Wednesday, September 29, 2010

No Will Left By Chas. C. Hildinger

I guess it doesn't matter how smart, or how rich you are;  it doesn't always add up to wise estate planning.  My husband's ancestor, his great-uncle Charles Clark Hildinger, wealthy theater magnate of Trenton, New Jersey, was evidently afraid to sign a will.

I found this article in the Trenton Evening Times, 25 Sep 1931, outlining the circumstances.  The will had been drawn up several days before at his friends' urging and placed before him, but he was too superstitious to sign it.  As a result of his refusal to sign, the proceeds of his estate, which were estimated at $50,000 were divided up between the widow, Helen inheriting one-third, son Clark, aged fourteen,  one-third and daughter Claire, aged eleven, one third.  However, it was believed that the estate was worth much more than the amount mentioned in the filing.

This is one will I would have loved to get my hands on.  With his impressive holdings, it would have most certainly been full of interesting details.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Charles C. Hildinger Obituary

Charles C. Hildinger, the prominent businessman and theater magnate who I discussed in my previous post, was my husband's great-uncle.  One would think, with his amazing accomplishments from farm boy to rich man,  he would have been discussed by my father-in-law with his children, but as with his other ancestors, they have up until now, no knowledge.  I have found probably one hundred news articles which substantiate his rags to riches story, and his obituary which was on the front page of the Trenton Evening Times on September 3, 1931 confirms his status in the theater industry and Trenton/Mercer County community.


Prominent Figure in Trenton Amusement Fields Dies At 54

Charles C. Hildinger, 54 years old, well known owner of several amusement ventures in the city and elsewhere and president of the Mercer County Board of Taxation, will be buried from his late home, 614 West State Street, Saturday afternoon at 2 o’clock.  Following services interment will be in Ewing Church Cemetery under direction of F. J. Ullrich & Sons, Inc.

Mr. Hildinger died yesterday afternoon at Mercer Hospital.  He had suffered an acute heart attack at his summer home in Belmar, the day before, his condition growing so serious that he was ordered brought to the Trenton institution about 2 a.m. yesterday.  He regained consciousness for about five hours prior to his death. 

Mrs. Hildinger and Lee Newbury, of Belmar, his partner in theatrical enterprises, accompanied him to Trenton from the shore city.

Mr. Hildinger is survived by his widow, a son, Clark and daughter, Claire.  They reside at the West State Street home.  He leaves also three sisters, Mrs. Frank J. Ullrich, Mrs. David C. Johnston and Mrs. Paul Sweet, all of this city; three nieces, Mrs. John Nicholathwaite, of Portsmouth, Ohio; Miss Daisy Cochrane of Washington, D.C. and Mrs. Walter Stevens, also of Washington, and one nephew Charles Sweet, of this city.

He was a member of True Craftsman Lodge, F. & A.; Scottish Rite, Three Times Three Chapter and Crescent Temple, Mystic Shire.  He belonged also to Trenton Lodge of Moose.  He was also a member of the Trenton Republican Club, of the Belmar Betterment League and the Allied Motion Picture Theatre Association.

Mr. Hildinger’s early life had many of the story-book qualities that fired the imagination of the youth of a generation ago.  Born on a farm in Armstrong County, Pa., where he remained until he was 14 years old, he soon set out for wider opportunities, and when he was still a young man, he was making the most of his chances in Pittsburgh.  His small business adventure subsequently took him to many small towns and eventually to this city.

Interested in newspapers, he obtained a position as circulation solicitor of the Trenton Times.  Two years later he started here what is believed to have been the first motion picture house east of Pittsburgh. 
It was while visiting in Pittsburgh that the film theatre idea came to him.  He perched himself on a curb and watched 300 persons enter a theatre.  Financially inclined, Hildinger figured the proceeds which the management received.

He returned to Trenton and the “Bijou” was the result.  It was opened at 28 North Warren Street, on July 12, 1906.  The “Bijou” was an immediate success and Hildinger and his brother-in-law, Charles C. Cutler, formed the Dream Amusement Company.

Within ten, years, Hildinger owned eight show houses here.  One of them was the “Nicolet,” located at 134 south Broad Street and housing 221 persons.  Coming to Trenton without a nickel, Hildinger was soon dubbed the “Five Cent King of Trenton.”  And he often admitted he was proud of the title.

                Headed String of Theatres

Mr. Hildinger’s string of movie houses later included the Bijou on Chestnut Avenue, Princess on North Clinton Avenue, Victory on South Broad Street, Rialto on Pennington Avenue, American on Princeton Avenue, Strand on Hermitage Avenue, and Garden on North Broad Street.  He also had an interest in the Greenwood and City Square theatres.  In each of these enterprises he was aided by financially interested associates.

Nearly twenty years ago Mr. Hildinger organized the Hildinger Booking Company, which became a clearing house for films for his own and other local theatres.  While engaged in this business he became associated with the late Milton Hirshfield and, with the latter acquired the Stacy Theatre on East State Street, of which he was the active head at the time of his death.

                Also Had Interests at Shore

With Mr. Hirshfeld, he became a leading member of the group that four years ago was organized to erect the Lincoln Theatre.  Throughout the course of construction of this playhouse, Mr. Hildinger was continually on the job as a building supervisor.  Upon its completion, be became vice president of the enterprise and, at the death of Mr. Hirshfeld and until the sale of the house to the RKO interests, he was the active head in the operation of the Lincoln.

For the past ten year Mr. Hildinger had resided throughout the summer at Belmar, where he also had extensive amusement holdings.  He was affiliated with two theatres and an amusement pier there and with the Ocean Theatre in Asbury Park.

He was also actively identified with Woodlawn Park and formerly conducted the Arcade billiard parlors on East State Street, between Broad and Warren.

Back in 1927 Mr. Hildinger was named treasurer of the New Jersey Motion Picture Owners; Association during their annual convention in Asbury Park.  He also was vice president of the Southern New Jersey branch of the association at one time.

Source:  Trenton Evening Times
Date:  Thursday, 3 Sep 1931

Monday, September 20, 2010

Charles Clark Hildinger

Charles Clark Hildinger, founder of the Hildinger Theaters, and who was known as the "Five Cent King" of Trenton, was born in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania on 15 Dec 1876, the youngest child of John A. Hildinger and Mary Jane Cochran Hildinger.  His father a farmer and Civil War veteran, came to this country from Wurttemburg, Germany with his parents as a toddler.  His father died when he was eleven and three years later Clark left the farm at the age of fourteen for better opportunities.  He tried several careers before finding success with the movie business.  He first went to Pittsburgh, then to Kittanning, Pa where he worked in a pottery.  Next he went to McKeesport, Pa where he worked as a clerk selling carpets.  Tiring of carpets he went to Trenton and became interested in the newspaper business.  He went to work for the circulation department of the Trenton Times.  After a couple of years, he and his brother-in-law C. C. Cutler bought the circulation of the times and owned it jointly.

Charles made several visit to his former home in Pittsburgh and on one visit became fascinated with a moving picture show.  He counted the people going in and calculated the evening's take.  An idea was born.  He went back to Trenton and created "The Bijou."  He and his brother-in-law created Dream Amusement Company.  Within a few years, he was the sole owner, with Cutler dedicating himself to the newspaper circulation business.  Hildinger added more theaters, The Nicolet, The Royal and five others.  With these successes, he branched out adding The Taylor Opera House. He also had extensive amusement holdings in Belmar and was affiliated with an amusement pier there among others.  In 1927 he became treasurer of the New Jersey Motion Picture Owners' Association.  In 1929, Governor Lawson appointed him to the Mercer County Tax Board.

He was also known for his charitable gestures especially to children of Trenton.  He would often provide provide free showings at his theaters and outings to the shore for the orphans.

On 27 Oct 1915, he married Helen Beatrice Dunn and they had two children, John Clark born in 1916 and Claire Helen born in 1920.  Charles died unexpectedly of a heart attack on 2 Sep 1931 at the age of 54 leaving his family to carry on his legacy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Olivia R. Rogers Obituary

Miss Olivia R. Rogers

Funeral Services for Miss Olivia R. Rogers, daughter of the later Dr. Elmer H. and M. Olivia Rogers, who died suddenly yesterday morning at Mercer Hospital, will be held Saturday morning at 11 o’clock at the Poulson & Van Hise Home for Services, 408 Bellevue Avenue.  Interment will be in Riverview Cemetery.  Friends may call tomorrow evening between 7 and 9 o’clock.

Miss Rogers was stricken shortly before 11 A.M. yesterday at her home, 126 North Warren Street.  She was rushed to the hospital in a police ambulance, where she was pronounced dead five minutes after arrival.

She is survived by a sister, Miss Florence A. Rogers, and an uncle, William A. Bowers, of Washington, D.C.

Source:  Unknown – Trenton Evening Times
Date:  18 Jan 1940

Rogers –

Entered into rest on January 17th, 1940, Olivia R., daughter of the late Dr. Elmer H. and M. Olivia Rogers.  The relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend the funeral from The Poulson & Van Hise Home for Services. No. 408 Bellevue Avenue, on Saturday morning at 11 o’clock.  Interment at Riverview Cemetery.  Friends may call on Friday evening from 7 to 9 o’clock.

Olivia R. Rogers

Olivia R. Rogers, daughter and fifth child of Dr. Elmer H. Rogers and Mary Olivia Bowers Rogers seems to me to have lived a short, perhaps not too happy life.  Although she came from an affluent family, her life took a sad turn when her father died when she was nine years old.  She and her sister Florence never married, remaining at home with their mother.  Florence was quite intelligent and accomplished, but I have not found much to show that Olivia, or Olive as she was known, was as accomplished.  In the 1920 Trenton, Mercer County census, her occupation is listed as "Filing Clerk for Federal Vocational Board."    I found this small, what I find to be, amusing article in the Trenton Evening times, 26 Apr 1928.  I mean seriously, they had schools to to learn how to file?  

I guess her career in the filing business wasn't very successful because for whatever reason, just two years later in the 1930 Trenton, Mercer County census, her occupation is listed as "Clerk Department Store."
In 1934, after her mother's death she petitioned the Court to be appointed trustee of a sizable trust fund set up under the terms of the will of her father Elmer H. Rogers for the benefit of his children and grandchildren and was approved the position by the Court.  These grandchildren included my father-in-law Alvin S. Rogers, Jr.  Not much is found on Olivia from this date and sadly, ten years later at just forty-two years of age, she followed so many of her relatives into death from cause of heart attack.

“Ten Fallsington Girls Who Married Physicians”

This is an excerpt from an article from the Trenton Sunday Times Advertiser, 2 Nov 1913 about Mary Olivia Bowers, mother of Alvin Stackhouse Rogers, Sr., my husband's grandfather.

Excerpt from “Ten Fallsington Girls Who Married Physicians”
Prettily Told Story of a Village School Across the Delaware Which has Graduated a
Goodly Number of Notable People of Both Sexes
(Written for the Sunday-Times Advertiser by Louise White Watson, Fallsington, Pa.)


Olivia Bowers was the fourth one of our girls to spend her married life in the city of Trenton having married Dr Elmer H. Rogers in 1884.  Miss Bowers after leaving the old schoolroom here took up her studies at the West Chester State Normal School, and later, attended Swarthmore College.  As Dr. Rogers did not graduate from the Jefferson Medical College till 1886, Mrs. Rogers during that period studied at the Woman’s Medical College, Girard and College Avenues, Philadelphia.  Dr. Rogers then located in Trenton, and continued in practice there till his death some years ago.  Mrs. Rogers’s son, Alvin Stackhouse Rogers, is a graduate of Pennington Seminary, and is now following in his father’s footsteps, by taking the full course at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia.  In the department of civil engineering Mr. Rogers, last summer, was inspector and timekeeper on one of the forces now engaged on the barge canal between Lake George and Lake Champlain, an enterprise which is said to equal that of the Panama Canal.

Mrs. Rogers’ older daughter, Florence, is now a student at the Trenton High School.  She is also a stenographer, having taken the course both at the school and at Rider-Moore and Stewart Business College.  In addition to this work, Miss Rogers has won several prizes as a versatile story-writer.

Mrs. Rogers’ second daughter, Olivia, or Olive as she is generally known, is attending the Trenton High School.

Rose Bowers, a sister of Olive Bowers, was another of our girls who married a physician.  Her husband, Dr. Henry D. Gold practiced his profession for a time at Portland, Oregon, but has since discontinued it and is now in the Pennsylvania Railroad employ at Broad Street, Philadelphia.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dr. Elmer H. Rogers Obituary


North Warren Street Physician Martyr to His Profession

Dr. Elmer H. Rogers, one of Trenton’s leading physicians, died suddenly of heart disease at 4 o’clock this morning at his home, 126 North Warren street.

While his health has been poor of late his death was unexpected and came as a shock to his many friends.  He retired feeling as well as usual last evening, but in a short time he was awakened with pains about his heart.  He took the accustomed remedies, but seemed to realize that the ailment was of a serious nature and advised Mrs. Rogers to send for physicians.  Drs. Morton Kent and L. D. Tompkins arrived in a few minutes, but their ministrations were unavailing.

Dr. Rogers enjoyed one of the largest practices in Trenton and was practically a martyr to his calling.  At some seasons in the year he made as many as 100 sick calls in one day and was kept busy late into the night.  The strain first began to show upon his health about a year ago when he complained about his heart.  He remained in his home Monday and Tuesday of this week, but was around the centre of the city yesterday although he did not make any sick calls.


Dr. Rogers was born in Dolington, Pa., forty-seven years ago.   He was educated in the public schools there and then entered the Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia.  Upon his graduation he came to Trenton, twenty years ago.  He established an office at Perry and Warren streets, where the Central Restaurant now is and remained there five years, after which he removed to his late home.

He continued his studies after graduation and took special courses in foreign colleges.  He was abroad three times.  He was awarded certificates by the Metropolitan School of Medicine in London, and the Medical Graduates’ College and Polyclinic in London.  The former certificate permitted him to practice in the Charing Cross, Guys, King’s College, Middlesex, St. George’s, St. Mary’s, St. Thomas’s, University College and Westminster Hospitals.  In the Medical Graduates’ College the course was in Ophthalmology and Clinical Pathology, while in Berlin two years ago he studied special branches of surgery.  He also attended the Philadelphia Hospital for Skin Diseases in Philadelphia, and took special training on the eye, ear and throat in institutions in New York.

Dr. Rogers was unusually successful in his profession and was frequently called to surrounding cities.  He had a blunt manner but forceful character and immediately won the implicit confidence and trust of his patients.  He devoted all of his energy to his work, and was untiring in his efforts.  Public life never appealed to him.

He is survived by his wife, who was Miss Olivia Bowers, of Fallsington, and three children, one son and two daughters.  His son, Alvin, is a student at the State Schools.  His daughters are Florence and Olive.  Mrs. Jane Rogers, his mother and Irvin W. Rogers, his brother, who is secretary and general agent of the Standard Fire Insurance Company, live in this city.  Another brother, Dr. B. H. Rogers, resides in Paterson.

Dr. Rogers was a member of the Trenton Medical Library Association, the Mercer County Component Medical Society, Trenton Circle, Brotherhood of America, the Alumni Association of Jefferson Medical College, Trenton Lodge, Knights of Pythias, Shepherd’s Delight Lodge, Ancient Order of Shepherds, Century Council, Junior Order of United American Mechanics and Royal Oak Lodge, Sons of St. George.  He attended the meetings of the Hicksite Friends.

The arrangements for the funeral have not been completed.  The interment will be under the direction of Ashmore & Margerum.

Source:  Trenton EveningTimes
Date:  11 April 1907

Dr. Rogers Buried In Riverview Today

Many Professional and Personal Friends Attend Funeral Services

Funeral Services of the Society of Friends were conducted this afternoon over the body of Dr. Elmer H. Rogers at his later home, 126 North Warren street.  There was also a short eulogy by the Rev. A.J. Welsley, pastor of the Third Presbyterian Church.

The funeral was largely attended, there being an exceptionally large representation of members of the medical profession present.  Lodges of which Dr. Rogers was a member were represented by large delegations.  The lodges which were represented at the services were Trenton Circle of Brotherhood of America, Trenton Lodge of Knights of Pythias, Shepherds Delight Lodge of The Ancient Order of Shepherds, Century Council of Jr. O. U. A. M., and Royal Oak Lodge of Sons of St. George.  There were also representatives of the Trenton Medical Library Association, Jefferson Medical College Alumni Association, Mercer County Component Medical Society.

Interment of the body of Dr. Rogers was made in Riverview cemetery at the convenience of the family and under the direction of Ashmore & Margerum.

Dr. Rogers died Thursday after a short illness.  He was 48 years of age and was one of the best known physicians in New Jersey.  He had been in poor health for some time, but his death was sudden and unexpected, heart trouble being the cause.

Source:  Trenton Times
Date:  15 April 1907

Mary Elizabeth Hildinger

Mary Elizabeth Hildinger Johnston
Mary Elizabeth Hildinger was born about 1863, probably Cowanshannock, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania to John A. Hildinger and Mary Jane Cochran Hildinger.  She was the fourth child of seven and one of five daughters.  On 23 Jul 1886 in Clearfield County, PA she married David C. Johnston, son of Andrew Jackson Johnston and Elizabeth Mariah London Johnston.  In 1891, she and David were found selling a property in DuBois along with Eliza M. Johnston - they were listed on a deed in Clearfield County( this information from Kathy Myers).  This is the last mention of them I can find until 1910 when they show up in the 1910 census in Allegheny, PA with daughter, Luella.  This 19 year span is quite a mystery and one I am determined to solve.  Luella was their first and only child and was born 17 years after their marriage which seems unusual.  Where did they go for all those years?  Were they separated for some reason? 

By 1914 they were living in Trenton, New Jersey where David went to work for Mary's brother Charles in the movie theater business as a manager of one of his theaters.  In the 1910 census his occupation was listed as Foreman, Dept. Stables.

Their daughter Luella was an accomplished musician and organist and apparently this may have been inherited from her Johnston side.  In notes from Mary Aleta Winslow, Eliza Mariah was supposedly from a musically gifted family.

Mary Elizabeth and David Johnston lived in Trenton until at least 1943, but I have been unable to find any record of their deaths despite numerous searches.

The Hildinger Family

The other side of my husband's family, the Hildinger family, was a great find!  My husband's grandmother, Luella Ruth "Susan" Johnston, mother of Alvin Stackhouse Rogers, Jr. was born in 1903 to David C. Johnston and Mary Elizabeth Hildinger Johnston.  Mary Elizabeth Hildinger came from a large family in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, but her father John A. Hilldinger (1831 - 1887) and his father (John Hildinger (1794 - 1848) came the United States from Wurttemberg, Germany in  1833 and settled in Armstrong, Pennsylvania sometime around 1841 where they took up farming.  Several of the Hildinger children later left the farm and went on to become quite prominent which I will discuss further in later posts.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Florence Allston Rogers

Florence Allston Rogers, my husband's great-aunt was born October 1896 in Trenton, Mercer County, NJ to Dr. Elmer H. Rogers and Mary Olivia Bowers Rogers, their fourth child.   Florence was a very bright child, I have found a number of newspaper articles chronicling her accomplishments.  In June of 1910, she won first prize in a temperance essay contest at the Joseph Wood School.  Her essay "The Saloon and American Liberty" won her $5 in gold starting her career in writing.  In 1915, another article in the the Trenton Evening Times reported on her graduation from Trenton High School.  For three years in a row she won the Lincoln medal for highest honor in her class.

She also wrote a number of plays, one the "The Modern Blue Monday" was performed as part of the commencement exercises.  After her graduation, she attended Swarthmore College.  In 1916, she composed a Shakespearean pageant "May Day at Larchmont" for the Friends' Association of which she was a member.  She also acted as stage director and appeared in one scene.

It appears she never married; in the 1920 census she is living with her mother, brother Alvin and sister Olivia, her occupation listed as "supervisor mother's pension fund."  In the 1930 census she is again living with her mother and sister at age 32 occupation listed as "none."  She is mentioned in her sister Olivia's obituary in January 1943 and again in a court document filed by the City of Trenton six years after her brother Alvin's death in 1943.  I have been unable to find any further mention of her or an obituary.

Obituary for Mary Olivia Bowers

Funeral on Friday for Mrs. Rogers

Mrs. Mary Olivia Rogers, widow of Dr. Elmer Rogers, and niece of John P. Stackhouse, died last night at her late residence following a lengthy illness.

She is survived by two daughters, the Misses Florence and Olivia Rogers; a son Dr. Alvin S. Rogers; two grandchildren; a brother William A. Bowers, of Washington, D.C., and a sister, Mrs. Rosamond Gold, also of Washington, D.C.

The funeral will be held from the Poulson and Van Hise Home for Services, 408 Bellevue Avenue, Friday morning at 11 o’clock.  Interment will be made in Riverview Cemetery under the direction of Poulson and Van Hise.

Friends may call Thursday evening from 7 to 9 o’clock.

Source :  Trenton Evening Times
Date:  11 Apr 1934

Mary Olivia Bowers Rogers

Bucks County PA Orphans' Court Records 1852-1900 by Thomas G. Myers
Mary Olivia Bowers Rogers, mother of Alvin Stackhouse Rogers, Sr., my husband's great-grandmother is one of those people that fascinates me for some reason.  I keep coming back to her trying to solve all the mysteries of her existence.  On the surface it sounds as if she lived a charmed life.  She descended from several prominent families, the Bowers', the Lowers and the Stackhouses.  She was born in July of 1864 in Maryland, oldest child of Thomas Lamb and Lydia (unknown) Bowers.  She had a younger sister Rosamond Lower Bowers and brother William A. Bowers.  Apparently her mother died when she was a girl, probably between 1870 and 1880,  and she and her sister became the wards of their great uncle John P. Stackhouse of Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  I have not found these guardianship papers yet.  I have found no documentation, or census records, but I believe her brother must have gone with his father to live at least for a few years.  I can find no record of Thomas' death, but William is mentioned in numerous records and newspaper articles and obituaries up to 1943.  John Stackhouse died 18 Jul 1883 (Bucks County PA Orphans' Court Records 1852-1900 - Thomas G. Myers) and on 15 Sep 1884 Elmer H. Rogers of Lower Makefield Twp. was appointed guardian of Mary.

Mary and Elmer probably married the same month and around 1885-1886 they moved to Trenton, NJ where Elmer took up his medical practice.  Their first child, Ellerslie Wallace was born in in 1886 and their second son Alvin was born in 1889.  A daughter Helen was born in 1892.  Unfortunately, being the child of a doctor could not save Ellerslie who died 20 Feb 1895.  Another daughter Florence was born in October 1896, but sadly their daughter Helen died on 20 Jul 1897.  Their last child, a daughter, Olivia R., was born in January of 1898.  Ellerslie and Helen are buried in the family plot at Riverview Cemetery in Trenton.

After Elmer's untimely death in 1907, Mary continued raising her children. Alvin Jr. went to medical school, Florence and Olive never married and lived with Mary until her death on 10 Apr 1934.  She was buried in Riverview Cemetery next to her husband, but sadly her name was never inscribed on the stone.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dr. Elmer H. Rogers

Dr. Elmer H. Rogers, father of Alvin Stackhouse Rogers, Sr.  was born 10 Nov 1858 in Dolington, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the first child of Levi H. Rogers and Jane Eliza (Slack) Rogers. 

He attended and graduated from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia.  He was awarded certificates by the Metropolitan School of Medicine in London, and the Medical Graduates' College and Polyclinic in London.  He also attended the Philadelphia Hospital for Skin Diseases in Philadelphia, and took special training on the eye, ear, and throat in institutions in New York.

In September of 1884 he accepted Guardianship of Mary Olivia Bowers, daughter of Thomas Lamb and Lydia (unknown) Bowers.  She had been the under the guardianship of her great-uncle John P. Stackhouse along with her sister Rosamond Lower Bowers.  Elmer and Mary were married most likely the same month, September 1884.  The whereabouts and guardianship of their younger brother William A. Bowers, born about 1869 is still a mystery, but documents show his existence, living in Washington, DC until at least 1943.

Elmer Rogers was the county physician for Mercer County for a number of years affiliated with Mercer Hospital.

According to his U. S. Passport Application of July 1905, Elmer was 5' 10", dark complexion with a mustache and long face, gray hair, straight nose, and round chin.  On 11 April 1907 after a short illness, he died at the age of 48 of angina pectoris and was buried in Riverview Cemetery in Trenton.

Luella Ruth Johnston

Luella Ruth Johnston, my husband's grandmother, was born to David C. Johnston and Mary Elizabeth Hildinger on 2 Mar 1903 in Braddock, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  Her great-grandparents immigrated to America from W├╝rttemberg, Germany.   She was an only child born seventeen years after her parent's marriage.  Why the long amount of time between the marriage date and birth of first child?    This is unusual.  It is a mystery I have yet to solve,  her parents have disappeared from all records between 1886 and 1910.    I have some theories and flimsy leads, but no definite facts.

Her father went to work for her mother's younger brother, Charles Clark Hildinger, the moving picture king, in Trenton, around 1910 who had become a prominent Trenton businessman.  Whatever the family's earlier lifestyle, the future was about to change for the better.

On 23 July 1925 in Trenton, Mercer County, New Jersey she married Alvin Stackhouse Rogers Sr.  She was an accomplished musician and organist.  Upon the death of her husband, she began performing and traveling with the big bands of the era.

Alvin Stackhouse Rogers, Sr. Obituary

As published in the Trenton Evening Times 24 May 1937:

Dr. Alvin Stackhouse Rogers, Sr.

Dr. Alvin Stackhouse Rogers, Sr.
Alvin Stackhouse Rogers, Sr., my father-in-law's father, was born 11 Nov 1889 in Trenton, Mercer County, New Jersey to Dr. Elmer H. Rogers and Mary Olivia (Bowers) Rogers.  To me his story his rather sad.  He was the second son of his parents, his older brother Ellerslie Wallace dying at age 9, so to all intents and purposes the only son to carry on the family tradition of becoming a doctor.  He had three sisters, Helen who died in 1897 at age 5, Florence and Olivia who never married. 

He attended George School and Pennington Seminary, and also undertook special studies at Jefferson Medical College and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Medial School n 1910.  He was appointed to the staff of Mercer Hospital in 1911.

According to his World War I draft registration he was tall with blue eyes and dark brown hair and was a physician at Mercer Hospital.  On 23 Jul 1925 he married Luella Ruth Johnston.  They had two children, Alvin Jr. ( born 1926) and Estella Louise(born (1931).

On 23 May 1937, at the age of 47,  he died of a streptococcic infection which was he was believed to have contracted in the performance of his duties.

Sailors Celebrate (War is Over)

The following article was taken and transcribed from the Trenton Evening Times, 16 Sep 1945 describing the end of World War II for certain soldiers including my father-in-law  Alvin S. Rogers.

Sailors Celebrate

Alvin S. Rogers, seaman first class, USNR, of 631 Edgewood Avenue; Thomas H. Raywood, chief quartermaster, USN, 230 Euclid Avenue, and John A. Hartmann, pharmacist’s mate first class, USNR, whose wife lives at 559 Centre Street,  celebrated the surrender of Japan aboard the USS Nevada as she rested at anchor in Leyte Gulf after a 32-day mission into the East China Sea.

The announcement by the commanding officer, Captain Homer Louis Grosskopf, USN, of Minneapolis, Minn., that the Japanese had quit touched off a demonstration unlike any this veteran ship had ever seen.  Sailors tossed their hats in the air and began jitterbugging to the strains of the ship’s band.  It was “Holiday Routine” for all hands.

The “Old Imperishable” of the fleet began this war at Pearl Harbor, went through the Aleutians campaign, fought at Normandy and southern France and then joined in the Iwo Jima and Okinawa battles.

Alvin Stackhouse Rogers, Jr.

This is my husband's father who was born in Trenton, Mercer County, New Jersey on 30 May, 1926 to Dr. Alvin Stackhouse Sr.and Luella Ruth (Johnston) Rogers.  The story I have always heard is that he was supposed to be a doctor like his father, but he joined the Navy Reserve during World War II at the age of 17 (I'm sure his mother wasn't happy).  When the war was over he went to Florida where he worked as a doorman at a hotel in Miami for a short while until he married.

His father died when he was eleven and I'm sure that must have been hard on the family as Alvin Sr. was a well-known prominent doctor in Mercer County.  Al died on 11 Jan 1993 in Margate, Fl.  I sincerely regret not being able to talk to him about his family, I know there is much he could tell me.

Rogers Coat of Arms

My Amazing Journey into Rogers' Family History

Little did I know when I decided to research my husband's family history what I was getting myself into.  I thought I would add his parents, grandparents and possibly great-grandparents to my family charts and be done with it.  Instead I have spent months perusing numerous websites researching his family's rich history entrenched in the counties of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Mercer County, New Jersey, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania and Kent County, Maryland just to name a few.  His ancestors, many prominent doctors, lawyers, businessmen and landowners had deep roots in these areas and I have discovered much information, so much in fact that I am still sorting and and organizing.  Hence, my decision to start this blog.
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