Sumner County pioneer Hugh Rogan left his native County Donegal, Ireland, and sailed to the American colonies in 1775. Following the pattern of many Irish immigrants, he entered at the Port of Philadelphia, migrated into North Carolina, then moved west across the mountains into the Cumberland Valley. By the late 1770s he was a guard with the survey party led by commissioners Daniel Smith and Thomas Walker, who marked the boundaries of North Carolina and Virginia. He returned to the Cumberland Valley with John Donelson’s party of settlers, who traveled by river to join with James Robertson’s overland group at Fort Nashborough in 1780. One of 255 men who signed the Cumberland Compact, Rogan spent nearly two decades helping to establish and defend the stations or forts along the Cumberland River. His adventures as an Indian fighter, as recorded by his contemporaries, are legendary.
Rogan established a farm of nearly one thousand acres in eastern Sumner County near Bledsoe’s Creek, where neighbors included Isaac Bledsoe, William Hall, and James Winchester. He brought his wife Nancy and son Bernard to this farm more than twenty years after leaving them in Ireland. Here he built “Rogana,” a two-room stone house patterned after an Irish folk cottage, in which a second son, Francis, was born in 1798. Additionally, Rogan and his family are credited with establishing the Roman Catholic Church in Sumner County. The nearby community of Rogana was named in honor of Hugh Rogan, who transferred many aspects of Irish culture to frontier Tennessee.