Sources and Additional Information:
There are some postings that reflect his year of birth as 1715. That may not be correct. The fact is that we don't know when or where he was born. We know that he was in London in 1733. One can assume that he was then at least 18 years old and born in England... but that is just an assumption and certainly not based on any facts. He could have been slightly younger or older. We do know that he died in 1802.
Based on the Revolutionary War pension applications of his sons, William b. 24 May 1748 and Benjamin "Jr." b. 29 Jun 1756, we know that Benjamin Rogers was in Culpeper Co, VA during this period. Based on circumstantial evidence and family tradition, we believe that this Benjamin is the same one who we have come to call Benjamin "the Immigrant".
Benjamin "the Immigrant" arrived in Virginia Jul 1734 on board the ship Caesar captained by William Loney. The exact port of arrival is not known. Benjamin was an involuntary émigré who had been transported to the American colonies by the British after he was convicted a crime in London.
Specifically, He was convicted in Middlesex in October 1733 for stealing a wooden drawer (money box) and 7s in the shop of John Wiggs. The account indicates that 4s 10d were retrieved and that Benjamin had no other goods that could be confiscated and used as compensation.
Benjamin pleaded not guilty, but was convicted. There were two witnesses against him, John Wiggs and John Farrell. He was sentenced to transportation to Virginia to serve a term laboring for a master to whom he would be "sold" upon arrival in Virginia. He was held at Newgate prison until he was put on the Ship Caesar 13 Jan 1734 and landed in Virginia in July 1734.
The term that most of the transported had to serve was usually seven or 14 years. It is probably no coincidence that the first record we find of Benjamin is the birth of his first son 14 years after he arrived in Virginia.
But what do we know of Benjamin "the Immigrant's" roots in England before his arrest, conviction, and transport? Unfortunately, we know very little. It appears that Benjamin was living in the Parish of "St Ann within the Liberty of the Dean and Chapter of the College of the Church of St Peter Westminster of the City Borough and Town of Westminster in the county of Middlesex".
Our London based researcher found that Benjamin is referred to as a Yeoman. The researcher states, "we consider that a most unusual occupation for a felon!" I assume that means a Yeoman would normally have been relatively well off and would not have needed to commit such a crime. This is interesting, but only gives way to many more questions for which there are currently no answers.
Even after a second try, our researcher was not able to find not found any clue that might reveal Benjamin's ancestors. My understanding of the term Yeoman is one who owns and works his own land. However, there are other definitions. Here is what I found in Webster's
- An attendant or manservant in a royal or noble household.
- An assistant or subordinate as to a sheriff.
- Freeholder of a class below the gentry who worked his own land.
- A small landowner.
It appears that Benjamin "the Immigrant" was in southwest Virginia by at least 1767. A promissory note recently found in Montgomery Co, VA by Ben Marchi reads as follows: "I promise to pay unto Mr. Ph. Jacob Irion or his order in March next the full and just Sum of Two pounds, nine Shillings and two pences currt. Money of Virginia being for Value reived as witnefs my hand, this 9th January 1768." Signed: Benjamin Rogers.
They settled on Cripple Creek that runs into the New River in what is now Wythe Co, VA. At the time the area was in Augusta Co. In late 1769 it became part of the newly formed Botetourt Co. In 1772, Fincastle Co was formed with the county seat at the Lead Mines near Cripple Creek in what is now Austinville, Wythe Co. In 1776, Fincastle Co was split and Montgomery Co was formed with its county seat at the Lead Mines. Finally, in late 1789, the area became part of Wythe Co.
Ben Marchi also found reference to Benjamin and William Rogers taking up stray horses on Cripple Creek.
Here are the "sightings" of Benjamin that we have found while in this area. In that there are two Benjamin Rogers in the area, Benjamin "the Immigrant", and his son Benjamin b. 1756, who we will call Benjamin "Jr.", it is not easy to tell which is which in the records. Although I have attempted to keep the two separate, it is certainly possible that some of these sightings relate to Benjamin, Jr.
- 1771 Listed as a tithable on New River in William Herbert's Company. Source: "Early Adventures on the Western Waters" by Mary B. Kegley, Vol III, p.340. NOTE: For more information on Mary Keyley's books about SW VA see:
- 3 Mar 1774 Appointed Constable on Cripple Creek. Source: "Annals of SW VA", Fincastle Co, p.602. NOTE: For more information about this area see the following. Keep in mind that the name of the county changed several times. Most of the information can be found under Montgomery Co .
- 1774 Dunmore's War: Capt. Walter Crockett's Company. Source: Fincastle Co DW p.254 and Dunmore's War Card Index at Library of VA, index p.vii" NOTE: For more information about this area during the British period and Dunmore's War see:
- 1774 Auditors paid him for 53 days of service with Capt. Walter Crockett's Co. Source: "Early Adventures on the Western Waters", Vol III, p.340.
- 1774 Survey of land on Cripple Creek. Source: Montgomery Co VA Plat Book A, p.12.
- 8 Jan 1777 Montgomery Co, VA Court, appointed Constable on Cripple Creek. Source: "Annals of SW VA, Montgomery Co", p.676.
- 2 Mar 1778 Swore allegiance to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Source: "Montgomery Co, VA, The First Hundred Years", p.52-53.
- 3 Mar 1778 Appointed to serve in Capt Pearces' Co as Constable. Source: "Annals of SW VA, Montgomery Co", p.687 and Montgomery Co, VA Court Order Index-Militia 2, p.27.
- 1779 Benjamin vs. Jacob Iron. Source: Montgomery Co VA Court Order Index-Def, p.386.
- 6 Feb 1782 Appointed a Constable in Capt. James Newell's Company. Source: "Annals of SW VA, Montgomery Co", p.757 and Montgomery Co VA Court Order Index-Militia 2, p.162.
- 1785 Claimed stray animal. Source: Montgomery Co, VA Court Order Index-Plaintiff, p.721.
- 26 May 1786 Treasury warrant assigned by Jno. Preston beginning lower end of last entry & with Francis' lines to Randolph Retherford & with his lines to Wm.. Gleaves & with his lines to Thos. Hobbs & with said lines to Jas. Baber's & with his lines to Benj'n Rogers & with his lines to Wm. Henley's & with his to James Davis. Land is located on Cripple Creek. Source: Montgomery Co, VA Entry Book B, p.287-8.
- 27 May 1786 ....also 2,000 acres on treasury warrant, 1783, assignee by Henry Banks assignee of Wm. McWilliams, beginning on Jas. Baber's line on Mill Creek & to George Ewing's & with his line to Mich'l Least & with his line to Adam Dean's land known as Black's Fort & with Dean's line west to Wm Henley & to Haunsbaugh (Ansbach?) survey & with the line down the branch to Benjamin Rogers……… Source: Montgomery Co, VA Entry Book B, p.295.
- 8 Oct 1789 Benjamin Rogers (by right of Settlement) - - 50 acres on Babers Mill Creek of Cripple Creek at the foot of Lick Mt. adjacent to Benjamin Rogers, Sr. Source: Montgomery County, Virginia Survey Book "D", page 56. NOTE: Here is a web site that gives you the best overall view of this area. You can zoom in if you like to see more detail.
If you look at some of the names of the small streams, mountains, and other land marks, you will see some that look very familiar to those who have studied the history of the area during the Rev War or the pension applications of William, Benjamin (Jr), and Jeremiah. Such names as Francis, McGavak (McGavock), Dean, Ewing, Henley, Bowen, and Crockett just to name a few.
- 2p Jun 1801 Benjamin and Sokey Rogers sold 63 acres on Cripple Creek to Robert Majors for $60.00. Witnesses: Wm Brooks, John Harshbarger & James Rogers. Recorded 14 Nov 1801 by Robert Crockett. Source: "Early Adventures on the Western Waters" Vol III, p.340 and Wythe Co Deed Book #3, p.177. Benjamin (The Immigrant) Rogers 1801 Land Deed
- 1802 Benjamin died, Blount County, Tennessee. Source: Family tradition.