Bio: Rodgers, Hugh (Commemorative Bio - 1895)

Poster: Crystal Wendt


Hugh Rodgers

Hugh Rodgers, one of the most prominent and enterprising lumbermen and lumber manufacturers of Northern Wisconsin, and join proprietor and manager of an extensive sawmill, planing-mill and machine shops in Tomahawk, Lincoln County, is a native of Michigan, born in Ferrysburg, Ottawa County, May 16, 1858.

Alexander Rodgers, his father, is by birth a Scotchman, having first seen the light may 24, 1824, near Edinburgh. “Auld Reekie,” the most romantic and classic city in all the “land of the mountain and the flood.” He is a son of Alexander and Margaret (McNeal) Rodgers, well to do farming people of near Edinburgh, the parents of six children, to wit: Alexander, John, Jessie, Alexander, Barbara and Margaret. Of this family, Alexander in his youth learned the trade of engineer and machinist, at which he became an expert, making it his life work. In 1846 he married, and in 1848, two years thereafter, the young couple emigrated to America, landing in Boston, Mass, near which city he found employment in a machine shop, and made the first steam-hammer ever used by the United States Government. For several years thereafter he was employed at his trade, chiefly in railroad shops in different parts of the Union, till he found himself in Romeo, Mich. From there, after a time, he moved to Muskegon, where with true Scotch grit, and a full determination to “make a spoon or spoil a horn,” he purchased a machine shop, running in debt therefore in the sum of five thousand dollars. This, with most men, might have resulted in a “tapsalteerie” condition, but not so with Mr. Rodgers, whose natural ability, energy, perseverance and, above all, characteristic industry and honesty have brought him to his present enviable position of independence. He has been mainly engaged in this machine shop in the manufacture of mill machinery, in addition to which he owns extensive lumber interests in Wisconsin, and a large plant at Tomahawk, while furthermore he is vice-president of the Lumbermen’s National Bank of Muskegon, Mich. Mr. Rodgers is his boyhood had but little opportunity of attending school, but he is and has been a great reader, keeping himself well informed on all the day topics, in recording which on the tablets of his mind he enjoys the aid of a wonderful memory. He is warm-hearted, and generous to a fault, a great lover of his family, his country, and of the representative poet of the land of heather-Burns, who wrote the most pungent truism ever penned by mortal man, “a man’s a man for a that.” Mr. Rodgers, like Burns and his other countryman, Carlyle, believes and affirms that the true part departs not. Nothing that was worthy in the past departs—no truth or goodness realized by man ever dies, or can die. In Muskegon, Mich., he lost his first wife, and he subsequently remarried.

Hugh Rodgers, the subject proper of this writing, secured a common school education at Muskegon, Mich., and attended Notre Dame (Ind.) College, one year, subsequently learning the trade of machinist in his father’s shop at Muskegon. In 1879, at the age of twenty-one years, he commenced the study of law, but did not prosecute it, preferring to give the usefulness of his life to the lumber business and kindred industries. In this he commenced at the bottom rung of the ladder, by industry working his way upward in a sawmill till within one year he found himself in charge of his father’s plant in Muskegon. In May, 1881, he went south, to New Mexico, and there mined one year; thence preceded to the wilds of Arizona, being employed in the right of way of the Atlantic & Pacific railroad, his employers being John W. Young and Brigham Young, Jr., with whom he remained four months after which he went farther west, working on the same road some nine months. On November 1, 1882, in company with John Moran, he started on foot for Santa Maria, Cal., a distance of five hundred miles, and on reaching his destination secured a position as clerk in a hotel; but, not long remaining there, he proceeded to Los Angeles, where he entered the employ of a large company as supervisor over a 1,200 acre vineyard, and so remained from January till the following November; then, after visiting, San Francisco, he returned to Michigan.

In the following winter Mr. Rodgers went to Williamsport, Penn., as representative of the Rodgers Manufacturing Co., of Muskegon, his business connected therewith taking him during that winter through the states of Pennsylvania and New York, and in the succeeding spring and summer he represented the firm throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota. Returning to Muskegon in 1884, he took charge of his father’s sawmill, in which connection he continued until coming to Tomahawk in 1889. J Here he and his father built a sawmill, and associated themselves with the Tomahawk Lumber Co., our subject being superintendent of Mill No. 4 until March, 1891, when Alexander and Hugh Rodgers withdrew from the company, and have since conducted their extensive business independently. Their present plant at Tomahawk consists of sawmill, planing-mill and machine shop, Hugh being manger of the entire concern.

On January 21, 1885, Hugh Rodgers was married to Miss Alice Leboeuf, a native of Charleston, Mass., and daughter of Delphis and Olympia Leboeuf, Canadians of French descent, who had a family of four children: Eugene, Alice, Florence, and Rose. To Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Rodgers were born six children, namely: Alexander, Pyle R., Eugene (deceased at the age of two years), Hugh, Rosa F., and Carrie. Mr. Rodgers, in national and State affairs, supports the Republican Party; but in local elections he casts his ballot for the best man, regardless of party ties. At present he is alderman from the Third ward of Tomahawk. Socially, he is affiliated with the I. o. O. F., K. of P., Order of Elks, K. O. T. M., and A. P. A. societies.

---Source: Commemorative Biographical Record of the Upper Wisconsin Counties of Waupaca, Portage, Wood, Marathon, Lincoln, Oneida, Vilas, Langlade and Shawano. publ. 1895 by J. H. Beers & Co., Chicago 1110 pages, illustrated; Page 1004-1005


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