“R” is for Rogers, Frank Mandeville
“R” is for Rogers, Frank Mandeville [1857-1945]. Farmer. Businessman. In the 1880s, dismayed by the poor prospects for cotton, Rogers began experimenting with bright-leaf [flue-cured] tobacco on his farm near Mars Bluff. Relying heavily on printed instructions, he planted three acres of Orinoco tobacco and built a log barn to cure his crop. His tobacco profits were more than ten times greater per acre than returns for cotton. He publicized his success in local newspapers. He also recruited young men from the North Carolina-Virginia tobacco belt to advise and instruct novice growers in cultivating and curing the crop. Aware that further expansion of tobacco culture was hindered by a lack of local markets, Frank Mandeville Rogers led a group of area businessmen to found the state’s first bright leaf market in Florence in 1891.