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This is the tenth in a series of profiles offering brief information on every constitutionally-elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation since 1828.
Born 13 December 1847, Rogers was a son to Charles Coody Rogers and Elizabeth McCorkle, “Old Settlers” who had settled in the new Indian Territory. He attended tribal schools and eventually became a farmer. He also built his own general store on his own property, and it is said that when Rogers founded the town of Skiatook, he named it for an Osage (Skiatooka) who had frequented his business.
Rogers served in the Civil War as a private in the Confederate Army, in Company E of the First Regiment of Cherokee Volunteers. In 1881, after spending many years in farming, he was elected as a representative of the Cooweescoowee District in Cherokee Nation politics. He was re-elected in 1883. Six years later, he ran for tribal senator and won. He married Nannie Haynie in 1892. In 1903, he ran against E.L. Cookson for Principal Chief and emerged victorious. During his tenure, Rogers was viewed by fellow Cherokees as acquiescing to the United States Government in their desire to bring an end to the Cherokee Nation. He was impeached and removed from office in 1905 by the National Council. The Secretary of the Interior stepped in and reinstated Rogers, insisting that he still had power to negotiate for the tribe. Rogers held this questionable position for the next twelve years.
Rogers died on 8 November 1917, and is buried in Hillside Mission Cemetery, Skiatook, Oklahoma.
***Bryan D. Jackson’s new release, Chattahoochee Rain (ages 12 and up), is on sale now. It is a historical fiction account that paints a portrait of events during the months leading up to the Cherokee Treaty of New Echota and features some of Bryan’s direct ancestors.