The Mystery Surrounding
James M LARK

See Information on DNA testing

DNA testing has shown that James M. LARK b 10 Apr 1828 in Russell County, VA matches the DNA of the descendents of James McFarlane, Sr. 

The family tree of James M. LARK looks like this:

- James M. LARK b 10 Apr 1828 - d 28 Mar 1907
          - James M. McFarlane (Dr.) b  1790 - d abt 1849 or 1850.  
                   - Col James McFarlane b 1767, Staunton, VA; d 24 Mar 1830 Russell Co, VA
                             - William McFarlane - b1725 Scotland 
                                        - Duncan McFarland 1706 - 1768  - Immigrant, born in Scotland
                                                   - Alexander McFarland or Robert McFarland b Scotland
                                                            - Robert Merrill McFarland b 1640 Scotland 

This file is copied from the Russell County, Virginia Law Order Book 10, 1833-1838.   This page is dated December 3, 1833 and states:  "Ordered that James Matthew Lark a bastard child of Polly Lark, be bound by the overseer of the poor as an apprentice to John H. Moon."  (Possibly Moore?)  

This is the same file in a PDF File format. 

* James M. LARK (my great great grandfather) - Who were his parents?   

My father told me stories, since I was a young girl, of one of our LARK ancestors in some type of trouble with the law.   "Perhaps this Lark ancestor was a horse rustler," my father would say, "fleeing from Maryland to Virginia ".   As the story goes, my father told of this LARK  ancestor changing his surname from FINNEY to LARK to escape the law.   Years ago, when I visited Russell County, I met Jerry LARK, my 2nd cousin 1 time removed, who had heard a similar story but thought the LARK surname was changed from MCFARLANE to LARK.   As it has been difficult to determine the parents of James M LARK, these stories have never left my mind. 

I've been searching for the parents of James M. LARK, born 10 April 1828 in Russell County, Virginia for many many years.  James M. LARK would have been approximately 22 years old in 1850 and did not appear on the 1850 Census in Virginia or any surrounding states.    James M. LARK, probably did not marry until after 1850, as his wife, Elizabeth AMBURGEY, was enumerated with her parents on the 1850 Census.  James M. LARK did appear in Russell County, on the 1860 Census and subsequent census records as the head of household, until his death 28 March 1907.  Marriage and death records were destroyed by fire, so parents name could not be obtained through these vital records.   James M. LARK served in the 29th Virginia Infantry, Company G, with no reference on Civil War Records to his parents.   And as the search has continued, with the help of Victor Dunn, Virginia Ancestry.com the mystery, of who was James M. LARK's parents is a lot closer to being solved -- and both surname (FINNEY and MCFARLANE) may bare a bit of truth. 

James M. LARK, b1828 was the son of Polly LARK.   On 3 December 1833 it was "ordered that James Matthew LARK a bastard child of Polly LARK be bound by the overseer of the poor as an apprentice to John H. Moon"[Moore?].   Several months later, "Upon report of the overseers of the poor, it is ordered that the following names poor children be bound out by them according to law.... James M. LARK to George FINNEY, Jr".  

Interestingly enough, enumerated with George FINNEY, Jr on the 1850 Census is a James MCFARLANE, 21 years old - born c 1829.   James MCFARLANE and James LARK are close in age.   Perhaps James MCFARLANE is an alias for James M LARK, using the MCFARLANE surname in hopes of inheriting property from James MCFARLANE who died in 1849-1850, a slave owner and charged with adultery in 1821?   

It's important to note, that this George FINNEY, Jr is the brother to James FINNEY married to Dorcas LOCKHART.   James FINNEY and Dorcas LOCKHART are my great great great grandparents on my father's mother side (following the THOMPSON line).   Oh what a family tree!  

Original thoughts on the parentage of James M Lark are below.   I did not delete this information as Polly Lark is probably the son of one of the Michael Lark's in Russell County-- Keep in mind Polly LARK is the mother of James M LARK --- his father as yet to be determined.   


* Michael Lark - Could one of the Michael Lark's been his father?  --- NO, but one of the Michael Lark's could have been James M LARK's grandfather!

Original thoughts:  

Many researchers try to link James M. Lark with Michael Lark without really researching the four (4) Michael Lark's that eventually appear in Russell and Scott  Counties.   In fact, on the 1830 Census there were two (2) Michael Lark's listed as heads of household, in Russell County, VA, both with males listed in the correct age groups, that would have been their sons, Michael Larks. 

On the 1840 Census three (3) Michael Lark's appear; one (1) in Russell County and two (2) in Scott County.  This is the first appearance of Michael Lark in Scott County. 

On the 1850 Census a Michael Lark (age 66, Birthplace MD) is listed in Russell County, enumerated with a Michael Lark (age 25, Birthplace Russell County).   Probably father and son.   And on the 1850 Census two(2) Michael Lark's appear as head of households; one (1) Michael Lark (age 61, Birthplace Pennsylvania) the other Michael Lark (age 29) probably father and son that moved from Russell County, VA.  

If Michael Lark was James M. Lark's father, which one?  Probably the Michael Lark, born 1784 in Maryland, married to Nancy born 1796 in North Carolina.