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when I am working
in the fields,
I reach down
and get a handful
of good clean dirt.

It feels warm
in the palm of my hand.

I let it dribble
through my fingers
and I feel as if
I had just
shaken hands
with all my ancestors.

Azores Immigrant Song
Tony Jerome, C. 1900

John M Rodgers

John M Rodgers was born on a ranch in Petaluma in the county of Sonoma, April 18, 1880, and was the son of Manuel P. and Rose (Paula) Rodgers. She came to California from the Azores with her parents when just a child. Manuel P. Rodgers came to California in 1869.

Reared on the home farm in Sonoma county. After schooling John M Rodgers opened a grocery store and bought the local ice plant, carrying on the latter for six years or more or until he sold out to the National Ice Company. He carried on his grocery business until 1917. Then in April 18, 1918, bought the plant of the Empire Soda Works and engaged in the bottling business, which became Rodgers Bottling Company. Upon taking over this business Mr. Rodgers rehabilitated the plant, put in new and modern machinery and had developed quite a business. The Rodgers plant manufactured the locally celebrated “Dimples” brand of carbonated waters in no fewer than twelve distinct flavors and created a wide demand for this product throughout Solano, Napa and adjacent counties.

John M. Rogers married Miss Florence Siqueira, a member of one of the well established Portuguese families here, and they had three children, Clifford, Lionel and Avril. The “Dimples” brand of water used a photo of John Rodgers daughter, Avril on the packaging.

John M Rodgers went on to become a west coast bottler of Coca-Cola and to establish Rodgers Water Company and Rockin-R-Dairy on a Napa ranch he purchased in 1941.