Along with working on his first cattle drive when he was sixteen, Clem Rogers worked a number of odd jobs in order to earn enough to establish his own trading post and ranch in the Cooweescoowee District. His mother and step father gave him twenty-five Texas Longhorn cows, one bull, four horses, supplies for the trading post, and the use of the two family slaves, Huse and Rabb. Young Clem Rogers had his eye on the sparsely-settled Cooweescoowee District as a site for a potential a ranch of his own. The Cooweescoowee District of the Cherokee Nation was a rancher’s paradise. It was an area with few settlers and vast, wide-open prairies of native-growing blue stem grass. In 1856, Clem Rogers set up his ranch and trading post along Rabb’s Creek, a small tributary to the Caney River.
However, it wasn’t long before the Civil War broke out, and this homestead was abandoned. Young Clem Rogers enlisted as an officer with the 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles volunteer regiment and served with them the entirety of the war. When war broke out, Clem’s new wife, Mary America Schrimsher Rogers, would go stay with her family, first at their family plantation southwest of Tahlequah, and then further south into Texas at a refugee camp near Bonham.