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. XLVI, No. 2 JUNE 1998  WHOLE NO. 182a

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

SALLIE WIMBERLY SPARKS

(1888-1962)

Great-Granddaughter of Martin Peeples Sparks

(Photograph taken about 1897)

(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 $10.00 per year;  Contributing membership dues are $15.00 per year; and Sustaining membership dues are any amount over $15.00 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, 1988-92, and 1993-1997.  Each index is available for $5.00. A complete file of the back issues of the Quarterly (1953-1996), including the eight indexes, may be purchased for $300.00.  The forty-five years of the Quarterly (1953 -1997) comprise a total of 4,932 pages of Sparks Family history.  The nine indexes  amount to 900 additional pages.  A table of contents is also available for $5.00.  Comprising 65 pages, this lists the articles and collections of data appearing in the Quarterly between 1953 and 1997; it is updated at the end of each year. 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, the table of contents, as well as for a complete, file should be sent to the editor, Russell E. Bidlack, 1709 Cherokee Road, Ann Arbor, MI, 48104-4498.

DESCENDANTS OF MARTIN PEEPLES SPARKS (1786-1837)

THROUGH HIS ONLY SURVIVING CHILD, THOMAS HUNTER SPARKS

By Russell E Bidlack

Some forty years ago, this writer had extensive correspondence with a Sparks descendant named Charles H. Smith (1872-1964), of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. . Mr. Smith was a son of Hines Maguire and Sarah Jane (Sparks) Smith. (For an auto- biographical sketch of Mr. Smith see THE SPARKS QUARTERLY of March 1958, Whole No. 21, pp. 281-85.)

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Charles H . Smith was a great-grandson of Martin Peeples Sparks, who had been born on July 18, 1786, according to family records preserved by Mr. Smith. We cannot be certain, however, of the place of birth of Martin P. Sparks, but he was a member of the branch of the Sparks family long associated with Morgan County, Georgia. Our earliest official record of him is found in a deed dated November 6, 1810, by which he purchased land on Sandy Creek in Morgan County, described as Lot 294, District 20, containing 202 1/2 acres, for which he paid $1,002. This was a considerable amount of money for a twenty-four-year-old youth to pay for land at that time, making one wonder whether he may have inherited it. The man selling this tract to Sparks was Charles M . Lin, who was the guardian of Nancy and Thomas Cooper, children of Thomas Cooper, deceased. (See Morgan County Deed Book B, p.362.)

Martin Peeples Sparks continued to acquire Georgia land, not only in Morgan County, but in several nearby counties as well, and he soon became a man of considerable wealth . His home in Morgan County appears to have been located on Hard Labor Creek, not far from the present town of Madison. On a tax list of Morgan County for 1832, he was credited with owning twenty-two slaves, a town lot, plus 3,033 acres of land. He was one of the few men in the county to be taxed that year on a carriage, considered to be a major luxury. He served as Morgan County's sheriff from 1818 to 1820 and from 1822 to 1824, and he represented the county in the Georgia Legislature in 1832, 1833, and 1834.

On December 2, 1810, Martin P. Sparks was married to Elizabeth Whatley, who had been born on July 28, 1795, according to family records preserved by Mr. Smith . He believed Elizabeth Whatley to have been a daughter of Ornan and Judith Whatley, but we are uncertain of the accuracy of his memory in this regard. Martin and Elizabeth (Whatley) Sparks became the parents of three children, but only their son named Thomas Hunter Sparks, born September 1, 1814, lived to adulthood.

Martin P. Sparks seems to have been possessed of the pioneering spirit, and in or about 1836, he moved his family northwest to Paulding County, Georgia, acquiring land formerly belonging to the Cherokee Indians . This was part of a vast area that had been purchased from the Cherokees by the state of Georgia in 1831.  Sparks settled in that part of Paulding County that became Polk County in 1851, near the present town of Cedartown, in an area called Cedar Valley .

Within a year of his move to Paulding County, Martin P. Sparks died. The fact that he left no will suggests that his death on June 8, 1837, may have been sudden. His widow, Elizabeth, lived until September 4, 1870.

Thomas Hunter Sparks, only surviving child of Martin P. and Elizabeth (Whatley) Sparks, had been born, as noted above, on September 1, 1814. He was only twenty-two years old when he inherited his father's considerable estate, for the settlement of which he became administrator.

A much more complete account of the life of Martin P. Sparks can be found in the QUARTERLY of March 1958, Whole No. 21. That issue includes a photograph of his widow, Elizabeth (Whatley) Sparks, taken when she was quite old. As noted earlier, however, we have never succeeded in finding proof of Martin's parentage . We know from several sources that he had a close relationship with Carter Walton Sparks, born May 28, 1797, who was, thus, eleven years younger than Martin. A record of Carter Walton Sparks's life appeared In the QUARTERLY of December 1960, Whole No. 32, pp. 523-25. Some descendants of Martin P. Sparks remembered calling Carter W. Sparks "Uncle," but this could simply have been a courtesy title used by children for a man whom their parents called by his first name, a common practice of the time .

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Carter Walton Sparks was a son of Jeremiah Sparks, who made his will in Morgan County, Georgia, on October 11, 1839; it was probated on January 4, 1841, indicating that he had doubtless died late in 1840. Jeremiah was called "Senior" because he had a nephew of the same name for whom he served as guardian for a number of years . This elder Jeremiah Sparks's will was published in the December 1960 issue of the QUARTERLY, pp.521-22. While he made a detailed record of how his possessions were to be divided among his son, Carter Walton Sparks, and two living daughters, as well as his grandchildren whose mothers (his daughters) had died, he made no mention of the widow of Martin Peeples Sparks nor of her son, Thomas Hunter Sparks. We are doubtful, therefore, that Martin and Carter could have been brothers, although they must have been closely related because of their close association with each other as adults .

Thomas Hunter Sparks (1814-1863)

Thomas Hunter Sparks, son of Martin Peeples and Elizabeth (Whatley) Sparks, was born in Morgan County, Georgia, on September 1, 1814. As his parents' only child to reach adulthood, at age twenty-two he became a Southern planter with a considerable inheritance . He had been married on September 2, 1834, a day following his twentieth birthday, to Mary Ann Leonard, daughter of James P. Leonard. She had been born on January 14, 1818. Thomas and his wife had moved with his parents to Paulding County in or about 1836. Either shortly before, or soon after their move, a daughter was born to Mary Ann and Thomas . They named her Martha, adding four middle initials: A.M.E.T. She was born on April 27, 1836, but she died on the following May 11th. Another daughter, Medora Newton Sparks, was born on August 16, 1837, and a son, James Martin Sparks, was born on October 11, 1839. A week following the birth of James, Mary Ann died, not yet having attained her twenty-second birthday. Elizabeth (Whatley) Sparks, who made her home with Thomas following the death of her husband, doubtless became a second mother to her two small grandchildren.

Thomas Hunter Sparks did not consider marrying a second time until about 1844, when he returned to Morgan County to court a lady whom he had known there.  Apparently, through correspondence, he had gained the impression she would accept his proposal of marriage . She had second thoughts, however, when she considered having to move to Paulding County where she had no friends . Thomas started home alone . Stopping in Greene County to visit old friends ("Uncle Billy and Aunt Sally Daniel"), he there met the Daniels' ward, a niece of "Uncle Billy," named Ann Linton. Ann's mother had died in 1829, two years after Ann's birth on October 17, 1827. On February 25, 1845, Thomas H. Sparks and Ann Linton were married . During the following eighteen years they became parents of eleven children, nine of whom survived childhood . The family Bible in which these births were recorded by Thomas and Ann Sparks was inherited by their son, William Daniel Sparks. In the 1930s, Charles H. Smith borrowed this Bible from his uncle who had inherited it and had photostatic copies made of the family record to share with family members .  The pages devoted to births and deaths are reproduced on pages 4981 and 4982.

Photographs of Thomas and Ann (Linton) Sparks, as well as their beautiful home in Cedar Valley, appeared in the QUARTERLY of March 1958, Whole No. 21.

Like his father before him, Thomas prospered, and when the 1860 census was taken, he was credited with land valued at $75,000 and personal property at $50,000. The latter figure included ninety slaves, ranging in age from infancy to fifty years.

With the outbreak of the Civil War, and anxious to acquire land outside the state of Georgia, Thomas made several "land scouting trips" to Florida, Mississippi, and

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(Here appears a copy of a Family Record without caption:\

(View Family Record)

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(Here appears a copy of a Family Record without caption:\

(View Family Record)

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

ANN (LINTON) SPARKS (1827-1895)

SECOND WIVE OF THOMAS HUNTER SPARKS (1814-1863)

(View photograph)

Arkansas. He was most favorably impressed with an available tract of 2,240 acres in Clark County, Arkansas, and soon moved his family there in 1861, confident that the war would be won by the Confederacy. This "Arkansas Dream" was doomed to failure, however, when, shortly after his ten-year-old son, Carter Whatley Sparks, died of a local malady called "congestion of the brain," the same disease claimed the life of Thomas H . Sparks . Father and son shared the same grave in Bozeman Cemetery near Arkadelphia, Clark County, Arkansas. Thomas had dictated his will on September 13, 1863, and he died at 10 o'clock that night.

The text of Thomas H. Sparks's will appears on pp. 308-09 of the QUARTERLY of June 1958. While he provided liberally for the support of his mother, he left the bulk of his estate to his wife. Still firm in his belief that the Civil War would be won by the South, he died believing that his land and his Confederate bonds and cash would easily meet his family's future financial needs. Although Ann's two stepchildren had been married by 1863, she was left with nine surviving children of her own, the youngest, Charles Sankey Sparks, having been born on July 3, 1863, only two months prior to his father's death.

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After the war's end, Ann (Linton) Sparks returned to Georgia with her children and her mother-in-law, who continued to live with Ann for the remainder of her life. Ann's brother, Dr. John Linton, provided a house for her and her family in Athens, Georgia. As noted earlier, Elizabeth (Whatley) Sparks, widow of Martin Peeples Sparks, died at the Athens home of her daughter-in-law on September 4, 1870. Ann (Linton) Sparks later moved to Rome, Georgia, where she died on May 3, 1895.

Many more incidents in the lives of Thomas H . and Ann (Linton) Sparks appear in an article in the QUARTERLY of March 1958, Whole No. 21, pp. 272-280, and that of June 1958, Whole No. 22, pp. 308-314, written by their grandson, Charles H. Smith . We did not include in that article, however, a record of their children and grandchildren, hoping that more information might come to light regarding them, beyond that known to Mr . Smith.  Recently, a new member of our Association, Sallie McHenry of Sherman Oaks, California, who descends from Thomas H. and Ann Sparks through their son, William Daniel Sparks, has provided additional information . We now publish this record . It is our hope that it will come to the attention of other descendants who may provide us with still more information on this branch of the Sparks family.

Likewise, we are publishing for the first time photographs of Ann (Linton) Sparks and six of her children. Charles H. Smith had loaned these to the present writer for reproduction . They had been arranged as a collage for framing, with the mother (Ann) in the center. Judging from the apparent age of the youngest child, Charles Sankey Sparks (probably about six years old), it would seem that these photographs were probably taken about 1869, in Athens, Georgia . The six children included seem to have been those still living at home then:  Sarah Jane, Samuel Peeples, John Veasey, Alexander H., Annie Elizabeth, and Charles Sankey. Mr . Smith was positive in his identification of each of these children except he could not distinguish between the sons of Ann named John and Alexander. In reproducing these children's pictures on page 4991, we have speculated on the identity of these two sons based on their dates of birth . Perhaps with the publication of these photographs, someone will be able to determine positively which is which. Ann (Linton) Sparks's photograph from this collage appears on page 4983.

Children of Thomas H. Sparks by his First Wife, Mary Ann Leonard

I.. Martha A. M. E. T. Sparks, was born on April 27, 1836; she died on May 11, 1836.
II. Medora Newton Sparks was born on August 16, 1837; she died on March 11, 1880. She was married on January 14, 1857, in Cedartown, Georgia, to Col. James D. Waddell, who had been born in Abbeville District, South Carolina, on December 22, 1832; he died in Marietta, Georgia, on December 15, 1881. Both were buried in Marietta. They had no children. Portraits of Col. James D. and Medora (Sparks) Waddell were published on page 361 of the QUARTERLY for March 1959, Whole No. 25. A record also appears there of Col. Waddell's military career in the Confederate Army.
III. James Martin Sparks was born on October 11, 1839; he died on March 5, 1876. He was married to Lula Virginia Blance in Cedartown, Georgia, on December 2, 1858. ("Lula" may have been a nickname for Louisa, which the census taker in 1860 recorded as her name.)  According to
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the family Bible of his father, the marriage was performed "at the residence of Col. H. Fielders in Cedartown at 8 o'clock P.M. by the Rev. J. M. Wood."

Lula Virginia Blance was a sister-in-law of Col. Fielders.  A grandchild of James Martin Sparks, Annie Sue (Brewer) Morgan, recalled many years ago that her mother, Medora Waddell (Sparks) Brewer, told her that, on his wedding day, James Martin Sparks had been given twenty slaves and a plantation by his father . James sold his plantation, investing in Confederate bonds, early in the Civil War, throughout which he served as an officer in the army, advancing to the rank of colonel. Financially ruined at the end of the war, James had also lost his health due to "heart dropsy ." He died at the age of thirty-eight, on March 5, 1876. His widow, who supported the family by teaching school, lived until May 18, 1888. Both were buried in Westwood Cemetery, in Cedartown, Polk County, Georgia.

Portraits of James Martin and Lula Virginia (Blance) Sparks, may be found in an article regarding their lives and family in the QUARTERLY of March 1959, Whole No. 25, pp. 360-66. We will not repeat that information here, except to list the names of their children.

A Medora Waddell Sparks, born September 15, 1859; died September 8, 1937.
B. James M. Sparks, Jr., born October 6, 1861; date of death not known.
C. Mary E. Sparks, born about 1863; died May 13, 1863.
D. Joseph Blance Sparks, born about 1865; died October 6, 1865.
E. Annie D. Sparks, born September 17, 1866; died October 20, 1884.
F. Eugene Pierce Sparks, born March 21, 1871; died May 1, 1943.
[Editor's Note: A great-grandson of Medora Waddell Sparks (her husband was George W. Brewer) was Curtis Taylor Gay, born September 29, 1947. Curtis' name is one of some 58,000 names carved on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D. C . See photograph on page 4595 of the QUARTERLY of March 1996, Whole No. 173. He was killed in action on January 20, 1968, while defending a bunker on the summit of Ke Sien Mountain in the Battle of Qui Nhon.]
 


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DESCENDANTS OF MARTIN PEEPLES SPARKS (1786-1837), continued:

[Here appears a family record, above which is the following caption:]

A record of Wimberly Family marriges from the famiy bible (New York:  American Bible Society, 1841) of Capt. Henry Franklin and Ann C. (Wood) Wimberly.

(View family record)

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William Daniel and Annie (Wimberly) Sparks began their family in Georgia with two children, then moved to Alabama where they added five more. They settled later in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where William Daniel Sparks was a sales agent for the J. R. Barnes Coal Company . William Daniel and Annie (Wimberly) Sparks retired to Punta Gorda, Florida. She died there on January 9, 1926, as did he, on March 3, 1943. Sallie McHenry of 14225 Dickens St., #7, Sherman Oaks, California (91423), a great-granddaughter of Annie (Wimberly) Sparks, owns her Bible where the births of their children were recorded.
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VIII. Carter Whatley Sparks, son of Thomas H. and Ann (Linton) Sparks, was born on February 17, 1853. He died on August 16, 1863, after his parents had moved to Arkansas . In his parents' family bible, the disease that took his life was called "congestion of the brain" . He shares a grave with his father in Bozeman Cemetery near Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

[Editor's Note: A son of Sarah Jane (Sparks) Smith, Charles H. Smith (1872 - 1964), identified the above Sparks children named Sarah Jane, Samuel Peeples, Annie E. T., and Charles Sankey with their photographs. He could not be certain, however, which was the photo of Alexander H . and which of John Veasey Sparks. Based on the apparent ages of these two boys when their pictures were taken about 1869, we have tried to identify them, as shown above. We may, however, have reversed their identities.]

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PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE SIX CHILDREN OF

THOMAS H. AND ANN (LINTON) SPARKS,

STILL LIVING WITH THEIR WIDOWED MOTHER, ca. 1869

[Here appear 6 photographs, captioned as follows:]


Sarah Jane Sparks
Samuel Peeples Sparks
John Veasey Sparks (?)
Born 1848
Born 1854
Born 1956
     
Alexander H. Sparks (?)
Annie E. T. Sparks
Charles Sankey Sparks
Born 1857
Born 1860
Born 1863
     

(View photographs)

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IX. Samuel Peeples Sparks, son of Thomas H. and Ann (Linton) Sparks, was born on December 28, 1854. He died on October 29, 1894, in Atlanta, Georgia. He was married on November 27, 1889, to a widow, Emma C. Edwards, of Atlanta. He was buried at Cave Spring, Georgia.

X. John Veasey Sparks, son of Thomas H. and Ann (Linton) Sparks, was born on March 16, 1856; he died on March 14, 1901, at Bessemer, Alabama. He never married. He was buried in the Sparks lot in the Myrtle Hill Cemetery at Rome, Georgia.

.XI. Alexander H. Sparks, son of Thomas H. and Ann (Linton) Sparks, was born on August 29, 1857; he died on March 1, 1906. He was killed by a train at Rosepine, Louisiana, and was buried at Neame, Louisiana.

XII. Mary Elizabeth Sparks, daughter of Thomas H. and Ann (Linton) Sparks, was born on November 1, 1859; she died the same day, after living about ten hours.

XIII. Annie Elizabeth Townes Sparks, daughter of Thomas H . and Ann (Linton) Sparks, was born on December 29, 1860; she died on July 18, 1938. She was married on October 27, 1881, at Rome, Georgia, to David Blount Hamilton, Jr. who had been born on September 17, 1869; he died on July 6, 1921. They were the parents of six children:

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XIV. Charles Sankey Sparks, son of Thomas H. and Ann (Linton) Sparks, was born on July 8, 1863, in Clarke County, Arkansas; he died on February 23, 1929, in Rome, Georgia. He was married in Rome, Georgia, on October 15, 1891, to Lee Ella Smith, who had been born in 1862; she died on October 27, 1939. Both were buried in the Myrtle Hill Cemetery in Rome, Georgia. They had no children.

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NOTES ON THE WIMBERLY AND WOOD FAMILIES

By Sallie McHenry

Two sons of Thomas Hunter and Ann (Linton) Sparks, Linton Sparks and William Daniel Sparks, were married to two daughters of Capt. Henry Franklin and Anna (Wood) Wimberly . (See the Wimberly Bible record of marriages reproduced on page 4988.) Their many descendants may find this additional information on them to be of interest.

Capt. Henry Franklin Wimberly, known as  "H. F.," was born on December 5, 1812. His mother was Martha E. Beckham found in some records spelled Beckom, who was born on November 5, 1793, and died in 1866. She was the daughter of a Revolutionary War soldier from Georgia, William Allen Beckham, who was born about 1750 and died on October 25, 1809, in Baldwin County, Georgia, and Charlotte (Newsome) Beckham, who was born in 1755 and died on January 1, 1818. Capt. Wimberly's father is known to this contributor only as Abram Wimberly, and it appears that he died soon after the birth in 1812 of his only child because on August 15, 1816, his wife, Martha (Beckham) Wimberly, was married, secondly, to Michael W. Perry, who was born on March 10, 1795. Capt. H. F. Wimberly was reared in this Perry family in Georgia.

The wife of Capt. H. F. Wimberly was Anna C. Wood, who was born in Talbot County, Georgia, on December 14, 1818. She was the daughter of James Wood, who was born in North Carolina in 1765 and died in Monroe County, Georgia, on July 5, 1835, and Elizabeth (Power) Wood, who was born on January 25, 1776, and died in 1844 in Talbot County, Georgia. James Wood was a farmer, and he served in both branches of the Georgia Legislature as a representative from Elbert County .

Anna C. Wood had two brothers, both of whom were Baptist ministers. The Rev. William Power Wood was born on December 3, 1810, in Elbert County, Georgia, and died on October 15, 1889, in Polk County, Georgia. He was married to Frances Elizabeth Gibson in Harris County, Georgia, on January 30, 1838. The Rev. Jesse M. Wood was born on October 14, 1815, in Elbert County, Georgia, and was married to Eliza P. Milner on September 1, 1846. He founded the Woodland Female College in Cedartown, Georgia, where Thomas Hunter Sparks was a trustee, and the Cherokee Baptist College for boys in Cassville, Georgia, among his many good works . He was editor of the "Baptist Banner" and received an honorary A.M. degree from Mercer University in Penfleld, Georgia. It was this Rev. J. M. Wood
 
 

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