239,472.
Total carloads forwarded, 737, divided as follows: flour, 123; wheat, 13; potatoes, 15; apples, 51; dried fruit, 13; eggs, 10; live stock, 89; ties, 374; miscellaneous, 49.
The Press in Rogers
The Rogers New Era was established in the fall of 1881, and has ever since been controlled by its present proprietors, Graham & Mason. It is a six-column quarto, neatly printed and well edited. It is Democratic in politics, and is the oldest paper now being published in the county. The publishers of this work are under obligations to it for much of the history of Rogers.
The Rogers Republican, a five-column quarto, was established in April, 1888, the first number being published on the 26th day of that month, by its present proprietors, Warner & Honeywell. It is also a neatly printed paper and well edited. In politics it is Republican, and has done much to organize the Republican party in Benton County.
The Rogers papers are both well patronized by local advertisers, which speaks well for the town.
Back to: Benton County, Arkansas History
Source: History of Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian Counties, Arkansas. Chicago, IL, USA: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889.