By Jay Eby

Recently, Days Past brought you the story of Sam Curtis Rogers and his underfunded attempt to provide a school system for Prescott in the late 1860s.  This experience ended when he moved his family to a farm on Walnut Creek some 40 miles to the northwest where he would again engage in the teaching trade among other ventures.

Samuel Curtis Rogers was born in 1822 in either New York or New Hampshire.  He married Marilla Jane Sirkie in Indiana in 1847.  He is believed to have been a schoolteacher in Indiana before first coming west in 1851.  Mr. and Mrs. Rogers reportedly arrived in Prescott in 1867 or 1868 with six children, but only two are known to have survived to adulthood, a son, Sirkle Crocsus Rogers, and a daughter, Luella Rogers Lowell.

Sam Rogers may have suffered from a lung ailment.  Doctors, prior to the development of antibiotic drugs, routinely prescribed the removal of their respiratory patients to a drier climate, which may explain his early movements.  He went by himself to San Jose, California, for two years before returning to Indiana for over a decade before relocating to Arizona.

The spot that Mr. Rogers chose for his homestead claim was located where the Hardyville Toll Road crossed Walnut Creek, the first dependable source of water above Simmons, a long and dry run for outbound freighters.  With its water, walnut trees, abundant grass and ancient ruins the location was in Rogers’s terms “a charming dale.”

The first Territorial Legislature had authorized three toll roads.  The Hardyville Road was established to connect Prescott with Fort Mojave on the Colorado River so that supplies could be more easily moved to the local military and the capital city.  It followed a prehistoric trade route from the Central Arizona highlands to the Colorado River and the Pacific Shore.

Lieutenant A. W. Whipple first established the usefulness of this transportation route up Walnut Creek in 1852 in his explorations seeking an alternative route for the proposed transcontinental railroad.  (Whipple originally named it Pueblo Creek because of the many prehistoric ruins.)  However, Whipple then ran into terrain further west not suitable for a railroad.  A decade later, Lieutenant H. M. Enos, using Whipple’s field notes as a guide, did find an extension that led to Fort Mojave and would become the basis for the Hardyville Road.

By 1873 Rogers had four acres in corn on his homestead, but that was only a beginning.  On January 2, 1874, the Arizona Weekly Miner ran a front-page advertisement for “Charming Dale Station.”  The ad stated that, “S. C. Rogers, proprietor, has never-failing water in abundance, four miles east of Camp Hualapai; hay and grain always ready for teamsters.”  Charming Dale Station also had a blacksmith and wagon repair shop as well as hot meals and a place for travelers to sleep.

Sam Rogers continuously bragged on the area as a healthful climate and a place to rest and restore one’s health.  Evidently he advertised the benefits of the location so efficiently that he himself became commonly known as S. Charmingdale Rogers.  Unlike the common practice of naming a community for its founder, Rogers became known by the name of the place he founded.

The community is referred to as Charmingdale in many publications, but Rogers consistently referred to it as Charming Dale and when U.S. Postal Service established a post office there in 1879 it was listed as Charming Dale with S. C. Rogers as postmaster.  With all his activities he nonetheless found time to become schoolmaster for the children of his neighbors.

Rogers seemed to be proof of the recuperative qualities of his chosen region for he lived to the age of 77.  His wife, Marilla Jane, lived to age 75.

Although the Hardyville Road was changed to cross Walnut Creek higher upstream, remnants of Charming Dale still remain along the creek.  You can see tailings from the blacksmith’s forge, several indentations into the hillside where some structures were built and of course Walnut Creek still flows coolly past.

“Days Past” is a collaborative project of the Sharlot Hall Museum and the Prescott Corral of Westerners International (www.prescottcorral.org). This and other Days Past articles are also available at www.sharlot.org/library-archives/days-past. The public is encouraged to submit articles or ideas to dayspastprescott@gmail.com. Please contact SHM Library & Archives reference desk at 928-445-3122 Ext. 14, or via email at dayspastprescott@gmail.com for information.