Moses Rodgers, pioneering California miner


Moses Rodgers' grave
with Historian Grant Ashley
Date: 
Sun, 1845-04-27

*Moses Rodgers was born on this date in 1845. He was a Black miner and mining engineer pioneer of California.

Moses Logan Rodgers was born a slave in Kentucky and came to California in 1849. He became prominent during the Gold Rush as a successful mining engineer, making a lucrative career excavating gold in mines he owned in Hornitos in Mariposa County. Many sought his intelligence and professional opinion of metals. He quickly became known as an expert in the state, and investors went to him for advice regarding mining claims. He became so expert at it that in post-Civil War he was appointed superintendent of several mines (Mount Gaines Mine & Washington Mine). The stockholders of these mines were both blacks and whites.

Rodgers's best known mine, for which he was a stock-holding superintendent, was the Washington Mine, which he established in 1869. It was a successful operation, which employed Chinese workers. There were years when this mine took out over half a million dollars in gold. The Washington Mine, in the mid-1880s, was one of the area's largest, employing over 30 men. Five main shafts and over 10,000 feet of underground workings brought the gold/silver ore to the surface where it was hand sorted and then sent by wagon to the mine's concentration mill. A Merced newspaper said of Rodgers "there is no better mining man in the State."

The house, which Moses Rodgers built in 1898 at 921 South San Joaquin St., Stockton, California, is registered at The National Register of Historic Places. He built it for his wife Sarah, their five daughters, to all of whom he gave as good an education California afforded. One daughter Vivian Rodgers graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with the class of 1909 majoring in Science and Letters. Moses Rodgers Virtual Academy, 302 W. Weber Avenue, Stockton, is a home-based public charter school program offered by Stockton Unified School District to students in grades K–12 throughout California's San Joaquin County. Moses Rodgers died on October 22, 1900.

Reference:
San Joaquin Media