Tag Archives: Gaspar Roland

Johan Gaspar Roland & Wife Mary, Palatines to the Colonies, 1741

Johan Gaspar Roland was baptized on 29 October 1720, the eldest child of Melchior Roland and Anna Maria Lang.

I had seen Gaspar’s birth date in many online sites, but had no seen any sources, except for the pesky non-source – other online trees. I stumbled upon a new website, e-periodica, based in Zurich, Switzerland, which is  part of ETH Library, the largest public scientific and technical library in Switzerland.

Specifically, the search hit was for Beiträge zur Aargauergeschichte or Contributions to the History of the Aargau. Aargau is a canton just west of Zurich and is the ancestral home of the Roland family.

Band 16 of the digitization project in 2009 covers family information for surnames beginning with the letter R. One of the families is the Roland family and the records are compiled from town sources, like church registers, so the information is quite trustworthy.

My next post will provide the family sketch for Melchior, father of Johan Gaspar, but, for now, suffice it to say the 1720 date is correct.

Gaspar Roland, as he was called, arrived on the ship Friendship that sailed from Rotterdam and docked in Philadelphia on 12 October 1741. His age was given as 20 years old, which was correct, as his birthday wouldn’t occur for another week. Gaspar took the Oath of Allegiance the same day he disembarked from the ship.

Gaspar’s wife was Mary, said to be Hunsaker and the widow of Mr. Myer and that they married c1745. I touched on the hot mess that is the Hunsaker ancestry in a previous post and said that I would be leaving it alone. I also have no proof as to whether Mary was a widow, so until I can document otherwise, he married Mary (MNU).

The Church of the Brethren began in 1708, a few years before Gaspar was born, but the Brethren, or Dunkers, were an offshoot of the Anabaptists, who did not believe in infant baptism. Anabaptists were unwelcome in many towns and many of the Swiss Germans who settled in the German Palatinate did so as much for religious reasons as economic. In Europe, they were also called Walloons.

Children are often influenced by parental beliefs and Gaspar’s parents probably were Anabaptists if not early members of the Brethren faith; Gaspar himself likely held Anabaptist beliefs by the time he arrived in Philadelphia.

Gaspar and Mary Roland settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and most of their children were probably born there. However, by the 1760s, the Rolands lived in Frederick County, Maryland, where they sold “Good Springs” and “Small Hope” in 1766. [Frederick County, Maryland Deed Book K:605]

A decade later, the Rolands had moved southward to Rowan County, North Carolina, where Gaspar appeared on the 1778 tax list. On the same list are found Daniel Hendricks, John Roland, John Hendricks, Daniel Lewis and Jacob Keithley, all part of the FAN club.

Gaspar’s son, Jacob, died as a young married man by 22 November 1779 in Rowan County, North Carolina; Gaspar Roland and John Cochanour put up the guardian bond for Jacob’s orphaned children, Frina and Gaspar.

As the years passed, the Carolina Brethren’s members developed views contrary to traditional Brethren beliefs, which led to on-going friction. Yesterday’s post talked about the 1798 and 1800 Annual Meetings that led to the excommunication of church members in Rowan County.

By this time, John Hendricks and Gaspar Roland were well respected ministers among their congregation and heavily influenced the decision to leave North Carolina for Kentucky.

Gaspar Roland was, by 1795, preaching in Wilkes County, North Carolina. On 29 December 1795, he sold his land in Rowan County to John Nail.

Gaspar Roland to John Nail, 29 December 1795
Rowan County, NC Deed Book 14:346-347
Source: FamilySearch

This deed is somewhat faded and hard to read, but the only importance to it is the 29 December 1795 date, proving that Gaspar Roland was still alive and living in Wilkes County, North Carolina at that time.

This is the last record I find concerning Gaspar Roland. Others say he died in Wayne County, Kentucky in 1809. He would have been 89 years old by then. Not impossible, but less likely, particularly given that the journey to Kentucky was long and strenuous. However, the Gaspar in Warren County, Kentucky records was his grandson, the orphan of Jacob Roland.

Also, Gaspar Roland apparently didn’t own any land in Wilkes County and his name isn’t on the 1795 tax list. If this is Gaspar Sr., born in 1720, he might have been living with adult children.

All that I can state for sure about Gaspar Roland’s death is that he died after 1795, but whether in North Carolina or Kentucky, no proof has been found.

I think the list of Gaspar and Mary’s children has been cobbled together by association, being the only ones with the surname in a given place and time.

I also have no reason to doubt the names of their spouses, but I have no documentation to offer either. So, READER BEWARE!

If Jacob’s wife was a Keithley, then it is very likely that Jacob Keithley was her brother and John Keithley in Rowan County, North Carolina another brother.


1. Abraham, born c1746, probably York County, Pennsylvania; married Maria Catherine Peeple, c1769, probably Frederick County, Maryland
2. John, born c1748, probably York County, Pennsylvania; perhaps married Esther Peeple, 8 January 1801, Harrison County, Kentucky as a later wife, or else he has been confused with another John Roland.
3. Jacob, born c1750, probably York County, Pennsylvania; died before 22 November 1779, Rowan County, North Carolina; married Mary ?Keithley, c1772. She married (2) Jonas Hon.
4. Mary, born c1752, probably York County, Pennsylvania; married Daniel Hendricks, c1773
5. Barbara, born c1754, probably York County, Pennsylvania; died 1840-1850, Warren County, Kentucky; married Jacob Keithley, c1777
6. Joseph, born c1756, probably York County, Pennsylvania; married Catherine Dobbins, c1780
7. Christina, born c1758, probably York County, Pennsylvania; married James Hendricks

Next, we will meet Gaspar’s parents, Melchior and Ann and look at the ancestral origins of Johan Gaspar Roland in both Germany and Switzerland.