John Selden Roane

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John Selden Roane was the fourth governor of the State of Arkansas, serving from April 19, 1849, to November 15, 1852.

Roane was born in Wilson County, Tennessee, on January 8, 1817. He received his higher education from Cumberland College in Princeton, Kentucky, and then studied law privately. In 1837 Roane traveled to Arkansas, and found a home in Pine Bluff.

Roane's political career began with his election as a prosecuting attorney for the Second Judicial District of the state on November 5, 1840. He remained at that post until September 19, 1842, when he began serving in the Arkansas state legislature. In 1843 Roane moved to Van Buren where he was called again to serve in the state legislature, this time as House Speaker.

During the Mexican War Roane served as lieutenant colonel under Archibald Yell, formerly governor of the state. Roane survived the Battle of Buena Vista, and returned to settle at Pine Bluff to practice law. He became governor of the state in a special election to replace Thomas Drew, who had resigned on April 10, 1849. He married Mary K. Smith in Tulip, Arkansas, on June 5, 1855.

Roane received a commission to serve as a brigadier-general in the Army of the Confederate States of America in 1861.

Roane died in Pine Bluff on April 17, 1867, and is buried at Oakland Cemetery in Little Rock.


  • The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography: Being the History of the United States as Illustrated in the Lives of the Founders, Builders, and Defenders of the Republic, vol. 10 (J.T. White, 1900), 186.

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