On a Roll…

I stumbled upon an interesting family history blog the other day – Roll Family Stuff.  Click here to read a post about a former resident of Clontarf who moved away  in 1887, leaving some relatives behind.  The post contains a journal entry by Frank Roll that recounts where he worked and lived from 1873 to 1887.  Take a look, then come back and read more here.

What a treasure to have such an account!  I would love to have information like this on my ancestors.   Frank Roll’s journey is fascinating.  Sometimes I think of migration in America as following a purely westward path, but it was often more complicated than that.  For the nineteenth-century American pioneer, moving to a new area was always a gamble – sometimes it paid off and sometimes they had to cut their losses and move on.

Here’s what the 100th anniversary booklet has to say about the Rolls…

August Roll – Family History

August Roll and his brother, Frank, homesteaded in Clontarf Township – having come from Michigan – in 1876.  Frank and his family, as well as a sister of Frank and August, disappointed with the treeless, desolate nature of the prairie returned to Michigan.

August married Victoria Back at St. Malachy Church, Clontarf, in 1883.  They had two childern: Edward, who married Anna Scheid and William.  Edward and Anna Roll had two children: Bernice who married Donald Kent and William who married Marie Tosterud.

Donald and Bernice Kent farmed in Tara Township for many years.  Donald was a parish trustee for ten years until his death in 1975.  Bernice had been a school teacher before her marriage and was in charge of the CCD classes at St. Malachy’s under Father King and Father Cooney.  Bernice still has the farm in Tara.

William and Marie Roll live in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and they have four children (Charles, David, Mary, and John.)

It is interesting how the family history makes it sound like Frank came to Clontarf, didn’t like the flat landscape, and left.  But from his own account, we can see he tried to make a go of it in Clontarf, including having the blacksmith shop and going elsewhere to find work.

This got me thinking about who were the blacksmiths in Clontarf over the years.  About a week or so ago, the Birhanzel family history mentioned Patrick McCarthy worked as the blacksmith, and now we know about Frank Roll.  Anybody know who else was the blacksmith in town?



Filed under Clontarf, Family Histories

5 responses to “On a Roll…

  1. I’m thrilled to have this information. I knew my grandfather had at least one brother who probably stayed in Minnesota, but for some reason, I thought they were probably in Grand Marais, MN. I was near Eau Claire last weekend on the way back from the Cheese Days festival in Monroe, WI. If I ever get back that way, I’ll have to look him up.

    • I feel like I have seen the Roll name in other places…I will keep an eye out as I go through township records, etc. I will also look in the big Swift County history book for any mention. The history I posted was from a booklet from 1978 – historic in its own right. There are Kents still in the area – I will check with Anne if they are Donald and Bernice’s people. Stay tuned for more information!


  2. Anne Schirmer

    Donald & Bernice lived on the Donovan farm. I never knew it was the Donovan farm till Eileen & Aine came into my life!
    I’ll ask Scott Kent for more info. Scott is a nephew to Don. The Kents tell me that Donald & Bernice always hosted the Christmas Eve gathering. Don & Bernice had no children. They were the nicest people…
    I think the Roll homestead place is just west of Clontarf at the curve where the Brandt lived and Richard brandt still lives….

  3. Anne Schirmer

    Donald Kent married Bernice Roll.

  4. Mary Schultz

    Any information on the Lawler, Shea, Goin or Coleman families.

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