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RUARK surname - early Currituck records

RUARK surname - early Currituck records

Jean M. Coleman (View posts)
Posted: 1098722164000
Classification: Query
Surnames: RUARK
Looking for info on Joseph, Thomas, James, John Ruark and Elizabeth Ruark, orphan; and Sally Ruark - of Currituck County - early records -
early 1800's....

names appear in inventorys, deeds, etc in Court Records -

Re: RUARK surname - early Currituck records

Annie Lee Wightman (View posts)
Posted: 1103492658000
Classification: Query
to JEAN COLEMAN re Ruark family written Oct 25, 2004

I had not seen your request until today and see no replies.
From your letter, you seem to be seeking Ruarks in other records of the early 1800s.
You should check Currituck records under LEWARK/Luark, if you have not previously been aware of that family on the Outer Banks when it was still in Currituck County, now Dare County.
There are researchers who believe that the Lewarks (or Luarks as is is sometimes spelled) of the area of Kitty Hawk Bay were previously Ruarks.
James Lewark and John Lewark appear in Currituck County records of early 1800s on the Outer Banks, including censuses.
There are a number of deeds involving descendants of John Lewark, who married Ann "Nancy" Toler, daughter of Caleb Toler of the same area. Caleb named his children in several deeds.
Ann Toler Lewark had sons Solomon Lewark (who appears as Thomas Lewark in the 1850 census) and Tilman Lewark, who died before that census. Anna Lewark appears in the 1840 census in the same place, as did Solomon Lewark. Tilman Lewark's widow Frances married John Hill, also of the Banks. There are a few deeds involving this family and Banks land.

Zebulon Beacham of the Outer Banks is said to have married Elizabeth "Betsey" RUARK, daughter of Thomas RUARK.
Zebulon was the son of Thomas Beacham who appears on the Banks in 1790 census and wrote his Currituck will in 1792. Zebulon did not have a will, but rather specific deeds show that he owned land in Kitty Hawk proper and bought land on Currituck mainland at Dews Quarter Island in 1822. He died soon after and his widow Betsey married Noah Hobbs and lived on Currituck mainland. Dews Quarter is sometimes shown as "Jews" Quarter on maps--just a local pronounciation of "Dews".
Betsey's son John Beacham, (probably named for his father Zebulon's brother who also lived on Banks and died in early 1800s), wrote his Currituck will in 1832 and named both his Beacham siblings and his Hobbs halfsiblings. There are also deeds by which Noah HObbs
acknowledged the rights of the children of Zebulon Beacham to their father's land.
John Beacham's brother Boyd Beacham is known to have settled in Princess Ann County in the Virginia Beach area.
I believe he had a son Alexander Beacham. A descendant of Boyd settled on the Banks maybe 25 years ago and raised his family there.
I am a descendant of Edmond Beacham who wrote his will (on the Outer Banks) in 1788, but his relationship to Thomas Beacham of the will is not entirely clear, although Thomas is mentioned in Edmund's will. Edmund seems to have had only one son, Keder Beacham, and a daughter Mary Ann. Edmund's widow Mary Beacham, mentioned in the will, appears in the 1790 census on the Banks. Caleb Toler mentioned above was guardian to her son Keder Beacham, my ancestor.

I hope this will be helpful you in your pursuit of your family, if you had not known of their change of name.

Re: RUARK surname - early Currituck records

Jean M. Coleman (View posts)
Posted: 1103505972000
Classification: Query
Thank you so much for the reply! Yes, in researching the various spelling of Ruark - I did see the Lewark name - but I can't find any connection to the Ruarks from Brunswick County - The closest I can come is Elisha Rowark whose name was spelled the same as Hanson Rowark (Hanson Kelly Ruark) in the old census records.
We assume (can we?) that the same census taker heard the same sound and so the two were in the same area - But we know that the name was actually Hanson Kelly Ruark because he applied for assitance from the Federal Govt. after the Civil War (turned down)
and used his name as we know it. Some in the family have "heard" that these Ruarks came up from South Carolina - that may be -
I have located a John Ruark in Horry County, SC in the late 1700's...but no one has yet found the parents or siblings of Hanson Kelly Ruark - There were several Ruarks in other counties early on in NC also - but no connection has been found yet - since the Ruarks in MD were mostly sea-connected, a good many may have come down to VA and then to NC or SC. They seemed to have had large families and no doubt land was scarce and possibly work also - And it also could be that they came directly from N. Ireland -
for they did not seem to be Roman Catholic, but Protestant in Religiouis leanings. Hanson Kelly Ruark's family were Baptist in Southport, NC. I personally believe that for whatever reason or circumstance, Hanson Kelly Ruark's parents died - epidemic, other disease, boat disaster, etc - and that he was named for Hanson Kelly - a wealthy businessman in Wilmington that had a lot of children named for him in New Hanover and New Brunswick Counties, NC. Hanson Kelly eventually moved to Pensacola, FL and became quite well known there, as did his son. Pensacola at that time (mid 1800's ) was becoming a "legend" of a part of the State - and many sought to be pioneers there. We know that in the 1880 Census (LDS free site) Hanson Kelly Ruark is listed as "retired pilot" - meaning River pilot - as Southport is on the Cape Fear River. His wife's people (Woodsides) are also connected to fishing, piloting, and shore guardsmen. My husband's grandmother was daughter of Hanson Kelly Ruark, but when she lived with my husband's family (he was a boy) she never mentioned WHO were HER GRANDPARENTS! Imagine! Or no one asked - we don't know which - but the subject never appeared in letters, papers, or documents - so the quest goes on ----

There is hope that we can locate some documents tied to the Masonic Lodge. My husband's grandfather (lmarried to the above grandmother) was a Mason and we have just received his papers. We have reason to believe that Hanson Kelly Ruark was a Mason and so there may be some history we can collect there. We haven't given up!

Also we hope to pursue trying to find out if he filed application papers to be the lighthouse keeper at Prices Creek just before the Civil War - where the grandmother grew up - right at Southport - then called Smithville - Robert Ruark , the author, visited the old site of the house with the lighthouse on the top, when he was a boy....he is distant cousin.

Thank you again for writing - we just don't have enough time to pursue the leads we would like to follow - but work on it as we can.

Jean Coleman - family historian -


Re: RUARK surname - early Currituck records

Jean M. Coleman (View posts)
Posted: 1103507437000
Classification: Query
Surnames: RUARK
Leward,Leuwark seems to be first connected with Guildford County, NC with Elijah Lewark B. @ 1794 and died 1884 madison, IN.
There is picture of him on the internet -
I also saw that the name Lewark may be German or Prussian

There was an Andrew Lewark b. 1811, VA - father John Luark.

Leeuwerke is from Netherland families

Llywarch is Welsh - and folks involved with descendants in NC
say there were two brothers from Wales who came to NC - one stayed in NC and one went to DE.

In the 1880 US Census the majority of Lewarks lived in Indiana -
seem drawn to that State!

Looking at this, I believe that Luark is a corruption of another name, but not Ruark - the Ruarks as far as we can find are:
Rhuark, Rheuark,Ruark,O'Rorke,O'Ruark,O'Ruarke,Ruarke,Rook,Rooks, etc - but none seem to start with an L - there is even a Reewark in Colonial records - had two wives that fought over his pension as a Rev. War veteran. Most often in NC census we see it as Rowark -
and in early land records also. Must have had a bit of "Irish" in them to pronounce it so!

Jean Coleman

Re: RUARK surname - early Currituck records

Annie Lee Wightman (View posts)
Posted: 1103551889000
Classification: Query
Dear Jean Coleman,
Thank you for your very prompt and extremely interesting reply
to my letter to you. Although my personal connection to the Lewarks of the Outer Banks is only through marriages of distant relatives and not from descent, to my knowledge, I am always interested in local names. And, in fact, in most genealogical information that comes my way!

I did not mention to you that some of the Lewarks lived in the Whaleshead area of the Banks, closer to the Virginia border.
I believe they were descendants of the Kitty Hawk Lewarks and other families on the more southern regions of the Banks.
(We called it Whale's Head, but it is now officially 'Whale Head.)
It is likely that you know that Currituck Beach, bordering Virginia on the Banks, remained a part of Currituck County when Dare County was formed in 1870. KItty Hawk, in Atlantic Township, refused to become a part of the new Dare County until 1919/1920.
One of the Whales Head native Lewarks was for many years the keeper of the Kill Devil Hills Coast Guard station and remained close to the station after his retirement.
My own uncle, from Kitty Hawk originally, was the keeper of the Virginia Beach Station and the other Coast Guard facilities in the vicinity, including Cape Henry. The Lighthouse Service became a part of the Coast Guard about 1938.
Several years ago I found a very long and detailed and rather didactic report on the computer explaining the Welsh background of the Lewark name. I did not think it really applied to the Outer Banks Lewarks, although the writer seemed to, but it was certainly interesting.
Although you know that your own Ruarks were not a part of the Currituck Ruark/Luark/Lewark family, it is interesting that you mentioned the seagoing history of the Marylanders.
To my knowledge, my own ancestors of the Outer Banks, including Hatteras Islanders, Body Islanders, Roanoke Islanders, Nags Headers and the natives of Kill Devil HIlls and Kitty Hawk, came mostly from Maryland families who either arrived in Currituck County from Maryland through Virginia (Norfolk County) or in the case of the Midgetts and some related families, apparently sailed directly to the North Carolina Coast.
Your replies are fascinating, but
I will have to print out your letters in order to reply in more detail. When I try to refer to them on the web while writing, what I have written on this message site has disappeared each time I return to it.

Re: RUARK surname - early Currituck records

Annie Lee Wightman (View posts)
Posted: 1103566638000
Classification: Query
Jean Coleman
This is my 2d attempt at a more detailed letter to you in reply to specific items in your letters. When the first was finished, it was lost somehow to the computer's quirky nature.

I am very familiar with the writing of Robert Ruark and had often wondered whether he was connected to Outer Banks Lewarks. My impression was that he had lived in Virginia.
I have never been to Southport but one of my aunts lived there when her husband served in the U. S. Coast Guard. My father
inspected Coast Guard facilities there as a member of the team in the office of the Eastern Inspector in New York. They inspected Coast Guard facilities from Maine to Southport, including lighthouses.
His older brother was in charge of the Virginia Beach Coast Guard station and nearby facilities, including Cape Henry.
The Lighthouse Service became a part of the U. S. Coast Guard about 1938/39, shortly after my families transfer to New York.
Re the seafaring families of Maryland. Apparently not all of them went into Currituck County through Virginia, although my Etheridges did come through Norfolk County. There is considerable documentation on their progress.
But I have not seen anything to indicate that the Midgetts of Body Island, Hatteras Island, and Roanoke Island came through Virginia, although I cannot say positively that they did not.
There is a book of abstracts of Maryland Wills by Jane Cotton--I think it was called Maryland Calendar of Wills, which is very helpful in tracing names that appear in Eastern Carolina.
You are probably already familiar with it.
The only family among my own ancestors (that I can recall from research), who lived in Maryland and then in N. C. and were specifically identified as Catholics in Maryland, was the Meekins family. Of course, that does not mean there were no others-their religion is simply not identified. But my overall impression is that there were very many nonCatholic colonists transpsorted to Maryland.
Edmund Beauchamp was sent from London to become Clerk of the court in Somerset, Maryland, and he was an Anglican, among others.
The O'Neals of Hatteras are also my ancestors, but I do not know the colony where they arrived or their religion. In fact, most of my paternal antecedents were active Methodists. Most of my Methodist relatives have been active in Masonry. My maternal ancestors were mostly Old School Baptists who did not approve of Masonry But there has been quite a lot of intermarriage between both my Baptist and Methodist families, nevertheless.
It was not my intention to impose my own areas of interest on you but I did very much enjoy your recounting of your ancestry and the points you made specifically and hoped to validate my own "credentials" that prompted my replying to your query.
Annie Lee Wightman

Re: RUARK surname - early Currituck records

Ellen Fulcher Cloud (View posts)
Posted: 1103577298000
Classification: Query
On April 5, 1832, John C. WALLACE OF Portsmouth Island, Outer Banks of NC, deeded to JOHN RUARK also of Portsmouth, for natural love and affection and also for better maintenance of said John on Portsmouth Island, during his natural life and no longer. This John C. Wallace had a large family and he died in 1840. He left a will naming his children. John Ruark was not named in the will and it is believed that he was an illegitimate son of John C. Wallace.

He does not show up in the census of Portsmouth Island and no other records are found. In 1820 census there is a John Kewark (may be spelled wrong) living on the island. He is 45+, his wife is 45-26, there are 5 males under 10, 3 males 10-16 and one female 16-26.

In 1870 census for Portsmouth Island, there is a SOLOMON RUARK age 50, brick mason, wife Sarah age 40, daughters Mary E. age 23, Rebecca age 17, and Elizabeth age 12. This family appears to be living on the property deeded to John Ruark in 1832 or at least in the same vicinity. There are no other records found for these people at Portsmouth. If you find that these people are connected to your line please contact me as it is a mystery to me.

Re: RUARK surname - early Currituck records

Jean M. Coleman (View posts)
Posted: 1103638824000
Classification: Query
Surnames: RUARK
I have seen the name Meekins in connection with Ruarks who went west, but do not remember what "line" as this is not my husband's side of the family -

Thanks for info about Coast Guard - I will try to contact them for records - wasn't sure what organization to contact - but I am sure they have a records dept.

Interesting to know your folks went to Southport with Coast Guard - small world!

Re: RUARK surname - early Currituck records

Jean M. Coleman (View posts)
Posted: 1103639015000
Classification: Query
Surnames: RUARK
I have used the Maryland Calendar of Wills documents (set of books our local library has) to look for my Baker ancestors who were among those founders of Anne Arundel County, MD - the books are very useful - the only Ruark I could find was in St. Mary's County
and no one seems to have info on him - according to the RUARK-L list that we use for information -and sharing.

Since I have to go through each book to search the index - will do that again and see if any of the various spellings turn up something -
Thanks again,

Jean Coleman

Re: RUARK surname - early Currituck records

Jean M. Coleman (View posts)
Posted: 1103639584000
Classification: Query
Surnames: RUARK
We may never know the relationship between Wallace and Ruark families - but sometimes it was because of wife relationship to family.
I did read that a wagon train left Carteret Co in 1823 for Alabama and another about 1840 - so some of those families may have been connected with the ones who moved away - Sometimes the head of a household left land or money to a nephew or niece, too....especially if they were orphans.

I did see a James Wilson Wade who lived in Carteret Co, NC
son of Valentine Wade - well there is a Wilson Wade name in the Ruarks - interesting - who knows why the names were similar?

The onlhy Lewark I found in the CD I have of the 1820 US Census was Joseph Lewark in Russell Co, VA p 148 location: Lebanon
If someone could see the original, perhaps the last name would be read/spelled differently? I am sure some library in VA has that page and a research person could see what the writing looked like.

I do believe the John KEWARK b. 1775
is a misspelling in the 1820 Census and should be Lewark.
K and L are right next to each other on the typing keyboard.
I have found other typo errors in the 1820 census and other census records - - for Ruarks
where one was listed as Wuark! I only found that because I checked all of the Ruarks for NC! -

I did not find any Luwark listed in 1820 and very few Ruark,Rowark surnames....although there is a John Ruark in Horry County, SC
which I researched in the SC Archives and found he did own property there in the area next to NC - so that could be a clue - but no other records were found -

Thanks for writing your reply!
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