Rogers, Christopher Columbus (1846–1888)

By: Mark Odintz

Type: Biography

Published: June 1, 1995

Updated: September 28, 2020

Christopher Columbus Rogers, lawman and gunfighter, was born near Tennessee Colony in Anderson County, Texas, in 1846, the son of William Rogers, erstwhile sheriff of Anderson County. He was educated in Palestine and spent the Civil War as a guard at a Confederate prison. After the war he worked as a printer for a Palestine newspaper, the Trinity Advocate. Rogers seems to have established a reputation as a violent opponent of Reconstruction by beating up John H. Morrison, a Freedmen's Bureau agent, and by murdering Dan Cary, a Republican marshall of Palestine. After killing Cary, Rogers operated a saloon in Tyler for a time, where he killed a fellow saloonkeeper, Mose Remington, in a gunfight. Rogers had returned to Palestine by 1873. In 1874 he was elected city marshall of Palestine, an office he held till his death. During his tenure as marshall in what was then an unruly railway town, Rogers is supposed to have killed an additional nine men. When Judge Grayson and his wife were murdered by night riders in 1878, supposedly for shielding Blacks from terrorists, Rogers made seven arrests in connection with the crime. In 1886 he prevented striking railway workers from blocking train service through Palestine. The next year he was involved in a gunfight with a friend, Tom O'Donnell, who was resisting arrest for a misdemeanor; O'Donnell was killed, and Rogers suffered a broken arm. By now a fairly controversial figure in the town, the marshall was suspended while the incident was investigated, and, while sitting unarmed in a saloon in 1888, was stabbed to death by Bill Young as a result of an argument over the O'Donnell incident. Rogers was buried in East Hill Cemetery in Palestine on June 27, 1888.

Pauline Buck Hohes, A Centennial History of Anderson County, Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1936). Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin.

  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Gunfighters
  • Law Officers
Time Periods:
  • Reconstruction

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Mark Odintz, “Rogers, Christopher Columbus,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 17, 2022,

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June 1, 1995
September 28, 2020