William H. Rogers was born July 27, 1872 in Union County, just seven years after the end of the Civil War. He was educated in one-room schools in the county. Having a desire to become a doctor, he entered and graduated from Southern Medical College in Atlanta and from Emory University School of Medicine. While he was still in medical school, he married the love of his life, Frances Iowa Reid, a Union County girl.
To this couple were born nine children, six sons and three daughters: Bessie, George Reid, Roy, Franklin Randall, Andy Ralph, Lucille, Rain, Nora Lee, and W. H. The Rogers family lived in the Young Cane District of Union County.
Dr. Rogers' long years of service to his home county brought memorable rewards, none of which he sought but which he received by virtue of his unselfish work. He received Presidential Citations for his service to the war efforts during both World War I and World War II. The American Medical Association recognized Dr. Rogers for fifty years of outstanding service.
He saw the need of his own people in Union County for better medical service, and returned to his home county where he practiced for over fifty years. With his medical bag and compassionate personality, he went to country homes to deliver hundreds of babies and to give treatment and medications to young and old. He rode miles on his horse, and then after the advent of the automobile, he bumped along dusty and muddy country roads to meet the demands of a full and burgeoning practice.
Dr. Rogers died February 23, 1959 and was laid to rest in the Confidence United Methodist Church Cemetery in Lower Young Cane. His beloved wife, Frances Iowa Reid Rogers (born December 13, 1877) had preceded her husband in death on September 27, 1958.
The Rev. Claude Patterson gave the eulogy at Dr. Rogers' funeral. He related how Dr. Rogers had a moving religious experience when he was a lad, and often gave public testimony to his love for Christ and the Lord's leadership in his life.
"He was indeed one of us," the Rev. Patterson said. "He could rightly be called 'The Missionary Doctor' for he was a missionary to many of us. The weather was never too bad, the night never too dark, to deter his errands of mercy. The family was never too poor for him to minister to them. The roads were never so rough that he didn't manage somehow to get to his patient. Many times he [went] to his sick neighbor when his own body was racked with pain, or [he] was near exhaustion from long hours in the saddle or at the wheel of his little automobile. He lived a sacrificial life."
The eulogy praised him as 'The Good Samaritan' who bound up physical wounds and ministered to spiritual needs as well.
Several descendants of this good doctor still live in Union County. And, beyond that, many of the babies at whose birth he was the attending physician can be thankful that they got a good start in life from this country doctor's ministrations.
[Sources used for this article: Sketches of Union County History, Volume 2, pages 95- 96. The Heritage of Union County, page 278.]
c 2007 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Jan. 25, 2007 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.