John Selden Roane

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His Excellency
John Selden Roane
AR Roane John.jpg
4th Governor of Arkansas
In office
April 19, 1849 – November 15, 1852
Preceded by Richard Byrd
as Acting Governor
Succeeded by Elias Conway
Personal details
Born (1817-01-08)January 8, 1817
Wilson County, Tennessee
Died April 8, 1867(1867-04-08) (aged 50)
Jefferson County, Arkansas
Resting place Little Rock, Arkansas
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Mary Smith
Relations Archibald Roane (uncle)
  • Sallie Roane (daughter)
  • Mary Roane (daughter)
  • Bethunia Roane (daughter)
  • Martha Roane (daughter)
  • Hugh Roane (son)
Parents Hugh Roane (father)
Hannah Calhoun (mother)
Alma mater Cumberland College
Occupation Lawyer, politician, planter
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Confederate States of America
Service/branch United States Volunteers
Provisional Army of the Confederate States
Years of service 1846–1847
Rank Army-USA-OF-05.svg Colonel
Confederate States of America General.png Brigadier-General
Commands Mounted Arkansas Infantry
Roane's Brigade
Battles/wars Mexican–American War

American Civil War

John Selden Roane (January 8, 1817 – April 8, 1867) was an American politician who served as the 4th Governor of Arkansas from 1849 to 1852.[1]


John Selden Roane was born in Wilson County, Tennessee, and educated at Cumberland College which at the time was located in Princeton, Kentucky. Roane immigrated to Arkansas in 1837, studied law, and was admitted to the bar. From 1840 to 1842 he was Prosecuting Attorney for the Second Judicial District of Arkansas. He served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1842 to 1844.

At the outbreak of the Mexican-American War, Roane was made a lieutenant colonel in Archibald Yell's Arkansas mounted infantry regiment and succeeded to command of the regiment when Colonel Yell was mortally wounded repelling the charge of the Mexican lancers at the Battle of Buena Vista. Roane was officially appointed Colonel of the regiment on February 28, 1847. Roane was known to be jealous of the honor of his state and once challenged Albert Pike to a duel over what he perceived as derogatory statements made about the Arkansas regiment in the Mexican-American War. The duel was fought, but neither combatant was injured. Roane served as Governor of Arkansas from 1849 to 1852 and advocated internal improvements and increased funding for education.

On February 1, 1855, John Selden Roane married Mary Kimbrough Smith (July 27, 1833 – September 13, 1907), daughter of Nathaniel G. Smith and Sarah Kimbrough Martin in Tulip, Dallas County, Arkansas. Judge W. L. Somervell presided.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Roane joined the Confederate Army and on March 20, 1862, received an appointment as Brigadier General. After most troops were moved from Arkansas across the Mississippi River, Roane was placed in charge of the defense of Arkansas. At this time the state was nearly defenseless; and Roane, with the newly appointed commander of the Trans-Mississippi District General Thomas C. Hindman, cobbled together a reasonable defensive force. General Roane and his brigade took part in numerous battles in the Trans-Mississippi District, including the Battle of Prairie Grove in northwest Arkansas.

He died in Jefferson County and is buried at Oaklawn Cemetery in Little Rock, Arkansas.

See also


  1. Warner, pp. 257–58.


External links