"These O'Rourkes are not my close relatives, but somewhere in the ancient Irish past these people and I have a common ancestor." -- W. F. O'Rourke

The O'Rourkes of Pine Ridge Reservation

compiled by
Warren F. O'Rourke
Birmingham, Alabama

This website was started in 2010.

Click on this box to find out

You may want to visit this site again. I keep adding new stuff from time to time.
This site was last updated on October 17, 2011.

Elsewhere, at Why There Are Sioux Indians Named O'Rourke: The Life and Times of Georgiana "Burnt Thigh" Terry O'Rourke and John "Jack" O'Rourke, I warned my readers that there was a great deal more info about Clan O'Rourke's Oglala Sioux members. Well, here comes some more stuff you might enjoy seeing.

The Sioux O'Rourkes have done a bit better than most residents in obtaining formal education:

For better or worse here is a listing of Sioux O'Rourkes who have made the news recently:

1. Patrick O'Rourke, 27, from the reservation town of Kyle, was recently sentenced to 36 months in prison for statutory rape.

2. Samuel O'Rourke, Sr., has a successful home construction and plumbing contracting business in the reservation town of Pine Ridge. Sam is also the Director of the Oglala Sioux Tribe Water and Sewer Board which manages water and sewer service on Pine Ridge Reservation.

3. Bette Janis O'Rourke owns and operates one of the very few restaurants on the reservation, Bette's Kitchen. Bette is also the granddaughter of the famous Sioux medicine man, Black Elk.

4. Whitney O'Rourke, 21, lives on a ranch near the reservation town of Pine Ridge. Also at that ranch are parents Tom amd Lori O'Rourke and younger sister Sadie. Whitney is a prize-winning rodeo rider.

5. Ray O'Rourke recently arranged for his step-father's funeral services to take place at Little Wound School in Pine Ridge and the burial to take place at St. Steven's Catholic Church in Kyle. (Many reservation residents are Catholics.)

6. Lora O'Rourke was appointed Acting Pine Ridge District Ranger in June of 2011. She is currently working on restoring drinking water to Roberts Trailhead Visitor's Center.

7. In 2010 Tom O'Rourke from Pine Ridge was Tribal Chief of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation in southeastern South Dakota.

8. Sally Broken Rope-O'Rourke serves as an interpreter for Lakota-speaking reservation residents when they have to go to court or when they have to go to tribal or Bureau of Indian Affairs offices. (There are still many older reservation residents who are fluent only in the Lakota language.)

9. Georgia O'Rourke, a member of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in the reservation town of Kyle, received the Sacrament of Confirmation when Bishop Cupich visited the reservation in 2010.

10. In 1996 Sunny O'Rourke graduated from Little Wound School in Kyle. She is married now and is known as Sunny O'Rourke Wiest. Samuel Patrick O'Rourke (see next entry) is Sunny's brother.

11. Samuel Patrick O'Rourke is known on the reservation as "Sam O." He has a young son named Lou Diamond Thomas O'Rourke.

The list just above deals with Sioux O'Rourkes who are currently alive. Now let's look at some who have already passed on:

The cemeteries on Pine Ridge Reservation are full of Georgiana and Jack O'Rourke's descendants who were carried on the Bureau of Indian Affairs census rolls as Oglala Sioux. Here, in the order of their birth, is a small sampling of Clan O'Rourke's Sioux members who lived on the reservation. Any photos or snippets of information about these folks I have discovered is also included:

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Tom O'Rourke (1877-1950) -- He was the the first child of Jack and Georgiana.

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Charles O'Rourke (1883-1934) -- This guy was a son of Georgiana and Jack O'Rourke.

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Emma O'Rourke (1885-1975) -- She was a daughter of Georgiana and Jack. Somewhere around 1900 she married an Oglala named George Cottier (another descendant of a French fur trapper!) According to the old records, they kept a home on Pine Ridge until by 1965 she was too old to live on her own. She and George had two children, a girl and and a boy named George. Her son moved south to Rushville, Nebraska. In her declining years, Emma and her daughter went to live with George in Rushville, where Emma died and was buried in 1975.

The 2010 telephone directory that includes Rushville lists five people named Cottier, including a George H. Cottier. He's most likely the great-grandson of Georgiana and Jack.

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Samuel O'Rourke (1887-1936) -- He was a son of Georgiana and Jack. He was successful enough to afford having an 1890's cabinet photo made at a studio in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (See pix immediately below.) His grave is in St. Stephen's Catholic Cemetery near Kyle.

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Annie O'Rourke (1879-1922) -- She was a daughter of Georgiana and old Jack. She was known in the family for her beauty. She married George H. Lange and they had eleven(!) children, 6 boys and 5 girls. (Maybe that's why she died at 43; she was worn out.)

Current telephone directories list 77(!) Langes living on and near the Pine Ridge Reservation. Many of them are direct descendants of old Jack O'Rourke from Louisiana.

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John O'Rourke, Jr. (1893-1939) -- Usually the first son is named after the father, but John Jr. was the last child of Georgiana and Jack. Records list four children for John Jr. and his wife: Barbara, Glesner, Kenneth, and William.

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Beathrie O'Rourke (1904-1934) -- She is buried in St. Barbara's Catholic Cemetery near Kyle, South Dakota. She is probably a grand-daughter of of Georgiana and the original Jack. (St. Barbara's is a very small church. In 1941 a worker on a WPA grave registration project counted only 14 graves in the church cemetery. Nine of the fourteen were members of the O'Rourke family. By the way, there were several very small Catholic churches in the vicinity of Kyle. The Catholics worked hard at converting the Indians.)

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Jack O'Rourke (1904-1963) -- Known as "Uncle Dick" in the family, this Jack was a son of Charles and a grandson of the original Jack O'Rourke from Louisiana.

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Isabelle Marie O'Rourke (1906-1950) -- She was a daughter of Charles O'Rourke and a grand-daughter of Georgiana and the original Jack.

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Louise Ann O'Rourke (1908-1987) -- A grand-daughter of Jack and Georgiana, she was the adorable little daughter of Charles O'Rourke(see pix above). As an adult she was married to John McCoy who was an Air Force diesel mechanic who worked at secret U.S. surveillance sites in the mountains of Turkey and other overseas assignments. While overseas, John, Louise, and John's daughter Patricia from John's previous marriage kept a home in Morocco. After the military career was over, they returned to the U.S. and lived in San Diego where she was often visited by relatives from Pine Ridge, especially her younger brother and sister, Stanley and Evelyn "Vi" O'Rourke. When Patricia married and moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin, John and Louise soon followed them so they could enjoy being near their only grandchildren. When she and John died in Green Bay, their ashes were taken to Pine Ridge Reservation for burial. Louise travelled the world, but the reservation was her real home.

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Lloyd Clement O'Rourke (1909-1985) -- Grandson of Georgiana and Jack; son of Thomas and Rose.

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Agnes O'Rourke (1910-1924)

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Henry O'Rourke (1912-1983) -- Another grandson of Georgiana and the original Jack.

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Stanley O'Rourke (1913-1986) -- Another grandson of Georgiana and the original Jack, this guy was the adorable Louise's younger brother. Stanley was an expert horseman like his father Charles O'Rourke and worked on horse ranches on the Pine Ridge Reservation most of his life. There is no record that he ever married, but his nieces and nephews were very fond of him.

There is a family legend about the last group of horses Stanley trained: As Stanley's funeral procession passed the pasture of the last ranch where he had worked, all of Stanley's horses came over to the fence near the road and watched quietly as their trainer's hearse passed by. . .at least that's how the family tells it.

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Lawrence Thomas O'Rourke (1914-1987) -- Another grandson of the original Jack O'Rourke.

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Glesner O'Rourke (1918-1964) -- Grandson of the original Jack and son of John Jr.

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Barbara O'Rourke (1918-1975) -- Grand-daughter of the original Jack and daughter of John Jr. She married David Brewer around 1940. The 2010 telephone directory for the area that includes Kyle lists two Brewers living in Kyle who are either great-grandhildren or great-great grandchildren of Georgiana and Jack O'Rourke.

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Evelyn Mabel O'Rourke (1918-2006) -- She was a graduate of Holy Rosary School on the Pine Ridge Reservation. She was "adorable" Louise's younger sister and even moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin, to be close to her sister. She was known for her "dancing blue eyes." She always called herself Violet or "Vi" and she served as a nurse in World War Two. In her later years she was known as "Grandma Vi," and one of her grandchildren said that her early photographs showed "she could have given any movie star a run for her money." Like her older sister Louiise, Evelyn saw a lot of the world outside the reservation; when she died, however, she was buried in St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery near Kyle.

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Delbert F. O'Rourke (1927-1933) -- Only six years old!

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Donna Lee O'Rourke (1940-1944) -- Only four years old! As the image below shows, Lawrence and Lois lost two very young daughters within a period of less than five years. They were probably great-grand-daughters of Jack and Georgiana.

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Darrel O'Rourke (1944-2007) -- This guy was a Vietnam vet.

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