Finding Aid for the Scroggs and Rogers families correspondence, photographs, and other materials collection 2021.202.w.r

Andrew Harman
Center for American War Letters Archives
Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange, CA 92866

Contributing Institution: Center for American War Letters Archives
Title: Scroggs and Rogers families correspondence, photographs, and other materials collection
Identifier/Call Number: 2021.202.w.r
Physical Description: 0.125 Linear Feet (5 folders)
Date (inclusive): 1826 January 7 - 2011
Date (bulk): 1826 January 7 - 1947 May 29
Abstract: This collection contains correspondence, photographs, and various papers and materials belonging to the Scroggs and Rogers families. The dates of the materials include the early nineteenth century, post-Civil War, the First World War, and post-Second World War.
Language of Material: English .
Container: Civil War 8
Container: 2-6
Container: 1-5
Container: Civil War O-F 3

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Kathy Hamilton and Rogers family.


This collection is arranged by creator, chronology, and material type.
  • Series 1, John A. Scroggs
  • Series 2, Gustavus A. Scroggs
  • Series 3, Burr M. Rogers, Sr.
  • Series 4, Burr M. Rogers, Jr.

Biographical / Historical

This collection contains materials relating to the Scroggs family in the nineteenth century and two members of the Rogers family in the twentieth century. The Rogers family members are descendants of one of the Scroggs daughters. The Scroggs family traces its lineage to Sir William Scroggs, a "distinguished English lawyer and juris in the early part of the 17th century." (Obituary of Gustavus Adolphus Scroggs, The Buffalo Commercial, Buffalo, New York, January 24, 1887, pg. 3)
Brigadier General John Alexander Scroggs (4/14/1777 - 6/26/1844) was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and was married to Anna M. "Anny" Scroggs, daughter of John White of Mercer, PA. They married in Carlisle, PA on March 1, 1814 and had several children, including: Sidney Middleton (b. 1818), Gustavus Adolphus (8/11/1820 - 1/24/1887), Angeline Vergina (1823 - 1909), John Alexander, Jr. (b. 1825), Anna Maria (1828 - 1907), and Margaret June (1833 - 1851).
Anna Maria Scroggs married William Mitchell, and their granddaughter Marjorie Rogers née Smith (1895 - 1967) married Burr Rogers, Sr. (1891 - 1977). They had three children, including: Charlotte Louise Olson née Rogers, Virginia Rogers, and Burr Rogers, Jr.
The materials in this collection were created by Brig. Gen. John A. Scroggs, Brig. Gen. Gustavus A. Scroggs, Burr Rogers, Sr., and Burr Rogers, Jr. See indiviual series for detailed biographical information for each person.

Preferred Citation

[Item title / description; Box "n" / Folder "n"], Scroggs and Rogers families correspondence, photographs, and other materials collection (2021.202.w.r), Center for American War Letters Archives, Chapman University, CA.
For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

Content Description

This collection contains various papers and materials from the Scroggs and Rogers families, ancestors of the donor, Kathy Hamilton. The dates of items include early nineteenth century and post-Civil War, First World War, and post-Second World War.
The subjects of this collection include, Brigadier General John A. Scroggs (Kathy Hamilton's great, great, great grandfather); Brigadier General Gustavus Adolphus Scroggs (great, great uncle); Dr. Burr M. Rogers, Sr. (grandfather); and Dr. Burr M. Rogers, Jr. (uncle).
Items of note in this collection are the material related to Brig. Gen. John A. Scroggs who served as a representative for the Pennsylvania State House, and Brig. Gen. Gustavus A. Scroggs who commanded the 25th United States Colored Infantry Regiment.

Total Inventory:

  • 9 correspondence
  • 9 photocopies of correspondence and other documents
  • 3 pages of photocopies of diary
  • 1 photocopy of newspaper clipping and photograph
  • 7 transcriptions
  • 22 photographs
  • 11 postcards
  • 1 book, African American Soldier in the Civil War
  • 2 pages of biography
  • 1 screenshot of newspaper clipping

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Correspondence -- American Civil War
World War (1914-1918)
World War (1939-1945)
World War (1914-1918) -- Photography
World War (1939-1945) -- Japan

folder Civil War O-F 3, box Civil War 8, folder 2, folder 1

Series 1, John A. Scroggs 1826 January 7 - March 17

Physical Description: 0.01 Linear Feet(1 folder)

Biographical / Historical

Brigadier General John Alexander Scroggs, United States Army, Esquire (4/14/1777 - 6/26/1844) served in Captain Myer's Company of the Maryland military during the War of 1812. He passed away at the age of 67 in Beaver, PA. Their daughter Sidney, discussed as being ill in one of the letters contained in this collection, passed away shortly before her father in 1843.

Scope and Contents

This series contains seven letters between Brig. Gen. John A. Scroggs and his wife Anna M. "Anny" Scroggs née White in 1826. Also included are transcriptions and a short note on the transcriptions and biographical information provided by Mark Rogers Olson. The letters were written in from January to March while John was serving in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Anna was home in Greensburg, Tennessee with their children.
January 7, 1826, Anna to John: Anna informing him of Sidney's illness and vomiting.
January 31, 1826, John to Anna: Beginning with a prayer, he discusses sending money and the fact that he currently has several Western Reserve Notes, which he says are "little better here as many old hapenny's." He mentions the Erie Canal as "the great canal," but is unable to give an update on its progress.
February 16, 1826, John to Anna: John laments being apart, saying:
"I write again to you for my own pleasure and satisfaction in order that you may have consolation, and encouragement in your lonely hours, but no doubt your situation is much like my own, company in abundance, and perhaps too much, yet lonely, and without company, or the association we prefer, this is my situation, and I have as little doubt of it being yours also, but let us commit all into the hand of Him who has the disposal of every event, and let our supplications be to him to perform all that is for His glory and our good."
He goes on to write directly to the children, saying "No company is far preferable to bad, because we are more apt to catch the vices of others than their virtues, youth is the time when religion ought to be cultivated…"
Next, he directs "a word or two to [Morey] Alexr (Alexander) and Sarah", clearly directing his next paragraph on living virtuously to children, though those are not names of their known children so it is unclear to whom he is writing. He then gives an update on legislation regarding escaped enslaved peoples from Maryland:
"The State of Maryland sent three members of their legislature constituted by its authority delegates to this state legislature to request us to pass a law, to more affectually enable them to recover what they call fugitives from labor or to compel our service officers to assist them to lock up and secure their runaway negro slaves they had the matter brought before the house by communicating their wishes by letter to the Speaker. A bill was soon brought in agreeably to their wishes the house went into committee of the whole on Monday was a week ago, and it occupied the most of our time since on which a great deal of feeling was excited, the house being nearly equally divided the bill having on the final passage only five of a majority a [worm] opposition was kept up by the minority, amongst whom I was one, and none of the lest anxious for its defeat, however this day ended the struggle…you know I hate slavery. I made several attempts to [speackefy] against it…"
February 25, 1826, Anna to John: Addressed "My Sweet Scroggs," Anna mentions having a cold and talks about the kids, with baby John lying in the cradle next to her, and "many deaths" since John had been home. "This says to us be ye also ready."
March 9, 1826, Anna to John:
"My Sweet friend, being impressed with the idea that it is a satisfaction for you to receive a letter from me I again attempt to write though nothing of importance to write."
"I received your friendly epistle dated March 1st. I find by it you have mistaken one of my letters very much when you imagined that I had the vexatious task of sitting down to write without pen, ink, or paper. I wonder by what magic art you thought I did write, it is true I have not a cushioned chair and a water and everything in such complete order as you have, but I forgive you as you requested Hambleton may write as many letters as he pleases but I always intend to write my own…"
"I have made no calculations about anything only yourself, for I would rather wear a linsey frock and have your sweet company than one glittering with gold and be without it…"
Two letters dated March 13 and 16, 1826, John to Anna: Expects the legislature to go into recess and should be home in one month.
box Civil War 8, folder 3-4, folder 2-3

Series 2, Gustavus A. Scroggs 1864 July 4 - 2011 1864 July 4 - 1880 January 22

Physical Description: 0.02 Linear Feet(2 folders)

Biographical / Historical

Brigadier General Gustavus Adolphus "Gus" Scroggs, New York National Guard (8/11/1820 - 1-24-1887) was born in Darlington, Pennsylvania and married a woman named Caroline E. (b. 1827?); the two had no children. At the age of twenty, Gustavus was recommended for the US Military Academy at West Point. Though there is no record he attended, he studied law and was admitted as an attorney in 1844, continuing to work in law for the remainder of his life while living in Buffalo, New York, including being elected as sheriff of Buffalo in 1858 and many years as a United States Commissioner for New York's Northern District, Southern Circuit.
While still in Darlington, he raised and commanded the "Darlington Artillery" and when he moved to Buffalo served as captain of Company B, 65th Regiment, New York National Guard, promoting to colonel in 1851 and later brigadier general of the 31st Brigade. In 1854, he led an unsuccessful candidacy for the office of liuetenant governor of New York as the American Party candidate, missing election by a few votes. He supported Lincoln for President in 1860 and was thereafter a lifelong Republican.
As war broke out in 1861, he raised a brigade of volunteers and established a recruting camp at Fort Porter designated "Camp Morgan." In a New York Times article dated January 11, 1855 regarding a convention of the Military Association, a portion of his speech is transcribed in which he speaks on paying soldiers and equipping them well, believing in discipline and organization in the military, as well as unity and cohesion; that foreign-born units and volunteer units should be united under a single, national tradition. He also advocates for an unequal tax on the rich to fund military endeavors and a standing volunteer military, exclaiming that an American military could be the best in the world. He is quoted as saying, "There is no way by which a people can so effectually secure themselves against the calamities of war, than to be always well prepared for it." In a publication entitled "The Duty of Americans," Scroggs' speech is once again transcribed from an American Meeting held in Aurora, NY August 4, 1860.
Scroggs was later appointed Provost Marshal of the 30th Congressional District of New York by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862. In a document dated July 1, 1863 and signed by Scroggs as Provost Marshal, he lists himself as a "person of Class II, subject to do military duty in the Thirtieth Congressional District...under the direction of Gustavus A. Scroggs, Provost Marshal."
After overseeing the controversial draft of 1863, Scroggs later resigned the post of Provost Marshal when President Lincoln wrote a letter to Major General Nathaniel Banks on February 6, 1864 assigning Scroggs command as a colonel of the 25th United States Colored Infantry Regiment. Lincoln proposed to Banks that Scrogg's regiment be ordered "to Texas, charged to collect and organize the colored men of the State, it being believed that such a nucleus as this regiment, and such an experienced organizer of troops as Col. Scroggs will prove highly successful."
Officially referred to as United States Colored Troops (USCT), African American military involvement in the Civil War likely traces its inception to the three regiments raised in New Orleans, Louisiana in the fall of 1862, first called the Louisiana Native Guard, the Corps d'Afrique, and then the US Colored Infantry (USCI). According to the National Archives, the first official authorization for federal service was the Second Confiscation and Militia Act of July 17, 1862, though President Lincoln did not authorize use of African Americans in combat until the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, followed shortly by the first such regiment to be raised in the north by Governor John Andrew of Massachusetts. By May, the Bureau of Colored Troops was established in order to handle "all matters relating to the organization of Colored Troops." Though Secretary of War Edwin Stanton wanted these units to be commanded by white men, those regulations eventually relaxed to allow for Black surgeons and chaplains. General Lorenzo Thomas was sent to the Mississippi Valley for recruitment purposes in March 1863 and to organize these units, ushering in the Bureau. Gustavus Scroggs was to follow in these footsteps the next year, though his mission never really took shape.
He continued command of his unit and travelled the east coast by ship before reaching the Gulf states, until July 6 the same year when he sent his letter of resignation to Secretary Stanton. Shortly after, he resumed his position as the Provost Marshal of the 30th District in New York. For his service in the 25th US Colored Infantry Regiment, his name is commemorated on the African American Civil War Memorial in Washington, D.C.; plaque B-41.
He continued to practice law and served as US Commissioner as late as 1881 (according to New York register of Officers and Employees in the Civil, Military, and Naval Service on First of July 1881).
Gustavus Scroggs passed away at the age of 66 from paralysis, a condition from which he suffered for some time, and was interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York.

Scope and Contents

This series contains one letter from Brig. Gen. Gustavus A. "Gus" Scroggs to his wife Caroline E. Scroggs dated January 22, 1880. Also included are seven photocopied correspondence and other documents, one book, and printed biographical information.
The letter was a written will and contains assets and instructions to his wife on how to handle is assets and affairs, including life insurance policies and physical items, such as his law library of over 350 volumes and his personal library "which you will be glad to get rid of." The letter was amended several times up to February 18, 1881.
After laying out his detailed will, Scroggs told Caroline
"My life since my minority has been a struggle for a competence mainly, and although I have succeeded better than many more favored, yet I confess I am disappointed. I have fallen far short of what I hoped for. My health at this writing is badly broken, and my prospects for this life is unpromising. It is probable that the fret of this world will soon be over."
He continued with a prayer, followed by postscript amendments to the will.
The photocopied materials include:
  • Letter of resignation as commander of the 25th US Colored Infantry Regiment, written in Baltimore, Maryland and addressed to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, dated July 4, 1864
  • Letter from Secretary of War Edwin Stanton accepting the resignation of Scroggs, dated July 6, 1864
  • Letter of complaint to Scroggs as Provost Marshall, dated March 27, 1865
  • Summary of letter of complaint to Scroggs as Provost Marshall, dated March 27, 1865
  • Two slips (on one page), Field and Staff Muster Roll slip, 2th Regiment US Colored Infantry, Colonel Gustavus A. Scroggs, roll dated December 6, 1865, honorably discharged as of July 6, 1864
  • Citation, Adjutant General's Office, Colored Troops Branch, dated July 29, 1878, wanted notice for the arrest of Scroggs and to report to General Wallace; second citation dated August 6 states "Nature of offence does not appear on Regtl. records. Released from arrest by S.O... July 2/64."
  • Living will, written by Scroggs, dated October 26, 1881
Of note, Scroggs' letter of resignation cites the fact that he was commissioned for a specific purpose which was not carried out. He was expected to organized Black troops in Texas, but his own regiment had largely been reassigned to other units and he was no longer in physical condition well enough to endure a protracted campaign.
The book included is African American Soldier in the Civil War: USCT 1862-66, by Mark Lardas, Osprey Publishing, 2006.
box Civil War 8, folder 5, folder 4

Series 3, Burr M. Rogers, Sr. 1916-1925

Physical Description: 0.02 Linear Feet(1 folder)

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Burr McKone Rogers, Sr. (11/12/1891 - 3/12/1977) was born in Brooklyn, Iowa to Mary McKone, whose parents were Irish immigrants, and Elmer Duncan Rogers. When he signed his draft registration card on June 5, 1917 he was already a physician with a private practice. He served in the Army from August 30, 1918 at Camp Green in North Carolina, joining Evacuation Hospital #30 on October 26 and deploying as part of the Army of Occupation on February 17. He served overseas until July and was honorably discharged at Camp Dix, New Jersey on August 8, 1919.
On September 17, 1919 Burr married Marjorie Annetta Smith (1895 - 1967), granddaughter of Anna Maria Mitchell née Scroggs. They had three children, Charlotte (b. 1923?), Burr M., Jr. (b. 1929?), and Virginia A. "Ginny" (b. 1934?). Burr worked as an osteopathic physician in New Castle, Pennsylvania. Marjorie passed away in 1967 and Burr passed ten years later and was interred at Oak Park Cemetery in New Castle.
Note: Burr's death certificate shows his birthdate as 1892, but his Veteran's Compensation Application, which he signed, shows his birthdate as 1891.

Scope and Contents

This series contains three photocopied letters from Dr. Burr M. Rogers, Sr. during the First World War. Also included is one diary kept by Marjorie Rogers for the year 1918, one photograph of Burr in uniform circa 1916, one photograph of his wife Marjorie at home in approximately 1925, one photocopied photograph of Burr and another man playing mandolins accompanied by a statement made by Dr. Rogers, as well as 30 keepsake photographs of battle scenes and soldiers from the western front of the First World War.
The letter dated July 23, 1918 was written from Camp Green near Charlotte, North Carolina and discusses training, schedules, final vaccinations, the cold weather, and possibly their engagement; he ends the letter, in reference to his mother, "No I said nothing about the ring."
The second letter was dated November 23, 1918 from La Mons, France. The letter describes his travel because the censors had lifted, discussing moving from New York to Liverpool, England, then Le Havre, France and his current location at a camp where they sleep in "puppy tents." Possibly mentioning their engagement, he hopes to be home soon because as he says, "we have a few plans haven't we?"
The third letter was written from Camp Merritt, New Jersey on August 5, 1919. His trip back to the States was difficult, including 11 days and two storm, with rotten chow, a packed ship, and a ferry and hiking to reach the camp from their embarkation point in Brooklyn, New York. This collection only contains the first page of this letter.
The diary was written in a small booklet created by the Lawrence Savings and Trust Co. in New Castle, Pennsylvania. Marjorie detailed daily activities of at home throughout the year 1918, including work and meals shared with friends and family. She opens with the passage,
"These are war times and we are urged to conserve food. We have meatless days and wheatless days. Country butter is 55 cents per pound and eggs are so expensive and scarce that we haven't had any for a long time. Lard is 35 cents per pound I'm experiencing what it means to live in exciting times."
The statement, entitled "Osteopath Makes Statement," Rogers suggests that there be should be minimum requirements for entrance into an Osteopathic College, in reference to a resolution by the Lawrence County Medical Association to protest an adjustment to these requirements.
box Civil War 8, folder 6, folder 5

Series 4, Burr M. Rogers, Jr. 1946 December 10 - 1947 May 29

Physical Description: 0.01 Linear Feet(1 folder)

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Burr McKone Rogers, Jr. (11/5/1928 - 8/22/2010) was born in New Castle, Pennsylvania and attended New Castle High School where he served in several clubs and as treasurer of the Senior Hi-Y. According the 1950 census he continued to live with his parents at the age of 21, but eventually married to Shirly G. Rogers née Grandy (1931 - 1986) and the two had two children: J. Scott Marilyn Rogers and Kurt Douglas Rogers.
Rogers began serving in the US Army in 1946 after graduating high school and was deployed to Japan in 1947 where he attained the rank of corporal. He is listed as having lived in Chicago and worked as a medical examiner in 1954 and later worked at Metro Hospital in Wyoming, Michigan for 45 years. He passed away in Byron, MI in 2010.

Scope and Contents

This series contains one form letter from and one photograph of Cpl. Burr M. Rogers, Jr., USA shortly after the Second World War. Also included are digital copies of pages of his diary that range from December 10, 1946 to January 29, 1947, as well as three sheets containing six photocopied pages of the diary.
The letter was written from Higuchi Hotel in Atami Japan, dated May 29, 1947. The letter is typed and describes the hotel and surrounding area. In a postscript, Rogers states that this is just a form letter and that he wrote "5 pages trying to describe this place and when I saw these letters I tore it all up."
The photograph shows Rogers in uniform working the counter at the PX in Sugamo Prison, Tokyo, Japan. It is dated 1946 but he did not arrive there until January 1947.
The photocopied pages of the diary are the first six days included in the digital files; detailing his travel to Pittsburgh, Chicago, Kansas City, Wichita, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Phoenix, Los Angeles, then San Francisco, and then Camp Stoneman for processing (vaccinations, etc.). The diary continues to discuss debarkation in December and sailing in the Pacific to Hawaii, Guam, and finally Yokohama through January. Throughout, he describes the weather and daily occurences such as playing games and gambling.
Rogers arrived in Hawaii on December 23 and spent Christmas in Waikiki and Honolulu on pass. He then crossed the international date line on December 30 at midnight and arrived in Guam on January 6, 1947 and describes seeing several types of naval vessels in the harbor. They spent several days there and he even got to go on a trip to a beach where he "had the best time today since I've been in the Army," with beer, candy, and "warm and crystal clear" water. They set sail on January 9 for Yokohama and arrived Monday January 13 after 28 days at sea, running aground about forty minutes from harbor.
After settling in a few days upon arriving to Japan, Rogers reached Sugamo Prison about 40 miles outside of Tokyo where he was to be working in supply (ordered on January 21, as seen in the photograph). He mentions trying to become a medic but they are well staffed; his friend Dave changed jobs and became a photographic lab tech for the prison. He had a Japanese artist paint a picture of someone named Delma on a silk handkerchief and sent it to her. He reported to a Captain McCormick at the prison supply but changed jobs on January 27 on a materials transport truck, including lumber and laundry, traveling to Yokohama, Tokyo, and Osaka. On the last entry, January 29, 1947, Rogers mentions a "guy tried to hang himself but a jailor saved him." He then purchased a good picture of General Hideki Tojo being loaded onto a bus for the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE), also known as the Tokyo War Crimes Trials.
The writing begins in December and jumps to the beginning of the same book in January. The pages in December are dated with the days of the week crossed out and corrected on day early; Wednesday corrected to Tuesday, and so on. It can be inferred from the dates that the diary is a 1947 edition and the dates written in December 1946 had to be corrected before he picked up again in the beginning of the book in January 1947.