Town of
   Steuben County, New York

The Roloson Family

Judah Kirby Roloson (1808-1904)
George Rogers
Judah Kirby Roloson, my third great grandmother, was the matriarch of probably the largest family ever to settle in Hornby; having had fifteen children, all of which reached adulthood and married. Judah or Judith as she was sometimes called was born 22 March 1808 in Massachusetts. She was Judah in her father’s will and her aunt was named Judah in a family where naming children after relatives was very common. So even though her tombstone in the Oldfield-Ferenbaugh Cemetery and death certificate says Judith, Judah was probably her name. She died two weeks short of her ninety-sixth birthday, outliving her husband by sixteen years.

Photos from collection of George Rogers
Her father Ichabod and mother Abigail Allen were married in Westport, Massachusetts on 16 August 1804. By 1820 they had moved to Enfield, Tompkins County, New York. The family estate had been divided many times and little was left for a second son, so moving west was probably an economic necessity. Thousands of others were also moving west to occupy new land opened up after the Revolutionary War. Living nearby in Enfield was the family of John Roloson, who had come from New Jersey. Judah married John’s son Peter on 17 February 1825. Five days after her eighteenth birthday in 1826 she bore her first child. Between her fourth child in 1830 and fifth in 1832 the young Rolosons moved to Hornby and settled in the eastern part of the town, they began clearing the land, and eventually owned about 500 acres. This photo of their homestead house was taken in the early 1900s. Located at Taft and Wilson Hollow Roads it is still occupied (2001).
Photo from collection of Hornby Historical Society 


Judah’s ancestors in America can be traced back to Richard Kirby of Massachusetts, whose name first appeared on the records of New England in 1636 as an inhabitant of Lynn which is about ten miles northeast of Boston. “The Kirbys of New England”, a book written in 1898 by Melatiah Everett Dwight details the history of the family. In 1637, together with others of Lynn, Richard moved to Cape Cod, and began the settlement of the town of Sandwich. Records show that in 1638 he was fined for having swine unringed, but more serious trouble was to follow. Richard was a member of the Puritan Church, but in the autumn of 1656, Nicholas Upsiall, a Puritan of Boston who had been exiled for protesting against the imprisonment of Mary Fisher, the first Quaker to appear in Boston, found temporary refuge in Sandwich. The Plymouth records of this date contain a complaint that, "Nicholas Upsiall, Richard Kirby, the wife of John Newland, and others, did frequently meet together at the house of William Allen in Sandwich on the Lord's day and other times. They inveighed against ministers and magistrates, to dishonor God and show contempt of the government." So it appears that Richard was one of the first persons in this country to embrace the principles of the Friends or Quakers. Yet it is not certain that he ever actually became a member of the Society of Friends. The Puritan church of Sandwich was reported to be the most bigoted and intolerant in the Plymouth Colony and he may have just associated with the Quakers out of sympathy for the cause of religious liberty. Perhaps to elude persecution, in about 1660 he moved to Dartmouth where he remained until his death in about 1687. Richard Kirby, Jr. also embraced the Quaker cause in Sandwich and records indicate numerous fines imposed on him for attending meetings and the confiscation of fifteen cows to pay some of those fines. The next three generations (Robert, Silas and Nathaniel) lived in the Dartmouth/Westport area until Nathaniel’s son Ichabod (Judah's father) and his family left for Enfield.

This picture is reportedly of the entire Roloson family, Judah, Peter and fifteen children; however, only six have been identified.

Photo from collection of  Carolyn Winters


I am descended from Judah’s third child Lysander who married Lydia Covenhoven, daughter of Daniel Covenhoven and Clarissa Owen. This picture of Lysander and Lydia was taken with their son Herman (my great grandfather) in about 1915.

 Photo from collection of George Rogers


Herman married Catherine (Rena) Elizabeth Bassage, daughter of English immigrant Jesse Bassage, and had only one child, Josephine Betty (pictured below) who married Charles Godfrey Rogers. Charles was the son of George Lee Rogers who helped build the Panama Canal and the great grandson of Peter Rogers who settled in Hornby in about 1831. Josephine and her third baby died during childbirth and Herman and Rena, although in their fifties, cared for Josephine’s two young children until Charles remarried twelve years later.

 Photo from collection of George Rogers

Part 2

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