Clement Vann Rogers was born on 11 January 1839 near Westville, Indian Territory, in the Going Snake district of the Cherokee Nation. Even in his youth, Clem was known as stern, independent, and hardworking. His father, Robert Rogers, who was an early settler to Indian Territory, had died in 1840, leaving Clem and his mother, Sally Vann, to care for their small family farm. Clem attended a local Baptist mission school and later would also attend the Cherokee Male Seminary in Tahlequah for a few semesters. However, Clem was more interested in starting his own ranch than he was in going to school. In 1855, when he was sixteen, he was hired to help drive a herd of five-hundred longhorn steers from Indian Territory up to Kansas City, and Clem Rogers quit school for good.