Rolla Floyd

Rolla Floyd

Blue Hill, Hancock County, Maine, USA
Death 4 Oct 1911 (aged 72)
Burial Jerusalem, Jerusalem District, Israel
Memorial ID 38978321 · View Source
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Jaffa History

Of twenty-two pre-fabs only four and a half remain. The Captain Ackley Norton two-frame house was the first to be restored, in 1990. The project received the Preservation Award of the State of Israel.

The home of Rolla Floyd, whose horse-drawn carriage wheels were the first to travel from Jaffa to Jerusalem when the road was built in 1869, was the second.

Now, in 2004, the Mark Wentworth residence speaks of the neighborhood of wooden houses, absolutely rare in a nation of stone and concrete, covered with stucco. German Templers, another Christian group, purchased most of the American houses which were nearly flat-roofed. The roofs were raised to gable style, and the outside wooden walls were covered with exterior plaster. That was a disaster because rainwater was captured between plaster and wood causing extensive rot. Unfortunately the first houses to be rehabilitated repeated the error and the inevitable deterioration is already apparent.


The first real lodge to be established in the Holy Land was also the work of Robert, or Rob Morris, as he is better known. After trying unsuccessfully to get a charter from an American Grand Lodge (5), he finally convinced William Mercer, a personal friend, who happened to be the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario, to grant a charter for a lodge to work "in Jerusalem and surroundings". The charter was issued on February 17, 1873 and Royal Solomon Mother Lodge N° 293 was formally consecrated on May 7.

The signers of the petition were Robert Morris, John Sheville, Rolla Floyd, Richard Beardsley, Charles Netter, Peter Bergheim, and 14 other Masons who did not live in the Holy Land, but were obviously recruited by Morris to make up a suitable number of founding members.

Morris, Sheville, Floyd, Beardsley and Bergheim were Christians, while Netter was a Jew.

Morris was supposed to be the first Worshipful Master of the lodge. However, it appears he did not return to the Holy Land, and the acting Master (and Master elect the next year) was Brother Rolla Floyd, one of the leaders of the American group, called "The Palestine Emigration Society".


We were to leave our ship at this place in order to enter upon our camping-tour of Palestine, we saw about twenty boats, each with six rowers, starting out towards our ship, in order to secure passengers and baggage.

As we stood on the promenade deck watching the boats, suddenly Will shouted: "Hurrah! I see the Stars and Stripes over one boat."

Mr. Crunden, our London conductor, observing our delight said: "Rolla Floyd is here. He is an American who lives at Joppa, and makes it his business to conduct travelers over Palestine. He will furnish our outfit on our camping tour. He always carries the U.S. flag, and you will see that it floats over your camp every night while you are in the country."

Each boat had obtained its place, and the men were streaming up the gangways in order to secure passengers. Among them came Rolla Floyd and his Arab retainers; he and Mr. Crunden, who were old [86] friends, fell in each other's arms, and kissed each other, first on the right cheek and then on the left, in the fashion of the East which has been followed since the days of Abraham. In ten minutes more our company was in the boats that Rolla Floyd had brought out in order to take us ashore. He was to see to our camping-tour of Palestine, provide our horses, tents, and every necessity, and had come up to Beyrout in order to meet us at the ship.

U.S.: Jewish Names in Selected State Department Files, 1910-1929
Name: Rolla Floyd
Reference Location: Jerusalem, Palestine

Israel: Index to Records from U.S. Consular Posts in Jerusalem, Jaffa, and Haifa, 1857-1935
Name: Rolla Floyd
Document Dates: 1880

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