Banner Photograph
Davis Dairy, Maryville, Blount County, Tennessee on Wildwood.
Taken by Judith Richards Shubert, September 28, 2005, Copyright

Showing posts with label Columbus Georgia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Columbus Georgia. Show all posts

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pictures of Cealy Jane Rogers Conner

My father-in-law's sister in Lenoir City called us Saturday morning and talked a long time to both me and Shubert. She called to see how things were with his siblings in Nashville since she hadn't heard from them after the flood there this past week. They are fine. She always likes to talk about the past and family. She was telling me that after her oldest sister died in 2007 she saw how much she had accumulated and how difficult it was for her nieces to go through. But she was a wealth of information about our common ancestry and, like me, hated to let go of a newspaper clipping, a photo, a graduation program, or any number of things that make up the fabric of our lives.

Anyway, Aunt Alyce said she saves everything herself and so she went home and started going through things one room at a time so her only daughter wouldn't have to deal with so much when she is gone. She said she doesn't throw things away and is very careful to save things that she feels would have some family meaning.

A cousin of hers, the daughter of George D. Conner and Nelle Scarbrough, had given her some pictures before she herself had died a few months ago. She said they were of Cealy Jane! Cealy Jane Rogers Conner was Alyce and this cousin, Eva's, grandmother. Alyce is trying to locate the pictures. She said they are in the bedroom she is cleaning out and when she runs across them, she'll send me copies. I am very excited about that. I will then place them here on Tennessee Memories for all of you to see. I will then be able to confirm whether or not the little picture beside Grandma Martha Ann Conner Shubert is indeed her mother, Cealy Jane.

When she told me this, I started talking to her about Mr. Rogers contacting me and the connection we had found between the Conners and the Rogers. Listen to this ~ she said her Granny Cealy Jane had a brother whom she loved very much. And even though he had moved to Columbus, Georgia, they had remained very close all their lives!  That was before I told her about Mr. Rogers' grandfather, George.

Alyce is the youngest of the Shubert siblings, only 10 years older than my husband, and she didn't remember seeing George and his brother, Jim, like my father-in-law had. Nor had she ever heard about their professional bent. But she did say they were a "little better off than some of us and had a little more spending money," (her) Granny said.

I don't remember whether she knew Mr. Rogers' grandfather's name was George or if I told her that, but she said she thought her Granny Cealy Jane had probably named her son, George D. Conner, after him because she missed and loved her brother so much. Her son, George D., committed suicide when he was only twenty-six. I can only imagine how devastated she must have been to lose him.

Read about the Rogers connection in my post, Moonshiners, Bootleggers, Prohibition and Revenuers.
See Martha Ann Conner Shubert's photo with possibly her mother in my post, Possible Conner Mother and Daughter.
See George D. Conner's headstone in my post, Conners and Rogers in Lenoir City Cemetery.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Moonshiners, Bootleggers, Prohibition and Federal Revenuers

Just as I have been learning more about my husband's Conner and Rogers family in Tennessee and Georgia, the very moving and relevant "When Love is Not Enough: the Lois Wilson Story" aired tonight on CBS. The Hallmark Hall of Fame's presentation is based on the true story of the "sorely-tested but ultimately enduring love between Lois Wilson, co-founder of Al-Anon, and her husband Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous."

Their story took place during the years 1918 and 1934. James Ray Rogers was nine years old when Lois and Bill got married and he died four years before Lois, in 1934, finally witnessed Bill get and stay sober – not through her help, but from the support of a fellow alcoholic and later Dr. Bob Smith. Out of their relationship, AA was born. But I did not intend to tell the Wilson's story, but to tell you of the young Ray Rogers.

My father-in-law used to tell me of a couple of his uncles, George or "Shorty" and Jim, whom he remembered coming into Lenoir City in their fast cars and their fancy clothes and staying at the hotel down town. He said he thought they were bootleggers and that they had eventually moved from Blount County, Tennessee, to the Columbus, Georgia, area as whiskey dealers. He also told me Ray Rogers was killed by Federal "Revenuers" while he was carrying whiskey for his father, George.

The Rogers descendant I told you about in my previous post, Conners & Rogers in Lenoir City Cemetery, has told me that my father-in-law was correct. His grandfather, George "Shorty" Rogers, and great-uncle, James "Jim" Rogers, were the ones Mr. Shubert was talking about. Mr. Rogers sent me pictures of  George and James "all dressed up like I imagine they were in Lenoir City so long ago."

 George R. "Shorty" Rogers on Left
James "Jim" Rogers on Right
Brothers and sons of Jesse and Martha M. Graves Rogers

No one knows who was the first of the Tennessee Rogers to go to Columbus, Georgia, but go they did! No one knows why they chose Columbus, but everyone agrees that they had to leave Tennessee - some believe they were "run out" of the state. George had many ties to moonshine before and after leaving Tennessee and in the 1920 Muscogee County, Georgia Census he lists his birthplace as the "United States" - not Tennessee or Georgia or Arkansas - just the United States! Do you think he didn't want anyone to know where he was?

George worked as a cab driver in Columbus and later owned a grocery store, selling and delivering moonshine in the Columbus area. He had many conflicts with the law and others during the Prohibition time. His son, James Ray Rogers, paid the ultimate price while working for George. On July 25, 1930, at the age of twenty-one he was killed by a federal dry agent while delivering a gallon of moonshine in Columbus. It was ruled that the agent's gun went off accidentally and the case was dismissed.

James Ray Rogers
1909 - 1930
Son of George "Shorty" Rogers and Elizabeth Humes Stinnett
Brother of R. M. Rogers

When Prohibition ended, George and his son, R. M., opened one of the first liquor stores in Georgia, Rogers Liquor Store. They also opened the popular Rogers Supper Club, a restaurant next door at 14th Street and 5th Avenue in Columbus.
R. M. Rogers
1914 - 1988
Son of George "Shorty" Rogers and Elizabeth Humes Stinnett
Brother of James Ray Rogers

It is said that George's brother, Jim Rogers, never married or had children. He slipped one morning and hit the back of his head on the foot-board of his bed. The fall killed him. He is buried in the Rogers family plot in Riverdale Cemetery in Columbus.

by Billie Atkins
Permission to publish here by Paul Rogers

  James Ray Rogers
Dec. 12, 1909
July 25, 1930
"Gone But Not Forgotten"

George R. "Shorty" Rogers
holding his son, R. M. with son, James Ray standing beside them.

I wonder where their mother, Eliza, was when this photograph was taken. Was she looking on, smiling proudly at the men in her family or was she sitting with them in the next photo?

"Hallmark Video - Sneak Peek -" CBS TV Network Primetime, Daytime, Late Night and Classic Television Shows. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2010. .

All photographs in the private collection of Paul Rogers, Columbus, Georgia. Permission given to publish here. Copyright 2010.

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