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