Biographical Sketch On The Life Of Samuel Rogers
Many who had an active part in the early days of the "Restoration Movement" have been forgotten; only the most prominent are remembered. Very much like the generals and leaders of carnal warfare: only the prominent leaders find a place in history, while the rank and file of the army, who bore the burden, are forgotten. Samuel Rogers has almost been forgotten.
He was born in Charlotte
County, Va., on November 6, 1789. His father, Ezekiel Rogers, emigrated from
England and settled in Virginia. In 1793 his father moved from Virginia to
Central Kentucky. The subject of this sketch was only four years old at that
time, hence he was reared in Kentucky. His father next moved to Missouri and
lived there until 1809, when he moved back to Kentucky. In 1812 Samuel Rogers
married Elizabeth Irvin. The Irvin family had been reared after the strictest
sect of Presbyterianism. A few years before Samuel Rogers married into the
family the shackles of Presbyterianism had been broken and the Irvin family was
liberated. Barton W. Stone held a revival meeting near the Irvin home, and the
Irvin family became great admirers of Mr. Stone and were led by him away from
the slavery of denominationalism and into the freedom that is in Christ Jesus.
Later Samuel Rogers heard Mr. Stone preach and became a firm believer in the
teachings of the New Testament. He became a Christian soon after his marriage.
Samuel Rogers Story: In His Own Words
"I was born in old Virginia, November 6, 1789; moved to Kentucky in 1793; settled in Clarke county, Kentucky, until 1801. Moved then to Missouri, called Upper Louisiana, then under Spanish rule. My mother, a pious Methodist, sewed up her Bible in a feather bed to keep the priests from finding it. This was the only Bible I ever saw until I was grown. My father urged my mother to leave her Bible, as it might give her trouble in this new territory, but she said she must have it to read to her children, and she did read it to us much, and by her piety ami counsels tried to impress its truths upon our minds and hearts. As I was the eldest child, this was all the preaching I heard until a grown man.
"After my mother had taught me to write my name and spell a little, I was sent to school three months. At the end of this time, I graduated with honor, having learned to read, write and cypher to the rule of three. This was about all our teachers knew themselves. My mother’s readings, prayers and counsels gave me early a high regard for her religion. Though my proud heart often rebelled, yet a mother’s voice would bring me back to sober reflection again. I heard a Methodist preach the first discourse I ever listened to; soon after, I heard a Baptist. I liked the free salvation of the Methodist, but disliked his baptism. I liked the baptism of the other, but disliked his Calvinism. I returned to Kentucky about nineteen years old, and found a great stir occasioned by the late strange revivals under B. W. Stone and others. Many abused Stone, while others praised him; I, however, went to bear him for myself, and was much pleased. He called on all to come to Christ, and invited all to lay aside their creeds and take the Bible as the only rule of faith and practice. I was pleased with his preaching: it sounded like the truth—like the religion I had read of. Whatever may have been said of the errors of Stone and those people, it was evident they were spiritually minded, and the most prayerful people of their times. I was baptized by Stone, 1812. The war came on, and the Church became greatly demoralized; and I among the rest was by no means exempt from its unhappy influences. However, after the war, through the preaching of Stone and others, we all got to work again, renewing our covenants with God, and a glorious revival followed. I became an exhorter by necessity. We held little meetings from house to house, and often had to send for a preacher to baptize our converts. The preachers told me I was called of God to preach, I had not thought of being a preacher, but being convinced by their arguments that I was divinely called, I was ordained by Stone at Caneridge fifty-two years ago. He then gave me a Bible, saying: ‘Preach its facts, obey its commands and enjoy its promises.’ I was greatly troubled about my call. I contended that if I was called, as were the apostles, I ought to have their credentials and be able to prove my apostleship. I attempted to draw from dreams and visions and vague impressions, some super-human aid; often went on long tours upon a mere impression of the mind, taking it as a call. I thought I ought to petiorm miracles. My mind was often in a wretched state. About this time I got the ‘Christian Baptist' and found relief. I believe I should have gone crazy but for Alexander Campbell. I was not slow to embrace his view, but knew it to be truth the very moment I saw it, and at once and in haste adopted it. This was about 1825. I had traveled thousands of miles, preached all over the wilds of Ohio, Indiana, IL Iinois, Missouri—swam rivers, exposed myself to every danger, saying, ‘Wo is me if I preach not the gospel!’ I was ardent, impulsive, enthusiastic, and my labors were greatly blessed. But a heavy gloom hung over me when I would tidnk of my call and compare it with that of the apostles.
“Bless the Lord! Alexander Campbell came to my relief. His debate with Walker, and then his debate with McCalla waked up the people, and to me it was like the rising up of the sun after a long gloomy night. I heard him at Wilmington, Ohio, on his first visit. I compared him to Ezra of old, that great reformer who restored to Israel the lost law of God. Stone had given me the book, but Campbell taught me how to read it in its connection. I took his first periodical, the ‘Christian Baptist,’ and since that time have taken and read everything he ever published. I owe him more than any man since apostolic times. He preached no new gospel and brought in no new God, but taught us to worship intelligently the God whom we had ignorantly worshiped, and to go back over the heads of all human teachers to the great Fountain of truth for our faith and practice.
“ Alexander Campbell taught as no other man, but with a clearness and simplicity that carried at once conviction to the mind of every man of common sense. He gave me the New Testament he published, with preface and appendix. I have it yet. It is the best of all new translations; his preface and appendix are invaluable.
"I have sacrificed my whole life for this cause-received almost nothing for twenty-five years of the time. Baptized my thousands—I think seven thousand, as near as I could tell—but have a beautiful home ready for me on the other side of Jordan. I am in my eightieth year, preach yet much, my voice as good as ever; can speak in the open air so as to be heard by one thousand people. Amen.”
-From the pen of Samuel Rogers, Excerpt from Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, volume 2, pages 331-333
Life of Samuel Rogers Lecture By Don Deffenbaugh (2.8 Megs; 45:33 Min.; Lecture Done At Faulkner University In 1998. Good Overview Of Rogers' Life)
Elizabeth Irvine Rogers
On Left: Capt.
W.S. Rogers (son of Samuel & Elizabeth killed in the Civil War)
Samuel R. Rogers, Cynthiana, KY, Old Grave Yard, Hwy 27 N.
Searching For And Finding The Graves Of Samuel & Elizabeth Rogers
We took a trip to Cynthiana and surrounding area while on vacation in 1998. We were staying about 75 miles away in Taylorsville. We made the trip initially to Cynthiana not knowing where Rogers was buried. Upon arriving in town we came across an old cemetery across from Walmart. We walked all over the cemetery, not finding any "Rogers" there. We later found out that it was an old "Blacks - Only" cemetery. We went to the local library where we found old records of the burial place of the old pioneer preacher, Samuel Rogers. He was buried in the old cemetery at the north end of Main St. in town. As we were leaving the librarian told us not to be too disappointed if we couldn’t find the grave as it had been vandalized through the years, and even used as a cow pasture at times. Many of the stones had been broken or stolen. This concerned us but we went to search anyway. Traveling north on the main street, we passed the Christian Church where Rogers probably attended and preached. When we got to the end of town we saw that cemetery and our hearts fell. There were no more than thirty stones in the whole field, and this had been the main city cemetery for 70 years. We got out and looked around anyway. The only "Rogers" we found was a Capt. W.S. Rogers who had died as a Confederate soldier. We left Cynthiana disappointed, but knew that we at least had been at the cemetery where old Samuel and Elizabeth, his wife, were buried.
Later that night, back at the Time Share, I was reading through John T. Brown’s Churches of Christ on the life of Samuel Rogers. I had read it before, but had not noticed that at the end he explains that Rogers is buried right next to his son, Capt. W.S. Rogers. After I pulled my chin off the floor, I looked at A.W. Fortune’s book The Disciples In Kentucky, where he had a page full of pictures of gravesites of pioneer preachers. One picture was that of Samuel Rogers. It was a flat stone, flush with the ground. I then thought that I must have missed it because the grass may have grown over it.
So, the next morning, Jenny, Dad and I drove the 75 miles back to Cynthiana where we walked straight to the graves of Samuel and Elizabeth Rogers. Samuel’s grave was partially grown over by grass, so I gently pulled the grass away. The writing on the old stones are nearly faded away, but perhaps you can see in the picture below the initials, "S.R." Sadly this stone is all but forgotten by many. I’m glad we went back. I won’t forget it! -Scott