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. XLVII, No. 2 JUNE 1999  WHOLE NO. 186c

PART C


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*****************
-5179-

BENJAMIN SPARKS (Born ca.1754, Died 1801) OF ALLEGHENY CO., PA, continued:

As noted above, the original will of Benjamin Sparks has been preserved and this writer has obtained a photocopy . Below is reproduced Benjamin's signature, along with the signatures of his three witnesses appearing thereon.

[Here appear three handwritten items referred to above.]

1) Benjamin's Signature   2) text   3) Witnesses

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-5180-

As was customary at the time of Benjamin Sparks's death in 1801, the probate court ordered an inventory to be taken of his personal property. We have not been able to obtain a copy of this document, but many years ago a great-granddaughter of Benjamin (Sara Lynch Douglas, 1880-1965) located the record in the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh and copied portions, if not all, of it . She shared her copy with this writer in 1962. We cannot be sure of the complete accuracy of Mrs. Douglas' copy, but it gives an interesting picture of a Pennsylvania farmer's possessions two centuries ago. The two men who prepared this inventory were near neighbors of Benjamin: Daniel Applegate and John Imlay.
 

1 acre & 1/2 corn ---------------------------------------
24 acres corn -------------------------------------------
20 bushels wheat in stack --------------------------------
29 lbs. old iron ------------------------------------------
2 collars & harness; 2 pr. chains; bridle    & bit-----------
   singletree & cleveffess [sic]-----------------------------
1 cow ---------------------------------------------------
1 cow ---------------------------------------------------
1 cow ---------------------------------------------------
1 cow, red ----------------------------------------------
1 calf ----------------------------------------------------
1 calf, white ---------------------------------------------
4 sheep --------------------------------------------------
7 hogs ---------------------------------------------------
1 sow & pigs --------------------------------------------
1 scythe & hanging --------------------------------------
1 scythe & hanging --------------------------------------
1 iron ----------------------------------------------------
old iron --------------------------------------------------
1 broad ax -----------------------------------------------
3 pitching axes -------------------------------------------
1 edge & drawing knife ----------------------------------
1 hand saw & trowel -------------------------------------
1 round share & chisel -----------------------------------
1 pick & hammer ----------------------------------------
2 picks---------------------------------------------------
1 grandstone ---------------------------------------------
1 brier hook ---------------------------------------------
1 kettle --------------------------------------------------
1 bakeoven ----------------------------------------------
old pots --------------------------------------------------
1 small pot -----------------------------------------------
1 meat cask ----------------------------------------------
2 kegs----------------------------------------------------
1 saddle--------------------------------------------------
sole leather -----------------------------------------------
pewter, queensware (china), & earthen ware -------------
1 chest ---------------------------------------------------
1 box-----------------------------------------------------
1 box ----------------------------------------------------
1 bed & bedding ----------------------------------------
1 churn & pan -------------------------------------------
4 chairs--------------------------------------------------
1 bedstead-----------------------------------------------
2 spinning wheels ----------------------------------------
1 reel ----------------------------------------------------
1 Broad Hoe---------------------------------------------
1 Chopping Hackle---------------------------------------
rye in the sheaf-------------------------------------------
1 reel-----------------------------------------------------
2 coats and great coat ------------------------------------
1 note on Hezekiah Douthitt-------------------------------
$5.33
10.67
 9.33
 1.60
 2.50
   .54
10.00
  6.00
   ?
 2.00
 1.23
 5.23
 5.33
 9.33
 2.00
   .50
 2.00
   .50
   .40
   .50
 1.53
   .50
 1.00
 1.00
   .25
   .67
   .40
   .50
   .50
 2.00
 1.66
   .25
   .50
   .67
   .25
   .16
20.00
  3.00
   .27
   .33
10.67
   .40
   .80
   .67
   .67
   .67
   .20
   .40
  1.70
    .63
  2.00
21.82

*****************
-5181-

As widow of Benjamin Sparks, Rachel Sparks was entitled to her dower third of her husband's possessions. The items that she chose were listed separately, with their estimated value, some in shillings and pence and some in dollars and cents:

bal. of bedding ------------ bedstead-----------------
1 wheel ------------------
1 reel --------------------
1 reel -------------------
1 acre & 1/2 corn--------
2 acres corn -------------
wheat in stack ----------
collar & chain ------------
1 cow -------------------
2 hogs -------------------
10 gal. jug ---------------
old bottles ---------------
to meat cash -------------
1 keg ---------------------
1 saddle ------------------
dresser ware --------------
1 chest -------------------
chairs & pan-------------- 
1 lamb not Paarsd --------
1 cow -------------------- 
1 calf ---------------------
1 ax ----------------------
1 kettle -------------------
1 small pot----------------

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

1 pound 
 

3 pound 

3 Shillings
5
2
5
5
 
 

6
 

1
1

0
1
15
2
1
9
15
15
15
15
3
 

8 Pence
0
6
0
0
 
 

9
 

7
10

11
2
0
6
6
0
0
0
0
15
9
 


 
 
 
 
 

$2.00
  4.00
  3.10

  4.10
  1.00
 

  5.00
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Although in his will Benjamin Sparks had directed that his personal property, as well as his land be available for his widow to use in the support and education of their minor children so long as she remained a widow, he also directed that his debts be paid. These debts appear to have amounted to 30 pounds, 6 shillings, and 8 pence, for which the following additional items were sold at public auction . These items, with their buyers, were copied by Mrs. Douglas as follows:
 
 

John Wright
John Wright
Hezakiah Doughart
John Wright 
Henry Mckinney
Hezekiah Douthard
John Wright
John Wright
John WrightSamuel Cramer

double C tree, clevias & cask
1 Ax
1 Broad ax
1
1 hand saw
1 Hammer & trowel
1 Pick
1 box & irons
3 boxes
1 ax
Shillings
2
7
10
2
12
10
3
3
2
5
Pence
3
7
6
3
9
1
0
4
3
9 1/2

*****************
-5182-

Buyers of Items at Public Sale of Portion of Estate of Benjamin Sparks, continued:


rederick Brown
Henry McKinney
John Wright
Henry McKinney 
Joseph Blakney
Joseph Blakney
Elizabeth Sparks
Henry McKinney
John Wright 
Rachel Sparks
Rachel Sparks
John Wright
Rachel Sparks 
John Wright
Joseph Scott
Joseph Scott
Richard Story
Stephen Warner
Ezra Brant
Jos. Blakeley
John Wright 
Fredrk Brown
Fredrk Brown
Henry McKinney
Ezra Brant
Henry McKinney
Aaron Applegate
Wm. Dinwiddy

1 brier hook 
1 cutting box & knife 
sole leather 
1 spinning wheel 
2 chairs & cards 
plow & shear 
bake oven 
case of razor box & compasses 
box & bell 
1 ten gallon jug 
1 grindstone 
shaving box & sun viewers -
1 bedstead & bedding -
1 screw auger 
1 ewe lamb 
1 ewe lamb 
1 bu. stack of rye -
1 table 
flax break 
a Malt & chard 
i spitoon i
seven hundred red [?] 
1 old hat & sundries --
1 straight coat 
1 great coat 
1 pair saddlebags ----
1 square 
1 buckhorn 
Shillings
5
5
1
11
4
7
10
4
8
1
4
2
4
7
17
16
18
7
1
1
0
12
2
2
4
3
3
1
Pence
4
0
4
4
7
6
6
6
1
7
1
6
1
6
6
6
10
8
2
0
9
6
7
6
7
0
10
6

When the Federal census of 1810 was taken in Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County, Rachel Sparks was not shown as heading a household as we would expect. Based on a later record, we believe that her oldest daughter, Elizabeth Sparks, had been married to John Pearce (her 1st or 2d cousin) before 1810, and that they were living in Rachel's home, in which John Pearce was counted as the head. Rachel, we believe, was the female enumerated in the 45 and over age category; the male and female enumerated as between 26 and 45 were doubtless John and Elizabeth; the male and female between 10 and 16 could well have been the youngest children of Rachel; while the male and female under 10 were likely children of John and Elizabeth (Sparks) Pearce. Shown on the 1810 census of Elizabeth Township, immediately before John Pearce, was Andrew Sparks, oldest son of Rachel, who had been born on January 25, 1777

In his will, Benjamin Sparks had provided that when his youngest child came of age, his property should be sold and the proceeds divided among his heirs. His and Rachel's youngest child, Charity Sparks, appears to have died in youth, while their next youngest, Benjamin P. Sparks, who had been born on June 27, 1798, would come of age on June 27, 1819. Contrary to Benjamin's will, however, the claim that the heirs had for his farm (the 95 acres and 111 poles that were considered his share in his father's 1786 grant) was sold two years before Benjamin P. Sparks came of age. Because there was still no patent from the state for this land, Rachel Sparks and her six surviving children could only "sell" their inheritance by means of an "agreement"rather than a deed. This they did on October 4, 1817.

*****************
-5183-

A granddaughter of Benjamin P. Sparks, the youngest son of Benjamin and Rachel Sparks, recalled in a letter to this writer many years ago that her grandfather had always felt bitter toward his siblings because he believed they had cheated him in the division of his fathers estate. We wonder whether the reason was that he had not yet come of age when the estate was divided in 1817.

It was on October 4, 1817, that two "articles of agreement" were drawn up selling to Amos Robins the farm that Benjamin Sparks had occupied from his young manhood until his death in1801. As was noted in the previous article on the elder Richard Sparks, following his sale of a 3-acre portion to Samuel Applegate on March 23, 1792, and the sale by Benjamin and Richard, Jr. to Hezekiah Douthitt (or Doughard as his name was sometimes spelled) on April 2, 1792, of a 92-acre-plus portion, the brothers agreed upon a division between them of what remained of their father's grant from the State of Pennsylvania in 1786. (See page 5170.)

For $300, Rachel Sparks agreed that Amos Robins should have all her "wright, title and claim"1 (i.e., her dower right) to her husband's farm, except a seven- acre lot on which she was living. This had doubtless been the location of her and Benjamin's home. This lot was described in the agreement as bordering "on Garret Walls line".   From other records, we know that Garret Wall and his wife, Mary, daughter of Richard Sparks, Jr., were then occupying Richard Sparks, Jr.'s portion of the elder Richard's 1786 grant.

In this 1817 agreement with Amos Robins, Rachel Sparks added the following condition regarding her retention of the seven-acre lot:

. . . with all the houses and improvements thereon, To have and to Hold the same during her natural Lifetime, also to have privilage of Cuting timber on part of said tract of land for the purpose of fencing said Lot, Also full privilege of dead and dying timber and Stone Coale for fuel for house use, also one years rent of a lease given by said Rachel Sparks to Elizabeth Pearce [her daughter] dated November the 22nd 1816 & three days getting of wood yearly as mentioned in said lease, also to be excepted one third of what grain May be raised on one half of the field above her house to be Sowed this fall by Forgus Dinnay. And it is further agreed by and Between the said parties that if the said Rachel should make any improvements on said Lot not exceeding in value one hundred dollars and should not survieve a suffient length of time to receive full compensation for the same at a reasonable rent to be adjudged by two or three of the neighbors to be chosen by her heirs and the said Amos Robins or his heirs or assigns to be paid to the said Rachel Sparks heirs as may be that adjudged She is also to have privilege of cutting timber for said improvements. . .
It is this reference to Rachel1s daughter, Elizabeth (Sparks) Pearce, that makes us believe that Rachel was living with Elizabeth when the 1810 census had been taken. The agreement was signed by Rachel Sparks and Amos Robins (she making her mark), and it was witnessed by Garret Wall and his wife, Mary. (See Allegheny County Deed Book Y24, pp.340-41.)

Also on October 4, 1817, the surviving children of Benjamin and Rachel (Pearce) Sparks signed an agreement with Amos Robins under which Robins paid $800 for their claim to their father's farm. They also agreed to try to obtain a proper deed for Amos Robins. Those signing this agreement were: Andrew Sparks and his wife Nancy (she by mark); Elijah Sparks and his wife Elizabeth (she by mark); Elizabeth Pearce (by mark); Massy Sparks; Catherine Sparks (by mark); and Benjamin (P.) Sparks. Their witnesses were Stephen Echles and Garret Wall. (See Allegheny County Deed Book Y24, pp.341-46.)

*****************
-5184-

Rachel (Pearce) Sparks was still living when the 1820 census was taken of Elizabeth Township. She was enumerated in the age category on that census as over 45 years. Living with her was a male between 16 and 26, who was probably her youngest son, Benjamin P. Sparks; the female in her household whose age category was 26 to 45, may have been her daughter Catherine Sparks who had been unmarried when the 1817 agreement was signed by Benjamin and Rachel's surviving children.

Rachel also appeared as head of her household when the 1830 census was taken of Elizabeth Township. This census provided more age categories than had earlier ones, but, still, only the head of each household was named. Rachel's age in 1830 was given as between 70 and 80. Living with her in 1830 was a female between 30 and 40; also a male between 5 and 10, and a male and female both under 5 years of age. We wonder whether this could have been a widowed daughter of Rachel with three small children.

Rachel (Pearce) Sparks died sometime after 1830. Sarah (Lynch) Douglas, who was a granddaughter of Massa Sparks (daughter of Benjamin and Rachel), believed that both Benjamin and Rachel had been buried in the "01d Edmundson Cemetery" in Lincoln Township, Allegheny County. In his will in 1856, Joseph Lynch, husband of Benjamin and Rachel's daughter, Massa, requested that his burial be in this cemetery . Mrs . Douglas, whom we have quoted earlier in this article, reported visiting this cemetery in 1935, but she could find no Sparks stones then remaining.

Following are brief biographical sketches of the seven children of Benjamin and Rachel (Pearce) Sparks. In a future issue of the QUARTERLY, we will provide more detailed records of some of these children and their descendants .

1. Andrew Sparks was identified in his father's will of 1801 as his oldest son. By 1830, Andrew had moved to Wayne County, Indiana, but by 1840 he had moved over the dividing line into Darke County, Ohio. When the 1850 census of German Township, Darke County, was taken, Andrew Sparks was shown as 72 years of age, a native of Pennsylvania, and a farmer whose land was valued at $2500. His wife, Nancy, was 61, a native of Maryland. Living with them were their daughters: Sarah Sparks, age 30, born in Pennsylvania; and Emeline Sparks, age 20, born in Indiana.

When he died in Darke County on December 12, 1856, Andrew Sparks was buried in the Hollansburg Cemetery located in Harrison Township in Darke County, as was also his wife, Nancy Sparks, whose maiden name we have not discovered. On Andrew's grave stone his age was given as 79 years, 10 months, and 17 days. If calculated correctly, this would place his birth on January 26, 1777. A military marker has been placed on Andrew's grave to represent his service in the War of 1812, and, according to the Index to the GraveRecords of Soldiers of the War of 1812 in Ohio, published in 1945 by Mrs. H. B. Diefenbach, his rank had been that of corporal . We have found no record of this service in Pennsylvania, however, and he did not apply for bounty land on the basis of it .

Nancy Sparks, wife of Andrew, was buried beside him in the Hollansburg Cemetery. She died on May 29, 1860, at the age of 71 years, 9 months, and 9 days, placing her date of birth as August 20, 1788. Apparently Nancy Sparks was living in Preble County, Ohio, (which adjoins Darke County) at the time of her death, because her death was reported in the "Mortality Schedule" of Monroe Township, Preble County, of 1860. On this schedule, her age at death was 71, her place of birth was given as Maryland, and the date of her death as May 1860.

*****************
-5185-

Following is a list of the five known children of Andrew and Nancy Sparks; there may have been others.

2. Elizabeth Sparks, identified in her father's will as his eldest daughter, was born about 1779. When she signed the agreement between the surviving children of Benjamin Sparks and Amos Robins on October 4, 1817, she appears as Elizabeth Pearce, she making her mark . Contrary to custom at that time, her husband did not sign the agreement with her . As was noted earlier, when the 1810 census had been taken in Elizabeth Township, it appears that her husband was probably John Pearce, perhaps a cousin of first or second degree, and that her mother was living with them; there were also two small children in the household. When the 1820 census was taken, however, Rachel Sparks was recorded as head of her own household, but the name immediately preceding Rachel's was "Enoch Pairse" (doubtless intended for Pearce) . Enoch's household in 1830 was comprised of only himself and a female, doubtless his wife, age 26 to 45, and a male between 10 and 16 years.

3. Elijah Sparks, identified in his father's will as his second son, was born in the mid-1780s. He was married about 1815 to Elizabeth Porter who, according to a descendant of the Porter family, was a daughter of Edward and Elizabeth (Morgan) Porter. She had been born in 1796. They moved to Ohio shortly after the agreement of Elijah and his siblings on October 4, 1817, to sell to Amos Robins their claim to their fathers farm . Both Elijah and his wife, Elizabeth, signed their names on this document by making their marks . Perhaps it was Elijah's decision to move to Ohio that prompted the heirs of Benjamin Sparks to settle his estate prior to the coming of age of their youngest sibling, contrary to Benjamin's will. Elijah and Elizabeth, like Andrew Sparks, were members of the Salem Baptist Church located in the Forks of the Yough . The "Minute Book" of this church survives, and the following entry therein is dated November 15, 1817: "Elijah and Elizabeth Sparks requested a dismission to join in the Ohio; voted to give them one."

Elijah Sparks was shown as head of his household in Muskingum Township of Muskingum County, Ohio, when the 1820 census was taken. He was enumerated in the 26 to 45 age category; his wife was counted in that of 16 to 26. Three children were enumerated in Elijah's household all under the age of 10 years--two boys and one girl.

Elijah and his family must have moved from Muskingum County to Franklin County, Ohio, within a year of two after the 1620 census was taken, for it was in Franklin County that Elijah died in the autumn of 1822. A "Docket Sheet" is preserved in Franklin County's Probate Court (No.0387) showing that on November 2, 1822, his widow, Elizabeth Sparks, and her brother, Benjamin Porter, were appointed administrators of his estate, with a bond of $300 being secured by Jacob Runkle, Jacob Ebey, and Jacob Kellar.

*****************
-5186-

Following Elijah's death, Elizabeth Sparks moved to Vermillion Township, Richland County, Ohio, either with or following three of her brothers . She lived in that part of Richland County that was cut off to form Ashland County in 1846. Elizabeth died there on September 15, 1832. She was buried in the Eckley Cemetery near Hayesville, Ohio; her gravestone has the inscription:
"departed this life in the 37th year of her age."  Her brother, John Porter and his family, were buried in this same cemetery. Her two sons, Daniel P. Sparks and William Sparks, survived to adulthood, but it is believed that there were two daughters who died when quite small.

4. Massa Sparks (sometimes called Massy; she was called Maria by the 1850 census taker of Elizabeth Township in Allegheny County.) In his will of 1801, her father had called her his second daughter. She was born about 1791; her age was given as 59 on the 1850 census. She was married to a neighbor boy in Elizabeth Township named Joseph Lynch in or about 1820. He had been born there about 1792. His age was given as 58 on the 1850 census. On the 1850 census of Elizabeth Township, where Joseph Lynch was described as a farmer with land valued at $3,000, the following five individuals whom we assume were his children, were living in his and Massa's household: Charity, Benjamin, Lewis, Joseph Daldden, and William. Sara (Lynch) Douglas to whom we have referred earlier, was a granddaughter of Joseph and Massa (Sparks) Lynch, but she shared little information on their children. She listed the names of those whom she could recall. Incorporating her information with the census data, we believe that the children of Joseph and Massa (Sparks) Lynch were:
*****************
-5187-
5. Catherine Sparks, identified in Benjamin Sparks's will as "my third daughter,"was born in the mid-1790s. She was a resident of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, when she signed the agreement by which she and her siblings relinquished their claim to their father's farm to Amos Robins on October 4, 1817. She was still single at that time . We have no further information regarding her .

6. Benjamin P. Sparks, identified in Benjamin Sparks's will as "my third son," was born on June 27, 1798. He died on July 29, 1882, and was buried in the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery at Raymilton, Pennsylvania, near the line between the counties of Venango and Mercer . We imagine that his middle initial "P." stood for his mother's maiden name, Pearce. His oldest son was named John Pierce Sparks, Pierce being an alternate spelling of Pearce .

We published an article about Benjamin P. Sparks (1798-1882) in the March 1995 issue of the QUARTERLY, Whole No. 89, pp.1714-18, although at that time we could only speculate regarding his parentage . A granddaughter of Benjamin
P. Sparks, Rose Sparks McKean, born April 24, 1895, died April 4, 1993, recalled many years ago that her father, William Trafford Sparks (1844-1924) had told her that his father, Benjamin P. Sparks, had been bitter toward his family, especially a Richard Sparks, because he had not received a proper share of his father's property. When Benjamin P. was old enough, as the story goes, he left home never to return . He told his children little regarding his youth, except that he had been born in Pennsylvania. The unhappiness that he felt toward the settlement of his father's estate may well have been related to the fact that, contrary to the provisions of his father's will in 1801, Benjamin P. had not yet come of age when his mother and siblings sold their claim to the estate of his father, although Benjamin P. had signed the agreement along with his siblings.

According to Mrs. McKean, Benjamin P. Sparks became a "traveling tailor" and worked in Virginia as well as Pennsylvania. When the 1830 census was taken, he was living by himself in French Creek Township located in the northeast corner of Mercer County, Pennsylvania. By 1840, he had moved over the line into Venango County, in that county's township also called Frenchcreek (spelled as one word). In 1838 or 1839, he had been married to Phoebe (or Phoebia) Jane Cory, daughter of Benijah and Deborah Telford (Williams) Cory, who had been born on April 4, 1821. She was some 23 years younger than her husband. (See The CoryFamily by Harry Harmon Cory published by the Argus Pub. Co. in Minneapolis, MN, p.93.) She lived until July 1, 1902.

Our knowledge of Benjamin P. Sparks is much enhanced by the Civil War pension papers relating to his son, John Pierce Sparks (1842-1864), who died of disease ("erysepelos") at Petersburg, Virginia, on July 4, 1864. Because his mother, Phoebe Sparks, was able to prove that she and her feeble husband had been financially dependent upon this oldest son, she was able to qualify for a "Mother's Pension."  Among the information that she submitted to the Bureau of Pensions was a list, with dates of birth, of her and Benjamin's twelve children . A descendant of their second son, William Trafford Sparks, Mr .Calvin C. Sparks, R.R. 2, Box 179, Oil City, Pennsylvania, has provided the information given below on the family of Benjamin P. and Phoebe Jane (Cory) Sparks. He is a great-grandson of Benjamin P. Sparks.

*****************
-5188-

*****************
-5189-
Calvin C. Sparks has written: "The sons of Benjamin P. and Phoebe Jane Sparks, William Trafford, Moses Corey, and Lewis B. Sparks, were oil well drillers and contracted for many leases throughout the oil fields of Venango County, Pennsyl vania during the years of the oil excitement of 1860 through 1900."

7. Charity Sparks, youngest child of Benjamin and Rachel Sparks, was called "my fourth daughter" in her father"s will of 1801. She was not named in the agreement of 1817 by which the children of Benjamin Sparks sold their claim to their father's farm to Amos Robins . She probably died in childhood .

Your editor, who is also the compiler of this and the preceding article, will welcome further information on these children and grandchildren of Benjamin and Rachel (Pearce) Sparks . We have not attempted to list here their grandchildren's children in the above record, but hope to provide extended accounts of the lives and descendants of most of these children of Benjamin and Rachel in future issues of the QUARTERLY .

* * * * * * * * * * * * *
-5190-

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

Elsie (Hammond) Morse Sparks

QUERY - ELSIE (HAMMOND) MORSE SPARKS
Probably Born in Cortland County, New York
Died in Monroe, Adams County, Wisconsin, in 1888

(View photograph)

Holly Sprise Kobza, 937 Bascom Hill Drive, Baraboo, WI, 53913, seeks information on Elsie Hammond, daughter of John and Phoebe/Sarah (Smith) Hammond of Solon, Cortland County, New York. The year of her birth appearing on her tombstone is 1812, but this is probably in error. It appears that her parents were married about 1820--perhaps she was born in 1822. She was married twice. Her first marriage was to George W. Morse in January 1839 in Adams County, Wisconsin. He was a member of the bar there, and it was there that he died in January 1863.

When the federal census of 1870 was taken in Adams County, Wisconsin, Elsie was shown as "Elsey Morse," living with her blind sister, Margaret Hammond. Elsie's age was recorded as 52, and she was a native of New York. Margaret Hammond, also born in New York, was shown as 45 years old. On a state census taken in 1875, however, Elsie was recorded as Else Sparks, and she was shown as head of her own household with one male and one female living with her, but not named . The male was probably her brother, Silas Hammond, and the female was doubtless her sister Margaret. Silas Hammond had been living in Boone County, Illinois, when the 1860 census was taken; he was shown then in the household of Eben Hammond, an uncle. On this 1860 census, Silas Hammond was described as a "cripple."  Ms. Kobza adds: I think Margaret is with distant relatives in 1855 as a servant in Delaware County, New York, and in 1860 in Adams County (Strongs Prairie Township) as a teacher living with the Buchanan family." From census records, it appears that Elsie had been married to a man named SPARKS between 1870 and 1875, but his first name has not been discovered. Did he die before the 1880 census was taken?

*****************
-5191-

The 1880 federal census of Monroe, Wisconsin, gives Elsie's brother, Silas Hammond, age 52, a native of New York, as head of the household in which she was living. Also in this 1880 household was Elsie's blind sister, Margaret Hammond, age 56, born in New York. Although the directions to census takers in 1880 were that the marital status of each adult was to be recorded (married, single, widowed/divorced), this column was left blank beside Elsie's name, who was now shown as 63 years old and a native of New York. Her name appeared as "EISIe Sparks".  Elsie was shown on a state census for Wisconsin taken in 1885; her name was given as "Elsie Sparks"and there was one other female living with her, unnamed, who was doubtless her sister, Margaret .

Elsie (Hammond) Morse Sparks died in Monroe, Wisconsin, in 1888, and she was buried beside her first husband, George Morse, in the Strongs Prairie Cemetery in Adams County, Wisconsin. The inscription on her tombstone reads: "Elsie S. Parks, sister, 1812-1888."  Although from this inscription, one would assume that Elsie's second husband had been named "Parks", the fact that her name appears as Sparks in three censuses leads one to assume that the stone carver mistook the letter "S" to be Elsie's middle initial rather than the first letter of her surname, "Sparks."

A photograph of Elsie (Hammond) Morse Sparks appears at the beginning of this article .

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

QUERY - STELLA (SPARKS) SAGE, 1890-1918

Jo Ann Sage Hofhine, 4058 Ronald Rd., Chubbuck, ID, 83202-2408, hopes that some one can assist her in learning more regarding her grandmother, Stella (Sparks) Sage, born July 13, 1890, probably in Deer Park, Illinois. She was a daughter of Jesse D. Sparks and his second wife, Laura Steritt Parker. Stella Sparks was married on December 24, 1912, to Durward Scott Sage; she died on December 8, 1918, and was buried in Jefferson, Greene County, Iowa.

Jesse D. Sparks, father of Stella, was born on November 6, 1838, in Logan County, Illinois; he served in the 106th Regiment Illinois Infantry in the Civil War; (an abstract of his pension application appeared in the March 1993 issue of the SPARKS QUARTERLY, Whole No. 161, pp. 4094-95). Jesse D. Sparks was a son of Samuel and Mary (Heard or Hurd) Sparks. (See the above cited issue of the QUARTERLY, pp. 4080-90 for a record of this branch of the Sparks family.)

We have not learned the name of the first wife of Jesse D. Sparks, but there was a daughter born to that union named Nellie J. Sparks. Nellie was born on December 17, 1875, and died on April 4, 1923. She was married to Frank D. Lee on February 14, 1894. Her grave in Jefferson, Greene County, Iowa, is next to that of her half-sister, Stella (Sparks) Sage.

The second wife of Jesse D. Sparks was Laura Steritt Parker, a daughter of Thor ton and Martha Parker.  Jesse D. and Laura Steritt (Parker) Sparks were married in 1885. Laura had been born on November 27, 1853, and died on January 27, 1919. She was buried, as noted above, in Jefferson, Greene County, Iowa. In addition to Stella Sparks, grandmother of Jo Ann Sage Hofhine, Jesse D. and Laura Steritt (Parker) Sparks were the parents of James Sparks and Nulta Sparks.

*****************
-5192-

Ms. Hoffline has written as follows:

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Carolyn Gladney Powell, P.O. Box 129, Lake Lure, North Carolina, seeks information regarding the parentage of her great-great-grandmother, Margaret Ann Sparks, who was married to Alexander G. Althizer in Decatur County, Indiana, on March 14, 1843. Ms. Powell descends from their daughter, Melissa, who was married to Jacob Womack.

Margaret Ann Sparks was born on June 22, 1827, in Kentucky. Her entry on the 1900 census, in which there was a section regarding the place of birth of one's parents, indicates that her father had been born in Kentucky while her mother had been born in Virginia. The names of Margaret Ann's parents are not known. She died in August 1910 in Fulton County, Missouri, two miles west of Caiwood, Missouri, according to her obituary appearing in the FultonGazette of August 19, 1910. She was buried in the Ebenezer Baptist Cemetery at Fulton, Missouri.

When the 1860 census was taken, Alexander and Margaret Ann Althizer were living in Jackson Township, Putnam County, Missouri, where they were shown with eight children. According to Margaret Ann's obituary, she had a total of fourteen children, of whom eight were still living when she died . From census and cemetery records, a total of ten have been identified . They were:

Note: The census taker in 1860 gave the place of birth of Armita, Lorenzo, and Leroy as "Ia" At that time, the abbreviation "Ia" was often used for Indiana as well as Iowa, so we cannot tell which state was intended here.

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THE REV. COLBY SPARKS (ca.1801-ca.1869)

AND THE SIAMESE TWINS

Most of our readers have doubtless heard of the "Siamese Twins,"Chang and Eng, born in Siam (Thailand) in 1811, but we wonder how many know that the Rev. Colby Sparks, who was born in Wilkes County, North Carolina, in or about 1801, figured importantly in their lives . Your editor was reminded of this by an article about these famous twins in the April 1999 issue of Old News. It was the Rev. Colby Sparks, a Baptist minister of Trap Hill in Wilkes County, who was of some prominence in his day and who encouraged, and then performed, the marriage of the twins to sisters named Adelaide and Sarah Yates. Their unions resulted in a total of twenty-one children.

The Siamese Twins, whose mother's name was Nok, were born sometime in 1811, not far from the city of Bangkok. What made them famous, of course, was their being joined together at their lower chests by what is now believed to have been a band of ligament and muscle a few inches across . They probably did not share any vital organs, and today a surgeon could probably separate them without endangering the life of either one. In fact, when they were small, a surgeon in Bangkok had assured their mother that he could separate them safely, but she would not consent .

Adjusting to their handicap from infancy and stretching the band connecting them as they learned to walk, then run and jump, even to swim, the twins became remarkably mobile as a team . They were considered to be excellent fishermen . They also proved to be highly intelligent and came to realize their potential for making money through public exhibitions. At the age of 17, with the aid of a Bangkok merchant who took a personal interest in their well-being, they signed a contract with an American sea captain named Abel Coffin to be brought to Boston for the launching of such a career. Paying their mother $500.00, Coffin agreed to pay the twins ten dollars per month for two years, then a monthly salary of fifty dollars until the age of twenty, when the contract would be completed . Although Abel Coffin became a rich man during the four years that he displayed the twins, not only in the United States but abroad as well, he seems not to have exploited them, and he abided by the terms of the contract.

Upon reaching the age of twenty, the twins used their savings to launch their own career as entertainers, engaging the services of a man named Charles Harris to be their agent. By 1839, they had accumulated what amounted then to be a fortune, some $10,000. In their travels, the twins, as well as Harris, had decided to settle down in North Carolina, at a village called Trap Hill in Wilkes County. The twins purchased 150 acres of land there for $300 to become farmers, and they immediately began building a house . Their neighbors, though curious, accepted the strange pair into the community, and Harris soon fell in love with a local girl named Fanny Baugus.

Chang and Eng had always planned to return to Siam after they had made their fortune, but they had gradually become "Americanized," and it was also in 1839 that they chose to become citizens of the United States, adopting the surname Bunker. They were making good progress with their house building by the autumn of 1839 when they attended the wedding feast of their friend, Charles Harris, and his bride, Fanny, and it was there that they became acquainted with two sisters, Adelaide and Sarah Yates, daughters of a prosperous Wilkes County farmer named David Yates. Later, as they were passing the Yates farm, the twins were invited to come in the house to meet Adelaide and Sarah's mother, with whom Chang and Eng found they had something in common. Mrs. Yates was also a local curiosity--- she weighed over 500 pounds and never left her home.

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The courtship story of the Siamese Twins and the Yates girls, with Adelaide's attraction for Chang, but with Sarah's reluctance to consider marrying Eng, is long and complicated, with the girls' parents and friends strongly objecting to such a union.  The Rev. Colby Sparks played an important role in this romance, not only in winning the eventual acceptance of David and Nancy Yates to the marriages, but he also managed to quiet a number of outraged local citizens. The twins even decided to risk death through surgical separation in order to achieve their hearts' desire, but in the end . Caleb Sparks prevailed, and the double wed ding took place On April 13, 1843. Because Mrs. Yates could not get through the front door of the Yates home, Sparks performed the marriages in her parlor.

It was agreed that each wife 'would have her own house, with the twins dividing their time between them, always three days in one, followed by three days in the other. During thirty-one years of marriage, there was a total of twenty-one children, fifteen of whom were living in January 1874 when the twin brothers died, Chang first with Eng following two hours later.

The Rev. Colby Sparks was the 12th and last child of John and Sarah (Shores) Sparks. Born in or about 1801, Colby was married to Sarah Pruitt in 1822, and they became the parents of nine children. He died in or about 1869. Colby was a great-great-grandson of William Sparks, who died in 1709 in Queen Annes County, Maryland. (See the QUARTERLY of December 1955, Whole No.12, pp. 97-104 for additional information on Colby and his branch of the Sparks family.)

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NEW MEMBERS OF THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION

It is a pleasure to report the names of twenty-three new members of our Association. 'These individuals have joined since the publication of the March 1999 issue of'the QUARTERLY.
 

David Atkinson, 4805'South 70th East Ave., Tulsa, OK 74145-5926
Toni L. Britton, 3625 W. Kistler Rd., Ludington, MI 49431
Mildred Castro, 274 Forest Dr., Goleta, CA 93117-1109
Wanda G. Cilne, 67 Agan Rd., Steele, AL 35987
Brenda G. Daigle, 208 Hidalgo Dr., Houma, LA 70363
Michelle Dale, 19.Cypress Ave., Edwards AFB, CA 93523
Cathy Eagleton, HRC 20, Box 2402, Blythe, CA 92225
Elizabeth S. Gordon; 7130 Shellburne Dr., Raleigh, NC 27612
Dale Hartman, PMB 4151, 141 Rainbow Dr., Livingston, TX 77399-1041
Emily Hicinbothem, 446 1st Ave., Pelham, NY 10803-1105
Jo Ann Sage Hofhine, 4058 Ronald Rd., Chubbuck, ID 83202-2408
Penny J. Holmes, 4707 Scrimshaw, College Station, TX 77845
Holly Sparks Kobza, 937 Bascom Hill Dr., Baraboo, WI 53913
Patricia .W. Lawrence, 308 Beverly Rd., Venice, FL 34293
Jane H. McGill, 1226 Corte de Vella, Chula Vista, CA 91910
James L. Petty, 2828 Jewell, Howell, MI 48843
Carolyn G. Powelll, P.O. Box 129, Lake Lure, NC 28746
Beth George Seaton, 323 Hillcrest Dr., Newburgh, IN 47630
Shirley Slate, 1330 Sycamore St., Rochester, MI 48307
Sid Sparks, 5744 Woodland View, Clarkston, MI 48346
Steve Sparks, 132 Griggs St., Rochester, MI 48307
Sharon K. Thompson, RR #1; Box 60, Orleans, NE 68966
Judy Wheeler, 316 E. 17th St., Clearwater, OK 74017


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Scanned and Edited by Harold E. Sparks