William Henry Roll

Welcome to the new and improved Roll Family Windmill website! We have upgraded our authoring tools to design and create content and present it to you with style. We will be better able to maintain content and share information about the genealogy of the Roll and allied families.

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

Patrick J. Lennon
Brother Christian Lennon's Far East Mission

Spouse(s): None
Family tree: Patrick J. Lennon 1852-1920

Brother Christian Lennon

Brother Christian Lennon F.S.C.
Source: The Gateway: Hong Kong Lasallian Family Bulletin,
No. 6, September 2008, p 12.

When Patrick J. Lennon was born on September 15, 1852, in Derrylusk, Tulleycorbet, Monaghan, Ireland, his father, Patrick Lennon, was 39 and his mother, Mary McKenna, was 34. He had three brothers and three sisters. He died on September 8, 1920, in New York, New York, at the age of 67, and was buried in Hawthorne, New York.

Patrick was a professed religious brother of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, a Roman Catholic religious teaching congregation, founded in France by Jean-Baptiste de La Salle (1651–1719), and now based in Rome, Italy. Members of the congregation use the post-nominal abbreviation of "F.S.C." and  title "Brother," abbreviated "Bro." Today he would be styled: Brother Christian Lennon, F.S.C.




Bands are a form of formal neckwear, worn by some clergy and lawyers, and with some forms of academic dress. They take the form of two oblong pieces of cloth, usually though not invariably white, which are tied to the neck. Bands is usually plural because they require two similar parts and did not come as one piece of cloth. Those worn by clergy are often called preaching bands, tabs or Geneva bands; those worn by lawyers are called barrister's bands or, more usually in Canada, tabs.

Source: Wikipedia.

Grandmother's story about Uncle Patrick

My grandmother, Marguerite Wilks Lennon didn't list her sources when writing the story about her uncle Patrick and his holy mission to Asia around the turn of the 20th century. Verification of her facts are slowly coming to light. Here is the part about Patrick from her Genealogy of the Lennon Family:

Patrick, the second son of Philip [should be Patrick] J. Lennon and Mary McKenna, worked his way through college. He joined the Christian Brothers Order in New York City and took the name Brother Christian. He became president of La Salle College in New York, and later built a college in Hong Kong, and another in Ceylon. He retired in New York City.

Source: Lennon, Marguerite Wilks. Genealogy of the Lennon Family.

St. Benedict's College, Colombo, Ceylon 

St. Benedict's College, Colombo, Ceylon

Director, St. Benedict's College, Colombo, Ceylon (1897–1908)

With Bro. Monnas'* departure, in came Bro. Christian Lennon** (1897 – 1908), another Irish American who hailed the "Christian Era," at St. Benedict’s. Some highlights of the "Christian Era" were the solemnities in connection with the canonization of Jean-Baptiste de da Salle, the founder of the Lasallian Christian Brothers in 1900; the erection of the two storey building with towers in 1905; the formation of St.Benedict’s Old Boys’ Union in 1904; the publishing of the first St. Benedict College Annual in 1905; literary activities, Shakespearean dramas and debating societies; the prizegiving on January 25, 1905, presided over by the delegate apostolic Mgr. L. M. Zaleski with five other bishops; the visit of the governor of Ceylon Sir Henry and Lady Blake on March 23, 1905 to the college. At St. Benedict’s students were prepared for Junior and Senior Cambridge local exams and also for government clerical and commerce examination overseas. Number on roll at St. Benedict’s reached thousandth mark only during the directorship of Bro. Christian, for which the institution rejoiced with a day’s holiday.

* Edited, replacing "Bro. Osmund’s" with "Bro. Monnas's" to correct the error.
** Edited, replacing "Bro. Christian Elvaran" with "Bro. Christian Lennon" to correct the error.

Source: Lovell, Hingston. LifeOfMine Colombo, Western, Sri Lanka. Citing "140 Years' Contribution of De La Salle Brothers," location and name of publisher unknown, 2008.

Source: Calixtus, Bro. Anselm "The Story of St. Benedict's. St. Benedict's College, Colombo, Sri Lanka, p. II." The original source is not given.

A Visit from the Governor-General of Hong Kong

Sir Henry Arthur Blake, GCMG 

Sir Henry Arthur Blake, GCMG
Governor-General of Hong Kong 1898-1903

On 20th March, 1905 St. Benedict's had the pleasure of a special visit from their Excellencies Sir Henry and Lady Blake accompanied by Lord Herschell (Ad. Private Sec.) Their Excellencies visited some 26 classes and saw the boys and teachers at their normal work, and inspected the specimens of paintings and drawings of the Art students and the bookkeeping exercises of the Commerce Department whose "popularity and success were on the increase" for in the first year nine candidates had been presented for the Examination in Shorthand, of whom, eight had received the Pitman Certificates, and the following year, 24 out of 26 had secured them. The Commerce students had had shorthand and Typewriting tournaments before panels of judges. B. Fernando, Harry de Silva, W. O. Stephen and R. Peiris had distinguished themselves in the twin arts of the tournaments.

"It is a great pleasure to me, Bro. Christian," remarked the Governor at the end of his casual visit, "to come and see these bright boys… I am glad I have had an opportunity of visiting this Institution and seeing its admirable class rooms and excellent arrangements."

Source: Calixtus, Bro. Anselm "The Story of St. Benedict's. St. Benedict's College, Colombo, Sri Lanka, p. II." The original source is not given.

What His Students Learned

According to Bro. Christian's Prospectus of St. Benedict's, a young gentleman received a superior English, Commercial, and Scientific education. A paternal direction and an enlightened vigilance was aimed at in the School's educational system. The mild, yet firm discipline, that was maintained in the school was to evoke noble sentiments, a taste for study, a cultivation of the heart and the formation of the Christian gentleman. The students were prepared for the Senior and Junior Cambridge University Local Examinations and also for the Government Clerical and Commerce Examinations overseas.

The students' work was controlled and stimulated through frequent class examinations and competitions and monthly testimonials of merit based on such examinations. The parents were requested "to ask for the children’s testimonials and to use them as the standard for their pocket money." The school too, rewarded those who distinguished themselves in their good conduct and application to study. Piano and Violin lessons were given as "optional extras."

The O.B.U. [Old Boys' Union] Annual reported that the Institution's Art Exhibition of 1905 under the direction of Bro. Cassian was 'far superior in every way to anything of the kind seen in Colombo.' A good many had even hazarded the opinion that "it surpassed the yearly exhibition of the Society of Arts."

Source: Calixtus, Bro. Anselm "The Story of St. Benedict's." St. Benedict's College, Colombo, Sri Lanka, p. II." The original source is not given.

Brother Christian Lennon's Ceylon Legacy

Bro. Christian's regime also witnessed the opening of two branch schools in Colombo: St. Joseph's School, Grandpass, and De La Salle School, Mutwal, to cater for the poor. St. Vincent de Paul society was inaugurated and the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York Scholarship for the best candidate in the Junior Cambridge University with Class Honours or Distinction was established and won early from 1901-1905 by P. M. A. Corea, Austin Dabrera, S. M. X. Corea, R. A. Fernando, and J. Edward Felix, respectively. In 1907, the De La Salle Literary Union’s Reading Room and Library was opened by His Excellency Mgr. Ladislaus Zaleski, the Delegate Apostolic.

Bro. Christian had brought St. Benedict's to the limelight, the School roll had risen to 1000 and he had won for the Institution a fair name before he left the Island in answer to the call of his Superiors, and the School’s bard poured out his 'Adieu' in verse.


Tho’ deep the waters may divide us,
Fresh anxieties surprise:
Firmer bonds shall now unite us
As our prayers do heavenward rise.
Then adieu! We say good courage: God is found where’er we roam;
May He safely guard your voyage,
Fill with blessings your new home.

...The Irish Bro. Marcian James had looked after St. Benedict’s during Bro. Christian’s holiday in America in 1906.

Source: Calixtus, Bro. Anselm "The Story of St. Benedict's. St. Benedict's College, Colombo, Sri Lanka, p. II." The original source is not given.

Director of St. Joseph's College, Hong Kong, China (1908-1913)

Brother Christian was appointed director of St. Joseph's College in Hong Kong.

Straits Times, 1908

St. Joseph's College

It will be a matter of regret to a great many people in Hongkong (sic) that Brother Sylvester, the genial and learned director of St. Joseph's College, is on the eve of leaving Hongkong to assume a similar position in Ceylon.

Than Brother Sylvester it is impossible to conceive one who has endeared himself more to the hundreds of students who have been under his charge. Although he has only been in Hongkong a matter of five years, three of which he has occupied the highest post in St. Joseph's College, there has been no more popular member of the community. It is little wonder then that the boys and former pupils of the college have arranged a surprise gift for one of the most unassuming men in Hongkong. Brother Sulvester is leaving by the P. and O. steamer Marmora on Saturtsy, for Colombo, says a recent issue of the Hongkong Telegraph, where he will take up the duties appertaining to the post of St. Benedict's College in Colombo. His successor, we understand, will be Brother Chirstian of the same college. Whether Brother Christian will remain in Hongkong, is a matter of doubt, as it is understood that he will become tine first director of the college, which the Brothers propose to establish in Manila.

Source: "St. Joseph's College," The Straits Times (Singapore), 28 March 1908, Web edition (accessed 14 Feb 2016); citing p. 5.

Dates of Service in Hong Kong

Brother Christian Lennon, service in Hong Kong: 1908-1913, date of death: 6 Sep 1920, place of burial: USA. Brother Christian Lennon: of "Christian Era" fame in Ceylon.

The Gateway: Hong Kong Lasallian Family Bulletin. No. 6, September 2008, p 11.

St. Joseph’s College, Robinson Road, Hong Kong

St. Joseph’s College, Robinson Road, Hong Kong
Source: The Gateway: Hong Kong Lasallian Family Bulletin,
No. 40, unpaginated, leaf #15.

Although the Brothers arrived in Hong Kong 135 years ago, this is the earliest photo in our possession and it is 100 years old. It shows Brother Christian Lennon, Director of St. Joseph’s College, with Father Spada, PIME, together with boarders of the College. The College at that time was located in Robinson Road, close by the Catholic Cathedral.

Brother Christian was Irish American in the sense that he was born in County Monaghan, Ireland on the 15th September 1852 but migrated when young to the United States. He was posted to St. Joseph’s College in 1908 and was to be Director until 1913. Brother Christian left Hong Kong for the United States on the 17th of July 1913 and became Director of St. Joseph’s Community New York. He passed away on the 8th September in 1920 at the age of sixty-eight and is buried in the Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne, New York State.

Source: The Gateway: Hong Kong Lasallian Family Bulletin. No. 20, January 2010, p. 11.

St. Joseph’s College, Hong Kong

The College had already secured a prominent place among the leading education establishments and its influence radiated through all the countries of the Far East, with boarding students from the Philippines, Indochina, Siam, Malaya and elsewhere.

Students from the three higher classes (the “Oxford Classes”) led by Brother Stephen Buckley from Cork got top results in Oxford University examinations. The College also became a cradle for the success achieved on the sports field of the Colony, especially in the area of soccer.

Source: Wikipedia. Note: These two paragraphs have been edited out of the Wikipedia article.

Brother Christian Lennon, Hong Kong, 1909

Brother Christian Lennon, Hong Kong, 1909
Source: The Gateway: Hong Kong Lasallian Family Bulletin.
No. 20, January 2010 p. 11.

According to one of the Brothers' reports to Rome:

The school as it stands at present is one of the most up-to-date educational establishments in the Far East. It combines the attraction of a unique position with every facility for the imparting of a thorough education. The building is situated on a height which commands an extensive view of the city and the Harbour of Victoria. It is surrounded with trees and patches of green which render it one of the most delightful spots of the Colony.

Source: The Gateway: Hong Kong Lasallian Family Bulletin. No. 51, March, 2014, p. 9.

Hong Kong, about 1895 

Hong Kong, about 1895, Mathews Northrup

Msgr. Raimondi

Giovanni Timoleone Raimondi
first Apostolic Vicar of Hong Kong

A Periodical Advertisement

In the June 1906-07 edition of the periodical Who's Who in the Far East, the following advertisement about St. Joseph's College appeared:

St. Joseph's College


The St. Joseph's English College is situated on Robinson Road, and is conducted by the Brothers of the Christian schools, and is under the patronage of the Right Rev. Domenico Pozzoni, D.D., Vic. Apost. of Hongkong.

The Brothers arrived in Hongkong in the year 1875 at the request of Mgr. Raimondi. The foundation stone of the present building was laid by Sir John Pope Hennessy on November 3rd, 1881.

The aim of the institution is to give Catholic youths and others, without distinction of creed or persuasion a thorough moral, intellectual, and physical education. The staff consisted of thoroughly trained European teachers, who have devoted their life to this work.

The course of studies, instruction in the English language, comprises the following branches: Religious Instruction, Reading, Writing, Grammar, Composition, Geography, History, Geometry, Algebra, Arithmetic, Mensuration [The act or process of assigning numbers to phenomena according to a rule], Book-keeping, Geometrie and Architectural Drawing, Hygiene, Chinese, French, Music, Shorthand and Typewriting.

The boys are prepared for the Oxford Local Examinations, and the College record is an honourable and a successful one.

Source: Who's Who in the Far East, Hongkong: China Mail, June 1906-07, p. xxv.

A Monument to Catholic Education

In 1911, Brother Christian Lennon could say in the prize-giving day that "the big pile of buildings on Robinson Road, Glenealy, stands today as a veritable monument to the educational enterprise of the Catholic mission authorities in Hong Kong."

Source: The Gateway: Hong Kong Lasallian Family Bulletin. No. 51, March, 2014, p. 9.

Brother Christian Lennon

Brother Christian Lennon
unknown artist
Source: The Gateway: Hong Kong Lasallian Family Bulletin.
No. 51, March, 2014, p. 9.

Honored Guest at the Inauguration of Hongkong University

Hongkong University was incorporated in Hong Kong as a self-governing body of scholars on 30 March 1911 and had its official opening ceremony on 11 March 1912. Brother Christian Lennon, in company with Brother Cornelius Nulty, was numbered among the honored guests at the ceremony in a newspaper article spanning three pages in the Weekly Sun for 30 March 1912, pp. 9-11. The two brothers' names appear in the last line of the article.

HongKong University 1
HongKong University 2
HongKong University 3

Source: Weekly Sun for 30 March 1912, portions of pp. 9 and 11.




On July 16, a most enjoyable function took place in the hall of St. Joseph's College, Hongkong, to wish Rev. Bro. Christian, director, for the last five years a hearty farewell on the occasion of his retiring to New York. A grand dinner was given by the pupils, and his Lordship Bishop Pozzoni took the chair. Rev. Fathers Maria and Garbardi were also present. The band of the Punjabis rendered selections during the course of the dinner. About 150 students were present at the banquet.

Source:The Straits Times, 24 July 1913, p. 7.


Hong Kong Catholic Diocesan Archives.

Katholische Bischöfe in China (Catholic Bishops in China).

Patrick J. Lennon

Bro. LENNON, Christian FSC

Patrick J. Lennon

Giovanni Timoleone Raimondi

Bishop RAIMONDI, Giovanni Timoleone MEM

Bishop Giovanni Timoleone Raimondi, P.I.M.E.

Bishop Giovanni Timoleone Raimondi

Timoleon Raimondi

Domenico Pozzoni

Bishop POZZONI, Domenico MEM

Bishop Domenico Pozzoni, P.I.M.E.

Dominic Pozzoni