Saturday, May 4, 2013

Part 2 of “This is Frustrating!”



Please read Part 1 before reading this one to get a full understanding of this genealogical puzzle and longtime mystery. See http://rootsrevealed.blogspot.com/2013/05/this-is-frustrating.html.

Well, after 20 years, I think I have a strong candidate for who may have been the father of my great-grandfather, Albert Kennedy (1857-1928), and his sisters.  I never believed the father was the slave-owner, Stephen Kennedy. It took me moving to Washington, DC, talking with Cousin Mavis, and listening to the clues she had heard from her father and uncles to renew my interest in determining this “sperm donor’s” name. Turns out, the white father may have been a man named Theophilus M. Rodgers of Scott County, Mississippi.  However, I still desire more documental and genetic proof to say with complete certainty that this man was my great-great-grandfather. The clues are pretty strong, though.  This is how he was discovered:

(1) Cousin Mavis had shared with me that the family owned a chicken poultry and a dealership in Morton, Mississippi, as well as a lot of land and a cotton gin. I remembered that my grandmother, Willie Ealy Collier, always purchased her cars in Morton. Never knew why Grandma bypassed dealerships in Carthage and Canton and chose the dealership in Morton.  (Note: Grandma was Dad’s adopted mother whose mother, Adaline Kennedy Ealy, was Grandpa Albert Kennedy’s sister.)  I vividly remember when she bought her last car in 1981 in Morton. I was with her when she drove it back to Canton. It was a brand new blue Chevy Impala, and Grandma had paid cash for it. Yes, my grandparents were balling! LOL Well, I called my Dad and asked him who owned the dealership in Morton they got their cars from. He said it was the Rogers Family. I googled for more information and learned that a man named B.C. Rogers opened the first chicken poultry in Morton in the early 1930s. The dealership was called Freddy B. Rogers. So, where will the Rogers/Rodgers surname lead me?

(2) I got on Ancestry.com and found white Rodgers/Rogers families in Scott County in 1850 and 1860. This was the time frame when Grandma Lucy gave birth to Grandpa Albert and his sisters (1851-1861). They lived in the Hillsboro district, the same district where the slave-owner Stephen Kennedy resided. One was named Theophilus Rodgers. That odd name leaped out at me because both Grandpa Albert Kennedy, and his sister, Mattie Kennedy Ealy, named a son Theophilus! Grandpa Albert’s son, Theophilus “Uncle Fay-op” Kennedy, was by Miss Alice Hill, who had at least six children by him. In 1860, "Theofilus" Rodgers, age 27, was living with his older brother, William Rodgers, age 29. They both were born in Alabama. Grandpa Albert answered several times in the censuses that his father was born in Alabama. In 1850, those Rodgers brothers were in the household of their father, Jesse Rodgers. Interestingly, Aunt Mattie named a son Jessie. This is the 1850 census report of those Rodgers:

 1850 Scott County, Mississippi Census – household of Jesse Rodgers, age 52

(3) My father mentioned this week that he remembered my Grandma and her siblings talk about their white grandfather and how he visited them sometimes.  I did not know this!  That’s why I had always referred to him simply as the “sperm donor”.  Growing up, Grandma indeed had shared with us that her maternal grandmother’s children was fathered by a white man, but at that time, I didn’t ask, “Well, who was he?” Frankly, I didn’t care. I was young. I just wanted to go outside and ride my bike.  Therefore, since my grandmother actually laid eyes on her grandfather, this man had to live passed 1904, since my grandmother was born in 1904. Well, Theophilus Rodgers was still living in 1910 in Scott County, age 77, and he was living with his son, John T. Rodgers. Therefore, this Rogers man was a strong possibility. This is the 1910 census report:


1910 Scott County, Mississippi – Theophilus Rodgers, age 77, living with his son

(4) Well, I called Cousin Mavis back after discovering Theophilus Rodgers. I asked her one simple question, "Was the father's last name Rogers?" She responded quickly, "Yes, that's it! The father was a Rogers!"

(5) Here’s where things get confusing again. Bennie Clyde “B.C.” Rogers, who opened the first chicken poultry in Morton, Mississippi, and his family were not descendants of Theophilus Rodgers. Those Rogers appear to be a different set. They moved to Scott County, Mississippi from Ouachita County, Arkansas after 1910. This Rogers Family’s ancestral tree was found on ancestry.com, and they don't seem to be connected to Theophilus Rogers. So now I don’t know what to believe……

8 comments:

  1. It always amazes me, how much useful info we can get from sitting with the elders. So often the activation of recall, and mention of little details can lead to significant discovers and clarity. Super sleuth, what a fine job you have done, as always!

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  2. Mel, in the confusion lies the answer. Before, I began genealogy, I only knew that Dad was born in WV. I later learned his parents moved to WV from VA to work for US Steel in the coal mines. Dads roots were in fact in VA, the very same county in which I was born. He was born in WV but grew up in VA, with his grandmother. Sometimes these folks are connected and there might be a Mississippi to Arkansas connection. Also, the two states are only separated by the mighty Mississippi River. Focus on the connection of the Roger perhaps moving from MS into Arkansas. I think that you might be closer than you think. Look at all MS Rogers and all AR Rogers and you will make the connection.

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  3. The evidence does seem to be pointing to this guy. I sure hope you are able to find out more information. Good sleuthing!

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  4. Hmmm...maybe it is a Rogers, just not Theopolis Rogers, could be one of his sons; perhaps John T is actually John Theopolis. I had a similar situation on the Beamon branch of my tree.
    You'll get there.

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  5. Looks like you are on the right track. Remember with oral history, it is not always 100 percent accurate. The chicken plant may not be a part of your story. Your research skills will lead you to the correct conclusion.

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  6. Maybe they just bought from the Rogers in town because they liked the name. Sounds like you are on the way! And so lucky to have people you can still ask!!

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