THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION
"He who careth not from whence he came, careth little whither he goeth." Daniel Webster
|VOL. IV, NO. 4||DECEMBER, 1956||WHOLE NO. 16a|
|Index||Next Page||Previous Page||Previous Whole No.|
[NOTE: Here appears a photograph of a quilt on which is embroidered several names and below which is the following caption:]
|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, Michigan
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 membership 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. The first issue of the QUARTERLY was published in March, 1953.
The Tree-of-Life Quilt pictured on the cover of this issue of the QUARTERLY was located through the courtesy of Mrs. Meryln Houck, Route 3, Stillwater, Oklahoma. Mrs. Houck is a great-great-granddaughter of Augusta (or Augustine) and Rachel (Nichols) Lee of White and Putnam Counties, Tennessee, whose daughter married a Sparks.
We hope that through the publication of this photograph we will not
only preserve the interesting family data which this old quilt contains,
but that someone who sees it will be able to tell us more about the numerous
Sparkses whose names are embroidered. Only two names are accompanied by
dates: “Wm. Sparks Sean [i.e. Senior] died March 2 1869” and “Rhody Sparks
died Oct. 26 1871.” Probably this was the William Sparks listed on the
1830 and 1840 census of White County, Tennessee. (In 1840 there was also
a “Michal Sparks” listed in White County.) In 1850, William Sparks was
still living in White County where his family is listed as follows:
|Page 103||William Sparks||67||Farming||(property) $500||(born)||N.C.|
|No. 1374||Rhoda "||61||"|
|Sally Ann "||17||"|
There was also a Levi Sparks (age 24) and a Mary Sparks (age 35) living in White County, Tennessee, in 1850. (For a complete record of Sparks families on the 1850 census of White County, see page 187 of this issue.)
In 1852 Putnam County, Tennessee, was formed from White, Smith and DeKalb Counties. It would appear that William Sparks and his wife Rhoda were living in the part of White County which became Putnam County, for the 1860 census of Putnam County lists two Sparks families, as follows:
(1860 census of Putnam County, Tennessee)
|Page 33||William Sparks, Sr.||77||Farmer||(property) $500||(born)||Va.|
|No. 620||Rhoda "||71||"|
|Page 33||William Sparks||31||Farmer||(property) $640||(born)||Tenn.|
|No. 619||Rachel D. "||28||Tenn.|
It will be noted that in 1850 the census taker gave the birth place of William Sparks, Sr., and his wife as North Carolina, while in 1860 he gave their birth place as Virginia. Which is correct has not been determined.
A close examination of this quilt reveals the following names:
Wm Sparks Sean [i.e.] Senior,
died March 2 1869
Rhody Sparks died Oct 26 1871
Ruth E. Sparks
J. J. Sparks
W. J. Sparks
J. W. Sparks
H. F. Sparks
Nancy M. Jackson
George W. Lee
James K. P. Lee
M. L. Lee
Loah Ann Clark
A. J. Lee
N. C. Lee
Zack R. Lee
Z. E. Lee
Ruth E. Harpe
D. B. Gooch
Mary Ann Lee
John W. Lee
Mary J. Lee
M. C. Sewell
N. S. Sewell
R. C. Jentry
T. M. Jentry
N. J. Judd
Anyone having knowledge of this family is requested to write to the Editor, Russell E. Bidlack, 1131 Granger Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
[NOTE: Most of the people named above are identified in an article appearing in THE SPARKS QUARTERLY, September 1982, Whole No. 119, page 2453-57.]
By: Ben Sparks
(Editor's Note: It is the hope of the founders of The Sparks Family Association that the older members of the organization will make a determined effort to put into writing their memories of the past, not only of what they recall about their ancestry, but also some of their own experiences which illustrate the way people lived at an earlier time. With the passing of each generation, countless anecdotes and fascinating family stories are lost forever unless they are put into writing before it is too late. Our way of life has changed so completely during the past half-century that those who are children today can scarcely imagine how people lived before the day of the automobile and the electric lamp. American history will be much more exciting and understandable to these children as they grow up if their grandparents will record some of their experiences in those distant days. Knowing that ones ancestors participated in an historical event, such as the westward movement, makes that episode in the history books much more meaningful to a young person. We shall gladly give space in the QUARTERLY to memoirs of this kind. The following account by Ben Sparks of 820 Sutton Hill Road, Nashville 4, Tennessee, will interest many of our present-day readers as well as readers of the future, and we hope that it will encourage others to send us similar material for publication.)
I was born on August 6, 1889, in Rushville, Indiana, being the second child of John and Rebecca (Conner) Sparks. On August 23, 1913, I married Ethel Faye Lowe, daughter of Frank and Ella Lowe. My wife was born November 1, 1887. We have two children, Ben Sparks, Jr., born October 14, 1918, and John Frank Sparks, born October 20, 1928.
My brother and sisters were as follows: (1) Harry Sparks, born September 16, 1887, died September 16, 1942 (he married Jessie Miller who died about three years ago; they had no children); (2) Mary Ellen Sparks, born January 28, 1895, now living in Indianapolis (she married, April 7, 1917, Curtis Raymond McGuire; they have four children. Ruby Hogan, Fern Hair, Jane McGuire, and John McGuire); (3) Ruby Sparks, born January 25, 1901, died January 2, 1925 (she married Eugene Van Winkle who died a few years after Ruby’s death; they had no children).
My father, John Sparks, was born January 8, 1854, in Franklin County, Indiana, and died June 20, 1921, at Rushville. My mother, Rebecca Conner, was born March 22, 1863, in Rush County, Indiana, and died November 12, 1945, at Rushville. She was the daughter of John and Elizabeth Conner. My parents were married in 1885.
My father was the only child of William and Sarah (Knotts) Sparks. William Sparks, my grandfather, was born in 1828 and was the son of Hugh and Rebecca (Purvis) Sparks. Hugh Sparks, my great-grandfather, was the son of David and Sarah Sparks.
My father never told me much about his relatives, except to tell me
the story of the time that he went as a small child with his father, William
Sparks, to Brownsburg, Hendricks County, Indiana, to visit David and Sarah
Sparks, who were my father’s great-grandparents. I also remember very well
of my own grandfather, William Sparks, telling me of this trip, and I remember
his pointing out that David Sparks, my great-grandfather, was born a little
more than 100 years before I was born in 1889.
He gave me the day and date in the 1700’s, but I have forgotten it now.
In 1923 I received a letter, which I have preserved, from my father’s cousin, Malinda (Sparks) Curran, later Worland, telling what she knew of our Sparks ancestors. She
said that my great-grandfather, Hugh Sparks, came from Virginia to Kentucky with his parents when he was a child, and that he later married my great-grandmother, Rebecca Purvis. Rebecca’s mother’s name was Jones and was a relative of the famous John Paul Jones. Mrs. Curran stated: “David Sparks had three or four sons that were half brothers to Hugh, which accounts for the great number of Sparks families.”
Hugh Sparks, my great-grandfather, appears with his wife and children on the 1850 census of Laurel Township, Franklin County, Indiana. There his birth place is given as Kentucky, rather than Virginia--perhaps he was so little when he came to Kentucky from Virginia that he forgot that he was not actually born there; or perhaps my cousin was mistaken in thinking he was born in Virginia.
Mrs. Helen Sparks Robbins of Charlottesville, Virginia, is a granddaughter of my grandfather’s brother, James Sparks (born 1826, married Mehetabel Davidson in 1846). Mrs. Robbins’ father, William Tennis Sparks (1849-1938), wrote a history of his life during his old age in which he stated that Hugh Sparks was born July 11, 1806, in Somerset, Kentucky, which is in Pulaski. County. (In the 1810 census of Pulaski County a David Sparks is listed.) William Tennis Sparks described Hugh Sparks as being “five feet, eleven inches tall, erect, with clear blue English eyes and mouse colored hair.” He further stated that it was in 1825 that Hugh Sparks married Rebecca Purvis and that she was the daughter of William Purvis who was born in Virginia in 1770, came through Kentucky to Indiana, crossed at Fort Washington, now Cincinnati, and settled near Laurelville. At that time there were only three cabins in southeastern Indiana: the one which William Purvis built at Laurelville, one where Connersville now stands, and another to the west on Big Blue River. The following is quoted directly from the account of William Tennis Sparks: “My grandfather, Hugh Sparks, was born in Somerset, Kentucky, July 11, 1806, and was reared in Madison County, Ohio, near London. I always believed him a native of Ohio until I saw him for the last time when he was 82. I then asked him if he was not a native of Ohio? He replied that he was not, but was born in Kentucky, giving me the facts of his birth as stated above.”
As I mentioned before, my father and grandfather used to tell me about their visit to Brownsburg, Indiana, near Indianapolis, to see David and Sarah Sparks when my father was a little boy. Since my father was born in 1854, this visit probably took place about 1860. Brownsburg is in Hendricks County, Indiana, and, according to John V. Hadley’s History of Hendricks County (Bowen and Company, 1914), David Sparks settled in the county (Brown township) in the year 1827 “three years before any definite settlement had been made in this portion of the country.” David and Sarah Sparks appear on the 1850 census of Hendricks County in Brown Township, where the age of each is given as 62. In the 1860 census David’s age is given as 72 while Sarah’s is given as 70. From these census records it would appear that David Sparks was born in 1788. This would check with my grandfather’s statement that David was born a little more than 100 years before I was born. On each of these census records, David Sparks gave his birth place as Tennessee and Sarah gave hers as Kentucky. (William Tennis Sparks believed that David Sparks had been born in England.)
On the 1850 census of Hendricks County, Indiana, the following persons were listed as living with David and Sarah Sparks: Lydia Sparks (aged 37); Mary Sparks (aged 11); Sarah Ann Sparks (aged 9); Hannah Sparks (aged 5); and Martha E. Poynter (aged 10).
Perhaps this Lydia Sparks was the widow of one of David’s sons and Mary, Sarah Ann, and Hannah were probably her children. Martha E. Poynter was doubtless the same Martha E. Poynter whom David Sparks named as a granddaughter in his will.
David Sparks died sometime between the fall of 1860, when the census
was taken, and September, 1861, for on September 2, 1861, his will was
probated in Hendricks County. (The complete text of his will is given at
the end of this article.) Unfortunately, David Sparks did not name all
his children in his will; in fact, he named only one, his son Thomas to
whom he left all of his real estate. He left the proceeds of his personal
property to seven grandchildren, (children of two daughters, one of whom
had married a man named Poynter and the other a man name Roy). Thomas Sparks
(whose full name was Thomas John C. Sparks) is listed with his family in
the 1860 census of Hendricks County (Middle Township, not far from where
David Sparks was living) as follows:
|Page 785||Thomas Sparks||38||Farmer||$1000||Kentucky|
|No. 716||Martha A. "||40||Indiana|
|David W. "||18||"|
|Deborah A. "||14||"|
|Aaron A. "||11||"|
|Mary A. "||7||"|
|Prucer P. "||7/12||"|
Hugh Sparks (born 1806, son of David) and his wife, Rebecca (Purvis) Sparks, had the following children:
1. James Sparks, born June 27, 1826, married Mehetable Davidson in 1846Fifty-five years ago I went with my father and grandfather to see the old home of Hugh Sparks located three miles east of Laurel, Indiana. This was many years after Hugh had died but the home was still known as the “Hugh Sparks Place.” I visited it again a year ago and found it still standing and in good condition, just as I remember the place fifty-five years ago.
2. William Sparks, born 1828, married Sarah Knotts
3. Martha Sparks, born about 1830, married Daniel Urtle
4. Melinda Sparks, born about 1834, married Dennis Curran
5. Elizabeth Sparks, born about 1836, married John Williams
6. Lury Sparks, born about 1840, married Passwell Long
7. Sarah Sparks, born about 1842, married Ira Shafer
8. Samuel Taylor Jenks Sparks, born 1849, never married
9. Albert Sparks, apparently died in youth
10. George Sparks, apparently died in youth
My grandfather, William Sparks (born 1828) owned and operated a canal boat on the Whitewater Canal between Hagerstown, Indiana, and Harrison, Ohio. I do not know the length of time or date of beginning, but the operation of the canal boat was during the very early years of the Whitewater Canal and during the very early “teen” years of my father--I believe my father was not more than 14 years of age and learning to make boots and shoes and to repair them as well. The canal boat operation, of course, was a hauling service, but, on all trips, orders for boots and shoes were taken from local people enroute and my father and grandfather worked on the boots and shoes, as the boat traveled, and delivered the articles on the return, or later, trips. Thus, canal boating was a means of more boot and shoe work, as well as some income from hauling service.
The canal boating was ended when the Whitewater Valley Railroad was built. This resulted from so many bridges being built back and forth across the canal, as it wandered in curves following through the Whitewater Valley, and all of these bridges were built much too low, or near the canal water level, to permit the mules and/or horses that pulled the boats to pass under. Therefore, at each bridge they had to be unhitched and driven up over the railroad and down to the towpath and rehitched to the boat towline after the boat floated, or was pulled, under the bridges. This made so
much additional work and took so much time that the canal boat operation became worthless to all owners, all of whom, like my grandfather and father, felt that the railroad company had ruined the canal business by design in order to take over all the hauling service. At that early date there were no laws by which the boat owners could force the railroad owners to build their bridges high enough over the towpath so that mules and horses could pass under hitched to the boat towline. Thus ended the Whitewater Canal as a service waterway.
My grandfather and his wife, Sarah, and my father, John Sparks, then moved to Metamora, Indiana, where they all worked in a “woolen mill” on the bank of the canal right near the old stone canal lock, which can still be seen at Metamora. Of course, my grandfather and my dad also kept up their shoemaker business, as, if, and when; people did not wear out boots and shoes in those days as now, and, moreover, there was no change of style in those days.
My father left Metamora and set up a shoe shop in Andersonville (date unknown) and married there, but in a few years moved to New Salem, Indiana, and then to Rushville in 1890. As a matter of fact, my brother, Harry Sparks, now deceased, and I were born on a farm two miles southeast of New Salem in an old log house set almost in the middle of 540 acres, which were mostly woods at that time and for many years later.
I remember very well of my grandfather telling me that his grandfather, David Sparks, entered land “up near where Indianapolis is now” and that Hugh Sparks entered land on Blue River in Shelby County. Indeed, I remember grandfather showing ae a sheepskin patent of this land, part of which Shelbyville, Indiana, now stands on. My grandfather (William Sparks) also had title to joining land and, believe it or not, just moved away and left it and never again returned to that land, even though he had paid for it in full before he left.
One of my prize possessions is a grandfather’s clock which my great-grandfather, Hugh Sparks, purchased at Laurel, Indiana, in 1862, and took to his log cabin home on the farm three miles east of Laurel. It ticked away the last moments of the lives of my great-grandparents, as well as those of several of their descendants. It is still in good order, running every day in my home.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
WILL OF DAVID SPARKS (c.1788-1861) OF HENDRICKS COUNTY, INDIANA
(Editor’s Note: The following document is on file in the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Hendricks County, Indiana. A copy was made for us by Adah M. Johnson, Clerk of the Court.)
I, David Sparks of the County of Hendricks and State of Indiana do make and publish this my last Will and Testament, hereby revoking and making void all former wills by me at any time heretofore made.
First, I direct that my body be decently interred and that my funeral be conducted in a manner corresponding with my estate and situation in life, and as to such world [goods] as it has pleased [God] to intrust me with, I dispose of the same in the following manner to-wit: I direct first that all of my just debts and funeral expenses be paid as soon after my decease as possible out of the first money that shall come to the hands of my Executors from any portion of my Estate, real or personal. I also direct that a fair valuation or appraisement be made by two judicious neighbors of all my said Estate, including all my personal property with household and kitchen furniture and after being signed with their names that a copy of the same be given by them to my Executor. I also
direct that all of my personal property be sold at public auction and
on such credit or for ready money as my Creditor may deem most advisable
and that the proceeds thereof be divided equally between my grandchildren
as follows: David Poynter, Martha E. Poynter, A. 0. Poynter, Mary Ellen
Poynter, Elizabeth Roy, Amilda Roy, David Roy. Also I direct that Mary
E. Sparks [and] Reny Ann Sparks have One Dollar each. I also direct that
my beloved wife have her necessary support off of the farm during her natural
life. I also direct that all of the Real Estate of which I shall die seized
or possessed of, I give and Bequeathed to my beloved son Thomas John C.
Sparks, and to effuate [sic] this my intention I hereby vest my Executor
with full power and authority to dispose of and I furthere declair and
direct that the aforesaid legacy to my wife be in lieu of her Dowery if
she so elect, and I hereby make and declare my worth and esteemed friend
Wm. McDaniel, my Executor of this my last will and testament. IN WITNESS
WHEREOF I David Sparks, this testator, have hereunto set my hand and seal
fifth day of March, 1853. his
[signed] David I Sparks (Seal)
Signed, sealed, published and declared in the presence of us
[signed] Lewis S. Hunter
B. M. Logan
STATE OF INDIANA)
Before me, Levi Ritter, Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas of the County of Hendricks aforesaid, personally came Lewis S. Hunter and Benjamin M. Logan, subscribing witnesses to the foregoing and hereto attached instrument in writing, who being by me first duly sworn upon oath depose and say that David Sparks, the Testator named in said Instrument in Writing purporting to be his last Will and Testament did sign, seal, and publish and declare the same to be his last Will and Testament on the day of the date thereof that said Testator was at the time of the full age of twenty one years and of sound and disposing mind and memory and that he was not under coercion, compulsion or restraint and that he was competent to devise his property. And that the said Testator so signed, sealed, published and declared the same to be his last Will and Testament in manner and form as aforesaid in the presence of affiants, and that they each attested the same and subscribed their names as witnesses thereto in the presence of and at the request of said Testator and in the presence of each other.
[signed] L. S. Hunter
B. M. Logan
Subscribed and sworn to before me. Witness my hand and seal of said
Court at Danville this 2nd day of September, A.D. 1861.
(Seal) [signed] Levi Ritter, Clerk
Recorded September 2, 1861. Attest: Levi Hitter, Clk.
By: 0. F. Hooker, D.C.
The written Election of Sarah Sparks, widow of David Sparks, filed September 3, 1861, in which she elects to take under the Statute.
Attest: Levi Hitter, Clk.
SPARKSES IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
(Continued from Vol. IV, No, 3, Whole No. 15, page 160)
(Editor’s Note: We believe that the following pension papers of Matthew Sparks (1759-1841) are among the most interesting of those which have been published thus far in the QUARTERLY, for in his application Matthew Sparks goes into considerable detail regarding his experiences in the Revolution.
According to his own statement, Matthew Sparks was born January 20, 1759, in Rowan County, North Carolina. He died on August 14, 1841, in Clinton County, Illinois. Records gathered by the officers of the Association over a period of several years reveal that the father of Matthew Sparks was also named Matthew; in order to distinguish between father and son in this preliminary sketch, the father will be referred to as Matthew Sparks the Elder.
Matthew Sparks the Elder and his wife Sarah (whose maiden name is said by descendants to have been Thompson) is believed to have migrated from Maryland to North Carolina about 1758. The earliest record of Matthew Sparks the Elder in Rowan County found thus far is a deed dated April 4, 1761, by which be purchased 372 acres of land from Sir John Carteret, Earl of Granville.
In a future issue of the QUARTERLY we plan to publish several very interesting documents pertaining to Matthew Sparks the Elder and his children. We are anxious to obtain as much information on this family as possible before publishing these documents and, for that reason, give below a list of the children of Matthew Sparks the Elder. Anyone having data on any of these children is requested to write to the Editor, Russell S. Bidlack, 1131 Granger Ave., Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Children of Matthew Sparks the Elder and his wife Sarah:
1. David SparksThe order of birth of she above children is not known; only the three birth dates given have thus far been determined definitely. Isaac Sparks gave his age on the 1860 census of Carroll County, Tennessee, as 80 years, which would place his date of birth in or near the year 1780.
2. James Sparks
3. John Sparks
4. Matthew Sparks, born Jan. 20, 1759
5. William Sparks, born April 3, 1761
6. Absolom Sparks
7. Jesse Sparks, born July 23, 1773
8. Nathan Sparks
9. Bailey Sparks
10. Hardy Sparks
11. Isaac Sparks, born about 1780
12. Eady Sparks
13. Annie Sparks
Of these children of Matthew Sparks the Elder, it is known that Jesse Sparks settled in Hickman County, Tennessee, although when he died in 1858 he was living in Perry County, Tennessee. Jesse married twice and was the father of eighteen children--a record of these children will be given in a later issue of the QUARTERLY.
Isaac Sparks, as was stated above, was living in Carroll County, Tennessee, in 1860. Bailey Sparks was living in Carroll County in 1831. Hardy Sparks was living in Hickman County, Tennessee, as late as 1835 when he signed as witness to a deed.
Nathan and Absolom Sparks, Sons of Matthew Sparks the Elder, seem to have married sisters, daughters of Benjamin Elsberry of Wilkes County, Georgia. The will of Benjamin Elsberry was probated in 1792 and when his estate was finally settled in 1808, Absolom and Nathan Sparks both received shares. Also, in the marriage records of Oglethorpe County, Georgia, there is a record of the marriage of Nathan Sparks and Sally Elsberry on May 10, 1800. Nathan eventually settled in Wilson County, Tenn., and was postmaster of a town named Sparks in that county in the 1830’s. Absolom Sparks settled in Arkansas; he was living in Miller County in 1825 and in Pope County in 1830.
It will be noted that William Sparks born April 3, 1761, also served in the Revolution and applied for a pension. His pension papers were published in the March and June, 1954, issues of the QUARTERLY (pages 29-30 & 36-39); readers will be interested in comparing the statements made by William with those of his brother Matthew.
From the pension papers of Matthew and William Sparks, it is apparent that their father, Matthew Sparks the Elder, moved from Rowan County, N.C., to Wilkes County, N.C., with his family before the Revolution, settling on New River near the present town of Jefferson in Ashe County. (Ashe County was cut off from Wilkes County in 1799 and the land on which Matthew Sparks the Elder had lived became part of Ashe County.) Apparently several of the sons served in the Revolution (note that William refers to his brother John as having been a lieutenant). Family tradition indicates that all of the sons of Matthew Sparks the Elder had red hair.
Following the Revolution, Matthew Sparks the Elder and most of his sons moved to Georgia, settling eventually near the present city of Athens in what is now Clark County, then Franklin County. Here the family and other settlers built SPARKS FORT as protection against the Creek Indians. For a number of years the Creek Indians, under their famous chief, Alexander McGillivray, were an almost daily menace. In November, 1793, Matthew Sparks the Elder was killed by the Indians. The family gradually scattered, a number of the sons settling in Tennessee as was indicated above. Sarah Sparks, widow of Matthew Sparks the Elder, was living as late as September, 1828, in Tennessee. According to a letter written by a granddaughter in 1899, Sarah Sparks is buried in “Old Pleasant Grove.”
In spite of the detailed pension application of Matthew Sparks (son of Matthew the Elder) little has been learned regarding his descendants. In a letter written by his niece, Bettie C. Smith (daughter of Bailey Sparks), in 1899, appears the following statement: “When I was a child old Uncle Mathew Sparks made his home with his brother, Isaac, but spent much of his time with Father and Mamma.” From this it would appear that Matthew was a widower during his old age. It is known that Matthew had three daughters living in Clinton County, Illinois, and that was the reason he moved from Tennessee to Illinois in 1840. His son-in-law, William Steele, certified on December 31, 1842, that he had gone to Tennessee in October, 1840, and moved Matthew Sparks to Illinois. These three daughters were: (1) Jane, wife of William Steele; (2) Hannah, wife of ----- Arnett; and (3) Peggy, wife of ----- Arnett. Matthew Sparks, it will be noted, mentioned a son in his pension application who had moved from Illinois to Georgia, but he did not give his name. In 1825 Matthew and his brother Absolom were among a group of “inhabitants of that part of Miller County, in the Territory of Arkansas, ceded and confirmed to the Choctaw Nation of Indians by treaty in 1825” who signed a petition protesting this action, saying that it would result in their being driven from “the farms and improvements we have laboured for years to make.” Besides Matthew and Absolom, there were three other persons named Sparks who signed this petition: Wilobe Sparks, Absolom Sparks, Jr., and Elsberry Sparks. These three were doubtless sons of either Matthew or Absolom. (See page 124 of the March, 1956, issue of the QUARTERLY where “Willaba Sparks” was a resident of Limestone County, Texas, in 1850.)
Revolutionary War Pension Papers of Matthew Sparks (1759-1841)
Copied by Russell S. Bidlack
(Note: In the following copy of these documents, capitalization and punctuation have been modernized for the sake of clarity, but no changes have been made in spelling or content. The file number given to the application papers of Matthew Sparks in The National Archives is S.31,385. The pension was approved and Matthew Sparks received $22.66 per annum.)
Declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the
Act of Congress passed June 7th, 1832.
State of Tennessee) SS
Carroll County )
On this 14th day of September A.D. 1332 personally appeared in open Court, before the worshipful Henry Wright, Wilson Lightfoot, & Saml. Ingram, Justices of the Court of Pleas and quarter Sessions, now setting, Matthew Sparks, a resident of said County and State, aged aged [sic] about seventy-four years, who being first duly sworn, according to law, doth on his oath, make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of an Act of Congress passed June 7, 1832, states:
That he was born in Rowan County, near Salisbury in the State of North Carolina, on the 20th day of January A.D. 1759, and there lived with his father until he was between fourteen and sixteen years old, when he removed, with the other members of the family, to New River in Wilkes County in the State aforesaid, and there this Declarent resided until three or four years after the close of the Revolutionary War; at which time this Declarant removed to Wilkes County in the State of Georgia; after residing in this latter place about two years, this Declarant removed to the frontier part of the State last mentioned in what, as well as this Declarant now recollects, was then Franklin County. Here this Declarant, with his father and other settlers, erected a fort which was then and probably still is called Sparks Fort. In this neighborhood this Declarant’s father was killed by the Indians.
[Scanner's note: Above language added per SQ p. 218, Whole No. 18.]
After residing at this place two or three years, this Declarant removed to Greenville District in the State of South Carolina, where he resided seven or eight years, when he removed to Jackson County in the State of Georgia. Here this Deponant resided 6 or 7 years, when he removed to Livingston County in the State of Kentucky about the year 1807 or 1808, where he resided about two years; from thence again removed into the Territory of Illinois, and the County of St. Clair, about the year 1810. He here settled on Silver Creek, within 8 or 10 miles of the town of Belleville and remained about 5 years. He then removed down on a Creek called Muddy in said Territory, where he resided 2 years. About the year 1817, Declarant states, he again removed over into Arkansas Territory, where tie settled on White River and remained about 2 years; from thence he went to Arkansas River about 40 or 50 miles above Little Rook, in the aforesaid Territory, where he lived 2 years; then removed from there to the Saline on the waters of Ouachita within 25 miles of Little Rook, where he again settled, and resided until the 2d day of August last, when he removed into this County. This Declarant states that he entered the service of the United States and served as herein stated.
When this Declarant was 17 or 18 years old, as well as he can recollect in the year 1776 or 77, he joined a company raised by drafting, commanded by Captain John Beverly, and served a tour of 3 months. We marched from Wilkes County, North Carolina, where the company was raised, and ranged through the lower and sandy part of North Carolina in search of the Tories, to intimadate and keep them down in that part of the State. On this tour, we found no parties of Tories embodied, but we took several individuals. I remember particularly that we took a Tory captain by the name of Jackson, a black-
Members of the Association are requested
to correct page 179 of their copies of THE SPARKS QUARTERLY for December
1956 (Vol . IV, No 4, Whole No16) as fol1ows: In the paragraph beginning
with the words “That he was born” a line of type was omitted; following
the words “at which time this Declarent removed” should be inserted, to
Wilkes County in the State of Georgia; after residing in this latter place
about two years, this Declarant removed.
smith, whom we hung; our company took two others, names not recollected, and sent them to headquarters of the corps. The company of which I was a member were Mounted Rangers. The corps to which I belonged consisted of several companies of rangers, and two or three foot and was commanded by Col. ----- Isacks, given name not recollected, of North Carolina. I do not remember any major, or adjutant, nor the names of any other captains, except Captain ----- Isbel who commanded, as well as I recollect, a company of foot-men. At the end of our term of service we were marched back to our County by our officers, and there directed to go to our respective homes, without receiving any written discharge. In the fall of a certain year, I do not recollect what year, nor do I remember how long after my return from my first tour, but not more than one or two years, I was again drafted into the service, in a company commanded by Captain Samuel Johnson, and Elisha Reynolds, Lieutenant. This corps consisted exclusively of three or four companies of footmen, and was commanded by Major ----- Hargrove of Wilkes County, North Carolina. Godfrey Isacks was one of the captains.
We were drafted for 3 months and were marched through pretty much the same country as on my first tour, and for the same purpose. I remember it was a particular object of the expedition to go into a part of North Carolina where the Scotch very much abounded. We came to a part of the country where the main American Army, commanded by I do not recollect whom, had recently passed, and found ourselves in great want of the means of subsistence. After being marched about through the sandy parts of North Carolina two months without meeting with any parties of Tories or having any engagement, we were marched back to our own County having learned there was more occasion for us there than where we had been. Not long after we reached home we were dismissed by our officers without receiving any formal discharge.
In addition to these two tours of service performed by me, I will state that Col. Benjamin Cleveland, who lived on the Yadkin, Wilkes County, North Carolina, early in the Revolutionary War, by his personal influence, formed an Association or Company of Minute Men, to go against Tories whenever called on. Of this company I was a member and performed under him many tours of duty from one to three weeks at a time, amounting in all to at least 3 months. We invaribly went out as mounted gun-men or rangers. We ranged principally on the mountains and New River. On these excursions, I remember, we took two parties of Tories, one consisting of 15, the other of 10 or 12 men. They had been engaged in plundering neighborhoods. Some of these we hung, shot others, and others we took across the Virginia line, we delivered to the Virginians. On another occasion, learning that a party of Hessian dragoons and Tories to the number of 12 or 15, passing up New River plundering and pillaging the country, we assembled and overtook them at the house of our Militia Captain (Paul Patrick) whom they had under guard and where they were regaling themselves on the best the house afforded. We surprised them, killed 2 & wounded 2 whom we took prisoners, together with one other. One of the wounded prisoners was a Hessian, and lived. His name was John Meisenner. He joined our side and was one of the men who served with me under Capt. Beverly.
This Applicant knows of no person by whom he can prove his service.
He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension, or annuity, except the present, and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any state.
[signed] Matthew Sparks
Sworn to and subscribed
the day and year aforesaid
[signed] Edward Gwin, Clerk
And the said Court do hereby declare their opinion after the investigation of the matter, and after putting the interrogatories prescribed by the War Department, that the above named Applicant was a Revolutionary soldier as he states. And the Court further certifies that it appears to them that Bailey Sparks and William Brigance, who have signed the preceding certificate are residents of the county and state aforesaid and are credible persons, and that their statement is entitled to credit.
[signed] Saml. Ingram, Chairman of
Carroll County Court.
Whereupon the said Court propounded the following interrogatories to
the said Matthew Sparks on the occasion of his application for a pension
as having been one of the Militia of North Carolina in the Revolutionary
|Question 1.||Where and in what year were you born?
I was born in Rowan County near Salisbury in the State of N. Carolina, on the 20th of January 1759.
|Question 2.||Have you any record of your age; and if so where is it?
I have none with me. My son took the Bible containing it when he moved from Illinois to Georgia.
|Question 3.||Where were you living when called into service; where have you lived
since the Revolutionary War, and where do you now live?
I was living, when called into service, in Wilkes County, North Carolina; the balance the Applicant answered in his declaration.
|Question 4.||How were you called into service; were you drafted, did you volunteer,
or were you a substitute?
Answered in the declaration.
|Question 5||State the names of some of the regular officers who were with the troops
when you served: Such continental and militia regiments as you can recall
&c, and the general circumstances of your service.
Answered as in declaration.
|Question 6.||Did you ever receive a discharge from the service; and if so, by whom
was it given and what has become of it?
Answered as in declaration.
|Question 7.||State the names of persons to whom you are known in your present neighborhood,
and who can testify as to your character for veracity and their belief
of your services as a soldier of the Revolution.
I have but lately come to this country and therefore have but few acquaintances here. I can only mention my brother, Bailey Sparks, & Mr. William Brigance who know my general reputation as a soldier of the Revolution.
State of Tennessee)SS
Carroll County )
I, Edward Gwin, Clerk of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions
in and for said County and State aforesaid, do hereby certify that the
foregoing contains the original proceedings of the said Court in the matter
of the application of Matthew Sparks, for a pension.
In testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand and affix the Seal of said Court at office in Huntingdon this 12th day of September A.D. 1832.
[signed] Edward Gwin, Clerk.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Application for a Transfer.
County of Henry: SS
On this nineteenth day of September, 1840, before me, the subscriber,
a Justice of the Peace for the said County of Henry, personally appeared
Matthew Sparks, who, on his oath, declares that he is the same person who
formerly belonged to the company commanded by Captains Beverly & Samuel
Johnson in the Regiments commanded by Colonels Isaacks & Cleveland,
in the service of the United States; that his name was placed on the pension
roll of the State of Tennessee at Jackson, from whence he has lately removed;
that he now resides in the State of Illinois where he intends to remain,
and wishes his pension to be there payable, in future. The following are
his reasons for removing from Carroll County, Tennessee, to Clinton County,
Illinois--Viz--He has three daughters living there & he has made an
arrangement to live with one of them. Paris, Tennessee, September 19, 1840.
[signed] Mathew Sparks
Sworn to and subscribed before me,
the day & year aforesaid
[signed] I. S. Rainey.
State of Tennessee)
Henry County )
Personally appeared before me Isaac Rainey, one of the acting
Justices of the Peace for said County, Terence Cooney, and made oath that
the person who signed the written affidavit purporting to be signed by
Matthew Sparks, was the identical Matthew Sparks described in said affidavit
and who has heretofore been upon the pension roll of the State of Tennessee.
[signed] T. Cooney.
[Note: There follow two unimportant certificates, one signed by I. S. Rainey, Justice of the Peace, dated Nov. 13, 1840, which certifies the signature of T. Cooney, and the other signed by William Porter, Clerk of the County Court of Henry County, dated Nov.13, 1840, which certifies the signature of I. S. Rainey.]
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children
are their fathers ." - Proverbs 17:6.
AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
By: Paul E. Sparks
(Editor’s note: The following sketch was written by Paul upon the request of the editor to accompany his picture which appeared on the cover of the September, 1955, issue of the QUARTERLY. It was received too late, however, to be included, but because a number of members of the Association have requested more information about our President, we are pleased to include this interesting record in the present issue.)
I was born January 17, 1910, at the head of Morgan’ s Creek in Lawrence County, Kentucky. Our post office was Yatesville, two miles away. We lived a few hundred yards down the creek from my paternal grandparents and to “go up” to Grandpa’ s was an exciting adventure--and a reward for good behavior.
Events, worthy of recall to my contemporaries of eastern Kentucky, which I enjoyed were: cane-strippings, molasses-making, corn-shuckings, bean-stringings, and taffy-pullings. These were practical affairs, as well as social occasions. The oldsters came to help, to gossip, and to criticize the young; the young came to help, to gossip, and to criticize the old. All of these affairs were great moments in my young, impressionable life.
My father, James B. Sparks, was a man of considerable ambition. He was a candidate for county political offices on two occasions, but, being a Democrat in a normally Republican county, he suffered defeat both times. He then decided to move to a coal mining village in Pike County, Kentucky, but my mother persuaded him to leave the mining field and go to Akron, Ohio. There, in 1922, my mother passed away, and I returned with my brother and sisters to live with. my paternal grandparents on Morgan’s Creek.
From the year I returned to my Grandfather, Colby Sparks, to the present I have been greatly interested in the SPARKS family, and it is to my Grandfather I give all the credit for the intense effort I have put into this most fascinating hobby.
On June 3, 1951, Colby Sparks passed away at Louisa, Kentucky, at the age of 93. He was born September 22, 1857, at Mount Savage, Kentucky, in Carter County. Long before his passing I had obtained from him the names of his people--for he was possessed of a most remarkable memory and a keen interest in his family. His father, Hugh S. Sparks, had been a collier in the embryonic steel industry in eastern Kentucky when the War Between the States began. On October 19, 1861, Hugh Sparks joined the Fifth Regiment Kentucky Mounted Infantry, Confederate States Army, at Prestonsburg.
In January, 1862, the Confederates, under General Humphrey Marshall, met the Union forces under Colonel James A. Garfield at Middle Creek, Kentucky. The skirmish was a draw, but the Confederates withdrew, and many of them returned to their homes. One of my grandfather’s earliest memories was that of sleeping with his father high upon a mountain side on a snowy night, and then helping his mother drag wood down the slope to hide her tracks when she brought breakfast to her husband-soldier. Hugh Sparks’s army career, however, was doomed to an end, for in September, 1862, he was captured by Union soldiers in Lawrence County, Kentucky, and taken to Camp Chase, Ohio, where he was imprisoned. Subsequently, he was taken to Cairo, Illinois, placed aboard the steamer Emerald, and taken to Vicksburg, Mississippi, where he was exchanged on November 1, 1862. No later official records refer to him, nor does anyone we have contacted have any definite word of him.
I received most of my grammar school education in the one-room school on Morgar' s Creek--a school, by the way, which is still in existence. I attended Louisa High
School at the county seat and was graduated there in 1927. Two years of pre-engineering followed at Akron University, Akron, Ohio, but in 1932 I returned to eastern Kentucky and enrolled at Morehead State College, Morehead, Kentucky. After graduating in 1933, I returned to my home county and taught in the high schools at Webbville and Elaine. Then in 1935 I came to Louisville to teach in the public schools.
In 1938 I received my Master of Arts degree from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, and the following year I was appointed principal of Field School in Louisville. In 1942, I entered the Army as a private, but received a commission as second lieutenant in the Air Corps in August of that year at Camp Wolters, Texas. After tours of duty at Maxwell Field, Alabama, Ellington Field, Texas, Randolph Field, Texas, I finally settled down at Selman Field, Louisiana, where I spent three years in training navigators. I was discharged from the service in February, 1946, at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. I returned, of course, to Louisville--and to my school work.
In 1932, I met Mary Sue Miller, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Miller, of Morehead, Kentucky, and we were married in November, 1933. We are the parents of a 12-yearold son, Robert.
I am an Episcopalian, member of Crescent Hill Masonic Lodge, member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, member of Phi Delta Kappa honorary educational fraternity, a Jeffersonian Democrat, and a past president of the Louisville Principals Club.
(Editor’s note: For more information on Paul’s ancestors see the December, 1955, issue of the QUARTERLY, pp. 97-104.)
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
INSCRIPTIONS ON TOMBSTONES IN THE OLD PILESGROVE M. E. CEMETERY
AT SHARPSTOWN, NEW JERSEY
Copied by Mrs. W. A. Simpson
Thomas Sparks, died May 26, 1801, aged 41 years.
Sarah Sparks, wife of Thomas Sparks, died Sept. 6, 1854, aged 86 years.
Simon Sparks, died Dec. 3, 1803, aged 37 years. “A loving husband, a kind parent, and exemplary Christian.”
Maria Sparks, wife of Gerrard Sparks, died Aug. 21, 1883, aged 66 years.
David Sparks, died Nov. 3, 1853, aged 63 years.
Charlotte Sparks, died March 27, 1879, aged 85 years.
(The following are on one stone, the children of David and Charlotte Sparks)
John M. Sparks, died Sept. 27, 1813, aged 1 year.
Jeremiah Sparks, died Aug. 9, 1824, aged 3 years.
Lydia Sparks, died Oct. 26, 1823, aged 1 year.
Charlotte Sparks, died Oct. 20, 1833, aged 6 years.
Elizabeth Sparks, died July 26, 1830, aged 1 year.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
"I love history and especially the history of people and most especially
--Katholeen Morrison Privett
(Quoted in the March, 1956, issue of The North Carolinian.)
DEATH TAKES ROBERT LAWRENCE SPARKS
Again we must report the death of a member of the Association. On June 5, 1956, a heart attack proved fatal to Robert Lawrence Sparks of Williamsburg, Kentucky. Mr. Sparks was 73 years of age when he died.
A native of Lawrence County, Kentucky, Robert Lawrence Sparks was born April 8, 1882, in the neighborhood of Peach Orchard on Nat’s Creek. He was a son of George Graham and Elizabeth (Painter) Sparks; his grandparents were Hugh S. and Nancy (Curnutte) Sparks (see the December, 1955, issue of the QUARTERLY, page 102.)
Funeral services were conducted for Robert Lawrence Sparks on June 7, 1956, at the First Baptist Church in Williamsburg and burial was in the Highland Cemetery. Members of Williamsburg Lodge No. 490, F. & A. M. were in charge of services at the grave.
Mr. Sparks’s widow, Susie (Higginbotham) Sparks, survives him as does his two sons, Earl Sparks of Corbin, Kentucky, and Robert Lawrence Sparks, Jr., of Lexington. Three brothers and four sisters survive: Lester Sparks of Chicago; George E. Sparks of Indianapolis; Earl Sparks of Cincinnati; Mrs. Cecil Crowell, Mrs. Ethel Bowden, and Mrs. Hazel Donaldson, all of Hurst, Illinois; and Miss Elizabeth Sparks of Cincinnati.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
SPARKS FAMILIES IN THE 1850 CENSUS
(Continued from Vol. IV, No. 3, Whole No. 15, page 167)
Sparkses in the 1850 Census of Platte County, Missouri
Copied by Inez Waldenmaier
|No. 144||Stephen Sparks||43||Indiana||(M)||Farmer||$3200|
|No. 149||Abraham Sparks||30||Indiana||(M)||Farmer||$800|
Sparkses in the 1850 Census of Wilson County, Tennessee
Copied by Inez Waldenmaier
|(p. 415)||Nancy Sparks||64||North Carolina||(F)|
|No.1389||Living with the||family of||James R and||Priscilla||Green|
|(p. 408)||William C. Sparks||35||Tennessee||(M)|
|No. 651||Sarah R. "||28||"||(F)|
|Joseph L. "||6/12||"||(M)|
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Sparkses in the 1850 Census of Henry County, Tennessee
Copied by William P. Johnson
|(p.403)||17th Civil District:|
|No. 56||George Sparks||50||North Carolina||(M)||Farmer||$400|
|Lovancy [?] "||32||" "||(F)|
Sparkses in the 1850 Census of Hickman County, Tennessee
Copied by William P. Johnson
|(p.52)||Isaiah H. Sparks||44||Tennessee||(M)||Farmer|
|No. 730||Sarah "||37||South Carolina||(F)|
|(p. 53)||Jesse Sparks||77||N Carolina||(M)||Farmer||$500|
|No. 733||Jonathan "||16||Tennessee||(M)||Farmer|
Sparkses in the 1850 Census of White County, Tennessee
Copied by Inez Waldenmaier
|(p.103)||William Sparks||67||North Carolina||(M)||Farming||$500|
|No. 1374||Rhoda "||61||" "||(F)|
|Sally Ann "||17||"||(F)|
(1850 Census of White County, Tennessee, continued)
|Patrick A. "||13||"||(M)|
|William A. "||8||"||(M)|
Sparkses in the 1850 Census of Baltimore County, Maryland
Copied by Inez Waldenmaier
(Note: All of the following families were living outside the city of Baltimore)
|No. 560||Mary "||31||"||(F)|
|Delia J. "||9||"||(F)|
|John T. "||4||"||(M)|
|No. 542||Elizabeth "||47||"||(F)|
|No. 449||Rachel "||32||"||(F)|
|No. 384||Elizabeth "||30||"||(F)|
|No. 53||Ann "||20||"||(F)|
|Alfred " , Jr.||7/12||"||(M)|
(1850 Census of Baltimore County, Maryland, continued)
|No. 155||Rachel Sparks||55||"||(F)|
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
NEW MEMBERS OF THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION
It is a pleasure to report the names of ten Sparks descendants who have joined The Sparks Family Association since September, 1956.
Burnham, Mrs. Ruby, 265 Wentworth Ave., Salt Lake City, Utah
Faligatter, Mrs. Bessie Turner, 1670 Newport St., Denver 20, Colorado
Freeman, Mrs. Mary Sparks, 1510 Rosalie Street, Houston 4, Texas
Hackwbrth, Mrs. Mary Ellen, Shelbyville, Kentucky
Oden.kirchen, Mrs. Jeanette Rogers, R.D. 2, Nicholson Road, Sewickley, Pennsylvania
Sparks, Hubert, 1402 Hussion Street, Houston, Texas
Sparks, Laurance H., 381 Congress Street, Boston, Massachusetts
Sparks, Mrs. Pearl A., 9866 Lawlor Street, Oakland 5, California
Sparks, Ray M., Box 99, Silver, Texas
Sparks, Willie, Route 1, Hilliards, Ohio
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With this issue we complete the fourth volume of THE SPARKS QUARTERLY. We hope that in the eighty pages of Sparks history which comprise this volume we have succeeded in solving some of the genealogical problems which have plagued members of the Association and that we have preserved family records which will prove helpful to future generations. The QUARTERLY is being placed in a number of historical libraries where it will be preserved, while many our members have indicated that they are carefully maintaining complete files to be passed on within their immediate families.
It is with pleasure and pride that we report a total of ninety-nine new members during 1956. This means that a total of nearly five hundred Sparks descendants have joined the Association during the four years of its existence
Our Secretary-Treasurer will mail out the Association’s financial statement early in January with a form to fill out for renewing membership for 1957. The success of the QUARTERLY depends, of course, on the amount received in membership dues. We hope that all members will renew their membership and that all who can will become either contributing or sustaining members for 1957.
It has been thought best to wait until after the Christmas mail rush to mail out this issue, which prevents the officers from wishing you all a Merry Christmas in advance. We would, however, like to express our hope that you did have a pleasant holiday and that the New Year proves to be a prosperous and happy one for each of you.
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Scanned and Edited by James J. Sparks