Michael Roark (US militia spy)

Michael Roark (US militia spy)

US Revolutionary War · Militia
US Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783)


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Captain Michael Coger, Maj. Gawen Hamilton, Col. William Nall

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Service Start Date


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Operated as Spy for Captain Michael Rader

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Conflict Period

US Revolutionary War

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1780 (3 months)

Captain Michael Coger

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Service End Date


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Served For

United States of America

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Stories about Michael Roark (US militia spy)

Lt. Michael Roark (United States spy)

    Michael Roark was born in Bucks County, PA on September 29, 1745 (by his own statement). He married Leticia 'Letty' Grisby in 1766 when he was about 19. He had one of the most interesting and dangerous military service records during the Revolutionary War.

    He volunteered for service in the Revolutionary War in 1780 and was made a Lieutenant but also lists himself as being a private. His pension was awarded in 1832 as a private.  His appointment as an officer may be related to his work as a spy for the US regarding Indians.

    It appears he first served a 3 month stint in 1780 under the command of Captain Michael Coger.

    Upon returing to Rockingham County, Virginia in Janary 1781 he served with Captain Coger under the command of Major Gawen Hamilton and Col. William Nall also as a Lt. They marked to Richmond, Virginia, cross the James River at Hogg Island Ferry whereupon Col. Nall left and was succeeded by Col. John Bowyers.

    They then marked to Edmonds' hills and marched to General Gregory's headquarters in North Carolina where they stayed 'some time'. Later, he marked back to Edmonds' Hills again, then to Stoner's Mills where he received his discharge a period of slightly more than 3 months.

    Going back in his timeline, he says that in 1780 he also volunteered at the Shenandoah Court House, Virginia as an 'Indian Spy' for a term of 3 months under Capitan Michael Rader. During this time he states  was a private (before he was promoted to Lt.). He marched to Tygart's Valley and were stationed at Westfall's Fort in Virginia. They stayed there 2 months, their provisions gave out and was discharged from duty.

    Later, he volunteered again at Rockingham County Courthouse (Virginia) for a period of 3 months under Captain Robert Cravens where he marched to Warwick's Ford on the Clover lick in Greenbrier, Virginia. There was a call for volunters at Kanawha. He started that tour but his brother took his place.

    His last service was to volunteer at Rockingham County (Virginia) courthouse under Captain William Baxter to join the battle against Lord Cornwallis. He marched a hundred miles to a place called Bowling Green where he heard of the defeat of Cornwallis and was mustered out.

    He signed his name to his pension application dated December 3, 1832.

    I am descended from Lt. Michael Roark through his daugther Sarah "Sally" Roark who married 'General' Elijah Combs, the founder of Hazard, Kentucky as follows:

    • Lt. Michael Roark

    • Sarah 'Sally' Roark (married Elijah Combs) Daughter

    • Josiah H. Combs-Judge of Perry County (married Polly Mattingly) Grandson

    • Susan Combs (married Joseph C. Eversole, politician/lawyer) G-Granddaughter

    • Clara Eversole (married William Manon Cornett) GG-Granddaughter

    • Juanita Cornett (married Arch Glass Mainous) GGG-Grandaughter

    • Jane Mainous GGGG-Granddaughter

    • William James, Jr. GGGGG-Grandson

    The attestations of those supporting Michael Roark's pension application (which was approved) are as follows:

    [George Kite, Nicholas Long and Jesse Spears gave the standard supporting affidavit; "And the said Kite further states that he lived neighbor to said Roark in Rockingham County Virginia at the time he was in service and (being then a small boy) recollects to have heard the friends & neighbors of said Roark say that he was absent in the Army of the Revolution – And the said Long also states that he has often heard his father speak of the service of said Roark in the Revolutionary war of his own knowledge…."]

    [f p. 24]

    State of Virginia Russell County to wit

    This day came Spencer Breeding before me the undersigned justice of the peace in and for the County aforesaid and made oath, that Michael Rhak [sic] now an applicant for a pension under the acts of Congress passed June 7th 1832 served one tour of three months in the war of the revolution as a Lieutenant in the company commanded by Captain Michael Cogar [sic Coger] and that the said company rendezvoused at Rockingham County in the State of Virginia he thinks in the year 1781 – and that the said company was attached to the Regiment of the Virginia State line commanded by Colonel William Nall; and Major Hamilton, and that said Michael Rork served out his full time of three months as a Lieutenant in said Company.

    Sworn to and subscribed this 21st day of October 1832 before me

    S/ John Sewell, JP S/ Spencer Breeding

    1 FPA S1950 [also spelled Charles Dyke]

    [f p. 37]

    Personally appeared in open Court Charles Dycke resident of the County of Greene in the State of Tennessee who being first duly sworn deposeth and saith that he is well acquainted with the before mentioned Michael Roark, that he has a personal knowledge of the service of said Roark as a volunteer during a three months Campaign in the Revolutionary War, that he first became acquainted with said Roark in Rockingham County in the State of Virginia, that they volunteered under different Captains, but served together in the same Regiment, and under the same commanding officers, viz. – Major Guy Hamilton, and Colonel William Nall, that they started from home on the 14th of January 1781 and first marched to Richmond Virginia as stated in the declaration of said Roark, and often performing the various marches therein stated, we were discharged, having been in service three months, the period for which we volunteered – or perhaps a little upwards –Witness further states that he knows of said Roark having been engaged in the service of the United States during the Revolutionary War, on Warren or perhaps two other occasions, but cannot state the length of time he served, or the nature of the service, not having been along with him, but believes from what he heard the neighbors, and persons with whom he served say, that said Roark served the two other campaigns as stated in his said Declaration

    S/ Carl Jak [sic]

    Sworn to and subscribed this 2nd October 1832

    S/ W. B. Mitchell, Clk

    [f p. 8: On February 13, 1840 in Hawkins County Tennessee, Letty Rork, aged about 90, filed for a widow's pension under both the 1836 and the 1838 acts as the widow of Michael Rork; that she married him sometime in the year 1766 and that he died January 9 1839; that she remains his widow. She signed her application with her mark.]

    [f p. 9: John Kite,2 73, gave testimony on February 13, 1840 in Hawkins County Tennessee in support of the widow's pension as to her marriage to the veteran and the date of his death.]

    [Veteran was pensioned at the rate of $26.66 per annum commencing March 4th, 1831, for service as a private for 8 months in the Virginia militia. His wife was pensioned in a like amount.]

    2 FPA S21334 [in his own application dated February 23, 1835, this veteran stated his age at that time as 71 – there is no explanation for the discrepancy between his stated age is at various times]

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