Captain William Pote Rogers Papers, 1810-1945
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Brief Description: The William Pote Rogers Papers document fairly completely the life of a nineteenth century Maine ship master.  The materials have been organized into four major series, personal, business, Civil War duties, and material related to other members of his extended family.  The bulk dates of the collection are ca. 1855-1895, with outside dates of 1810 and 1945. The first series contains Rogers' letter copybook which includes letters of a political nature diaries correspondence from various members of his family accounts for such things as life insurance, groceries and general household receipts, and repairs and alterations to his farm buildings small amounts of religious and political material and assorted materials on his various fraternal organizations.  Certificates for his marriage and third degree Mason are also included. In the second series are certificates as master and first mate and assorted material from a number of the merchant vessels he commanded before and after the Civil War.  (There is no way to determine whether he commanded vessels other than those represented here.)  Sometimes these include log-books, correspondence to and from the master, master's accounts, vessel accounts, bills of lading or charter parties, or even crew lists.  The vessel most well documented is the schooner Sequin, which he commanded from at least 1872 to 1876, making many voyages from the Kennebec River down along the East Coast and returning.  At the end of the vessel papers are two folders of material related to a lumbering business Rogers appears to have been involved not only in his own house and barn repairs but also in providing and selling some lumber.  There is little else known about this phase of his career. Among the Civil War papers are Rogers' service record, his certificates of appointment and discharge, correspondence about his promotion and efforts to secure a pension, naval veteran's organizations (including the Farragut Veteran Association), and general orders and circulars which Rogers carefully bound in linen.  But the heart of this series is the material documenting his actions as commander of the schooner William Bacon and the steamers Merrimac and Somerset.  Papers for the William Bacon include orders and night signals, plans of Forts Jackson and St. Philip on the Mississippi River, crew lists, and considerable material related to prize money due Rogers and others for the capture of New Orleans and of two Confederate vessels.  Materials for the steamers are similar although perhaps not quite as exciting.  Among those for the Somerset are lists of goods captured at Apalachicola, FL, oaths of allegiance for several former Confederate soldiers, and lists of stores transferred from the Somerset before her decommissioning at the end of the War. The fourth series is composed primarily of correspondence among various members of the extended family, including Rogers' wife Maggie.  Other important material in this series concerns Rogers' father, Charles.  In addition to some correspondence, there are a number of account books which document his apparent ownership of a general store on Wolf's Neck in Freeport, ME, his wages for work done in South Freeport shipyards, particularly that of Rufus Soule, supplies he managed for troops stationed at Fort Scammell in Portland Harbor during the War of 1812, and records of boarders, presumably at his house.  One final category of some interest is the material about the family's efforts to secure restitution from the United States government for losses sustained by Greenfield Pote [s. App. A] in 1796 when his schooner Freeport was seized by a French privateer and condemned in Cuba. Finally, there is a small amount of miscellaneous material at the end a large proportion of this is advertisements for businesses. The material is in remarkably good condition and is relatively easy to read.  Appendix A contains information on the Rogers, Pote and Farwell families to help the user understand the relationships among them.  In a few cases the processor was not able to determine how a cousin or nephew fits in, but most have been linked to Rogers himself.  The processor has included a partial index to help the researcher find what he or she needs.  It is a rich and varied collection.
Held at:
Maine Maritime Museum Manuscript Collection Online Catalog
243 Washington Street
Bath, ME 04530
Phone: 207-443-1316
extension 323
Email: garrison [at]
Created by: Rogers, William Pote (1826-1904)
Volume: 7.0 Boxes
Arrangement: Organized into five series and two appendices: I. Personal, II. Business, III. Civil War duties, IV. Papers re: other family members, V. Miscellaneous; App. A. Family Genealogies, App. B. Added Entries/Partial Index
Biographical Note for Rogers, William Pote (1826-1904) : William Pote Rogers was born in Freeport, ME, November 4, 1826, the son of Charles and Mary Jane (Pote) Rogers.  [See App. A for details of these two families.]  The only thing known about his youth is that he lived with his grandfather William Pote for a number of years [s. Box 6/5] and that he wished to run away to sea at the age of fifteen.  In 1854 he received a letter from his mother [s. Box 1/11] asking him to come home from the mines whether these were the gold mines of California or the coal mines of Colorado is not known.  In any case, he did go to sea and was a master at least by 1856, the earliest of his vessel papers in this collection.  He served as master of various vessels, primarily in the Atlantic trade, until the Civil War. In September, 1855, Rogers married Margaret (Maggie) S. Farwell (1835-1901) of Freeport.  [See App. A for details of her family.]  They had two children, Evelyn Willard (1859-1932), who married Henry H. Cushing, and Willie Lincoln (1866-1881). In December, 1861, he was appointed an Acting Master in the United States Navy and assigned to the William Bacon, Schooner No. 7 in the Mortar Flotilla commanded by David M. Porter and based in Key West, FL.  Capt. David Farragut took over the flotilla's command, and they proceeded to the Mississippi River, where they participated in the battle of New Orleans, the capture of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, and the holding of Vicksburg in April- June of 1862.  Rogers then sailed for Virginia and participated in patrols and blockades, eventually capturing two Confederate prizes.  In June, 1864, he was promoted to Acting Volunteer Lieutenant.  He also commanded the steamer Merrimac and the steamer Somerset before being honorably discharged in December, 1865.  Details of his service record can be found in Box 3/44. After the War he returned home and seemed to spend at least the next year doing major renovations and alterations to his farm at Frost's Corner (near the Kendall Tavern on Main St.) in Freeport, probably the same one that was deeded to him in 1849 after his grandfather William Pote's death [s. Box 2/9]. He did go back to sea in the 1870's as master and served for a number of years on the schooner Sequin, which made many, many trips up and down the East Coast and appears to have carried ice.  In 1880 he obtained a British First Mate's license and made a few voyages overseas.  He does not appear to have been at sea after about 1882. For the next few years there is evidence that he worked as a night watchman in Iceboro, a section of Richmond, ME, along the Kennebec River and famous for its part in the ice industry and trade.  At times his wife was with him in Iceboro.  By about 1889 they appear to have returned to Freeport, where they became occupied with the care of her elderly parents. Rogers was active in a number of organizations, including the Masons, the Independent Order of Good Templars, the Freeport G. A. R., and the Portland Masonic Relief Association.  He was one of the first to join the newly formed Socialist party in Maine and was running as their gubernatorial candidate at the time of his death from liver cancer on July, 24, 1904.
Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on the use of this collection
Subject Index
Accounts s.a. vessel files
Administration of Estates
American Shipmasters' Association
annie Squires (sloop)
Apalachicola (FL)
Architecture, Domestic
Bailey, S.
Ben Dunning (half brig)
Bills of lading
Bills of sale
Brown, Gracie M.
Brown, Susie G. (Farwell)
C. M. Davis (bark)
Caleb Cushing (revenue cutter)
Coal mines and mining
Confederate States of America
Crew lists
Cushing, Evelyn W. (Rogers)
Cushing, Mrs. Luther G.
Dennison, Addie
Dennison, Freddie
Dennison, John
Dennison, Lucretia (Farwell)
E. J. & G. W. Lawrence
Edward & George (schooner)
Fairfield (ME)
Farragut Veteran Association
Farwell, Bertha
Farwell, Elizabeth (Griffin)
Farwell, Joseph
Farwell, Lewis E.
Farwell, Mary/May A.
Farwell family
Fort Scammell (ME)
Freeman, Elmira L.
Freeport (ME)
Freeport (ME)--Celebrations
Freeport (ME)--Churches
Freeport (ME)--Selectmen
Freeport (ME)--Societies
Freeport (Schooner)
Free Trader (bark)
French spoilation claims
George Burnham (brig)
H. C. Reed
Ice industry
Ice Trade
Independent Order of Good Templars
Insurance, Life
J. S. Winslow & Co.
Jennie S. Barker (bark)
Kendal, Juliet M.
King, Eliza (T[hompson?])
Knickerbocker [Ice] Co.
Knights of Labor
Koopman, James, Captain
Land use
Libby, Nellie E. (Rice)
Louisa Eaton (bark)
Lufkin, Albert
M. S. Soule & Co.
Maine-Land use
Maine Savings Bank
Maine Temperance Society of the Port of New York
Mataro (ship)
Merchant marine--Officers
Merchant seamen--Salaries
Merrill, Asa
Merrill, Cornelia (Farwell)
Merrimac (sidewheel steamer)
Mines and mining
Mississippi River
National Greenback Party
Nautical charts
New Orleans (LA)
New York Port Society
Nicolai (steamer)
Order of the Iron Hall
Portland (ME)
Portland Masonic Relief Association
Pote, Dorcas
Pote, Greenfield
Pote, Joanna
Pote, Samuel
Pote, William
Pratt & Soule
Prize law
R. S. Soule & Co.
Reed, Thomas Brackett
Rewards of merit
Rice, George W.
Rice, Harriet A.
Richmond (ME)
Riggs, Alice J. (Merrill)
Roallson, Captain
Rogers, Charles
Rogers, Charles C.
Rogers, Clara Belle
Rogers, Edwin R.
Rogers, Ellen
Rogers, J. W.
Rogers, Jane (Pote)
Rogers, Janie
Rogers, John J.
Rogers, Margaret (Farwell)
Rogers, Mary
Rogers, Nettie
Rogers, Robert Pote
Rogers, Samuel Lufkin
Rogers, William M.
Rogers, William Pote
Rogers, Willie Lincoln
Rogers family
rt Lodge No. 23, F. & A. M.
Sequin (schooner)
Shipbuilding--Freeport (ME)
Shoe industry
Smith, Laura C./M. (Rogers)
Soldiers and Sailors' Historical and Benevolent Society
Somerset (sidewheel passenger)
Somerset Mills (ME)
Soule, Rufus
South Carolina
Speeches, addresses, etc.
Strikes and lockouts
Suliote (ship)
Thompson, Edward W.
Triumph (bark)
United States--History--Civil war, 1861-1865
United States--History--War of 1812
United States. Navy--Order-books
Vesta (schooner)
Walton (schooner)
William Bacon (schooner)
Genres/Forms of Material
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: The material described herein is the physical property of the Maine Maritime Museum Library. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors of the various items, or to their legal representatives, or to Maine Maritime Museum.
Acquisition Notes: Gift of two great granddaughters, Mrs. Marion Cushing Cookson
PreferredCitation: Captain William Pote Rogers Papers, 1810-1945, MS-21, Research Library, Maine Maritime Museum, Bath, Maine