Rourk traces roots 150 years

By SUSAN LYNN
Register Editor

Delma Rourk

Delma Rourk’s roots in Allen County go as far back as the early settlers of Iola. She and her husband, Lawrence, continue to live in the house and on the land her grandfather bought in 1900 two-and-a-fourth miles west of Iola on U.S. 54.
She’s a fourth-generation Iolan, going all the way back to her great-grandparents, James Wallace and Mary Ann McKenzie Drake, who were married in 1861 in Carlyle and lived on a farm north of Iola on today’s old highway 169.
James Wallace left his young family to serve in the Civil War with Company E, Ninth Kansas Calvary. He participated in the battles of Prairie Grove, Johnstown, Stone Lane and Westport, being honorably discharged in November, 1865, having served for three years and three months.
The Drakes had seven children, including Delma Rourk’s grandmother, Viola Ann Drake, who was born Christmas Day, 1866.
She married John Harris in 1900 in Iola. They had three children, including Delma’s father, George Harris, who was born in Iola in 1906. He married Daisy Cleo Chrowl in 1928.
They had two children, Delma Marie and her brother, George Duane, who died in 1978 in a car accident. He had no children.
Delma and Lawrence Edward Rourk were married in 1950. He was born in Swartz, Mo.
They have two children, Debra Kay, 57, who works as a receptionist at Allen County Hospital, and a son, Larry, 51, who works at Monarch Cement in Humboldt. Larry and his wife, Angela, have two sons, Paiden, 21, and Avery, 17.
Delma and Lawrence had a third child, Leon, who died in infancy.
Remaining on the family homestead has been meaningful, Rourk said, as has working in the community.
She continues to work at Thompson Realty.