John Selden Roane

Coordinates: 34°43′41.3″N 92°15′29.5″W / 34.728139°N 92.258194°W / 34.728139; -92.258194
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John Selden Roane
4th Governor of Arkansas
In office
April 19, 1849 – November 15, 1852
Preceded byRichard Byrd (acting)
Succeeded byElias Conway
6th Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives
In office
November 4, 1844 – November 2, 1846
Preceded byW. S. Oldham
Succeeded byAlbert Rust
Member of the
Arkansas House of Representatives
from Crawford County
In office
November 4, 1844 – November 2, 1846
Serving with
  • A. G. Mayers
  • William J. Duval
Preceded by
  • A. G. Mayers
  • William Reeves
Succeeded by
  • G. J. Clark
  • D. C. Brice
  • T. E. Wilson
Member of the
Arkansas House of Representatives
from Jefferson County
In office
November 7, 1842 – November 4, 1844
Preceded byMartin W. Dorriss
Succeeded byMartin W. Dorriss
Personal details
Born(1817-01-08)January 8, 1817
Wilson County, Tennessee, U.S.
DiedApril 7, 1867(1867-04-07) (aged 50)
Jefferson County, Arkansas, U.S.
Resting placeOakland Cemetery,
Little Rock
34°43′41.3″N 92°15′29.5″W / 34.728139°N 92.258194°W / 34.728139; -92.258194
Political partyDemocratic
Mary Kim Smith
(m. 1855⁠–⁠1867)
RelationsArchibald Roane (uncle)
Alma materCumberland College
Military service
Years of service
  • Company F, Arkansas Mounted Infantry Regiment (1846)
  • Arkansas Mounted Infantry Regiment (1847)
  • Roane's Brigade (1862)
  • 1st Arkansas Infantry Brigade (1864-65)

John Selden Roane (January 8, 1817 – April 7, 1867) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the fourth Governor of Arkansas from 1849 to 1852. Prior to this he commanded the Arkansas Mounted Infantry Regiment following the death of Colonel Archibald Yell at the Battle of Buena Vista. Roane also served as a senior officer of the Confederate States Army who commanded infantry in the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War.

Early life and career[edit]

John Selden Roane was born in Wilson County, Tennessee, and educated at Cumberland College, which at the time was located in Princeton, Kentucky. He migrated to the new state of Arkansas in 1837, studied law, and was admitted to the bar. He was Prosecuting Attorney for the 2nd Judicial District of Arkansas from 1840 to 1842, a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1842 to 1844, and the fourth Governor of Arkansas from 1849 to 1852.

Mexican War[edit]

At the outbreak of the Mexican War, Roane was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel of the Arkansas Mounted Infantry Regiment, succeeding to command when Colonel Archibald Yell was mortally wounded repelling the charge of the Mexican lancers at the Battle of Buena Vista. Roane was officially appointed Colonel on February 28, 1847. He 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 regiment's actions in the war. The duel was fought, but neither combatant was injured.

American Civil War[edit]

On March 20, 1862, Roane was appointed to the grade of brigadier-general in the Confederate States Army. After most Confederate troops were moved from Arkansas across the Mississippi River, he was placed in charge of the defense of Arkansas. At this time Arkansas was nearly defenseless; and Roane, with the newly appointed commander of the Trans-Mississippi District (also known as Department Number Two), Major-General Thomas Hindman, cobbled together a reasonable defensive force. Roane took part in numerous battles within the Trans-Mississippi Theater, including the battles of Whitney's Lane and Prairie Grove.

Personal life[edit]

On February 1, 1855, Roane married Mary Kim Smith (1833–1907) of Dallas, Arkansas.

Later life[edit]

Roane died in Jefferson County, Arkansas, and is buried at Oakland Cemetery, Little Rock.

See also[edit]


  • Donovan, Timothy P.; Gatewood, Willard B. Jr.; Whayne, Jeannie M., eds. (1995). The Governors of Arkansas: Essays in Political Biography (2nd ed.). Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press. ISBN 1-55728-331-1.
  • Eicher, John H.; Eicher, David J. (June 2002), Civil War High Commands, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press (published 2001), ISBN 978-0-8047-3641-1
  • Sifakis, Stewart (1988), Who Was Who in the Civil War, New York: Facts On File, ISBN 978-0-8160-1055-4
  • Warner, Ezra J. (1959), Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders, Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, pp. 257–58, ISBN 978-0-8071-0823-9

External links[edit]