From the 1938 centennial edition of The Times-Register
To John McCauley must go much of the credit for the formation of this county in 1838, for as a representative of the business interests of Salem and the people of the section generally, he spent considerable time at Richmond prior to 1838 in a successful effort to induce the legislature to grant a local petition asking for formation of Roanoke County.
John McCauley was experienced in the ways of the legislature for he had previously been a member from Montgomery County. When the first attempt at forming a new county here was made, the movement met with much opposition from Montgomery County as under the original plans a part of Montgomery County was to have been included in Roanoke County. However the bill that eventually passed left Montgomery County intact.
McCauley was born in Millsboro, New Hampshire, on February 8, 1795 of Scotch ancestry. His forebearers had been members of Clan MacAulaidh which, in the anglized spelling is McCauley. He secured a fair education by attending the academy in Maine and then set out to visit other states, settling in Bedford where he was employed as a teacher for some time. Later he moved to Christiansburg where he was married to Cynthia Robinson, daughter of James Robinson. In 1833 he was first elected as a member of the house of delegates from Montgomery County.
His wife died in 1832 and in 1835 he married Susan Dingledine, daughter of a man who resided on Mason’s Creek near Salem. Following his marriage he moved to the home of his father-in-law to live and when he became a local resident. He was engaged to become the spokesman of the local interest who were desirous of having a new county formed.
After Roanoke County was founded McCauley was elected as the first state senator from the district for the session of 1841-1842. In all he spent seventeen years in the legislature as senator and member of the house of delegates from the two counties.