William Henry Roll

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They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them. --Laurence Binyon,"Ode of Remembrance"

I have gathered a posie of other men's flowers, and nothing but the string that binds them is mine own. --Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

Documenting your family history is a lifelong pursuit, a task of pleasure and research that is never completely finished.

Not to know one's ancestors, is to be a tree without roots, a stream without a source. --Kung-fut-se

The wind whispers through the trees, recalling words and dreams and memories of those who left us long ago. --Unknown

St. Basil of Caesarea, born about 330 A.D., said, "A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love."


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keep calm

Lincoln Gives His Dog to the Roll Family

Fido fl. 1860


Abraham Lincoln's Dog Fido1

Willie and Tad, Abraham Lincoln's two boys, had a dog named Fido when they lived in Springfield, Illinois. The dog belonged to the boys, but was always said to be Lincoln's dog. Fido had a carefree life with the boys that loved him.

But, when Lincoln was nominated for the presidency May 18, 1860, life changed forever for Fido. After the election, Lincoln took his family to Washington, giving the dog to Frank Palmer Roll (1852-1939) and John Linden Roll (1854-1943), sons of Lincoln's oldest friend in Springfield, John Eddy Roll (1814-1901) and Harriet Vandyke (1815-1880.)

John Eddy Roll

John Eddy Roll
father of
John Linden Roll and Frank Palmer Roll2

The Lincoln boys probably never saw Fido again, but they did have a photograph of him, as they had taken him to the photographer Ingmire on the Square before leaving for the capital.

Almost three years later Willie died in the White House. Less than a year after Lincoln was assasinated and laid to rest beside Willie in Springfield, Fido shared his former master's fate.

A few weeks before his death in 1943, John Linden Roll wrote about his beloved Fido, "We possessed the dog for a number of years when one day the dog, in a playful manner, put his dirty paws upon a drunken man sitting on the street curbing [who] in his drunken rage, thrust a knife into the body of poor old Fido. He was buried by loving hands. So Fido, just a poor yellow dog met the fate of his illustrious master - Assassination."3

1. Photograph: Illinois State Historical Library.

2. Photograph: Tarbell, Ida M. (Ida Minerva). The Early Life Of Abraham Lincoln. South Brunswick: A. S. Barnes 1974. 240 p. illus., 25 cm. Reprint of the 1896 ed. published by S. S. McClure, New York, with a new introd. Includes bibliographical references.

3. Kunhardt, Dorothy Meserve and Philip B. Twenty Days. a narrative in text and pictures of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the twenty days and nights that followed--the Nation in mourning, the long trip home to Springfield. Foreword by Bruce Catton. New York: Harper & Row 1965. 312 p. illus., facsim., ports. 31 cm.