In the year 1866, John Roodhouse laid out the original plat of the City of Roodhouse. He, at the time, owned all the land on which the original town was platted and for whom the city is named.

John Roodhouse was born February 8, 1824 near Todcaster in the South Riding of Yorkshire, England. He emigrated to America when a young man, crossing the Atlantic on a sailing ship. He died June 12, 1908, buried Fernwood Cemetery in Roodhouse.

In 1870, John Roodhouse, E. M. Husted, George Thompson, S. L. Simmons, John Rawlins, William Cobb, and others were instrumental in securing the junction point of the Chicago and Alton Railroad branch at Roodhouse. Immediately after this the town began to grow. A roundhouse and a large frame depot was built. This Depot was succeeded by a two story cut stone structure.