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Marilyn Demarest Button

clergyman, poet, and missionary, was born in Madison, Connecticut, the son of Abel Rogers and Chloe Ladue, farmers. His father, the son of an African slave who had survived a shipwreck off the coast of Connecticut, was raised as family by the Reverend Jonathan Todd, from whom he eventually inherited the farmland on which he made his living. In the early 1830s Rogers left for Hartford, Connecticut, where he attended school and worked for his board in the home of a Major Caldwell. His first formal church affiliation was established in 1833 as a communicant of the Hartford Talcott Street congregation.

In 1835 Rogers went to Peterboro, New York, to study for the ministry at a school established by the philanthropist-reformer Gerrit Smith The following year to pay for his studies he began teaching at the recommendation of Smith in a public school ...