Dear America Wiki
Dear America Wiki

Polly on the cover

All of the characters that appear in Land of the Buffalo Bones. It should be noted that the Rodgers family is based on the ancestors of the book's author, Marion Dane Bauer.

Main characters[]

Polly Rodgers[]

Main article: Mary Rodgers

Mary Ann Elizabeth Rodgers (born November 5, 1858),[1] better known as Polly, was the eldest daughter of Reverend Dr. George Rodgers. Her mother passed away when she was six. Polly refused to call her stepmother "Mama", instead calling her "Mother Rodgers." She had nine siblings in total, including one half-brother and four half-sisters. Polly was in charge of taking care of them and referred to them as "the littles." In the spring of 1873, her family arrived in Minnesota, having immigrated from England.

Supporting characters[]

Cal Rodgers[]

Arthur Calvin "Cal" Rodgers (born c. 1865)[2] was the fourth son of George and his first wife Mary. His mother passed away when he was a few months old. Polly, his elder sister, acted more like a mother than a sister to him. He was apt to call his stepmother, Emily, "Mama" despite his sister's promptings to call her "Mother Rodgers." Being sickly from a young age, he was one of the reasons his father decided to move to Minnesota, which he believed had "healthful" climate. Cal was seasick during the entire voyage to America. He and Laura became gravely ill around Christmastime. They were saved by a remedy provided by Jane Thompson.

Emily Rodgers[]

Emily Rodgers ("Mother Rodgers;" née Chant; February 27, 1838[3] – April 10, 1910)[4] was the second wife of George. She was the daughter of George and Harriet Chant. Prior to marrying, Emily taught French and music. She had given birth to four children, Laura, Gladstone, Millie, and Percy, when her husband immigrated the family to Minnesota in 1873. There Emily experienced many hardships, which were often exasperated by impractical husband. She initially had a strained relationship with Polly, though the two later gained a mutual understanding. In Glyndon, Emily gave birth to her last child, Carrie Elva. Following her husband's death in 1894, she lived with one of her grown children until her own death.

George Rodgers[]

Reverend Dr. George Rodgers ("Papa;" November 22, 1823[3] – December 11, 1894)[4] was the organizer of the New Yeovil colony. In his adolescence, he was an apprentice chair maker but being so poorly at it, his father was able to buy back his apprenticeship. George attended seminary and was ordained at nineteen. He married Mary, with whom he had five children. A year later, he was remarried to Emily, who also gave birth to five children. In the summer of 1872, he visited Minnesota and made a deal with Northern Pacific Railroad to bring back a colony. He was blamed for many of the unprecedented problems that arised and was later voted by the congregation to no longer be their pastor. His family moved several times, before settling in Money Creek where George died.

Jane Thompson[]

Jane Thompson (born 1857)[5] was Polly's best friend. Polly described her as "a quiet girl, a respectful daughter, an attentive sister." Her younger brother, Timmy, died on the voyage to America. Her mother committed suicide the following month, shortly after reaching Minnesota. After her mother's death, her father began drinking alcohol and beating her often. During this time, Jane met Ozawamukwah and fell in love with him. She later ran away from home and went to White Earth Reservation, where married Ozawa. A few days later, Polly's father entreated her to return to her father but she refused. He performed a Christian marriage ceremony for the couple.

Laura Rodgers[]

Laura Hempstead[4] (née Rodgers; born May 20, 1867)[6] was the daughter of George and his second wife Emily. She was a mischievous child, who was constantly following her elder half-sister Polly. Always curious about whatever Polly was doing, she took particular interest in her painting. One day, Laura got into Polly's things and ruined all of her paints and papers. She appeared to feel remorse for her actions, when she asked for St. Nicholas to bring more paint and paper for Polly. In later life, Laura became a teacher and married Orson Hempstead. They had five children, including a daughter named Elsie

Luther Rodgers[]

Frederick Luther Rodgers (born c. 1857),[7] who was known by his middle name, was the third son of George and his first wife. His sister, Polly, described him as someone who "thinks he is a man, though there is much of the boy in him still." He was also fond of teasing his siblings. Luther occasionally provided for the family by fishing and hunting. Polly was impressed one time when he came home with several prairie chickens. Luther later proved himself to be level-headed and quick-thinking, when a fire broke out on the prairie.

Minor characters[]

  • Bruin, a dancing bear owned by a traveling Italian performer. He was always awarded a bucket of beer for his performances.
  • Emily Augusta "Millie" Rodgers (born c. 1870)[7] was the daughter of George and his second wife Emily. Polly called her "all sunlight and laughter." As an adult, Millie married and had one daughter.
  • George and Harriet[8] Chant were Emily's parents. She was called "Grandmother Chant" by the community. In New Yeovil, he was appointed postmaster and they opened up a general store.
  • James Percy Rodgers (born c. 1873),[7] known by his middle name, was the youngest son of George and Emily. In later life, Percy married a doctor. They had three daughters, including two adopted, and two sons.
  • John William and George Newell Rodgers were the eldest sons of George. They traveled to Minnesota with their father in 1872 and went to different parts of the state looking for work.
  • John Ruskin, the author of a book about painting. Polly followed his instructions while attempting her landscapes.
  • Mary Rodgers ("Mama;" died c. 1865)[2] was the first wife of George and mother of five of his children. She passed away suddenly when her daughter Polly was six.
  • Nellie was a servant hired by the Rodgers family. Her fiancé promised to come to New Yeovil, but never arrived. She cried day and night until George paid for her passage back to England.
  • Ozawamukwah ("Red Bear"), shortened to Ozawa, a member of the Ojibwa nation. He learned English at a missionary school and dressed like a white man, believing his people should "learn the whites' ways" in order to survive. Ozawa fell in love with Jane Thompson and the two married.
  • Pudding was a kitten given to Laura Rodgers by a passing traveler for a hair ribbon. He proved useful when the Rodgers' sod house was overrun by mice.
  • Mr. Swanson was a settler living near New Yeovil who helped build the Rodgers' sod house.
  • Timmy Thompson (c. 1866 – March 30, 1873)[9] was the younger brother of Jane. He became sick on the voyage to America and was buried at sea.
  • Mr. Thompson was the father of Jane and Timmy. He blamed George for the deaths' of his son and wife. Mr. Thompson later became a heavy drinker and made his own beer. He also began beating his daughter, eventually driving her to run away.
  • Mrs. Thompson (died April 29, 1873)[10] was the mother of Jane and Timmy. She had also lost three children in infancy. Following Timmy's passing, she became deeply depressed and committed suicide by drowning herself.
  • Tom Gladstone "Glad" Rodgers (born c. 1869)[7] was the younger half-brother of Polly. Being "very serious" at a young age, his family called him "the little professor." In his adult life, Glad became a mathematics professor. He also married, but had no children.

Epilogue characters[]

  • Carrie Elva Rodgers, known by her middle name, was the final child born to George and Emily. She remained close to her eldest sister, Polly, throughout their lives. Elva married and had a daughter.
  • Chester Dane, the husband of Elsie whom he met at college. They had two children together.
  • Elsie Dane (née Hempstead) was the daughter of Laura and Orson. She met her husband Chester Dane while they were attending Antioch College. They had two children, including Marion Dane Bauer.
  • Marion Dane Bauer, the author of Land of the Buffalo Bones. She was the daughter of Elsie and Chester Dane and the granddaughter of Laura and Orson Hempstead.
  • Orson Hempstead was a forty-year-old bachelor whom Laura Rodgers married. They had five children, the fourth being a daughter named Elsie.


See also[]

Dear America characters
Main characters

Remember "Mem" Whipple | Deliverance Trembley | Lozette Moreau | Catharine Logan | Prudence Emerson
Abigail Stewart | Lucinda Lawrence | María Rosalia de Milagros | Hattie Campbell | Mary Driscoll
Florence "Florrie" Mack Ryder | Susanna Fairchild | Clotee Henley | Amelia Martin | Emma Simpson
Sarah Nita | Phillis "Patsy" Frederick | Libby West | Priscilla "Pringle" Rose | Mary "Polly" Rodgers
Nannie Little Rose | Angeline Reddy | Sarah Jane Price | Teresa Viscardi | Anetka Kaminska
Zipporah Feldman | Minette "Minnie" Bonner | Angela Denoto | Margaret Ann Brady | Kathleen Bowen
Simone Spencer | Lydia Pierce | Nell "Nellie Lee" Love | Bess Brennan | Minerva "Minnie" Swift | Grace Edwards
Julie Weiss | Madeline Beck | Amber Billows | Piper Davis | Dawn "Dawnie Rae" Johnson | Molly Flaherty

Supporting characters

Antoinetta Viscardi | Leon Nasevich | Daniel Pierce | Erma Jean Love | Patrick Flaherty

Lists of characters by book

A Journey to the New World | I Walk in Dread | Look to the Hills | Standing in the Light
Love Thy Neighbor | The Winter of Red Snow | Cannons at Dawn | A Line in the Sand
Valley of the Moon | Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie | So Far from Home | All the Stars in the Sky
Seeds of Hope | A Picture of Freedom | A Light in the Storm | When Will This Cruel War Be Over?
The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow | I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly | The Great Railroad Race
Down the Rabbit Hole | Land of the Buffalo Bones | My Heart Is on the Ground | Behind the Masks
My Face to the Wind | West to a Land of Plenty | A Coal Miner's Bride | Dreams in the Golden Country
A City Tossed and Broken | Hear My Sorrow | Voyage on the Great Titanic | A Time for Courage
When Christmas Comes Again | Like the Willow Tree | Color Me Dark | Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Christmas After All | Survival in the Storm | One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping
My Secret War | Early Sunday Morning | The Fences Between Us | With the Might of Angels
Where Have All the Flowers Gone?