Spring 1780:  Roane studied under the same professor who earlier had been Thomas Jefferson’s mentor at Willia and Mary – George Wythe, a fellow signer of the Declaration of Independence.

“As a teacher and mentor, Wythe played a key role in Roane’s professional development… Before assuming his position at William and Mary, he had earned his reputation as a signer of the eclaration of Independence, as a speaker of the House of Delegates, and as one of three judges of the newly established High Court of Chancery…Wythe succeeded brilliantly with his students. …Under Wythe’s guidance, Roane’s legal education was superb. Besides studying Blackstone and the laws of Virginia, Roane delved deeply into the works of all the major English legal thinkers, including the writings of Sir Thomas Littleton and Sir Edward Coke and the decisions of Sir Matthew Hale and Sir John Holt. “Coe was unquestionably his favorite author,” according to a close friend’s account. “He not only read ver and again his commentary on Littleton, but the whole of his reorts wer pefectly familiar to him.” Roane even committed many of Coke’s Latin maxims to memory. In 1780 Roane graduated from William and Mary and continued his study of the law during the next year at a legal society in Philadelphia.

Consolidation of State Judicial Power: Spencer Roane, Virginia Legal Culture, and the Southern Judicial TraditionAuthor(s): Timothy S. Huebner. Source: The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 102, No. 1 (Jan., 1994), pp. 47-72. Published by: Virginia Historical Society. Stable URL: