The Valley of Heart's Delight

Santa Clara County Supervisor and Chairman of the Board


After many years of faithful service in Santa Clara County, John Roll has been re-elected time and again to the responsible office of supervisor, while his associates have honored him for the past four years by selecting him as chairman of the board. He has served them in that capacity more than twenty-seven years, being chosen by a large majority at each election. His mind and heart have been engrossed in the well-being of the county and such has been his success in the solution of many difficult problems that his fellow-citizens more and more have reposed confidence in him.

    The Roll family settled in the state of Wisconsin as early as 1846, being pioneers of the then very sparsely settled territory and it was there, six years later, that John Roll was born, receiving his education in the public schools of his state. After his school days were over, he was employed at railroading in Iowa and Minnesota, later, in 1882, removing to Arizona where for eighteen months he followed mining.
[ed note- see more on the ROLL family in Arizona

    In 1884 he removed to Santa Clara, Cal., and for ten years was employed by the Pacific Manufacturing Company. During this time he served four years as a member of the board of trustees of Santa Clara, thus aiding in securing the municipal water works and electric light plant for the town. In the year 1894, he was elected supervisor for the fourth supervisorial district of Santa Clara County, to which position he has been reelected each time and is now serving his seventh term and at the present time is chairman of the board. Always interested in having good roads his years of experience in that endeavor have well qualified him as a judge in that line and he is looked upon as an authority in road building not only by the people of his county but throughout the whole state. The County Hospital has also received his strong support and for twenty years he has been at the head of the hospital committee and it is largely due to his energy and zeal that Santa Clara today has one of the finest county hospitals in the state.

    Mr. Roll is well and favorably known throughout the state and was one of the organizers of the State Supervisors' Association and at the first meeting was honored with by election each year until at the meeting in Sacramento, 1920, when he was elected president, the highest honor that could be bestowed on him and thus he acted as presiding officer for the accustomed one year.

    The marriage of Mr. Roll united him with Miss Emma M. Runge, also a native of Wisconsin. Five children have been born to them: Robert I., Julia, deceased; Clara, August E., and John H. The latter served his country overseas in the World War. Mr. and Mrs. Roll also have four grandchildren. Politically a Democrat, Mr. Roll has served both his party and his community acceptably and efficiently. Fraternally he is a Knights Templar Mason and a Shriner, being a member of San Jose Commandery No. 10, K. T., and Islam Temple A. A. O. N. M. S., San Francisco, as well as a member of the Odd Fellows and the Red Men. He is at all times deeply interested in the welfare of his community and has never failed to accomplish the duties nearest him and aided materially in the county's advancement to a foremost place in the great commonwealth of California.

Transcribed by , Phyllis Dearborn,researching the Roll name,  from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 866