Transcribed by:   Laurel Baty
Bartow Co., GA.,
May 28th, 1873

Messrs. Editors:

I visited today the Iron Furnace of Rogers & Co., and after examining every thing as critically as I could, I interviewed Mr. Robert L. Rogers, the originator and one of the largest proprietors of the enterprise.  The task was a difficult one, on account of Bob’s known modesty and reticence, but I succeeded in drawing out the following facts:

During last summer, after the laying by of the crops, he came to the conclusion that the management of a six hundred acre farm, and a set of lime kilns, a saw mill, a railroad wood & water station, a water power for ginning cotton and grinding corn, two steam engines, and the general superintendence of the church in his neighborhood, and other things “too numerous to mention,” all did not keep him busy, and with a horror of idleness, he looked about for something to occupy his spare moments.

The large amount of iron ore lying loose and useless upon the surface of his fields, attracted his attention, and stimulated the idea of making the rubbish of some value.

Before he went to work to build a furnace, he thought carefully on the subject, and, to use his own language, he “made pig iron in his head before he struck the first blow.”

He commenced work on the first of September, 1872, and finished the structure in exactly two months.

The sand stone was quarried from the same hill in which the furnace is built, and 100,000 brick made and burned on the spot.

The foundation of the furnace rests upon a solid limestone rock.  It measures, at its base, 32 feet, 17 feet at the top, and is 35 feet high.  The boshes are nine feet across.  It is arched for three tuyeres, but only two are now used. The other buildings are a large coal house, with a covered bridge leading to the top of the furnace, an engine house, an iron house, a large stone building, stable and barn, and ten houses for operatives.

The engine is 75 horse power, and was made at Champlain, N. Y.  The two boilers are 40 feet long and 3 feet in diameter.  They were made at the People’s Works in Philadelphia—They are so fixed that one or both of them can be used for making steam.  The heat is supplied by burning gas, brought by a flue from the top of the furnace, and conducted under each boiler.  Attached to the engine is a blowing cylinder, on an improved pattern, which generates any quantity of blast.

The greatest curiosity to me is a siphon, which, by some scientific principle, draws water from a spring below, and elevates it 22 feet, and pours it, in a continuous stream, into a tank, from which it is carried by pipes to wherever it is needed. The two tuyeres are exposed to a heat which would melt them like lead, if they were not hollow, and, have water pouring into and out of them unceasingly.

The whole apparatus for making the blast cost $7,801.

The boilers, which were due in January, did not reach their destination until April, on account of an accident to the vessel.  The delay was improved by getting everything ready, and procuring an abundant supply of material.  35,000 bushels of coal and 600  tons of iron ore were hauled up ready for use, and arrangements made to add to from 1,200 to 1,500 bushels of coal per day.  The ores are from different mines, and are of various qualities. They will all be tested, until the best and most profitable are discovered.

The first run was made on the 13th of May, and yielded a little less than a ton.  The increase from that time to this date, has been steady, and now they make three runs every 24 hours, and average about six tons. –They expect, in about three months time, to make from ten to twelve tons per day.

The work goes on quietly and in order.  No drinking of spirits, or swearing allowed there.  The hands all know their duty, and as they are paid well, and promptly, they work faithfully.

Robert L. Rogers is the President, and to his untiring energy, his unceasing watchfulness, and great business sense, the enterprise is indebted for its complete success. [Article goes on to discuss Mathew Simpson, of Pennsylvania, who is the general manager and briefly mentions Willie Lumpkin, book keeper and Tom Williams, of Atlanta, who manages the coaling ground department.]

Rogersville is on the Western & Atlanta Railroad, two miles above Cartersville.  The clear and beautiful waters of Nancy’s Creek flow through its midst.  The place is destined to be the manufacturing town of Bartow county.  Even now, in its infancy, two water wheels, and three stationary engines are doing good work.  Soon as the rolling mill is finished, a cotton factory will be erected, giving work to hundreds.  Yet there will be no rivalry, between the two cities.  Cartersville with its Colleges, will be as renowned for its being the seat of learning, as Rogersville, with its mills, for being the home of industry. –NEMO.


We can see on the 1883 Georgia map that Rogers and Iron Valley is located a couple of miles above Cartersville.  You also note the town of Iron valley.

 Robert L. Rogers, owner of a six hundred acre farm at the intersection of modern day Iron Belt Road and the old Western & Atlantic Railroad (now CSX). In addition to his farming activities, Rogers operated a set of lime kilns, had a railroad wood and water station, a water powered cotton gin, corn mill and saw mill, two steam engines and maintained his neighborhood church. Nancy’s Creek supplied the water to operate his mills. It is unknown when Rogers came to this county, however we do know the name Roger’s Station was associated with The Great Locomotive Chase on April 12, 1862.

In 1872, Rogers, along with former Governor Joseph E. Brown and Martin H. Dooly, built an iron furnace on his property to process large amounts of iron ore found laying in his fields. Mining of iron ore continued after the furnace closed down in 1877. In 1883, a railroad was built from Roger’s Station to the Guyton Ore Bank some 4 to 5 miles northeast. The track was later extended approximately approximately 14 miles further northeast to both Aubrey and Sugar Hill in the Pine Log Mountains. This enterprise was built by Gov. Brown’s Dade Coal Company and other interested investors and was thought to be the longest privately owned railroad at the time. In 1897, the Iron Belt Railroad Mining Company was incorporated, composed of John W. Akin, L. S. Munford, S. P. Jones and T .W. Baxter. Iron Belt Road took its name from the old trackbed, long since removed. The post office at Rogers was named Ferrobutte and operated from 1900 to 1915. For additional information, refer to the history of “Ferrobutte”.



Lies written on the Contextualizing Plaque in DeKalb County.

I have not written in a while on this blog but recent outrages have made me eager.

Lets start with the marker


So how do you respond to this.

Lie #1 in 1908, This Monument was erected at the DeKalb County Courthouse to glorify the lost cause of the Confederacy and the Confederate Soldiers who fought for it.

Response: “Contractor must replace Shaft,” Atlanta Georgian and news. (Atlanta, Ga.) 1907-1912, November 06, 1907, Image 5 “, Reported on November 6th 1907, there was a snap and a thud that could be heard for blocks around the city of Decatur. The base and die for the confederate monument had been carefully placed. The remaining work was to simply set up the shaft of the monument by using a derrick but suddenly the rope snapped and the monument fell. As a result the monument shaft ended up laying in two pieces on the ground. It was estimated the shaft was approximately twenty foot tall. The broken shaft lay at the foot of the base. The contractors guaranteed to deliver it erected. The resulting accident caused the unveiling to be delayed indefinitely.  There was a lot of concern an upset in the community. So the monument was erected in 1907 but the dedication was in 1908. According to the Athens Daily Banner, Jan. 27, 1898 — page 3 says, “The Confederate Veterans of DeKalb County were planning to erect a monument to the memory of the Confederate dead of that county. There was no mention or document of anything related to a lost cause. It was put there to honor the veterans of DeKalb County some of whom were city officials.

Lie #2: It was privately funded by the C.A. Evans Camp of Confederate Veterans and the Agnes Lee Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Response: The Agnes Lee United Daughters of the Confederacy have extended an invitation for Miss Alice Baxter, Georgia State President of the Untied Daughters, to attend the festivities. According to current records from Mrs. Sybil Willoughby, the Agnes Lee Chapter made a generous donation of $100 to the monument fund. It was noted that the monument association wanted to make the subscriptions as public as possible and thus no large sum of money was accepted and nearly every school in the county sent in a donation. Many school children will take part and people of all kinds will be at the unveiling. It was noted that more than one thousand school children contributed to the fund. It was loyalty, affection and appreciation that inspired nearly two thousand people to contribute a monument to the heroes of Dekalb.

“DeKalb Heroes to be Honored by a Tall Marble Shaft”, Atlanta Georgian and news. (Atlanta, Ga.) 1907-1912, September 21, 1907, Image 5

If the plaque were correct why did DeKalb County and its city attorneys spend so much time and effort to determine who the actual owners of the monument were? The County Commission of DeKalb County voted 6-1 to ask its attorneys to find a legal way to remove or relocate it.

Lie #3: Located in a prominent public space, it presence bolstered white supremacy and faulty history suggesting that the cause of the Civil War rested on southern honor and states rights rhetoric instead of the real catalyst African American Slavery.

Response: The dedication reads: (South Face): Erected by the men and women and children of Dekalb County, to the memory of the soldiers and sailors of the Confederacy, of whose virtues in peace and in war we are witnesses, to the end that justice may be done and that the truth perish not.

(West Face): After forty two years another generation bears witness to the future that these men were of a covenant keeping race who held fast to the faith as it was given by the fathers of the Republic. Modest in prosperity, gentile in peace, brave in battle, and undespairing in defeat, they knew no law of life but loyalty and truth and civic faith, and to these virtues they consecrated their strength.

(North Face): These men held that the states made the union, that the Constitution is the evidence of the covenant, that the people of the State are subject to no power except as they have agreed, that free convention binds the parties to it, that there is sanctity in oaths and obligations in contracts, and in defense of these principles they mutually pledged their live, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

(East Face) How well they kept the faith is faintly written in the records of the armies and the history of the times. We who knew them testify that as their courage was without a precedent their fortitude has been without a parallel. May their prosperity be worthy.

Source: Gould B. Hagler, Jr., Georgia’s Confederate Monuments: In Honor of a Fallen Nation, Mercer University Press (Macon), pages 108-109

So the monument speaks for itself. It was erected by the men and women and children of DeKalb County, to the memory of the soldiers and sailors of the Confederacy. The monument did not suggest any cause other than they kept their oath.

Lie #4: This monument and similar ones were created to intimidate African Americans and limit their participation in the social and political life of their communities.

Response: If the monument did intimidate African Americans using the 1906 Race Riot of Atlanta as an example why didn’t the African Americans attack the monument? There is no documentation or evidence to support such a claim. Understanding the DeKalb Plaque Commissioners are not content with any Confederate Monument, which similar ones are you referring too and where is the evidence?

Lie #5: It fostered a culture of segregation by implying that public spaces and public memory belonged to whites.

Response: In 1909 Ross S. Douthard moved to Decatur and became the first African American Doctor in Decatur. In 1913, the Lily hill Baptist Church and the Herring Stree4t School is built for African Americans in Decatur. In 1932 Professor Charles Clayton begins tenure at the Herring School and the list goes on and on. African-American Life in DeKalb County, 1823-1970 By Herman Mason. For some reason the monument did not stifle these people. If it implied that public spaces belonged to whites why build a school, a church and practice medicine in the City of Decatur where the monument is located?

Lie #6: Since state law prohibited local governments from removing Confederate Statues, Dekalb County contextualized this monument in 2019.

Response: The State law does not prohibit removing monuments but was written to protect not only Confederate monuments but all historical monuments. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation, or other entity acting without authority to mutilate, deface, defile, abuse contemptuously, relocate, remove, conceal, or obscure any privately owned monument. The laws were written to increase fines and help prosecute criminals who damage such monuments as the city of Decatur experienced with feces, paint and other materials were smeared not only on the monument but a WWII weapon and a Indian Wars cannon.

Lie #7: DeKalb County Officials and citizens believe that public history can be of service when it challenges us to broaden our sense of boundaries and includes community discussions of victories and shortcomings of our shared histories.

Response: This is perhaps the greatest lie on the plaque. If public history is to be of any service it can’t be cherry picked to cater to the whims of politicians. How is Decatur broadening it sense of values by