THE
SPARKS QUARTERLY

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION

“He who careth not from whence be came, careth little whither he goeth” Daniel Webster


VOL. IV, NO. 2 
JUNE, 1956 
WHOLE NO. 14a

 
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THE SPARKS FAMILY OF ORANGE, CULPEPER AND MADISON COUNTIES, VIRGINIA

Compiled by

Russell E. Bidlack

    Several members of The Sparks Family Association descend from a branch of the Sparks family which settled in Orange County, Virginia, in 1737, in that section which became Culpeper County in 1748 and Madison County in 1793. Thus it has been necessary to search the records of all three of these counties in order to piece together a genealogy of this branch of the family. Mention must also be made of the fact that in 1737 the county of Orange and St. Mark’s Parish embraced the same area, but in 1752 the section in which the Sparkses lived became Broomfield Parish.

    The part of Orange County (now Madison County) in which the Sparkses setbled lies on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the Piedmont section. The Sparks farms were located along the Robinson River about halfway between the present-day city of Madison and the town of Oak Park. The topography of this area is composed of hills and valleys with an occasional mountain which was usually named after one of the early settlers. For example, Hume’s Mountain, about two miles north of the Sparks farms, was named after George Hume (1697-1760) who came to Orange County in the 1720’s and whose descendants intermarried with the Sparks family.

    In 1737 all of this land was covered with large timber, which, in most places, was dense with vine and underbrush. According to Claude L. Yowell (A History of Madison County, Strasburg, 1926, page 36) “game was very plentiful; there weredeer, bears, wolves, foxes, and other smaller game. Large herds of deer could be seen grazing on the small patches of land cleared by the Indians, or where a few blades of grass sprang up in the less dense forest. Wolves roamed in packs and at night their howls broke the stillness of the surrounding hills.”

    Some German settlers took up land along the Robinson River in Orange County in 1725 and at about this time land speculators in some of the older Virginia counties began patenting, or obtaining title to, large tracts (from one to fifteen thousand acres) in the same area. One of these speculators was Richard Mauldin, a merchant and planter of Caroline County, who obtained several patents (or grants), one a two thousand acre tract in 1734. Since it was from Richard Mauldin that the Sparkses purchased farms in 1737 and again in 1740, it is interesting to note that he was one of the first justices of Orange County when it was created in 1734, and that earlier

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THE SPARKS QUARTERLY, published by The Sparks Family Association
Paul E. Sparks, President, 155 N. Hite Ave., Louisville 6, Kentucky
Oral A. Sparks, Vice—President, R.F.D., Clio, Iowa
Melva (Sparks) Bidlack, Sec’y.-Treas., 1131 Granger Ave., Ann Arbor, Mich.
William Perry Johnson, Historian—Genealogist, Box 531, Raleigh, N.C.
Russell E. Bidlack, Editor, 1131 Granger Ave., Ann Arbor, Mich.

Membership in The Sparks Family Association is open to all persons connected in any way with the Sparks family, whether by blood, marriage, or adoption, and especially to those interested in genealogical and historical research.. Membership falls into three classes: active, contributing, and sustaining. Active membership dues are one dollar per year; contributing memhersnip dues are two dollars per year; and sustaining membership dues are any amount over two dollars. All members, whether active, contributing, or sustaining, receive THE SPARKS QUARTERLY as it is published in March, June, September, and December. Libraries, genealogical and historical societies, and individuals may subscribe to the QUARTERLY, without joining the Association, at the rate of one dollar per year. Back issues are kept in print and are available for twenty-five cents per issue. 

he had been one of the king’s magistrates appointed by Governor Gooch in 1727 to set up Caroline County.  In 1728, however, the governor removed him from the court for criticizing the tobacco laws.  According to T. E. Campbell (Colonial Caroline, Richmond, 1954), Mauldin had his business establishment at Chesterfield in Caroline County near the junction of two important Indian trails. He had acquired land in this area as early as 1715 (when it was part of King William County) by bringing settlers from England to Virginia, 5O acres being granted for each settler brought in. For a while he operated his trading post in partnership with Thomas Mallory, but after his removal from the court, he sold his business at Chesterfield to his partner and opened a new establishment further north. There he remained in business until about 1750 when he sold out to Peter Copeland. He died in 1752.

JOHN AND MARY SPARKS

In 1931 the late William B. Newman, who was a prominent genealogist, did some research on this Sparks family of Orange, Culpeper and Madison Counties. His interest at this time was primarily in the Towles and Clark families, but since the Sparkses had intermarried with these families, he extended his research to include them. He published his findings in an article entitled “Towles and Clark Families” in Vol. XIII, No. 1 (July, 1931) of Tyler’s Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine.

Without revealng his source, although much of his material was taken from court records in Madison County, Mr. Newman stated that the ancestors of this branch of the Sparks family were JOHN and MARY SPARKS who had the following children: (1) Thomas, (2) Zachary (or Zachariah), (3) William, (4) Jane, and (5) Elizabeth. Later research makes it almost certain that John and Mary Sparks had another son, named Henry.

Mr. Newman did not indicate where John and Mary Sparks were living when their children were born. There is a birth recorded in the Parish Register of Christ Church, Middlesex County, Va., which may be that of the son William. This entry reads as follows: “William Son of John & Mary Sparkes born March 6. 1716 & baptized Ap. ye 7 1717.” (page 96, The Parish Register of Christ Church, Middlesex County, Va. from 1653 to 1812, Richmond, 1897)  However, a thorouigh search of the Middlesex County deeds and wills by William Perry Johnson has failed to reveal a single Sparks mentioned in the records of that county. Furthermore, several clues point to Caroline County, Va., as having been the home of the Sparkses before they moved to Orange

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County (now Madison County). Orange County was settled largely by Caroline County families, in fact, nearly all of those who settled near the Sparkses can be traced to Caroline. T. E. Campbell states that “Orange, which contained the closest unsettled land, became a virtual colony of Caroline.” (Colonial Caroline, page 130) Caroline County was created in 1727 from Essex, King and Queen, and King William Counties. It is interesting to note that on a tax list of King and Queen County for 1704 there is a John Sparks listed as owning 200 acres - - he may well have been the John Sparks whose sons came to Orange County in 1737. (It is significant that King and Queen County adjoined Middlesex County on the west.)

Unfortunately, nearly all early Caroline County records were burned during the Civil War, making research in that area extremely difficult. T. E. Campbell, in his recent book, Colonial Caroline, has reproduced all the records found in the Order Books which begin in 1732 - - being the only county records which survived the Civil War. Unfortunately, the name Sparks does not appear in these records. If John Sparks did live in Caroline County, he must have died before 1732 or reference to the settlement of his estate would surely have appeared in these Order Books. It seems quite definite that he had died before 1737, when his children moved to Orange County. His name does not appear in any of the Orange records and it is known that his widow, Mary Sparks, married Spencer Bobo as her second husband. When this marriage took place has not been determined, but Spencer Bobo came to Orange County at the same time as the Sparkses. He bought 150 acres on the north side of Robinson River on 24 Nov. 1737 from Henry Kendal. Spencer Bobo is described in this deed as “of Caroline County” - - he doubtless moved to Orange County shortly after buying this land.

Our record of the Sparkses in Orange County is limited largely to the deeds by which they acquired their farms. After Culpeper County was formed in 1748, the deeds, probate records, and tax lists of that county provide important additional data on the family. The data thus collected have been arranged in four parts--each part being devoted to a sketch of one of the four Sparks brothers - - Thomas, Zachary, Henry and William.  Before taking up these sons of John and Mary Sparks, however, something should be said regarding their sisters, Jane and Elizabeth.

Jane Sparks, daughter of John and Mary Sparks, was probably born about 1720. She married, first, Thomas Wharton by whom she had children named Sarah (born 1738, married William Clark, Jr., 1739-1815, and had James, Lucy, John, Jane, Reuben, Ann, and William) and John (died Nashville, Tenn., 28 Feb. 1816 in the 70th year of his age; by his wife, Rhoda, who died in 1827, he had sons named George, William, John, Austin, Jesse, Samuel L., and Dabney M.). By 28 Feb. 1748, Jane had married, as his second wife, Stokeley Towles, on which date Thomas Wharton’s estate was settled by Stokeley Towles. Jane’s second husband, Stokeley Towles, was a generation older than Jane for he was born about 1690. By her second husband, Jame had two more children: Mary (born 12 April 1749, married 1765 John Clark, 1741-1831, and had William, Mary, John, Henry, Jane, Abner, Reuben, Edmund, James, Lucy and Sarah) and Henry (born 15 March 1756, never married).  It is interesting to note that Stokeley Towles also had had children named Mary and Henry by his first wife, Ann, which must have been confusing even to immediate members of the family. To further confuse the genealogist, the first Mary Towles (born 1 Nov. 1723) married Thomas Sparks, Jane’s brother. Stokeley Towles died in 1757 and in his will he named his wife, Jane, and her step-father, Spencer Bobo, as executors.

Mr. Newman stated that John and Mary Sparks also had a daughter named Elizabeth who married Jasper Haynes, Sr. It is known from official records that Jasper Haynes’s wife was named Elizabeth. That she was Elizabeth Sparks, however, seeme doubtful since the daughter of Jasper Haynes, who was also named Elizabeth, is known to have married William Sparks. Thus, if the mother of Elizabeth (Haynes) Sparks was a daughter of John and Mary Sparks, then William Sparks married his own niece. Although there are instances of such marriages taking place, they are extremely rare;

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it seems more probable that Mr. Newman made an error. Possibly John and Mary Sparks did not even have a daughter named Elizabeth, but if they did it is unlikely that she married Jasper Haynes.

PART I

THOMAS SPARKS (died 1787), SON OF JOHN AND MARY SPARKS

Thomas Sparks, son of John and Mary Sparks, was born somewhere in Virginia about 1715. It is believed that he came to Orange County in 1737. On 25 May 1737 he purchased from Richard Mauldin, for “seven pounds currant Money,” a tract containing 200 acres which was described in the deed as follows: “Beginning at a white Oake, thence North Eighty five [degrees] West one Hundred & forty poles to a pine, thence North to the River to a Chesnut and Gum, thence Down the Several Corsies of the said River to the Beginning.” The river here referred to was the Robinson River. The witnesses to this deed were Timothy Terrell, George Martin and John Christopher; it was proved in Orange County Court on the following day. In this deed Thomas Sparks is described as being of Orange County.

Thomas Sparks was unmarried when he settled in Orange County, Va., but within a few years he married Mary Towles, daughter of Stokeley and Arm (Vallott) Towles, Mary Towles had been born on 1 Nov. 1723 in Middlesex County near the town of Jamaica where her parents had lived since their marriage on 21 Oct. 1708. Her birth is recorded in the Parish Register of Christ Church as follows (p. 113):  “Mary daughter of Stockly & Anne Towles born November ye 1. baptized Novembr ye 24. 1723.” Mary’s father, Stokeley Towles, was born about 1690, being the son of Henry Towles who had come from Liverpool, England, to Accomac County, Va., and married Anne Stokely (the Stokely family had settled at an early date on the Eastern Shore of Virginia). Mary’s mother, Ann Vallott (born 14 Aug. 1693) was the daughter of Claude Vallott, who was also known as Claude Champagne. Mr. Newman states that on 6 Oct. 1684, Claude Vallott deposed that he was 35 years old. Also according to Newman, “Vallott’s wife was Ann (nee Jenkinson), who married, second, Angell Jacobus, third, Philip Calvert. Ann Jenkinson’s sister, Mary ‘of Cumberland, England,’ married John Nash and her mother, Dorothy, married, second, Christopher Fisher ‘of Ireland’ .“

In 1737 Stokeley Towles moved to a plantation on the north side of Robinson River, at the foot of Thoroughfare Mountain, then in Orange County, Va., now Madison County, which is located about five miles north of where the Sparkses settled. His family, except his sons Oliver and Henry, either accompanied him or soon joined him. His wife, Ann, died in Orange County sometime between 1742 and 1748 and, as stated above, Stokeley married as his second wife, Jane (Sparks) Wharton, widow of Thomas Wharton and daughter of John and Mary Sparks. Thus, Thomas Sparks’s sister Jane was the second wife of his father-in-law, Stokeley Towles. Towles died in 1757. His will was dated Jan. 15th and was proved in court on Dec. 15th. His wife, Jane, and her step-father, Spencer Bobo, were made executors of his estate and ha directed that the bulk of his property be “divided amongst all my children, young and old.” His phraseology is understandable when one realizes that he had a total of fifteen children, the oldest of whom was born about 1710 and the youngest in 1756. When Henry Towles, brother of Mary (Towles) Sparks, died in 1749 in Middlesex County he willed a slave to “the eldest son of my sister Mary Sparks.” This eldest son, as will be seen later, was named John Sparks (probably in memory of Thomas’s father) and was only four or five years old when he inherited the slave. No doubt Thomas was able to put the slave to good use while his son was growing up.

The earliest record of Thomas Sparks in Orange County, apart from the land records, is a court order dated 28 May 1741 which reads: “Thomas Sparks, Junior, is hereby

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appointed Constable in room of Simon Miller & it’s ordered that he be summoned to the next Court to be sworn into the said office accordingly.” This is the only record in which Thomas Sparks is called “Junior”--perhaps it was an error made by the clerk or it may mean that another, older Thomas Sparks was living in the area. Counties were divided into precincts and within each precinct there was a constable to enforce the law and maintain order. The office was without a fixed term. The fact that Thomas Sparks was appointed to this office means that the court considered him to be a trustworthy and respected member of the community.

In all probability Thomas Sparks was not a wealthy nan when he began farming his 200 acres in Orange County. Apparently he did not own any slaves and he probably had to clear his land with his own hands before planting his first crop of tobacco and cotton. By 1748, however, he was able to buy more land. On 23 March 1748 he parchased from George and Mary Martin of Caroline County a tract containing 200 acres for “Twenty Pounds Curt Money of Virga” located “amongst the Hollow of the great Mountains.” It was described as follows in the deed: “Beginning at two Dogwoods & a Chesnut on a Point in the dividing line between the said George Martin & Majr’ Philip Roots & running thence North forty eight Degrees East one hundred Pole to a Corner white Oak on the River running the several Courses of the sd River to the Upper Line & thence North fifteen Degrees West three hundred & thirty six Pole to a Corner in the sd Philip Roots upper Line thence along the sd Line South sixty [degrees] West ninety eight Pole to two Corner Hickorys & two Dogwoods on a Knool being the dividing Corner between the sd Roots & the sd Martin thence along the sd Root’s Line South fifteen Degrees East three hundred & thirty eight Pole to the Beginning.” This deed was witnessed by Thomas Milam, Russell Hill and John Towles. On 18 Oct. 1750 Thomas Sparks sold this tract to Ambrose Powell for “Twenty five pounds Current money of Virginia.” Mary, his wife, also signed the deed (by mark) and the witnesses were P. Clayton, Wm. Stanton, Thos. Brown and Richard Thomas.

Exactly one year before this, on 18 Oct. 1749, Thomas Sparks had sold to Ambrose Powell for “Three pounds Eighteen Shillings Lawful money” 39 acres of his original tract, which is described as follows: “Beginning at a Small White oak in John Wilson’s Line Corner to the Said Sparks and the said Powell running thence with their Line North twenty two degrees East two hundred & thirty two Pole to two Poplars on the Robinson River side Another Corner to the said Sparks and Powell thence up the said River to a Maple and Wild Cherry tree at the mouth of a Branch thence up the said Branch to the Head thereof to three white Oak Saplins thence South (by a Line) to two Pines standing in or near the said Wilsons Line thence with his Line to the Beginning, containing Thirty nine Acres being part of that tract or parcel of Land whereon the said Thomas Sparks now lives.” Mary Sparks and Thomas Sparks both signed this deed (Mary by mark) and the following were witnesses: Robert Coleman, Philip Clayton, Richard Thomas and H. Field. Ambrose Powell, who purchased these two tracts, was usually referred to as “Gentleman” for he was the surveyor of Culpeper County and a vestryman in Bromfield Parish when it was formed in 1752. He figures in Virginia history for in 1750 he accompanied Dr. Thomas Walker in his famous “Western Expedition” and thus explored the Kentucky Country before Daniel Boone. He was also the god-father of Pres. James Madison’s father. His will was proved in Culpeper County on 20 Oct. 1788.

On 21 Oct. 1764 Thomas Sparks made what was perhaps his largest investment during his lifetime--for 70 pounds he purchased a tract containing 430 acres. He bought this land from John and Margaret (Daniel) Towles of Fauquier County--John Towles being his brother-in-law. The tract is described in the deed as follows: “Beginning at a red Oak Corner to George Martain and John Riley thence with Martains line North thirty three degrees west one Hundred and Sixty Seven poles to a large white oak on the top of a Hill Corner to the said Martain the Course Continued forty poles to three red Oaks on a Steep hill side thence north thirty degrees East one

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Hundred & Fifty nine poles to a red Oak in Stonehouse run thence Down the Several Meanders of the said Stonehouse run to a forked Oak on the Bank of the run South thirty degrees East Eighty poles to three red oaks thence South Sixty five Degrees West one Hundred and Seventy two poles to a poplar and a white Oak South Eighty two degrees East Ninety poles [to] a red oak Corner to John Riley thence South twenty eight degrees west three Hundred and thirty five poles to the Beginning.” The witnesses to this deed were Russell Hill, Paul Hoofman and John Sparks, the latter being Thomas and Mary’s son who had probably just come of age.

In 1785 Thomas Sparks sold 103 acres of this latter purchase to John Creel for “Sixty pounds Current Money of Virginia.” The tract was described as follows:  “Beginning at three Black Oaks in a line of another Tract of the said Sparks thence No. 52 [degrees] Et. one Hundred & Six poles to two Chesnut Oaks & a chestnut on the Side of a Branch thence No. 25 [degrees] Wt. One Hundred & thirty six poles to a Red & white Oak on the South Side of Stonebouse Run thence up the Several Courses of the said Run So. 30 [degrees] Wt. Forty Eight Poles So. 75 [degrees] Wt. Sixteen Poles So. 45 [degrees] Wt, Seventy poles So. 30 [degrees] Wt. 40 Poles and So. 40 [degrees] Wt. Sixty poles to two Gums on the Sd. Stonehouse Run and in or Near the Said Sparkes line and thence with his line So. 61 [degrees] Et. One Hundred & two poles to the Beginning.” Both Thomas arid Mary Sparks signed this deed (Mary signed by signature rather than by mark this time) and there were no witnesses.

The earliest tax list for Culpeper County (called “Rental for Culpeper”) which has been found is dated 1764. Thomas Sparks is listed as owning 463 acres. “A Rental for Culpeper County for the Year 1779” also lists Thomas Sparks with 463 acres.

The first detailed tax list which has been found is that of 1782 on which Thomas Sparks was taxed on only 100 acres. This reduction in acres can probably be accounted for by the fact that, as his will (dated 1784) indicates, he had given farms to two of his sons (Humphrey and John) on which they apparently paid the tax. Thomas Sparks paid a net tax of 3 shillings, 6 pence on his hundred acres. The property tax list of 1782 shows that Thcnnas Sparks owned two horses and eleven cattle. He also owned one slave named Caroline. His son-in-law Russell Vawter, who had married his daughter Mary, was living with Thomas Sparks in 1782 according to this tax list.

On 10 December 1784 Thomas Sparks made his will. It will be noted that he described himself as being “advanced in Years”. He was probably about seventy years old. The will (recorded copy) reads as follows:

“In The name of God amen I Thomas Sparks of Culpeper County living in perfect health and of sound and Desposing memory But advanced in Years do make this my Last Will and Testament for Setling My Temporal Concerns Recommending my soul to Infinet mercy through the Merits of my Redeamer and my body to the Earth to be Entered in a Discreet Manner at the Descretion of my Executors hereafter mentioned--

“Imprimes In cuting of all other Heirs I leave my Estate in form & manner as Followeth.

“I gave to Humphrey Sparks the Land whereon John Sparks now lives which the sd. Humphrey Sparks Exchanged with John Sparks for the Land Humphrey now Lives on; if the said John Sparks do not make Humphrey Sparks a Legal Right to the sd. Land when Required the sd. Humphrey Sparks is to have the Land whereon the sd. John Sparks lives Back again and the sd. John Sparks on making Humphrey Sparks a Right to the Land where he now lives is to Enjoy all that Trace or parcel of .land. whereon the sd John Sparks now lives forever--

“Item 1st I give James Kilby a parcill of Land he lives on which heirs to hold by The Boundaries I made him.

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“Item 2d. I Give to Russell Vawter the land that Thomas Sparks lived on Containing one Hundred Acres.

‘Item 3d. I Give to Henry Sparks a parcell of Land Being part of the Tract I now Live on from Vawters Line to the Back line agreeable to The bounds hereafter made.

“Item. I Give to Jacob Ayler after my wifes Decease or Second Marriage the Land & plantation I now Live on according to the bounds hereafter made.

“I Lend to my Beloved wife During her Life or widowhood Mary Sparks the Remainder of my Estate Both Real & personal and after her Decease or Second Marriage that part of my Estate is to be Equally Divided amongst all my Children namely John, Ann, Humphrey, Lucy, Henry, Thomas, Mary & Frankey. I constitute & appoint to Colo. Henry Hill my Executor for this my last will & Testament   In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & Seal this 10th day of December 1784.

                                                                                                                        [signed] Thos. Sparks

“Item I set this as a Codisal that I appoint my Beloved I constitute and appoint My Beloved [sic] wife Mary Sparks & Adam Snider Executrix & Executors for this my Last will & Testament In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal this 30th Day of December 1784
                                                                                                                        [signed] Thos. Sparks

“Signed Sealed & Delivered in presence of

Thomas Ward
        her
Patty X Ward
        mark
George Theap [?]

The above will was proved “At a Court held for Culpeper County" on 19 Feb. 1787.  Exactly when Thomas Sparks died is not known, but it was probably early in 1787. An inventory of his estate was presented to the court on 18 June 1787, the appraisers being Zachariah Wall, George Passons and John Henshaw. His total estate, exclusive of land, was valued at 138 pounds, 14 shillings and 6 pence. It is interesting to note that his one slave, Caroline, was valued at 60 pounds. Following is a copy of this inventory:

An Inventory of the Estate of Thomas Sparks Decd.


Pounds Shillings Pence
One Negro Named Caroline 60 0 0
One Bay Mare 7 0 0
One Young Black Mare
10
0
0
One Black Mare Colt
4
0
0
Six Young Hogs
2
8
0
Four old Sheep & one Lamb
1
10
0
Seven Head of Cattle
14
0
0
One Feather Bed, Bedstead & Furniture
8
0
0
One       do.             do.               do.
8
0
0
One Rug, one Counterpin, two sheets &  one blanket
1
16
0
One Black Walnut Desk
2
0
0
  One Black Walnut ovel Table
1
 
5
 
0
  One Black Walnut Table
0
 
15
 
0
One Black Walnut Chest
1
0
0

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Pounds Shillings Pence
   One Pine Chest
0
 
5
 
0
   Seven Chairs
1
 
0
 
0
   One Side Saddle
1
 
10
 
0
   One old Gun & one pr. Steelyards
1
 
0
 
0
   Two pots & Hooks & one Dutch oven
1
 
15
 
0
   A parcel of pewter
1
 
15
 
0
   One Tight Cask & Three old Tubs
0
 
9
 
0
   One Frying pan, one pr. Tongs & a Sadle
0
 
6
 
0
   One Brass Spice Morter & a pestle
0
 
5
 
0
   One Washing Tub, Three pails & a Cairn
0
 
10
 
0
   Eight Knives & Ten forks
0
 
7
 
6
   One Cow hide, one old Saddle & Bridle and a piece of Sole Leather
1
 
4
 
0
   One old Cart 
0
 
12
 
0
   Six old Tubs & one old pot
1
 
1
 
0
   One ax, two Hoes & one foot Addze
0
 
12
 
0
   Two ploughs, two pr. flames, One Clevis Iron & a pr. Tow Ropes
0
 
10
 
0
   One Handsaw, one Gauge, one Auger, one Nippers & a Drawing Knife 
0
 
9
 
0
   One Wimble, one Sythe, one Hammer, one Wedge & two --?--
0
 
8
 
0
   One Hackle, one Bell & two Reap hooks
0
 
9
 
0
   Two Butter pots & three old Juggs 
0
 
10
 
0
   One Razor, Hone & Strap
0
 
6
 
0
   One pr. Money Scales & Weights
0
 
4
 
0
   Eight Earthen plates & one Cream pot
0
 
4
 
0
   A parcel of Earthen Ware, Glass peper Box & Looking Glass
0
 
6
 
0
   One Candle Stick, one file, one pair fire dogs&Box lron
0
 
12
 
0
   A parcel of old Books
0
 
12
 
0
   
138
 
14
 
6

Appraised by us:

Zachariah Wall
George Passons
John Henshaw

According to Thomas Sparks's will, he was the father of eight children whom he doubtless listed in the order of their birth. According to Mr. Newman, court records in Madison County indicate that there was another daughter named Mildred whose name was omitted when the will was recorded. In future issues of the Quarterly the descendants of these children will be traced, but only a list of the chi1dren of Thomas and Mary (Towles) Sparks can be given here:

    (1) John Sparks, in all probability the oldest child, was born about 1745. He was probably named after his grandfather, John Sparks. He married Phoebe Smith and had the following children born between 1767 and 1781: Nancy, Robert, Frances, Henry, Thomas, Polly, Susan and Elizabeth. John Sparks died in 1803 and is buried 11 miles north of Oak Park in Madison County, Vt.

    (2) Ann Sparks, who was probably named after her grandmother, Ann (Vallott) Towles, was born about 1747. She married Jacob Aylor to torn her father left his home farm. Nothing has been learned regarding the children of Ann (Sparks) Aylor.

[Scanner's note:  See the QUARTERLY for September, 2001, Whole No. 195,  p. 5571 for the following language relating to "Ann Sparks":  "We now know that Ann was a nickname used by her father for her actual name, Nancy Sparks.  We erroneously stated that she had been married to Jacob Aylor...(she) was married to Jarvis Smith."

    (3) Humphrey Sparks, born about 1749, married Milly Nalle, daughter of Martin and Isabel Nalle. Humphrey Sparks moved to Scott County, Kentucky, in 1795 and

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later moved to Owen County, Ky. The children of Humphrey and Milly (Nabbe) Sparks were: Caty (mentioned in her grandfather Nalle’s will in 1783), Mareba, Fanny, Martin, Isabella, Mibly and Humphrey.

    (4) Lucy Sparks, born about 1751, married James Kilby to whom Thomas Sparks left land in his will. Lucy (Sparks) Kilby had the following children: Thomas, Joseph, LeRoy, John, Henry and Fannie.

    (5) Henry Sparks, born 16 June 1753, served in the Revolution and later received a pension for this service. His pension papers will be printed in a later issue of the Quarterly. He married Lucy Clark, daughter of Captain James and Mary (Marston) Clark, in Jan. 1776. In 1795 Henry Sparks moved to Franklin County, Ky., settling in that section of Franklin County which became Owen County in 1819. He died there on 14 Aug. 1836. Henry and Lucy (Clark) Sparks had the following children, born between 1777 and 1810: Elizabeth, James B., Anthony, William, Thomas, Mary, Reuben, Madison, Rhoda, John, Alexander Iverson, and Henry.

    (6) Thomas Sparks, born about 1755. His name appears on the tax list of Culpeper County in 1782 and 1783 as “Thomas Sparks, Jun.”, but is not listed after 1783. He probably moved from Culpeper County about 1784 as his father's will, quoted above, dated 10 Dec. 1784 gives to Russell Vawter “the land that Thomas Sparks lived on,” thus implying that he had moved away. He probably settled in Kentucky.

    (7) Mary Sparks, born about 1757, married, first, her cousin Russell Vawter (son of Richard and Frances (Towles) Vawter). Thomas Sparks willed Russell Vawter “the land that Thomas Sparks lived on.” He died without issue and Mary married, as her second husband, James Smith. Nothing has been learned regarding Mary’s children.

    (8) Frankey Sparks, born about 1759. She apparently was unmarried when Thomas Sparks made his will in 1784--no further record of her has been found.

[Scanner's note:  See the QUARTERLY for September, 2001, Whole No. 195,  p. 5571 for the following language relating to Frankey Sparks:  "We identified Frankey Sparks...as "apparently unmarried"..."Frankey" was a nickname for "Frances," and it was Frances (Frankey), not her sister, Nancy (Ann), who became the wife of Jacob Aylor."  See the entire article entitled FRANCES SPARKS, THE WIFE OF JACOB AYLOR @   pp. 5571-2.

    (9) Mildred Sparks, perhaps born about 1761. She is mentioned only by Mr. Newman as stated above. She may have been the “Milley Sparks” who was a witness to the will of William Sparks in 1781.

Mary (Towles) Sparks, widow of Thomas, probably died about 1796. Following the death of Thomas Sparks in 1787 her name appears regularly on the tax lists of Culpeper County and, after the creation of Madison County in 1793, her name appears on the tax lists of that county in 1793, 1794 and 1795. The tax list for 1796, however, does not contain her name nor does that of any subsequent year.

PART II

ZACHARY (or Zachariah) SPARKS, SON OF JOHN AND MARY SPARKS

On 26 May 1737, the day after Thomas Sparks purchased his 200 acres from Richard Mauldin, Zachary (or Zachariah) Sparks, brother of Thomas, purchased 189 acres fran Mauldin for ten pounds “Currant Money of Virginia.” Zachary is described in the deed as being of Orange County. His land was described as follows: “Beginning at 1 red oake on the North Side the Robinson River and Runing thence along John Laytons marked Line to a pine & white oak in Vim. Beaverleys Line thence along the said Beaverley Line South Sixty two [degrees] East to white oak and pine thence South twenty three [degrees] West one hundred and fifty poles to a red oake on the river thence up the Several Corses of the said River to the beginning place.” The same witnesses

***************
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signed this deed as signed that of Thomas Sparks: Timothy Terrell, George Martin and John Christopher.

On 26 Nov. 1745,  Zachary Sparks sold this same tract of land for 22 pounds “Current Money” to William Clark, both of whom are described as planters of Orange County. Zachary signed his name on this deed as “Zachariah Sparks” and his wife, Sarah Sparks, signed with a mark. The witnesses were Richard Mauldin, Ambrose Powell, Thomas Petty and Mary Beaver. William Clark (called William Clark, Sr.), who purchased this land, had moved to Orange County about 1739; in 1742 he had bought a plantation adjoining that of Stokeley Towles on which he died in 1787. It is believed that he and the Sparkses had been neighbors back in Caroline County. His son, William Clark, Jr., married Sarah (born 1738), daughter of Thomas and Jane (Sparks) Wharton, and his son, John Clark, married Mary, daughter of Stokeley and Jane (Sparks) Towles; (Jane Sparks, it will be recalled, married, first, Thomas Wharton and, second, Stokeley Towles.)

Little has been learned thus far of the life and family of Zachary (or Zachariah) Sparks. The only deeds in which he is mentioned are the above by which he bought and sold 189 acres in Orange County. The only reference to him which has been found in the Orange County Court Orders is dated 28 July 1738: “On the motion of Zachary Sparks, an evidence for Joshua Yarbrough agt. John Towles, it’s ordered that he pay him for two days’ attendance according to law.” (Book I, p. 362) Mr. Newman states that Zachary’s widow married, as her second husband, Anthony Foster, but he does not indicate when this marriage took place. [Note:  See the Quarterly for December, 1962, Whole No. 40, at page 687 where the editor corrects this error.  The Sarah who married Anthony Foster was the widow of James Sparks, Jr. who died in 1758.]  Anthony Foster lived in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, which lies between Orange County and Caroline County. Perhaps Zachary Sparks moved to Spotsylvania after selling his lard in Orange Co. in 1745 and died there soon afterwards. The early Spotsylvania County records have been published in considerable detail, however, and there is no mention of Zachary Sparks in them, although there is a record of a James Sparks in Spotsylvania County as early as 1723. (The estate of this James Sparks was administered in 1758 by James Sparks, probably his son, William Lewis and Bland Ballard.)

Anthony Foster died in Spotsylvania County between 4 Feb. 1763, when he made his will, and 4 July 1763, when his will was proved in Court. He mentioned his wife, Sarah, in his will and referred to “my wife’s daughter, Sarah Sparks.” From this it is clear that Zachary and Sarah Sparks had at least one child, a daughter named Sarah. [See note in preceeding paragaraph. This Sarah married Alexander Walden and was a daughter of James Sparks, Jr. and his spouse Sarah.]  Whether there were other children cannot be determined from data gathered thus far.

PART III

HENRY SPARKS (died 1770), SON OF JOHN AND MARY SPARKS

On 27 May 1737 Henry Sparks purchased for 10 pounds "Currt Money of Virginia” a tract consisting of 200 acres on the Robinson River. The fact that this land was very near the land purchased from Mauldin two days earlier by Thomas Sparks and also near the tract purchased from Mauldin the previous day by Zachary Sparks, must surely indicate a close relationship; it seems very probable that Henry was a brother of Thomas, Zachary and William Sparks, although Newman does not mention him. In the lease for this tract, Henry Sparks is described as being “of Carroline County and Parish of St. Margarets,” but in the deed, executed the same day (27 May 1737), he is described as being of “Orange County and parrish of St Marks.” This indicates that Henry Sparks had been a resident of Caroline County prior to his settling in Orange County.

The 200 acres which Henry Sparks purchased from Mauldin is described as follows In the deed: "Begiraing at a Red Oake on the South Side of Robenson River Thence South

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Twenty Three [degrees] West to a Maple in a Swamp thence South Eighty five [degrees] East to a pine thence North to a Chesnut & Gum on the above said River thence up the Severial Courses of the Same to the Beginning place.” Again Timothy Terrell, George Martin and John Christopher witnessed the deed. On 26 June 1740 Richard Mauldin sold another two hundred acre tract to Henry Sparks “on the Robason River in the South Fork” for twelve pounds. This was described as follows: “Beginning at a pine Corner to Thos Sparks & Henry Sparks thence North Eighty five[degrees] West two hundred pole to two pines Cornering to Wm. Sparks thence South five [degrees] West two hundred pole to two pines thence five [degrees] East two hundred & twenty poles to a white Oake & pine thence North five [degrees] West two hundred pole to the Beginning.” The witnesses were Richard Mauldin, Jr., William Crosthwait and William Smither, Jr. It is interesting to note in this deed that Henry Sparks’s land bordered that of Thomas Sparks and William Sparks. No other deeds involving Henry Sparks are on record in Orange and Culpeper Counties.

The Rent Rolls of Culpeper County for 1764 list Henry Sparks with 290 acres.

Henry Sparks made his will in 1765 and died in 1770. In his will he made no mention of a wife or children, providing instead for a Martha Petty and her three children, two of whom he called his god-sons. Henry Sparks and Martha Petty may have been related, perhaps she was his housekeeper, or she and her sons may have been his tenants since the terms of his will imply that they were living on his land at the time. Why Henry Sparks did not remember any of his Sparks relatives in his will will probably remain a mystery, although William Sparks did help take the inventory of his estate after Henry died. It would appear from this inventory that Henry Sparks was a shoemaker.

The will of Henry Sparks reads as follows (the recorded copy):

“In the name of God Amen. I Henry Sparkes of the County of Culpeper & Parish of Brumfield Being in perfect Health & sound mind & Memory but calling to mind the uncertainty of this Mortall life and that it is Appointed for all men to die once, I do make & Ordain this my last Will & Testament baring date the day and Year hereafter Mentioned.

“Iurpremis My soul I recommend to Almighty God who gave it me Trusting to have Remission of Sins Thro’ the tender Mercies of our Advocate Jesus Christ. And my Body to the Earth to be Buried in a decent Manner at the discretion of my Executors hereafter named, And as to my Worldly Goods Wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me with after all just Debts and funeral Charges are paid, I give and bestow in Manner following, (to wit)

“Item the 1st. I give to my two Godsons Benjamin & George Petty all the Land that I now hold to be Equally Divided between the said Benja & George Petty but Benja Petty to have his choice of said Land & premises to hold to them and their Heirs forever But neither of the said Benja nor George Petty is to disturb their Mother Martha Petty from living quietly on the said Land during her Life Single but After her Decease or Marriage that then the said Benja & George Petty to possess and Enjoy the said Land forever But in case that either of my Godsons Benja & George Petty should die without Heir that then the Other shall possess all the Land But in Case they should both die without Heir that then the said Land to fall to Susanna Petty a Daughter of Martha Petty to hold to her and her Heirs forever, But in Case the said Susanna should die without Issue that then the said Land to fall to the three Sons of John Layton Namely John Layton Jr., Thomas Layton & Stephen Layton to be equally Divid [sic] between the three Brothers: But Stephen Layton to take his first Choice--

***************
-140-

“Item 2d.  I Give to Susanna Petty one feather Bed and furniture, One Cow & Calf & two Ewes

“Item 3d.  I Give to Martha Petty her Choice of my feather Beds & furniture thereto belonging to hold to her & whom she pleases forever--

“Item 4th  I give the Remainder of my Estate to be Equally Divided between Martha Petty, Benja Petty, George Petty & Susanna Petty to hold to them & their Heirs forever.

“Lastly. I Constitute and and [sic] Appoint Martha Petty, Thomas Layton & Benja Petty Executors of this my last Will & Testament Utterly Denying all other Will or Wills by me formerly made In Witness wherof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal this [blank] day of March 1765.
                                                                                                                                            his
                                                             “Signed Sealed and Published [signed] Henry X Sparkes
in presence of                                                                                                                  mark

    Aaron Bledsoe
    Reuben Powell
    Mumford Stevens”

The above will was proved in Court on 19 April 1770 which indicates that Henry Sparks died early in 1770. The inventory of the personal property of Henry Sparks was prepared on May 17, 1770, by William Clark, William Sparks and Thomas Pines or Piner. The total value of this property was set at 79 pounds and 5 shillings. The writing is so very poor on the recorded copy of this inventory that a number of words are not decipherable.

Pursuant to an Order of the Worshipful Court of Culpeper County We the Subscribers being first sworn have Appraised the Estate of Henry Sparks deod in Currt Money.
 

Pounds Shillings Pence
To a parcel of Hogs 3 16 0
To one Cow & Calf
2
 
10
 
0
To one Ditto
2
 
10
 
0
To one ditto
1
 
15
 
0
To one Cow & yearling
2
 
10
 
0
To one Cow & Calf
2
 
0
 
0
To one Heifer
1
 
0
 
0
To one yearling
0
 
10
 
0
To one Bull
1
 
0
 
0
To one Horse, Bridle & Saddle
8
 
0
 
0
To a parcel of Sheep
2
 
0
 
0
To one Negro Girl named Hesther
26
 
0
 
0
To one Bed & furniture
6
 
10
 
0
To one ditto
4
 
0
 
0
To 1 chest
0
 
15
 
0
  To 1 oval Table
0
 
12
 
0
  To 1 old Chest & high Boy
0
 
4
 
0
  To 1 old Box [?] & Shoemakers Tools
0
 
12
 
0
  To 1 old Table
0
 
2
 
0
  To a Currying Knife
0
 
7
 
6
  To 13 plates
1
 
0
 
0
  To 3 dishes
0
 
13
 
6
  To a Bason
0
 
7
 
6

***************
-141-


Pounds Shillings Pence
  To 8 Spoons
0
 
1
 
6
  To tin pot, a pepper Box & a Bowl
0
 
2
 
6
  To a parcel of old Books
0
 
3
 
0
  To 2 Razors, a case, a Hone, a Bridle Bitt & a Glass Bottle 
0
 
4
 
6
  To a Store [?] Cloth
1
 
5
 
0
  To2Woolen --?-- & 2 pr--?-- --?--
0
 
12
 
6
  To 1 Candle stick, -- ?-- --?-- --?--
0
 
3
 
0
  To 4 Chairs 
0
 
4
 
0
  To 2 old Pistols, a Holster & Sword [?]
0
 
17
 
0
  To1 Hoe, Hackle, a pr. Steelyards & two Bottles 
0
 
16
 
6
  To a Case of Knives & forks
0
 
7
 
0
  To leather 
0
 
5
 
0
  To 1 Cowhide
0
 
9
 
0
  To a parcel of old Iron
0
 
7
 
0
  To 3 Axes, a Grubbing hoe, foot Adz and pr Wedges
0
 
16
 
0
  To a Homony Padle
0
 
5
 
0
  To an Old Casket of Nails & 2 G---lets [?]
0
 
5
 
0
  To a pr of Wheat sives & Meal Sifter
0
 
2
 
6
  To l000 8d nails
0
 
8
 
0
  To 2 Iron Pots & hooks
0
 
19
 
0
  To a B---Iron & Heals
0
 
2
 
0
  To a Jug & Earthen Pot
0
 
5
 
0
  To Water Vessels
0
 
4
 
0
  To a frying pan
0
 
4
 
0
  To a parcel of Leather 
0
 
8
 
0

PART IV

WILLIAM SPARKS (died 1781), SON OF JOHN AND MARY SPARKS

Whether William Sparks of Orange and Culpeper Counties, Virginia, was the same William Sparks whose birth is recorded in the Parish Register of Christ Church, Middlesex County, on 6 March 1716 is not known at the present time. It is known, however, that the William Sparks who came to Orange County was the son of John and Mary Sparks and he was probably born before 1720. Whether he came to Orange County at the same time as his brothers and step-father (Spencer Bobo) is not known for he did not purchase land until 1740. Like his brothers, William Sparks purchased his first tract from Richard Mauldin--200 acres “Lying on the fourth fork of the Robeson”--but he paid only one pound. The tract is described in the deed as follows:  “Beginning at two pines on Henry Sparks, now Sparks North Eighty, five [degrees] West two hundred & thirty five pole to two pines thence south five [degrees] West two hundred pole to a pine thence south five [degrees] East two hundred & thirty Eight pole to two pines Corner to Henry Sparks thence North five [degrees] East two hundred pole to the Beginning.” The witnesses to this deed were Richard Mauldin, Jr., William Crosthwait and William Smither, Jr. It should be noted that William Sparks bought this tract on the same day as Henry Sparks bought his second tract from Mauldin, and that the two tracts bordered each other, and, furthermore, that Henry Sparks’s tract bordered land owned by Thomas Sparks as well as the tract which Henry Sparks had purchased earlier.

On 27 Nov. 1742 William Sparks and Richard Holcomb purchased a tract containing 275 acres which had belonged to Isaac Smith. Smith owed Holcomb fifty pounds and the land was sold by the sheriff after Holcomb obtained a judgement against Smith.

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-142-

Holcomb and William Sparks paid 25 pounds, 5 shillings for the tract which was described in the deed as follows:  "Beginning at a red Oak on the South Side of the robinson River Thence South Twenty Three Degs. West to a Maple in a Swamp Thence North Eighty five Degrees West to a pine Maple & and red Oak on the head of a Branch Thence down the ad branch to the Dark run to the river thence Down the ad. River to John Gibbs Corner thence with the sd. Gibbs Several lines & Courses to the River again with the sd. River to the Beginning.

The next record of William Wparks which has been found is a bond dated 10 Jan. 1752 between William Sparks and his step-father, Spencer Bobo.  It is of sufficient interest to quote it in its entirety:

"Know all men by these presents that I William Sparks of the County of Culpeper and parish of St. Mark am held and firmly Bound unto Spencer Bobo of the said parish and County in the full sum of One Hundred Pounds Current Money of Virginia the which payment well and Truly to be made I bind myself my heirs and Administrators firmly by these presents Sealed with my Seal and dated this tenth day of January in the year of Our Lord Christ 1752.  The condition of the abovbe Bond is Such that if the above Bound William Sparks his heirs Executors Admons. or Assigns or Either of them Shall and will well and Truly perform a Bargain formerly made Between the said Spencer Bobo and the said William Sparks that is to say that the said William Sparks doth agree to give to the said Spencer Bobo and Mary his wife or during the time they shall think fitt to live on the said land yielding and paying one Shilling Sterling to the said William Sparks yearly then this Bond to be Void Otherwise to remain in full force and Virtue.  In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal the day and year first above Written.
    In the presence of                                                                                                         his
                  her                                                                                      [signed] William   X   Sparks
       Mary   X   Coiun [?]                                                                                                  mark
                mark
       Absolum Bobo
       David Davis"

For some reason. this bond was not recorded by the County Clerk until 21 August 1772. Perhaps it was in 1772 that the estate of Spencer Bobo was settled, although no record of such settlement has been found. It is interesting to note that one of the witnesses to the above bond was Absolum hobo who was a son of Spencer hobo. (This latter relationship is proved by a deed dated 20 Jan. 1763 in Culpeper Co. by which Spencer Bobo sold to "ABsolom Bobo his son" a fifty acre tract on the south side of the Robinson River adjoining William Sparks, Jasper Haynes and Benjamin Powell.)

On 19 March 1761 William Sparks purchased from Daniel Philips for five pounds a tract containing 150 acres on “the South side of the Robinson river” which was described in the deed as follows: "Beginning at two pines and white Oak on a Ridge thence South fourteen Degrees West to a pine in the Old line Near the Head of a Branch thence with the said line to two Maples in White Oak run a Corner to Spencer Bobo thence down the several Courses of the said white Oak run to Dark run thence down the said Dark run to the Robinson river thence down the said river to the Mouth of a Small branch thence up the said Branch to a Mulberry Tree in Spencer Bobo’s Peach Orchard a Corner to Adam Yeager thence with the said Yeagers line to the Beginning.” There were no witnesses to this deed.

On the Rent Rolls of Culpeper County for 1764, William Sparks is listed with 150 acres.

***************
-143-

On 8 Feb. 1779 William Sparks, his wife Elizabeth, and Richard Scales sold to Joseph Porter five acres of land in Culpeper County on the waters of Robinson River for “three Hundred pounds Current money of Virginia.” It should be noted that this was a period of great inflation and that 300 pounds in Virginia currency was not a particularly large sum in 1779. This tract is described as follows in the deed:  “Beginning at a Cherry tree on Dark run and on the south side of the said run a little below an old Mill place thence up the several Courses of the said run to three Maples on the said run thence south thirty three Degrees East fourteen poles to a parsimmon tree in an old field thence to the Beginning.” William Sparks signed by mark and Elizabeth Sparks and Richard Scales signed by signature. There was an unusually large number of witnesses, as follows: John Hume, Joseph Haynes, Absolom Bobo, James Haynes, George Swindle, James Slaughter, John Kilpatrick, Samuel Hening, and John Waugh.

Records found thus far do not reveal why Richard Scales and William Sparks should have owned this land jointly, but it was probably a portion of the tract which William Sparks had purchased earlier with Richard Holcomb, since both deeds refer to a creek flowing into the Robinson River called Dark Run.

William Sparks made his will on 6 July 1781. From this document it is clear that his wife Elizabeth was considerably younger than he. Whereas William was born before 1720, Elizabeth was probably not born before 1735. William Sparks’s youngest son, Jasper, was only about one year old in 1781 (his age is given as 70 on the 1850 census of Madison County) and, furthermore, William takes into account that Elizabeth might be “with child.” The fact that William Sparks names his brothers-in-law, Joseph and Jasper Haynes, Jr., as executors of his will indicates that Elizabeth was the daughter of Jasper Haynes, Sr. Furthermore, Jasper Haynes, Sr., named “daughter Elizabeth Sparks” in his will dated 1782. (Jasper Haynes, whom Newman believed to have married Elizabeth Sparks, daughter of John and Mary Sparks, was born about 1715; he was “of Caroline County, Virginia” when he purchased land in Orange County in 1749.)

Following is the text of William Sparks’s will:

“I William Sparks of the County of Culpeper, and Bromfield Parish being much Indisposed in Body but in perfect sound sense and memory & calling to mind the uncertainty of this life & that all Flesh must yield to Death when it pleased God to call them I do make appoint and Ordain this my last Will and Testament in Manner and form following- -

“I Recommend my soul into the hands of Almighty God who gave it me hoping through the merits of my Blessed saviour Jesus Christ to raise again at the last day to life Eternal my Body to be Buried in a decent Manner at the Discretion of my Executors hereafter named--

“Item I give to my beloved wife Elizabeth my whole Estate both real & Personal to bring up my Children on untill my son Jasper shall come of age & she shall live single but in case she my wife should Marry (or die) that then the whole of my Estate to be equally Divided amongst my Children, Viz, John, William, Joseph, Humphrey, Jasper, Mary, Elizabeth & Sary--My wife Reaping her thirds during her natural life and her death to Return and be Equally divided amongst my children before mentioned.

“2 Item. If my wife should prove with child that the child shall be intitled to an equal part with the rest of my children.

“And Lastly I constitute and appoint my loving wife & my two loving Brothers in Law Joseph Haynes & Jasper Haynes my Executors and do revoke and Disannull all other

***************
-144-

Wills and Testaments trusting in my Executors to have this my last Will and Testament fully Executed. As Witness I have hereunto set my hand and seal this sixth day of July 1781.
In presence of

        Ann Clark

                 her
        Milley X Sparks
                 mark
        John Willys [?]

The Ann Clark who signed as a witness was William Sparks’s sister-in-law (Ann, daughter of Jasper Haynes, was born 21 Feb. 1753, married Joseph Clark, son of William Clark, Sr.). The Milley Sparks who was also a witness was either William Sparks’s niece Mildred, daughter of his brother Thomas, or the wife of his nephew Humphrey Sparks, son of Thomas.

On 20 Aug. 1781 the will of William Sparks was proved in Court, indicating that he died sometime between July 6th and August 20th--doubtless he was on his death bed when he made his will.

The inventory of the personal property of William Sparks was made on 22 Aug. 1781 by Ambrose Fowell, James Clark and Absolom Bobo. This is an interesting historical record for the appraisers not only gave an estimated value of each item in sound Colonial currency (the Colonial pound was worth roughly $3.33) but also in terms of the almost wcrthless paper money which was used during the Revolution. Following is a copy of this inventory with the Colonial currency figure given in the first column and the paper money figure given in the second.

        An Inventory of the estate of William Sparks deceased appraised by the Subscribers agreeable to order of  Culpeper Court held August 22d 1781.
 

£ S P £
  One Bay Yearling Colt
5
0
0
 
2500
0
0
  Seven head of Sheep
2
16
0
 
1400
0
0
  One Grub Hoe
0
3
0
 
87
10
0
  Ten Head of Cattle
15
0
0
 
7500
0
0
  One Breeding Mare
8
10
0
 
4250
0
0
  Three Tite Hogsheads
1
10
0
 
750
0
0
  Six Wobly Ditto
0
18
0
 
450
0
0
  Thirty one head of hogs
8
2
0
 
4062
0
0
  One Tite Cask
0
6
0
 
250
0
0
  One Plow and Irons
0
10
0
 
250
0
0
  Three old Hoes
0
6
0
 
150
0
0
  A large Iron pott and hooks
0
15
0
 
375
0
0
  One Small Ditto
0
7
0
 
175
0
0
  One Dutch Oven
0
7
0
 
175
0
0
  One Sadie
0
2
0
 
50
0
0
  One Copper Sauspan
0
4
0
 
100
0
0
  One Frying pan
0
6
0
 
150
0
0
  One Wash Tub and 4 Pails
0
15
0
 
375
0
0
  1 pr old Stillards without a Pea
0
5
0
 
125
0
0
  Three Wooden Bowls
0
2
6
 
62
10
0
  One Hammer and small pr. Steel [sic]
0
2
6
 
62
10
0
  Two pair old Cards
0
5
0
 
125
0
0
  One pair Sissars 1/ four Basketts 5/
0
6
0
 
150
0
0
  Parcel old Pewter
3
0
0
 
1500
0
0
  One Fat Tub 4/ old Knives and Forks 1/6
0
5
6
 
137
10
0

***************
-145-


  1 pr 700 Harness 5/ Wool wheel 7/6
0
12
6
 
312
10
0
  Two Tin Candle sticks and pair Snuffers
0
2
3
 
56
5
0
  7 Stone Jars 17/ 3 Broken Ditto 4/
1
1
0
 
525
0
0
  4 Butter Potts and one Cream d~itto~
0
11
6
 
287
0
0
  6 Earthen plates and 2 Dishes
0
14
0
 
350
0
0
  1 Teapot Glass Can 4 Sousers & 1 Cup
0
2
6
 
62
10
0
  2 Black Bottles and one Cruett
0
1
6
 
37
10
0
  2 Wine Glasses & one pepper Box
0
1
6
 
37
10
0
  One pair money Scales and Weights
0
12
0
 
300
0
0
  One pr. Temple Specks s/c 2 Razors &Case 3/
0
6
6
 
162
10
0
  8 pr Sleeve Buttons 2/ Parcel old Books
0
9
0
 
225
0
0
  One Tea Cup & one looking Glass 9/
0
9
6
 
237
10
0
  Two Flax Wheels and a Reel
1
2
0
 
550
0
0
  Two old Black Walnut chests
0
15
0
 
375
0
0
  One Oval Table 12/ One Square D° 4/
0
16
0
 
400
0
0
  One Dressed Deer skin
0
15
0
 
375
0
0
  Eight old Chairs
0
12
0
 
300
0
0
  One Bedstead Bed and furniture
5
0
0
 
2500
0
0
  One Ditto & Ditto
3
10
0
 
1750
0
0
  One Bed and furniture
3
10
0
 
2210
0
0
  One Silver Dollar
0
6
0
 
250
0
0
  28 1/2 Ditto Virginia Currency
-
--
-
 
8
10
0
  40 2/3 Ditto Congress
-
--
-
 
12
4
0
  One Pockett Book
3
1
3
 
32
5
0
  Two Seives 2/6 One Curry Comb & Funnell 1/6
0
4
0
 
100
0
0
  One Bayonet and Cartouch Box
0
1
6
 
37
10
0
  One Iron Wedge and Pokes [?]
0
2
0
 
50
0
0

                                                                                                            {signed]     Ambros Powell
                                                                                                                               James Clark
                                                                                                                               Absolom Bobo

                                                                                                                                22 Augt 1781”

In 1782 Elizabeth Sparks, widow of William, appeared in the Culpeper tax list. Her taxable property consisted of 2 horses, 8 cattle and 150 acres of land, the latter valued at 75 pounds. Her name appears regularly in the subsequent tax lists, but not until 1785 was she listed with a “white tithable”--that is, a male over 16 years of age. In that year her son John Sparks appeared with her as a “white tithable," which must mean that he had reached the age of 16 in 1785, thus having been born in 1769. (On this basis, one may conjecture that William and Elizabeth were married about 1767.) In 1788 Elizabeth is listed with two sons, John and William, over 16-- thus William, the second son, was born about 1772. In 1792 Elizabeth is listed with sons William and Joe, indicating that John had left home and the third son, Joseph, had reached the age of 16 (thus born about 1776). In 1793 Madison County was cut off from Culpeper and all the Sparkses were now in the new county. From the Madison County tax lists it appears that Humphrey, the fourth son, was born about 1778, while Jasper, the youngest son, was born about 1780.

On 28 Nov. 1801, at about the time that Jasper came of age, a document was drawn up whereby the children of William and Elizabeth (Haynes) Sparks agreed that Elizabeth “is to possess & Enjoy all the Estate both real and personal during her natural life Which was bequeathed to her by her Husband Sparks deced, Also all that part of the estate she now possesses, by the Will of her Father Since the death of her dec’d husband William Sparks to be peaceably and quietly enjoyed by her untill her death at which time the Estate of both her decd Husband & Father is to be divided as well real as personal eaqually amongst the whole of the aforosd Heirs.” All the children

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signed this agreement except the daughter Mary, whose husband, James Jackson, signed in her place, and the son John, for whom John Haynes signed. (This would suggest that John had moved from Madison County but by 1814 he was again a resident.) It was “further agreed that Joseph and Jasper Haines Executors of William Sparks be and is hereby discharged from any further proceedings in executing the afsd Will.”  The reason for drawing up this agreement was because the terms of the will of William Sparks were such that when Jasper came of age, the estate left by William should be divided among the children, with Elizabeth getting only her third. In 1801, when Jasper did come of age, the children apparently decided that their mother should continue in possession of the property until her death.

On the 1810 census of Madison County, Elizabeth Sparks is listed as over 45 years of age. She owned five slaves at that time. She had died by 5 May 1821, for on that date her children sold her property in a series of deeds which refer to her as deceased.

Further research in Madison County records and correspondence with descendants will doubtless supply a muoh more complete record of the children of William and Elizabeth (Haynes) Sparks than can be given at present. In order to provide a basis for such research, however, the following list is given. In his will, William Sparks listed his sons in the order of their birth, and it may be assumed that he also named his daughters in that order.

     (1) John Sparks, the oldest son of William and Elizabeth (Haynes) Sparks, was probably born in 1769 and was doubtless named after his grandfather Sparks. He seems not to have been living in Madison County in 1803, but a deed dated 4 Nov. 1814 and the deeds by which his mother’s property was sold in 1821 give his residence as Madison County.

     (2) William Sparks, Jr., the second son, was born about 1772. He was a resident of Madison County in 1814 and in 1821.

     (3) Joseph Sparks, the third son, was born, according to tax lists, about 1776, although on the 1850 census of Madison County his age is given as 77 which, if true, would mean that he was born about 1773. He married Catharine (Caty) -----     before 1815; her age is given as 54 on the 1850 census. His occupation is given as “Farmer”.  Joseph Sparks made his will on 2 March 1849 leaving all his estate to his wife “to dispose of as she may think proper.” He made no mention of children. His will was proved in Madison County on 23 Sept. 1852.

     (4) Humphrey Sparks, the fourth son, was born about 1778. He appears to have farmed for his mother in Madison County as late as 1810. He was a resident of Madison County in 1815 and in 1821.

     (5) Jasper Sparks, the fifth and youngest son of William and Elizabeth (Haynes) Sparks, appears to have been born in 1780. This date is supported by the tax records of Madison County and his age is given on the 1850 census of Madison County as 70. By occupation he was a wheelright. He married on 22 Oct. 1803 in Madison Co., Mary (Polly) M. Sparks, born in 1777, daughter of John and Phoebe (Smith) Sparks. Jasper and Mary were first cousins once removed, Jasper’s father (William) and Mary’s grandfather (Thomas Sparks) being brothers. Jasper Sparks made his will on 4 Sept. 1850 (proved 12 May 1851) and named children: Thomas A. Sparks, Eliza Sparks, Mary Sparks, and Peachy Lacy. (Peachy Sparks married Aaron W. Lacy on 7 Dec. 1829.)

     (6) Mary Sparks, the oldest daughter of William and Elizabeth (Haynes) Sparks, was probably born in the early 1770’s. She married James Jackson and had children named Joseph H. Jackson, Mary Jackson and Tabitha Jackson.

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     (7) Elizabeth Sparks, second daughter of William and Elizabeth (Haynes) Sparks, was probably born in the 1770’s. It appears that she died between 1801 and 1814 since a deed involving property of William Sparks dated 4 Nov. 1814 does not include her name as one of the heirs, nor do the deeds of 1821.

(8) Sarah Sparks, youngest daughter of William and Elizabeth (Haynes) Sparks, was born about 1780, her age being given as 70 on the 1850 census of Madison County. She never married and in her will (proved 27 Oct. 1853) she mentioned nephews Joseph Jackson, Thomas A. Sparks and Thomas B. Jackson; and nieces Mary Jackson, Tabitha Jackson, Elizabeth Carpenter, Peacha Lacy, Mary Sparks and Eliza Sparks.

In future issues of the Quarterly we plan to trace in more detail the descendants of the Madison County, Va., Sparks family. Members of the Association are urged to send any data which they have on the family to Russell E. Bidlack, 1131 Granger Ave., Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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QUERY

Mrs. Clara Sparks Snyder of 1311 W. Margaret Ave., Peoria, Illinois, would like to learn the parentage of her great-grandfather whose name was Samuel Sparks. He was born somewhere in New Jersey on 15 April 1800 and he died on 23 Sept. 1865 near Lincoln, Illinois. He married Mary Hurd (born 25 Oct. 1805, died 19 Nov. 1893) somewhere in Ohio. Their children were: (order of birth not known) (1) Susan Sparks, born 1836, died 1853, (2) Jesse D. Sparks, (3) James Sparks, (4) Eveline Sparks, and (5) Samuel Sparks, Jr., born 31 Oct. 1846.

Samuel Sparks, Jr., was born near Lincoln, Ill., on 31 Oct. 1846 and died there on 27 Sept. 1926. He married, first, Mary Ellen Wendell (born 1849, daughter of Thomas and Fanny Wendell), and, second, Sadie Maltby. By his first wife, Samuel Sparks, Jr., had five children, as follows: (i) Fanny, born 1868, married Commodore Beaver, (2) Thomas, born 1870, married May Mitchell, (3) Charles Franklin (father of Mrs. Snyder) was born 7 Apr. 1875, died 2 Apr. 1943, married Mary Elizabeth Maltby (born 4 Sept. 1874, died 8 Oct. 1952, daughter of John and Eliza (Lucas) Maitby), (4) Samuel, born 1876, married Minnie Raber, and (5) Marion, born 1887. By his second wife, Samuel Sparks, Jr., had two more children: (6) Hazel, married Raymond Reinhardt, and (7) Mildred, married Everett Hembreiker.

Anyone having knowledge of this family is requested to write to Mrs. Snyder.

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EPITAPH ON TOMBSTONE OF SAMUEL SPARKS, 1810-1845

The following epitaph appears on a tombstone in the Baptist Church Yard in Holmdel (Monmouth County) New Jersey, “Samuel Sparks died Aug. 3, 1845, aged 35 yrs. and 4 mos. He was a seaman and for many voyages, 1st officer, from the port of New York. Was taken sick in Charleston, S.C., and there suffered the amputation of his right leg. He returned to the home for Seamen in New York and was sent, for his health, to this section of country, accompanied by his affectionate wife and lived but sixteen days. He was a patient sufferer and we have hope that our loss was his eternal gain. He rests from his toils and his bereaved wife has placed this stone as the last act of love to him who was her earthly protector.”

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NEW MEMBERS OF THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION

It is a pleasure to report the names of seventeen Sparks descendants who have joined The Sparks Family Association since March, 1956:
 

Bachman, Van Cleaf, 21 Wayside, Short Hills, New Jersey
Beard, Samuel D., 2922 Prescott, Corpus Christi, Texas
Davis, Mrs. Bertha J., 410 5th Street, Lewiston, Idaho
Ericksen, Mrs. Elizabeth Sparks, 225 N. Prospect, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Ison, Mrs. Myrtie, 2942 Crecent Drive, Columbus, Ohio
Kennedy, Mrs. Glenn W., 3337 Mitchell Road, Waco, Texas
McClellan, Mrs. Esther Clifton Sparks, P.O. Box 767, Savannah, Georgia
Miller, Mrs. Lizzie, Box 353, McLean, Texas
Robinson, Robert Rex, P.O. Box 622, Dickens, Texas
Sparkes, John Albert, 37 Robert St., Braintree 84, Massachusetts
Sparks, Adrian Leland, 118 W. Marivena Ave., Floydada, Texas
Sparks, Albert G., 354 Princeton Blvd., Lowell, Massachusetts
Sparks, Clyde, Thatcher, Arizona
Sparks, Enoch Bonner, 2725 Robby Drive, Corpus Christi, Texas
Sparks, Henry C., Washington, Georgia
Sparks, Mrs. James Monroe, 8433 Mountain View, South Gate, California
Sparks, O. M., Eden, Texas


SKRAPS

[Scanner's note:  The assertion below that John Sparks was a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition was  untrue.  See the Correction in the QUARTERLY, p. 3034.]

Persons bearing the name Sparks can be proud that they belong to a family which has produced an impressively large number of famous sons. There have been a few, of course, who have had their shortcomings. Such a one was JOHN SPARKS who was born in 1758 on the South Branch of the Potomac River and is buried in a small enclosure near the Mt. Vernon road a short distance from Newark in Licking County, Ohio. In a History of Licking County, Ohio, published by N. W. Hill in 1881 (page 335) we are told that John Sparks was “one of the ‘queer’ characters around Newark in an early day.” The author goes on to say that “he was generally seen barefooted walking along the streets and alleys with a fishing pole on his shoulder for he was a true disciple of Izaac Walton. He had an overpowering repugnance to labor and irresistible vagabonding proclivities.” In spite of these undesirable characteristics, however, John Sparks possessed one claim for distinction - - in 1803, when Pres. Jefferson organized an exploring expedition to cross the Continent, John Sparks joined it and thus became a member of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. The purpose of this expedition was to explore the Louisiana Territory immediately after its purchase from France. The party started from the vicinity of Saint Louis, Mo., on 14 May 1804. They passed up the Missouri River and by late October had traveled about 1600 miles. They wintered at the camps of the Mandans and Minnetarees in what is now North Dakota, and it was from this point that John Sparks was sent back to Washington with dispatches. He arrived late in the summer and was honourably discharged. He never married. He died on 28 Feb. 1846 at the age of 88.

According to the Old Northwest Genealogical Quarterly (Vol. 12, pp. 15 & 224), John Sparks had a brother named GEORGE SPARKS who also came to Licking County, Ohio, from Virginia at an early date. George Sparks and his wife, Nancy, are buried near St. Louisville, Ohio, on the top of a high hill on a farm owned a few years ago by Craig Hutchinson. Two well-preserved monuments bear the following inscriptions:

George Sparks, died Feb. 5, 1868, in the 96th year of his age. Nancy Sparks, wife of George, died Nov. 3, 1842, age. 67 y., 10 d.

Should anyone have further information on this family, he is requested to send it to the Editor, Russell E. Bidlack, 1131 Granger Ave., Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Scanned and Edited by James J. Sparks