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

Mangel Janszen Roll
The Manhattan Mariner

Spouse(s): Antje Hendricx Volkerts
Family tree: Mangel Janszen Roll c. 1671-1744

at the helm

The Roll Family of Manhattan

Jan Mangelsen and his son Mangel Janse Roll once called the Upper East Side on Manhattan Island at the East River their home. The land between 59th and 62nd streets and 3rd Avenue and the East River was once Mangle Janse Roll's thriving farm and shipping business that ranged from the Jerseys to Connecticut on Long Island Sound and beyond.

When documents from the 18th century used the name "Turtle Bay," it must be understood that the term referred to a much larger geographic area than it does today.

Mangel Janse Roll's Waterfront in 1927

The East River was important to commerce in the 18th century because of the poor roads and lack of bridges. Ships anchored in the cove when the tides were particularly strong along nearby Blackwell's Island.

Turtle Bay farm overlay

The lower half of the green portion of the overlay comprises
the Mangle Janse Roll farm.

A Description of the Roll Farm

A large part of the Lower East Side was advertised for sale in the New York Journal of April 10, 1738. "Also Forty four Acres of Land lying upon Manhatans Island, within four miles of this City, with a very good Grist Mill and two Bolting Mills, a large quantity of New Fencing stuff ready prepar’d for use, an old Orchard that makes Thirty Barrels of Syder, and Fifty young trees planted last Spring, all grafted for the best Kind of Fruits, being Part of Turtlebey, and formerly the place belonging to Theophilus Wlseworth.”

Mangle Janse Roll’s Parents

Mangel Janse Roll’s father, Jan Mangelsen, was born in the Netherlands, about 1635.  There he married Tryntje Pieters Van Woggelum, daughter of Pieter Adriaense Van Woggelum, an inn keeper. Jan and Tryntje were the progenitors of the Roll family in America. Their children were Antje, Mangle Janse, Tryntje, Pieter, and Johannes.

Jan Mangelsen was an Indian trader at Beverwyck, New Netherland, as early as 1656. He rented a house, lot, and garden at Rensselaerswyck in 1661. In 1672, he was herding cattle in Albany County. He purchased land at Niskayuna in 1672/3. The Mohawk Indians gave him a gift of a very large tract of land north of the Mohawk River at Canastagione. When the French and Indians attacked and destroyed Schenectady in 1690 they also killed eight or ten settlers at Canastagione. Many settlers left their plantations in alarm and and returned to New York City. Jan Mangelsen and his children, except for Peter, left their land at Canastagione after 1690, moving to Staten Island.

Mangle Janse Roll

Mangle Janse Roll married Annetje Hendricx Yolcx on Staten Island in 1692. Mangle was operating a boat as early as 1692. By 1701 he was living in the North Ward of the City of New York. Later he lived north of Turtle Bay in the Out Ward of New York City, now between 59th and 62nd streets. He owned a house at what is now 23-25 Pine Street, the back of 40 Wall Street, fronting the French Church.

Mangle’s father, Jan, was living with Mangle, his wife, and four children in the North Ward in 1703. Jan must have died before 1706, the year Mangle Janse and others were hired to cut sod for the fortifications of New York City. In 1709 Mangle was still carrying sod from New Jersey to Fort Amsterdam. That he owned land in Greenwich, Fairfield County, Connecticut, gives some indication of the extent of his shipping business.

In 1713, Mangle, and other members of the family, presented a petition for 2,000 acres each out of Jan Mangelsen original tract of land at Canastagione. They were unsuccessful in the attempt to reclaim the land.

In 1718 Mangle’s son John Roll married Aaltje Bas.

In 1719, he bought land in “Limping Will’s Purchase” at Rye in Westchester County, New York. In the purchase document he is referred to as a mariner. In 1722 Tunis Van Pelt was apprenticed to John Roll, mariner, for seven years. John taught the young man arithmetic and navigation.

In 1734 an old hulk used for landing cargoes at Turtle Bay was replaced with a new wharf. Other wrecks in the bay were also removed to enhance its use as a shelter for shipping, especially during the winter, from the driving ice of the East River. Turtle Bay at the outlet of Turtle Creek on the East River opposite Blackwell’s Island was noted for its shipyards in 1738.

In 1740 Mangle built a home in Staten Island, but four years later he was dead.

The Death of Mangel and His Son John

After the death of Mangel Janse Roll in 1744, his executors advertised the sale of a 30 acre farm, referred to as Turtle Bay. His son John died the same year; both possibly died at sea. An abstract of Mangel’s will follows:

"In the name of God, Amen, August 16th 1732, I Mangle Jansen Roll, Yeoman of Turtle Bay, in the OuWard of New York, being sick, I leave to my son John Roll 25 in full of all claims as my eldest son. All the rest of my estate to my wife Anne Roll during her life or widowhood and then to my children John, Catherina and Johanna. My daughter shall pay her daughter, Susannah Forber 20. My Executors are to sell all my Real-estate. If my son John shall have mind to purchase my house and lot of ground in New York, fronting the French Church, he shall have the preference. I make my wife Anne and my son John and my sons-in-law Phillip Minthorne and Samuel Beekman executors.

“Witnesses John Ten Broeck, H. De Meyer, Jacob Janeway. Proved 4/19/1744. The Wife Anne was then dead.” [Wilson]

In his will John Roll, living north of Turtle Bay, son of Mangle Janse Roll, who died in 1744 wrote that his “vessell be kept going for the better maintenance of my children.” The vessel must have been a steady source of income for the family. An abstract of the will is as follows:

"'In the name of God, Amen, I, John Roll of Turtle Bay in the outward of New York, Mariner being sick, I leave to my son Mangle Roll in full of all damages as eldest son and heir. I leave my wife Allida and to my Children Mangle Roll and John Roll all my Estate when they are of age. My executors are to have full power to sell land. My will is that my vessell be kept going for the better maintenance of my children if my wife thinks proper, and it is not to be sold. I make my wife and Isaac Bragaw Sr. of Newton and John Carhart of Rye, Executors.” Witness Isaac Brackow, John Dykman, Jacobus Kip. Dated May 17th, 1744. Proved July 13, 1744.'

“His will also indicates that he died during 1744 a few months after his father and at which time his living children were minors.” [Wilson]

The Sale of the Roll Farm

“The following recent newspaper article referring to this locality and his farm is of interest.

"'In view of the recent migration of many well-known New Yorkers to the Turtle Bay section east of Third Avenue, it may be interesting to note that the area was a popular suburban quarter of the city 175 years ago. The important development which has recently taken place there involves a row of houses on the north side of 48th Street, between Second and Third Avenue, evidently very close to the attractive farm as advertised for sale in the following notice from the New York Weekly Post Boy in June, 1745:

"'To be sold, a good small farm or plantation in the Out Ward of the City of New York, containing thirty acres adjoining upon the East River, a little beyond Turtle Bay and opposite to the sign of the Union Flag. It is very conveniently situated and has a commodious safe landing place and harbor in a cove sheltered from ice and strong weather; it has two houses upon it and a good bearing orchard, a stream of water running though it and the river before it abounds in a great plenty of fish, lobsters and crabs; the rear thereon adjoins to the King’s Highway. It lately belonged to Mangel Roll, deceased. Whoever inclines to purchase the said farm may apply to Mr. Samuel Beekman or to Mr. Philip Minthorn, living next to William Sackerly’s in the Bowery Lane and agree on reasonable terms.'

“As a matter of interest the writer has endeavored to locate the site of the foregoing farm and while his research indicates that it ran from the East River to about 2nd. Avenue between 59th and 62nd streets, he has been unable to find a record of its sale, and bases his deduction of its location upon the description of adjacent lands which appear in the early land records of the city...” [Wilson]

In 1746, Mangle Roll, son of John and Aaltje, married Sara Richardson.

Delaney, Edmund T. New York’s Turtle Bay: Old & New. Barre, Massachusetts: Barre Publishers, 1965. Library of Congress catalogue card number 65-16658. The authoe wants to buy this book.

Hoff, Henry B. Ed. Genealogies of Long Island Families. Vol. II. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1987. Note: On pp. 11-12 are some notes on the ancestry of the Meserole Family. The author owns this book..

Roll, Edwin D. The Roll Family One Branch. October 1982. LDS Microfiche 6018739. The microfiche is available for use at many Family History Centers.

Wilson, Richard Timbrook. Genealogy of the Roll Family: Ancestors and Descendants of John Roll of Elizabethtown Township, Essex County, New Jersey. Ridgewood, New Jersey, 1921.