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George C. Rogers

George Rogers was the area’s top miler in track. He played on one of the first Peterborough football teams and started the first local gymnastics club, but his greatest passion was for rowing. In 1879 he put together a crew comprised of his brother Richard, Bill Shaw and A.J. Belcher which became prominent nationally. In 1880, the Rogers crew competed in the first annual regatta of the Canadian Amateur Oarsmen’s Association (of which George was a founding executive member) in Toronto. Placing second to the Toronto Argonauts, the Peterborough crew avenged themselves in front of twenty thousand spectators at the Barrie regatta later that summer arriving home to be greeted by two thousand locals in a torch-lit procession through town. In 1883 Rogers was part of the committee that persuaded the American Canoe Association to hold its annual congress at Juniper Island on Stoney Lake, north of Peterborough. Rogers died in a logging accident at the age of 28. He drowned in the Otonabee River.  “Since the town of Peterborough was first settled, the death of no private citizen has been so generally mourned as that of George C. Rogers. He goes to his grave in the prime of manhood, full of honors and mourned by a community that is not ordinarily credited with undue reverence for moral excellence.” – Editorial, April 25, 1883, The Peterborough Times.  “Seldom have Peterborough and Ashburnham received such a shock:  seldom have our citizens shown such a terrible grief and sorrow and mourned with such real and heartfelt bitterness,” the Examiner intoned.  George C. Rogers is buried in Little Lake Cemetery.