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Town of Rogersville Founded
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Joesph Rogers

Founder of the

Town of Rogersville

Mary Amis Rogers


Joseph Rogers was born August 21, 1764 near Cook's Town, Ireland, the son of James Rogers and his wife Elizabeth Brown. He travelled to the area then known as the State of Franklin or western North Carolina, called "the Holston country," by 1785 and, during a stay at a tavern adjacent to Colonel Thomas Amis' home, had fallen in love with the Colonel's daughter, Mary Amis.


Rogers married Mary Amis on October 24, 1786, despite Colonel Amis' initial dislike for him. Eventually, the Colonel gave his blessing and gave the lands near Crockett Spring to his son-in-law—land that Colonel Amis had purchased from the heirs of David Crockett, Sr.


When North Carolina was considering where to establish the county seat for its new Hawkins County, Rogers successfully lobbied, through the influence of his father-in-law, to have the government located near his home; he even volunteered his tavern, set up around 1784-85, as the first county courthouse in 1787.


Rogers, with the help of other local settlers, laid out a plan for the town, and the town of Rogersville was chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1789. The plan included a public square, deeded to the town government, which would host the town's public well and the county courthouse.


Rogers was a successful businessman and tavern keeper. In November 1792, he was appointed the first postmaster at Rogersville, and the second post office of Rogersville, built by its founder circa 1815, still stands at the corner of East Main Street and South Hasson Street.


Other buildings built by Joseph Rogers include the original Rogers Tavern which stood directly across the street from the Old Tavern House, now referred to as the Pettibone House. Both were log structures and after the completion of the latter a covered walkway led across the street from one to the other. Tradition states that the original Rogers Tavern burned. Also the present office building now occupied by Drs. Joe and John Chambers, and presently referred to as the Caldwell Building, was built by Joseph Rogers about 1810. It is a brick structure and has served as Rogers' store, post office, bank, professional offices, and as a private residence. Rogers gave this building to his daughter and son-in-law, Lucy and Clinton Armstrong, in 1818.

Rogers was the father of fourteen children with Mary. He died on November 6, 1833 at Rogersville, near the hour of midnight. He was buried in Rogers Cemetery, near the founding site of the Town. His wife Mary died a month later, the victim, according to legend, of a broken heart at the loss of her beloved Joseph.


  • Goodspeed, History of East Tennessee. (Knoxville: 1887).
  • Price, Henry, Old Rogersville: An Illustrated History of Rogersville, Tennessee. Vol. I. (Rogersville: 2001).
  • Price, Henry, Hawkins County: A Pictorial History. (Rogersville: 1996).
  • Hawkins County Archives
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Rogers_(pioneer)

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