Roane Family Tree

James Milton Roane

James M. Roane was born around 1827 at the Old Roane Place near Franklin.

At age 39, it is a good thing he got on the ball, married Nancy S. Watson of Tennessee and had five children:

A.  Katherine "Kitty" Roane- marreid James Parrish lived in Burningtown.
B.  Flora Nancy Roane- married Jess Porter and lived in Andrews.
C.  William Henry Roane- married Minnie Liner and lived in the Patton Community. 
D.  Betty Roane married Luther Houser and had five children.
E.  Mallia "Mary" Roane married Ervin Patton and lived in Franklin.

At the age of 23, James joined the mounted cavalry commissioned by the US Government.  Apparently, Indians had been raiding 49rs on their way to California.  See some of James' items and a few gold nuggets.  Major Savage headed the operation and James was in Company A under Captain James Boling.  After traveling for days, the company came over a ridge with three feet of snow and became the first white men to set foot in Yosemite.  They crossed the south fork of the Merced River and saw "smoke" from the waterfalls.  A short battle ensued with the Indians.  However, the Indians quickly surrendered to the company's rifles.  They met with the chief who called the valley "Ohumitee" which means grizzly bear and said that they were the first white men that they have seen.  Read the full article here:  James is mentioned in many books and letters as being in that Company of first discoverers including "Discovery of the Yosemite and the Indian War of 1851" by Lafayette Houghton Bunnell MD published in 1880.  Dr. Bunnell was also in that Company.

After capturing the Indian tribe and stopping the raids, James was a local hero.  He was then elected as first Assessor of Maricopa County California.  Four or five years later, Maricopa was divided and James' home was in the new Fresno County.  He was then elected the supervisor of Fresno and their representative in California's House. 

When the Civil War started, James quit and went home to NC.  He volunteered in Company A, 7th Battalion NC to the 65th Regiment NC Troops 6th Cavalry. 

He was in Colonel Davidson's brigade, General John Pegram's division and General Bedford Forrest's Cavalry Corps.  It is possible that he fought alongside Archibald T. Roane, his relative and future governor of Tennessee.  The headquarters was at Ebenezer, Tennessee on the Tennessee and Georgia railroads just south of Knoxville.  Federal troops under General Burnsides advanced on Knoxville and they evacuated the city.  On September 10, 1863 James' company captured an entire company of Union soldiers at Graysville, Georgia.  James later fought in Chickamauga under General Forrest.

Oddly enough, James was stationed in Rutherfordton just before the end of the war.  Later Roanes ended up settling in this area.  After the war, James returned to Franklin.  On July 4, 1886 James wrote to a good friend in California who published the letter in the Mariposa Gazette stating, "my name is engraved on trees and rocks in the valley cut there in 1850 and I hope, dear friend, you will take the trouble to have it preserved, and not let it become obliterated and defaced by the ravages of time, and if I never get back to read my own rude engraving, perhaps some of my children may in the lapse of time, wander away to that beautiful valley and read with filial pride and affection, the rough letters cut there by their father..."  James became Sheriff and later Justice of the Peace for Macon County.  James never left NC again, and his tombstone is in the Cartoogehaye Cemetery off Highway 65 in Franklin. The Daughters of the Confederacy still keep flags on his grave:
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