The Musician and the Cavalry Officer
John Rogers was born on a Farm off West Main Road in Middletown in 1839. One of the earliest records we have so far is the 1860 United States Census, which lists him as a 21-year old music teacher, still living on the family farm.
On April 17, 1861, John enlisted as a private in the Rhode Island 1st Infantry and was “slightly” wounded (according to his obituary, dated 10/15/1910) at the Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861. After three months of service he enlisted in the First Rhode Island Cavalry. He was quickly promoted to sergeant and “later for bravery in action was promoted to Captain of his troops” (from the above mentioned obituary)
He was eventually promoted to Lt. Colonel and commanded the First RI Cavalry.
His obituary lists some of the over 50 battles he fought in, including Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Cedar Creek, and Petersburg.
After the Civil War, he worked in Chicago briefly, and by 1870, had returned to the family farm in Middletown to resume his life as a music teacher.
He ended up buying the city music store in the early 1870s and would run the store into the 1900s. John Rogers Music store, originally known as the City Music Store would sell pianos, sheet music, and anything musical!
Colonel Rogers, as he was known in the city, was an accomplished musician, serving as the organist at a number of churches in Newport. He would often accompany recitals in Newport as well.
John Rogers died in 1910 while on vacation in Littleton, RI. Read his obituary and another article talking about his life below.