Rev. William Roark

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Rev. William Roark

Also Known As: "O'Rourke"
Birthdate: (72)
Birthplace: Province of North Carolina, or Ireland
Death: February 11, 1832 (72)
Saline County, Illinois, United States
Place of Burial: Harrisburg, Saline County, Illinois, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Timothy Roark and Sarah Roark
Husband of Sarah Roark
Father of Levi Roark; Samuel Reuben Roark; John W Roark; Sarah Poe; Josiah Isaac Roark and 9 others
Brother of Anna Roark; George Roark; John Roark; Mary Callender; Nellie Roark and 11 others

Occupation: Baptist Minister
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Rev. William Roark

A Patriot of the American Revolution for NORTH CAROLINA with the rank of NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICER. DAR Ancestor # A098899

This profile is a mixture of two different William Roark/Rourkes who fought in the American revolution, and are listed with the Daughters of the American Revolution. There is a William Rourke born in 1757 in North Carolina, and a William Rourke born in 1760 in Ireland. The children and spouse listed are to 1757 William. The court case mentioned elsewhere in this profile is for 1760 William and lists his 6 children as Catherine, Martin, John, William, Elizabeth, and Michael. His first wife was Elizabeth Martin and his second wife was Mary Everly. 1760 William was injured during the war and moved to and died in Illinois.

William Roark was born about 1757 in North Carolina (alternate: Ireland) and died on Feb. 11, 1832 Harrisburg, Saline County, Illinois.[1] Will was signed on February 11, 1832 and probated in Allen County, Kentucky during their March Term in 1832. (see document, attached). William changed the spelling from O'Roark to Roark.



  1. In approx. 1787 in Orange, Colony of North Carolina to Sarah Dorris (1757-d. abt. 1840, Macon County Tennessee, USA.)

15 children include

  1. Samuel Reuben Roark (1782 - 1858)*
  2. Sarah Roark Poe (1785 - 1822)*
  3. Asa Roark (1787 - 1860)*
  4. John W. Roark (1788 - 1850)*
  5. Levi Roark (1788 - 1855)*
  6. Josiah Roark (1791 - 1872)*
  7. Permelia Roark Tudor (1794 - 1883)*
  8. Marah Roark Driver (1796 - 1832)*
  9. Elijah Roark (1798 - 1858)*
  10. William Roark (1800 - 1858)*
  11. Joel Roark (1801 - ____)*
  12. Nancy Roark Stinson (1803 - 1875)*
  13. Margaret R. Roark Pipkin (1805 - ____)*
  14. Mildred "Millie" Roark (abt. 1806-?)
  15. Elizabeth Roark Dyson (1808 - 1850)


  • Settled in Orange Co., NC from 1780 to 1794, living a long the Haw River. Moved to Tennessee in 1794, later moved to Barren County, KY in 1803.
  • Founded and built the Puncheon Camp Creek Church where he was Pastor. [2]
  • served in Rolston's Company, 1st North Carolina Militia Regiment, as a musician during the American Revolution; listed in Patriot's Index. (see document, attached)


  1. "Contrary to what many people believe he did not die nor is he buried in Kentucky. He ended moving basically across the river into Saline County Illinois. I have traveled there and visited his grave sight several times. There is also a memorial in Harrisburg Illinois to revolutionary war soldiers buried in Illinois. It is easy to understand the confusion. My understanding is he was crippled somehow in his later years and moved to Illinois to live with his son Timothy. However, due to a claim against his land or something like that there was a deposition in court in Kentucky and probably a suit of some kind after his death. I have read that he had left his land in Kentucky and owed back taxes on it. Hope this helps." The La Force & Family Community & Repository June 26, 2010
  2. we do know that William Roark was pastor of Old Puncheon Camp Baptist at that time. We also know that William Roark lived in Tennessee near the Kentucky line on Puncheon Camp Creek. Testament Baptist Church



Same William Roark?

James and William Roark were brothers who came from Ireland. They were loyal subjects of King George and planned to join the British troops at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. While they were en-route, James had a dream or vision. In his dream, he seemed to be traveling between two walls. An angel with drawn sword appeared to him warning him to turn back - that he was on the wrong path. He believe done wall represented England, and the other the 13 Colonies. When morning came, the brothers heeded the warning and joined the Colonial forces, where they served until peace was declared. Thereafter, James Roark always called himself Gods Soldier, firmly believing that the vision was sent by God.

Biographical Notes

William Roark was born about 1757 in Ireland (as the legend goes). It is reported that the Roarks are of Scotch-Irish descent, though there are no records to prove which ones of this large family came over from Ireland in the long ago. The name was originally O'Rourke, and since then,some of the family have changed the spelling for brevity. It is said that he was one of four orphan brothers, who were bound out to different families in Ireland. His brother's names were James Roark, Nicholas Roark and the third brother's name is unknown. The families refused to allow the boys to be redeemed by their maternal uncle, therefore he kidnapped them and stowed aboard a ship bound for the colonies. This legend was related to Walter Asa Roark (great-grandson to William) by a Roman Catholic priest about the year 1931, he having been away from the "old sod" only a short time when this statement was given.

William was a soldier in the American Revolution. He served as a musician under Capt. Rolston's Company, 1st North Carolina Regiment - 1778. He played the flute, fife and drum. His brother, James, served in the same regiment. William married Sarah Dorris in about 1780-1781. It is believed that she was born about 1757 in Germany. Her maiden name may be spelled Dorres.

William and Sarah moved from North Carolina to Bledsoe's Lick, Sumner County, Tennessee by November 20, 1794 when he bought land there. In about 1802, they moved to Barren County, Kentucky, and are listed in the 1810 census of Barren County, KY. Monroe County, KY was formed in 1820 from Barren County, KY and they are listed in the 1820 census of Allen County, KY. William founded and built the Puncheon Camp Creek Church where he was pastor until his death after Feb. 11, 1832 and before March 19, 1832 in Allen County, KY. Sarah died in Macon County, TN during the 1840's.

notes on sources

April 2004

This document was compiled from The History and Genealogy of the Roark Family, which was written in 1924 by Elizabeth C. Roark, Kitty Roark Brockway, Maud Roark Peppers, and Dr. George Roark. Information was gathered fr om family records and from events related to them by their father, Dr . Harlan Roark, who received it from his grandmother, Elizabeth Linville (Gibbs) Roark.

I have several copies of The History and Genealogy of the Roark Family (dated 1924). Each varies slightly. It is my belief that each one was typed from an original, most likely by different people. One has handwritten notes in the margin, another has additional pages, etc. Much of the information is repetitive and not in chronological order. My goal is to blend the information from these documents, correct obvious errors and put events in chronological order to make one story, which is complete, accurate and easy to read. Much of the wording is original. In addition, many notes were kept on family history by my grandfather, William Harlan Roark. I now have these original handwritten records. This history also includes data that resulted from my genealogical research, begun in January 1998.

From a manuscript written by William Harlan Roark, about 1913, after a conference with his mother, Margaret Elizabeth Roark

It is believed that he Roarks lived in Northern England, close to the old Roman Wall. At a ve ry early date, the branch we are concerned with migrated to Ireland. This probably occurred during the 14th or 15th century, during the War of the Roses. At that period there was a grea t influx of people into Ireland f rom Northern England and Scotland due to political oppression. From Ireland, the Roarks emigrated to North Carolina during the middle of the eighteenth century (1740 .... 1765) and were among the first settlers of the colony.

n.b. This document is the history of the Goose Creek ROARKs. Unfortunately for researchers, it has no documentation. ROARK-L Archives 12 Jul 2008

view all 18

Rev. William Roark's Timeline

June 6, 1759
Province of North Carolina, or Ireland
Age 18
November 9, 1782
Age 23
North Carolina, United States
Age 24
Age 25
North Carolina
Age 31
Age 32
Orange County, North Carolina, United States
September 8, 1794
Age 35
Sumner County, Tennessee, United States
Age 36