This page updated November 1, 2008My family line from David Abram Rodgers:
When David married Mary Ann Mills on June 8, 1880 he was a conductor on a horse drawn street car in Detroit, Michigan. In 1884 Mary's mother Sara (maiden Dunbar) Mills and her brothers and sisters moved to San Rosa, California. David & Mary followed them westward with their two young sons William (May 13, 1881) and Frank (Nov. 24, 1882), but went to San Francisco where David landed a job as a street car conductor with the Market Street Cable Railway Company. Mary still wanted to be closer to her mother so in 1885 David quit his San Francisco job, and took a job with the Santa Rosa municipal street car system as a conductor on its Fourth Street run. On December 26, 1886 Mary gave birth to twin boys, Chester and George. George died a month later on February 6, 1887.In 1887 William (Billy) King of Ingrams/Cazadero approached the Rodgers and offered David a job cutting timber and splitting redwood picket fences, shakes and other split stuff on his large ranch. King assured David that he could make more money here than working for the street car system in town. Billy King's sister Margaret had married John Mills who was a cousin to Mary, and Mary was all for the idea. She thought that they certainly couldn't go wrong with family. In 1888 the Rodgers moved to Cazadero to take the job offer (This was the same year that George Montgomery purchased the town of Ingrams and renamed it "Cazadero"). Their son Harold was born at their home on the Austin Creek Sneigger ranch May 4, 1889.
In January 1894 David helped search for the bodies of the men involved in the "Austin Creek Train Tragedy." After repeated trips into the creek's cold waters to recover the bodies he caught pneumonia and never fully recovered from his affliction. In the fall of the year at age 37 he died at his home on Mohrhardt Ridge from an ruptured appendix. He was buried by his elder sons a short distance from his house on a high knoll with a magnificant view (Balsie Point). From here the coastal ridge above Fort Ross can be seen to the west, the canyon of the Russian River and Mt. Diablo to the south. Mt. Tamalpais can also be seen on a clear day. His grave site is marked by a bronze plaque mounted on a large rock and is located about 3 miles upslope from the current Rodgers' Ranch. Edward Mohrhardt's (1905-1986) ashes are also interred at the site. (The mountain ridge is named after Ed.)
Photo August 18, 1997
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE FAMILY?
In 1895 Mary Ann remarried to Harry Butler of San Francisco, a frequent hunting vistor to Cazadero, whom she met while working as a waitress at the Cazadero Hotel (Ingrams Hotel). They were married by Justice Of The Peace Francis Drake Trosper. After their marriage Mary & Harry resided in San Francisco with her young son Harold. When a young man, and after Harold married a Miss Sarah Nixon, he returned to Cazadero and became its Postmaster (1915 - 1918). Harold eventually returned to San Francisco where he began employment with Socony Vacuum (Mobil Oil). He retired from Mobil Oil in 1954 as the company's Northern California Regional Manager.
Chester, Frank & Bill remained in Cazadero. Chester was raised by Tom & Cornelia Trosper and Frank & Bill worked on local ranches for room and board. Chester spent his whole life in Cazadero. He ran the Cazadero Water Department for George Montgomery, was Ocean Township's last Justice Of The Peace (1926 - 1930) and a carpenter. He learned his carpentry at a trade school in San Francisco with the help of novelist Jack London. London also persuaded Frank to learn carpentry in San Francisco and purchased the first set of tools for him. Bill married Sarah Nobels of Cazadero and like Chester spent his whole life in Cazadero. He was the Road Foreman for the construction of the new road to Cazadero in 1923-1924 (Now Austin Creek Road). Frank married and moved to Reno, Nevada where he worked in construction. He eventually moved to Pueblo, Colorado where he worked in construction and raised a family.
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