giving the life record of the subject of this sketch the publishers of this
work believe that it will be an incentive to the young who may peruse it to
lead nobler lives, have higher ambitions and accomplish more for their
fellow men, for his life has always been led along a plane of high endeavor,
always consistent with the truth in its higher forms and ever in keeping
with honorable principles. He is the scion of pioneer ancestors of the most
sterling qualities who did much in their day for the communities in which
they lived, and Doctor Rodgers is a worthy descendant of his forbears, thus
for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that he was one of the
patriotic sons of the North, who, when the tocsin of war sounded, left his
hearthstone and business to do what he could in saving the country from
treason, the biographer is glad to give him just representation in this
Dr. Benjamin F. Rodgers was born in York, Pennsylvania, in 1829, the son of Joseph D. and Mary (Hamilton) Rodgers. Grandfather Rodgers, who came to America in 1776, settling in Maryland, was a weaver by profession and a soldier in the Revolutionary war. He lived to be ninety-four years old, and the grandmother of the subject lived to her ninety-sixth year. They were the parents of a large family.
The father of the subject, who was born in Maryland, moved to Pennsylvania when a boy, later to Ohio, where he spent the balance of his days on a farm. There were eleven children in this family, six of whom lived to maturity. The subject's parents were Presbyterians and the father and mother both died at the age of sixty-four years.
The subject of this sketch was nine years old when he moved to Ohio, where he received a fairly good education by attending the subscription schools of his community. He clerked in a store in Ohio for two years, then learned to be a shoemaker; but neither of these lines seemed to suit his tastes, believing that he was capable of rendering a better service to humanity, consequently he began the study of medicine, in which he made rapid progress and he soon entered a medical college. After completing the prescribed course with honor, he began practice in Ohio, and later located at Elizabethtown, Kentucky, having soon gained a firm foothold. But believing that better opportunities awaited him at Belleville, Illinois, he removed thereto in 1849, and afterwards removed to Jacksonville, and at that place the doctor enlisted in September, 1861, in the Union, enlisted in September, 1861, in the Second Illinois Light Artillery, and so efficient were his services that he was commissioned captain of Company K. His record in the army is a most creditable one. He was at the battle of Fort Donelson, at Jackson, Mississippi, and was in the siege of Vicksburg. Engraved on a monument erected at Vicksburg, Mississippi, in honor of Company K, Second Illinois Light Artillery, are the words:
"Battery K, Second Light Artillery,
Capt. Benjamin Rodgers,
Fourth Division Sixteenth Corps.
Entered Campaign about May 20, 1863. Served with the Division during siege."
He takes great pride in his military life and relates his battery was nearer the enemy's works than any other battery of the siege, which occupied forty-two days. He was Chief of Artillery on the staff of General Lauman, Gen. Crocker Gresham, Logan, and was Chief of Staff of General Ranson at Natchez.
He was also in the southwestern campaign and the battles subsequent to that. He was mustered out at Memphis, Tennessee, December 31, 1864. After the close of the war Doctor Rodgers located in Patoka, where he has practiced his profession ever since.
Doctor Rodgers was united in marriage on November 3, 1848, with Mary K. Chiell, daughter of Casper Chiell. He has four children living, also fourteen grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Mrs. Rodgers was called from her earthly labors at the age of seventy-two years.
In politics our subject is a loyal Republican, and he has ever taken a great interest in public affairs, having made his influence felt for the good of his community in many ways and served in a most able manner as postmaster and also Mayor of Patoka; in fact, he might be called the father of this town. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and has been commander of the local post. In his fraternal relations he is a member of the Masonic fraternity, the lodge at Jacksonville, Illinois. No man in this part of Marion county is better or more favorably known than he, known for his professional skill, his public spirit, his integrity and kind heartedness.
Extracted 03 Nov 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 272-273.