Clem Rogers: The Rancher

By the end of the Civil War, the Rogers ranch along Rabb’s Creek was gone. For a time, the Rogers family would remain with the Schrimsher family southwest of Tahlequah while Clem Rogers would begin to rebuild his herd. By 1868, Clem Rogers would move back to the Cooweescoowee District of the Cherokee Nation to reestablish the ranch, with his family rejoining him by 1870. This time, Clem Rogers chose a location along the Verdigris River about seven miles east of his first claim. He began building the Rogers ranch house in the summer of 1873 with his former slaves, Rabb and Huse. The Rogers ranch house, known as the “White House on the Verdigris” was completed by 1875.


Clem Rogers was active within the government of the Cherokee Nation. In 1877, he became a judge for the Cooweescoowee District, and by 1879 he was elected to the Cherokee Senate, in which he served five terms. By the time Will Rogers was born in 1879, the Rogers ranch was expansive. It was more than 60,000 acres, with an eastern border of the Verdigris River and the western border of the Caney River. The southern border of the ranch was where the Verdigris and Caney Rivers intersected, which was nearly as far south as Claremore, and the northern border riders would ride near what is modern day Talala, almost twenty miles to the north of the southernmost point of the ranch. The ranch had nearly 10,000 head of Texas Longhorn cattle that grazed on the fertile land between the rivers.


The cattle operation continued until the 1890s. Beginning in 1891, he began growing wheat on the far western section of the ranch, where in his first year, grew nearly 13,000 bushels. However, by the time of the Curtis & Dawes Acts, Clem Rogers had moved into Claremore. He served as a vice president of the First National Bank, owned a livery stable, and was a part owner of the Sequoyah Hotel.