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ROARK, ANDREW JACKSON

ROARK, ANDREW JACKSON (1815–1851). Andrew Jackson Roark, soldier, was born in Missouri,  the son of Cynthia (Fisher) and Elijah A. Roark. The family moved to Texas in 1824 and settled at Stafford's Point (now Stafford) in Fort Bend County. On June 22, 1835,  Jackson Roark was among those who, "feeling the necessity of disarming the military of Anahuac," signed the so-called "San Felipe Pledge" to attack the Mexican fort there. He was not, however, among those who followed William B. Travis in the attack (see ANAHUAC DISTURBANCES). Roark and his family took part in the Runaway Scrape during the Texas Revolution, and later he and his brother Leo attended David Henson's school with Dilue R. Harris.  In 1842 Roark was a citizen of Fort Bend County; he owned no property when he joined the Somervell expedition that year. When the army reorganized on the Rio Grande under the command of Col. William S. Fisher, Roark was elected second sergeant of Capt. William Ryan's Company E. He fought in the battle of Mier, drew a white bean at Salado in the notorious Black Bean Episode, was incarcerated at Perote Prison, was released on September 16, 1844, and returned to New Orleans on the schooner Creole. From there he sailed for Galveston. He arrived in Houston on the steamer Dayton on November 11.

After returning to Texas, Roark moved to Colorado County, where, in January 1846, he married Helen McNeill. In 1847 they had a son. Helen Roark died at Columbus in 1847, perhaps in childbirth. According to Dilue Harris, Roark served under generals Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott during the Mexican War and revisited the site of his captivity at Perote.  Roark served as a private in Capt. Samuel H. Walker's independent company of Texas Mounted Rangers, in federal service from April 21 until July 16, 1846. In 1849, after the Mexican War, Roark left Texas for the California gold fields, where he died in 1851.

Roark's father evidently admired Andrew Jackson to such an extent that he gave Old Hickory's name to all three of his sons—Andrew Jackson Roark, Leo Elijah Andrew Roark, and Andrew "Andy" J. Roark. Clearly, Elijah Roark did not consider the problems this would create for historians seeking to unravel the careers of his sons.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Clarksville Northern Standard, March 2, 1843. Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Founders and Patriots of the Republic of Texas (Austin, 1963-). Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986). Thomas J. Green, Journal of the Texian Expedition Against Mier (New York: Harper, 1845; rpt., Austin: Steck, 1935). John H. Jenkins, ed., The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835–1836 (10 vols., Austin: Presidial Press, 1973). Joseph Milton Nance, ed., Mier Expedition Diary: A Texas Prisoner's Account by Joseph D. McCutchan (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1978). "Reminiscences of Mrs. Dilue Harris," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 4, 7 (October 1900, January 1901, January 1904). Charles D. Spurlin, comp., Texas Veterans in the Mexican War: Muster Rolls of Texas Military Units (Victoria, Texas, 1984). Telegraph and Texas Register, June 3, 1837, November 13, 1844. Gifford E. White, 1830 Citizens of Texas (Austin: Eakin, 1983).

Thomas W. Cutrer

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Thomas W. Cutrer, "ROARK, ANDREW JACKSON," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fro01), accessed November 22, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on March 17, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.