Rogerson, John Bolton (DNB00)

ROGERSON, JOHN BOLTON (1809–1859), poet, was born at Manchester on 20 Jan. 1809. At the age of thirteen he left school and began work in a mercantile firm, but was afterwards placed with a solicitor. Law being distasteful, he opened in 1834 a bookshop in Manchester, which he carried on until 1841. The next few years were devoted to literary work, and in 1849 he was appointed registrar of the Manchester cemetery at Harpurhey. He was a clever amateur actor, was president for some years of the Manchester Shakespearean Society, and was for a short time on the staff of the Manchester Theatre Royal. In youth he had written a play in three acts, called ‘The Baron of Manchester,’ which was produced at a local theatre. He also lectured on literary and educational subjects.

From early years he was an eager, desultory reader, and soon became a writer of verse, but had enough discretion to destroy most of his juvenile efforts. He first appeared in print in 1826 in the ‘Manchester Guardian,’ and in the following year wrote for the ‘Liverpool Kaleidoscope.’ In 1828 he joined John Hewitt in editing the ‘Phœnix, or Manchester Literary Journal,’ a creditable performance, which lasted only a few months. He was joint-editor of the ‘Falcon, or Journal of Literature,’ Manchester, 1831; and edited the ‘Oddfellows' Magazine’ from 1841 to 1848; the ‘Chaplet, a Poetical Offering for the Lyceum Bazaar,’ 1841, and the ‘Festive Wreath,’ 1842 (both published at Manchester).

Chronic rheumatism disabled him about 1855 from continuing his duties as registrar. He afterwards kept a tavern in Newton Street, Ancoats, Manchester, and in 1857 was master of a school at Accrington. In the succeeding year he was awarded a government pension of 50l.; then he retired to the Isle of Man, where he died on 15 Oct. 1859, and was interred at Kirk Braddan, near Douglas. His wife was Mary Anne, born Horabin, by whom he left several children.

His separate publications were:

  1. ‘Rhyme, Romance, and Revery,’ London, 1840; 2nd edit. 1852.
  2. ‘A Voice from the Town, and other Poems,’ 1843.
  3. ‘The Wandering Angel, and other Poems,’ 1844.
  4. ‘Poetical Works,’ 1850, with portrait.
  5. ‘Flowers for all Seasons’ (verses and essays), 1854.
  6. ‘Musings in Many Moods,’ 1859, which contains most of the poems in the preceding volumes.

His works, though pleasing, lack originality and vigour.

[Oddfellows' Quarterly Magazine, January 1847 (with portrait); Procter's Literary Reminiscences, 1860 (portrait); Procter's Bygone Manchester; Manchester Weekly Times Supplement, 3 June 1871 (article by J. Dawson); Lithgow's Life of J. C. Prince, p. 132; information supplied by Mr. G. C. Yates, F.S.A.]

C. W. S.