Tag Archives: Michigan

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?

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