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Travels with a family name | Enumclaw Centennial

By SALLIE BOX Enumclaw Courier Herald Columnist
November 29, 2013 · 11:35 AM
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Many of us who went into the seventh grade in the old Enumclaw junior/senior high school were excited to leave our grade-school years behind. We felt so mature, not little kids anymore!

We had six or seven teachers in junior high and only one in grade school. In junior high so many different classes were offered that we didn’t have in grade school. We had physical education, science, band, choir, art, home economic, where we learned how to sew and cook, and the guys had auto shop and wood working classes. We even had a selection of clubs like FFA or art club to name a few. When we started the seventh grade, there was a group of guys that would greet me, when I was walking around the main floor halls with some of my friends. My last name was Rogers.

The guys would tease me by telling me, “What stupid name is Rogers! Where did they come up with a weird name like that?”  They would tease me about my last name for about a week. I thought I had to nip that in the bud or they would always tease me about something else.

I asked them one day, “Do you know Roy Rogers and Dale Evans?”

“Sure, everybody knows Roy Rogers and Dale Evans”, they answered.

“Well, they are my aunt and uncle.”

They answered “No, way.”

I told them our last name is spelled the same. They agreed it was spelled the same. I told them my family went down to California about every summer to their beautiful ranch, we rode Trigger and played with Bullet their dog, and they were a great uncle and aunt.  I told them they could tease me all they wanted for I was lucky to have them as my aunt and uncle.

I was right about the teasing stopping after I told them I was related to someone famous.  I confess I wasn’t related to Roy Rogers nor Dale Evans.  In fact, I never left Washington state until Dave and I were married in 1961.  Our first home was in Point Arena, Calif.

My Rogers name comes from a long line of Colliers (coal miners) that were in the country of Wales. My grandfather, Joseph Matthias Rogers, was born in Rhos-Llanerch-Rugog North Wales.

In 1930, 17 Rogers were lost at a mine disaster at the Geresford Mine in Wales. My great grandfather, William Rogers, told his four sons to leave the mines and find better work that was safer. My grandpa came to America in 1906 at the age of 21.  He ended up in Western Washington and found work here in the coal mines here. He married Elizabeth Jane Jones Burke, a widow, with two small children Ann and John. They had 11 more children: Llewelyn ( Lew ),Margaret, Hannah, twins Morthydd Elizabeth ( Lizzie ),Myfanwy ( Movano ), Enoch, William Griffith Rogers (our dad), Joseph Matthias  Rogers Junior, Gwendolyn, and Ada.

Our grandpa passed away in 1954 from black lung caused by the coal dust the miners breathed in their lungs.  Now, everyone knows the true story of my last name of Rogers. I am proud of my real last name.

 


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