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The Legend of William Rogers

The Legend of William Rogers

Texas Legend

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Patterson Rogers and General Zachary Taylor were lifelong friends and lived near each other in Louisiana until General Taylor was ordered to occupy Texas in the late summer of 1845. Patterson Rogers came to Corpus Christi with his sons to join Taylor's army but found they had already moved on to Brownsville. Patterson and his sons, Anderson and William, joined a supply train in April 1846 that was destined for an army camp at Point Isabel. There were 15 men, three women and four children in the group.

Camping for the night at the Arroyo Colorado, near Harlingen, the Rogers party was attacked by Mexican bandits, who tied their hands behind their backs, cut their throats and threw them into the arroyo. William Rogers suffered a deep gash that severed his windpipe and stretched from ear to ear but he was still alive when he was dumped into the river.

After the bandits left, he crawled out and wandered for days, half-conscious, naked, bleeding, and sunburned. He eventually made his way to a Ranch on the Rio Grande almost 40 miles from the scene of the massacre. A young girl at the ranch nursed him back to health but the Mexican authorities learned about him and threw him in jail since the US and Mexico were at war.

He was eventually turned over to the US army in a prisoner exchange and General Taylor, his father's friend, had him well cared for, and subsequently dispatched a vessel solely to take him from Point Isabel to his home in Corpus Christi. Rogers learned Spanish as soon as he could, returned to the ranch on the Rio Grande and married the Mexican girl who had saved his life. She was able to provide him with information about the bandits who had murdered his father and brothers and he tracked down them down one by one and killed them by slashing their throats.

Rogers moved back to Corpus Christi and became a successful business man and community leader. At the time of his death, he was the representative of Nueces County in the State Legislature and he had been vice-president of the Corpus Christi, San Diego and Rio Grande Railroad Co. He is buried in Bayview Cemetery.

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