The Family of Elijah White Roach - submitted by Richard A. Beaver

The invention of the World Wide Web has certainly benefited communications and information sharing among genealogists. Unfortunately, it also allows incorrect information to be spread at light speed. I have noticed information about Elijah White Roach that I believe to be incorrect. In this document, I will attempt to factually outline the children of the Reverend Elijah White Roach based on as factual information as I have been able to obtain.

One of the first, and easiest places to start in order to determine the children of Elijah White Roach is the 1850 Charlotte County Census. The following entry contains all of the families with the surname Roach:

CENSUS YR:  1850  TERRITORY:  VA  COUNTY:  Charlotte  REEL NO:  940  PAGE NO:  15a 
REFERENCE:  5 Aug 1850    Geo. J. Roberts, Ass't Marshall 
=============================================================================================================== 
LN  HN   FN  LAST NAME      FIRST NAME     AGE SEX  RACE  OCCUP.         VAL.    BIRTHPLACE         MRD.  SCH. 
=============================================================================================================== 
32  224  224 ROACH          Prucilla       54   F    W                             VA b. Charlotte 
33  224  224 CODY           Mildred        36   F    W                             VA b. Charlotte 
34  224  224 CODY           Virginia       11   F    W                             SC                      X 
35  224  224 ROACH          Elisha T.      34   M    W    Tailor                   VA b. Charlotte 
36  224  224 BRIGHTWELL     Robert         14   M    W                             VA b. Charlotte 

CENSUS YR:  1850  TERRITORY:  VA  COUNTY:  Charlotte  REEL NO:  940  PAGE NO:  29a 
REFERENCE:  22 Aug 1850    Geo. J. Roberts, Ass't Marshall 
=============================================================================================================== 
LN  HN   FN  LAST NAME      FIRST NAME     AGE SEX  RACE  OCCUP.         VAL.    BIRTHPLACE         MRD.  SCH. 
=============================================================================================================== 
4   433  433 ROACH          Elijah W.      52   M    W    Bapt. Preacher 5,000     VA b. Charlotte 
5   433  433 ROACH          Ann R.         46   F    W                             VA b. Charlotte 
6   433  433 ROACH          Macca B.       18   F    W                             VA b. Charlotte 
7   433  433 ROACH          Susan F.       16   F    W                             VA b. Charlotte         X 
8   433  433 ROACH          Sarah H.       13   F    W                             VA b. Charlotte         X 
9   433  433 ROACH          Catherine P.   10   F    W                             VA b. Charlotte         X 
10  433  433 ROACH          Elijah T.      2    M    W                             VA b. Charlotte 
11  433  433 ROACH          John T.        30   M    W    Planter                  VA b. Charlotte 
12  433  433 ROACH          D****          27   F    W                             VA b. Pr. Edward 
13  433  433 ROACH          Ann M          8    F    W                             VA b. Pr. Edward        X 
14  433  433 ROACH          John W.        6    M    W                             VA b. Pr. Edward        X 
15  433  433 ROACH          Susan L.       4    F    W                             VA b. Pr. Edward 
16  433  433 ROACH          Sarah W.       4    F    W                             VA b. Pr. Edward 
17  433  433 ROACH          Richard W.     2    M    W                             VA b. Pr. Edward 

CENSUS YR:  1850  TERRITORY:  VA  COUNTY:  Charlotte  REEL NO:  940  PAGE NO:  38a 
REFERENCE:  2 Sep 1850    Geo. J. Roberts, Ass't Marshall 
=============================================================================================================== 
LN  HN   FN  LAST NAME      FIRST NAME     AGE SEX  RACE  OCCUP.         VAL.    BIRTHPLACE         MRD.  SCH. 
=============================================================================================================== 
21  568  568 ROACH          Daniel         43   M    W    Overseer                 VA b. Charlotte 
22  568  568 ROACH          Elizabeth      42   F    W                             VA b. Charlotte 
23  568  568 ROACH          Henry H.       16   M    W                             VA b. Charlotte 
24  568  568 ROACH          Elijah T.      14   M    W                             VA b. Charlotte 
25  568  568 ROACH          George R.      12   M    W                             VA b. Charlotte 
26  568  568 ROACH          William S.     8    M    W                             VA b. Charlotte 
27  568  568 ROACH          Mary P.        6    F    W                             VA b. Charlotte 
28  568  568 ROACH          John B.        2    M    W                             VA b. Charlotte
Before I begin examination of the children of Elijah White Roach, I need to address some confusion about the year of birth of Elijah White Roach. In many places it has been listed as Feb 20th, 1799. However his tombstone lists his date of birth as Dec 20th, 1797. The census information seems to validate the data on his tombstone. Reading the biography of Elijah White Roach in the article "Virginia Baptist Ministers, Third Series" by George Braxton Taylor, published in 1912, we can see that Elijah was a very educated man, not likely to make an error about his age on the census information. So we will list his date of birth as Dec 20th, 1797 until proven otherwise.

The article by George Braxton Taylor also states that Elijah had twelve children. If there is one thing that seems to be consistent among the various researchers, it is the belief that he had a total of twelve children.

To start identifying his children, especially the children who may have left the household before the 1850 census, one can benefit by examining the church records of the Midway Baptist Church founded by Elijah White Roach. Ward Oliver transcribed the Midway records in 1997. Ward has been a tremendous help to numerous genealogists with ancestors in the Virginia area.

The following record establishes the founding of Midway:

"According to an appointment of the Appomattox Association of Baptists, Elders Elisha Collins and Elijah W. Roach met at the new meeting house, called Midway, and, on Monday September 30th 1833 proceeded to constitute a church upon the following preamble and articles of faith...."  An important item to note is that the listing of members at the constitution of Midway did not include any other people with the surname "Roach", either male or female. Thus, one might assume that any mention of "Roach" children might be related to Elijah.

The first Midway record of interest was on October 31st, 1835 and establishes the possibility of Ann E. Roach as a daughter of Elijah.

"The Church met in conference and opened a door for the reception of members whereupon Thomas Pugh, Richard Cunningham, Lucy Walker, Elizabeth Robertson, Lucretia June Tyree, Susan Vernon, Ann E. Roach & Melinda Walker, related the work of grace on their hearts and were rec'd and ordered to be baptized." The next Midway record of interest was in June, 1837 and establishes the possibility of Mary P. Roach as a daughter of Elijah. "Friday before the 1st Lord's day June the Midway Church met by the special request of the pastor at which a lecture founded on 18 Matthew was given and on Saturday a conference was held at which there were present H Thornton, B Carter, J Woodall, Wat. Walker, Wm Vernon, T Moore, J Stewart, R Cunningham, Wm Moon, B Sublett a door was opened whereupon Mary P. Roach came forward and after being examined was unanimously rec'd and ordered to be baptized, Sabbath evening EWR baptized her." The next Midway record of interest was also in 1837 and establishes the possibility of John I. Roach as a son of Elijah. "Sep't Meeting the Pastor did not attend in consequence of a revival going on at New Salem On Friday before 1st Sabbath in October a meeting was commenced which lasted 10 days and resulted in more than One hundred conversions."

"John I. Roach was rec'd and baptized at New Salem with the understanding that he would attach himself to Midway. He is therefore transferred from thence to us."

Although the census information indicates that the middle initial was a "T", it does not look the same as the "T" in Elijah T Roach. Therefore we are going on the belief that it was an "I", and the next record identifies the "I" in John I. Roach and also when he left Midway. Also of interest is the fact that the father of Ann R. was Isham Harvey. May 5th 1838 Church conference held brethren and sisters in attendance too numerous to record their names

On a motion Bro. Hill is unanimously elected our Clerk in place of J. I. Roach removed ~

On a motion letters of dismission are granted to Lacey Walker and to John Isham Roach both orderly members of this church & the Clerk required to write them.

Ward found three marriages in Prince Edward County before 1850.
    1. Oct. 4, 1824 Anthony Roach and Janes Fowkes
    2. Oct. 1, 1841 John J. Roach and Demaris Tuggle, dau of John Tuggle
    3. Feb. 21, 1850 John James Roach and Camellia P. Tuggle
In the 1850 census, John James Roach and Camellia are living in the same household as C. W. Roach (Cuthbert). Since John I. Roach and Demaris were living in the same household as Elijah White in 1850, the two marriages listed above are different men.

The next Midway record of interest was also in 1837 and establishes the possibility of Martha D. Roach as a daughter of Elijah.

"Saturday before 1st Lord's day November the Church sat in conference and rec'd Miss Ann Hamlet, Mrs. Moore, Miss Sarah Harris, Miss Mary Cock, Mr John Dixon & Mr Thomas Hamlet who previously came before Providence Church and Mr Clark's Paulina. On Lord's day morning the church again held a session and rec'd Miss Malinda Cunningham, America Fore, Martha D. Roach, Elizabeth Jane St. John, Harriet Meloney, Cap G. Barksdale's Harriet & Hannah, William Clark's Agnes, Mrs Slaughter's Daniel, Louisa, Judith & Milley making 61 rec'd since the associational return in Aug't. On Sabbath 42 of the above named were decently buried by baptism by E. W. Roach in a pool prepared at the Sulpher Spring for that purpose." The next record indicates when Elijah White Roach decided to cease being pastor of Midway. "1842 November Sat before the 1st Sabbath. The Midway Church Met & Sat in conference. No business Brought before the church except Brother E. W. Roach Who has been Pastor of this church Ever Since it was first constituted and who was unanimously chosen for another year and had accepted the Call but Now Refuses to Stay Stating that he thought his Work was done at this place & he had better go to Some other field Where there was an Opening for him." The final record of tremendous interest was in April 1843, and specifically states that Ann E. Roach, Mary P. Roach, and Martha D. Roach were the daughters of Elijah White Roach. "Saturday before the 5th Lords day in April Brother E. W. Roach preached at Midway & after sermon a church session called for letters of Dismission Were granted to his three daughters Ann Mary & Martha." The next child is identified with the help of Regina Cumbie Radvany in July 1997 who discovered the following on a trip to the library: "I found that a Ann E. Roach m. Johan A. Tuggle. She was the daughter of Elijah W. and was m. 2-8-1843. Martha D. Roach, a daughter of E.W., m. William Watson, 9-1843 and was witnessed by Louise W. Roach. Louise W. Roach d. of E.W. m. Armstead Smith 12-9-1847 by E.W." Mary Campbell provided the following information on early Charlotte marriages; Ann E. Roach m. John A. Tuggle 1-14-1843
Martha D. Roach m. William J. Watson 9-25-1843
Louisa W. Roach m. Armistead W. Smith 12-7-1847
So, although we have some date discrepancies, we now have sufficient information to identify Louisa as a daughter and to establish the spouses of Ann and Martha.

The 1850 Charlotte census easily establishes the following as children of Elijah White Roach:

While Elijah T. is listed in the 1850 census indicating a child of Elijah W., we need further proof due to his age and the gap between the other children. This happens to be the direct line of my children, so obviously I researched this a bit further.

The first indication comes from an article written in 1976 for the Frisco Texas Bicentennial by Mary I. Roach who was a college professor most of her life. Mary also had a picture of Nancy Richardson Harvey among her old records. The following information is from that article:

"Emmett Roach's parents were Elijah Thomas Roach, born in Prince Edwards County, Virginia, February 22, 1848, and Cora Isabella Brightwell, born February 14, 1848, near Farmesville, Charlotte County, Virginia. At the age of 15 years young Tom enlisted with the Southern Forces and was a soldier in the 38th Infantry CSA. After the Civil War terminated, Tom worked in one of the lumberyards in Lynchburg, met and married Cora Brightwell. Seven children were born to them: Myrtie Hettie Kay, Hallie, Emmett, Earlie Cleveland, and Nollie Fulton. Lillian Claire was born in Lebanon, Texas, November 5, 1890.

Travelers from the Southwest, and from Texas particularly, brought glowing tales back to Virginia of a little town on the Trinity called Dallas, and of the black land, then mostly prairie, which extended northward into the county called Collin. And, as Lynchburg was becoming a little too densely populated to please Elijah Thomas (Tom) and his cousin John White Roach, and, as competition was growing in the lumber and drayage business, the two cousins decided to heed the call of this new, almost unsettled land. They sold their household furnishings, gathered their families together, and traveled by train to arrive at the village of Plano in the fall of 1887. John White went immediately to Dallas, but Elijah Tom liked what he saw around Lebanon, bought wagon and team of horses, and engaged in the same type of work he pursued in Virginia, lumber and drayage."

Further information comes from examination of the tombstones of Elijah T. and John White Roach who are in adjoining family plots in Rowlett Cemetery in Collin County, Texas: Elijah Thomas Roach (buried with Cora Isabel)
2/22/1848 - 1/9/1903

John W. Roach (buried with Emma C.)
1844 1931

Now if you look at the 1850 census, you will find them both listed in family number 433. In fact, Elijah T. was the Uncle of John W. even though he was younger.

The final bit of hard evidence comes from the April 5, 1900 McKinney Democrate Gazette:

"Tom Roach was called to Dallas last week to the bed side of his sister Mrs. Mary Chambers, who was very low and did not live long after he arrived. Mrs. Chambers was brought to Old Rowlett and buried Sunday. Bro. H. R. Moran of Nevada preached the funeral. White Roach and family, Mr. Betterton and wife, and Will Watson came with the corps from Oak Cliff. Miss Lula Crozier came in from Belton and will remain at home a few days. Mrs. Chambers leaves several children and grand-children as well as a host of friends to mourn her loss." The above article confirms that Elijah Thomas Roach was the brother of Mary Roach. Notice also that "Mr. Betterton and wife" indicates another sister, Susan, was present and the husband of Martha, "Will Watson" was also at her bedside.

The final information I have on the children of Elijah White Roach identifies two boys who apparently died in infancy. This information comes from original correspondence between Hettie Lee Roach (1/17/1871-1/15/1956, a daughter of Elijah Thomas) and Wistar Hamilton (12/9/1868-?, a son of Catherine Roach). They were both Grandchildren of Elijah White Roach, and would have been alive before Elijah White Roach died. The correspondence is from the early 1930s, and includes the following list of Elijah White children:

    1. John Isham Roach
    2. Ann Roach m) Tuggle
    3. Mary Roach m) Joseph Chambers
    4. Martha Roach m) Capt. William Watson
    5. Lou Roach m) Armstead Smith
    6. Macca Roach m) B----- Green
    7. Sallie Roach m) Capt. Thomas Watson
    8. Kate Roach m) William Hamilton
    9. Sue Roach m) James Betterton
    10. Abner Roach (died in infancy)
    11. Thomas Roach (died in infancy)
    12. Elijah Thomas Roach m) Cora Isabella Brightwell
Given the above information, and adding information provided by other researchers, I believe the following to be the family of Elijah White Roach:

ELIJAH WHITE ROACH was born Dec 20, 1797 in Charlotte County, Virginia, and died Jul 16, 1883 in Charlotte County, Virginia. He married NANCY RICHARDSON HARVEY Jun 29, 1819 in Charlotte County, Virginia, daughter of ISHAM HARVEY and DRUSCILLA HARVEY.

Children of ELIJAH ROACH and NANCY HARVEY are:

  1. JOHN ISHAM ROACH, b. Abt. 1820; m. DEMARIS TUGGLE, Oct 1, 1841, Prince Edward County, Virginia.
  2. ANN E. ROACH, b. Abt. 1823; m. JOHAN A. TUGGLE, Feb 8, 1843, Charlotte County, Virginia.
  3. MARY P. ROACH, b. Nov 9, 1824, Charlotte County, Virginia; d. Mar 30, 1900, Dallas, Texas; m. JOSEPH D. CHAMBERS.
  4. MARTHA DRUSCILLA ROACH, b. Jul 24, 1826, Charlotte County, Virginia; d. Aug 18, 1895, Charlotte County, Virginia; m. WILLIAM JAMES WATSON, Sep 25, 1843, Charlotte County, Virginia.
  5. LOUISA W. ROACH, b. Abt. 1828; m. ARMSTEAD SMITH, Dec 9, 1847, Charlotte County, Virginia.
  6. ANDROMACHE MACCARINA ROACH, b. Abt. 1832; m. WILLIAM B. GREEN, Dec 7, 1857, Charlotte County, Virginia.
  7. SUSAN F. ROACH, b. Abt. 1834; m. JAMES BETTERTON.
  8. SARAH HARVEY ROACH, b. Abt. 1837; m. THOMAS WATSON.
  9. CATHERINE PRICE ROACH, b. Dec 20, 1839, Charlotte County, Virginia; d. Aug 17, 1924, Bristol, Virginia; m. WILLIAM PERRY HAMILTON, Dec 24, 1861, Charlotte County, Virginia.
  10. ABNER ROACH, b. 1841-1846.
  11. THOMAS ROACH, b. 1842-1847.
  12. ELIJAH THOMAS ROACH, b. Feb 22, 1848, Prince Edwards County, Virginia; d. Jan 10, 1903, Frisco, Texas; m. CORA ISABELLA BRIGHTWELL, Dec 18, 1867, Prince Edward County, Virginia.
By Richard A. Beaver, March 1998.