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Governor Archibald Roane

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Office Dates:  Sep 23, 1801 - Sep 23, 1803

Born:  Jan 01, 1760

Passed:  Jan 18, 1819

Birth State:  Pennsylvania

Party:  Democratic-Republican

Family:  Married Anne Campbell; eight children

Military Service:  Army

ARCHIBALD ROANE was born in Derry Township, Lancaster (now Dauphin) County, Pennsylvania. In 1780 he enlisted in the Lancaster County Militia of the Continental Army and was present at the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781. In addition to studying law, he attended Liberty Hall Academy in Lexington, Virginia and became Professor of Languages and Mathematics in 1784. Roughly three years later he moved to Washington County, North Carolina, where he was licensed to practice law. When the Southwest Territory-which ultimately became Tennessee-was formed in 1790, he was commissioned Attorney and Solicitor for Greene County and later became Territorial Attorney General for the Washington District. He represented Jefferson County in Tennessee's Constitutional Convention in 1796 and was named one of three judges of the Superior Court of Law and Equity the same year. In 1801 he was elected the second governor of Tennessee, but was defeated after one term by his gubernatorial predecessor-John Sevier. Roane resumed the practice of law before accepting an appointment as a Circuit Judge. He was later elected Judge of the Supreme Court of Errors and Appeals, a position that he held until 1816. In addition to his public and legal service, Roane was a charter trustee of Blount College, Greeneville College, Washington College, and East Tennessee College. He died at his country estate in Grassy Valley, near Knoxville. Roane County is named for him.


The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 7. New York: James T. White & Company.

Past Governors of Tennessee

Philips, Margaret I. The Governors of Tennessee. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company, 2001.

The Political Graveyard

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

White, Robert H. Messages of the Governors of Tennessee, 1796-1821. Nashville: The Tennessee Historical Commission, Vol. 1, 1952.