Colby Rucker and his unusual escape from a British Prison Camp during the Revolutionary War


Colby Rucker was born on October 10, 1760, in Culpeper County, Virginia to Peter and Sarah (Wisdom) Rucker. Soon after his birth, his father moved the family to Natchez, Mississippi. At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, Colby and his father had several arguments over whether or not they should be involved in the War. At this time Mississippi was actually part of Florida and the British had taken this land from the French. At the age of 17, Colby left home with his friend Henry Pumphrey and they joined the fight. The British had taken Fort Panmure at Natchez and they helped to take it back. Because of this, he had difficulty with his father so he and Henry left Mississippi to join William Blount in North Carolina. On their way to North Carolina Colby and Henry were captured by the British. They were held in prison for several months under extreme hardship. Colby devised a plan to escape. Every day the women in the town would bring the prisoners food. Colby had some of the women from the town smuggle in some women’s clothing. So, dressed as women, Colby and Henry walked out of prison along with all the other women. They immediately joined the North Carolina militia and fought with them until the end of the war.

Colby never returned to Mississippi. He met and married Sarah Roberts in 1784 in Wilkes County North Carolina. They had eight children. In 1810 he moved his family to Grainger County, Tennessee. He died on January 20, 1852 at the age of 91.

14 thoughts on “Colby Rucker and his unusual escape from a British Prison Camp during the Revolutionary War

      1. I descend from Colby’s son William, and then William’s son Abner. When did your branch of the family leave Tennessee? Abner moved to Ruckerville, Kentucky after the Civil War and he married his 2nd and 3rd wives there. I descend from his 2nd wife Elizabeth (Betty) Locknane Rucker, who died at a young age. I enjoyed reading your story about Colby. How did you learn that his father was a loyalist? I had wondered about that since they moved to British West Florida (Natchez).

      2. My line goes Colby- Sarah who married Thomas Hayes- George W. Hayes who married his first cousin Elizabeth Coffey. George and family moved to Missouri from TN after the Civil War. The story about Colby and his father was found in the DAR paperwork.

  1. I am a relative also. Just visited the cemetery yesterday! My maiden name was Coffey [I am born/raised in SW Oklahoma] from Kenneth C from Edgar C from Frank C from Calton Coffey [he is buried in Diamond Cemetery near Comanche OK]. Then Benjamin Coffey [married to Nancy Hayes] and before him John Coffey who was married to Elizabeth Rucker [from Colby Rucker and Sarah] and that John was from another Benjamin Coffey [married to Mary Hayes].

  2. I am so excited to find this and many other internet sites on the Rucker family. My name is Sherry Lynn Hachler Cox. My mother was Wilma G. Sumner, her mother, Talitha Ann Duffer, her mother. Lucinda Catherine McGinnis, her mother Margaret Rucker, her father William Rucker, his father Colby Rucker, his father, Peter Rucker. I have a booklet compiled by Linda Duffer Strick that has some interesting information about the Peter Rucker family and that is all I had till I found this. Very excited. I am a native of Missouri and live near the Lake of the Ozarks.

    1. Yay a new cousin! There is a Rucker Family Society that you could join if you wanted to. They have tons of information, and they have reunions. Just google “Rucker Family” and it should come up. I have other blogs on some other Ruckers also. I was born in Missouri but have lived in AZ most of my life.

      1. I had completely forgotten about writing this. I will look up “Rucker Family” now. Thanks for your reply.

  3. Im a 3rd great grandson of Colbert Hayes, who was the grandson of Colby Rucker. Colbert was the son of Sarah and Thomas Hayes.

      1. So nice to meet you! Colbert Hayes was the father of Matilda Ruth Hayes, a 2nd great grandmother on my paternal grandfathers side. They lived in Rockcastle County, (Mt. Vernon) Kentucky, but I believe Colbert was from the neighboring County of Pulaski, where Somerset, Kentucky is located.

  4. I would say we are cousins! John Coffey and Elizabeth Rucker Coffey were my 4 great grandparents. Their daughter Mary J Coffey McSwain was my 3great grandmother, Sarah Ann McSwain Wise 2 great grandmother and (Sarah)Nell Wise my grandmother.

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