November 27, 2017 - by Doug Crowell
Owner of Lot 27 on Oak Island, Jeremiah Rogers may have also been a privateer like Captain James Anderson, who owned adjacent Lot 26. Captain Jeremiah Rogers was with Governor Edward Cornwallis when Halifax was founded by the British in 1749. He commanded the armed sloop Ulysses in the pay of the Government of Nova Scotia. Government dispatches mention him as early as January of 1751, and on the 29th of May 1753 he was to be found transporting soldiers to Mahone Bay to prepare the new township of Lunenburg, near Oak Island. Then on June 7 of that same year, he began transporting 1,453 German settlers there as well.
This would mark the first time in recorded history that such a large group of people lived anywhere near Oak Island. A French census taken in 1688 recorded 10 Europeans and 11 Mi'kmaq settled in Mirliqueche (present day Lunenburg). However, by 1745, there were only 8 settlers recorded as living in the region.
Captain Rogers was also responsible for transporting troops, mail, and supplies to forts and outposts all around Nova Scotia. He was present at the deportation of the Acadians in 1755, and at the capture of Fortress Louisburg in 1758. During his time as a sea captain for the province, he was granted lands in most of the townships around Nova Scotia. He had command of four ships during his career with the government. The first ship was named the Ulysses, which sank, in 1758, while trying to sail up the St. John River.
1758, Oct. 21.
Capt. Rogers in the Ulysses and Capt. Cobb in the York ordered to sail above the falls. "The Ulysses, Capt. Rogers, in passing the Narrows strikes on a Rock, and is drove by the Tide into a creek above Cobb where the vessel sunk in a short time, and it was with great difficulty the Light Infantry who were in her and crew were saved. Upon hearing this and that Cobb did not lay very safe I ordered him down again and very luckily for at Low Water he would have struck on the Rocks." The captain of the man of war "Squirrel" endeavored to raise the "Ulysses" but was forced to abandon the attempt and she proved a total wreck. Source: Glimpses of the Past - History of the River St. John, A.D. 1604-1784 by W. O. Raymon, in chapter XIII
He was then given command of a brand new ship named the Montague, which sank in the Canard River after bringing settlers from New England into the newly created townships of Cornwallis and Horton in 1760. We know that Capt. Rogers continued in service to the province until at least 1766, during which time he captained the sloop Amherst, and another ship named Nova Scotia Packet.
1766, Jan. 9
The schooner Nova Scotia Packet, Captain Jeremiah Rogers, outbound for Boston. Source: Atlantic Canada Newspaper Survey Pages 20 – 21
After his service with the government, he became a privateer and is known to have encountered trouble with the Spanish in the waters around what is now Puerto Rico. Little is known about his later years, though a Captain Jeremiah Rogers is known to have participated in guarding New York waterways for the British during the American Revolution. If this was the same Captain Rogers who owned land on Oak Island, then it is entirely possible for Captain James Anderson, and even Samuel Ball, to have become known to each other during their service with the British Military, as Anderson and Ball are known to have served in New York at that time as well. What are the odds that all three men ended up owning land on Oak Island without knowing each other?
One thing is certain. Captain Jeremiah Rogers connection to Oak Island deserves more investigation. My work on creating a documentary video, back in 2015, about Captain Rogers and the sinking of the Montague, led me to my current Oak Island research. During the creation of this documentary, I had cause to speak with a lady who had done extensive research for the church regarding the missing Queen Anne Communion Plate from the Fortress in Annapolis Royal. That fort had been the seat of power for the British in Nova Scotia from 1713 until 1749 and the founding of Halifax, which then became the capital of the province. Protocol dictated that Queen Anne's Communion Silver Set, which included two flagons, a chalice, and a paten of solid silver, reside in the church nearest the governor in the capital. The new government was so busy establishing itself and settling the rest of the province, that the request to transport the Communion set was not issued until 1759, at which time Captain Rogers was tasked with its transport. Events are murky, but the silver plate never made it to Halifax, perhaps because the Montague sank in that Annapolis Valley tidal river before Rogers had a chance to return to Halifax. To this day, the church does not know what happened to the silver plate, but the one that resides in Halifax now, is not the same one that was originally used at the fort's chapel in Annapolis Royal. What captured my attention when I learned that Captain Rogers owned land on Oak Island is the knowledge that American treasure hunters in 1877 reported finding a silver plate of unmistakable origin while digging on Oak Island. Is it possible that this plate was the missing Queen Anne church plate? Did it have any connection to Roger's lot ownership? We will likely never know for sure, as details of the discovery of the plate, indeed the plate itself, is now lost in the fog of time.
From The Blockhouse
is published by Blockhouse Investigations and oakislandcompendium.ca
in Nova Scotia, Canada
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Kelly W. Hancock, CD
John Wonnacott, P. Eng.
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