Rogers-Roche collection  1758-1881 (bulk 1758-1801)
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Biography

Robert Rogers was born in Methuen, Massachusetts, on November 7, 1731, the son of Irish parents, James Rogers and Mary McPhatridge (sometimes spelled McFatridge or McPhetridge). Rogers grew up primarily in Dunbarton, New Hampshire, and worked as a trader until charged with counterfeiting; he escaped prosecution by enlisting in the New Hampshire regiment in the French and Indian War in 1755. Roberts moved up the ranks of the Army, first serving as a captain in the Crown Point expedition, and then gaining fame as the commander of a group of 600 irregular troops, called "Rogers' Rangers," who used guerrilla-like tactics and worked individually and in small groups to oppose the French. In 1761, he married Elizabeth Browne (1741-1813), daughter of Reverend Arthur Browne. In the same year he fought the Cherokees in South Carolina, and in 1763-1764, served in Pontiac's War.

In 1765, Roberts traveled to England in order to obtain money to pay off debts he had incurred in North America. There, he published his journals and a work entitled A Concise Account of North America, and wrote a play about Pontiac, entitled Ponteach. After an audience with King George III, who had read his works on North America, Roberts obtained the post of commander at Fort Michilimackinac in present-day Michigan, and an assignment to find a passage to the Pacific Ocean. In December 1768, Robert was arrested and court-martialed on suspicion of intrigue with the French. He was acquitted, but imprisoned for debt upon his return to England in 1769. Around this time, Elizabeth gave birth to their only known child, Arthur (1769-1841). Rogers again traveled to America in 1775, where he raised the Queen's American Rangers regiment and served as a spy for the British. In 1778, his wife divorced him on grounds of infidelity and abandonment; two years later, he returned to London, where he died in 1795.

After her divorce, which was granted by the New Hampshire General Assembly, Elizabeth married Captain John Roche of New Hampshire, and they had a son, John Roche, Jr. (1781-1807), known as "Jack." He joined the U.S. Navy in 1798 as a midshipman on the U.S. Ship Constitution and fought in the Quasi-war with France. In April 1801, he was appointed lieutenant. He died in 1807, at the age of 26.