Biography - Joseph Roller

JOSEPH ROLLER is a typical farmer whose practical knowledge of agriculture and business-like methods in managing his affairs have placed him among the foremost men of his class in Penn Township, where he owns a large and well conducted farm that is considered one of the finest in the county.

Mr. Roller was born near Little York, York County, Pa., September 3, 1830. His father, whose given name was John, is also supposed to have been a native of the same county where he passed his early life, and where he was married. He was a distiller by trade in his young days, but removing to Centre County, Pa., in 1840, he bought a farm on Buffalo Run and devoted his remaining years to agricultural pursuits, dying there in 1874 at the ripe age of seventy-one years. His wife, the mother of our subject, preceded him in death many years, her demise occurring on the old farm in 1852.

He of whom we write was reared to the life of a farmer, receiving a careful training in all that pertains to agriculture, so that by the time he attained manhood he was well versed in the calling that was to be his life work. He continued to live with his father until he was thirty-one years of age, affording him valuable aid in the management of his farm, he then rented land in Centre County a few years. Wisely thinking that on the fertile soil of the Prairie State he could make more headway in his calling, he left his native commonwealth in 1865 to avail himself of the superior advantages offered to skillful and wide-awake farmers in Shelby County. He made a judicious selection of two hundred and forty acres of wild prairie land in Penn Township which is now included in his pleasant farm. The price of it was $9 an acre and he went into debt for the greater part of the purchase money.

At the time of his settlement here this part of the county was but little developed and Mr. Roller had to do a great deal of pioneer work in bringing his farm to its present fine and highly unproved condition. His labors have been well rewarded, however, as his homestead is a valuable piece of property, supplied with ample and well-arranged buildings, and its carefully tilled fields and rich pastures yield a good income, he has also bought other land at different tunes and now his farm comprises four hundred and forty acres. Mr. Roller is well liked in this community as he is a just and fair man, kindly of heart and honest of purpose, and has shown himself in every respect to be a worthy addition to the citizenship of this place since he took up his residence here more than a quarter of a century ago. His wife also shares with him the regard in which he is held and both are among the most worthy members of the Presbyterian Church. In politics he sides with the Democrats.

Mr. Roller has been three times married. His first wife, to whom he was united in 1853, was Matilda Ross, who was a native of Centre County, Pa., and a daughter of William and Mary Ross. She died in 1873 leaving these six children; John W., Laura J., Sally J., Joseph R., Ida and Robert H. Laura married Charles Lutz; Sally is the wife of M. W. Marshall; and Ida is the wife of Tom Gedes. Our subject's second marriage, which took place in 1876, was with Isabella Hunter, a native of Centre County, Pa., and a daughter of Robert Hunter. She departed this life May 18, 1885. In 1887 Mr. Roller was wedded to Miss Annie Dale, his present wife, a native of Pennsylvania, born in Centre County, and a daughter of Felix and Lucy Dale.

Extracted 12 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 399-400.

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