The family of D.A. ‘Buster’ and Mollie Rogers donated the land and building where the family’s original homestead once stood to the Town of Wausau for use as a community activities venue.
Buster and Mollie Rogers lived their entire lives in Washington County and were married in 1910. They lived and worked in West Bay which was part of Washington County back then, although the majority of their lives were spent in the Wausau community.
During their marriage, Buster moved his family regularly. According to Roger Dale Hagan, mayor of Wausau and nephew to the Rogers, Mollie said, “I had seven children and none of them were born in the same house”.
In the early years of their marriage, the Rogers lived through World War I, the Great Depression and World War II. It was after the end of the second world war that Buster and Mollie moved one last time.
In 1947, Buster and Mollie Rogers moved to lots 4, 5, and 6 of block 7 of the plat of Wausau. They would live in that home for the rest of their lives.
Mollie served as a homemaker and the hub of her family. Mollie was also a founding member of the Wausau House of Prayer which is now the Wausau Assembly of God. Buster was a farmer, logger, carpenter, laborer, and for a short time served as a deputy sheriff. Buster also grew sugar cane, tobacco and made syrup.
Buster passed away in 1965 at the age of 76 when he was struck by a vehicle as he walked with a fishing partner down U.S. 77. Mollie passed away in 1986 at the age of 92. For all of those years, they lived and loved in their home at the corner of Panama Avenue and U.S. 77. Years later, Panama Avenue was renamed Buster Rogers Avenue in his honor.
In the years following the passing of Buster and Mollie, their family continued to use the home for their annual family gathering. After a few years, the house was moved off the property and an outdoor pavilion was built.
The pavilion became Rogers Square and continues to be the gathering place for the heirs of Buster and Mollie. The Rogers raised seven children who continued in the work ethic taught by their parents, said Hagan.
“All the children became successful in their careers then followed and raised their children in the same way,” Hagan said. “Like their daddy and mother, they all contributed to the growth and social opportunities of Wausau, especially in youth sports programs and activities.”
All the children lived into their 90s and, even though they lived away, all of them called Wausau home. They are all buried in Wausau Memorial Gardens with Buster and Mollie.
The Rogers’ family was represented by a delegation of grandchildren during the presentation of the square: Will Rogers, Dan Rogers, Lunell Clark, Jimmy Rogers, and Wayne Carter. Will Rogers spoke on behalf of the family.
“Grandmother and Granddaddy loved and called Wausau home. Their children, our parents, did the same,” Rogers said. “While the branches of the family tree have spread out a little farther, there is still a love for this community in our hearts and our children. We want to give one last gift to this community, Rogers Square. Over the years, our family has always given and supported the efforts of the town and never asked or wanted anything in return. We only have one request. We would like to be able to hold our family reunion at Rogers Square as long as there are any of us left to celebrate.”
That request was unanimously granted. The gift was made to be used for community activities including outdoor family reunions, fundraising activities and for use during inclement weather for committal services for the nearby Wausau Memorial Gardens.
Hagan said the council is appreciative of the contribution.
“We are extremely pleased with the donation of the Rogers Square,” Hagan said. “We are happy the landmark will stay a part of our community for years to come. On a personal note, I am happy to be part of the family and legacy the Rogers have in this community.”
The council will erect a marker dedicating the site to the memory of Buster and Mollie Rogers.
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