Tom Rodgers was born in 1960, the fourth child of Barbara and Thomas E. Rodgers. Tom’s childhood was spent in the Great Plains in Glasgow, Montana. He is a member of the Blackfeet Tribe.
While Tom as born and raised in Montana, his family’s heritage was a mixture of many of nationalities and backgrounds.
Tom’s paternal grandfather, Thomas Vincent Rodgers, emigrated to the United States from Ireland in 1913 and fought with the Allies in World War I. After returning to Montana, he married Alice Kramer of Ennis, Montana, and ran a sheep ranch near Miles City, Montana. Alice Kramer Rodgers, Tom’s paternal grandmother was of German and Irish decent, though her family had been in the United States since the late 1760s. Alice’s grandparents on both sides of her family moved to Montana near the end of the 19th Century.
Tom’s maternal grandparents had a somewhat longer history in Montana. His maternal grandfather, William Norman, was of French-Canadian and Native America decent, including Blackfeet, Cree and Sioux. William spent most of his life in or around Browning, Montana as a rancher.
Iva Marie Paisley Norman, Tom’s maternal grandmother, also had a mixed heritage, with Irish, German, French-Canadian, English and Native American ancestors. Iva Marie was a member of the Blackfeet tribe. Iva Marie’s father, George Steele Paisley, was a first generation American on his father’s side. George’s father had immigrated to the United States from Canada in the 1880s; George’s grandfather had immigrated to Canada from Ireland in the 1830s.
George Paisley’s maternal grandmother was Red Woman, a full Piegan and the daughter of Chief Lame Bull, who signed the Treaty of 1885, the first peace treaty between the Blackfeet and the U.S. Government. Red Woman married an Indian agent, George Steele, whose family immigrated to Montana from Scotland in the 1830s. Red Woman and George Steele’s daughter Louise, George Paisley’s mother, married a Choteau businessman, Albert Paisley, in 1884. When Indian allotments were given out, Louise Steele Paisley received one in the St. Mary River Valley near the Canadian border, where the Paisley Ranch was started and still remains in existence.
Iva Marie’s mother, Ellen Rose Goss Paisley, was the granddaughter of a German immigrant, William Kaiser, and a Blackfeet tribal member, Mary Comes By Mistake. Mary Comes By Mistake’s heritage has been traced to Calf Boss Ribs and The Last, Blackfeet tribal members who were born around 1750. Ellen’s father, Francis Goss, was a descendent of some of the first English immigrants to the United States, including George Abbott who came to the U.S. in 1640 and was one of the founders of Andover, Massachusetts. Francis Goss’ ancestors lived primarily in New England until they began to migrate west in the 1820s. Francis’ grandfather, Leonard Goss, was among the first settlers of Mount Carroll, Illinois. Francis himself was born in Illinois, but by the early 1870s had moved even further west to Montana, where his descendants live to this day.
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