Volume 6, Number 11, Spring 1979
An area in Taney County about four miles west of Bradleyville known as Roller Holler, was named for two brothers, Phillip and William Roller, Virginians who settled there shortly after the Civil War.
Phillip, born 1836, and William three years later, were sons of Amos and Elizabeth (Rogers) Roller of Scott County, Virginia. Casper Roller, Father of Amos, married Elizabeth Bowman 1798 in Rockingham County and moved to Scott in 1804. John Roller, father of Casper, was born in Germany and came to the American Colonies in 1744. He was a patriot during the Revolutionary War and died 1806 in Shenandoah County, Va. (1)
In 1858, Phillip married Roseanna Bledsoe, also a native of Scott County, born 1838 to Loven and Rachel Bledsoe, who were cousins. Loven was a son of Isaac and Rebecca Bledsoe, and Rachel a daughter of Thomas and Margaret (McDonald) Bledsoe. Thomas Bledsoe was in Virginia Militia during the War for Independence. (2) William Roller married Cynthia Ann Bloomer in 1865.
For a few years Phillip and Roseanna were happy among their friends and relatives in the hills of southwest Virginia. Then with the eruption of the Civil War, Scott County became a dangerous place to live. It was on the route to the Cumberland Gap and the west, and many skirmishes and battles were fought in the area. Their son Andrew Jackson, although quite small during the war, later told his sisters of the noise of the guns and how terrified his parents would become when they heard the sound of many horses and riders approaching their home. Although our Roller family suffered no serious consequences, Roseanna s brother Shelby Bledsoe was killed by bushwhackers in the final days of the conflict.
The State of Virginia was ravaged by the war, and when peace again settled over the country, many Virginians came west to start anew. Phillip Rollers older sister Gincy Ann and husband Ira Lawson, and a younger sister Emaline married to Daniel Bloomer, were planning to move to Missouri. Phillip and his brother William joined them, driving wagons loaded with their household possessions. The Lawson and Bloomer families settled in Christian County, but the Roller brothers went on a few miles south in search of a place more to their liking.
Phillip Roller purchased the Homestead Rights to a tract of land along Beaver Creek in Taney County from a Mr. Spurlin, who had first settled the ground. Though it was hardly more than a brush pile he soon constructed a rude shelter thereon and wrote for his family to come by train. Roseanna and her children, Andrew 10, Ellen 5, Mary 2, and Lucy a babe of six weeks, traveled to what was then the western terminus of the railroad into southwest Missouri. The brothers widowed mother, Elizabeth Roller, and Cynthia Ann, wife of William, came with Roseanna and her family. They were met by the Lawson and Bloomer families who took them to their homes to
await the arrival of Phillip and William from Taney County. The train trip was long and exhausting for the aged mother and soon after her arrival her health began to fail, so she remained with her daughters in Christian County. On October 5, 1872, Elizabeth Roller departed this life. She was buried in what is now known as the Roller Cemetery, just off U Highway, between Rogersville and Sparta.
The Roller brothers took their families on to their newly constructed home on the waters of Beaver Creek. They worked hard, cutting timber, clearing and fencing more land, and sowing crops. In 1873 Phillip and Roseanna were blessed with another son they named John William, and in 1875 a daughter Rachelann arrived. Soon thereafter most of the family became desperately ill with an unknown disease, which may have been malaria or typhoid fever. As Phillip had heard talk of the medicinal waters at Hot Springs in Arkansas, he took his family there in an effort to cure the malady. All were soon improved except the baby who died in 1877. Grief stricken the family returned to Taney County, but this time Phillip selected a new homesite on higher ground where a big spring provided clear water. This area later became known as Roller Holler.
On this new land Phillip first built a log house, then set out a big orchard with apple, peach and pear trees. He raised sorghum cane, oats, wheat, rye, peanuts and cotton, and his farm was well stocked with horses, cows, sheep and fowl. Now the family prospered, and Phillip built a new and bigger log house about twenty feet from the first, which was then used as the kitchen. There was an outside stairway which led to a loft where the children slept. The rooms all had very low ceilings, as both Phillip and Roseanna were short people. A great grandson recalls bumping his head on the rafters when he visited this old house many years later.
To provide an educational opportunity for his children, Phillip Roller gave the land and logs for the first schoolhouse in the neighborhood. A subscription school was held there with parents paying a fee to the teacher for each of their children. People came from miles around by wagon, on horseback, or afoot to attend Church, Sunday School, revivals and singings held in this building known as Roller School House. Some years later the county replaced the log building with a frame structure, bringing the children of the area into the public school system, but it still retained the name Roller School.
William Roller died 12 April, l909 and Cynthia Ann Roller on 1 September, 1886 leaving no descendants. Roseanna Roller died 24 January, 1919 and Phillip Roller died at his daughter Marys home 12 September, 1921. All are buried at Bradleyville Cemetery.
The children of Phillip and Roseanna (Bledsoe) Roller were: Andrew Jackson Roller-born 14 January 1860, Scott County, Virginia, died 27 April 1937 in Celina, Texas.
Ellen Roller-born 21 February 1865, Scott County, Virginia, married John Henry Wood 8 March 1883 in Taney County, Missouri. Five children; Zana Ann Wood (m. Lonnie B. Clark); James Madison and Robert Morris Wood (both unmarried); Henry Alvis Wood (m. Opal Newton); and William Andrew Wood (m. Ollie Clark). Ellen died 19 August 1894 and is buried in Bradleyville Cemetery.
Mary Roller-born 1 June 1868, Scott County, Virginia, married Jesse Gilland 17 April 1898 in Taney County, Missouri. Five children: Joe Gilland (m. Delphia Floyd), Rose Gilland (m. William Boyd), Cuma Gilland (m. Virgil Warren), Dove Gilland (unmarried) , and Faye Gilland (m. Leo Warren) . Mary died 7 October 1949.
Lucy Roller-born 29 December 1869, Scott County, Virginia, married James C. Caudle 18 October 1891 in Taney County, Missouri. Three Children: Cora Caudle (m. Louis Alexander Hires) , Virgil and Otis Caudle (both unmarried) . Lucy died 25 December 1953 in Taney County and is buried in Patterson Cemetery.
John William Roller-born 3 November 1873, Taney County, Missouri, married a young widow Amelia Nance Black, 1 March 1896 in Taney County, Missouri. Five children: Irma Roseanna (m. Thorn) Eva Dora (m. Cupp); Mary Mahaley (m.? Francis? Zelner?); Lucy Alice (m. Griswold) and Johnny Andrew Roller. John William died 19 May 1957.
Rachelann Roller-born 27 August 1875, Taney County, Missouri and died 29 August 1877 in Arkansas.
(1) N S.D.A.R. Patriot Index, p.580.
John Roller, Virginia soldier.
(2) Thomas Bledsoe awarded Revolutionary War Pension #27, 565 of $30.00 per year from 4 Mar. 1831. Declaration of Service filed Bawkins Co., Tenn. Shenandoah Co.,Va. Probate Records Rockingham Co.,Va. Marriage Records Scott Co. ,Va. County Records -Deeds, Marriages, Deaths & Probate. Scott Co.,Va. Federal Census, 1820- 1830-1840-1850-1860.
Christian Co., Missouri Federal Census, 1870-1880.
Taney Co., Missouri Federal Census, 1870-1880.
Family Bible of Roller Family - in possession of Mrs. Cora Hires, Nixa
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