Friday, December 26, 2014

Zeral Zenn Rogers (1887-1955)

Portrait from the Texas Trade Review and Industrial Record, February 1918.

   Possessing what can only be described as a very futuristic-sounding name for the time, Frederick, Oklahoma native Zeral Zenn Rogers is certainly one of the oddest named public figures the Sooner state has ever produced, and his placement here on the site rests on his service as Mayor of the city of Frederick, being elected to that office in 1915 at the ripe old age of 27. As one of the youngest mayors in the nation at the time, Rogers would go on to further distinction in the city of Duncan, Oklahoma in the mid 1920s, serving as its city manager for four years.
    A native of Arkansas, Zeral Zenn Rogers was born in the town of Clarksville on November 27, 1887, being one of several children born to William Wayne (1854-1913) and Addie Truscott Rogers. The first few years of "Z.Z." Rogers' life were spent in the state of his birth and in 1891 he removed with his family to Vernon, Texas. He would "complete the high school course" in that town in 1901 and shortly afterwards relocated to Frederick, Oklahoma with his family.  Z.Z. Rogers married in 1906 to Ana Edythe Hancock (1888-1960), with whom he would have two sons, Jim Jack (born 1908) and Tullis Truscott Rogers (born 1910)
   As an adolescent Rogers was employed as a grocery store clerk in the business of Parker & McConnell, serving that firm as a delivery wagon driver and later, bookkeeper. He remained in this employ for a period of nine years and in the early 1910s began political involvement in the still young community of Frederick, being elected as city clerk in 1911. Rogers would serve two terms as clerk (leaving office in 1913) and in April 1915 was elected as the Mayor of Frederick, being just 27 years of age at the time of his election. 
  Rogers' mayoralty (which extended four terms from 1915-1923) saw him gain "a reputation for unusual effiency in city government administration." Soon after his election in 1915 he began a business venture in Frederick with D.H. Hall, partnering to form a drug store. He would remain affiliated with this store for a number of years and also served as a second vice president of the Frederick Chamber of Commerce beginning in 1917. In December 1922 (while still the incumbent mayor of Frederick) Rogers was selected by the city commissioners of the neighboring city of Duncan to serve as its city manager, and a newspaper write-up on his ascension to that office is shown below.

From the Ada Weekly News, December 28, 1922.

    Z.Z. Rogers' would serve four years as Duncan city manager, resigning that office in 1926. He reentered political life in 1934 when he became a candidate for a seat on the Oklahoma State Corporation Commission. His candidacy was cut short in June of that year when he suffered injuries in an auto accident, but would still receive over 9,000 votes in the 1934 state election. Active in several other non-political areas in Tillman County, Rogers was a parishioner at the Frederick's Methodist Episcopal Church South as well as being a member of the Independent Order of Foresters, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Frederick Lodge No. 249 of Free and Accepted Masons.
    In one of his last acts of public service Rogers served as a justice of the peace during the early 1950s.  Zeral Zenn Rogers died in Oklahoma on September 30, 1955 at age 67. His wife Ana survived him by five years, and following her passing in 1960 was interred alongside him at the Frederick Memorial Cemetery.

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