Edward James Roye

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Edward James Roye was famously known as Liberia's fifth president. He was born in Newark, Ohio on February 3, 1815 on Mt. Vernon Rd. to former slaves John and Nancy Roye.[1] Roye grew up in Newark and was one of the first higher-educated African Americans in Ohio at the time. He became a barber in Newark after his father left his mother and him to move to another state.

Roye also left Newark to attend Ohio University and teach school in Chillicothe in 1836. [2] In 1846, he immigrated to Liberia and became a lawyer and later a wealthy business man.[3] Eventually, he served on the House of Representatives in Liberia and worked in politics until he was elected President of Liberia in 1870.[4] Within a year, Roye, once the wealthiest man in Liberia, was "impeached and removed for 'high crimes and misdemeanors.'"[5] Roye's death is surrounded by rumors, namely that he drowned trying to flee Liberia or that he was murdered by opponents.[6] He was known as both the "ninth and forgotten president from Ohio,” and the "Lincoln of Liberia." [7]



  1. Kohser, Nina. “Newark home of ‘Ohio’s ninth president,’” Newark Advocate, (Newark, OH), April 22, 1984.
  2. Risch, Ellen. “Licking County Home to Ohio's 'ninth and forgotten president.'” Newark Advocate, (Newark, OH), Mar. 23, 1985.
  3. Bracher, Carol. “Liberian Here to Research Newark's Noted E. J. Roye,” Newark Advocate, (Newark, OH), June 30, 1970.
  4. Gibbs, James M.A. “The strange odyssey of James Edward Roye,” The Licking Countian, (Newark, OH), Feb. 2, 1986.
  5. “A Newark Negro Impeached,” Newark Advocate, (Newark, OH), April 3, 1968.
  6. Lentz, Ed. “Newark's Roye: Teacher and barber became fifth president of Liberia," This Week in Licking County, (Newark, OH), 2004.
  7. Kohser, Nina. “Newark home of ‘Ohio’s ninth president,’” Newark Advocate, (Newark, OH), April 22, 1984.