THE
SPARKS QUARTERLY

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION


VOL. I, NO. 1  MARCH, 1953
WHOLE NO. 1a

 
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  T H  E     S  P  A  R  K  S     F  A  M  I  L  Y     A  S  S  O  C  I  A  T  I  O  N

We, the undersigned, as officers and founders of THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION, do hereby as of this date declare ourselves a non-profit organization formed for the sole purpose of assembling and preserving for posterity all genealogical and historical material pertinent to the Sparks family in America, from the landing at Jamestown in Virginia in 1607 to the present.

There shall be a quarterly publication called The Sparks Quarterly devoted primarily to the publication of Sparks genealogy and family history of the colonial period in America, of which this is the introductory issue. By pointing out the blood-relationship among many of the earlier generations of the family in Colonial America, we hope to promote a closer feeling of kinship among present-day members of a family now scattered from coast to coast.

Membership falls into two classes, active and sustaining. Active membership dues are one dollar ($1.00) per year; sustaining membership dues are any amount above one dollar. Ail members and descendants of the Sparks family, by blood, marriage or adoption, are entitled to membership upon payment of annual dues, as well as libraries and other genealogical, historical or patriotic societies. All members will receive The Sparks Quarterly as it is published, as a part of their membership in THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION. Send your check or money order, along with a record of your branch of the Sparks family, to the President of THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION.
 
PRESIDENT: Paul E. Sparks, 155 North Hite Avenue,
Louisville 6, Kentucky.
SECRETARY-TREASURER:  Russell E. Bidlack, ll31 Granger Ave.,
Ann Arbor, Michigan.
HISTORIAN-GENEALOGIST: William Perry Johnson, Box 531,
Raleigh, North Carolina.

This is how the founding of THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION came about. William Perry Johnson began in 1934 (at the age of 16) to become interested in genealogy and family history. He began tracing all branches of his ancestry - - two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, etc.--and soon learned that his great-great-great-great-grandfather, Charles Johnson, was married in 1784 in Wilkes Co.,

North Carolina, to Susannah Sparks, and settled by 1790 in the Brushy Mountain section of Surry (now Yadkin) Co., N.C. One of their sons, Reuben, removed in 1831 to Randolph Co., Indiana; his son, Daniel Ellis Johnson, was the father of Reuben Oliver Johnson, who removed to Grant Co., Indiana; Daniel Buchanan Johnson, son of Reuben Oliver, had Carter Guy Johnson, father of William Perry Johnson.

In an effort to trace the parentage of Susannah (Sparks) Johnson, he contacted many persons interested in the genealogy of the Sparks family. In 1944 he contacted Russell E.Bidlack, who had recently married

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Melva H. Sparks of Clio, Iowa, and had become interested in tracing her ancestry. It was later learned that she, too, descended from the Sparks family of the Brushy Mountain section of Surry (now Yadkin) and Wilkes Counties, N.C. Her father was 0. A. Sparks; grandfather, John Garland Sparks; great-grandfather, Joel Sparks, Jr.; great-great-grandfather, Joel Sparks, Sr., a native of Surry (now Yadkin) Co., N.C., who settled in Missouri, son of Matthew Sparks, and grandson of William Sparks, early settlers of Surry Co., N.C. (This William Sparks was probably an uncle of the above-mentioned Susannah (Sparks) Johnson.)

In 1951 contact was made with Paul E. Sparks, who had become actively interested in the family since the death that year of his grandfather, Colby Sparks, aged 93. He was quite close to his grandfather, and in the latter's last years gleaned considerable family history and genealogy from him, since he loved to reminisce about his forefathers and the pioneer days. James Sparks, father of Paul, was a son of Colby, and Colby was son of Hugh, all of Kentucky. Hugh was son of George Sparks who was a native of Wilkes Co., N.C. John Sparks, father of George, was a Revolutionary War soldier, and at that time a resident of the Brushy Mountain section of Surry (now Yadkin) Co., N.C. (John was a brother to Susannah Sparks Johnson and probably a nephew of William.)

These three searchers have amassed considerable data pertaining to the Sparks family in America, especially during the past two years. They discovered that the Sparks family of Western North Carolina descended from the Sparks family of Maryland, which was there by the 1670's or earlier; and that branches of the Maryland family went to Delaware, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and elsewhere, so that today representatives of the Sparks family are found from coast to coast. Other Sparks families settled in other sections of America, and it is the aim of THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION to collect and preserve data for these families as well as for the Maryland family, and to share these data, through The Sparks Quarterly, with all who are interested.

Since the three officers and founders of  THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION were born between 1910 and 1920, they look forward to at least half a century of activity in the Association. To further acquaint you with them, there follows a brief biographical sketch of each.

Paul E. Sparks was born 17 January 1910 on a farm in Lawrence Co., Ky. After graduating from Morehead (Ky.) State College, he married a classmate, Mary Sue Miller, in 1933, and came to Louisville as a public school teacher. In 1938, after getting his M.A. degree from Northwestern University, he was appointed public school principal, a position he held until 1942 when he entered the Army. In 1946, upon release from the service, he resumed his school principalship. He and Mrs. Sparks have one son, Robert, age 8.

Russell E. Bidlack was born 25 May 1920 on a farm near Manilla, Iowa. At the end of his Junior year at Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa, (1941) he entered the Army and served until January 1946. After finishing his undergraduate work at Simpson following the war, he entered the University of Michigan to study Library Science, and he is now a pre-doctoral instructor there. His interest in the Sparks family springs from the fact that his wife was a Sparks, her maiden name being

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Melva Helen Sparks, daughter of O. A. Sparks, Clio, Iowa. The Bidlacks have two children, Stanley, age 7, and Martha, age 4.

William Perry Johnson was born 16 May 1918 on a farm near Fairmount, Grant Co., Indiana. In 1936 he went to North Carolina where he lived intermittently until 1942 when he entered the Army, having spent most of this time gathering genealogical data on various lines of his ancestry, especially the Hiatt family. He continued his genealogical pursuits even while in the service, and after he was released in 1943 he settled the following year in Los Angeles, where his research culminated in the publication of his HIATT-HYATT GENEALOGY. This book, published in 1951, contains 20,000 names, covers ll generations over a period of 250 years and contains 1013 pages of genealogy and history. While residing in Calif., he attended Los Angeles City College and was graduated in 1950. He later finished a year at Los Angeles State College. In 1943 he married D. Florence Hinshaw, and they have one daughter, Rosemary, age 8. Last summer Johnson settled in Raleigh, N.C., where he is engaged in doing research as a professional genealogist.

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WHERE WAS YOUR SPARKS ANCESTOR IN 1790?

The family of Sparks was well established in the United States by 1790, according to the first federal census taken in that year. In 1790, more than a century and a half ago, the three largest cities in America were: New York, with a population of 33,131; Philadelphia, with 28,522; and Boston, with 18,320. The majority of the thirteen original American colonies were settled over three hundred years ago--more than 150 years before the 1790 census was taken. These thirteen original colonies, which had become states and had been admitted to the Union by 1790, were: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Virginia. In addition to these, there was also a census taken for Tennessee, which was not admitted to the Union until 1796 and had been a part of North Carolina prior to that time. And, since the taking of the census lingered on into l791, it also included Vermont, which was admitted to the Union that year. The state of Maine is also included, although it was not admitted to the Union until 1820.

Unfortunately, of the foregoing sixteen census schedules taken in 1790, those for Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Virginia were either destroyed when the British burned the Capitol during the War of 1812, or were lost in later years. Since that time, however, a "l790 Census" has been reconstructed for both Virginia and Kentucky (the latter was a part of Virginia in 1790) from Tax Lists of that period, and the same is now being compiled for Delaware. Data, therefore, are not available for Georgia, New Jersey, and Tennessee, but it is known that there were several of the Sparks name in Georgia before the Revolution, as well as in New Jersey, and in Tennessee soon after.

The twelve census schedules that have been preserved for 1790 show the following distribution of Sparks families, according to A Century of Population Growth (Washington: Government Printing Office,1909)p.262:
 
Connecticut   8
Maine    2
Maryland 24
Massachusetts   2

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NewHampshire   0
New York   6
North Carolina 15
Pennsylvania 13
RhodeIsland    1
South Carolina 11
Vermont   2
Virginia 13

The Century of Population Growth also informs us that on the 1790 census schedules the name Sparks was also spelled Sparkes and Spearks; that the average size of the Sparks family was 5.8; that there were 97 heads of families; and that there were 470 other members.

The reconstructed 1790 Census of Kentucky adds six more names to the 97 mentioned above, and fourtee'n more are to be found in Fothergill and Naugle's Virginia Tax Payers, a supplement to the Government's 1790 Census of Virginia. Thus, there were nearly 600 men, women and children in the United States in 1790 with the surname Sparks, not counting those in Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, Tennessee, and parts of Virginia, which would undoubtedly bring the total nearer to 700.

Following is a list of the Sparks families in America in 1790, as compiled from the above- mentioned census schedules. Do you know where your Sparks ancestor was living in 1790? If so, is he listed below? NOTE: The following data for the states of Kentucky and Virginia are self-explanatory. The 1790 Census Key for the other states is as follows: The first number following a name is the number of white males over 16 years of age, including the head of the family. The second number following a name is the number of white males under 16 years of age. The third number is the number of white females in the family. The fourth number was designated as either slaves or other persons, as the case might be. Thus, Reuben Sparks, of Glastenbury, Hartford Co., Connecticut, had in his family, besides himself, 2 males under 16 (presumably sons), and 5 females (presumably a wife and 4 daughters, or 5 daughters). 0nly about 15 per Cent of the Sparks families held slaves.

CONNECTICUT:
 

Hartford Co. - Glastenbury Town - Reuben Sparks - 1 - 2 - 5
Hartford Co. - Glastenbury Town - Thomas Sparks - 1 - 4 - 1
Tolland Co. - Bolton Town - Jno. Sparks - 4 - 0 - 1
Tolland Co. - Willington Town - Jos. Sparks - 1 - 0 - 1
Windham Co. - Asford Town - Isaiah Sparks - 1 - 4 - 4
Windham Co. - Hampton Town - Lemuel Sparks - 2 - 2 - 3
Windham Co. - Killingley Town - John Spearks - 1 - 3 - 4
Windham Co. - Killingley Town - Sam'l Spearks - 2 - 3 - 3

KENTUCKY:
 

Bourbon Co. - William Sparks - March 1791 Tax List
Bourbon Co. - William Sparks - 1791 Tax List
Fayette Co. - Isaac Sparks - 1 January 1790 Tax List
Jefferson Co. - Daniel Sparks - 8 June 1789 Tax List
Jefferson Co. - James Sparks - 1 September 1789 Tax List
Lincoln Co. - Thomas Sparkes - ll May 1790 Tax List

RHODE ISLAND:
 

Bristol Co. - Warren Town - Joseph Sparks - 1 - 2 - 1 

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MAINE:
 
Cumberland Co. - Brunswick Town - David Spark - 1 - 0 - 2
Lincoln Co. - Bowdoin Town - James Sparkes - 1 - 1 - 3
Lincoln Co. - Bowdoin Town - Nicholas Sparkes - 2 - 0 - 2

MARYLAND: (Not included are Alleghany, Calvert and Somerset Cos., whose census schedules are lost, and also a portion for Dorchester Co.)
 

Baltimore Co. - Francis Sparks - 1 - 3 - 4
Baltimore Co. - Josias Sparks - 1 - 3 - 5 - 1 other
Caroline Co. - Daniel Sparks - 1 - 2 - 3
Caroline Co. - Richard Sparks - 2 - 0 - 4
Frederick Co. - Joseph Sparks - 1 - 1 - 3
Harford Co. - Abraham Sparks - 1 - 0 - 0
Queen Annes Co. - Abner Sparks - 1 - 5 - 5 - 4 slaves 
Queen Annes Co. - Absalom Sparks - 1 - 1 - 4 - 5 slaves 
Queen Annes Co. - Daniel Sparks - 1 - 0 - 0
Queen Annes Co. - Elizabeth Sparks - 0 - 2 - 3
Queen Annes Co. - George Sparks - 0 - 0 - 0 - 5 others
Queen Annes Co. - James Sparks - 1 - 2 - 3
Queen Annes Co. - John Sparks - 2 - 4 - 0
Queen Annes Co. - John Butts Sparks - 1 - 2 - 5 - 1 slave
Queen Annes Co. - Levi Sparks - 1 - 2 - 4 - 10 slaves
Queen Annes Co. - Millington Sparks - 1 - 0 - 3
Queen Annes Co. - Mordecai Sparks - 1 - 5 - 4 - 3 slaves
Queen Annes Co. - Nathan Sparks - 2 - 3 - 3
Queen Annes Co. - Noah Sparks - 1 - 1 - 1
Queen Annes Co. - Rachel Sparks - 2 - 6 - 3
Queen Annes Co. - Solomon Sparks - 3 - 3 - 2 - 7 slaves 
Queen Annes Co. - Solomon Sparks - 2 - 1 - 4
Queen Annes Co. - Thomas Sparks - 2 - 3 - 2 - 1 slave 
Queen Annes Co. - William Sparks - 2 - 0 - 0 - 12 slaves 
Talbot Co. - Moses Sparks - 1 - 2 - 2

MASSACHUSETTS:
 

Barnstable Co. - Province Town - Sarah Sparks - 2 - 1 - 2
Berkshire Co. - Mt. Washington Tn - Asa Sparks - 3 - 5 - 4

NEW YORK:
 

Montgomery Co. - Canajoharie Tn - Pearl Sparks - 2 - 1 - 1
(slave number illegible)

NORTH CAROLINA:
 

Anson Co. - Charles Sparks - 3 - 1 - 1 - 3 slaves 
Northampton Co. - William Sparks - 1 - 1 - 1
Rockingham Co. - Thomas Sparks - 1 - 0 - 2
Rowan Co. - David Sparks - 1 - 2 - 1
Rowan Co. - Jonas Sparks - 2 - 3 - 3
Rowan Co. - William Sparks - 1 - 2 - 3
Wilkes Co. - John Sparks - 1 - 4 - 3
Wilkes Co. - John Sparks - 1 - 4 - 3
Wilkes Co. - Reuben Sparks - 1 - 1 - 3
Surry Co. - George Sparks - 1 - 1 - 1
Surry Co. - Joseph Sparks - 1 - 4 - 4
Surry Co. - Matthew Sparks - 1 - 3 - 4  
Surry Co. - William Sparks - 1 - 1 - 2
Surry Co. - Wm. Sparks, Jr. - 2 - 1 - 5
Surry Co. - Thomas Sparks - 1 - 1 - 2

PENNSYLVANIA:
 

Alleghany Co. - Elizabeth Twp. - Richard Sparks - 2 - 0 - 5
Bedford Co. - Solomon Sparks - 1 - 0 - 4
Fayette Co. - Isaac Sparks - 1 - 0 - 1
Fayette Co. - (widow) Sparks - 1 - 2 - 5
Philadelphia Co. -Philadelphia - David Sparks - 2 - 3 - 4
Philadelphia Co. -Philadelphia - Henry Sparks - Tallow Shop
Philadelphia Co. -Philadelphia - Henry Sparks - 4 - 1 - 2-  (1 other)
Philadelphia Co. -Philadelphia - Richard Sparks - Block Mkers Shop
Philadelphia Co. -Philadelphia - Richard Sparks - 1 - 0 - 2
Washington Co. - Geo. Sparks - 2 - 0 - 2
Washington Co. - Geo. Sparks - 1 - 2 - 1
Washington Co. - Selethial Sparks - 1 - 2 - 2
Washington Co. - William Sparks - 1 - 2 - 1
York Co. - Shrewsbury Twp. - Jas. Sparks - 1 - 2 - 1   (1 other)

(TO BE CONTINUED)

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S K R A  P  S

We chose this title, SKRAPS, to head our section devoted to miscellaneous bits of information, announcements, etc., for two reasons: One, because it suggests the word SCRAPS, which means fragments or pieces. (Please ignore the other definition of the same word, which is discarded material, or rubbish!) And the second reason is--well, spell it backwards!

The Sparks Quarterly is being printed on an 8" x 11" sheet, so that it can be filed in a notebook. We hope to have holes punched in the paper we use in the succeeding issues so that they will fit into a three-ring notebook. Such a book can be obtained at any 5 & 10 cent store.

The officers of THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION are non-salaried; each is devoting his time to the project. The money received from the membership dues will be devoted entirely to The Sparks Quarterly, which will improve in quality of printing, etc., and increase in number of pages per issue, depending upon the total membership.

Included in this initial issue is a blank for membership in THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION, and for subscription to The Sparks Quarterly, as well as a blank to record your own Sparks lineage. We hope you will return it promptly to Paul E. Sparks, 155 North Hite Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky.

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Scanned and Edited by James J. Sparks