Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Almoth Dowden Rogers (1866-1931)

Portrait from the Pioneer History of Wise County, 1907.

    From Limestone County, Texas and Angero Gray Camp we journey North to Wise County to highlight the life of another oddly named Texas legislator, Almoth Dowden Rogers. Born in Pontotoc, Mississippi on March 12, 1866, Almoth Dowden Rogers lost both his mother and father by the time he was six years old. In spite of his being left parentless at such a young age, Rogers persevered, and during his youth worked the farm and attended school at both the "country institutions" and Lebanon, Tennessee.
   As a young man, Rogers worked at various clerkships in Kentucky and was also employed as a traveling salesman for a time. In October 1889 he married in Mississippi to Lila Stone, with whom he had seven children: Christine, Eloise, Shelton, Mary, Corinne, Jess and Almoth Dowden Jr. (1905-1979). The Rogers family would reside in Jackson, Mississippi for several years before removing to San Antonio, Texas in 1894, where Almoth began work as an insurance agent. His time as an insurance agent saw him remove to both Ft. Worth and Decatur, Texas, finally settling in the latter town in January 1896.
   Following his resettlement in Decatur, Rogers "followed clerking and merchandising" for a time and in 1898 entered local politics when he successfully ran for Wise County Treasurer. He remained in that post for four years and continued his political ascent in 1910 when he was elected as Wise County's representative to the Texas General Assembly. Taking his seat at the start of the 1911-13 session, Rogers would serve on the house committees on Agriculture, Education, Insurance, Judicial districts and Representative districts. During his term, Rogers was named as part of the Texas delegation to the Democratic National Convention of 1912 that nominated Woodrow Wilson for the Presidency.
   Reelected in November 1912, Rogers was named to several new legislative committees, including Banks and Banking, Commerce and Manufactures, Internal Improvements and State Asylums. His service as a state representative was profiled in the September 1913 edition of the Texas Railway Journal, which relates that Rogers made:
"An enviable record as a real progressive, a man who has always stood for the material good of the whole people and a man whose vote was not the only power exercised, but strong and convincing argument has been heard on many of the most important questions considered by the Texas legislature, by Mr. Rogers, and no man has been more successful in his legislative career than he. Mr. Rogers has ever stood for the right, no matter what class of people supported or opposed his position."
Almoth D. Rogers, from the Texas Railway Journal, September 1913.

  Almoth D. Rogers' second term concluded in January 1915. He would reemerge on the political scene in 1926 when he announced his candidacy for U.S. Representative from Texas' 14th district. Facing off against Republican nominee Harry M. Wurzbach (1874-1931), Rogers placed second in the vote count on election day, losing to Wurzbach by a vote of 10, 633 to 14, 224. Little is known of Rogers life following his defeat for Congress, excepting notice of his death in San Antonio on December 5, 1931. A burial location for both Rogers and his wife remains unknown at this time.

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