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A. D. Rogers    

A. D. ROGERS.  There is striking analogy between a storm of wind and rain which clears the atmosphere of impurities and a rugged elemental man, endowed with independent thought and action, who drives before him that indifference and apathy which is so dangerous to the political life of the country. A. D. Rogers is an independent force in the political and industrial life of Wise County. He is valuable because he keeps men’s minds stirred to action, to thought along the lines of their political and industrial salvation.

Mr. Rogers attacks that illiteracy, sloth and negligence which goes to make undesirable citizenship. In every instance his views are not harmonious with those of the people, the common people, among whom he labors for their betterment, which is a testimonial to the sincerity of his attitudes. But along fundamental and general lines Mr. Rogers’ sympathies are with the entire people, and he is constantly engaged in a battle for the elevation of the social, political and industrial interests of the constituency among which he delights to live.

There is a picturesque fearlessness about the man we have come to briefly study—a fearlessness that fascinates and attracts—a quality of magnetism that fixes our attention whether we will or no. It is that species of boldness that dares to stand in the brilliance of the lime-light, undaunted by criticism, hisses and jeers, and which draws forth the latent admiration of every man for the attribute of human courage which every man does not possess.

Modern political philosophy bristles with adjurations to all men to stand up openly and frankly for what is right in politics, religion and every-day living; but mankind, as modernly constituted, is prone to balk in compliance with such precepts. This for numerous reasons. First, because mankind is inherently lazy; secondly, because it is naturally conservative, and, lastly, because of its extreme modesty and backwardness. Out of these promptings come the criticism and deriding of those bold characters who have listened to the small voice of conscience and struck out openly for a courageous voyage of the seas of public life. It is because of these promptings that the subject of our sketch has been criticised, but it is because of his possession of the courage of his convictions that he will continue to churn the slovenly waters of our local politics that the cream of good things may finally crystalize on top.

Mr. Rogers was born in Pontotoc County, Miss., March 12th, 1866. His father was a Confederate soldier and died a short time prior to the birth of his son. His mother was Jennie Allen, of Georgia, who died when Mr. Rogers was six years old. Sixteen years of the latter’s life was spent on a farm, and his few years of schooling were received in country institutions and at Lebanon, Tenn. His acuteness and knowledge of the world has been gained since by self endeavors. His young manhood was spent in various occupations, in clerkships at Louisville, Ky., and as a traveling salesman. On October, 1st, 1889, Mr. Rogers was married to Miss Lila Stone, of Verona, Miss., a daughter of Rev. J. B. Stone, who for twenty years was Presiding Elder in the North Miss. M. E. Conference. Next followed a residence of some years at Jackson, Miss., where the cotton business employed Mr. Rogers’ attention. In 1894 he was on the eve of prospecting in the island of Cuba, when he was called to San Antonio, Texas, to engage in the insurance business. Later on he was transferred to Fort Worth and given a district managership. His business occasionally called him to Decatur, and he begun to like the people and the town, and latterly the people of the county, which led to his casting his lot with them in January, 1896. For awhile he followed clerking and merchandising, but in 1898, after a remarkable race, he was elected County Treasurer, a position he continued to hold successfully and satisfactorily for four years. Of late years Mr. Rogers has traveled for the wholesale firm of Henry Sonneborn & Co. of Baltimore, from whom it is said he receives a large annual salary, and to whom he gives four months of the year. The remainder of the time Mr. Rogers devotes to his rather large property interests in Decatur and vicinity. He has an interesting family of seven children, named as follows: Christine, Eloise: Shelton, Mary, Corinne, Jess and A. D. Jr.

In choosing her first county superintendent of instruction, Wise County, through her court of commissioners, selected a man who, by virtue of prior struggles and successes, had attained honorably to those qualifications necessary to the able and efficient conduct of the office. Detailed briefly, the successive experiences in the career of Supt. Ben Short which have equipped him highly for the arduous labors of his high office, are as follows: Born where Roanoke, Denton County, now stands, June 27, 1874; attended school there a few months; came to Chico, Wise County, with parents in fall of 1882, and attended school in the old stone building across the creek; next moved with parents to Oliver Creek, southeast of Decatur, and attended country schools at distances of three and one-half and five miles, working on farm and ranch during vacation. Next entered Sam Houston Normal College for two sessions, graduating in 1898, following which he attended Baylor University at Waco one term. His teaching career then commenced at Grub Hill, where he remained two years, then a year each at Sweetwater and Paradise followed. Mr. Short then succeeded to three years as principal of the Decatur High School, after which he was duly elected by the board of trustees as superintendent of this school, a position he retained two years and from which he succeeded to the place of county superintendent of public instruction Superintendent Short has come up through the country schools; he knows their needs, ambitions and qualifications. He knows men, as he has met them in all relations as representatives and guardians of education. He knows, too, the requisites and needs of the larger educational institutions of the towns by virtue of his years of close identity with them. He is studious of all large matters of education, has never missed a county institute or state association when health permitted attendance; is a man of high ideals and practical, thoughtful ability and is destined in the eyes of his closest observers and friends to perform high, meritorious service for the educational interests of the schools of Wise County, and to become, if he not already is, an able educational leader of the county.

Pioneer history of Wise County : from red men to railroads, twenty years of intrepid history, Decatur, Tex, 1907, pages 359-363. View the image of this page on line.   Search Hundreds of 1880s-1920s Texas History Books for biographies and historical information on your ancestors.  View the book page images on line and print them out for your genealogy file!  Try the family history collection for free for 14 days!

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