James Blake Rogers
James Blake Rogers, the third child of Will and Betty
Rogers lived a long life considering the extremely high child mortality rate
and life expectancy of someone born in 1915. James Blake or Jim as
he liked to be called lived to be almost 85 years old. He outlived
his parents and all of his siblings.
He was born in New York City on July 25, 1915. He
was 9/64th Cherokee Indian and on the rolls of the Cherokee Nation. He
graduated from Webb high school and went on to attend Pomona College in
California. Jim was named for his maternal grandfather.
In the 1940's he was the editor and publisher of "The
Beverly Hills Citizen" with his brother William Jr. which at the time was
a family owned newspaper. The Beverly Hills Citizen still is
existence to this day and provides news and
views of and from Beverly Hills, California and a guide to local
Jim Rogers, after a stint as a newsman and motion
picture actor, became a successful rancher then moved to active retirement
in Bakersfield, California. He was deeply involved in the Will Rogers Memorial
Commission of Oklahoma overseeing the Claremore museum and Oologah birthplace.
As the family representative on the Will Rogers Memorial Commission in Oklahoma,
he oversaw a $6 million effort to renovate the Will Rogers Memorial Museum.
He also worked closely with the staff at the Will Rogers Historic Park in
Pacific Palisades, CA, which is now a state park. His son Kem succeeded his
father on the Will Rogers Memorial Commission of Oklahoma
He served in the U.S. Marines in the latter end of
World War II as a writer / correspondent.
He appeared in three of Will Rogers' feature
films. He also was a cinema cowboy in three Hopalong Cassidy westerns, made
U. S. Army training films with Rod Cameron, and costarred with Noah Beery
Jr. in "Dudes Are Pretty People," "Calaboose," and "Prairie Chicken," all
produced by Hal Roach Jr.
James married Marguerite Astrea Kemmler on March
26, 1938, who went to the same exclusive all girls school, that his sister
did, although she also studied in Heidelberg before attending and eventually
graduting from Marlborough. Astrea died on November 19, 1987 in
Bakersfield, CA. They were married for almost 49 years and had three
children. James Kemmler was their first child and he was born on May
3, 1939. Next they had Charles Edward who was born on October 23, 1941
and last but not least they had their beloved daughter Astrea Elizabeth (known
as Bette to her friends and family), who was born on October 17, 1943.
About 8 years after his wife died, and at the age
of 80, Jim married again. His second wife was Judith (Judy) Braun.
They were married on August 31, 1995. Together they operated
a riding stable in Bakersfield, California. Little is known of his
second wife or their marriage. He died about 5 years after they were
married and she still lives at their family ranch.
March of 2003 Judy donated two of their horses to the Will Rogers State Historic
Park which is located in Pacific Palisades, CA. This was the 186
acre Will Rogers ranch which was donated to the state of California by the
Rogers family in 1944, after the death of Will Rogers' wife, Betty.
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