THE
SPARKS QUARTERLY
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION

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


VOL. XLIV No. 2  June 1996  WHOLE NO. 174a

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

SOME DESCANDANTS OF LEVI SPARKS (1778-1851)
(Photograph taken ca. 1900)

Standing, lrft to right: Bert Sparks (See Item C, 2, d, page 4649);
Proctor Sparks (See item C, 5, a, page4651); Charles Bailey
(See Item C, 3, b, page 4650); Nelson Sparks (See Item D, 3, b, page 4659)

Seated, left to right:  Sarah Barker (See Item C, 2, e, page 4649);
Virginia Virgie Sparks (See Item C, 2, d, page 4649; and Mary Day

[Scanner's note: See SQ p.4703 for above correction.]

(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.

LEVI SPARKS (1778-1851) AND SOME OF HIS DESCENDANTS
OF LAWRENCE COUNTY, KENTUCKY

By Paul E. Sparks

[Editor's Note: Levi Sparks was a son of John and Sarah (Shores) Sparks of early Wilkes County, North Carolina. John and Sarah and their children have been the subjects of two articles in earlier issues of the QUARTERLY. The first of these was in the December 1955 issue, Whole No. 12, and the second was in the March 1981 issue, Whole No. 113. Both articles, however, gave only a bare outline of the children and grandchildren of this couple, and, since their publication, much additional information has been collected.

[The article that follows is about Levi Sparks, the oldest child of John and Sarah. Many persons have made contributions to it, but it is safe to say that the largest contribution was made by Joy Sparks, a great-great-great-granddaughter, now deceased. Through the help of her notes and letters, a small history has been preserved of Levi Sparks and his children. It was Joy's father, Proctor Sparks, who gave much needed financial support in the early days of the Association.]

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Levi Sparks, son of John and Sarah (Shores) Sparks, was born on October 2, 1778, in Wilkes County, North Carolina, and it was there that he grew to maturity. He received a good education for that time and place, and after attaining adulthood, he served as a teacher on some occasions, according to descendants. He was also quite active in civic affairs of that county. He was appointed as a constable on November 6, 1799, just a month after he had reached his 21st birthday. His securities on that occasion were Jacob Lyon and Holloway. Thereafter, until he left the county, he served as a constable on many occasions.

Levi also served many times as a road "juryman." In the spring of 1809, he was appointed as a road juryman, along with his father, to view the road leading from "Elk Spur to the head of the Elkin [River] across the mountain."  In November 1819, the Wilkes County Court appointed him as the overseer "from Traphill two miles east toward Jonesville." He was also summoned to serve on a Wilkes County jury in 1818, 1819, and 1821.

Sometime around 1800, Levi Sparks was married to Miss Walsh, probably in Wilkes County, however, no record of the marriage can be found. She apparently died about 1804, leaving Levi with a two-year-old son and a baby daughter. He was married (second) to Sarah Lyon, probably about 1805. She had been born about 1781 and was a daughter of William and Margaret (Brown?) Lyon.

Two records have been found of Levi entering state-owned lands in Wilkes County. On November 27, 1806, he entered 150 acres of land lying "on the waters of Big Elkin." On December 15, 1809, he entered 50 acres of land on Big Bugaboo Creek. Both of these streams are located in the eastern part of
Wilkes County.

On February 2, 1821, Levi Sparks served on a Wilkes County jury, but on Feb ruary 5, 1822, when he was summoned to appear as a witness in the case of Naaman Woody and Willis Alexander, the court records show that he failed to attend. Undoubtedly, his failure to respond to the summons was caused by his move to Kentucky. He and his brothers, George Sparks, Reuben Sparks, and Colby Sparks (along with a number of other Wilkes Countians, among whom were Lyons, Gambills, Holbrooks, Skaggs, Boggs, and others too numerous to mention), settled in newly-formed Lawrence County, Kentucky, in the latter part of 1821.

(Lawrence County was formed in 1821 from Floyd and Greenup Counties, and it originally embraced a large portion of northeastern Kentucky. Its county seat was at Louisa, a town located on its extremely east boundary and which was difficult for many citizens to reach. For this and other reasons, portions of the county were taken away to help form five other counties: Carter County in 1838; Johnson County in 1843; Boyd County in 1860; Elliott County in 1869; and Martin County in 1870. Descendants of the Sparkses who had settled in early Lawrence County were in all of the "new" counties, thus it is safe to say that most of the persons named Sparks in present-day northeastern Kentucky are fromthe same branchof the family. References to Lawrence County in this article will refer to Lawrence County, Kentucky, only.)

Reuben Sparks and Colby Sparks, brothers of Levi, returned to North Carolina.  George Sparks, another brother, settled on the Little Fork of Little Sandy River. Levi and Sarah (Lyon) Sparks settled on 100 acres of land on the right fork of the Right Fork of Blaine Creek near present-day Martha, Kentucky.

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It was near Martha, Kentucky, that the children of Levi Sparks grew to maturity. They included five sons and three daughters. His daughter, Sidney Sparks, had chosen to stay with the Walshes in North Carolina.

Levi was shown as head of his household when the 1830, 1840, and 1850 censuses were taken of Lawrence County, Kentucky. He died there on October 21, 1851. Sarah survived him exactly four years, dying on October 21, 1855. They were buried in the Dobyns Cemetery at Martha, Kentucky. According to descendants and census records, Levi was the father of nine children, including an unnamed daughter born about 1810, who apparently died when quite young. By his first marriage, he had one son and one daughter. By his second marriage, he had four sons and three daughters.


A. Garrett Sparks, son of Levi and (Walsh) Sparks, was born on September 15, 1802, in Wilkes County, North Carolina. (His name was also spelled Jarrett, Jared, Gared, etc.) He had reached maturity when he accompanied his father to Lawrence County, Kentucky, in 1821. The first official record we have found of him is a Kentucky Land Warrant, dated May 10, 1824, for 50 acres of land on the right fork of Big Blaine Creek. He probably bought the land in preparation for his marriage to Elizabeth ["Betsy"] Boggs. They were married on September 22, 1825, by the Rev. Stephen Wheeler, a Baptist minister. (The license was issued on September 19, 1825.) Betsy had been born on December 27, 1808, in Virginia and was a daughter of John 0. and Nancy (Wells) Boggs.  Soon after their marriage, Garrett and Betsy united with the Big Blaine Baptist Church.

During the period from 1825 to 1850, Garrett Sparks was involved in over a dozen transactions involving the purchase and sale of land on Blaine Creek. On the 1860 census, he was listed with real estate valued at $1,000 and personal property valued at $500.

The Civil War had a major impact on the family of Garrett Sparks. Three of his sons served in the Union forces. Garrett's youngest brother, John L. Sparks, served in the Confederate forces and was quite likely involved in the ransacking of Garrett's house during the war. (See the March 1993 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 161, beginning on page 4065.)

Garrett Sparks died on September 25, 1873, in Lawrence County. Betsy died there on December 21, 1873. They were buried in the Morton Sparks Ceme tery that is located on Kentucky Route 32 between the Forks of Blalne and the mouth of Collier Creek. They had sixteen children according to census records and information given by descendants.

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

W.G. SPARKS

Pineville Community Supt. of schools

(View photograph)

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

DR. JAMES CECIL SPARKS

(1875-1954)

(View photograph)

i. Emma F. Sparks was born on October 7, 1879. She became a school teacher in Lawrence County. It was there that she was married to Alonzo B. Lyon in 1903. He had been born on March 25, 1875, and was a son of Colby and Phoebe (Jayne) Lyon; thus, he was a brother of Cora Elizabeth Lyon who was married to Emma's brother, Morton E. Sparks. (See Item A, 1, e, above.) Emma and Alonzo lived in Ashland, Kentucky, where Alonzo was a contractor. Emma died there on February 21, 1958, and Alonzo died on April 5, 1969. They were buried in the Ashland Cemetery. They had two children, Noel Lyon and Lionel Lyon.
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[Scanner's note: Changes per SQ p. 4703.]
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[Here appear two photographs, beneath which are the following captions:]


CHILTON HARVEY BISHOP
and his wife
SARAH CATHERINE (SPARKS) BISHOP
with their daughter
BELVA LENA BISHOP

(View photograph)

HENRY PRICE BISHOP
and his sister
DELMA EMMA BISHOP
Children of Chilton and 
SARAH CATHERINE (SPARKS) BISHOP

(View photograph)

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j.Nancy Bell Sparks was born on December 27, 1876. She died in infancy.

k. James Alonzo ["Jim Lon"] Sparks was born on July 20, 1880. He taught school for a while, but then went to college where he became a dentist. He was married to Mary ["Mollie"] Dobyns, and, according to a relative, they had at least two children. Jim Lon practiced dentistry in Oklahoma. He died on October 1, 1931, at Huntington, West Virginia. We have no further information about him.

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B. Sidney Sparks, daughter of Levi and (Walsh) Sparks, was born about 1804 in Wilkes County, North Carolina, and she was a baby when her mother died. She was cared for by her mother's family and continued to live with them after she was grown. She did not go to Kentucky with her father. Apparently she did not marry. We have no further information about her.

C. Calvin Sparks, son of Levi and Sarah (Lyon) Sparks, was born on Novem ber 9, 1806, in Wilkes County, North Carolina. He received a good educa tion in the local schools and was a good-sized lad when he accompanied his parents to Kentucky. Descendants say that he taught school near the village of Martha in Lawrence County. He was married to Sarah ["Sally"] Lyon on June 19, 1828, in Lawrence County by Stephen Wheeler, a Baptist minister. Sally had been born on July 10, 1806, and was a daughter of John and Mary ["Polly"] (Holbrook) Lyon.

Calvin and Sally lived on the Right Fork of Big Blaine Creek where they reared six children. Sally died there on August 29, 1876. Calvin made his home with his son, Nelson Sparks, until his death on February 26, 1894. He and Sally were buried in the Dobyns Cemetery located near the mouth of Wiley Branch. They were the parents of the following children:

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

ALFORD AND POLLY ANN (GREEN) SPARKS

(View photograph)

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

MERIDITH BENTON SPARKS (1866-1921)

CANDIDATE FOR COUNTY JUDGE

(View photograph)

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D. Wiley Sparks, son of Levi and Sarah (Lyon) Sparks, was born on March 3, 1808, according to a Bible entry made many years ago. (See p. 241 of the September 1957 issue of the QUARTERLY, Whole No. 19.) He was born in Wilkes County, North Carolina, and was a teenaged boy when he accompanied his parents to Lawrence County, Kentucky. It was there that he was married to Cynthia Ann Holbrook on June 21, 1832, by Stephen Wheeler a Baptist minister.  She had been born on January 6, 1814, and was a daughter of John and Mary (Lyon) Holbrook, natives of North Carolina.

(Continued on next page)

 
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Scanned and Edited by Harold E. Sparks