Mining Engineer- Hornitos,
Mariposa County, California

The subject of this sketch was a wondeful pioneer and it affords the writer great pleasure to give the biography of such a useful citizen.  Mr. Rodgers came to California in 1849 from Missouri. He was born a slave, but by a great effort, close study and appliation seized every opportunity that might come to him along educational lines, he finally acquired an education as a mining engineer and was very successful in California. His knowledge soon made him one of the most distinguished miners in all California . This statement willl be borne out by the following facts in regard to his mining career in California:  He secceeded in working claims succesfully and thereby was soon able to purchase several mines at Hornitos, Mariposa County, California, located twenty-five miles from Merced.

In the Sixties he married Miss Sara Quivers of Snelling, California, building a beautiful home for her at Quartzburg not far from his mines.  The marriage was blessed by the birth of five daughters, to all of wom he gave the very best education California afforded. One daughter graduated from the State University of Berkeley.

Moses Rodgers was one member of the race whose color the pioneers of the opposite race never for a moment stopped to consider.  He was at all times treated as a distinguished citizen. The esteem with which he was held can be better understood from the following quotation which appeared in a pioneer paper, The Merced Star:  "A carload of machinery arrived at he depot last Friday, consigned to the Mount Gaines Mine, Mariposa County. Moses Rodgers, of Horniots, than who there is no better mining man in the State, has been engaged as its superintendent.  The standing and known energy of the men backing the enterprise are a guarantee that the mine will be carefull hlandled and worked on a paying basis. The Mount Gains Mine is well known among mining men to the good mining property, and the new arrangement and its undoubled success will mean a great deal for mining in the vivinity of Hornitos".

Moses Rodgers was not only activley engaged in mining, but was interested in and contributed liberally to every movement that was of  benefit to the race. In order that he might give his daughters the advantage of better school facmilities, he removed his family to Stockton, and built an elegant home which  to this day is attractive and is located on one of the best residence streets in the town.  There was no gas at that date in Stockton and he was the first to bore for it.  He did not give up his efforts until he had spent thousands in boring a well and flow of gas was finally reached, but hispartners wer not sateisfied and there ws nothing made of it.

A bank cashier for Merced, for whom he acted as bondsman, was accused of a discrepancy in his accounty.  The accusation grieved the bank cashier so that, before the trial, he committed suicide and his bondsmen had to make good the funds.   Mr. Rogers' bond for this cashier was thirty thousand dollars.  The Court ruled that he, together with the other bondsmen were compelled to pay their bonds.  Notwithstanding such heavy losses,h e was such a good financier that he left his family comfortable, and they still retained the homested in Stockton, together with a few of the mines.

At his death he left a host of warm and appreciative friends in both races who fully valued his worth to the community, irrespective of color.  An idea of the many kind expressions concerning his death will be given by the following clipping from the Merced Star, under "Mariposa Items,"  October 25, 1890:  "Saturday morning Moses Rodgers died at his home in Stockton.  He was well-known through the Southern Mines, having arrived in the early fifties from Missouri, where he was born a slave.  He entered actively into mining pursuits and followed mining the blance of his life. He was an expert in his line and his opinion was always sought by intending purchasers fo mines. He was a man of honor and his word was as good as his bond.  He was energic in his younger days and took a great interest in helping along any good enterprise."

The following is one of many kind letters of condolences::
"San Francisco, Calfiornia October 22, 1900

Mrs. M. L. Rodgers, Stockton, Califonria
"Dear Madam:  A card was received this morning notifying me of  the death of Mr. Rodgers, of which I am sorry to learn.  I  have known Mr. Rodgers a long time and knew him only to respect him.  It is itrue he was a colored man, but I always regarded him as thewhitest man in all my acquaintance of Mariposa County.
"In all his dealing and business relations inevery way he was as honorable,high-toned a mans as I have ever met. When with him I never had the feeling that he was a colored man.  It never seemed to occur to me. I have sat at his table many times and he at mine, and the reflection that he was a colored man never entered myt mind.  He was a gentleman in every sense of the word.  But he has gone and many others of his day are dropping out.  The time will soon come when all of that generation will have passed. I must puthim down as one of the ffiends who is forever gon.
"Very respectfully yours,
"William S. Chapman."

Mr. Moses Rodgers, at his death. left a widow and the following daughers:  Miss Adele Rodgers, a professional nurse in Stockton, California; Mrs Wlinor Harrold, of Spokane, Washington, Miss Lulu Rodgers, who for a number of yeasrs has been assistant Postmistress at Hornitos, california.  She is also an artist with the needle.  She wsent to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, held in San Francisco, 1951, two exquisitepieces of handiwork, one of embrodery and the other Mexican drawn-work.  An idea of their  beauty and value may be had from the fact hat the ladies who had charge of collecting the exhibit for San Joaquin County carried the highest rate of insurance on her work of any of the exhibits of embroidery, and the pieces were kept on display in a glass case during the entire exposition.

Miss Vivian Rodgers, another daughter, graduated with the class of 1909 from the University of California, majoring in Science and Letters.  She afterward accepted a position as teacher in the publich schools at Hilo, Hawaiian Islands.  While there she conracted the tropical fever, and after months of illness on the islands, she returned to the United States and to her home in Stockton.  She never regained her streength and finally passed away.  The writer had the pleasure of meeting her and it seemed more than sad that one so young, amiable and beautifully educated should have to pass from the state of action.

Miss Nettie Rodgers is a modiste and is kept busy by the very best families in Stockton who wish advanced styles. The entire family shows clearly that they are well-born, and , if their father was so drand, noble and good, the mother was equally so. She has left her imprint on the daughters whom one has only to meet to realize thier superior womahood and their gentleness of manners.

from- The Negro Trail Blazers of California-New York-Negro Universities Press, 1969- page 113