JOHN RANKIN ROGERS was born in Brunswick, Maine. After serving as a druggist’s apprentice, he worked in a number of occupations before buying a farm in Kansas. He held local offices in both the Greenback Party and Union Labor Party, and used his newspaper, the Kansas Commoner, to support first the Union Labor Party, and then the Farmers’ Alliance, which championed the causes of western farmers. After his farm was foreclosed, he moved his family to the newly-formed state of Washington, opening a mercantile and real estate business in Puyallup. He helped organized the Farmers’ Alliance there and supported the People’s Party. In 1894 he was elected to the state legislature, and won election to the governorship in 1896 as a Populist. As governor, Rogers supported public education, a centralized administration, and economy in government. A fervent nationalist, he also supported commercial and military expansion. In 1900 he was reelected to a second gubernatorial term as a Democrat. He died in office of pneumonia and was buried in Puyallup.
Official Records at Washington State Archives, 1896-1901, 15 cubic feet.
List of finding aids available at the Division of Archives and Records Management, Office of the Secretary of State. Available in hard copy: Guide to the Papers of the Governors of Washington, Volume 2: 1889-1919—Governor Ferry through Governor Lister.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol.12. New York: James T. White & Company.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
Washington State Library: Governors of Washington State