Roush Family – Robie’s fathers ancestry

Four Generations: Gideon Early Roush, Richard Lawrence Roush, Lawrence Hiram Roush, Janice Roush about 1946

The following traces back Robie’s Roush lineage to a prominent family that fought for the Americans in the revolutionary war. This makes Robie in fact a daughter of the Revolution (DAR). 

In the closing months of the year 1736, or early in 1737, the Perth Amboy sailed up the Delaware river from Rotterdam and landed in Philadelphia. She had on board among others a young German  immigrant whose full name was John Adam Rausch, but who is usually known on the records as John Rausch. John was part of the great German exodus, the result of the devastating 30 years war. He spent some years in eastern Pennsylvania, married, and a few years later with his young family followed the migration to the Shenandoah Valley. The first indication of a permanent settlement is the grant of four hundred acres made to him and his wife Susannah on Mill Creek in 1773, in Dunmore County. By this time, a large family had grown up around him, and his grandchildren were beginning to spring up on all sides. There were at  least nine sons and one daughter in this large family. They were served by Lutheran ministers even in those early days. The settlement on Mill Creek was so largely Lutheran that it was an easy matter to organize a congregation at an early day before the revolution.  It was known as Pine Church, and John Rausch and his many children with their families formed a large part of its membership. In the United States census of 1790 the names of the father and six sons are given as heads of families with a total membership of thirty-one.

Those desirous of trying their fortunes in a new country found ready purchasers for the homes and farms they were leaving. As soon as land was vacated by one family, others were ready to take it up. The people of Virginia looked to the Northwest Territory on the Ohio River and beyond. Jacob Rausch in 1774 accompanied the General Andrew Lewis Company expedition to oppose the Indians in the Northwest. The soldiers met the red men at the mouth of the Great Kanawha River, and on October 10, 1774, fought a desperate and disastrous battle. Jacob escaped and after enduring many hardships and suffering greatly from hunger, found his way back to his home on Mill Creek in the Shenandoah Valley. But in spite of his trying experiences he brought back with him impressions of the richness of the soil and vastness of the forests that time could not efface. By the end of 1798 every son of John and Susannah Rausch had bidden farewell to the graves of his parents, and to the farm and hearth he had enjoyed for so many years, and had taken up the long journey over mountain, valley and river, to the banks of the Ohio. The brothers took up a large tract of land and settled on both sides of the Ohio near the mouth of the Great Kanawha.

It must be repeated therefore that the colonies had staunch friends in the members of the Lutheran Church and received their hearty support in life and property without stint and restriction in the long struggle for freedom. We have a remarkable proof of this in the Rausch family. All the nine sons of the grand old couple John and Susannah Rausch are known to have rendered service in arms in behalf of the cause of liberty. John, the second in years, formed a company of militia and became the captain of the company, and was known the rest of his days as Captain Rausch. Jacob, George and Jonas served in the militia of Virginia. Captain John Rausch and his brother our ancestor, George Rausch, fought in the battle of Yorktown. Jonas was said to have witnessed the surrender of British General Cornwallis.

When the Roush brothers took a large tract of land in Mason County, Ohio, George (direct ancestor to Robie) came first with his brother, Captain John, in whose name the purchase was made. He must have preceded his family on his first trip to the Ohio Valley as records show him to have come here in 1798, and birth and baptismal records show that his son Jacob was born and baptized in Shenandoah County, 1799.

In 1807 George Roush moved to Sutton Township, Meigs County, Ohio, where he purchased a tract of land from Edward W Tupper. It was that level tract that is now just west of the little town of Dorcas near Racine, known as the DeWolf farm. On this tract of land he lived until his death. His first wife, Catherine Zerkel, daughter of Michael and Catherine Sehler Zerkel, whom he married in Shenandoah County about 1781, must have died soon after this.

The George Roush family thus became among the very early settlers of Sutton Township in Ohio. The name has since that early date been perpetuated by the Jonas and especially the Jacob Roush families. Although young he did his part in the struggle for Independence. He enlisted in the Continental Army in the fall of 1779. His grandchildren tell that he talked much of his experiences as a soldier often relating interesting incidents that occurred, the one upon which there seems to be no variation we quote from an old clipping from the State Gazette of Point Pleasant, W VA, which bears no date: “Dr Lafayette Roush tells that his grandfather, Daniel Roush, has often told him about his father, George Roush, being at the battle of Yorktown and seeing Cornwallis hand over his sword to George Washington and that many of the soldiers wept for Joy”. His brother, Jonas, was also at the surrender.

It is said in his older years that George would speak frequently about his war days, and that in his semi-conscious moments of his last illness he would speak of charging on the British and tell his comrades to get ready that the British were coming over the hill to attack them. He was by trade a mechanic—and a very good one, we are told, and a farmer.

Of the wife, Catherine, we have this touching tradition that seems well founded. A few years after coming to the Ohio Valley, Catherine was in declining health. She much loved the old Virginia home and frequently pined to go back. This was a distance of more than three hundred miles to be traveled, over the mountains, across the valleys, thru the gulches on horseback and on foot. But neither the distance, the mountains, nor the streams had any healing qualities for her homesickness. At last the husband prepared for the trip and started with his frail wife on this long journey of many days which in no wise seemed to reduce her strength. After many days travel the last mountain was crossed and in the vale below sparkled the quiet Shenandoah which gave assurance that a little beyond lay the old homestead. They wend their way up the stream, the horses stand on the land of the old plantation in front of the home for which Catharine had so long pined. Dismounting from his horse her husband assisted her in getting her feet again in the old door yard for many years frequented by them and where the honeymoon days had been spent.

The joy was too great, she was overwhelmed and wept as a child. She did not continue her abode long in the old home as she soon passed away. Her remains were carefully folded in the soil of the old Virginia plantation. The burial place had not been found as of Volume 1 of the Roush History. She was the daughter of Michael and Katharine Zerkel born Aug.14, 1763 in Shenandoah County, Va, her baptism was sponsored by Henry Brock and his wife, Magdalene. Her brothers, Henry and Michael, soon followed the Roush colony to the Ohio Valley. Just when she died is not known. It should also be noted here that the Zerkle Family History compiled by J. Wm Harpine states on page 9: We have made several unsuccessful attempts to learn the exact death date of George Roush‘s first wife who was the mother of twelve children. However, it is claimed on good authority while visiting in Virginia at her old home she passed away. Neither do we know the exact burial place of this noted wife and mother. Her passing away in Virginia some three hundred miles from home we rather surmise she would have been buried in the old Nease-Zirkle graveyard on Holman’s Creek. In this graveyard her father and mother are buried as well as other members of the Zirkle family.

In the marriage records of Gallipolis, (Vol.1, page 50), we find the license of George Roush and (Kitty) Catherine Wolfe. To her as a widow he was married on Aug. 13, 1815. One child, Hannah, was born to this marriage. It is very unusual for a man to have been a citizen of three counties at the time of their respective organization. In 1774, Shenandoah County, VA, of which he was then an active citizen, was organized. In 1798 he moved to Mason County, W VA., where he lived up to 1807. The county was rapidly settled so that in 1804 it became organized and officially recognized as a county. In 1807 he moved to Meigs County, OH and lived there until his death. In 1819 the people of Meigs County had their small commonwealth set off from Gallia County and started housekeeping for themselves. A courthouse and jail were built at Chester, the county seat, officers elected and court organized. Among the first jurors of this county appears the name of George Roush.

In the little village of Racine on the third terrace overlooking the beautiful Ohio, whose waters he had many times crossed, rest the remains of this old and good man. His little tombstone, well preserved, bears the inscription, “George Roush, a Soldier in the Revolution, died May 31, 1845, age 84 years. By his side lies his last wife, whose inscription reads, “Catharine, wife of George Roush, died October 20, 1845, aged 74 years.”From “History of the Roush Family In America, Vol 1, pages 411-421. 1928.

Samuel Roush, eighth child of George and Catharine Zerkel Roush, was born in Shenandoah Co, VA 28 Jan, 1795 and baptized 3 Apr, 1795. When he was three years of age, he was brought by his parents to the Roush Colony in Graham district in what later became Mason Co, VA. We do not have the date of his marriage to Catherine Zerkel, daughter of Henry Zerkel, who came to the Graham settlement about the time the Roushes emigrated there. She was no doubt christened in honor of her aunt Katharine Zerkel Roush, mother of Samuel. Her birth was 1903 in Shenandoah Co. The Samuel Roush farm was in the vicinity of what is now known as White Church neighborhood. Here he raised a large and highly respected family, having attained his four score years. Both husband and wife died in 1876, “Universally loved and sincerely lamented,” to use the words of Hale, Hogg and Lewis in their history of the Great Kanawha Valley. 

The land that would become Mason County, West Virginia was first surveyed in 1772 by a team led by George Washington. They surveyed a tract of 51,302 acres, just over eighty square miles, north of a line drawn between Letart Falls and the mouth of Three mile Creek on the Great Kanawha, including all of Graham District, all of Waggener, and most of Robinson and Lewis Districts. The land was patented to them on December 15, 1772 by Lord Dunmore, the royal governor of Virginia, on behalf of King George III. Most of Graham District consists of a 6,000 acre tract allocated to John West, occupying the east portion of the district, and the neighboring 6,000 acres allocated to John Polson, forming the center of the district. The segment of Graham District lying north of Robinson and running northward along the boundary with Waggener District consists of the eastern ends of tracts originally allocated to Andrew Waggener, George Muse, and Peter Hog, making up part of the balance of 4,736 acres out of Graham District’s total of 16,736; the remainder consists of submerged land in the Ohio River, not included in the original survey, but reserved by Virginia when it ceded its claims to the Northwest Territory in 1784.

John Polson sold his 6,000 acre tract to William Graham, a Presbyterian minister from Richmond, who hoped to establish a settlement in western Virginia for himself and his followers. In 1798, Graham and several families that had agreed to join his colony traveled to what would soon become Mason County, clearing several acres of land, and building a small fort. The following year, Graham returned to Richmond on business, and there died of a fever. His followers abandoned the settlement, and returned east. The place where they settled became known as Graham Station. Graham’s heirs sold the land at public auction, where it was purchased by John Roush of Shenandoah County on behalf of himself and his brothers, Jacob, Henry, Daniel, George, and Jonas, except for 150 acres that Graham had sold to Michael Siegrist before his death. The Roushes and their relatives settled on the land.

David Roush, fifth child of Samuel and Catharine Zerkel Roush, was born in Mason Co, VA in Dec 1832. He received what education the local schools could give, aided father Samuel in the work of the large farm and soon became one of the substantial citizens of his native county. In 1853, Charlotte Hart, daughter of Christian and Mary Hart (29, Aug, 1833 – 6 Nov, 1905), became his wife. He was industrious, energetic and noble in his living. In his physical stature he was almost a perfect type of manhood. His farm home was beautifully situated in the Upper Flats of Graham district, part of the large Roush tract. He died 19, Feb, 1904. 

Gideon Early Roush was born in Mason, West Virginia (13 Apr, 1861 – 25 OCt, 1949). He married Elizabeth Artemesia Wolfe in 21 Jan, 1883. She was the daughter of Marshall and Emily Wolf. Gideon was for several years one of the noted teachers of Mason County. Gideon and Elizabeth moved to a farm near Letart, Meigs County, Ohio and raised their family. In the 3 July 1927 edition of the Athens Messenger, Dale and Ray Roush are guests of their grandparents, Mr and Mrs. Gideon Roush of Letart.

Richard Lawrence Roush, third child of Gideon and Elizabeth,  was a farmer in Letart Falls, Ohio. He was born 1 Sep, 1886 in New Haven, Mason County, West Virginia. He married Josephine Victoria Johnson (9 Sep, 1890 – 24 sep, 1971) on  9 Nov, 1907 in Meigs County, Ohio. They had a farm near Letart Falls, Ohio.

Lawrence Hiram Roush, eldest son of Richard and Victoria Roush, was born 23 May, 1910 in Letart, Meigs Co, Ohio. He married Avice Smith on 16, Jul, 1932. He died young, age 40, on June 7, 1950.

Larry Gene Roush was born on Feb 25, 1935, in Oklahoma to Lawrence Hiram Roush and Avice Smith Roush in Chester, Ohio. Larry married Marietta Jane Murry on 16 Mar, 1962. They had three childen, Darryn and twins Rowdy and Robie, born 3 Mar, 1967. Larry and Marietta were divorced 12 Jan, 1978.