THE
SPARKS QUARTERLY
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION

"To forget one's roots is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root"
(An old Chinese proverb)o. 173Wlol

Whole No. 173

VOL. XLIV, NO. 1 MARCH 1996 WHOLE NO. 173a

 
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-4591-

[Here appears a photograph, beneath which is the following caption:]

WILLIAM SPARKS, JR. (1828-1919) and RACHEL (LEE) SPARKS (1832-1906)

OF PUTNAM COUNTY, TENNESSEE

(View photograph)

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THE SPARKS QUARTERLY, published by The Sparks Family Association.
Paul E. Sparks, President, 155 North Hite Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky (40206-2311)
Russell E. Bidlack, Secretary-Treasurer & Editor, 1709 Cherokee Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan (48104-4448)
The Sparks Family Association was founded in March, 1953, as a non-profit organi- zation devoted to the assembling and preserving of genealogical and historical materials pertaining to the Sparks Family in America.  It is exempt from federal income tax under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, Section 501(c)(7). Membership in the Association is open to all persons connected with the Sparks family, whether by blood, marriage, or adoption, and to persons interested in genealogical research. Membership falls into three classes: Active, Contributing, and Sustaining.  Active membership dues are $7.00 per year;  Contributing membership dues are $10.00 per year; and Sustaining membership dues are any amount over $10.00 that the member wishes to contribute for the support of the Association. All members receive The Sparks Quarterly as it is published in March, June, September, and December.  Back issues are kept in print and are available for $3.00 each to members and $4.00 each to non-members. The first issue of the Quarterly was published in March, 1953. Eight quinquennial  indexes have been published for the years 1953 -1957, 1958 -1962, 1963 -1967, 1968 -72, 1973 -1977, 1978-1982,1983 -1987; and 1988-92.  Each index is available for $5.00. A complete file of the back issues of the Quarterly (1953-1994), including the eight indexes, may be purchased for $280.00.  The forty-two years of the Quarterly (1953 -1994) comprise a total of 4,590 pages of Sparks Family history.  The eight indexes  comprise a total of 874 additional pages.  Each individual joining the Association also receives a table of contents listing all of the articles and collections of data appearing in the Quarterly between 1953 and 1994. The International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) that has been assigned to the Quarterly is ISSN 0561-5445.

Orders for individual back issues of the Quarterly as well as for a complete file should be sent to the editor, Russell E. Bidlack, 1709 Cherokee Road, Ann Arbor, MI, 48104-4448.

NOTES ON WILLIAM, JR. AND RACHEL (LEE) SPARKS

OF PUTNAM COUNTY, TENNESSEE

On the cover of one of the earliest issues of The Sparks Quarterly (that for December 1956, Whole No. 16), we published a photograph of a "Tree-of-Life Quilt" made many years earlier.  It was comprised of thirty "sewing blocks," on each of which were stitched scraps of figured cloth in "crazy-quilt" fashion, along with names, with an occasional date.  Research proved that the Sparks names belonged to the family of William and Rhoda (Pennington) Sparks of North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee.  We have also learned that the numerous persons named Lee were of the family of Augustine and Rachel (Nichols) Lee.  (On the quilt "Augustine" is spelled Augusta," while some sources call him Augustus.)  The photograph used in 1956 had been provided by Mrs. Meryln Houck of Stillwater Oklahoma.  She told us that a daughter of Augustine and Rachel Lee had been Rachel Lee, named for her mother, and she had been married to William Sparks, Jr , a son of William and Rhoda Sparks, on March 30, 1851, in White County, Tennessee.  At that time, the quilt was owned by Mrs. Clure Coffelt.

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-4593-

Today, this family heirloom is owned by Ruth Sparks Hale, Rt. 2, Box 178, Sparta, Tennessee (38583).  Through Mrs. Hale, we now know who it was that actually made the quilt--she was Rachel Elina (Lee) Sparks, daughter of Augustine and Rachel (Nichols) Lee, whose husband was William Sparks, Jr.  Rachel had been born on February 6, 1832, in White County, Tennessee, the part that is now Putnam County; she died on June 6, 1906, also In Putnam County.  William Sparks, Jr., son of William and Rhoda (Pennington) Sparks, was born on April 3, 1828, in Tennessee, and died on March 20, 1919.

Mrs . Hale has also provided for us the photograph of William, Jr. and Rachel E. (Lee) Sparks appearing on the cover of this issue of The Quarterly. Shereports that this was taken "from an enlarged picture a cousin brought to one of our Sparks reunions."

In the issue of the Quarterly for September 1982, Whole No. 119, pp. 2453-57, we published an account written by Donald Pugh describing his efforts to find the graves of some of the people named on the quilt, a total of fifty-one individuals, of whom nineteen had the name Sparks.  For this 1982 article, we again published a photograph of this quilt (see page 2454).  Mr. Pugh's article was followed by an account prepared by Dr. Paul E. Sparks, the Association's president, identifying the Sparkses whose names appear on the quilt.  All were descendants, or the spouses of descendants, of William Sparks (born ca.1783) and his wife, Rhoda (Pennington) Sparks.  The dates of death for both William and Rhoda are included in the block of the quilt containing their names:  William died on March 2, 1869, and Rhoda died on October 26, 1871.  They were the father-in-law and mother- in-law of Rachel (Lee) Sparks, the maker of the quilt.

William Sparks (ca.1783-1869) was a son of James Sparks (ca.1762-ca.1826) and a grandson of William Sparks (ca.1725-1801/02).  A lengthy article devoted to this branch of the Sparks family appeared in the Quarterly of June 1991, Whole No. 154, pp. 3751-3798.  An artIcle about James Sparks (ca.1762-ca.1826) and his family was published in the March 1994 issue, Whole No. 165, pp. 4265-4276.

Mrs . Hale reports that it had been about three years after William and Rhoda (Penhington) Sparks purchased their farm in Putnam County, Tennessee, that their tenth child, William Sparks, Jr., was born on April 3, 1828.  (Although Putnam County had been created from portions of White, Jackson, Overton, and Dekalb Counties, it was not until 1854 that the new county was organized with a civil government.)  As noted earlier, the Sparks family was in that part of Putnam County that had been taken from White County.  It was at the home of his son , Joe Sparks, located on the old Sparks farm on which he had been reared, that William Sparks, Jr. died on March 20, 1919.

Mrs . Hale has provided us with the following list of the children of William Sparks, Jr. and his wife, Rachel Elina (Lee) Sparks. The first three died during an epidemic in 1857.

[Here appears a photograph, beneath which is the following caption:]

JOSEPH ["JOE"] Z. SPARKS & MARY FANNIE (STEWART) SPARKS

With Children: Johnnie Lester, Notie Elizabeth, & William Heston

(View photograph)

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NAMES FROM THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (THE WALL)

[Here appears a wall rubbing from the Viet Nam Memorial, beneath which is the following caption:]

CURTIS T. GAY 1947-1968)

A SPARKS DESCENDANT KILLED IN VIET NAM
 

[Here appears a photograph, beneath which is the following caption:]

CHRISTOPHER JOHN BIDLACK POINTING TO

CURTIS T. GAY'S NAME ON THE WALL

(View photograph)

On the cover of The Sparks Quarterly of March 1968 (Whole No. 61), appeared the photograph of a youthful Sparks descendant in U.S. Army uniform.  This was Curtis T. Gay who had been killed in action in Vietnam on January 20, 1968.
Born on January 20, 1947, Curtis was a descendant of Martin P. Sparks (1786-1837), whose life was sketched in the March 1958 issue of the Quarterly (No. 21).

Curtis T . Gay had enlisted in the U.S. Army in September 1966, a few months following his graduation from high school. He became a member of the Army Signal Corps in Vietnam, where he was promoted to the rank of Army Specialist Fourth
Class.  He was killed in action while defending a bunker on the summit of Ke Sien Mountain in the Battle of Qui Nhon.

Having children nearly the same age as Curtis, your editor has often gazed on the smiling, innocent face looking out through this photograph, thinking of the grief suffered by this boy's parents, Mr. and Mrs Joseph T. Gay, as a result of this terrible war.  In 1968, they were residents of McKeesport, Pennsylvania.

Your editor's son, Major Harold W. Bidlack, USAF, was in Washington, D.C., in 1995 and, accompanied by his son (my grandson) Christopher John Bidlack, went to the Vietnam Memorial and found Curtis T Gay's name.  They made a "rubbing" of his name that is reproduced on page 4595.  Hal also took a photograph of Christopher pointing to Curtis' engraved name on The Wall.

How many other names of Sparks descendants appear on The Wall we cannot guess, but we can report that there are twenty with the surname Sparks and one with the surname Spark . The following information about each one has been taken from the information available at the Memorial, as well as through the computer.

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NAMES FROM THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (THE WALL)

Your editor's son, Major Harold W. Bidlack, USAF, was in Washington, D.C., in 1995 and, accompanied by his son (my grandson) Christopher John Bidlack, went to the Vietnam Memorial and found Curtis T . Gay's name.  They made a "rubbing"  of his name that is reproduced on page 4595. Hal also took a photograph of Christopher pointing to Curtis' engraved name on The Wall.

How many other names of Sparks descendants appear on The Wall we cannot guess, but we can report that there are twenty with the surname Sparks and one with the surname Spark.  The following information about each one has been taken from the information available at the Memorial , as well as through the computer .
 

Spark, Michael Melvin
Rank :
Home: .
Date of birth:
Age:
Marital status:
Service :
Pay Grade:
Date of death:
Casualty place:
Casualty type:
Body status:

Sparks, Charles Pierce
Rank:
Home :
Date of birth:
Age
Marital status:
Service :
Pay grade:
Date of death:
Casualty place:
Casualty type:
Body status:

Sparks, Clifford Edward
Rank:
Home :
Date of birth:
Age
Marital status:
Service :
Pay grade:
Date of death:
Casualty place:
Casualty type:
Body status:

Sparks, David Leo
Rank:
Home :
Date of birth:
Age
Marital status:
Pay grade:
Date of death:
Casualty place:
Casualty type:
Body status:
 


Colonel
New York, New York
June 9, 1927
41
Married
Marine Corps, Regular
06
January 15, 1969
South Vietnam
Hostile - Killed
Body recovered
 

Private First Class
Killeen, Texas
October 6, 1938
26
Single
Army, Regular
E3
October 24, 1964
Cambodia
Hostile - Died while missing
Body recovered
 

Specialist 6th Class
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
July 29, 1936
30
Married
Army, Regular
E6
March 5, 1967
South Vietnam
Hostile - Died while missing
Body recovered
 

Specialist 4th Class
Lakewood , Colorado
March 6, 1949
19
Single
E4
October 24, 1968
South Vietnam
Non-hostile - Died of other causes
Body recovered
 

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NAMES FROM THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (THE WALL), continued:

Sparks, Donald Lee
Rank :
Home :
Date of birth:
Age:
Marital status:
Service :
Pay grade:
Date of death:
Casualty place:
Casualty Type:
Body status:

Sparks, Glenn Louis
Rank:
Home :
Date of birth:
Age:
Marital status:
Service :
Pay grade:
Date of death:
Casualty place
Casualty type:
Body status:

Sparks, Henry Eugene
Rank:
Home :
Date of birth:
Age:
Marital status:
Service :
Pay grade:
Date of death:
Casualty place;
Casualty type:
Body status:

Sparks, James Edward
Rank:
Home :
Date of birth:
Age:
Marital status:
Service
Pay grade:
Date of death:
Casualty place:
Casualty type:
Body status:


Specialist First Class
Carroll, Iowa
November 7, 1946
32
Single
Army, Temporary
E7
November 5, 1979
South Vietnam
Hostile - Died while captured
Body not recovered
 

Private First Class
Buena Park , California
July 13, 1950
18
Single
Army, Regular
E3
March 19, 1969
South Vietnam
Hostile - Killed
Body recovered
 

Staff Sergeant
Los Angeles, California
August 11, 1935
33
Married
Marine Corps, Regular
E6
July 10, 1969
South Vietnam
Hostile - Killed
Body recovered
 

Private First Class
Los Angeles, California
May 9, 1948
20
Single
Army , Temporary
E3
December 18, 1968
South Vietnam
Hostile - Killed
Body recovered

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NAMES FROM THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (THE WALL), continued:
 

Sparks, James Henry
Rank:
Home:
Date of birth:
Age:
Marital status :
Service :
Pay grade:
Date of death:
Casualty place:
Casualty type:
Body status :

Sparks, John W.
Rank:
Home :
Date of birth:
Age:
Marital status:
Service :
Pay grade:
Date of death:
Casualty place.'
Casualty type:
Body status:

Sparks, Jon Michael
Rank:
Home :
Date of birth:
Age
Marital status:
Service:
Pay grade:
Date of death:
Casualty place:
Casualty type:
Body status:

Sparks, Paul Allan
Rank:
Home :
Date of birth:
Age:
Marital status:
Service :
Pay grade:
Date of death:
Casualty place:
Casualty type:
Body status:
 

Lance Corporal
Pasadena, Texas
March 6, 1948
19
Married
Marine Corps, Regular
E3
June 30, 1967
South Vietnam
Hostile - Killed
Body recovered
 

Private First Class
Kettle Falls , Washington
September 24, 1949
20
Single
Army, Temporary
E3
January 9, 1970
South Vietnam
Non-hostile - Died of illness
Body recovered
 

Chief Warrant Officer
Carey, Idaho
February 24, 1950
26
Married
Army, Reserve
W2
March 11, 1976
Laos
Hostile - Died while Missing
Body not recovered
 

Private First Class
Houston, Texas
June 23, 1947
22
Single
Army, Temporary
E3
August 19, 1969
South Vietnam
Hostile - Killed
Body recovered

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NAMES FROM THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (THE WALL), continued:

Sparks, Peter Allan
Rank:
Home :
Date of birth:
Age:
Marital status:
Service :
Pay grade:
Date of death:
Casualty place:
Casualty type :
Body status:

Sparks, Richard L.
Rank:
Home :
Date of birth:
Age:
Marital status:
Service :
Pay grade:
Date of death:
Casualty place:
Casualty type:

Body status:

Sparks, Rickie D.
Rank:
Home :
Date of birth:
Age:
Marital status:
Service :
Pay grade:
Date of death:
Casualty place:
Casualty type:
Body status:

Sparks, Roger Howard
Rank :
Home :
Date of birth:
Age:
Marital status:
Service :
Pay grade:
Date of death:
Casualty place:
Casualty type:
Body status:


Hospitalman
Minneapolis , Minnesota
April 23, 1948
19
Married
Navy, Regular
E3
October 4, 1967
South Vietnam
Hostile - Killed
Body recovered
 

Specialist Fourth Class
Marion, Ohio
May 10, 1945
23
Married
Army , Regular
E4
September 19, 1968
South Vietnam
Non-hostile - Died of other causes
Body recovered
 

Sergeant
Tecumseh, Michigan
July 26, 1947
20
Married
Army, Temporary
E5
November 18, 1967
South Vietnam
Hostile - Killed
Body recovered
 

Sergeant
Beliingham , Washington
December 15, 1945
22
Single
Army, Regular
E4
May 3, 1968
South Vietnam
Hostile - Killed
Body recovered

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NAMES FROM THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (THE WALL) , continued :

Sparks, Ronald David
Rank:
Home :
Date of birth:
Age:
Marital status:
Service :
Pay grade:
Date of death:
Casualty place:
Casualty type:
Body status:

Sparks, Stephen Duane,Sr.
Rank:
Home :
Date of birth:
Age:
Marital status:
Service :
Pay grade:
Date of death:
Casualty place:
Casualty type:
Body status :

Sparks, Steven Lee
Rank:
Home :
Date of birth:
Age
Marital status:
Service :
Pay grade:
Date of death:
Casualty place:
Casualty type:
Body status:

Sparks, Thomas James
Rank:
Home :
Date of birth:
Age:
Marital status:
Service :
Pay grade.
Date of death:
Casualty place:
Casualty type:
Body status:
 

Name
Private First Class
Rich Creek , Virginia
November 7, 1947
20
Married
Army, Temporary
E3
April 6, 1968
South Vietnam
Hostile - Killed
Body recovered

Name
First Lieutenant
Tulsa, Oklahoma
January 11, 1944
24
Married
Army Reserve
02
September 11, 1968
South Vietnam
Hostile - Killed
Body recovered
 

Private First Class
Columbus, Ohio
July 14, 1948
19
Single
Marine Corps, Reg.
E2
April 6, 1968
South Vietnam
Hostile - Killed
Body recovered

Private First Class
Groves, Texas
March 13,. 1949
18
Single
Marine Corps, Regular
E2
February 9, 1968
South Vietnam
Hostile - Killed
Body recovered

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NAMES FROM THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (THE WALL) , continued :


Sparks, William Douglas
Rank:
Home :
Date of birth:
Age
Marital status:
Service :
Pay grade:
Date of death:
Casualty place:
Casualty type:
Body status:
Name
Sergeant
Stout, Ohio
October 19, 1948
20
Single
Army, Temporary
E4
June 9, 1969
South Vietnam
Hostile - Killed
Body recovered

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DEATH TAKES CHARLES PAUL SPARKS

It is with deep regret that we record the death of a longtime and generous mem ber, Charles Paul Sparks, who passed away on October 16, 1995, at Houston, Texas. He is survived by his wife, Jean Sparks, and two sons, Paul Edward Sparks and Steven Douglas Sparks.

Charles Paul Sparks was born on October 9, 1915, near Charley, a post office in southeastern Lawrence County , Kentucky . He was a son of Charles Clarence and Fannie (France) Sparks and a grandson of Nelson and Calista (Ward) Sparks.  (See pp. 3853-3873 of the December 1991 issue of The Sparks Quarterly.)

We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife , his sons , and other family members .

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

DEATH TAKES HAROLD E. SPARKS

We regret to report the death of Harold E. Sparks who passed away on May 14, 1995, at his home near Secor, Illinois.  He is survived by his wife, Joanna (Bailey) Sparks; two sons, David Sparks and Michael Sparks; and two daughters, Sharon (Sparks) Duncan and Susan (Sparks) Johnson.

Harold Eugene Sparks was born on March 9, 1925, in El Paso, Illinois, and was son of Arthur F. and Ruth (Cable) Sparks . His paternal grandparents were Edward L. and Margaret (Geiselman) Sparks, and his great-grandparents were Asa and Amanda (Van Scyoc) Sparks.  (See pp. 617-631 of the March 1962 issue of The Sparks Quarterly, Whole No. 37, for further details of his lineage.)

We extend our sympathy to his wife , children , and other family members .

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

A FURTHER NOTE PERTAINING TO THE PLACE OF BURIAL

OF THOMAS J. SPARKS (1844-1910)

Editor's Note:  In our abstract of the pension papers for a Union soldier named Thomas J. Sparks, who served in the 134th Regiment Illinois Infantry, appearing in the Quarterly of December 1995, we included the text of a letter written in 1917 by Sparks's widow, Harriet Sparks, to Mrs. Woodrow Wilson.  In this, Mrs. Sparks mentioned that her husband had died in San Francisco on October 19, 1910, and had been buried "in the Presedio [sic] in the National Cemetery".  In an editor's note , we speculated regarding where his burial site might beOne of our readers, Carol Hodge March of 13101 La Paloma Road, Los Altos Hills, California, has provided the following helpful information, for which we are most grateful :

Just a note about the reference to "the Presedio" on page 4588 of #172. There were actually four presidios established in California by the Spanish : San Diego (1769.), Monterey (1770), San Francisco (1776), and Santa Barbara (1782).  The word is Spanish for garrison or military post.  These "frontier outposts of the Spanish Empire" were established to keep Russia and England from "gaining a foothold" here.  In 1822, by accession, they became part of the new Mexican Republic.

Under the Mexicans, the San Francisco Presidio deteriorated and was abandoned for a garrison farther north in Sonoma.  During the War with Mexico, the U.S. Army occupied it and rebuilt the adobe buildings.  In November 1850, after California had become a state, President Fillmore set aside the Presidio land as a new military reserve. A Parade Ground, barracks, officer's quarters, and other buildings were built during the Civil War, and in 1865 the Presidio at San Francisco became the Army's Department of the Pacific headquarters.  Massive forestation and landscape projects were under taken in the 1880s, resulting in the park-like setting the area still enjoys .

Important to our discussion, in 1884 the Army established the Presidio Burial Grounds on a hill overlooking the Parade Grounds.  These Burial Grounds are also designated as a National Military Cemetery, originally covering ten acres and now covering 23.3 acres.  A much larger National Cemetery is a few miles down the road (Highway 280) in San Bruno, California.  The foreign language school mentioned in your Editor's Note is in Monterey, not San Francisco.

From 1890 to World War One , the San Francisco Presidio was rebuilt and its facilities expanded, including the building of a large Army hospital, later called Letterman Army Hospital.  During both World Wars, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the Presidio and Letterman Hospital were busy places.  Recognizing its historical significance in 1960, the Presidio was designated a National Historical Landmark.  WIth military cut-backs in the past few years, the Army base has been closed, as well as Letterman Hospital.  Fortunately, the area is being preserved for its park-like qualities and its history.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *
SPARKS MARRIAGE LICENSES FOUND IN MORGAN COUNTY. INDIANA

William J. Sparks and Harriett Rheinhart, May 6, 1843 (Book B, page 63)
Isaac Sparks and Carolyn Taylor, February 13, 1856 (Book C, page 259)

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Scanned and Edited by Harold E. Sparks