The Ruark

My Bloodline

Lemuel Columbus Ruark was born to John and Mary Ruark on April 15, 1786, in Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland. He died on September 27, 1868, in Morgan County, Georgia. Lemuel married Elvinah Louisa Norris in 1810, probably in Georgia or South Carolina. Elvinah’s nickname was “Viney” and she was reputed to be a full-blooded Native American, adopted by the Joel Norris family. Viney was born on September 19, 1786, in South Carolina. She died on December 4, 1851, in Morgan County, Georgia. Both Lemuel and Elvinah are buried in the Ruark Cemetery, Beal Lane-Apalachee, Morgan County, Georgia.

Lemuel and Viney had eleven children, the second child being Berry Anderson Ruark. Berry was born on October 10, 1812, in Morgan County, Georgia. He died sometime between 1875 and 1881 in Morgan County, Georgia. Berry Anderson Ruark married Kessiah Whitlock in 1832. Berry and Kessiah had seven or eight children. James Leak Ruark was born on December 25, 1856, in Morgan County, Georgia. He died on February 19, 1908, in Nugent, Texas. James Leak married Martha Jane Miriah Crawford on March 14,1879. Martha was born on June 16, 1862, in Franklin County, Georgia, and died in 1957 in Rotan, Texas. James and Martha had 12 children, however, four died as infants.

The James Leak Ruark family came from Bostwick, Georgia, to Texas. They already had four children when they came to Texas: Annie, Jim, Money and Garner. Four more children were born in Texas: Lucy, Dallas, Rosa and Lem. James and Martha first lived in Pittsburg, Texas; then in Eastland County and then in the Oklahoma Territory for two years; then southwest of Anson, Texas, in Jones County; and then moved down the river in 1902.

Annie Levi Ruark was born on June 8, 1884, in Georgia. She died on April 14, 1970, in Anson, Texas. She married John Crawford on January 12, 1907. They had two daughters: Grace and Ethel (Cary).

Jim Berry Ruark was born on August 25, 1887, in Georgia. He died on march 30, 1959, in Fisher County, Texas. Jim married Julia Elrod on December 27, 1933. They had on son: Donald Ruark.

Money Lou Ruark was born on December 2, 1889, in Georgia and died in Stafford, Arizona, in 1959. She married Hub Parsley on July 30, 1911.

Lewis “Garner” Ruark was born on June 10, 1893, in Georgia and died on October 4, 1973, in Brownfield, Terry County, Texas. He married Ora Herring and they had no children.

Lucy Texas Ruark was born on September29, 1895, and died on December 30, 1928. Lucy married Richard Metzger on November 5, 1919. They had one son, Jimmy Metzger born in 1928.

Frank Henry “Dallas” Ruark was born on February 26, 1898. He died on March 4, 1983, in Brownfield, Terry County, Texas. Dallas married Eva Marie McFall on February 17, 1921. They had six children: Jack, Ava Gay (Dill), Billie Joyce (Peak), Martha Sue (Fanning), Patsy Jo (Pardo) and Dallas Arthur.

Rosa Jewel Ruark was born on September 1, 1900, and died on January 31, 1998,in Temple, Texas. Rosa married Roy Emory Herring, Sr. on July 4, 1920. Rosa and Roy had two children: Geraldine (McWilliams) and Roy Emory Herring, Jr.

Lemey “Lem” Ruark was born on December 3, 1903. He died on December 30, 2001. Lem married Bessie Carter and they had one daughter, Laverne (Williams).

Thank you and Ava Gay (Ruark) Dill and Jana Ruark for this information posted in The Ruark Recipe Collection

A poet wrote of Ferghal:

“Since Hector was slain by the Greeks, or since Achilles was slain at pleasant Troy, there has not been killed – it is no lie- a splendid warrior like the royal, noble grandson of Ruarc.”


Irish surnames:

Ruairc: Ruarke, (O) Rourke, (O) Rorke, Rooke, (O) Roark, Ruark, Ruke, Rook

Ruark- as a name is a variant of Roark (Gaelic), and the meaning of Ruark is “champion”.

O’Rourke comes from the Irish O Ruairc, from Ruarc, a personal name derived from the Old Norse Hrothekr (whence also ‘Roderick’), meaning ‘famous king’.


The O’Rourkes were of the same stock as the O’Connors of Connacht, part of the large tribal grouping of the Ui Briain, claiming common descent from Brion. a fifth-century King of Connacht. In the early Middle Ages, the O’Connors and the O’Rourkes were engaged in a long and bloody struggle for supremacy in Connacht, a struggle which ended in the victory of the O’Connors. The Ruarc from whom the surname derives was a ninth-century King of Breifne, an area covering most of the modern counties of Leitrim and Cavan, along with part of Co Longford. The first to use his name as part of an hereditary surname was his grandson, Sean Fearghal O Ruairc, who died in 964. Over the following century and a half, four O’Rourkes were Kings of Connacht. After the twelfth century, they appear to have accepted the overlordship of the O’Connors, however reluctantly. They also had persistent problems with the other pre-eminent family of Breifne, the O’Reillys, which ultimately resulted in their territory being much reduced. The main stronghold of the family was at Dromahair, on the shores of Lough Gill in Co Leitrim. In common with most of the other ruling families of Gaelic Ireland, the O’Rourkes lost all of their possessions in the great upheavals of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, the line of descent from the last Chief of the Name, Brian Ballgh O’Rourke, who was inaugurated in 1529 and died in 1562, remains intact. The present holder of the title ‘O Ruairc of Breifne’, recognised as Chief of his Name by the Chief Herald of Ireland is Philip O Rorke, resident in London.


Toirdhealbhach Ua Conchobhair (old spelling: Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair) (1088–1156), anglicised Turlough Mór O’Connor / O’Conor, was King of Connacht (1106–1156) and High King of Ireland (ca. 1120–1156).

Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair (newer spelling: Ruaidhrí Ua Conchobhair) was King of Connacht from 1156 to 1186, and from 1166 to 1183 was the last High King of Ireland before the Norman invasion (Brian Ua Néill and Edward Bruce both claimed the title with opposition in later years).

Ruaidrí was not a favourite of his father, his brother Conchobair Ua Conchobair being Tairrdelbach’s tánaiste and designated heir. In 1136, he and his brother Aedh (died 1195) took advantage of a low in Tairrdelbach’s fortune’s to stage a rebellion. Aedh was blinded by Conchobar on Tairrdelbach’s orders but Ruaidrí was protected by the Archbishop of Connacht, Muireadhach Ua Dubhthaigh. In 1143, he staged another rebellion. He was arrested by Conchobar and Tighearnán Ua Ruairc.

Ruaidhri, was taken by Toirdhealbhach Ua Conchobhair, in violation of laity and clergy, relics and protection. These were the sureties: Muireadhach Ua Dubhthaigh, with the clergy and laity of Connacht; Tadhg Ua Briain, lord of Thomond; Tighearnan Ua Ruairc, lord of Breifne; and Murchadh, son of Gilla-na-naemh Ua Fearghail, lord of Muintir-Anghaile. The clergy of Connacht, with Muireadhach Ua Dubhthaigh, fasted at Rath-Brenainn, to get their guarantee, but it was not observed for them.

Tairrdelbach now chose another son, Donnell Mor Mideach Ua Conchobair, as tánaiste, but Ruaidrí improved his status with raids against Tighearnán Ua Ruairc in 1146 and capturing and killing Tairrdelbach’s nephew and opponent, Domnall Ua Conchobar, in 1150. Donnell Mór Mideach began to lose favour in 1147 and his fate was sealed when he was arrested in 1151, making solid his claim as his father’s heir. In that year he successfully raided Thomond, where Tairrdelbach won a great victory at the Battle of Móin Mór.

Tighearnán Mór Ua Ruairc (older spelling: Tigernán Mór Ua Ruairc), anglicised as Tiernán O’Rourke (1124-d.1172) ruled the Kingdom of Bréifne as the 19th king in its Ua Ruairc (later O’Rourke) dynasty (964–1605 CE). He was a descendant of Ui Riagain, and one of the provincial kings in Ireland in the twelfth century, constantly expanding his kingdom through shifting alliances, of which the most long-standing was with Toirdelbach Ua Conchobair King of Connacht and High King of Ireland, and subsequently his son and successor Ruaidhri Ua Conchobair. He is known for his role in the expulsion of Diarmait Mac Murchada, King of Leinster, from Ireland in 1166. Mac Murchada’s subsequent recruitment of Marcher Lords to assist him in the recovery of his Kingdom of Leinster ultimately led to the Norman Invasion of Ireland.

Ua Ruairc may have ruled Bréifne as early as 1124, as indicated in Mac Carthaigh’s Book and the Annals of the Four Masters, the former indicating he allied at the time with the kings of Meath and Leinster against Toirdelbach Ua Conchobair.

However the Annals of Ulster and the Annals of Tigernach do not mention him until 1128, where they record his robbing and killing of some of the Archbishop of Armagh’s company, the former calling it ‘A detestable and unprecedented deed of evil consequence’.He appears to have carried out a number of raids into other territories in 1130s and in 1143 assisted Toirdelbach Ua Conchobair in the capture of his son Ruaidhri. In 1144 he was given half of East Meath, with the other half going to Diarmait Mac Murchada, king of Leinster, by Ua Choncobair. Both Ua Ruairc and Mac Murchadh joined the High King in a raid into Munster in 1151.

In 1152, Ua Ruairc’s wife, Derbforgaill, was abducted along with her cattle and material wealth by Mac Murchada, who made a hosting into Ua Ruairc’s territory aided by Toirdelbach Ua Conchobair. Although the Annals of the Four Masters state that Derbforgaill returned to Ua Ruairc the following year, the matter may not have ended there. In 1166, Mac Murchada was driven from Leinster by Ua Ruairc, Ruaidhri Ua Conchobair, who had succeeded his father as king of Connaught and High King of Ireland, and Diarmait Ua Mealseachlainn, King of Meath. Despite the fourteen-year gap between Derbforgaill’s abduction and Mac Murchada’s expulsion from Leinster, several sources attribute Ua Ruairc’s role in Mac Murchada’s expulsion to a desire for revenge for the kidknapping of Derbforgaill.

Mac Murchadh fled to the court of Henry II of England in Aquitaine, where he asked Henry for help in regaining his territory in Leinster. Henry agreed to allow Mac Murchada to recruit mercenary soldiers from amongst his subjects. He ultimately persuaded Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, known as Strongbow, to assist him, promising the inheritance of Leinster in return. He initially returned to Leinster in 1167 with a small band of Norman knights and was defeated by Ruaidhri Ua Conchobair, Ua Ruairc and Ua Maelseachlainn. On this occasion he was allowed to remain in Ireland, but was forced to pay one hundred ounces of gold to Ua Ruairc for the kidnapping of Derbforgaill and submit and give hostages to Ruaidhri. It wasn’t until the arrival of Robert Fitz Stephen, Hervey de Montmorency, Raymond le Gros and eventually Strongbow himself that Mac Murchada met with success.

Ua Ruairc had his territories in Meath plundered by Mac Murchada and Strongbow in 1170. In response, the Annals of Tigernach state that he persuaded Ruaidhri Ua Conchobair to execute hostages he had taken from Mac Murchada the previous year. In 1171 he joined Ruaidhri in an unsuccessful siege of Dublin, which had by then been captured by Mac Murchada and Strongbow. He raided the territory around Dublin later in the year, unsuccessfully engaging the Normans stationed there under Miles De Cogan. In this engagement, his son, Aodh, was killed. According to Giraldus Cambrensis, Ua Ruairc was one of the Kings of Ireland who submitted allegiance to Henry II after his arrival to assert control over Strongbow in 1171.

According to Giraldus Cambrensis, Ua Ruairc was killed by a Cambro-Norman knight named Griffin FitzWilliam, acting in defence of Hugh de Lacy and Maurice FitzGerald, whom Giraldus claims Ua Ruairc attempted to kill after failed negotiations. This occurred shortly after the departure of Henry II from Ireland. However, the Annals of Tigernach indicate that he was betrayed and killed by Eoan Mer, Richard de Clare the Younger, a son of Strongbow, and Domhnall, a son of Annach Ua Ruairc in 1172. The Annals of the Four Masters, which claims that his death was at the hands of de Lacy and Domhnall states that he was ‘a man of great power for a long time’. Prior to his departure, Henry, in his capacity as Lord of Ireland, granted the Lordship of Meath to de Lacy in 1172.

Ua Ruairc had at least three children, a son Maelseachlainn Ua Ruairc, who was killed in 1162, a son Aodh Ua Ruairc, who was killed attacking Dublin, and a daughter Dubhchoblaigh, who was married to Ruaidhri Ua Conchobair. Aed mac Ruaidri was his son.

Aed mac Ruaidri had been five years King of Connacht, as the poet said: ‘Aed mac Ruaidri of the swift onslaught, five years his rule over the province, till he fell— a loss on every frontier— by the hand of Fedlimid.’ Here ends the rule of the children of Ruaidri O Conchobair, King of Ireland. For the Pope offered him the title to [the kingship of] Ireland for himself and his seed for ever, and likewise six wives, if he would renounce the sin of adultery henceforth; and since he would not accept these terms God took the rule and sovranty from his seed for ever, in punishment for his sin.


Immram Ua Corra (Voyage of the Uí Chorra), an immram or voyage tale dating from the 11th century. Conall Derg Ua Corra and his wife make a pact with the devil in order to secure an heir. Three boys are born on the same night. When they grow up they kill clerics and burn churches, but they repent and embark on a voyage of pilgrimage on the Atlantic Ocean.

– associated with the RUARK emigrants is that when Lord Baltimore, George Calvert, colonized his land grant in Maryland, who was granted the Palatinate of Maryland by King Charles I of England. He brought over retainers from the Baltimore estate in Ireland. Among them were three RUARK brothers, John, James, and William, who were horse trainers. James settled in what is now Worcester Co., Maryland, on the Eastern Shore.


Dermot MacMurrough was the King of Leinster during the twelfth century and is
most remembered as the man who invited the English into Ireland. He was born circa 1100 and succeeded to the throne of his father, Enna, in 1126. He was a ruthless leader and demonstrated the ferocity of the times by killing or blinding 17 rivals in 1141. He became involved in a dispute with the King of Breffney, Tiernan O’Ruark, whose wife he kidnapped in 1153. O’Ruark formed an alliance with Rory O’Connor who was the recognised High King of Ireland at the time. In 1166 this long-running and bitter feud resulted in MacMurrough being driven into exile by the Gaelic Chieftains. He fled to France.



Abigail Ruark born 1560 in Ireland
William Ruark born 1670 in Longford County, Ireland

James Ruark was born in Longford County, Ireland in 1672, and died in 1719 in Maryland. He married Elizabeth Davis in 1702 in Maryland, daughter of John Davis (d. after 1724 in Somerset Co., MD). She was born about 1676, and died after 1710.

John Rorke was baptised in Limerick County in Ireland in 1703.

John Rooks wrote of Rooks in Virginia in 1638, that Dennis Rooks lived to be 103
years old, Civil War story, etc.


“Portrait and Biographical Record of the Eastern Shore of Maryland” published by Chapman Publishing Co. in 1898. In it, there is a biography of Major T. Ruark b 1837. It says his father was James Ruark,  a native of England, who came to Maryland in the company of his three brothers, Thomas, William and Major. According to the text, they were the first settlers on Hoopers Island. It also says that James’ wife was Sarah. She
also sent a copy of Major’s will dated 1866 listing his children as, Freddy Ruark, Sarah E. Ruark, Irvin C. Ruark, Horace P. Ruark, and Elmer J. Ruark. This could be the origin of the three brothers legend and if so, there was more than one branch of Ruarks from England/Ireland. I have a copy of John Ruark’s will, dated 1769 listing  one of his sons as James. But in the 1850 Worcester Co. census, there is a James Ruark, age 62 and wife Sarah, age 58. We might surmise that this James moved from Hoppers Island to Worcester, but the aforementioned publication says that James was a seaman and died aboard a vessel around 1835. If so, how could Major, b 1837, be his son? My guess is this; the James in the 1850 census is b 1788 and Sarah b 1792 were Major T’s parents. The four brothers may have landed at Hoppers Is. But much earlier than the publication indicates. I know that a Major Ruark owned land in Somerset Co. in the early 1700’s. This is in the land records at the Somerset courthouse.


National Archives for JamesRewark/Rourk/Rouark/ Ruark/ Reewark with all kinds of claims and affidavits: He was married to Sophie McCauley; both Susanna Tucker Ruark, and Julia Ann Miller Ruark claim pension as his widow.. there are affidavits on both sides indicating that they can not see how he could live in Anne Arundel Co in a bigamous state without someone knowing it. In one declaration by Julia Rouark [signed + her mark], she states that she is the widow of James O’Rourke generally called James Rouark.

Also I quote one letter:
Balto Sept 7th / 57

I Received your Letter dated Sept 3rd on 4th and I rite to you to inform you that I am posatively a son of James Ruark of Ranadle County who was a officer in the Revolution War. You can find at No 30 Republican Street Baltimore City.

Yours Truly

M S Ruark

He ends many words and capitol letters with a curlicue that looks like he is putting an e , causing his name to look like Reuark.


Lib. MM – A List of Servants Transported by Samuell Gibbons of Bristoll in the Ship Batchelor of Bristoll 1674

Corneluis Rowark

2nd November 1674; Then Came the within named Samuell Gibbons and proved Rights unto four Thousand five hundred acres of Land it being due to him for Transporting the ninety persons within mentioned — unto this province to Inhabit before me. Charles Calvert

Know all men by these presents that I Samuell Gibbons within named for a vauable consideration to my hand paid by Robert Ridgely of St. Mary’s have Assigned, Sold and made over unto the said Ridgely all my rights and Interest of, in and to four Thousand and five hundred acres, Rights to Land to me due for Transporting the ninety persons within
mentioned into this province to Inhablt To have and to hold the Said ninety Rights to Land to him the said Robert Ridgely, his heirs and Assigns forever Witnessed, Signed and Sealed the Second of November 1674. Witnesses: Richard Keenon, Samuell Gibbons {Seale}

Lib. MM Maryland; Know all men by these presents that I Robert Ridgely of St. Mary’s City for a valuable consideration already Recieved do Assign, Sell and make over unto his Excellency Charles Calvert all my right, Title and Interest of, in and to twenty Rights to Land to me due by assignment from Samuell Gibbons of Bristoll, merchant, due the said Samuell for transporting James Crawford, John Walker, Humphrey Tilton, Jeffery Thompson, Abraham Murphy, Cornelius Rowarke, William Bell, Wm Nowell, Robert Gibson, John Duglass, Patrick Magee, John Younger, John Lithcoe, Cornelius Mackmaicklin, Daniell Guordon, William Bullock, John Pearson, Daniell Macklegar, Manns Mahallan and Henry Magee into this province to Inhabit in the Ship Batchelor of Bristoll this present year as appears upon record. Tohave and to hold the Said twenty Rights to Land to him the Said Charles Calvert his heirs and assigns forever, Witness my hand and Seale this Sixth of november in the 43th year of the Dominion of Corcilius & Anno Domini 1674. Witnesses: John Blomfeild, Robert Ridgely {Seale}


Colonial and Revolutionary Lineages:
records of four brothers coming from County Galway, Ireland around 1680 with the name RUARK(O’ROARKE/O’ROURKE) – the line was of the Methodist Religion

The Legend of the Three or Four Ruark Brothers:

– associated with the RUARK emigrants is that when Lord Baltimore, George Calvert, colonized his land grant in Maryland, who was granted the Palatinate of Maryland by King Charles I of England. He brought over retainers from the Baltimore estate in Ireland. Among them were three RUARK brothers, John, James, and William, who were horse trainers. James appears to be the one who began our branch, and settled in what is now Worcester Co., Maryland, on the Eastern Shore.

– there was four brothers James, Major, Thomas, William, they came to Maryland in the late 1600s from Ireland, Wales or England. James settled in Worcester County, Maryland the other brothers went to Dorchester County, Maryland to hoopers Island of Dorchester County, Maryland. at this time they went by the name Rook. James married Elizabeth Davis the daughter of John Davis Sr. these are the childern of James & Elizabeth. John, James, Margery, William, Edward. James the fahter died before 1719. In 1736 John (son) married Mary Driscoll daughter of Moses & Catherine Driskell. Catherine Driskells maiden name was Elgate.


A John Rooke was transported in 1665 – Skordas.
A William Rooke witnessed the Talbot County will of William Berry, a Quaker, written 26 Feb. 1685, probated 15 Aug. 1691 and 23 April 1711.
A James had a family consisting of John, James, William, Edward and daughter Marjory, who married Thomas Bowling.


The Order of the First Families of Maryland
James Ruark (Worcester Co., 1703)


John Ruark (Ruck) was born about 1702-1705 in Worchester County, Maryland, and and died January 29, 1769 (or 1773) in Worchester County, Maryland.  He married Mary Driskell about 1737 in Stephney Parish Church, Somerset County, Maryland.  Mary Driskell was born August 7, 1723 in Wicomico County, Maryland (birth is in the records of Stepney Parish) and died October 26, 1776, possibly in Maryland.  Mary is the daughter of Moses Driskell (17 SEP 1689 – NOV 1755) and Katherine Elgate (Elgin) (1692-).  A legitimate question is whether or not she was John’s first and only wife. Worcester County Debt Books 1745-1755: John Ruark – Tract Name – Cow Quarter als Cow Harbour Worcester County Estates 1661-1850 Database: John Ruark – Will Date 9/24/1773 (1/29/1769; RUKE IN JW4) Somerset County, Md. Tax lists: John Ruark (1731-1740) Somerset County, Md. Tax List 1723: John Ruark – 6 in household John Ruark in Somerset Co. Militia under Capt. Joshua Sturgis (Box 1 Folder 21 – Colonial Wars2. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1975, page 19: John Ruark. 1724 – in household of John Davis of Wicomico Hundred. 1730-1733 – head of household in Monie Hundred. 1734-1740 – head of household in Pocomoke Hundred. In the 1725 Tax Lists for Somerset Co, MD (Wicomico Hundred), there is a listing of a John DAVIS. Listed in his household was a Joseph Paby and a John RUARK.


The Lord Dunluce, sailed from Larne on October 4 and arrived in Charleston on December 20. In opposition to the High Church (Anglican) authorities who openly discriminated against the Presbyterians. The oppressed Presbyterians were subjected to excessive rent demands and when payment could not made, the tenants were evicted. During this period, many agents were active in Northern Ireland, representing that South Carolina was offering a bounty to settlers. Many of the poor and oppressed Scots-Irish had migrated to South Carolina. It was during this time that Rev. Martin “received a call to Rocky      Creek”, a small settlement in South Carolina.

1763-1773, INDEX P. 155; The following persons who had lately arrived from Ireland into this province in the ship LORD DUNLUCE… [“The next ship to sail was the LORD Dunluce that left Larne on October 4 and arrived in Charleston on December 20. This is the only ship that listed “Rev. Wm. Martin (Kellswater)” as an agent. The original sailing date was to have been August 15. The sailing was delayed until August 20, and then rescheduled for September 22. On August 28, the ship announced that passengers must give earnest money by September 5 since a greater number had offered to go than could betaken. On September 15, the ship advertised that, since some families had drawn back, two hundred more passengers could be accommodated. Reverend Martin was on this ship when it finally sailed on October 4. One man and several children died of small pox on the trip.” Dickson, :254]  …presented petitions for warrants of survey agreeable to their Respective Family Rights vizt
Michael Roache p. 76
John RORK p. 121 100 acres; p. 121 “Council Journal 37, pp 15-25, meeting of Jan. 6, 1773.

N.B.    The Ship Jupiter’s sailing is put off until 15th June, she being detained longer in Baltimore for her Cargo than the Owners expected.  As soon as she arrives the Passengers will be informed.


Worcester County, Md was formed in 1742; Worcester was formerly Somerset of 1666.
John Ruark (Rook) was born between 1738 – 1741 in Worchester, Maryland. He married Mary Mitchell.

John had an older brother, Ezekiel Ruark (Rook), he was born in 1737 in Maryland died in 1820 Worchester, MD.. He married Rachel Esham, daughter of Solomon Esham and Johnson Nottingham.  Rachel Eshom (Esham, Esshom) was b. about 1752 in Worcester Co, MD. Ezekiel and Rachel’s first son was Elijah was born in 1764-1765 in Worcester Co., MD.

Ezekial is connected to BOQUETENORTON HUNDRED in the 1800 US Census of Worcester Co, MD; Five household members lived nearby – including Sevron Ruark.
1800 US Census: Ezekiel Ruark “probably over 45” as one person is listed as “over 45”.

Note:  Harry Peden’s book on Revolutionary Patriots of Worcester & Somerset Counties, Maryland. It includes the following pp 257-58: RUARK, Ezekiel, Capt. Samuel Horsey’s Co. RUARK, John, Capt. Benjamin Dennis’ Co., took oath of allegiance in 1778. also listed as John RUOCK

Note: There is an Elijah Ruark in the Warren Co. GA 1820 census

Note: The Ruark (Adair) Cemetary records show that Lemuel Ruark may have had a brother, Elisiah in Hancock County, GA 1820.

I purpose it was Elijah, his cousin.


List of Ruark heads of household in 1783:
Daniel Ruark. WO Acquango p. 8. MSA S1161-11-5. 1/4/5/54
Ezekiel Ruark. WO Wicomico p. 9. MSA S1161-11-13. 1/4/5/54
Mary Ruark. Cow Quarter, pt, 20 acres. WO Pocomoke p. 4. MSA S1161-11-10. 1/4/5/54 Ezekiel Ruark. Forest Land, 50 acres. WO Pocomoke p. 4. MSA S1161-11-10. 1/4/5/54 Hezekiah Ruark. WO Pocomoke p. 4. MSA S1161-11-10. 1/4/5/54
John Ruark. WO Pocomoke p. 4. MSA S1161-11-10. 1/4/5/54
Elget Ruark. WO Pocomoke p. 4. MSA S1161-11-10. 1/4/5/54
James Ruark. Lambersons Venture, 65 acres. WO Queponco p. 4. MSA S1161-11-11. 1/4/5/54
Shadrach Ruark. WO Queponco p. 4. MSA S1161-11-11. 1/4/5/54
All of these people appear in the descendants of James Ruark.

Hezekiah Rook married Mary Elizabeth Stanford
Hezekiah Rook buried in Hillsborough Old Town Cemetery


John Rheuark born circa 1813 in South Carolina; 1 son and 5 daughters, all born in Tippah County, MS. Son is W. J. Rheuark and was married 5 times in Monroe County, AR under
3 different last names, none of which was spelled Rheuark


Stephen Rooks b. ca. 1750, Worchester Co. MD F-57. (4) Also Ellender Stanford, b. ca. 1750 MD: f. Jonathan F-57. (5) There was an entry “20.43 Stanford, Rook/Rooks: Seeking data relationships these two surnames. Joshua Stanford m Mary Rooks (1743 -1825). Maryland to Warren Co., GA. Ellender Stanford (sister of Joshua) m. Stephen Rook. Hezekiah Rook m Miss Stanford. Maryland to Chatham Co., N.C. submitted by Mrs. Charles Fiori, F-57, …..” (6) Maryland Genealogical Society Bulletin


Delia/Deliah Ruark, b 30 Jun 1779,MD and d 1861-63 Marion Co MS. She married, in
MD, John Stanford from MD 20 Sept 1798. Before June 1801 they migrated to Warren
Co GA with other Stanfords. Then in 1817 to Perry Co MS and in 1860 to Marion Co
Purvis, MS where they died. Henry Ruark b 1791 in MD was her brother and he migrated to NC. Belitha, Ezekel, Sevron and Elgate Ruark names in MD

Dennis Ruark/Rooks, born in 1778 in Maryland and died in Georgia in 1850. He married Eley Stanford, dtr. of Jesse, in 1804 in Warren Co.GA. The Stanfords were friends and neighbors of the Ruarks in Maryland. John Stanford, son of Joshua Stanford amd Mary Rook, was married to Delilah Ruark. John moved to Georgia; was found living there in 1801.


In the 1810 US Census page 45: Number in household NINE, also listed: William Driskill, Elgate Ruark and Joseph Fookes. P. 44: John Dennis, Henry Dennis, and John Ruark


Lemuel Columbus Ruark Born: April 15, 1786 in Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland Died: September 27, 1868 in Madison, Morgan County, Georgia Father: John, Mother: Mary

Elvinah Louisa Norris (Viney) Born: September 19, 1786 in Chesterfield County, South Carolina Died: December 4, 1851 in Morgan County, Georgia Father: Joel Norris (1771-1833) and Thamar Hobbs, daughter of William B. Hobbs II in Wake Co., NC

Note: Elvinah Lousia Norris Ruark (Elaine Ruark Bond) was half American Indian, Catawba tribe.  As an infant, she was found on a doorstep and adopted by the Joel Norris family, also believed to be a foundling living with the Detwillers from South Carolina, before the Norris family.

Note: 1800 and 1810 Census that Joel Norris was living in Chesterfield Dist., SC and then in 1820 he was in Capt Hutchinson’s District, Warren Ga. Also in the “Passports Issued By Governors of Georgia, 1810-1820” Joel Norris was issued a passport to travel through the Creek Nation for him, his wife and six children, dated 26 Jan 1811 (including Lovinia).  Joel Norris living in Warren County, Neal’s District, Year 1818.

Married: probably in Georgia or South Carolina around 1810

Note: 1820 census shows they lived in Morgan County, Georgia; Eleven children: John Elias, Berry Anderson (Lemuel), Epsey Cornelia (Cordelia), Mahalia Concord, Martha Emeline, Mary Ann, Joel Jackson, Caroline Matilda, Eveline Matilda, James Augustus, Francis Jane

Note: County records in Morgan County show Lemuel Ruark’s first Land Purchase in Morgan Co. in 1823.  1821 Land Lottery – Georgia: Lemuel Ruark, Columbia County Wilson District Lot # 50 section 3 Monroe Moved to Morgan County, GA near Madison 1821-30.  In 1832 Land Lottery Prior to 1821, living in Columbia County, GA.

Notes: 1860 Morgan County Census shows Lemuel to be 75 years of age. He was living with his: Martha (age 35), Caroline (age 28), Eveline (age 28), Jane (age 25), and Laura (age 7).


Buried: Lemuel & Viney are buried in the Ruark (Adair) Cemetery, located 2.25 miles north of Apalachee road going north on Beal Lane. Beal Lane plays out but log road keeps going more or less north toward Wagnon Mill Road. It crawls over Big Branch and goes to the top of a hill which has the cemetery on top. (children, Caroline Matilda, Eveline Matilda, Francis Jane are buried here – there are at least 20-30 unmarked graves, it is supposed that Epsey Cornelia is buried there, as well).  Source: Bible of Mary Adair (1981), RT.1, Bishop, GA 30621

Cemetery Notes: most of the graves are covered with piles of stones, or have only a stone at the head and a similar stone at the foot of the grave (that stone pile type burial was considered Indian burial by most historians)


Berry Anderson (Lemuel) Ruark Born: October 10, 1812 in Morgan County, Georgia Died: 1882 in Morgan County, Georgia

Keziah Whitford (Kizzie) Born: 1798 in Alabama Died: 1870

Married: sometime between 1832-1836 Eight children: Francis J., William Columbus (Lum), Martha Ann (Mattie), Francis Lou (Fannie), Susan A. (Sudie), Mahalie Eveline (Sis), George Marcellus, James Leak (Jim)

Note: Participated in the 1832 Cherokee Country, Georgia Land Lottery – land was granted as a result of the Treaty with the Creek Nation


Samuel W. RUARK b. 1830 in South Carolina. father of Ephrium Riley Ruark b
11/20/1859, place unknown


1850 US Census: Somerset County, MD; RUARK, Edward, age 26 – mariner – wife Sarah – age 26, son John age 10, son Henry age 7; Trappe Division, p 481A; Census taken 31 October 1850.

SITE: Confederate Naval and Marine Corps Personnel, N-S
John Rourke (Rooke) Private – Confederate States Marine Corps
Captured aboard CSS, Atlanta, June 17, 1863


James Leak (Jim) Ruark Born: December 25, 1856 in Morgan County, Georgia Died: February 19, 1908 in Nugent, Texas

Martha Jane Miriah Crawford Born: June 16, 1862 in Franklin County, Georgia Died: 1957 in Rotan, Texas

Married: March 14, 1879 Eight children: Annie Levi, Jim Berry, Money Lou, Lewis (Garner), Lucy Texas, Frank Henry Dallas, Rosa Jewel, Lemey (Lem) – first four children were born in Georgia and last four in Texas

Notes: in 1894 moved from Bostwick, Georgia to Texas – lived in Pittsburg, Texas; then in Eastland County and then in the Oklahoma Territory for two years, then southwest of Anson, Texas, in Jones County, then moved down river in 1902


Frank Henry Dallas Ruark Born: February 26, 1898 in Eastland County, Texas Died: March 4, 1983 in Brownfield, Terry County, Texas

Evelyn Edna Marie (Eva) McFall Born:  November 8, 1900 Died:  September 1, 1967 in Brownfield, Terry County, Texas

Married: February 17, 1921
Six children: Jack, Ava Gay, Billie Joyce, Martha Sue, Patsy Jo, Dallas


My Ruark family.


Last Will & Testament of Lemuel Ruark / 1786 Georgia Morgan County

I Lemuel Ruark of the county of Morgan and the State of Georgia, being of sound mind and memory, but recollecting the certainty of death do make and ordain this to be my last will and testament, hereby revoking & annulling all former wills by me made. It is my will & desire that my body be buried in a decent and Christian like manner, and in respect to such worldly estate as it has pleased God to bless me with in this life. I bequeath and dispose of it in the following manner. After my just debts are paid.

1 st. I will to my daughter Martha E. Ruark one hundred acres of my land to be located any where on my premises she may choose, also Caroline M. Ruark one hundred acres of my land to be located where she may choose, after Martha E. has taken out hers, also I will to my daughter Eveline Matilda one hundred acres to be located where she may choose, after the two first have located theirs, also I will to my daughter Frances Jane one hundred acres to be located where she may choose, after the three first mentioned have located theirs, I also will my four daughters above named  two of my best horses and provisions enough for one years support for them and their stock.   I also will my four daughters above named, one bed and bedstead each, and also all the bed clothing that they have made since the death of their mother.

2 nd. I will and bequeath to my granddaughter Laura Ruark five hundred dollars out of my estate and also have a share out of the remainder of my estate, as I shall hereafter direct, also one bed and furniture. It is my will and desire that if the said Laura should die without a bodily heir, that the property I have thus willed her revert back to b equally divided among my children.

3 rd. I will and bequeath to my son Joel Ruark five hundred dollars out of my estate not otherwise disposed of by me, and also share in the remainder, as I shall hereto direct.

4 th. I will and bequeath to my five children Elias, Berry, Cordelia Beall, Mahala Brown, & Ann Smith, three hundred dollars each, out of my estate, which amount is all that I will them out of my estate, I also will and desire, that after these amounts are paid. The remainder of my estate being legally sold by my executers, that it be equally divided among my five and granddaughter viz, Joel, Martha, Eveline, Caroline, Jane, & my granddaughter Laura Ruark.

5 th. I hereby appoint my son Joel, and my daughter Martha my lawful executers to execute this my last will and testament.

6 th. It is my will & desire that if any of my children should go to the law in order to break or make void this my last testament, that he or she get no interest in my estate, and that his or her share thus willed, revert back to the rest of my children to be equally distributed among them,

Signed Sealed and delivered Lemuel Ruark seal

In the presence of us this 14th Feb 1866 B.A. Whitten S.A. Harper F.M. Prior

1868 Will of Lemuel Ruark Recorded in Book of Wills – Page 19&20 Admitted  to Record 6th Oct 1868


Source: Maryland Eastern Shore Vital Records_ F. Edward Wright.

IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN this 20 day of January in the year of our Lord 1769

I JOHN RUKE of Worcester County in the provinces of Maryland being in good health of body and in perfect mind and memory and knowing it is appointed for all men once to die do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament. First I bequeath my soul to the Almighty God and my body to the earth to be buried at the direction of my executors hereafter named as for my worldly estate I give and dispose of the same in manner and form following —

I give and bequeath to my well beloved wife Mary Rook all of my estate, lands, tennants and chatels during her natural life or widowhood my desire is that:

My son Ezekiel Ruke may have my dwelling house and plantation, from a maple standing in the edge of the Sivanne (?) to a pesemon tree standing by the mouth of a small branch.

All the rest of my land I give to my son James, and at Ezekiel’s death the whole of the land to James and if he dies without issue to Ezekiah (Hezekiah), and if he die without issue to Levan(Levin).

Item – I give to my son Ezekiel Ruk one shilling sterling. Item – I give to my son John Ruke one shilling sterling. Item – I give to my daughter Sarah Owen one shilling sterling. Item – I give the remainder of the estate at the widows death or marriage to be equally divided amongst my six youngest children and my desire is that Ezekiel Ruke may have the third of the apples in the young orchard and Lastly I do hereby confirm this my last Will and Testament.

In Witness thereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year first written.

John Ruke his mark

Signed Sealed and Delivered by the said John Ruke to be his last will and Testament in presents of us John Davis, James Davis Isaac Meglamre Jonathan X Vinson

On 20 sept 1773 came John Davis and the 29th Oct 1773 came Jonathan Vinson two of the subscribing witnesses to the foregoing will and made oath…that they saw John Ruke the Testator sign Seal and heard him publicly declare the same to be his last Will and Testament…of a sound and disposing mind…Subscribed their names at his request. Mary Ruark, administrator. Security – Peter Owens & Benjamin Cox. (Hall of Records, Will Book 39:422) . JW#4, ff 199/200


  1. Hello Ruark Cousins. Been a few years since this convo has been active, but good information all the same. I will leave my GEDmatch number below. Please contact me through there if we seem to be a Ruark match.

    Mary Ruark (b. guessing 1805 – 1808) married Purnell Taylor in 1830 in Worcester County, MD. This is all I know although I do find Ruarks and Taylors together in Boquenorton Hundred, Worcester County, MD in the 1800 census. I suspect that the Elgate mentioned there is Mary’s father but no definitive proof. Only Daniel and Elgate are mentioned in the Worcester Co 1790 Census, but there seems to be an explosion of Worcester Ruarks by 1800. Wondering connection the Hoopers Island/Dorchester Ruarks, many of whom are in my DNA match trees.

    Mary Ruark Taylor is my 3gr-grandmother on my Mom’s side. No male to test for Y, but have found some robust X matches. This is all I know of either of them. Have been researching for abt 5 years. Appreciate all of the good info here. RV809195C1

  2. Great website and helped me complete my Ruark genealogy to 1600s. Its still a little unclear but Joel J Ruark 1821-1898 of Greene Co. Georgia is my 4th Great GF and James Ruark born 1672 in Longford Ireland and Died in 1719 in Maryland is my 9th Great GF. Not sure but it looks like Ezekiel Ruaic 1640-1680 is my 10th Great GF and John Ruark 1620-1670 and Maev are 11th Greats, then Turlough and Ann Ruairc. Anyone else have more back up on these names? Just got back from Ireland this week. Its fantastic!!!

    1. Did you ever find further back than Turlough and Ann? That is also how far back I have discovered as well.

  3. I am captivated by this interesting article. There are actually lots of things talked about here I had never thought of before.
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  5. My name is Gary Michael Ruark and according to I am a direct descendant of Thomas T. Ruark who was born sometime between 1730-1740 on Hoopers Island, MD. His only child was James Ruark 1760-1838. His son was Henry W. Ruark 1796-1842. His son was Henry W. Ruark 1838-1880. His son was John T. Ruark 1877-1901. His son was Thurman Ruark 1899-1974. His son was Vernon Ruark 1931-2015. His son is me born 1958. I would like to join the First Families of Maryland organization but the problem is Thomas T. Ruark was born around the time of the cutoff date. I have not found any records that prove his birth date or who his father is. You can bet it was either William, James, Major or Thomas.
    As you have probably discovered, with the exception of James Ruark, there is a large hole in Ruark ancestry records between 1674 to about 1760. There is speculation about the 1674 Cornelius Rowark actually being a Ruark. I believe he was. Then the confusion about the different name spellings. That is explained by the fact that people back then could not read or write. If you could you were sought out for these skills and held in high esteem. The person that recorded Cornelius’ name probably got it wrong and Cornelius probably couldn’t read to correct it. People coming from Ireland had very thick accents making it more difficult for the scribe. Then there is the family story about the 3 or 4 brothers which my grandfather told me about in 1972. One thing is certain, brothers named their children after family members. There can be several male cousins with the same first and last name within a generation. This makes it very difficult prior to the Census to figure out who is who. Another problem is the ancient Capital of Maryland was St. Mary’s City. It was sacked and burned destroying many of the records from early Maryland.
    The solution to this mystery can probably be found in Ireland where there may be records regarding Ruark emigration. My DNA test matches a Ruark who was born and lives in Limerick, Ireland now. I will retire soon and plan to go there to research the Ruark Ireland to USA connection.
    If anyone finds any documented proof of Cornelius or the 3 or 4 brothers, other than what we already know about James, let us know. Thanks.

    1. Well hello cous! I’m a Ruark descendant too! I will look through my files and see if I can find your Thomas or James. My line comes through James Ruark b. 1672 married to Elizabeth Davis their son John, his son Levin, his son Levin, his son Joseph Henry, his daughter Geneva (Jenny) who married William Edward Barnes and after his death she married William (Bill) Eiler. the Eiler’s were my gr grandparents.

    2. In my famiy tree at ancestry, I do show an unknown male born in 1735. This might be your Thomas. If I’d had a name in the records I have, I would have listed it on the tree. A good place to check might be census records for Dorchester Co. MD. And yes, they migrated from Ireland to MD sometime after 1672.

  6. Ive a descendant of James Ruark of Ireland who married Elizabeth Davis. Im trying to find out who his parents were?

  7. I purchased an 1846 Illuminated Bible today that once belonged to Edward W. Ruark, a sail maker and boat carpenter of Baltimore, MD. According to the Bible he was born born April 7, 1818 and died in 1898. His first wife, Sarah Ann was born March 7th 1816. They married Jan 11, 1842. They had seven children and she died July 27, 1860. His second wife, Elizabeth S. was born July 18, 1841. They married 1861 and had ten children. He was also a Director of the South Baltimore Bank and apparently owned a shipbuilding company, Edward W. Ruark & Co. Overall the Bible is in poor condition but the birth, marriage and death pages are all readable. If anyone is related and is interested in these pages you may contact me.

  8. Here is a family story that may solve some of the confusion around the James/Major Ruark controversy. According to my father, Paul Edwin Ruark, Jr. from Crisfield, Maryland, one of our ancestors was lost at sea (James). His wife remarried a Mr. Niblette (sp?). However, James was not lost on that occasion. He returned having been rescued by a Nantucket whaler several years later. That left Mrs. Niblette with two husbands. The story goes that she divorced James Ruark in favor of Mr. Niblette and that Mr. Niblette changed his name to Ruark to ameliorate any scandal from the divorce. This would account for Major appearing to be James’ son after James’ supposed death. He was actually Mr. Niblette’s son but any record would show him being born to a “Ruark” since Niblette adopted the Ruark name.

  9. I, too, am a descendant of Lem and Viney Ruark. Is there documentation about Viney’s heritage/adoption? If so, where can I find it ?

    Thank you

    1. I am a descendant of Lemuel and Elvinah Ruark. From the info I have, Vinny was abandoned as a baby. She was half Native American. She was adopted by the Norris family. I am trying to confirm Lemuel Ruark’s parents. I have conflicting information. If you have anything about his parents, I would appreciate any help.

  10. Pam heath here in researching I found your story love it as you see my great great grandparents are lem and viney ruark

    1. I am also a direct descendant of Lemuel and Elvinah. My grandfather was George T. Ruark and Sally Bertha (Gregg) Ruark of Walton County, GA. Have had zero luck establishing the Catawba hereitage of Viney.

    2. You should be able to find James Ruark (b. 1672)married to Elizabeth Davis (b. 1676) in Ireland.

  11. The Y-DNA test of my Luark cousin shows six close matches at 37 markers. Four of these trace back to people with the surname of Ruark, and one is to someone with the surname of Roark. The other match is with someone with the surname of Thomas. The autosomal DNA tests of myself and my dad have matches with three different people with the surname of Rheuark/Rhuark/Ruark among their ancestors. Given all this, I’m looking at Ruark (and all the variations of it) to see if common ancestry with my Luark/Lewark line can be determined.

    1. This is the family legend that has been handed down through some branches of our family line:

      The Lewark/Luark History
      John Lewark/Luark July 26 1774 – October 28 1866

      The story starts somewhere in the early 1700s. Two Welsh brothers, John and Joseph Llywarch, landed somewhere off the coast of North Carolina (some versions of the story say their coming to North Carolina was actually due to a shipwreck just off what is now Kitty Hawk). Joseph stayed in North Carolina and John set sail again landing somewhere near Wilmington, Delaware.

      There John met and possably married an Irish woman by the name of Mary Taylor. Before their son (whom they named John) was born, John Llywarch set sail again and that was the last he was ever heard from. Supposedly there is information in a museum in Pennsylvania about a John and Joseph Llywarch who may have been crew members of a privateer, but this has yet to be verified.

      The surname became Lewark or Luark, supposedly due to the challenge of trying to write down how Llywarch was pronounced. When John Lewark/Luark (1774 – 1866, my fourth great grandfather and earliest documented ancestor in this line) was about twelve, he and his mother set out looking for the brother, Joseph, whom they never found. In the course of this searching, Mary married a man by the name of Ricketts, and lived out the remainder of her life in North Carolina.

      While in North Carolina, John married Mary Hutton, a cousin of his mother. They had three children. John then married Catherine Varner. Her first marriage was to a man by the name of Henry Alderman. There were three children from this first marriage of hers as well. John and Catherine then had ten more children together.

      John Lewark/Luark was purported to have fought in the War of 1812. He is also said to have originally been a shipwright by trade, and later became a millwright. He is documented as making the wooden gears, the shaft, and the big wooden wheel for White’s Mill in Abingdon, Virginia ( One of his sons, Michael Fleenan Luark, built a water powered sawmill in very early Washington Territory (

      I had never come across any mention of the family being from Ireland, or anything about the family possibly being horse trainers, prior to coming across this site. Before my cousin taking the DNA test, though, there was never a thought that we should also be looking at Ruark history, rather than just Lewark/Luark/Llywarch.

      1. Very impressive, I am totally interested. You said, Before my cousin taking the DNA test, though, there was never a thought that we should also be looking at Ruark history, rather than just Lewark/Luark/Llywarch.

        Did the DNA test show that you should be looking at Ruark?

  12. Hi Michael,

    I came across this blog posting while researching my Lewark/Luark line. Both of them are very nicely done and very informative.

    A recent Y-DNA test of one of my Luark cousins shows him as a close match with several Ruarks. This surprised me, as I had been under the impression that previous researchers concluded there was not a connection between the Lewark/Luark line and the Ruark line. I’m now reviewing all your information to see if I can find the common match with my line.

    Results of my cousin’s test, and information on our line, are posted on my website ( If you, or anyone else who comes across this posting, recognizes the connection between the two lines, please contact me at stonefamilytree[preventspam] (replace [preventspam] with @). Thank you in advance.

    Best regards,

    Dan Stone

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