James Arnold Rolls 
Location served:
Chatham, Morpeth  
Years in Practice:
1834 to 1873
Area of Specialization:
Family Medicine  


Dr. James Arnold Rolls was born on the 28th of May, 1804 in Dorset, England. His parents were James Alfred Rolls and the former Margaret Burns. His father was a school teacher and Dr. Rolls was the second of 9 children. His siblings were; Philip Mills (born 10 July, 1802), Richard (born 12 December, 1806), Charles (born 12 April, 1809), Emily (born 02 May, 1811), Mary Ann (born 29 November, 1812), Ellen (born 06 October, 1814), William (born 05 August, 1816), Edward (born 30 May, 1818).

Dr. Rolls was educated at Cambridge University and he obtained his medical degree in England.

Dr. Rolls married Mary Ann Carter on the 1st of October, 1829 in Kennington, England. Mrs. Rolls was born in 1811.  Dr. and Mrs. Rolls had a daughter, Marion born to them February 17th, 1830.  Mrs. Mary Ann Rolls died in November of 1830.

Dr. Rolls married Maria Isabella Sims on the 1st of June 1831 at St. Mark’s Church, Kennington, London, England. Her parents were William Francis and Street Sims.

Dr. Roll’s presented his medical credentials to the Licencing Board in York, Canada and he was granted a licence to practice medicine on the 25th of June 1832.

Dr. and Mrs. Marie Isabella Rolls had ten children, Phillip William was born in New Jersey, U.S.A. in 1832 and died the same year.  Maria Isabella was born in 1834 in St. Thomas, Ontario and died the same year. Margaret was born in 1835 in St. Thomas, James Arnold Rolls III was born in 1838 in St. Thomas, Edwin Cecil Rolls was born in 1841 in St. Thomas, William M. Rolls was born in 1844, Arthur Rolls was born in 1846, Henry Dudley Rolls was born in 1848 (died in 1853), Annie Isabella Rolls was born in 1851 and Henry Francis Rolls was born and died in 1853. Alfred Rolls was listed as living with the family as an “apprentice” in the 1851 census. (It is unknown what the relation was between Alfred Rolls and Dr. and Mrs. Rolls.) In 1838, Dr. Rolls was listed as the surgeon of the First Regiment of the Middlesex Militia.

Dr. Rolls had a store/office at the corner of Center and Walnut Street in St. Thomas. He saw his patients there and sold pharmacy drugs, oil and paint. His ad’s appear in the St Thomas newspaper of 1835. Sometime between 1841 and 1844, the family home in St. Thomas was destroyed by fire. By 1845 Dr. Rolls and his family were living on a 600 acre farm near Morpeth, Ontario.

By 1861 Dr. and Mrs Rolls and their children were living in Chatham.  In the 1864 -1865 Kent County Dr. Rolls advertised his medical practice on King Street in Chatham.  (His son Edwin Cecil Rolls appears in the same directory as a druggist also on King Street.)  Ads also appeared in the 1866-1867 Kent, Lambton and Essex County Directory and Gazetteer and the 1869 Ontario Gazetteer and Directory, advertising Dr. Rolls’ practice in Chatham.  In 1866 the family was living in a home on Queen Street.  According to the 1882 Ontario Medical Register, Dr. Rolls joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 16th of June, 1866.

Dr. Rolls was an accomplished painter in oils.

Mrs. Rolls died on the 7th of January, 1868 in Chatham.  Dr. Rolls died on the 23rd of April, 1873 in Chatham.  Dr. and Mrs. Rolls are buried at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham. Their children all achieved success in various professions.

*His brother Charles Philip Rolls also became a physician and he practiced medicine in Elgin County.

The webmaster is grateful to the great, great granddaughter of Dr. Rolls, Cindy Cameron for providing the photo of Dr. Rolls’ tombstone.