JOHN F. ROACH was born in Carroll county, Tenn., Aug. 16th, 1829. The Roach family are of Scotch-Irish ancestry. William Roach, the father, was a native of North Carolina, and was a soldier of the war of 1812. He was at New Orleans in Gen. Carroll's command, and shared with the soldiers of Gen. Jackson the honor of meeting and signally defeating the British forces under Packenham. The whole of Jackson's army from Tennessee went down on flatboats, and after the routing of the enemy returned home on foot. William Roach suffered greatly from fatigue and sickness, and would have died had it not been for the kindness and care shown him by the Choctaw Indians. He was a hatter by trade, and worked at the business for many years, but subsequently abandoned it and engaged in farming. He married Anna Smith, by whom he had twelve children; all lived to maturity except one, who died in infancy. Eight of the children have survived the parents. William Roach left Tennessee June, 1844, and came to Illinois, and settled in Morgan county, eight miles east of Jacksonville. He remained there until the fall of 1848, when he came to Macoupin county, and settled near Scottville, where he remained for two years, and then removed to a farm four miles northwest of Carlinville. Here he remained until his death, which occurred July 4th, 1861. His wife and mother of the present sketch died in April, 1846. John F., spent his boyhood days in the common schools of his native state, and in the summer months helping to cultivate tobacco. In 1849, when he was twenty years of age, he started out in life for himself. He bought a team of oxen and commenced breaking prairie during the summer months and teaming in the winter. On the 12th of November, 1852, he was united in marriage to Miss Martha H. Cherry. Four children have been born to them, two of whom are living. The eldest, Mary Etna, is the wife of Henry Lemons, and James McCoy Roach, the only son, is yet at home. After his marriage he raised one crop, and in March, 1854, he moved to Girard, where, as above stated, he followed breaking prairie for four or five years. In 1856 he purchased forty acres of land in section thirty-six, and commenced its improvement; built a house and moved into it; he remained there three years, when he rented the farm upon which he now lives. He remained there but one year, at the end of which time he bought a house and lot in the village of Girard and moved into it.
From this time dates his entrance into the stock business. About this time he received a contract from the government to supply the army with beef. He also purchased stock and shipped to the different markets. In 1862 he purchased eighty acres of land on which he now resides, and added stock breeding and raising to his other business. As a stock breeder he has been very successful, and has received favorable and complimentary notices in this direction from both the Chicago and St. Louis papers. His breeds of short-horned Durhams are unexcelled in this section of the state. He has added to the original eighty acres of land until he had now three hundred and twenty, all of which is devoted to stock-raising and grazing. He is also in connection engaged with others in buying and shipping cattle from Kansas to eastern markets. In politics he is an ardent and staunch republican. He was one of those men who early learned to believe that slavery was wrong and antagonistic to free institutions. In 1856 he voted for John C. Fremont, going a distance of eight miles through a blinding snow-storm in order to secure this privilege. It is needless to say that he still adheres to the part of his first choice. Both he and his wife are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.