Among the early day families of the Pocket area was the Rodgers – later Rogers – family, whose history in the area dates back to 1865.
It was during that year that Albert, Joseph and John Mendes immigrated to the United States from the island of Pico in the Azores Islands of Portugal and made their way to the Pocket area.
Upon their arrival in America, two of these brothers had their surnames changed, with Albert becoming Albert Rodgers, and John becoming John Potter. Joseph, however, continued to use his birth-given last name.
After making their way to the Pocket area, the brothers began working as laborers, most likely on local ranches, with their goal to accumulate sufficient money to buy their own property.
The Albert Rodgers family
In 1880, Albert, after purchasing his own property and establishing his own ranch in the Pocket area, married 16-year-old Rose Gear, who was born in the Azorean island of Terceira.
Since Rose Gear – a name obtained from descendents of the Albert Rodgers family – is not a Portuguese name, this name was possibly derived from the Portuguese name, Rosa Agear.
Together, Albert and Rose had the following children: Emma (1883-1889), Albert, Jr. (1885-1977), Willie (1887-1898), Mary (1889-1890), Emma (1892-1920), Margaret (1893-1978) and twins Frank (1896-1980) and George (1896-1984). The couple had two Emmas, as it was a common practice to reuse the name of a child, who had died at a very young age, when the next child of the same gender was later born.
Spelling change to ‘Rogers’
Albert Rodgers, Jr. was the only member of his family to continue using the original spelling of his family’s surname. Otherwise, the spelling of this surname was eventually changed to “Rogers.”
The Rodgers children were raised on the family’s 18-acre ranch, which was located where today’s Park Rivera Way intersects with Pocket Road.
All of the children of Albert and Rose attended the original, converted barn Lower Lisbon School in the lower Pocket area.
The old school was washed away in the area’s 1904 flood and the lumber from this school was hauled by horses and wagons to the Rodgers ranch. With this wood, a shed-type building was constructed for a temporary school until the new Lower Lisbon School was built.
The Rodgers also owned an additional 11 acres on the opposite side of the then-Riverside Road.
The 1908 Sacramento County Reclamation District 673 surveyors map clearly distinguishes this parcel, which extended from the levee across the old Riverside Road to not far from today’s Florin Road.
Albert passed away when he was 74 years old in 1923 and Rose died when she 41 years old in 1905.
Ranch land divided
Following Albert’s death, seven acres of his property remained in the family, as this land was divided amongst his children.
Frank had one acre, bordering Riverside Road to the west on the levee side of the property, and George built his home on the adjoining acre on the opposite side of the parcel.
Furthermore, Margaret kept four acres, which included the old home.
The other, seventh acre was located across the old Riverside Road, which was then considered a “wagon road,” and became the property of Manuel “Parola” Perry, Sr. The Perry home was situated on the opposite side of the road from the Frank Rogers parcel.
Margaret, who was married on two separate occasions, was first married to Manuel Lee and then to Tony Machado.
The children of Manuel and Margaret, in order of birth, were: Laverne, Agnes, Gertrude and Dorothy.
Margaret and her second husband, Tony, did not have any children together.
The second-born Emma of Albert and Rose married Joseph Souza, who was known by the nickname of “Joe Bonnie.”
Joe Bonnie’s ranch was located south of the town of Clarksburg, where Joe Bonnie and the second Emma resided.
In a ceremony held on Dec. 16, 1916 at St. Joseph Church in Freeport (now Clarksburg), George married Anna “Annie” Fagundes, who was born on Oct. 6, 1897.
Mildred Rogers, who was born on May 17, 1919 and died on July 30, 1941, was George and Anna’s only child.
George’s employment included fishing commercially for catfish at the old brickyard – present day Lake Greenhaven – to Clarksburg.
Additionally, George owned a trucking business, which included three trucks that hauled produce for the Libby, McNeill & Libby cannery from 1930 to 1950.
George, who passed away on May 15, 1984, also was a Pocket/Riverside school bus driver and a driver for the American Crystal Sugar Co. in Clarksburg. He worked for American Crystal for nine seasons, upon which time he retired in 1961.
Like his brother George, Frank established his own family. He married Mary Agnes Silva (1900-1971), the daughter of Antone L. and Maria Silva of the Pocket, on Nov. 12, 1917.
This union produced two daughters, Lorraine, who married Joseph Lester Valine, and Aileen, who married Richard Cabral.
Many locals are familiar with Joseph and Lorraine Valine’s son, Roger Valine, who served as the chief executive officer of Vision Service Plan, which was recognized as the nation’s largest eye care wellness benefits provider.
Establishing his own long employment career, Frank, after marrying Mary Agnes, began a trucking business that included six trucks. These trucks were used to haul hay and produce.
Frank purchased a 43-acre ranch, adjacent to and north of the John M. “Joao Maria” Silva ranch, where he planted asparagus and later sugar beets, tomatoes and alfalfa.
Unfortunately mixed in with Frank’s many positive moments in life was his serious hunting accident near the Sacramento River .
During a July 1979 interview with two of his family members, Frank described the accident, as follows: “I rowed the boat across the river and I couldn’t get it to the right place where there was a path and the wind (pushed him farther down river than desired)…and I tied (the boat) up. And I was climbing up where it was kind of a tough place to go. And I was going up the levee and I had the barrel of the gun like this (he took the microphone and showed it pointing upward) in my hand, going up the levee. And the gun happened to slip and I went and I grabbed the gun and grabbed it at the point of the barrel. At that time, both of my feet slipped and I leaned on the gun (and when) I leaned on the gun, it went off.”
Although Frank injured his left hand, he was nonetheless able to mostly overcome this handicap and lead a relatively normal life.
Frank’s 43-acre ranch was part of the historic McGee Ranch. This ranch was first sold to Anna Leonora Garcia Pimentel and then later purchased by Joe Sarmento and Frank “Capitao” (“Captain”) Perry.
Frank Rogers eventually purchased the property in an auction after the property went into foreclosure.
During the late 1960s, Frank sold his property to a real estate firm for development.
The real estate firm later sold a portion of this acreage to the city of Sacramento for the purpose of creating Garcia Bend Park and its boat launch ramp.