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."


This website was created the old-fashioned way; it has been hand coded.

keep calm

Hannes Roll
The "Pennsylvania Rolls," An Unrelated Family

Hannes Roll 1738-1815 is not related to our Roll family.

Are you descended from Hannes Roll and Mary Nevis of Clarion County, Pennsylvania? Hannes is a diminutive for Johannes or Hannibal. If you are, I have to tell you that, despite the numerous proposals that Hannes Roll's Pennsylvania line descended from the Dutch Rolls of New York and New Jersey, there is zero evidence that Hannes comes from that line.

Hannes Roll is not our John Rull

This Hannes Roll is not John Rull, the son of Jan Mangelse Roll (b.1699) and Aaltje Bas. We have found their real son, John Rull, who lived in Westchester County, New York.

Yes, I know that the book Genealogy of the New Jersey Rolls on charts number 19 and 583 says Jan or Johannes was their son who married Mary Nevis in Pennsylvania. But there is absolutely no proof, circumstantial or otherwise, beyond the similarity of the names in the same time frame.

There are a number of Hannes Rolls who immigrated from Europe to Pennsylvania about that time; one came from Germany, for example.

I. Clifford Roll's Notes Containing the Mistake

I recently encountered this page from I. Clifford Roll's notes, specifically a page on which he confounds Johannes Roll, son of Jan Roll and Aeltje Bas with John Roll, Sr., the father of John Roll, Jr. of Pennsylvania.

I. Clifford Roll's error

I. Clifford Roll's notes from which the error arose,
from the research collection of Janis Holland

I. Clifford Roll's source was:

Scott, Kate M. History of Jefferson county, Pennsylvania, with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers. Syracuse, N.Y., D. Mason & Co., 1888. pp. 484, 486.

Transcription of I. Clifford Roll's Paragraphs 1 and 2

p. 484

[Pine Creek Township]

Just beyond the borough limits, on the "Creek road," is the place known as the "Cummins farm," where Dr. C. P. Cummins resided during his residence in Brookville, as pastor of the Presbyterian Church. It formerly belonged to William Jack, and is now owned by the children of Ira C. Fuller.

John S. Barr owns the next place in this vicinity. It is the place settled at an early date by John Roll, then owned by Peter Ostrander and David Mason. Mr. Barr, since he purchased the property, has greatly improved it, and it is now, with its good buildings and pretty lawn, one of the nicest farms in the township. Three large apple trees planted by Mr. Roll, are still living.

p. 486-487

All the farms in the vicinity of Emerickville are well tilled, and show thrift and good management on the part of the owners. The apple seeds planted by Fudge Van Camp, and the three trees that sprang up from seeds sown by his fellow-traveler, Roll, on the spot now occupied by Adam Miller, followed soon after by the fruit trees planted in the flat by the Barnetts, where James Humphrey's orchard now is, have yielded an hundred fold, for Pine Creek is famous for its excellent fruit...

Transcription of I. Clifford Roll's Paragraphs 3 and 4

This was the last of two or more pages of notes. I don't have the other pages.

Oddly, the following names are not listed in the index of Kate Scott's book. I searched, and found the following Roll references:
Roll, p. 36
Stephen Roll, p. 44
Roll, p. 45
Eli Roll, p. 164
Johanna Roll, p. 425
John Roll, pp. 425, 484, and 486.

You can use the link above to view these pages.

This is all Pine Creek township in Jefferson County.

The reference to Stephen Roll and John Roll is puzzling. In 1800 John Roll Sr. would have been in his late 60's or 70 years old, if John Roll Jr. was born about 1755 and he was the eldest or near the eldest. The story in Kate Scott's history would have been a pretty rugged adventure for a man that age. It would seem that it would be more in a line for the youngest son, Stephen to do. According to Kate Scott, the man that settled on the John S. Barr farm must have been John Roll Sr. Perhaps he came later after Stephen had scouted out the land. Stephan would have been about 30 years old in 1800.

John Roll Sr. was one of many who arrived under Capt. Robert Means from Cumberland County and under General James Potter, and they came to Armstrong (Clarion) County on land that was in the estate of General James Potter. General Potter had done quite a bit of surveying for the Pickering Company and he was to have been paid in land. However, he died in 1789 before he collected his pay. Later, however, his heirs, sons-in-laws, were given the land to pay the debt, and much of this land was in Armstrong (Clarion) County. They encouraged some of his old comrades in arms to go and settle there.

Transcrliption of I. Clifford Roll's Paragraphs 5 and 6

In the DAR Patriots Index, there is a John Roll Jr. b. 10/17/1733 d. 9/11/880? married to (1) Rachel Van Winkle (2) Edith Wick Pvt. NJ. In an account of that family of Clifford Roll given to Pearl Ion Miller. He refers to the Roll family in America as being of Holland Dutch decent. (sic) After the ascendancy of the English over the Dutch at Albany in 1664, the name Mangelse (Mangel) was anglicized to Roll (Dutch mangel to English roll), by which name the descendants are known.

The children of Jan Mangelse Roll of record are as follows:

Annetje who married Gerardus Kamfoour
Mahgel Jansen who married Annetje Hendricks Valk
Johannes who was baptized 27 Jan 1686 at the Reformed Dutch Church at Albany
Pieter who married Jannetje DuScheen
Tryntje Jans who married Pieter Van Ness
John Mangels

In the next paragraph I. Clifford makes an unexcusable leap of faith. The italics are mine.

Children of Jan Roll & Aaltje (Alida) Bas included Johannes who was baptized 7 April 1734 as recorded in Vol. 22, page 141 New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. Since I have no further record on Johannes, I am inclined to believe that he was the father of John Roll, Jr. of Pennsylvania. He was 21 years of age (the average at which men married) in 1735 when John Roll, Jr. was born.

There is no indication of the author of the handwritten note on the bottom left.

Possibly the Real Hannes Roll

After the foregoing Roll information was completed, the compiler received additional information from Ralph J. Fulton, 4310 Timberline Boulevard, Venice, Florida 34293. That information follows. Mr. Fulton had found a passenger list from the ship Mary and Sarah, dated October 6, 1754, from Amsterdam. One passenger, Hannes (Johannes) Roll, Mr. Fulcon believes to have been John Roll, Sr., father of Michael Roll (page 31).

John Roll, Sr., b. ca. 1738; d. before December 13, 1814, buried in Jefferson County (probably Pennsylvania); m. Mary Nevis, buried in Clarion County (probably Pennsylvania).

Source: Smith, Pearl O. A Crom (Crum) - Martin - Vaught (Vought) Connection, 2000, image 44 in the PDF file, p. 37 in the original publication.

Another Possibility

Summary: John Roll came from France and settled in Maryland before the Revolutionary War. His wife's name is not known. John Roll had eight children: Stephen, John, Benjamin, David, Michael and three daughters. One of the daughters married Jacob Mason; one married Philip Clover of Clarion County, Pennsylvania and Susanna married William Larimer.

Source: Wolff, Raymond Alvin. Wolf, Wolfe, Wolff Families of Pennsylvania. Two vols., Baltimore, Md.: Printed by Deford, 1971, p. 783.

The Y-DNA evidence

Although the haplogroup for our Roll family is not sufficiently established, it is presumed to be I-M253 (before 2008 designated as I1a).

The "Pennsylvania Roll" family is believed to be haplogroup R1b1b2 (mentioned here):

1. John ROLL, Sr., 1735-1815, m. Mary Nevis
2. Benjamin ROLL, 1779-1859; m. Sarah Culbertson
3. Lorenzo Dow ROLL, 1808-1831, m. Elizabeth Curtis
4. John Curtis ROLL, 1834-1907, m. Matilda Shields
5. William Allen ROLL, 1866-1928, m. Anne Flory
6. Herbert Ellsworth ROLL, 1896-1971, m. Sarah Esther Martin
7. Family Tree DNA Participant #30756

Source: Family Tree DNA Participant #30756