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.

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Richard John Franz III
Roll Family Genealogist

Spouse(s): Muriel Jeanne Uden
Family tree: Richard John Franz III 1919-2011

Richard John Franz III

Richard John Franz III


Source: Letter, R.J. Franz to Mrs. Nowelsky, 8 Feb 1963.


Richard John Franz III, frst child of Richard J. Franz, Jr., and Hazel Irene Smith, was born 8 Sep 1919. He married on 7 Dec 1943 Muriel Jeanne Uden. He was an avid genealogist, and played a major role in the preservation of the research of Richard Timbrook Wilson contained in the book Genealogy of the Roll Family. To my knowledge, all surviving copies of that compendium list him as a second author. He corresponded with a number of people interested in Roll family history during the period after 1957, including my father Davied Hedges Roll, Sr.

Genealogy of the Roll Family

Title page of the Genealogy of the Roll Family

Lt. Richard John Franz III, right

Naval Bomb and Mine Disposal personnel pulling on a rope
on a beach near Lowestoft in Suffolk, about 1942.
Lt. Richard John Franz III is first in line on the right.
(Australian War Memorial photo)

A Glimpse of His World War II Military Service

A team from the Enemy Mines Section of HMS Vernon walking in close single file along an English beach at Lowestoft, England. The Officers and men had just rendered safe a booby-trapped German magnetic/acoustic mine. Identified personnel are right to left: Lieutenant Franz USN, Lieutenant Commander J.S. Mould GC GM, RANVR, Lieutenant Geoff Turner RNVR, Waldron (scientist), unidentified RN rating, Hadlow (radiologist), unidentified RASC driver and Lieutenant Commander Leonard (Leon) Verdi Goldsworthy GC, DSC, GM, RANVR bringing up the rear. Before teams like these could even begin to work on German mines they routinely had to cross beaches that had been heavilly sown with defensive anti-personnel mines. The men are all holding on to a guide rope draped over their left shoulders.

Source: Minewarfare & Clearance Diving Officer's Association, MCDOA News Archive 33.

Richard's Obituary

Richard J. Franz

Richard John "Dick" Franz III, 91, died February 6, 2011. Mr. Franz was born September 8, 1919 at Newark, NJ, the first child of Richard J. Franz, Jr. and Hazel I. (Smith) Franz. He grew up in Massachusetts and attended schools in Medford and Melrose, MA. In 1939 he received a BS in Chemical Engineering from Tufts University then attended Harvard Law School for one year. In 1940 he joined the US Naval Reserve and was on active duty during WWII where he served two tours of duty in the European Theater. Dick qualified as a Mine Disposal Officer and Deep-Sea (Hard hat) diver and was part of the technical investigation of German military and civilian personnel. He remained in the US Naval Reserve, later retiring as Captain.

Dick was employed in 1946 by the American Cyanamid Co. as an engineer and worked at locations in Bound Brook, NJ and Pace, FL, in a variety of engineering and management positions. After retirement from Cyanamid in 1984 he was a consultant on the design of a major acrylic fiber manufacturing facility in China. He was a 50-year member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Dick enjoyed golf, sailing, reading, choral singing and puzzle-solving. He was a member, Sunday School teacher, Deacon and Elder of Trinity Presbyterian Church. He served as Chairman of the Church Building Council during the building of the church's Sanctuary. He was a member of the US Naval Explosive Ordinance Disposal Association, a volunteer tutor at Pensacola State College, a director emeritus of United Cerebral Palsy of NW FL, Past President of UCP of FL and a Director of UCP NW FL Foundation.

He is survived by his wife, Muriel Jeanne Uden Franz, a son, John Douglas (Kathleen) Franz, and a daughter, Marcia Baker, both of Pensacola. He is also survived by his sister Laura (Richard) Eagan, Plymouth, MA and sister-in-law Joan Franz, wife of his late brother, Robert K. Franz, Hamburg, ME and several nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at Trinity Presbyterian Church on Friday, February 11, 2011 at 11:30AM.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to United Cerebral Palsy of NW FL, 2912 N. "E" St., Pensacola, FL 32501 or Trinity Presbyterian Church, 3400 Bayou Blvd., Pensacola, FL 32503.

Harper-Morris Memorial Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

Source: Pensacola News Journal, 9 Feb 2011

A Letter From Geneologist R. J. Franz

Going through some of the papers in our father's estate, in 1997, we came across this letter from R. J. Franz. The genealogy in this letter is a large quotation from the book Genealogy of the Roll Family by Richard Timbrook Wilson. A proper citation is not given, and is referred to as "the book." Franz must have given the citation in a previous letter. This is what started us on our genealogical quest.

Subsequently Mr. Franz sent my father a copy of the book, which he donated to the San Diego Public Library in order to preserve it for posterity. The book was lost or discarded by the library.

A transcription of the letter follows.

February 8, 1963
Dear Mrs. Nowelsky,

Have received your letter of Feb. 5. The information simplified the search very much. I can very easily give you the information you ask if the very simple form I write it in will satisfy your needs. I will show it in exactly the form it appears in the book. If any of your information suggests inaccuracy please let me know:

Howard [Russell? illegible] Roll, third child of William Henry Roll and Sarah Shipman of Elizabeth, Union County, New Jersey. Other children:

I - (no name) died in childhood
II - William Henry
IV - Joseph Hedges

William Henry Roll, fourth child of Jonathan Smith Roll and Lucinda Kidd; born Ovid, Seneca County, New York, died in Elizabeth, Union county, New Jersey as a result of a railroad accident and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Elizabeth, N.J.

Jonathan Smith Roll, third child of Wesley and Ann Smith; Born 3-3-1828 near Westfield, Union County, N.J.; Died 3-10-1904 in Elizabeth, Union County, N.J.; Buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Elizabeth; Married 9-4-1851 Lucinda Kidd, daughter of Capt. Kidd, Born 1-16-1834, Died 12-6-1902 in Elizabeth, Union County, N.J. and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Elizabeth. They lived in Elizabeth, Union County, N.J. the greater part of their lives with the exception when they resided in Ovid, Seneca County, New York. During his life Jonathan Smith Roll followed the trade of a stonemason. Children:

I - John - died in infancy
II - Joseph Hedges
III - Annie Lucinda
IV - William Henry

Wesley Roll, ninth child of John and Mary Roll was Born 10-10-1801 Springfield, Union County, New Jersey, Died 10-3-1855 Westfield, Union County, New Jersey; Buried in Friends' Cemetery, Plainfield, Union County, New Jersey. Married 3-25-1824 Ann, only child of Jonathan and Elizabeth Brotherton Smith, of Scotch Plains, Union County, New Jersey, Born 12-6-1802, Died 5-4-1872 in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, and is buried in Friends' Cemetery, Plainfield, Union County, New Jersey. Children:

I - Eliza Jane
II - Martin Luther
III - Jonathan Smith
IV - Mary Louisa
V - William Henry
VI - EccellAnn
VII - Almira Susan
VIII- Jacob Earl
IX - Sarah Emily
X - John James Died unmarried, buried Friend's Burying Ground, Plainfield
XI - Josephine, Died 2 yrs. old
XII - Charles Wesley
XIII- Ann Elizabeth

Wesley Roll was a farmer by vocation and lived on the old Smith homestead lying on the old Springfield Road, Between Springfield and Scotch Plains. The property passed out of the possession of the family in the early seventies and is now (about 1920) the well known "Cook Farm". The original house in which his wife and his children prior to Charles W. were born, was torn down and the present one erected during the life of Wesley Roll. His land is intersected by the boundary between Fanwood and Westfield Townships.

John Roll, first child of Isaac Roll, born 8-28-1765, died 1810 aged 45 years, his will is recorded in Book A Essex County Wills Pages 343-344, Married 12-13-1785 to Mary, born 8-21-1768 daughter of John Earl of Middleville, Essex County, New Jersey, Died at the home of her son Wesley Roll in Westfield, Union County, N.J. 1-31-1852 - both are buried in the old Presbyterian Church ground Springfield, New Jersey. She married after John Roll's death to Joel Searing. Children:

I - William B 10-16-1786
II - Nancy B 3-10-1788
III - James B 10-10-1789
IV - Isaac B 10-14-1791
V - John B 10-14-1793; D 4-2-1794
VI - John B 7-11-1795
VII - Luther B 7-29-1797; D 8-7-1869
VIII- Charles B 5-5-1799;
IX - Wesley B 10-10-1801; D 10-3-1855
X - Mary B 1-21-1804 - referred to as Polly also in herfather's will
XI - Jacob B 1-11-1808; removed to Augusta, Richmond County, Georgia; Was married three times but left no issue.

Isaac Roll, first child of John Roll and Elizabeth, married Sarah, eighth and youngest child of James Cauldwell. They lived and kept a tavern for many years in Springfield, Union County, New Jersey. On July 4th, 1795 a number of the inhabitants of Springfield and its vicinity assembled at his house in celebration of the nineteenth anniversary of the American Independence. Isaac Roll is recorded as being the Collector of Springfield Township 1798-1801. His will was probated in 1809 and he is buried in the Presbyterian Church ground in Springfield, Union County, N.J. James Cauldwell father of Sarah wife of Isaac Roll, was one of the earliest settlers of New Providence (Turkey) Union County, New Jersey. He and his wife Mary emigrated from Ireland about 1732, when his son William was six years old and settled on Long Hill (New Providence) on lot #30 addition of the Elizabethtown lots which he drew. From traditions among the families his wife was Mary Gaston, sister of the father of Hugh Gaston of Peapack, Somerset County, New Jersey. Isaac and Sarah Cauldwell Roll had children:

I - John
II - Mary Baptized 6-14-1767, D young
III -James
IV - Elizabeth Baptized 7-21-1771, D young
V - Abraham Went West and died there
VI - Jacob C.
VII - Catherina
VIII- Abagail
IX - Betsy
X - Sally

John Roll was probably born on Staten Island about 1708. He should not be confused with John Rol, son of Peter Mangle Ral, who also appears in the early Dutch records of Staten Island, during the same period, and who was apparently about the same age. The only explanation of the compiler as to their being of the same name is that their parents evidently followed as a custom of naming their children after their grandparents.

He is recorded as being among the second lot of settlers of Turkey, on Long Hill, Elizabethtown Township, Essex County, New Jersey (which in 1809 was changed to New Providence - now Union County) and that he settled between Springfield and Westfield near the mountains.

The early settlement of New Providence proper was in 1736/8 and those who followed came within the next forty years. Family tradition states that he settled in New Jersey in 1742 and as he is referred to in the deed from his father for land in New Jersey dated 1754 as of Elizabethtown, it is evident that he removed from Staten Island to New Jersey prior to 1754.

His home stood on the Southeast side of the first mountain the Eastern portion of Elizabethtown on the old stage route leading from the settlement of Elizabethtown to New Providence.

The section of the road which runs by the old homestead location is no longer used and is washed out into deep gullies in some places as deep as twenty feet, and the homestead is now (1921) right in the heart of the woods with only a pile of stones to mark its location.

The land is now (1921) owned by John B. Roll of Mountainside, Union County, N.J., one of his descendants. The home of Baltus Roll which is still standing is about a quarter of a mile up the old road and near the top of the mountain.

His will, probated in 1782 and recorded in Liber 24, Essex County Wills, Folio 5 etc. #5507-5510, set forth the names of his children at the time it was signed in 1763 and designated his wife Elizabeth as one of the executors of his estate. As his son John only qualified apparently had either passed on before his death in 1782 or the infirmities of her age prevented her also acting as such. John and Elizabeth Roll had children:

I - Isaac
II - John
III - Abraham
IV - Rhoda or "Molly"
V - Jane or "Jean"
VI - Catherine (Catron)

John Roll was the only child of Johannes Roll and Grittue.

Johannes Roll was baptized as the son of Jan Mangelsen in the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, Albany, N.Y. on 1-27-1686, his sponsors being Geertruy Lansing and Johannes Lansing. He was one of the signers of the land petition presented by Mangle Jansen Roll in 1713 in which he is shown as John Johnsen Roll. Various evidence indicates that he left Canostigione, Albany County, N.Y. and settled in the Northern Division (now Port Richmond) Staten Island.

Jan Mangelse(n) was an Indian trader who was in Beverwyck (the name of Albany until 1664). Albany County, N.Y. as early as 1656. The fact that he is shown in the early Dutch records of Albany, N.Y. as Jan Mangelse or Mangelsen indicates that he was Jan, son of Mangle, and as was the custom in that period, was without a surname. Jan Mangelse married a daughter of Peter Adriaensen Soegemackelyck (Van Woggelum) by whom he had several children who are entered in the records of the Reformed Dutch Churches of Albany and New York under the name of Roll, variously spelled Rol, Rall, Ral, and Raal. Pieter Adriaensen van Woggelum, nicknamed Soogemackelyck ("So Easy"), the father-in-law of Jan Mangelsen, was a tavern keeper in Rennsselaerswyck in 1656. He was generally called "van Woggelum" probably after the village of that name near Alkmaar in the province of North Holland. Pieter and his brother, Jacob Adriaensen with their mother, were early settlers of Beverwyck; both were inn-keepers.

In 1660, their mother, Anna Pieterse Soegemackelyck was a widow by the death of her second husband Barent Janse Bal; she died in December, 1669. Pieter Adriaense was apprehended by the revenue officer Johan de Dekkere, for refusing to pay the excise on his sales of wine, beer, etc. but escaped; he denied the right of the officer of Fort Orange to collect this excise in the Colonie where he lived and in this he was sustained by the Patroon. In 1664 he received a patent for a bowery and home lot at Schenectady, which he sold in 1670 to Helmer Otten of thirty-five beavers. He had at least three children; Pieter Jan and a daughter who married Jan Mangelse. The date and place of the death of Jan Mangelse are unknown. That Jan Mangelse died before 9-4-1705 is indicated by the fact that on this date his son Mangle Jansen Roll and his wife Antje sold to Ryder Schermerhoorn three morgans of land at Niskayuna which Jan Mangelsen had obtained from Claes Jansen van Bockhoven under a contract of sale of Jan. 14, 1672/3 together with certain rights in land to [the] rear thereof which said Claes Jansen purchased from the Indians on March 4th 1681/2 and in which Jan Mangelsen had a share. Jan Mangelse and Tryntje (Catherine) van Woggelum had children:

I - Antje (Ann)
II - Mangle Janse
III - Tryntje (Catherina)
IV - Pieter (Peter)
V - Johannes (John)

This ought to be enough to get you started, or perhaps it is all you need or want. Please note that the book says that your grandfather died as a result of a railroad accident whereas your information says it was caused by a fire engine. I should like to hear from you and particularly if you have information which can put in the book to make it more complete. You have given me your father's dates of birth and death. I would like to be able to get your mother's name and dates and when they were married, the dates, places, etc. if available of your father's brothers, dates and places attributable to you and your husband and children, if you have children.

Yours truly,
R. J. Franz