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

VOL. XXVI, NO. 1  MARCH, 1978  WHOLE NO. 102a

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(Grandchildren of Joshua and Catherine (Edgmon) Sparks)

Sitting, left to right: Benny Sparks, Tom Sparks,
Nancy Sparks (mother & widow of James Sparks)
Jesse Sparks, Jay Sparks, and Jack Sparks.

Standing, left to right: Berry Sparks, Marion Sparks,
Josie Sparks, Oscar Sparks, and Denny Sparks.

(View photograph)


SAMUEL SPARKS (born before 1755, died before 1830)



By Russell E. Bidlack

Our knowledge of Samuel Sparks, whom we believe to have been the father of Richard Sparks and Absalom, on whom sketches appear in this issue of the QUARTERLY, is limited. Our earliest positive record of him is that of his purchase of 100 acres of land in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, on June 3, 1786, from Thomas Roberson (or Robertson) and his wife Catherine. His parents were probably Matthew and Elinor Sparks. In 1778, two Sparks families had moved from Maryland to Pittsylvania County, Thomas Sparks with wife Elizabeth and Matthew Sparks with wife Elinor; we know that Thomas and Elizabeth had a son named Samuel who was born in St. Anne's Parish, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, on July 29, 1749; we do not believe that Samuel came to Virginia nor do we believe that the Samuel Sparks who is the subject of this sketch was born quite as early as l749. For these reasons, we believe that he was a son of Matthew and Elinor Sparks. (See the issues of the QUARTERLY for September 1955 and March 1956, Vol. III, No. 3, and Vol. IV, No. 1, Whole Numbers 11. and 13, pages 79-85 and 109-121, for a compilation of Sparks records from Pittsylvania County, Virginia.)

Samuel Sparks paid taxes on his 100 acres in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, from 1786 through 1788. He paid property taxes as a "white male over 21" in 1786 (2 horses and 4 cattle), 1788, and 1789. On October 30, 1788, he sold his 100 acres "on Reeds Spring Branch" to Thomas Norton; Samuel signed the deed by mark with his wife, Rachel Sparks. The witnesses were Samuel Harvey, Leonard Sparks, Matthew Sparks, and John Baggerly. (Book 8, p. 40l).

The last record of Samuel Sparks in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, found thus far, is a court record dated August 1789 when he was the defendant in a suit brought by John Jones for a debt of two pounds and eleven pence. (Book 6, p. 302)


It appears that Samuel Sparks, with his wife Rachel and their children, moved to Spartanburg County, South Carolina, in 1789 They were listed there on the 1790 census along with three other Sparks families, all probably closely related. The name next to that of Samuel was Matthew Sparks--they were probably living on adjoining farms. We believe that this Matthew Sparks was either a brother or cousin of Samuel; the elder Matthew Sparks, whom we believe to have been Samuel's father, appears to have died in Pittsylvania County in 1786-87 because on the property tax list of 1787 Elinor Sparks is listed as head of her family. The two other heads of families named Sparks on the 1790 census of Spartanburg County were Josiah Sparks and Truelove Sparks.

Samuel Sparks's name appeared on the tax rolls of Goshen Creek, Spartanburg County, South Carolina, that are extant between 1794 and 1803. According to Leah Townsend's South Carolina Baptists, 1670-1805 (published in Florence, South Carolina, in 1935), page 130, Matthew Sparks and Samuel Sparks were sent as "messengers" from the Goucher Creek Church (earlier called Goshen) to the Association in 1800. In 1798, Matthew Sparks had been sent as a "messenger." This church is described as located "about 29 miles north-east of Fairforest" which was one of the oldest Baptist Churches of the area.

From the deeds describing the land owned by Samuel Sparks, as well as the location of his property in the tax lists, it is apparent that he lived barely over the line into Spartanburg County from Union County. In fact, he was probably the same Samuel Sparks who served on a jury in the Court of General Sessions for Union District in March 1801 when one Aaron Starnes was tried for assault of William Bishop and was fined one dollar.

It was also in 1800 that Samuel Sparks obtained two tracts of land as grants from the state of South Carolina. One tract was for 1,000 acres and the other for 558; the tracts adjoined each other and were located very near the point where the Spartanburg County line separates both Union County and what is now Cherokee County. Two roads passed through his land, one that was called the "Road to Smith's Ford" across Broad River flowing between Union County and York County (now a portion of Cherokee County). The other road was identified in the grant as "Road to Grindon's Shoals." This was actually "Grindal Shoals" on Pacolet River in Union County where a grist mill was located. The land was described as on "the head branches of Gilkey's Creek, People's Creek of Broad River & Skelton's Creek of Thickety." Gilkey's Creek and Thickety Creek flow from Spartanburg County through Union County, joining about a mile before flowing into Broad River. Owners of land adjoining Samuel Sparks's land were Jonathan Gilkey, Wright, Lampkin, Hickman, and Lipscomb.

Four deeds have been found among the records of Spartanburg County pertaining to Samuel Sparks. Two of these, both dated June 14, 1808 (Book L, pp. 114-16) pertain to his selling a portion of the land that had been granted to him by the state in 1800. He sold 600 acres for $500 to Isaac Hill and 417 acres for $300 to Thomas Hill. On neither of these deeds is Samuel Sparks's wife mentioned. The two Hills each served as a witness for the other; the other witness for both deeds was Lenah Sparks who signed by mark. This may have been intended for Leonard Sparks. (This Leonard Sparks was mentioned on page 1841 of the QUARTERLY in the article by Gerald H. Sparks entitled "Leonard Sparks (born about 1822, died 1865) of Union County, South Carolina, and Gwinnett County, Georgia" which appeared in the September 1976 QUARTERLY, Vol. XXIV, No. 3, Whole No. 95.) Samuel Sparks signed both of these deeds by mark. How he disposed of the remainder of this land (541 acres) is not known.

Neither of the above mentioned deeds was recorded until August 20, 1808, on which same day a deed dated June 11, 1808, was recorded (Book L, pp. 16-17) by which Isaac Hill and his wife Betsy of Spartanburg County sold for $300 to Samuel Sparks a tract of 250 acres "being on the Waters of Pacolet River ... originally granted to John Hammet, Senr. The witnesses were Thomas Hill and Jno. H. Jones.

The only other deed found in Spartanburg County thus far pertaining to Samuel Sparks is dated December 30, 1809 (Book R, p, 141-142). In this deed, Rachel Sparks is identified as Samuel's wife and they sold for $200 to John Hammett the same 250 acres that Samuel Sparks had bought the year before from Isaac and Betsy Hill. Both Samuel and Rachel Sparks signed by mark. The witnesses were Bartholomew Stovall, Nehemiah Norton, and Benjamin Hammett.


When the 1790 census was taken of Spartanburg County, Samuel Sparks's family was enumerated as three males (probably sons) under 16 years of age, one male over 16 who was, of course, Samuel himself, and three females. Of the three females, we may assume that one was Samuel's wife, Rachel, while the other two were probably daughters.

According to the 1800 census of Spartanburg County, Samuel and his wife were both over 45 years of age, thus born before 1755. Two males were also enumerated who were probably Samuel's sons, one between 16 and 26 years of age and the other under 10; the latter had been born after the 1790 census was taken, or possibly in 1790. There were five females in the family besides Samuel's wife, one between 16 and 26, two between 10 and 16, and two under the age of 10.

Assuming that on both the 1790 and the 1800 census, those people living with Samuel and his wife were their children, it would seem that by 1800 Samuel and Rachel Sparks had four sons and five daughters. Three sons and three daughters were born before 1790, while one son and two daughters were born after 1790. We believe that one of the oldest sons was Richard Sparks, subject of the sketch which follows. Whether the youngest in 1800 was Absalom Sparks (whom we know to have been a younger brother of Richard) or whether Absalom was born after 1800, we cannot be sure. It appears from the 1820 census that there was a son born after 1800. Since Rachel, wife of Samuel, was enumerated as being over 45 in 1800 and thus near the end of child-bearing age, this last son must have been born soon after 1800. From later census records, it would appear that Absalom Sparks was born about 1801. We are not able, from research to date, to identify any of the other children of Samuel and Rachel Sparks.

Samuel Sparks does not appear on the 1810 census of Spartanburg County. The record of his sale of the 250 acres on December 30, 1809, that he had purchased the year before (he lost $100 in the deal), along with a church record that has been found, suggest that Samuel Sparks moved from Spartanburg County just before the 1810 census was taken. The earliest surviving records of the Goucher Creek Church are dated 1810. On Saturday, June 16, 1810, the following record was made: "In Conference, Samuel Sparks Rec'd his church letter of dismission." This kind of record was made when a church member was about to move away. Unfortunately, no mention was made in this entry regarding the church to which he was transferring--perhaps he did not know himself.

Where Samuel Sparks was in 1810 when the census was taken we do not know. Richard Sparks, whom we believe to have been his son, was in Rutherford County, North Carolina, in 1810. Rutherford County, North Carolina, and Spartanburg County, South Carolina, adjoin, so this was not a very long move. Richard had apparently married soon after 1800--he had three sons and one daughter by 1810, all under 10 years of age.

When the 1820 census was taken of Rutherford County, North Carolina, Samuel Sparks and Richard Sparks were listed one after the other, indicating that they lived very near each other. Like the 1810 census, that for 1820 gave no age enumeration beyond "over 45"; both Samuel and his wife were so enumerated. Living with them were two males (probably sons), one aged 16 to 26 (thus born between 1794 and 1804) and the other aged 16 to 18 (thus born 1802-1804). The instructions to the census takers in 1820 was to list the males aged 16 to 18 and who were able-bodied in this 16 -18 category, but not to repeat them in the 16 to 26 category. Many census takers were confused regarding this, however, and sometimes enumerated the same individual twice. We believe that Absalom, born about 1801, was living with his parents in 1820. There was also one female enumerated, probably a daughter, aged 26 to 45 (thus born between 1775 and 1794) living with Samuel in 1820. His wife, Rachel, had apparently died by 1820. Samuel Sparks owned five slaves in 1820; Richard Sparks owned seven.

It is our assumption that Samuel Sparks died sometime between 1820 and 1830--he was at least 65 years old by 1820. We have found no record of his owning land in Rutherford County, nor has any record of the settlement of his estate been discovered.





By Russell E. Bidlack

For many years we have been collecting data on the family of Richard and Sarah (Peterson) Sparks. While this record is still far from complete, it is appropriate that we now publish what we have accumulated with the hope that readers of the QUARTERLY may be able to supply additional material.

Over the past twenty years, your editor has corresponded with, and has been assisted, by, a number of descendants of Richard and Sarah (Peterson) Sparks, among whom are the following:

John W. Sparks, 6078 Ivawood Dr., Memphis, Tenn. (38134)

C. Glenn Sparks, 4213 Prickly Pear Dr., Austin, Texas (78731)

Irene D. Spencer, 7738 Norwalk Blvd., Whittier, Calif. (90606)

Vicki Begtrup, 16 Post Brook Rd., N., West Milford, N.J. (07480)

Erin D. Miller, Jonesville, La. (71343)

Patricia Burnett, Rt. 7, Box 64J, Gilbert, Ariz. (85234)

Joann Farris, Rt. 2, Box 25A, Leonard, Texas (75452)

E. Marie McCowan, 1517 N. 22, Boise, Idaho (83702)

Mrs. M.A. Hood,  Katy, Texas (77450)

Lida D. Phillips, 211 B. Smiley, Opelousas, La. (70570)

Helen Wendell, Thiladelphia, Tenn. (37174)

Laura Sparks Atchley, 520 Pine, Apt. 5, Chelsea, Okla. (74016)

Plo C. Butler, Rt. 2, Box 193 BA, Edmond, Okia. (73034)

Mrs. R. H. Richard, Box 727, Humble, Texas (77338)

Mrs. Carl Alton, Dickinson, Texas (77539)

James F. Sparks, 1920 Burrell Ave., Lewiston, Idaho (83501)


From information contained in census records, we are convinced that Richard Sparks was born in Virginia between 1779 and 1781. His age was given as 69 on the 1850 census and as 81 on the 1860 census. Virginia was given as his place of birth in both 1850 and 1860. Although we lack positive proof, we are now convinced that it was in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, that he was born and that his father was Samuel Sparks, subject of the sketch on pages 1990 -1993 of the present issue of the QUARTERLY. We believe that Richard Sparks spent his youth in Spartanburg County, South Carolina.

There can be little doubt that it was in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, that Richard Sparks was married to Sarah Peterson. She was a daughter of Peter Peterson of Spartanburg County; his wife's name, whom we assume to have been Sarah's mother, was Ruth. We have xerox copies of two wills written by Peter Peterson of Spartanburg County, the first dated February 19, 1823, and the last dated July 15, 1827 (see Spartanburg County Will Book 2, p. 35). In the latter will, he identified one of his daughters as "Sally Sparks." In addition to Sally (i.e. Sarah) Sparks, Peter Peterson named his children as: Peter Peterson, Jr., Nancy Peterson, Elizabeth Holt, Polly Gosset, Patsy Cirby, Hanah Peterson, and Hiram Peterson. He willed that his entire estate should go to his youngest son, Hiram, following the death or remarriage of his wife, Ruth Peterson. To each of his other children, including Sally Sparks, he left one dollar.

From census records, it appears that Sarah (Peterson) Sparks was born about 1782-83. She and Richard Sparks were probably married in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, about 1798. On census records in later years, two of their sons gave South Carolina as their own place of birth. Sarah's birthplace was given on the 1850 and 1860 censuses as South Carolina. On the 1870 census, when Sarah was listed as 88 years old, her place of birth was given as Tennessee, but this was obviously an error made by the person who supplied the census taker with information on Sarah. Based on her age given on the 1850, 1860, and 1870 censuses, she was born in either 1782 or 1783.

Richard Sparks was between 9 and 11 years old in 1790. We believe that he was one of the three males under 16 years of age listed in the household of Samuel Sparks. Samuel Sparks was listed on the 1800 census of Spartanburg County with a male between 16 and 26 as well, as a female in the same age category. These may have been Richard with his wife, Sarah, living with Richard's parents, both of whose ages were given as over 45. Although we have found no official record of Richard Sparks in Spartanburg County, the fact that two of his sons gave South Carolina as their place of birth in later census records leads us to believe that Richard remained there for several years following his marriage, which must have taken place about 1798.

When the 1810 census was taken, Richard Sparks was listed as head of a household in Rutherford County, North Carolina. (It is important to note that Spartanburg County, South Carolina, and Rutherford County, North Carolina, adjoin one another, so Richard's move was not significantly far.) In 1810, as in 1800, the census provided for recording the name of only the head of each family, with all other members of the household enumerated (but not named) according to five age categories: under 10; 10 to 16; 16 to 26; 26 to 45; and over 45. Richard Sparks, himself, was enumerated as between 26 and 45; the census taker apparently marked Sarah, wife of Richard, in the wrong column--her age was given as over 45 whereas it should have been recorded as between 26 and 45. Three males and one female, presumably their children at the time, were all enumerated as under 10 years of age.

Richard Sparks also appeared on the 1820 census of Rutherford County, North Carolina. His family was enumerated then as follows: 1 male aged 26 to 45 (Richard himself); 1 female aged 26 to 45 (Sarah, wife of Richard); 1 male 16 to 26; 4 males under 10 years; 1 female aged 16 to 26; and 1 female under 10 years.

Of the three males enumerated as under 10 in 1810, only one was enumerated as between 16 and 26 in 1820. Where were the other two males enumerated as under 10 in 1810? One may have been an infant in 1810 and, depending upon the exact day on which the 1820 census taker called on Richard Sparks, this son may not have reached his 10th birthday. Perhaps one or both had died, or the census taker may simply have missed recording them in 1820; or they may have been living in another household.

It is significant that next to the name of Richard Sparks on the 1820 census is that of Samuel Sparks. The fact that the two names appear together probably means that Richard and Samuel lived on adjoining farms.

Soon after 1820, Richard Sparks and his family moved from Rutherford County, North Carolina, to Roane County, Tennessee. Richard's family was enumerated on the 1830 census of Roane County as living in that part of the county lying "south of the Tennessee River." The family consisted of 1 male aged 50 to 60 (Richard, himself); 1 female aged 40 to 50 (Sarah, his wife); 1 male aged 20 to 30; 1 male aged 15 to 20; 3 males aged 10 to 15; 2 females aged 5 to 10; and 1 female aged under 5.


Living very near Richard Sparks in 1830 (only the names of Wiley Jones and James Weaver separated them on the census) was the family of Abijah Sparks. He was a generation younger than Richard, aged 30 to 40. A female (probably his wife) was enumerated as aged between 30 and 40 also; living with them were 3 females and 1 male under 5 years; 2 females and 2 males between 5 and 10; and one male between 10 and 15. Since Abijah and Richard were living so near each other, it would seem probable that they were related. Abijah was probably Richard's younger brother. When the 1840 census was taken, Abijah Sparks was living in Bradley County, Tennessee. Earlier, on September 21, 1824, Abijah Sparks had obtained a grant of land from the state of Tennessee (50 acres at 122 cents per acre) located on Clouds Creek in Blount County. (In a subsequent grant of 50 acres to a William Wilson in Blount County, date February 26, 1825, adjoining the grant to Abijah Sparks, Clouds Creek is referred to as "Cloyds Creek.").

The 1840 census found Richard and Sarah (Peterson) Sparks still living in Roane County, Tennessee; they were now aged between 50 and 60 years. One male and 2 females were enumerated in their household aged 15 to 20, along with one female between 10 and 15.

The 1850 census was the first Federal census to provide for the name, age, and place of birth for each member of each household. We must remember, however, that census takers obtained this information from whomever happened to be home on the day they called on a given household and errors were often made. Richard and Sarah were still in Roane County, Tennessee, in 1850 and their family was recorded as follows:

Richard Sparks (M)  69 Virginia  
  Sarah Sparks (F) 67 South Carolina
Abigal Sparks (F) 24 Tennessee
Nancy Sparks (F) 22       "
David Sparks (M) 16       "
James Detherage (M) 21       "

Richard's real estate in 1850 was valued at $500. He was living very near the family of his son, Joshua. The David Sparks, age 16, living with Richard and Sarah in 1850 was their nephew, a son of Absalom Sparks.

Between 1850 and 1860, Richard and Sarah Sparks made their last move, this time to Arkansas. They appeared on the 1860 census of Carroll County, Arkansas, in Crooked Creek Township; their post office was Crooked Creek. They were living alone, owned no real estate, and their personal property was valued at $350. Richard's age was given as 81, birthplace Virginia, and occupation farmer. Sarah's age was given as 78, her birthplace as South Carolina. Near them lived their third son, Peterson Sparks, and a grandson named Dred C. Sparks.

Sometime between 1860 and 1870, Richard Sparks died. Sarah, his widow, was still living in 1870, however; that year (1870) she was listed as living with her son, Joshua Sparks, in Newton County, Arkansas. Sarah (Peterson) Sparks died sometime between 1870 and 1880. According to descendants, both are buried in Newton County, at Boxley, Arkansas, but there are no grave markers.

We believe that Richard and Sarah (Peterson) Sparks were the parents of thirteen children, although our information on some is very limited and we cannot be positive of the exact order of their birth.

1. Samuel Sparks, born about 1800.

2. James Sparks, born July 6, 1802.

3. Daughter, born about 1804; we have not discovered her name (might it have been Ruth in memory of her maternal grandmother?)

4. Peterson Sparks, born 1806.

5. Daughter, born about 1808; she was probably the Susanna Sparks who married Robert Glass in Roane County, Tennessee, in 1830 and for whom Richard Sparks stood as bondsman.

6. William M. Sparks, born June 14, 1811.

7. Thomas Sparks, born August 10, 1813.

8. John Sparks, born about 1815.

9. Hiram C. Sparks, born about 1818.

10. Joshua Sparks, born in 1820.

11. Rachel Sparks, born about 1823.

12. Abigail Sparks, born May 10, 1826.

13. Nancy Jane Sparks, born about 1828

1. Samuel Sparks, son of Richard and Sarah (Peterson) Sparks, was born about 1800. He was doubtless a namesake of his grandfather, Samuel Sparks. A descendant of Peterson Sparks, the third son of Richard and Sarah (Peterson) Sparks, recalls that Peterson had a brother named Samuel. From the limited data available at this time, we believe that Samuel was the eldest son of Richard and Sarah. He was doubtless born in South Carolina. As a young man, he moved with his parents to Rutherford County, North Carolina. From North Carolina, Samuel Sparks moved to Alabama and by 1839 was living near his brother, Peterson Sparks, in Jefferson County. He signed a note that was recorded in Deed Book 6, page 459, of Jefferson County, Alabama, on January 16, 1839. Peterson Sparks signed a similar note, both involving the same individuals, on August 19, 1839.

Judging from the enumeration of his family on the 1840 census of Jefferson County, Alabama, it would appear that Samuel was married about 1830. Both Samuel and his wife were enumerated on the 1840 census as having been born between 1800 and 1810. By 1840 (assuming that the children enumerated in his household were his own), Samuel Sparks had a daughter born between 1830 and 1835 along with a son and two other daughters born between 1835 and 1840.

Samuel Sparks has not been found on the 1850 census of Alabama. A Samuel Sparks has been found on the 1850 census of Tippah County, Mississippi, who may well have been this same Samuel. His birthplace is given as North Carolina; his age was given in 1850 as 45 (thus born about 1805) From the birthplaces of his children, this Samuel appears to have lived in Tennessee in the early 1830's but was in Alabama between 1837 and 1843--a son was born in Mississippi about 1846. He named a daughter Sarah and sons were named Richard, Samuel, and James. Following is a listing of this Samuel Sparks's family on the 1850 census of Tippah County, Mississippi, District #2, page 480A & household 1214.

Samuel Sparks (M) 45 Farmer North Carolina $200
  Susannah Sparks (F) 34 Tennessee
Elizabeth J. Sparks (F) 18            "
Sarah A. Sparks (F) 16            "
Henrietta Sparks (F) 13   Alabama 
Richard M. Sparks (M)   8            " 
Nathan H. Sparks (M)   7            "
James J. Sparks (M)   4   Mississippi
Samuel W. Sparks (M)   1            "
A careful search has been made of the 1860 census for Tippah County, Mississippi, but the family of Samuel Sparks has not been found.
2. James Sparks, son of Richard and Sarah (Peterson) Sparks, was born on July 6, 1802, and died in Shelby County, Alabama, on September 5, 1866. These dates and much of the information which follows are from family records preserved by Mrs. H. A. Hood, a great-granddaughter of James Sparks; Mrs. Hood lives in Katy, Texas. In the March 1959 issue of the QUARTERLY (Vol. VII, No. 1, Whole No. 25) we published a query regarding the parentage of James Sparks, but we now have ample evidence that he was a son, probably the second son, of Richard and Sarah (Peters on) Sparks.

James Sparks was married on January 24, 1830, to Mary Ann (Matthews) Bell, widow of Joseph Bell of Wilkes County, Georgia. She was born in Georgia on March 11, 1807, and died in Shelby County, Alabama, on October 11, 1868. Her mother, according to family tradition, crossed over to America from Ireland at the age of eight years. We have been unable to find her name, however, or where her family settled, but she married a man named Matthews and was living in Georgia when Mary Ann, her daughter, was born. It is known that Mary Ann had a sister who married Thomas Ellender. Mary Ann Matthews married, first, Joseph Bell in Wilkes County, Georgia. He died there in 1826. Their daughter, Lucretia Ann Bell, was born January 29, 1827. (Lucretia Ann married a man named Caidwell and moved to Texas.) As noted earlier, Mary Ann (Matthews) Bell married (as her second husband) James Sparks on January 24, 1830.

In 1830, James Sparks, his wife (Mary Ann), and Mary Ann's daughter (Lucretia Ann Bell) had moved to Jefferson County, Alabama. They were received into membership in the Canaan Baptist Church of Jefferson County on November 26, 1831. James Sparks was the only Sparks listed on the 1830 census of Jefferson County, but when the 1840 census was taken two of his brothers, Samuel and Peterson Sparks, had joined him in Jefferson County. They lived near the village of Jonesboro, now Birmingham. By 1860, James Sparks had moved over the county line into Shelby County, near the town of Montevallo. James Sparks died there in 1866--a letter telling of his death written by his youngest child, Eliza O. Sparks, to other members of the family appeared in the March 1959 QUARTERLY cited above, page 372.

James and Mary Ann (Matthews) Sparks were the parents of nine children, all born in Jefferson County, Alabama. Their names and dates of birth are recorded in a family Bible that belonged to James Sparks which was in the possession of Ed D. Horn of Nashville, Arkansas, in 1959. A rather detailed record of the descendants of several of these children appeared in the March 1959 issue of the QUARTERLY so will not be repeated here. The names and date of birth of these children, with a minimum of biographical data, follow:

(1) John Harvey Sparks, born December 6, 1830, died December 11, 1919, in Berwyn, Oklahoma. He was married three times, first to Melissa Caroline King in 1855; second to Elizabeth Luretter King in 1859; and third to Frances Mason following the Civil War. He had six children by his third wife.
(2) Easter Luvena Sparks (called Luvena), was born August 31, 1833, and died January 10, 1911, in Howard County, Arkansas. She was married in 1851 to James Hooker. They were the parents of eleven children.

(3) Sarah (Saraphin) Sparks, was born September 15, 1835, and died in 1900 in Homer, Louisiana. She married Shelton Aiphin in 1857 by whom she had two children. Following his death, she married Thomas Everett by whom she had five children.

(4) William B. Sparks, born January 22, 1837. He was killed during the Civil War on May 25, 1862. He may have been the William Sparks who appeared on the 1860 census of Jefferson County, Alabama, with wife Rebecca M. Sparks along with a two-year-old son named Drary W. Sparks and a three-month-old son named John H. Sparks.

(5) Mary Ann Sparks, daughter of James and Mary Ann (Matthews) Sparks, was born July 15, 1839. She married Wesley W. Arnett in 1862 and they had two children.

(6) Nancy Jane Sparks, daughter of James and Mary Ann (Matthews) Sparks, was born May 8, 1840, and died on February 7, 1923, in Howard County, Arkansas. She married Harrison Bradford in 1865 and they had eight children.

(7) James Hopson Sparks, son of James and Mary Ann (Matthews) Sparks, was born December 4, 1843. He died December 19, 1863, in an army hospital.

(8) Samuel H. Sparks, son of James and Mary Ann (Matthews) Sparks, was born April 26, 1845, and died in 1924 in Locksburg, Arkansas. He married Lou McMurrian and they had four children.

(9) Eliza O. Sparks, daughter of James and Mary Ann (Matthews) Sparks, was born on December 25, 1848, and died on December 25, 1887, in Nashville, Arkansas. She married Louis C. Horn in 1867 and they had five children.

3. ----- Sparks, daughter of Richard and Sarah (Peterson) Sparks, was born about 1804. According to the enumeration of the household of Richard Sparks's family on the 1810 census, it would appear that the female under 10 years of age was a daughter. When the 1820 census was taken, this female was listed as being between 16 and 26 years of age. It would thus appear that she was born about 1804. We have no hint as to what her name may have been or whom she married. Assuming that Ruth Peterson was the mother of Sarah (i.e. that Ruth was not a second wife of Peter Peterson, whom we know to have been Sarah's father), we can speculate that this daughter might have been named Ruth. In many families of this period, it was the custom to name the first son after his paternal grandfather and the first daughter after her maternal grandmother.

4. Peterson Sparks, son of Richard and Sarah (Peterson) Sparks, was born in 1806 in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. It is obvious that he was named for his mother's family. As a small child, Peterson Sparks accompanied his parents to Rutherford County, North Carolina. He was married about 1828 or 1829 and was living in the "Western Division" of Blount County, Tennessee, when the 1830 census was taken. This did not constitute a very long move since Blount County, Tennessee, borders North Carolina on the south, but it was a rough trip in those days because it meant crossing the Great Smoky Mountains. His household in 1830 consisted of one female aged 20 to 30 years who was doubtless his wife, and one female aged under five years whom we may assume was an infant daughter. From later records, it appears that this first wife must have died because his wife Isabella, who appeared on the 1850 census as born about 1820 could not have had a child in 1830. Another daughter, Sarah Sparks, whose age was given as 19 on the 1850 census (thus born about 1831) was born in Tennessee and likewise must have been a child by this first wife, whose name we have not discovered.

Sometime in the 1830's, at least by 1839, Peterson Sparks had joined his older brothers, Samuel and James Sparks, and his younger brother, Thomas Sparks, in Jefferson County, Alabama. Two deeds are on record in Jefferson County dated January 18, 1839, and August 19, 1839 (Book 6, p. 476 and Book 7, p. 199) pertaining to Peterson Sparks's indebtedness to merchants.

Peterson Sparks is listed on the 1840 census of Jefferson County, Alabama, with one female aged 20 to 30 (doubtless his wife); one female aged 10 to 15; one female aged 5 to 10; and one female and one male, both under 5 years of age.

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

PETERSON SPARKS, born 1806, died after 1860

(Original photograph owned by Lida D. Phillips)

(View photograph)

It seems probable that Peterson Sparks's wife in 1840, as noted earlier, was a second wife. (A descendant of a son born in 1847 recalls that he had a half-sister named Sarah.) We know from later census records that the name of this second wife was Isabella, born about 1818 to 1820. Four children were born to Peterson Sparks's wife during the five or six years that they lived in Alabama. About 1843, Peterson Sparks and his younger brother, Thomas Sparks, moved to Pontotoc County, Mississippi. It was there that a son named William was born to Peterson and Isabella Sparks in 1845.

The 1850 census of Pontotoc County, Mississippi, (taken in September of that year) shows Peterson Sparks with the middle initial "B"--he and his brother, Thomas Sparks, are shown on what must have been adjoining farms. Peterson Sparks's real estate was valued at $600. Eight children were living at home, their ages varying from 19 years to 4 months. Peterson Sparks also was shown on the 1850 census as owning one female slave, aged 25 years. (In the list of slave owners his name appears as P. B. Sparks.)

A son named Richard M. Sparks was born to Peterson Sparks and his wife Isabella in Arkansas in 1852, 50 we know that between September 1850 and sometime in 1852 the family moved to Arkansas. On February 10, 1854, Peterson Sparks witnessed a deed for one Robert A. Sparks in Conway County, Arkansas. (We have not been able to identify this Robert A. Sparks.) Peterson Sparks was listed on the 1860 census of Crooked Creek Township, Carroll County, Arkansas, with his family; his occupation was given as farmer, and his real estate was valued at $500 while his personal property was worth $476. The 1860 census showing Peterson Sparks was taken in August that year. Living very near him were his parents, Richard and Sarah Sparks. Their post office was given as Cross Creek.
This is the last record that we have found pertaining to Peterson Sparks. Descendants believe that he moved from Arkansas to Johnson County, Texas, and that he died there, perhaps during the Civil War. Following is a list of the children of Peterson Sparks based on census records as well as family recollections.
(1) Sparks, daughter of Peterson Sparks, was born late in the 1820's or very early in the year 1830. We are sure that her mother was a first wife of Peterson Sparks, name not known.

(2) Sarah Sparks, daughter of Peterson Sparks, was born about 1831 in Tennessee. We believe that her mother was also the first wife of Peterson Sparks. A daughter of Robert Turner Sparks, son of Peterson Sparks born in 1847, once recalled that he had a half-sister named Sarah who married a man named Clayton and that they had a daughter named Nancy Jane who married a man named Nabors. This Nancy Jane had two children, Ben and Lucy.

(3) Dred C. Sparks, son of Peterson and Isabella Sparks, was born about 1838-39 in Alabama. He married Cammilea R. ----- and, according to the1870 census, had the following children:

(a) Catharine E. Sparks, born about 1858.

(b) Eli A. Sparks, born about 1860.

(e) M. E. Sparks (female) born about 1862.

(d) William Thomas Sparks, born about 1866.

A niece of Dred C. Sparks recalled a number of years ago that Dred C. had married twice; she remembered that by his first wife he had children named Billy and Bell. His second wife was named Rose Greer; their children were named Roscoe, Sam, Lilly, May, and Fay. According to census records, the family was living in Carroll County, Arkansas, in 1860 and in Boone County, Arkansas, in 1870 (Boone County had been formed in 1869 from Carroll and Marion Counties).

(4) Caroline Sparks, daughter of Peterson Sparks, was born about 1840 in Alabama.
She married Dave Alexander, brother of Parley Alexander who married James G. Sparks, brother of Caroline. No further information.

(5) Ruth Sparks, daughter of Peterson Sparks, was born about 1841 in Alabama. She married a Parker according to family records. No further information.

(6) Samuel D. Sparks, son of Peterson Sparks, was born about 1843 in Alabama.

He was listed as living with his parents on both the 1850 and the 1860 census, but we have no further record of him.

(7) William P. Sparks, son of Peterson Sparks, was born about 1845, in Mississippi. He was listed as living with his parents on the 1850 and the 1860 census. He was probably the William Sparks listed as living near Dred C. Sparks on the 1870 census of Boone County, Arkansas, with wife Mary, who was born about 1852 in Missouri.

(8) Robert Turner Sparks, son of Peterson Sparks, was born in 1847 in Mississippi and died in 1936. He was married in Boone County, Arkansas (in the town of Harrison) to Jane Hankins, who was born in 1850 in Roane County, Tennessee. She died in 1928. (They were married prior to August 1870 for they were listed on the 1870 census.) Their only son was John Walker Sparks.
(a) John Walker Sparks, son of Robert Turner and Jane (Hankins) Sparks, was born July 5, 1871, in Boone County, Arkansas, near Harrison. He was a farmer, stockman, and carpenter. He was married in 1891 to Katherine Hickey, who died in 1927. He died on October 6, 1906. Both are buried near Harrison, Arkansas. Their children were:
1. Harvey Turner Sparks, born Jan. 12, 1892; married Rhoda Atchley on May 10, 1914. He died Oct. 11, 1947, near Bakersfield, California.

2. Laura Sparks, born March 13, 1894. She married Jim Atchley in 1914. They moved to Oklahoma in a covered wagon in 1915. He died April 8, 1971, and was buried in Dews Cemetery near Chelsea, Okla. She was still living in 1976.

3. Floyd L. Sparks, born Nov. 22, 1896. He married Noma Hensley Nov. 4, 1917. He died in Boone County, Ark., on Jan. 20, 1970. They had 9 daughters and one son.

4. John Albert Sparks, born March 12, 1898. He married Verlie Hays June 15, 1932. She died in 1945 and he moved to Denver where he died in 1955

[Scanner's note:  Several of the dates for John Albert Sparks are in error.  See SQ page 5036 et.seq. for the corrections.]

5. Hugh A. Dinsmore Sparks, born Jan. 1, 1902; he married Bertha Petre March 17, 1928. He died July 16, 1976, and was buried at Boxley, Ark.

6. James Lewis Sparks, born Oct. 26, 1905, died Oct. 31, 1955. He never married and is buried near Harrison, Ark.

Robert Turner Sparks and his wife, Jane (Hankins) Sparks, had one daughter, Mary Tennessee Sparks, who was born at Gaither, Arkansas, on June 9, 1874, and died on May 4, 1968. She was buried near Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. She married W. M. Dowell on August 28, 1896. Mary Tennessee (Sparks) Dowell was the source of much of the information given here on the family of Peterson Sparks. A tribute written by her daughter, Lida D. Phillips, appeared in the QUARTERLY of September 1968 (Vol. XVI, No. 3, Whole No. 63, pp. 1163-66). There also was given a record of the eight children of W. M. and Mary Tennessee (Sparks) Dowell. Their names were: Lida, James R., William,. Jewell, Lewis, Verna, Odessa, and Norma.
(9) James G. Sparks, son of Peterson Sparks, was born about June 1850 (he was listed as 4 months old when the 1850 census of Pontotoc County, Mississippi, was taken on September 4, 1850). On the 1860 census, his middle initial was given as "G". He married Parlee Alexander. (A Mrs. Theresa Sparks of Ft. Smith, Arkansas, wrote to Paul E. Sparks in 1954 indicating that her husband had been Oscar Sparks, born November 19, 1881, in Johnson County, Texas, died February 2, 1923; she said Oscar?s father had been James Thomas Sparks, born in 1853 and died in March 1930 at the age of 77; that his wife had been named Parlee Alexander, born in Arkansas; that the family had gone to Texas and that there had been six children. This must be the same as James G. Sparks, whose birth we know from the census record took place in 1850.)

(10) Richard M. Sparks, son of Peterson Sparks, born about 1852 in Mississippi. We have no further information regarding him.

(11) Martha I. Sparks, born about 1854 in Arkansas. (Lida D. Phillips has indicated that she married a man named Alexander and that they lived near Fort Smith, Arkansas, but may have moved to Oklahoma.)

(12) Noah Sparks, son of Richard Sparks, born about 1856 in Arkansas. Lida D. Phillips has a picture of him, his wife and children taken in Witchita Falls, Texas.

(13) (Lida D. Phillipsbelieves that there was a daughter named Rachel.)

5. Susanna Sparks, believed to have been a daughter of Richard and Sarah (Peterson) Sparks, was born about 1808 From census records, we know that there was a daughter born at this time. On April 10, 1830, Richard Sparks stood as bondsman in Roane County, Tennessee, for the marriage of Susanna Sparks to Robert Glass. We have no further record of this probable daughter.

6. William N. Sparks, son of Richard and Sarah (Peterson) Sparks, was born on June 14, 1811, probably in Rutherford County, North Carolina, and died on December 15, 1891, in Waco, Texas. Although his name on most records appears simply as William Sparks, his grave marker in Old First Street Cemetery in Waco gives his middle initial as "M." A descendant, Mrs. Irene D. Spencer, reports that these same dates are found in a family Bible owned by her mother.

The birthplace of William M. Sparks is given consistently as North Carolina on census records. We know that Richard Sparks and his family were living in Rutherford County which adjoins Spartanburg County, South Carolina, when the 1810 census was taken. They were still in Rutherford County, North Carolina, when the 1820 census was taken. William was doubtless one of the four males listed in the family at that time as under 10 years of age. The family moved to Roane County, Tennessee, soon after 1820, settling in that part of the county located "south of the Tennessee River." On the 1830 census, William was probably the male enumerated as between 15 and 20 in the household of Richard Sparks.

William Sparks was married between 1830 and l840. From family and census records, we know that his wife's maiden name was Martha Scarborough who was born about 1817. (This name is sometimes spelled "Scarberry" and "Scarbry.") We believe, but cannot prove, that she was a daughter of John Scarborough who was listed on the 1830 census of Roane County, Tennessee, as living south of the Tennessee River and not far from the family of Richard Sparks. A brother of William N. Sparks, Hiram C. Sparks, married Talitha Scarborough in 1838 who was a daughter of this John Scarborough and his wife, Susan.

About 1840, William Sparks moved with his family from Tennessee to Union County, Georgia. Union County is on the northern tier of Georgia counties, just south of the state line of North Carolina and a short distance also from the state line of Tennessee; and six counties to the east is Spartanburg County, South Carolina.

William Sparks's occupation was given as "Sadler" on the 1850 census of Union County, Georgia, and his birthplace as North Carolina; he was 39 years old. His wife, Martha, was listed as 33 years of age (thus born about 1817). Their four oldest children were listed as having been born in Tennessee: Mary, age 15; Richard, age 13; Sarah, age 11; and Susan, age 9. The other four children were listed as having been born in Georgia: Polk, age 7; Elizabeth, age 5; Cass (male) age 3; and Emily, 6 months.

Living near William Sparks in Union County in 1850 was another William Sparks, age 45, with wife Nancy, also aged 45, both born in North Carolina. Their children were: Harriet 16; Sally 14; Margaret 12; Raney (female) 10; Maryan 8; and Nancy 6, all born in North Carolina. Whether this William Sparks was related to the William Sparks, subject of this sketch, is not known. There was also a George Sparks, age 45, with wife Fanny, age 37, both born in North Carolina, listed on the 1850 census of Union County, Georgia, with children (all born in North Carolina) as follows: George 16; James l4; Enoch 13; Elizabeth 9; Susannah 7; Jonathan 6; Henry 4; and Joseph 2. Again, we have no evidence that this family was related to the subject of this sketch.

By 1857, William Sparks had moved to Knox County, Tennessee, where a daughter, Denizie Effa Sparks, was born on November 30, 1857. According to descendants of Denizie Effa Sparks, she was reared by older sisters  sister in Georgia because her parents' health was too poor for them to care for her.

[Scanner's note:  At SQ p. 2110 the above correction is made; further, it is stated that "we cannot be sure of the county" in which Denizie Effa Sparks was born.]


By 1880, William Sparks had moved to Waco, McLennan County, Texas. When the census of that year was taken, he was living with his son, John Richard Sparks (called J. Richard Sparks on the census); the age for William was given as 69 (which was correct since he was born in 1811), and that for his wife, Martha, was given as 63. From their grave markers, we know that Martha W. Sparks died on November 3, 1883, age 66 years, and that William M. Sparks died on December 15, 1891. The City Directory of Waco for 1890-91, which was obviously prepared before William's death, indicated that he was living with his daughter and son-in-law, Denizie Effa and Daniel Franklin Foster.

According to Mrs. Rene D. Spencer, a great-great-granddaughter of William M. Sparks, William and Martha (Scarborough) Sparks were the parents of 13 children, the last being her great-grandmother, Denizie Effa (Sparks) Foster. From census records, we are able to identify only eight of these children, other than Denizie Effa. Perhaps others died as infants.

(1) Mary Sparks, daughter of William and Martha (Scarborough) Sparks, was born

May 1, 1835, in Tennessee, and died on July 19, 1923, at Spiro, Oklahoma. She married Thomas Jackson Boling, who was born in 1832 in Union County, Georgia, and died January 24, 1884, at Spiro, Okla. He was a son of Thomas Jackson and Elmira (McDonald) Boling of Union County, Georgia. It was after the Civil War that they moved to Oklahoma from Tennessee. A great-granddaughter, Mrs. Joann V. Farris, has provided us with a list of their children:

(a) Homer Vasco Boling, born June 11, 1868, in Union Co., Ga.; married Ada Glisson, born April 15, 1873, at Fort Smith, Ark.

(b) William Gabriel Boling, married Melia

(c)  Walter Boling, married Mollie Ridge.

(d) Richard Boling, married Sylvia Smith Lee.

(e) Ralph Boling, married Frances Higgens.

(f) Carolyn Boling, married William Bolen (or Boling).

(g) Leotta Boling, married "Doc" Palmer.

(h) Mattie E. Boling, married Charles P. Stewart.

(I) Mae Boling, married Oscar Ward.

(j) Emma Boling, married James Alexander.

(2) John Richard Sparks (called Richard on the 1850 census), son of William and Martha (Scarborough) Sparks, was born on January 7, 1837, in Tennessee, and died on February 6, 1888, in Waco, Texas. He and his wife, Zelpha Sparks, were living in Waco, Texas, when the 1880 census was taken. His occupation was given as "Shoe and Boot Maker." His wife, Zelpha, was born about 1840 in Tennessee. According to the 1890-91 City Directory of Waco, Zelpha Sparks, widow of John R. Sparks, was then living at 506 S. 11th Street.
(3) Sarah Sparks, daughter of William and Martha (Scarborough) Sparks, was born about 1839 in Tennessee according to the 1850 census.

(4) Susan Sparks, daughter of William and Martha (Scarborough) Sparks, was born about 1841 in Tennessee according to the 1850 census.

(5) Polk Sparks, son of William and Martha (Scarborough) Sparks, was born about l843 in Georgia according to the 1850 census.

(6) Elizabeth Sparks, daughter of William and Martha (Scarborough) Sparks, was born about 1845 in Georgia according to the 1850 census.

(7) Cass Sparks, son of William and Martha (Scarborough) Sparks, was born about l847 in Georgia according to the 1850 census.

(8) Emily Sparks, daughter of William and Martha (Scarborough) Sparks, was born about June 1850 according to the 1850 census.

(9), (10), (11), & (12), no information.

[Scanner's note:  SQ p. 2110:  "(our informant) ..believes that the four un-named children of William M. and Martha (Scarborough) Sparks were named Emily, Beryl, Ferny, and Lyra."]


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


with son William Franklin and daughters

Zelphia Leoda (upper right) and Martha Jane (lower right)

(View photograph)

(13) Denizie Effa Sparks, daughter of William M. and Martha (Scarborough) Sparks, was born on November 30, 1857, in Tennessee and died on December 22, 1939, in Montebello, California. She was married on April 11, 1874, to Daniel Franklin Foster, born November 9, 1848, in Tennessee, died June 22, 1893, in Waco, Texas. They had the following children: (all born in Waco, Texas)
(a) MattieMaggie Mae Foster, born June 11, 1878, died Aug. 24, 1878.

[Scanner's note:  See SQ p. 2110 for above and nearby corrections.]

(b) Zelphia Leoda Foster, born Feb. 24, 1880, died Oct. 25, 1952, in Highland Park, Calif. She married Edward Marsh Foster, son of Charles and Rebecca (Bishop) Foster, on Oct. 5, 1897. They had nine children.

1. Bessie Lucile Foster, born Aug. 17, 1898; married Carles Charles Elmer Roberts. (Their daughter, Irene Dennett Foster Spencer has furnished much of the information on this branch of the family.)

2. Charles Franklin Foster, born Oct. 28, 1901, died Oct. 30, 1970; married Bernice Whitcomb Van Ouer.

3. Maybell Foster, born Feb. 29, 1904; married Joseph William Courtwright.

4. Alice Retha Foster, born Nov. 2, 1905; married Frederick Sylvester Wadsworth.

5. Arthur Edward Foster, born Feb. 3, 1909; died June 30, 1909.

6. Ruby Foster, born Jan. 14, 1910, died Sept. 21, 1928; married Foster J. Dennis.

7. Frankie Pearl Foster, born June 27, 1913; married John Arthur Von Voldenberg Allen.

[Scanner's note:  SQ p. 2110:  "His surname was originally Von Valdenberg, but he had it legally changed to Allen.  (He suffered from blindness and "Allen" was much easier to write than Von Valdenberg.)"]

8. Evelyn Irene Foster, born Jan. 19, 1920; died June 29, 1920.

9. La Verne Ruth Foster, born March 19, 1921; married Afton Don Johnston.

(c)  William Franklin Foster, son of Daniel F. and Denizie Effa (Sparks) Foster, was born July 7, 1882, and died March 12,1945. He married Ella Enis Winslow and had five children:
1. Charles Richard Foster, born Feb. 25, 1910.

2. Lucy Ennis Foster, born Nov. 2, 1911.

3. Muretta Foster, born Aug. 29, 1916.

4. George Daniel Foster, born April 24, 1921.

5. William Franklin Foster, Jr., born April 10, 1926.

(d) Martha Jane Foster, daughter of Daniel F. and Denizie Effa (Sparks) Foster, was born Sept. 1, 1888, died May 26, l948; she married Vernon Brown. No children.

(e) Charles Foster, son of Daniel F. and Denizie Effa (Sparks) Foster, was born April 9, 1890, died August 7, 1890.

(f) Arthur Foster, born March 23, 1893, died Aug. 7, 1893.

7. Thomas Sparks, son of Richard and Sarah (Peterson) Sparks, was born on August 10, 1813, in Rutherford County, North Carolina; he died on August 30, l904. A granddaughter, Erin (Donnelly) Miller, has provided us with xerox copies of a family Bible record of his three marriages and the births of his fifteen children. While this record appears to have been made in the 1880's (the Bible was published in 1881), it would appear that these data were copied from an earlier record and we have no reason to doubt their accuracy.

Thomas Sparks was married to his first wife, according to this family record, in Jefferson County, Alabama, on October 27, 1836. Her maiden name was Jane Abernathy and she was born May 23, 1817, in North Carolina. He had apparently accompanied his older brothers, Peterson Sparks and Samuel Sparks, to Jefferson County where they joined their brother, James Sparks. About 1843, however, Thomas Sparks moved to Pontotoc County, Mississippi, with his brother, Peterson Sparks. On the 1850 census of Pontotoc County, the two brothers were listed with only one family between them, which indicates they lived on adjoining or very nearly adjoining farms. The family living between them was an aged couple, S. Abernathy, age 83, and Ruth Abernathy, age 71; both had been born in North Carolina. It seems highly probable that they were the parents of the wife of Thomas Sparks, Jane (Abernathy) Sparks. According to the 1850 census, Thomas' seven-year-old son, Samuel, and Peterson's five-year-old son, William, had been born in Mississippi, whereas their older children had been born in Alabama.

The 1850 census of Pontotoc County, Mississippi, was taken in September of that year. Between September 1850 and April 1851, Thomas Sparks moved with his family to Arkansas where is daughter, Eliza Jane, was born on April 9, 1851. Between 1851 and 1854, Jane (Abernathy) Sparks, wife of Thomas, died, and on July 25, l854, Thomas Sparks married, as his second wife, Elvira (or Elviry) Atkinson. Their first child, John H. Sparks, was born in Arkansas on Septeniber 20, 1855.

According to the places of birth of Thomas Sparks's children as given on the 1880 census, the family apparently moved to California in the late 1850's--the birthplace of twin sons, Matthew M. and Mark N. Sparks, born September 9, 1859, was given as California. By 1866, however, the family was living in Texas where a son, James M. Sparks, was born on August 25, 1866.

Although Thomas Sparks was identified as a farmer on the census records where we have found him after l840, a daughter, Abbie (Sparks) Donnelly, stated before her death in 1963 that, after moving to Texas, Thomas Sparks was an itinerant Baptist preacher in the Brazos River area of Texas.

THOMAS SPARKS (1813-1904)

with his third wife, NAOMI SPARKS

(Original photograph owned by Mrs. A. L. Miller, Jonesville, La.)

(View photograph)

Sometime between 1861 and 1865, the second wife of Thomas Sparks, Elviry (Atkinson) Sparks, died and on September 27, 1865, he married his third wife, a widow named Naomi Braswell (her name was spelled "Naomia" in the family Bible). She was born in Tennessee on April 13, 1836. (On the 1880 census, a Samuel Braswell, born about 1858 in Arkansas, is listed as a step-son of Thomas Sparks.)

In his later years, as an itinerant Baptist preacher, Thomas Sparks lived in a variety of Texas counties, including Jack, Coke, and Johnson Counties. He was living in Johnson County, Texas, when the 1880 census was taken.

Thomas Sparks died on August 30, 1904, and was buried in Terry Memorial Cemetery, Coke County, Texas. By his first wife, Jane (Abernathy) Sparks, he was the father of seven children:
(1) Richard O. P. Sparks, born November 19, 1837, in Alabama.

(2) David E. Sparks, born May 21, 1839. He was not listed as a member of the family when the 1850 census was taken, so he may have died in youth.

(3) William J. Sparks, born October 20, 1841, in Alabama.

(4) Samuel J. Sparks, born August 27, 1843, in Mississippi.

(5) Joshua W. Sparks, born August 27, 1847, in Mississippi.

(6) Sarah A. R. M. Sparks, born August 9, 1849, in Mississippi.

(7) Liza J. Sparks, born April 9, 1851, in Arkansas. Called "Liza," in the Bible record from which her date of birth has been copied, she was called Eliza on the 1880 census of Johnson County, Texas, where she was living in her father's household.

By his second wife, Elviry (Atkinson) Sparks, Thomas Sparks was the father of five children:
(8) John H. Sparks, born September 20, 1855, in Arkansas. He was living with his father when the 1880 census was taken of Johnson County, Texas.

(9) Thomas J. Sparks, born July 26, 1857.

(10) Matthe M. Marion Sparks, born September 9, 1859, in California (twin of Mark N.). He was living in his father's household in Johnson County, Texas, when the 1880 census was taken. He is known to have married and to have had a son named Jasper Newton Sparks.

(11) Mark N. Sparks, born September 9, 1859, in California (a twin of Matthew Marion). He was living in his father's household in Johnson County, Texas, when the 1880 census was taken.

(12) Cordelia M. Sparks, born October 10, 1861. She was not living in her father's household in 1880.

By his third wife, Naomi, Thomas Sparks had four children:
(13) James M. Sparks, born August 25, 1866, in Texas. He was living with his parents when the 1880 census was taken of Johnson County, Texas.

(14) Naomia A. Sparks, born December 10, 1869, in Texas. She was known as "Abbie" and married J. H. Donnelly and lived in Jonesville, Louisiana. She died on August 22, 1963.

(15) Mary A. H. Sparks, born May 1, 1872, in Texas. She was living with her parents when the 1880 census was taken of Johnson County, Texas.

(16) Joseph F. Sparks, born about 1875. He is not listed in the Bible record with the other fifteen children, but appears as a "son" in the family of Thomas Sparks on the 1880 census of Johnson County, Texas.

8. (?) John Sparks, believed to have been a son of Richard and Sarah (Peterson) Sparks, was born about 1815. From census records it would appear that a son was born to Richard and Sarah Sparks about 1815 and some descendants are quite sure that there was a son named John, although we have found no further record of him.

9. Hiram C. Sparks, son of Richard and Sarah (Peterson) Sparks, was born in Rutherford County, North Carolina, about 1818. He was married to Talitha Scarbrough (also spelled Scarberry and Scarbry) in November 1838. The marriage bond was dated November 1, 1838 (Book 1, page 9); the marriage was performed by J. M. Butler, a justice of the peace. She was born about 1819 and died in 1894 in Berryville, Carroll County, Arkansas. Their son, John Peterson Sparks, stated in response to a questionnaire for Confederate Army veterans living in Arkansas in 1911 that his mother was Talitha Scarbry, daughter of John and Susan Scarbry of Kingston, Tennessee.

By l840, Hiram C. Sparks had moved from Roane County, Tennessee, where he had been married in 1838, to adjoining Anderson County. Living with Hiram C. and Talitha Sparks in 1840 was a female enumerated on the census as under five years of age--we know this to have been their daughter, Samantha. Also enumerated in the household was a male between 10 and 15--this could have been a relative, either of Hiram or his wife, or a hired man.

John Peterson Sparks, son of Hiram and Talitha, who was born on October l4, l846, stated in 1911 that he had been born in Roane County, Tennessee, so the family must have moved back to Roane County between l840 and l846. By 1850, they were living in Blount County, Tennessee, not far from Anderson County. Hiram's occupation was given as "Mechanic."

Sometime between 1858 and 1860, Hiram C. Sparks moved with his family to Newton County, Arkansas. They were living in Boston Mountain Township when the 1860 census was taken (on July 13, 1860). He and his younger brother, Joshua Sparks, were listed next to each other on the census so were probably living on adjoining tracts of land. Hiram's occupation was given in 1860 as "Saddler" --he owned no real estate; his personal property was valued at $200.

By 1860, Hiram's two oldest daughters, Samantha and Sarah J., appear to have left home. His eldest son, Samuel, who was 18 in 1860, was still at home and was listed as a "Farm Hand."

According to family accounts, Hiram C. Sparks was killed by "bush-whackers" during the Civil War near Boxley, Arkansas, which is located in Newton County, just over the line from Madison County. The widow of one of his grandchildren, Belle Whiteley Sparks of Tecumseh, Oklahoma, recalled in 1961: "Yes, his granddad [Hiram] was sick and went out in the Orchard and set down by a apple tree and they shot Hiram dead.

From the census records of 1850 and 1860, with some data furnished by descendants, we believe that Hiram C. and Talitha (Scarbrough) Sparks were the parents of ten children. The youngest child, a boy named H. R. Sparks, was two years old when the 1860 census was taken. It is possible that there were other children born after 1860. All of these children were born in Tennessee before the family moved to Arkansas.

(1) Samantha J. Sparks, born about 1839. She was probably the Samantha J. Sparks who was married to Amos H. Kyle in Roane County, Tennessee, on June 25, 1855, by Isaac A. Clerk, J.P. (Book 2, pp. 342-53)

(2) Sarah J. Sparks, born about 1841.

(3) Samuel Sparks, born about l842. He was probably the Samuel Sparks listed on the 1870 and 1880 censuses of Newton County, Arkansas, with wife Sarah (born about l846 in Arkansas). Their children on these two census records were:

(a) William R. Sparks, born about 1868.

(b) Talitha Eliza Sparks, born about 1869.

(c) John P. Sparks, born about 1871.

(d) Henry T. Sparks, born about 1873.

(e) M. B. Sparks (male), born about 1875.

(f) Robert B. Sparks, born about 1877.

(4) James Sparks, born December 25, 1844 died June 20, 1920. He married Nancy Orlena Jane Bunch in 1868. She was born August 22, l845, in Kingston, Madison County, Arkansas, and died September 5, 1911. A descendant has provided data on their son, named Samuel Lafayette Sparks, and from the 1880 census we know they had at least the following children:
(a) Hiram C. Sparks, born about 1871.

(b) Samuel Lafayette Sparks, born October 20, 1872, in Arkansas; he died on November 6, 1935, in Idaho. He married Florence Bell Tiner, born August 17, 1876, died December 8, 1941.

(c) Sarah E. A. Sparks, born about 1875.

(d) Mary T. C. Sparks, born about 1877.

(e) Anna E. Sparks, born about 1879.

(f) James Sparks, born May 1880.

(5) William R. Sparks, son of Hiram C. and Talitha (Scarbrough) Sparks, was born about 1846. He was listed as four years old in 1850, but did not appear on the 1860 census. However, a W. R. Sparks appeared on the 1880 census of Newton County, Arkansas, age 31 (so born about 1849), born in Tennessee (father in North Carolina, mother in Tennessee) with wife Sarah, age 28, born in Arkansas, and children Lucy C. B. Sparks, age 5, and Samuel H. Sparks, age 10 months. Perhaps this W. R. Sparks was actually the Richard Sparks, below.

(6) John Peterson Sparks, son of Hiram C. and Talitha (Scarbrough) Sparks, was born October 14, 1846, at Kingston, Roane County, Tennessee, according to a questionnaire which he filled out as a Confederate Army veteran in Arkansas in 1911. He stated that his father name had been Hiram Sparks and that he had been born in Alabama, but he was in error on this latter point. He stated that his grandparents had been Richard and Sarah Sparks and that they had lived at Whiteley, Arkansas. He stated that his mother was Talitha Scarbry Sparks, a daughter of John and Susan Scarbry of Kingston, Tennessee. In answer to a question regarding his education, John Peterson Sparks replied, "At Point Rock, Tenn., Prof Clark, teacher." He described his occupation as farming and gave his address as Boxley, Ark. He stated that he had served in the Confederate Army in the Civil War, in Co. A, 7th Missouri Regiment--that he had entered service in 1864 and that he had been paroled in April 1865. He stated that he had married Nancy Murphy on February 7, 1911, at Boxley, Arkansas; she was a daughter of John and Parlinta Murphy of Boxley. This was a third marriage, though not so stated in this record. When the 1870 census was taken, his wife was named Susan (age 21). By 1880, Susan was dead and his wife was Sarah E. Sparks (age 23). In response to a question on the 1911 questionnaire, John Peterson Sparks named his children as:

(a) Sarah E. Sparks, wife of John Wright of Berryville, Ark. (Census records indicate she was born about 1867.)
(b) Altia C. Sparks, wife of Nathaniel Self, of Boxley, Ark. (Census records indicate she was born in May 1870.)

(c) Samuel E. Sparks, married Onia, at Boxley, Ark. (Census records indicate he was born about 1873.)

(d) Maudie Sparks, wife of James Williams of Boxley, Ark.

(e) William Sparks and Nettie his wife, of Boxley, Ark.

(f) Thomas Sparks and Ellen his wife.

(g) Cleveland Sparks and Matilda his wife, of Boxley.

(7) Richard Sparks, son of Hiram C. and Talitha (Scarbrough) Sparks was born about 1850. He was listed with the family on the 1860 census as 10 years old. It is possible that the W. R. Sparks mentioned in (5) above was this Richard Sparks.

(8) Mary A. Sparks, born about 1852.

(9) Susan Sparks, born about l854.

(10) Martha Sparks, born about 1856. Talitha (Scarbrough) Sparks, was born

(11) Hiram R. Sparks, son of Hiram C. and Talitha (Scarbrough) Sparks, was born about 1857-58. He was listed on the 1880 census of Newton County, Arkansas, with wife, Mary E. Sparks, age 17, born in Arkansas. They had no children in 1880.
10. Joshua Sparks, son of Richard and Sarah (Peterson) Sparks, was born in 1820 judging from his age as given on census records from 1850 to 1880. On the 1850 and 1870 censuses his place of birth appears as Tennessee; in 1860 it was given as South Carolina, and in 1880 as North Carolina. We know that Joshua's parents moved from Rutherford County, N.C., to Roane County, Tenn., in 1820; because no male was enumerated as under 5 years in their household on the 1820 census, which was taken before they left Rutherford County, it is probable that Joshua was born after the family arrived in Tennessee.

Joshua Sparks was married (first) on March 25, 1843, in Roane County, Tenn., to Catherine Edgemond (Book 1, pp. 89-90) by M. H. Sellers, M.G. The name seems to have been spelled Edgmon by the family. She was born about 1819 in Tennessee.

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

JOSHUA SPARKS, ca.1820-1901

(View photograph)


When the 1850 census of Roane County, Tennessee, was taken, Joshua Sparks and his family were living very near his parents. The following year, 1851, Joshua moved his family to Newton County (Boston Mountain Township), Arkansas. It was there that Joshua spent the remainder of his life.

Joshua Sparks's first wife, Catherine (Edgmon) Sparks, died in 1858 and was buried at Walnut Grove Cemetery, Boxley, Arkansas. When the 1860 census of Boston Mountain Township, Newton County, was taken, Joshua was listed as a farmer with real estate valued at $252 and personal property worth $600.

In 1862 Joshua Sparks was married to his second wife, Emaline Farmer; she died in 1869 following the birth of a daughter, Sara C. Sparks, who was born, according to the family Bible, on April 27, 1869. On June 5, 1869, at the age of 50, Joshua was married to his third wife, Elizabeth Self, who was only 20 years old (she was born in l849 in Arkansas). This marriage was performed by John Nichols, a justice of the peace in Jasper, Arkansas.

According to the1870 census, Joshua's widowed mother, Sarah (Peterson) Sparks (88 years old) was living with him and his family at that time.

Joshua Sparks died in April 1901 near Boxley, Newton County, Arkansas, and is buried in Walnut Grove Cemetery.

By his first wife, Catherine (Edgmon) Sparks, Joshua had seven children:
(1) Samuel Jasper Sparks, son of Joshua and Catherine (Edgmon) Sparks, was born Feb. 19, 1843, in Roane County, Tenn., and died on Sept. 30, 1915; he was buried at Aberfoyle, Hunt County, Texas. He was married twice. By his first wife (name not known) he had four children:
(a) Lela J. (or I.) Sparks, born 1867.

(b) Nancy C. Sparks, born 1869

(c) James F. Sparks, born 1875.

(d) Jessie Ona Sparks, born 1875.

Samuel Jasper Sparks married (second) Eliza Frances Mitchell on March 6, 1878, in Johnson County, Texas. She died February 27, 1925, and is buried in Commerce, Texas. By this marriage, Samuel Jasper Sparks had seven children:
(e) Ada Belle Sparks, born July 2, 1880, died 1969; she is buried in Dallas, Texas. She married Pat P. Henson.

(f) Olin Welborn Sparks, born Dec. 23, 1882; died July 12, 1959. He married Edna ______.

(g) Claud Claudius Sparks, born Jan. l4, 1885; he married Mamie B. Shoemake.

(h) Sam Willard Sparks, born Dec. 23, 1886, died August l934; he was, buried in Commerce, Texas. He married Gertrude Foster

(I) Edna Ophelia Sparks, born April 12, 1889; married William H. McKinzie.

(j) Earl Wear Sparks, born April 26, 1892; died in infancy.

(k) Vivian Vera Sparks, born July 8, 1899; married Samuel Horace Bachman.

(2) Susan Sparks, daughter of Joshua and Catherine (Edgmon) Sparks, was born Jan. 19, 1845, in Roane County, Tenn. She married John Casey and they had three sons and two daughters. She died Oct. 29, 1918, and is buried in the Walnut Grove Churchyard at Boxley.

(3) Martha Jane Sparks, daughter of Joshua and Catherine (Edgmon) Sparks, was born Nov. 13, l846, in Roane County, Tenn., and died in 1921. She was married to Isaac B. Whitely and they moved to Dallas County, Texas, about 1875. They had four children.

(4) James Sparks, son of Joshua and Catherine (Edgmon) Sparks, was born Jan.19, l849, in Roane County, Tenn. He married Nancy A. Edgemond (or Edgmon), born ca. l848 in Arkansas He was living in Newton County, Ark., when the 1880 census was taken. A son, Oscar Sparks of Marlow, Okla., has listed the children of James and Nancy A Sparks as follows: (a) Marion Sparks; (b) Tom Sparks; © Jess Sparks; (d) Jason Sparks; (e) Berry Sparks; (f) Josie Sparks; (g) Denney Sparks; (h) Jack Sparks; (I) Oscar Sparks; and (j) Benny Sparks.

(5) Thomas Sparks, son of Joshua and Catherine (Edgmon) Sparks, was born on Feb. 19, 1851, in Newton County, Arkansas. He married Sally Clifton.

(6) Talitha Tennessee Sparks, daughter of Joshua and Catherine (Edgmon) Sparks, was born Dec. 6, 1853, and died Dec. 4, 1934; she is buried in the Walnut Grove Churchyard at Boxley, Arkansas. She married Marion Edgemon (or Edgmon) and they had the following children:

(a) John Edgemon, married Fanny Villines (also spelled Villienes).

(b) Marcus La Fete (or La Fate) Edgemon, married Josie Clark.

(c) Samuel Edgemon, married Effie Carlton.

(d) Jess Edgemon, married Angeline Thomas.

(e) Dora Edgemon, married Jim Slater.

(f)) Ola Edgenon, (married Kimball Clark.

(g) Liza Edgemon, married Lonzo Villines (also spelled Villienes).

(h) Minnie Edgemon, married Hess Villines (also spelled Villienes).

(I) Maud Edgemon, married Marvin Green and moved to Texas.

(j) Frances Edgemon, married Frank Self.

(7) John English Sparks, son of Joshua and Catherine (Edgmon) Sparks, was born Jan. 6, 1857, at Boxley, Arkansas. He died in September l934 and was buried at Dutch Mills, Ark. In 1876 he married Mary Jane Grogan who was born Jan. 5, 1857, in Georgia; she died Jan. 21, 1953, in Ozark, Ark.
[Note:  Here appears a photograph, beneath which is the following caption:]


with his wife


(View photograph)


John English and Mary Jane (Grogan) Sparks were the parents of the following children:
(a) Thomas Joshua Sparks, born March 21, 1877; he married Sarah Louisa Mashburn on July 9, 1899, at Huntsville, Ark.; she was born Nov. 25, 1882, daughter of William H. Mashburn, a Presbyterian minister, and his wife, Rachel Virginia (Johnston) Mashburn. They were the parents of John W. Sparks, a biographical sketch of whom appeared in the June l964 QUARTERLY (Vol. XII, No. 2, Whole No. 46, pp. 807-811).

(b) William Franklin Sparks, born July 8, 1879; he married Laura McKinney.

(c) Joel Miles Sparks, born Aug. 8, 1881; he married Martha Carleton.

(d) Cora Belle Sparks, born Oct. 3, 1883; she married Steven Guess.

(e) Lou LaVona Sparks, born Nov.10, 1885, died Oct. 14, 1968. She married John Calderhead and had children named Flossie Jewel, Orval Everet, William Carl, and Leo Brice.

(f) James Henry Sparks, married Maggie Armer.

(g) Viola Tennessee Sparks, born June 10, 1890; married John B. Henson.

(h) Elvira Sparks, did not marry and died at the age of 22.

(I) Robert Sparks, born July 1892; married Easter Eoff.

(j) Loyd Giles Sparks, died at the age of 2 years.

By his second wife, Emaline (or Evaline) (Farmer) Sparks, Joshua Sparks had two children:
(8) Mary Sparks, born about 1863 in Newton County, Arkansas; died in infancy.

(9) Sara C. Sparks, born April 27, 1869, in Newton County, Arkansas; she married Thomas Self.

By his third wife, Sarah Elizabeth (Self) Sparks, Joshua Sparks had nine children (all born in Newton County, Arkansas):
(10) Amanda Sparks, born August 20, 1870; she married George Criss.

(11) Margaret Sparks, born April 1, 1872; she married Bill Self.

(12) Hiram Peterson Sparks born August 16, 1873; he married Mary Young.

(13) Rachel Sparks, born December 24, 1875; she married Bob Kimbrell.

(l4) Cinthia Matilda Sparks, born January 12, 1879; she did not marry.

(15) Richard Sparks, born February 2, 1881. He married Irene Boncard.

(16) Noah Sparks.

(17) Noma Sparks, born December 26, 1886; she married Steve Criss.

(18) Dora Sparks, born June 1, 1890; she married General Carlisle.

11. Rachel Sparks, daughter of Richard and Sarah (Peterson) Sparks, was born about 1823 in Tennessee. She was married to Reuben S. Barnard in Roane County, Tenn., on Dec. 11, 1843, by Wm. Breeden, J.P. (Book 1, pp. 105-06). He was born on April 8, 1823 in Barnardsville, Roane County, Tenn., and was a son of Jonathan and Sarah (Bachman) Barnard. Rachel died in Boone County, Ark., in 1902; Reuoen S. Barnard died in Lamb, Scott County, Ark., date not known. According to a descendant, Ida Alton of Dickinson, Texas, they were the parents of the following children:
(1) Peter Peterson Barnard, born Dec.1 ; 1850, died Jan. 18, 1932, in Waldron, Ark. He married Tabitha Narcissus Self on April 27, 1872, in Newton County, Ark. She was a daughter of Eurby and Polly (Daniels) Self.

(2) Samuel H. Barnard. He married Polly

(3) Joshua M. Barnard. He married Caroline Self.

(4) Richard (Dick) Taylor Barnard. He married Margaret Clark.


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


(Original photograph owned by Mrs. Carl Alton)

(View photograph)

(5) Jonathan (John) Barnard. He married Jane Self.

(6) Thomas J Barnard. He never married.

(7) Sarah H. Barnard. She married ----- Febach.

(8) Margaret A. E. Barnard. She married Eric Guthrie.

(9) Belle Barnard. She married Lemuel Self.

(10) Lucinda Barnard. She never married.

(11) Nancy I. Barnard. She married W. Sutton.

12. Abigail Sparks, daughter of Richard and Sarah (Peterson) Sparks, was born May 10, 1826. She married Philemon Edgmon (sometimes spelled Edgemon) on May 26, l843, in Tennessee and came to Arkansas with Joshua Sparks (her brother) and his family. Philemon was a brother of Catherine Edgmon who married Joshua Sparks. We have no further information regarding her family.

13. Nancy Jane Sparks, born about 1828, daughter of Richard and Sarah (Peterson) Sparks. According to Roane County, Tennessee, marriage records, Philemon Edgmon, husband of Abigail Sparks (above) stood as bondsman for the marriage of James Deatherage to Nancy Jane Sparks on April 5, 1851 (Book 2, p. 195-6) They were married by Mart Sharp, J.P. It is interesting to note that when the 1850 census was taken of Roane County, Nancy J. Sparks was listed as one of the daughters still living at home with Richard and Sarah Sparks; her age was given as 22. James Detherage, age 21, born in Tennessee, was living with the family, probably employed by Richard Sparks. He and Nancy were married the next year. We have no further information on this family.


ABSALOM SPARKS, born ca. 1801, died ca. 1851

In the preceding article on Richard Sparks, we indicated that he had a brother named Absalom. As indicated in that article, we believe their parents were Samuel and Rachel Sparks. Absalom Sparks was born about 1801 in South Carolina. (A grandson recalled his name as William, so it is possible that he may have had the name Absalom William or William Absalom.) He married (1st) Margaret Allen. According to the Will E. Parham papers in the McClung Collection in Knoxville, she was a sister of James and Isaac Allen and of Amy Allen who married Joseph Ray in 1817.

Absalom Sparks married Margaret Allen about 1823 and they had seven children, five sons and two daughters, prior to her death in 1838 or 1839. They lived in Blount County, Tennessee, where they were listed on the 1830 and 1840 censuses. (On the latter census Absalom was erroneously listed as Abraham.)

No evidence has been found that Absalom Sparks owned land in Blount County. Two deeds of trust are on file, however, involving personal property by which he secured small loans. On October l4, 1839, he "sold" to Harlan Matthews for five dollars both livestock and household goods to secure a debt of $3l.64 which he owed to James H. Donaldson and which was due in six months. According to this agreement, if Absalom Sparks paid the debt, the deed would be void, but if the debt were not paid in six months, Matthews was to sell the property at public auction. The property thus mortgaged included a blind mare, two colts, a black heifer and calf, 12 hogs, two sheep, two beds and furniture, two bedsteads, one chest, one loom, two spinning wheels, one large wash kittle, one man's saddle, one oven, one pot, 32 geese, one dresser and contents, one fire shovel, one ax, one large Bible and "one small lot of books." (See Blount County Deed Book P, pp. 56-7) According to the recorded copy of this deed, he signed his name as "Absalum Sparks" and his witnesses were A. Henry and John Cummings. From a subsequent record, it appears that Absalom was able to pay this debt and retain his property.

A similar deed of trust (Book Q, pp. 28-9) is dated May 15, l840. Here Absalom Sparks "sold" for $10 to John Greffets, Sr., certain personal property to secure another debt to James H. Donaldson, this time in the amount of $31.00, which would be due on May 16, 1841. A similar list of property was mortgaged again, including "one large Bible." A statement in this deed indicates that Absalom Sparks lived in the Clover Hill District of Blount County. He signed this document as "A. Sparks." His witnesses were D. Dold and W. H. Rhea.

After the death of his first wife, Absalom Sparks married (2d) Sarah Ann Rose on March 18, 184l, in Blount County. She was born about 1826 in South Carolina. They had six children, 4 sons and 2 daughters, prior to Absalom's death which probably occurred about 1851. When the 1850 census was taken, the family was in Meigs County, Tenn. On that census, South Carolina was given as the birthplace of both Absalom and his second wife.

We are uncertain whether Absalom Sparks died in Tennessee, after which his widow went to Texas with the family, or whether Absalom took his family to Texas and died soon after arriving in 1851. A grandson, John Marney Sparks of Kingston, Tenn. (son of David Carson Sparks), wrote the following statement to A. B. Sparks of Copan, Okla., in 1925: "My father's father [Absalom Sparks] went to Texas when my father was just a boy, went by flat boat down the Tennessee River and on down the Mississippi. My father [David Carson Sparks] sliped off down about Chattanooga, Tenn., and came back and lived with [Richard Sparks] he called him, Uncle Dickey Sparks, and I suppose he was my grandfather's Brother. My father [David Carson Sparks] died March 19, 1918. He never heard much of his people after they went to Texas." According to a History of Texas and Texans written in l914 by Frank W. Johnson, Sarah Ann Sparks, widow of Absalom, moved her family to Cherokee County, Texas, in 1852 following her husband's death. Then, in 1858, she moved to Kaufman County, Texas. She died there in 1907. According to one uncertain reference, she may have married a man named Brackett as her second husband.


We can make positive identification of only six of the seven children of Absalom and Margaret (Allen) Sparks:

1. Samuel J. Sparks, son of Absalom and Margaret (Allen) Sparks, was born in Monroe County, Tennessee, on Oct. 21, l824, and died April 2, 1912. He is buried in Philadelphia, Loudon County, Tenn. He married Mary Ann Kennedy on April 5, 1850, in Blount County; the 1850 census gave his occupation as Saddler. According to descendants Vicki Begtrup and Helen Windle, they had the following children:
(a) James R. Sparks, born March 21, 1851, died April 6, 1925. He married Martha Torbett.

(b) Winfield Scott Sparks, born October 17, 1852.

(c) William D. Sparks, born January 1854, died September l4, 1913, in Boise, Idaho2. Rachel Sparks, daughter of Absalom and Margaret (Allen) Sparks, married a man named Humphrey of Greenback, Loudon County, Tennessee.

(d) Sidney Jane Sparks, died January 10, 1931.

(e) Ann Martha Sparks, born September 1, 1863.

(f) Thomas Sparks.

(g) Millard F. Sparks.

(h) Daniel Sparks.

2. A son was born between 1825 and 1830.

3. Absalom Leander Sparks, son of Absalom and Margaret (Allen) Sparks, was born about 1830. On the 1850 census of Blount . County, Tenn., he was living in the home of Margaret Lane, age 50, and on June 3, 1852, he was married to her daughter, Nancy J. Lane. Her father was Peyton Lane, son of John and (Blankinship) Lane. Absalom Leander and Nancy J. (Lane) Sparks are buried in Willard Park Cemetery, Harriman, Tenn., but there are no dates on their stones. Their children, as supplied by Naomi T. Arp of Philadelphia, Tenn., a great-granddaughter, were:

(a) Cordelia F. Sparks, married Robert P. Carter Aug. 29, 1878, in Roane County, Tenn.

(b) Rosa B. Sparks, married Samuel Ingram on March 7, 1875 in Roane Co.

(c) Herbert Templeton Sparks, born Feb. 14, 1857, died March 4, 1951. Married Callie Suddath on Sept. 14, 1878, in Roane County (no children). He married (2d) Amanda Tennessee Culton, Sept. 1881.

(d) Samuel Peyton Sparks, born 1858, died 1920. Married Nannie Center, Cumberland County, Tenn.

(e) David C. Sparks, born Sept. 24, l864, died Jan. 16, 1893. Unmarried.

(f) Orville Laird Sparks, married Ellen _____.

g) Van D. Sparks,( married Addie Huffine on Dec. 27, 1894, in Roane County.

(h) John T. Sparks, born Nov. 3, 1870, died Oct. 3, 1898. Unmarried.

(I) Maggie B. Sparks,( born Feb. 18, 1873, died Feb. 18, 1891. Unmarried.

(j) Mattie Sparks. Unmarried. Taught school for many years in Harriman, Tenn.; died in California.

(k) Ada Sparks. Unmarried, died in l941.

(l) Baby, died in infancy.


5. David Carson Sparks, son of Absalom and Margaret (Allen) Sparks, was born on March 12, 1835, in Blount County, Tenn., according to a statement in his own handwriting dated April 2, 1915, which is part of his Civil War pension file. He died March 19, l918, and was buried in Byrd's Chapel Cemetery, Roane County, Tenn. He was living with his uncle, Richard Sparks, when the 1850 census was taken of Roane County, Tenn. "For 5 years prior to my enlistment in the Federal Army I resided in Roane County, Tenn. about 6 miles South East of Kingston, Tenn." So stated David Carson Sparks in his pension application. A volume entitled Who's Who in Tennessee published in Memphis in 1911 by Paul & Douglass, states (p. 210) that David C. Sparks worked on his Uncle Richard Sparkses farm until he was 21 and that he sold a horse given him by his uncle in order to go to the Mt. Harmony High School where he graduated in 1861.

He served in the Union Army during the Civil War, enlisting at Barbourville, Ky., on Feb. 26, 1862, in Co. D, 5th Regiment of Tennessee Infantry. He made application for a pension in 1878 in which he stated that he had been discharged at Nashville, Tenn., on March 31, 1865. He stated that, before the war, he had been a farmer and that following the war he had lived in Roane County, Tenn., where he had farmed and had also been a surveyor and a sheriff. While in the Army, he had advanced to the rank of captain. He had been seriously injured as described in his own words: "At Green River bridge in the State of Kentucky on or about the 20th day of December 1862, I was injured in the right foot by jumping from said bridge a distance of about ten feet. Our Regiment was crossing the bridge and the train of cars came along while we were crossing and we were forced forward and I was compelled to jump or be run over and be killed." In l864 he suffered a sun stroke while leading his company near Kenesaw Mountain in Georgia. According to his own account, he was unconscious for two days. "I recollect the Surgeon's name was Sparks."

On March 24, 1870, David Carson Sparks was married in Roane County, Tenn., to Araminta Angeline Wilson, daughter of John and Malinda (Marney) Wilson. She was born Jan. 30, l849, and died Dec. 4, 1909. In his pension application, David C. Sparks stated: "My wife was never married but the one time--I knew her from childhood." On April 2, 1915, he supplied the Bureau of Pensions with the dates of birth of his children. Data have been added from other sources to the following:
(a) John Marney Sparks, born Jan. 3, 1871, died Feb. 28, 1961, in Roane County, Tenn. He married Sara Guin Williams (1875-1945).
(b) Samuel F. Sparks, born July 31, 1873, died May 25, 1878, in Roane Co.

(c) James R. Sparks, born May 16, 1875, died Feb. 10, l946, in Roane Co.

(d) Robert C. Sparks, born Jan. 9, 1877, died Aug. 31, 1877, in Roane Co.

(e) Samuel Robert Sparks, born May 27, 1879, died May 10, 1853, in Roane County. He never married.

(f) David C. Sparks, Jr., born March 28, 1881, died June 2, 1833, in Danvers, Mont.

(g) Malinda A. Sparks, born Aug. 30, 1882, died Sept.4, 1882, in Roane Co.

(h) Benjamin M. Sparks, born April 5, l884, died Oct. 23, 1885, in Roane Co.

(I) Mary Kate Sparks, born Nov.13, 1886; married L. H. Lowery.

6. Thomas Sparks, son of Absalom and Margaret (Allen) Sparks, was born about 1836 in Tennessee. He was living with his father in Meigs County, Tenn., when the 1850 census was taken and probably accompanied his step-mother to Texas about 1852.

7. Mary Jane Sparks, daughter of Absalom and Margaret (Allen) Sparks, was born about 1838 in Tennessee. She was living with her father in Meigs County, Tenn., in 1850 and probably accompanied her step-mother to Texas about 1852.

Absalom Sparks married (second) Sarah Ann Rose and they had six children before his death in 1851 or 1852.
8. William Sparks, son of Absalom and Sarah Ann (Rose) Sparks, was born about l842 in Tennessee. He apparently did not live to maturity according to the History of Texas &Texans cited earlier. He was listed as 7 years old on the 1850 census.

9. Martha Sparks, daughter of Absalom and Sarah Ann (Rose) Sparks, was born about l844 in Tenn. She married Carey A. McCracken and they lived in White Prairie, Texas. (This town no longer exists.)

10. Lucinda Sparks, daughter of Absalom and Sarah Ann (Rose) Sparks, was born about 1846 in Tennessee. She married T. B. Enochs and they lived at Sulphur Springs, Texas.

11. George W. Sparks, son of Absalom and Sarah Ann (Rose) Sparks, was born about l849 in Tennessee and accompanied his mother to Texas when he was only three years old. He grew up near Terrell, Kaufman County, Texas, and was married there in 1872 to a widow, Mrs. Sophia (Ables) Adams, daughter of Ezekiel Ables. Two children were born to this union: Henry Sparks and Maggie Sparks.

12. James M. Sparks, son of Absalom and Sarah Ann (Rose) Sparks, was born in 1850 in Tennessee. He was living in Terrell, Texas, in l914.

13. Samuel Sparks, son of Absalom and Sarah Ann (Rose) Sparks, was born about 1851. He may have been born after his father died. He died prior to l914. He never married. (It is interesting that a second son of Absalom Sparks should have been named Samuel considering that the first son, by an earlier wife, was still living at the time of the birth of the second Samuel. If, as we suspect, this son was born after Absalom was dead, his mother may have chosen his name without regard to the fact that Absalom had a son by this name by his earlier wife.

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

QUERY--EUGENE SPARKS, born 1843, died 1918

Richard Hart of 2735 Forest Glen Trail, Riverwoods, Illinois (60015) is seeking information regarding his great-grandfather, Eugene Sparks, who was born April 4, 1843, in Wyoming County, New York, and died in Grand Rapids, Wood County, Wisconsin, on May ll, 1918. He was married twice, first on Jan. 2, l874, in Grand Rapids, Wisc., to Lydia Huff (or Hoff), daughter of Michael Huff (or Hoff) who was born in Wisc.; she died Oct. 28, 1903, in Grand Rapids. He married, second, Mary Swartout (nickname Mayme) on July 13, 1912; she was born May 29, 1893, at Necedah, Juneau County, Wisc., daughter of Chauncey and Julia (Hakes) Swartout. On Jan. 27, 1932, she married Ben Sparks, who died Sept. 5, 1952. In 1958, Sarien Morgan of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisc., stated in document supporting a pension application of Mary Sparks that she was "a former sister-in-law of Mary Swartout Sparks having been married to her brother-in-law Albert Sparks."

From the application for a Civil War pension, we know that Eugene Sparks was enrolled in the Union Army in Geneseo, New York, on March 13, l864, in Co. F, l04th Regt. of the New York Volunteer Infantry; he was discharged near Washington on July 17, 1865. He stated that he had moved from New York to Wisconsin in 1867. There is a family tradition that Eugene Sparks was born Eugene Wilber (or Wilburs) and that his parents were killed, after which he was reared by a Sparks family who were relatives. His marriage license to Lydia Huff in 1874 named his parents as John and Mary Wilber. However, his marriage certificate involving his second wife in 1912 gives his parents as Bernard Sparks and Fannie Bainard. When the 1850 census of Wyoming County, New York, was taken, Eugene Sparks ,age 4, was living with Nehemiah Sparks, age 58, and his wife, Lucy Sparks, age 60. Likewise, in 1860, Eugene Sparks, age 14, was living with Nehemiah Sparks, now age 68. Nehemiah and Lucy Sparks are buried in Eagle Village Cemetery, Wyoming County, N.Y.; he died Dec.11, 1876; she died July l4, 1858. On both of these censuses, Eugene Sparks's age was given as three years less than what it should have been according to the date of birth (1843) which he gave for himself on his pension application.

Eugene Sparks had at least four children by his first wife: Frank Sparks, born Nov. 2, 1874; Will Sparks, born Feb. 25, 1876; Lottie Sparks, born March 1, 1887; and Flora Sparks, born Feb. 12, 1883. By his second wife he had one son, Walter Sparks, born Nov. 3, 1914.

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