Roane Family Tree

Col. William Roane

Col. William Roane was born around 1740 in Essex County Virginia and died around December 1785.  He married Judith Ball and had four kids:

A.  Spencer Roane-  the famous judge
B.  Thomas Roane- moved to Rockingham NC.
C.  Judith Roane- married John Proudfit on 21 Nov 1788.
D.  Sarah Roane- married Dykes.

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His grandfather, Charles Roane, immigrated from Ireland in 1741 and was supposedly the first Roane in Virginia and possibly America. 

Roane was commissioned Colonel of the Essex County Militia, on May 17, 1757.  He also qualified as King's Deputy Attorney, in 1768. Earlier he had served as Clerk of Essex Court, and he appears continuously in the county court records of the period 1740s - 1760s.
 
As a prominent and well-respected farmer and trader, he went on to represent Essex County in Virginia's House of Burgesses over the period 1768-1775. Over the years in the House of Burgesses he served with friend Francis Waring, from whom he purchased Mahockney, as well as alongside many of the most famous names in Virginia's colonial and revolutionary history: patriots George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Francis Lightfoot Lee, and Patrick Henry - whose daughter Anne Henry would later marry Roane's son Spencer.
 
 
 
Right: an excerpt from 
by Henry Mayer
(Grove Press, 2001). 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In 1766, Roane played an important role in the events leading up to the Leedstown Resolutions and the Tappahannock Demonstration which followed.  Roane was one of the 110 signers of the Resolutions, which were drafted by his friend Richard Henry Lee (later a signer of the Declaration of Independence).
 
William's son Spencer Roane, just a boy in the run-up to Revolution, wrote later of R.H. Lee: "With him I was well acquainted, almost from my childhood. He had been very often at my father's house, who had long served in the Assembly with him, as well as with Patrick Henry."
 
Roane's leading role in the early Sons of Liberty is described by historian Charles W. H. Warner in the Essex County Historical Society's "Tappahannock and the Stamp Act, February, 1766." Warner writes:
"The first popular mass protest against the Stamp Act on the Rappahannock occurred on Feb 21, 1766. Men of Essex County led by Col. Francis Waring and Col. William Roane went to Ritchie and protested his stand in regard to the hated act of Parliament. Troops from a British Man o' War were landed at Tappahannock and dispersed the men. This event in Tappahannock gave urgency to the Lees and their group who pressed forward for a meeting of planters from the Northern Neck and both sides of the Rappahannock River..."
The events which followed are recounted well in the classic 1966 bicentennial Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society journal article about the 1766 events in Leedstown and Tappahannock, available here for downloading (pdf).   See here for a William Roane reenactor portraying him with Francis Waring in their planning for those early Revolutionary events.
 
During the tumultuous colonial government Assembly of May, 1769, Roane and Francis Waring were Essex County's two representatives, seated alongside Washington, Jefferson, Henry, and R.H. Lee.  From the "Colonial Virginia Register," we read:
There was but one session of this Assembly which met on May 8, and was dissolved on May 17, 1769. On the preceding day the House of Burgesses adopted vigorous resolutions asserting colonial rights, and on the 17th the Governor, Lord Botetourt called them before him and said: "Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen of the House of Burgesses, I have heard of your resolves and augur ill of their effects. You have made it my duty to dissolve you, and you are dissolved accordingly."

Following that dissolution, Roane participated in the rebellious meetings with George Washington and others at the Raleigh Tavern, Williamsburg, May 18, 1769, May 27, 1774 and August 1, 1774, where they jointly entered into an association against the importation or purchase of British manufactures.

William Roane's first wife Elizabeth Ball was a daughter of Colonel Spencer Ball, a wealthy and well-connected gentleman of Northumberland County; together they had sons Thomas and Spencer.  After her death, Roane married his second wife Ann Cooke of Gloucester County, on October 24, 1782.

He died in Essex County in 1783, leaving Mahockney and his other Essex County land holdings to son Spencer Roane.

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