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Charles Jabez Rogers, Captain (1848-?) | Maine Maritime Museum Manuscript Collection Online Catalog

Name: Charles Jabez Rogers, Captain (1848-?)

Historical Note:

Captain Charles Jabez Rogers was born in Topsham, Maine on February 9, 1848 the second son of George A. Rogers (1819-1874) and Mary S. Perkins (1822-1901).  Captain Rogers first went to sea as a boy on the Midas (Bark).  Capt. Rogers married Jennie Martha Roberts (b.?-d.1927) on January 18, 1873.  They had two children, George Albion (b.1873-d.?) born in England and Herbert Lincoln (b.1877-d.?) born in Maine.  According to her obituary, Jennie made several voyages with Capt. Rogers but it is unknown at this time which vessels she voyaged on.  Captain Rogers took command of the J. A. Thomson (Ship) in 1878.

When Captain Rogers took a cargo of refined petroleum to Japan in 1879, the Japan market was still relatively new.  Japan had closed almost all contact with the western world in 1639 in response to persistent efforts of Europeans to convert the Japanese people to Catholicism and unfair trading practices.  With the admittance of California to United States in 1850, the US had renewed interest in trading with Asia from Pacific ports.  After much negotiation, the United States and Japan signed their first commercial treaty in 1858.3 Twenty years later, Captain Rogers received a letter dated January 29, 1879 from Edwin Reed asking Capt. Rogers to

<p style="margin-left:31.5pt;"> “pick me up for me at little expense something in the way of Japanese ware or pottery for my table…perhaps your merchant might suggest something in textile fabrics that would please Mrs. R. or adorn the house.” 4

Reference to Capt. Rogers life is mentioned in one letter dated June 15, 1882.

<p style="margin-left:31.5pt;"> “All of your friends here so far as we know are well and we hope you and your good wife and children are the same.” 5

A letter to Capt. Rogers from L. C. Blair of Fox and Blair Ship Stores Dealer in Liverpool thanks Capt. Rogers for information that he had forwarded to them regarding the vessels in the port at Antwerp.  Blair writes,

<p style="margin-left:.5in;"> “I should have been pleased to have stayed there and seen Capt. Joe Thomson.  I received a letter a few days since from Capt. George Thomson he said if I saw you to give you his kind regard.” 6

It is not clear if these captains were the same J. A. and George Thomson who were once in command of the J. A. Thomson (Ship).

By May 18, 1882 the owners were considering selling the vessel.  Charles Davenport wrote to Capt. Rogers telling him:

<p style="margin-left:.5in;"> “Some of the smaller owners would like to sell if she would bring her value.”  He continues with “I have offered the J. A. Thomson for £8500 cash, as she shall be discharged in Antwerp, and she ought to bring that sum; as wooden ships are not costing more than a year or two, owing to the higher prices of ship materials and labor.  Still in view of the dullness of freight, we might be induced to accept £8000 if no more could be obtained:  and would like for you to inform me the best offer, by cable, (not less than £8000) naming the lowest rate of commission for selling…if the ship cannot be sold, then we should want some business for her, but I hardly know what to say with regard to that.”7

On July 7, 1882 Charles Davenport sent a telegraph to Capt. Rogers which simply stated, “Come New York – Davenport.”


1.  Record of American and Foreign shipping 1872, 1873-74, 1876, 1878, 1882

2.  Charter parties, MS 117 Folder 7

3.  http://history.state.gov/milestones/1830-1860/OpeningtoJapan

4.  Reed, Edwin.  Letter.  July 29, 1879 MS117 Folder 1

5.  Hanley & Snow.  Letter. June 15, 1882.  MS 117 Folder 4

6.  Blair, L. C. Letter. June 26, 1882.  MS 117 Folder 4

7.  Davenport, Charles.  Letter. May 18, 1882. MS 117 Folder 4

8.  MS 54 Box 146

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