In her Introduction to The Rogerenes: Some hitherto unpublished annals belonging to the colonial history of Connecticut - which remains the definitive treatment of the origins, beliefs, and history of the followers of John Rogers - Anna B. Williams writes the following:

"WHILE SPENDING THE summer at New London, in 1894, we were requested to aid Mr. John R. Bolles, in the capacity of reader and amanuensis, he being compelled, by reason of impaired sight, to depend upon such assistance. The work upon which he was engaged was a vindication of the Rogerenes. Having, from what we had read and heard concerning this colonial sect, regarded them as fanatics whose idiosyncrasies bordered upon lunacy, we could neither understand Mr. Bolles’ interest in the subject, nor why he was so willing to call public attention to the fact that certain Rogerene leaders were among his ancestors. Nevertheless we could not refuse to render the small service required of us…

"The death of Mr. John R. Bolles occurred soon after his attempt to place the Rogerenes in a more correct light was completed. The logic employed by this author was of the best, his style was forcible, his quotations were important; but his lack of new light upon the subject in the shape of additional facts in Rogerene history was much to be regretted. It did not seem best that his work should be published until some attempt had been made to secure further authentic information. Our leisure time for a number of succeeding summers was devoted to research in this obscure direction. Thorough examination was made of the town records and records of the colonial courts of Connecticut, also of contemporary writings having any bearing upon the subject. When the mass of material thus secured was chronologically arranged, it was discovered that portions fragmentary and obscure in themselves were supplemented by other fragments, and this to such a degree that even the records of the inimical courts, where evident pains had been taken to omit particulars liable to tell for the side of the Rogerenes, aided in disclosing the true facts. As a dissected picture is made intelligible by the correct arrangement of its parts, this at first seemingly chaotic collection of fragmentary items, by a mere arrangement according to dates, resolved itself into a presentation of the Rogerene leaders as actors in a series of highly romantic scenes, in which were clearly displayed the true character and principles of these dissenters and the calumnious nature of the descriptions which had been given of them. Here were heroes and situations deserving not only the attention of historians, but that of poets and artists. Here were facts that outromanced fiction. Here was something new for lovers of old-time tales and images, and much bearing upon New England history at large, as well as remarkable examples of Christian heroism. Here were questions for the Christian scholar and statesman.

"As they came to us out of the old records and writings, we present the following facts concerning the Rogerenes to readers of this generation as before a court of appeal. The enemies of this sect have said their worst of them, largely by aid of false statements.

"Now, for the first time, is presented, by many valid evidences, the case for the Rogerenes. "



Winthrops' Mill, New London


Contents

The complete text (including Parts I and II, appendix, and index) of John R. Bolles and Anna Williams's vindication and history of the Rogerenes, originally published in 1904, may be downloaded from this site. The text is available in .zip (Word) format (349KB) or in .pdf format (976KB). Portions of The Rogerenes that may be viewed in HTML are listed below.

The Rogerenes, Book 2: History of the Rogerenes



John R. Bolles

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