Mayor John A. Roche Biography

Mayor of Chicago, 1887-1889

  • Republican Party
  • Elected 30th mayor of Chicago April 5, 1887; defeated Robert S. Nelson (Union Labor) and Joseph L. Whitlock (Prohibition)
  • Inauguration: April 18, 1887


  • Born August 12, 1844 in Utica, N.Y.
  • In 1871, married Miss Emma Howard of Chicago; together they had four children.
  • Elected to Illinois State House in 1873
  • Before mayoral term, worked as machinery dealer first in the partnership James, Roche & Spencer, and later with J.A. Fay & Co.
  • After mayoral term, worked in the business sector as superintendent of Crane Works and managing director of Otis Elevator
  • Became a trustee of the Lewis Institute (now the Illinois Institute of Technology) in 1894 and later became board president
  • Died February 10, 1904 in Chicago
  • Buried in Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago


  • Andreas, A.T. History of Chicago: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time. A.T. Andreas, 1884–86.
  • "Ex-Mayor Roche Dies Suddenly." Chicago Daily Tribune, February 11, 1904, p. 4.
  • Grossman, James R., Ann Durkin Keating and Janice L. Reiff, editors. Encyclopedia of Chicago. University of Chicago Press, 2004.
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