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 -