John "The Powder Maker" Rogers

Born: 1 Jun 1757 in Culpeper County, Virginia
5 Jan 1822 in Powell Valley, Claiborne County, Tennessee
Rogers Family Cemetery, Claiborne County, Tennessee

Mother: Sokey Unknown
Father: Benjamin Rogers

Married: (1) Unknown Britton 1776 in Montgomery County (later became Wythe County), Virginia.

Parents unknown. Other Brittons in Montgomery Co at the time were Jonathon, William, John, James, and Elizabeth who married John (the Powder Maker)'s brother Joseph .


  1. William (Dr. Rev. William)
    b. 4 Feb 1777, Montgomery County (later Wythe County), VA
    d. 6 Jun 1836, Speedwell, Claiborne, County, Tennessee
  2. David (Major David)
    b. 3 Oct 1779, Montgomery County (later Wythe County), VA
    d. 14 Sept 1871, Speedwell, Claiborne County, Tennessee
  3. John
    b. 28 Dec 1781, Montgomery (later became Wythe) County, VA
    d. 19 Feb 1861
  4. James
    b. Abt. 1783
  5. Samuel
  6. Isaac
    b. Abt. 1786, Tennessee
    d. Bef. 1860, Bartholomew County Indiana
  7. Joseph
    b. Abt. 1787
  8. Jesse
    b. 3 Mar 1791, Washington County, Tennessee
    d. 14 Feb 1872, near Rogersville, Webster County, Missouri
  9. Matilda
    b. Abt. 1793

Married (2): Mary (Polly) Brawley 19 Aug 1793 in Wythe County, Virginia

Born: 1774 in Montgomery County, Virginia
Abt. 1814 in Claiborne County, Tennessee

Mother: Mary Guy
Father: John Brawley


  1. Reuben B.
    b. Abt. 1795
  2. Sarah
    b. Abt. 1797
  3. Benjamin R.
    b. Abt. 1804, Claiborne County, Tennessee
    d. Aft. 1880
  4. Anna (Annie)
    b. 24 Jun 1808, Claiborne County, Tennessee
    d. 19 Feb 1871, SW Missouri
  5. Elijah
    b. Abt. 1809, Tennessee
  6. Thomas
    b. Abt. 1810
  7. John F.
    b. Abt. 1810
  8. Robert
    b. Abt. 1812
  9. Stephen
    b. Abt. 1814
    d. Aft. 1823

Married (3) Unknown Hudson Abt. 1815 in Wythe County, Virginia.


  1. Wesley
    b. Abt. 1818
  2. Cornelius (Neal)
    b. 14 Dec 1820
    d. Aft. 1880

Sources and Additional Information:

John (the Powder Maker)

The "accepted date" of John (TPM)? birth is 1 June 1757. He may have been born earlier. He was probably born in Culpeper County, Virginia. William and Benjamin (Jr.) who appear to be John? older brothers were born in Culpeper County in 1748 and 1756 according to their Revolutionary War pension applications. John died prior to 1832 and thus could not file a pension claim.

He was probably the John Rogers listed below serving in Captain Herbert? Co. during Dunmore? War. For more information concerning Dunmore? War, see:


In her book, "Early Adventures on the Western Waters", Vol. III, p.340, Mary Kegley indicates that there may have been two John Rogers who were referred to in 1771 at "Jr." and "Sr.". I have never found more than one John Rogers in this area at this time and suspect that the reference that Mary found was an error. For more information on Mary B. Kegley? books about SW VA see:


John was married three times (See: John's Three Wives ) and had at least 20 children:

1. A woman named Britton or Brittain. They were probably married in what is now Wythe Co, VA about 1776. There was certainly a Britton family living on Cripple Creek at that time. Jonathon Britton was the father of William and possibly Joseph, Nathaniel, John, Elizabeth and James. Note that John Britton was mentioned in John Brawley's will. John Brawley was of course the father of Polly, John's second wife and Martha, Benjamin Rogers (Jr.)'s wife.

2. Mary (Polly) Brawley was, as Ray showed us, John's second wife. Their marriage date is well documented as 19 Aug 1793. John was no doubt in a hurry to find a mother for his young children. According to my calculations, he had six children under the age of 10 years at the time of his marriage to Polly and those over 10 years old were all boys. Polly certainly had her hands full from the beginning.

3. A woman named Hudson was John? last wife. As of yet, we do not know anything about her.

We are probably missing at least a couple of children who may have died young. The order and dates of those where I've indicated "about" are my best guess based on the information available. I welcome any information that might provide more accurate dates.

During the time of his first marriage, John lived near Cripple Creek, VA in what was then Botetourt (1769-72), Fincastle (1772-76), Montgomery (1776-89), and Wythe County (1789-present). For a map of the area, see: http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?z=17&n=4082468&e=494377&s=200

Fort Chiswell and the Lead Mines were near where the Rogers lived on Cripple Creek. The fort was built in 1757 and Col John Chiswell first opened the mines in 1760. John (TPM) got his nickname because he apparently was involved in powder making. This skill was passed on to at least two of his sons, Major David b. 1779 and Jesse b. 1791. Others were surely involved too. The fact that John was a powder maker may have some relationship to the Lead Mines that played a very important roll during this period as a source of ammunition during the war and also a source of employment in the area for almost two hundred years. See Ft. Chiswell, The Lead Mines And Gunpowder.

After the birth of his "first family", he moved to what is now East Tennessee. It appears that he was there to claim land as early as 1775. At the time the area was known as the Washington District or County and belonged to North Carolina. It was also known as the "Watauga" and later, "Territory of the US South of the Ohio". Initially, he settled or at least claimed 400 acres of land in Powell? Valley. There are also reports of his settlement on the Nolichuky (Chunky) River, six miles from Jonesborough, Tennessee in 1779. He may have also spent some time in the Greasy Cove area in what is now Unicoi County, Tennessee. It appears however that he returned to Virginia due trouble with the Indians and North Carolina? failure to recognize the land as being authorized for settlement.

Earlier researchers concluded that John (TPM) was the John Rogers who served in the 3 rd Virginia Regiment from 1776 to 1778. Mary Lea Rogers Forsythe who descended from John's son, Major David Rogers, claimed DAR membership (DAR National #755323) based on that service. According to an old family bible that was in the possession of Ralph L. Rogers of Knoxville, Tennessee in 1955, John was also at the decisive battle of King? Mountain in North Carolina that took place 7 October 1780.

There is considerable doubt that our John (TPM) is the same John Rogers who served in the 3 rd VA Regiment and that he was at the battle of King? Mountain. To read more about that debate, see John (TPM)'s Revolutionary War Service .

At any rate, it appears that in early 1781, John was back in Virginia where he marched on 25 February with COL William Preston and the Montgomery Co militia to join General Nathaniel Greene in North Carolina to fight the British forces under General Cornwallis. On 6 March 1781, John took part in the Battle at Weitzel's Mills on Reedy Creek, NC and on 15 March, he was at the battle of Guilford Courthouse, NC. Other Rogers serving in the Montgomery Co militia (believed to be brothers) who also took part in the action at Weitzel's Mills were James, Benjamin, David, and Joseph. William Rogers may have joined them at Guilford Courthouse battle. See Battle At Guilford Court House .

On 8 May 1782, John, James, Benjamin, David, and Joseph Rogers appeared in Montgomery Co, Virginia court and each claimed between 10 and 20 Pounds for equipment lost in the action at Reedy Fork (Reedy Creek) at Weitzel's Mills on the way to the Battle at Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina.

Here are sightings that we believe are attributable to John (TPM):

1 Jun 1757 - Born (Culpeper Co, VA ?). Benjamin (the Immigrant)'s 3rd son. Source: "More Speedwell Families" by Joy E. Davis, p.423.

1771 - Listed as a tithable on New River in Herbert's Company. John "took up" 200 acres on Mine Mill Creek adjoining the upper side of James Brawley. This tract was later assigned to John Brawley who received the grant in 1782. Source: "Early Adventures on the Western Waters Vol III", p.340.

1773 - Washington Co at Clay Lick, 400 acres, actual settlement. Source: "Annals of SW VA, Washington Co", p.1243.

1774 - Capt. William Herbert's Company. Source: Fincastle Co DW p.266 and "Dunmore's War Card Index at Library of VA", indx p.xiv

1774 - Auditors paid him for 104 days of service with Capt. Wm Herbert's Co. Source: "Early Adventures on the Western Waters Vol III", p.340.

1775 - Powell's Valley, 400 acres, actual settlement. Source: "Annals of SW VA, Washington Co", p.1242.

1776 - John married ___ Britton probably in Montgomery Co, VA. Source: Family tradition.

2 Mar 1778 - Swore allegiance to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Source: "Montgomery Co, VA, The First Hundred Years", p.52-53.

1778 - Fined for refusing to march with the militia. Source: "Montgomery Co VA Court Order Index-Militia 2", p.27.

6 Mar 1781 - Battle at Whitzell's Mills on Reedy Creek, Revolutionary War. Source: "Annals of SW VA, Montgomery Co, p.771 & Kings Mt and Its Heroes, p.391-393.

15 Mar 1781 - Battle at Guilford Courthouse, Revolutionary War. Source: "Annals of SW VA", p.1405.

5 April 1781 - Member of Captain James Newell's Company of Montgomery Co. Militia. Source: "Montgomery Co, VA, The First Hundred Years", p.94-95.

14 Aug 1781 - Powell's Valley, 400 acres, land registration. Source: "Annals of SW VA, Washington Co", p.1242.

8 May 1782 - Montgomery Co, VA Court. John and his brothers claimed ? - ? for equipment lost. Source: "Annals of SW VA, Montgomery Co", p.771.

22 Sep 1782 - Witnessed Militia Accounts document by John Grayham. Source: "Montgomery Co, VA, The First Hundred Years", p.62.

1782 - Member of Captain James Newell's Company of Montgomery Co. Militia. Source: "Montgomery Co, VA, The First Hundred Years", p.108.

1782 ? Survey of 200 acres on both sides of Mine Mill Creek (near Cripple Creek), grant to John Brawley 1796. Source: "Early Adventures on the Western Waters Vol III", p.229.

1782 - James Newell, William Rogers, William Moore, and Alexander Neely made selections along Mine Mill Creek with John Rogers and Thomas Nelson joining them in 1783. Source: "Early Adventures on the Western Waters Vol III", p.221.

1782 - Taxed for 200 acres of land. Source: "Montgomery Co VA Land Tax List 1782, New River Web Site".

1783 - Survey of land on both sides of Mine Mill Creek. Source: "Montgomery Co VA Plat Book C", p.136.

6 Apr 1785 - North Fork Holston in Rich Valley, 106 acres, land registration. Source: "Annals of SW VA, Washington Co", p.1242.

24 Jun 1786 - Patrick Henry, ESQ, Thomas Madison & Co assignees of Patrick Henry 1,000 acres on lead Mine Mill Creek, branch of New River, to begin at William Rogers and to John Rogers' land & to Richard Muse's land & to join James. Source: "Montgomery Co, VA Entry Book B", p.298.

1791 - Moved family to Washington County, Tennessee (then Territory of the US South of the Ohio). Data from Lewis M. Rogers indicates the move was in Oct 1782. Source: "History of Tennessee", Goodspeed, p.1143 and "Early Adventures on the Western Waters Vol III", p.340.

19 Aug 1793 - Married to Polly Brawley by Jonathan Bird, Wythe Co, VA. Polly was sister of Benjamin (Jr)'s wife. See 25 Sep 1795 entry. Source: "Annals of SW VA, Wythe Co", p. 1377.

25 Sep 1795 - Will of John Brally (Brawley) mentions daughters: Martha (Benjamin Jr's wife), Barbara, & Polly (John's 2rd wife). Witnesses: William Rogers, John Britton, & Wm Lockett. Exec: Richard Muse & Daniel Lockett. Source: "Wythe Co, VA Will Book 1", p.7.

14 Jan 1801 - 115 acres at "Chuckey" (Nolichuncky) River sold for nonpayment of direct tax. Source: "Washington Co TN Deeds, 1775-1800", p.185.

1801 - Moved his family from Washington County, Tennessee to Claiborne County, Tennessee. Data from Lewis M. Rogers indicates the move took place 22 Dec 1799. Source: "History of Tennessee", Goodspeed, p.1143.

5 Jan 1822 - Died, Powell Valley, Speedwell, Claiborne County, Tennessee. Source: More Speedwell Families", p.423.

Subject: Re: Brawley
Date: 01/21/2000 2:38:40 PM GMT Standard Time
From: vipfit@3wave.com (vipfit)
To: JRogers722@aol.com

I'm going to try to respond specifically to each of the queries you included in your first e-mail to me, but it will take me a little time, since I'm still working on my research and it must be typed into the computer and organized. However, you asked me if there was any source material to substantiate that our Mary (Polly) Bralley, who married into your family, was indeed named Mary, and I do have the response to that question handy. See below:

10 April 1816: Satisfactory proof that John Bralley (Sr.), for whom a survey of 379 acres was made September 4th, 1774 (note: should read February 4th) in Fincastle County, now Wythe, under an order of Council granted to the Loyal Company, departed this life about 1797 leaving James, John (Jr.), Martha, Barbara and Mary Bralley, his children and only heirs; and also that the wife of said Bralley mentioned in his will died about 1815; ordered to be certified to the land office. Ref: Abstract of Court Orders of Wythe County, Virginia 1811-1820, Volume 2, compiled and edited by Mary B. Kegley, 1997, p. 68.

Edgar Bralley

Bristol, Virginia

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