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


(Built between 1852 and 1858)

At Bald Knob near the village of Buck Shoals

in Yadkin County, North Carolina

(Insert is believed to be a photograph of Fannie Elizabeth (Sparks) Salmons,daughter of Joseph and Martha Elvira (Dimmette) Sparks, born in 1860)

(View photograph)


THE SPARKS QUARTERLY, published by The Sparks Family Association.
Paul E. Sparks, President, 155 North Hite Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky (40206)
Russell E. Bidlack, Secretary-Treasurer & Editor, 1709 Cherokee Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan (48104)
The Sparks Family Association was founded in March, 1953, as a non-profit organi- zation devoted to the assembling and preserving of genealogical and historical materials pertaining to the Sparks Family in America.  It is exempt from federal income tax under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, Section 501(c)(7). Membership in the Association is open to all persons connected with the Sparks family, whether by blood, marriage, or adoption, and to persons interested in genealogical research. Membership falls into three classes: Active, Contributing, and Sustaining.  Active membership dues are $7.00 per year;  Contributing membership dues are $10.00 per year; and Sustaining membership dues are any amount over $10.00 that the member wishes to contribute for the support of the Association. All members receive THE SPARKS QUARTERLY as it is published in March, June, September, and December.  Back issues are kept in print and are available for $3.00 each to members and $4.00 each to non-members. The first issue of the QUARTERLY was published in March, 1953. Seven  indexes have been published for the years 1953 -1957, 1958 -1962, 1963 -1967, 1968 -72, 1973 -1977, 1978-1982  and 1983 -1987.  Each index is available for $5.00. A complete file of the back issues of the QUARTERLY (1953-1988), including the seven indexes, may be purchased for $190.00. Orders for back issues, as well as the complete file, should be sent to Russell E. Bidlack, 1709 Cherokee Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48104. The thirty-six years of the QUARTERLY (1953 -1988) comprise a total of 3,528 pages of Sparks Family history.  The seven indexes  comprise a total of 717 additional pages.  Each individual joining the Association also receives a table of contents covering all back issues of the QUARTERLY.


From Notes left by Dr. H. C. Salmons

[Editor's Note: This description of the home of Joseph Sparks (1817-1902), prepared by Dr. Paul E. Sparks, is based upon notes written by Dr. H. C. Salmons in 1948. He had made crude drawings of the house from his memory of visits to his maternal grandparents when he was a young man. He annotated the drawings with handwritten notes which are quite easy to follow.]

The construction of the home of Joseph Sparks, pictured on the cover, was begun in 1852 and was completed six years later. The pine timber from which it was built was cut from Sparkses farm and dressed there by hand. The frame was hewn, mortised, and pegged without the use of sophisticated tools, and the roof shingles were dressed down by a drawing knife. The finished lumber was cut out with a sash saw, then dressed, sized, and matched by hand. Bricks for the chimneys were made on the site. The hardware was hauled from Fayetteville by team to the site at Bald Knob near the village of Buck Shoals, Yadkin County.

The house faced south and was entered by a door which opened from a wide, sheltered porch into a hall. To the left of the hallway was the living room which was also used by Joseph and Martha Sparks as their bedroom. On the right of the hallway was the parlor. Both rooms were heated by open fireplaces.


Immediately behind the living room was the children's room which was also used as a passageway to the dining room and the kitchen. The dining room and kitchen were heated by two wood-burning fireplaces made of stone and placed back-to-back with a common rock chimney. Each fireplace had a swinging crane (or pot hanger) so that food could be cooked or boiled in pots or kettles swung over the open fire. A cookstove eventually replaced the open fires, but the Sparkses continued to boil vegetables in a big pot saying that the food always tasted better when cooked in that manner.

A door in the dining room opened into the pantry and (as remembered by Dr. Salmons) this is where his grandmother would take him as soon as he arrived to snack on homemade light bread on which was spread churned butter and sourwood honey.

The second story consisted of two bedrooms, also heated by fireplaces, which used the chimneys of the downstairs rooms. The girls slept in the room on the right at the head of the stairway, and the boys slept in the room on the left. After the children grew up and moved away, the hired man was given the boys' room and the girls' room was used for storage of boxes of small grain.

Underneath the children's room on the first floor was the wine cellar. The sides of the room were not walled-up and eventually the red dirt crumbled and caved in. Dr. Salmons recalled that "this is the place where Grandpa would slip me into and give me wine and then say, 'Now for the Lord's sake, don't tell Sarah Ann.' Grandpa and Grandma were fine, but Oh, my auntie, Sarah Ann!"

The downstairs hallway also had a back door which opened on to a back porch.  This back porch could also be reached through a door in the dining room.  The kitchen had two doors to the outside. The entire structure had 29 double-sash windows, most of which were fitted with shutters.

[Editor's Note: H. C. Salmons was a practicing physician at Elkin, North Carolina, and was a son of Andrew Martin and Fannie Elizabeth (Sparks) Sal mons. In addition to the drawings of the house of Joseph Sparks, he also had copies of the family records given to him by his mother. He sent the drawings and family records to his first cousin, Roy Sparks of Lafayette, Oregon. Roy was a son of Benjamin Franklin and Cynthia (Todd) Sparks. Here are the records sent by Dr. Salmons, with his covering letter.]

Mr. and Mrs. Roy Sparks Lafayette, Oregon

Dear Cousins:

I am sending a copy of mother's version of what she had learned of her grand parents, Old Bennie Sparks and wife. I thought it might interest you and also please make a correction. I checked the stenographer's work, but somehow overlooked Joseph Sparks's child, George Washington Sparks birth November 18, 1858, not 1856. Thanking you, I remain Yours respectfully,

H. C. Salmons


Benjamin "Bennie" Sparks

Benjamin "Bennie" Sparks born 1784 died 1876
Sally Jeffries Sparks born 1785 died 1870

Bennie Sparks and Sally Jeffries married 1802


Polly Sparks married Connie Gray
John Sparks don't know (he went west)
Russell Sparks  married Miss Martin, daughter of Alfred Martin
Hannah Sparks married Mr. Felts (went west)
Sally Sparks  married Enoch Swaim
Solomon Sparks don't know
Martha Sparks  single
Joseph Sparks  married Martha Elvira Dimmette 
Benjamin Sparks married Miss Sale

Joseph Sparks

Joseph Sparks born June 12, 1817; died May 8, 1902
Martha Elvira Dimmitte born June 24, 1823; died November 26, 1904
Joseph Sparks married Martha Elvira Dimmette October 1842


Benjamin Franklin Sparks,  born October 18, 1843; died November 1922; married Miss Cynthia Todd (Oregon)
William "Bill" Russell Sparks,  born November 18, 1844; died June 1911; married Miss Jane Madison
John Q. Adams Sparks, born March 13, 1846; died September 1923; married Miss Ann Salmons
Sarah Ann Sparks, born June 14, 1847; died June 1915; married Robert Parks
James Lewis Sparks, born May 8, 1850; died March 1907; married Estie Yeager (Washington State)
Nancy Rosaline Sparks, born May 28, 1856; died October 1887; married L. J. Salmons
George Washington Sparks, born November 18, 1858; died 1929; married Miss Martha "Mattie" Ray
Fannie Elizabeth Sparks, born October 26, 1860; now living (since died);
married A. M. Salmons

The Sparks and Jeffries families lived in the northern part of Virginia [see Editor's correction below]. Bennie Sparks and Sally Jeffries wanted to marry, but their families objected on the grounds that they were too young. They ran away and came to North Carolina in 1802 and married. They settled on a large tract of land in Surry County, now Yadkin County, south of the Brushy Mountains, a low range of mountains and hills which runs southwest and northeast about 5 to 6 miles south of the Yadkin River near Swan Creek Gap. They built houses near a small, clear, rippling steam, close to a large bold spring.

Mrs. Fannie Sparks Salmons, granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bennie Sparks, visited her grandparents' home until she was fifteen years old and remembered much of the place and the folks.

Bennie Sparks [Jr.], youngest son of Ben [nie and Sally Sparks], heired the lands and home-place and built his home about one-fourth of a mile north of his father's home up the stream toward the mountain.


Carl Sparks, son of Ben[jamin] Sparks, [Jr.], heired a portion of the land where the old Bennie Sparks home stood. It had all grown up in large pine timber, and a saw-mill was placed near where once stood the old Bennie Sparks home.

I (H. C. Salmons) was called to the saw-mill late one summer evening in 1916 to attend a man that had been carved up in a fight. The cuts were many and long, but they were not deep. I put in about six dozen sutures by lamp light. Then I placed the patient on his bunk in his shack. I was through about 12:00 o'clock.

I was invited to the eating shack where I ate a very delicious meal of cress, mustard and turnip greens boiled in plenty of fat bacon, corn bread, and strong coffee. To be nice to the Doctor, I got six hard-boiled eggs which I devoured ferociously and still lived through it all. The boy who did the cutting was the cook.

My horse was fed and I mounted and rode back home. I again visited my patient who was doing very well, and I inspected the premises about where once stood the Bennie Sparks home. All that I saw was a rock foundation of chimneys and rocks scattered about, a very few apple and walnut trees which marked the place where the house had been.

All of the workmen at the saw-mill, including the ones who had the fight, chipped in and paid me for my services. The patient came to my office on the seventh day, and I removed all of the sutures. No one prosecuted.

[Editor's Note: Dr. Salmons' mother was mistaken in one of her statements. The Sparks families in Surry County had come to North Carolina from Frederick County, Maryland, not northern Virginia, about 1754. The parents of Benjamin ["Bennie"] Sparks, born 1784, were Reuben and Cassie (Buttery) Sparks; Reuben Sparks was a son of Solomon and Sarah Sparks; and Solomon was a son of Joseph Sparks who died in Frederick County, Maryland, in 1749. Information on Benjamin ["Bennie"] Sparks first appeared in the QUARTERLY of September 1967, Whole No. 59, p. 1084, as part of an article on his father. A much more complete record of Reuben and Cassie (Buttery) Sparks and their descendants appeared in an article by Paul E. Sparks in the QUARTERLY of March 1988, Whole No. 141, pp. 3175-3206, and September 1988, Whole No. 143, pp. 3261- 3285. Information specifically devoted to Benjamin ["Bennie"] Sparks and his family appeared on pp. 3265-69.]

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



Andrew J. Tidwell, 2801 Guilford Lane, Oklahoma City, OK 73120, seeks information regarding Martha ["Nancy"] Sparks who was born in Virginia about 1790 - 1800. She died in Lampasas County, Texas, on October 25, 1880. She was married, first, about 1818, probably in Virginia, to Daniel Chesser. He died about 1825 in Missouri. Their son, William Chesser, was born in 1819 in Virginia. Martha was married, 2nd, in Jefferson County, Illinois, on October 12, 1826, to George W. Joy. Can anyone identify this Martha ["Nancy"] Sparks?



By Paul E. Sparks

[Editor's Note: In the following article, Dr. Paul E. Sparks, president of our Association, traces another of the seven sons of Joseph and Mary Sparks of Maryland. Joseph Sparks was a son of William Sparks who came from Hampshire County, England, to the Colony of Maryland in or about 1663; he died in Queen Annes County, Maryland, in 1709. (See the QUARTERLY of March 1971, Whole No. 73, pp 1381-89, for further information regarding William Sparks.) As the youngest son of William Sparks, Joseph was not yet of age when his father's estate was settled in 1709. He had been born about 1689. Sometime after 1738, Joseph Sparks moved his family west to the area of Maryland that became Frederick County in 1748, and it was there that he died in the spring of 1749. (See the QUARTERLY of March 1990, Whole No. 149, pp. 3554-3561, for a biographical sketch of Joseph Sparks, and note on page 3561 of that article the record of what has been published in the QUARTERLY thus far on each of the seven sons of Joseph, including Charles.)]

Joseph Sparks, father of Charles Sparks, died intestate. In the settlement of his estate, it is fortunate that all of his twelve children, seven sons and five daughters, were named in a Frederick County, Maryland, Court memorandum which was approved at the August 1750 term of the Court. This memorandum reads as follows:

Memorandum this day towit: The twenty second day of August Anno Dom seventeen hundred and fifty. Mary Sparks, Col. Henry Munday and Thomas Wilson (Toms Creek) of Frederick County entered into and executed a certain writing obligatory in one hundred and fifty three pounds, one shilling, current money, to be paid unto Solomon, Joseph, Charles, Jonas, Jonathan, William, George, Merum, Mary, Ann, Rebecka, and Sarah Sparks on condition that the above bounden Mary Sparks, or some person on her behalf, shall and do well satisfie and pay unto the above named Solomon, Joseph, Charles, Jonas, Jonathan, William, George, Merum, Mary, Ann, Rebecka, and Sarah Sparks, their executors, administrators, assignd or lawful guardian or guardians, their respective parts or portions of Joseph Sparks, deceased, his estate according to Act of Assemply in such cases made and provided.
Charles Sparks was born about 1730 and was probably married in Frederick County about 1752. His wife's given name was Margaret; however, we have not learned her maiden name. It was also about this time that Joseph agreed to buy a 50-acre tract of land which was a portion of a larger tract known as "Brothers Agreement." Whether he ever lived on the tract, we have not learned, but ultimately it was purchased by his brother, Joseph Sparks, on November 17, 1761. Here is an abstract of this deed:
Book G, Page 271. Recorded 18 Nov. 1761. Rachael Taney of St. Marys County, Gentleman, to Joseph Sparkes of Frederick County, 21 Pds. [i.e., pounds] all that tract or parcell of land laid out for Charles Sparkes being part of the resurvey on Brothers Agreement beginning at the two bounded white oaks of a tract of land layed out for the said Joseph Sparkes. 50 acres. Signed: Raphael Taney.
Wittnesses: John Darnall & George Dickson. Proven 17 November 1761.

About 1770, Charles Sparks, probably with his brothers, George and William, moved from Frederick County, Maryland, westward across the mountains where they settled in an area then claimed by both Pennsylvania and Virginia. Virginia had organized this area into West Augusta District. Then, in 1776, Virginia divided what it had called West Augusta District into three counties: Ohio, Yohogania, and Monongalia.


In 1780, when the boundary between Pennsylvania and Virginia was finally settled, Pennsylvania received as its share what now constitutes the Pennsylvania counties of Allegheny, Beaver, Fayette, Greene, and Washington, along with part of old Westmoreland. The portion that went to Virginia now consists of the following counties in West Virginia: Brooke, Doddridge, Hancock, Marion, Marshall, Monongalia, Ohio, Pleasants, Preston, Randolph, Tucker, Tyler, and Wetzel. (See the QUARTERLY of June 1963, Whole No. 42, for a more detailed article about this disputed territory, pp. 735-37; that issue also contains an an article, pp. 727-734, about George and William Sparks, brothers of Charles, although at the time this was written, we had not learned that they were sons of the Joseph Sparks who died in Frederick County, Maryland, in 1749. George and William Sparks lived in what was organized in 1781 as Washington County, Pennsylvania, although when they settled there they assumed they were in Virginia.)

Sometime prior to 1770, Charles Sparks had acquired 100 acres of land in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, and it was there, apparently, that he died, probably early in 1771. From later records, it appears that Charles and Margaret Sparks had five children at the time of his death. He did not leave a will.

On July 21, 1771, the Bedford County, Pennsylvania, Court granted letters of administration of Charles Sparks's estate to Robert Moore. (The Moore and Sparks families had been closely associated for a number of years. William Sparks, brother of Charles, had married Martha Moore, daughter of Alexander and Margaret Moore.)

In 1773, Robert Moore was taxed, as administrator of Sparks's estate, described as comprising 100 acres of land in Providence Township, Bedford County. On February 9, 1773, the Orphans Court of Bedford County allowed a man named Henry Nelson 45 pounds for "cloathing, educating & maintaining" three children of Charles Sparks. These three children were identified as Absalom Sparks, "maintenance for one year"; and Phebe Sparks and Charles Sparks, [Jr.], maintenance for three years."

From the records referred to above, it seems apparent that some of the children of Charles Sparks were approaching the age of independence when their father died. If this assumption is correct, we believe that the son named Absalom was born about 1753 and would thus have been 21 years of age in 1774; Charles, Jr. was probably born about 1755, and would thus have been 21 in 1776; and Phebe Sparks was probably born about 1760.

From subsequent records, we know that the Henry Nelson, who was allowed 45 pounds from the estate of Charles Sparks for maintaining three of his orphaned children, had been married to Margaret Sparks, widow of Charles Sparks.

As was noted earlier, between 1776 and 1780, Virginia had divided what she had earlier called West Augusta District into the counties of Ohio, Yohogania, and Monongalia. During those four years, the land which George and William Sparks claimed was included in Virginia's Ohio County, although after 1780 it was determined to be in Washington County, Pennsylvania. Court records were maintained in what Virginia called Ohio County from January 6, 1777, to September 4, 1780, and these have been published (see RECORDS OF THE DISTRICT OF WEST AUGUSTA, OHIO COUNTY, AND YOHOGANIA COUNTY, VIRGINIA, Ohio State University Printing Department, Columbus, Ohio, 1970.) According to these records, on March 3, 1777, when the five justices of the Ohio County Court met, "Henry Nelson Came into Court and Complains that Wm. Sparks had in an illegal manner taken away his Child & njustly detains the same without his consent." The justices then ordered that "the sd Sparks be summoned to attend our next Court & answer make to the above complaint." (See page 11 of the printed minutes for the Ohio County Court.)


When this Court met on April 8, 1777, William Sparks appeared as ordered, but "having not had an opportunity of Convening his Evidence," the Court "ordered that it lay over unto the next Court & that the Child Continue in the Care of Wm. Sparks untill that time." (page 12)

The Ohio County, Virginia, Court next met on June 2, 1777, but there is no reference in the minutes of that meeting to the charge that had been made by Henry Nelson against William Sparks. William Sparks was mentioned in those minutes of June 2, 1777, however, as having been appointed ensign of the county militia, under David Shepherd as colonel.

In the minutes of no subsequent meeting of this Court was there ever any fur ther reference to the charge by Henry Nelson that William Sparks had "taken away his Child." The following record is found, however, in the Court's minutes for its meeting on August 3, 1778 (p. 26).

Absolum Sparks vir Jas. Jno. Carpenter, P.S. Then came the parties & the Defendant pleads the general Issue & the same is ordered to lye over till tomorrow until the defendant has the benefit of his evidence.
The Ohio Court minutes for August 4, 1778, contains the following entry (page 32):
The issue Absolum Sparks against John Carpenter, in case, by petition & summons is ordered for a hearing. Then came the parties and Pleads upon the Issue joined in Debt for one Deer skin, & the Court gives a Judgment for the plaintiff to have his account of 1 pound, 10 shillings. & Costs in this behalf Expended.

Henry Nelson an Evidence, 2 days attendance allowed.

Whether the charge brought by Henry Nelson against William Sparks was settled out of court or simply dropped, we do not know. The "child" in question must surely have been one of the children of Charles and Margaret Sparks who had been removed from the child's stepfather's home to that of the child's uncle, William Sparks. It is possible that this "child" had come of age by 1778 and thus no longer subject to Henry Nelson's authority.

The final disposition of the property of Charles Sparks in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, appears in that county's Deed Book D, page 372. It is this document which proves that the widow, Margaret, had married Henry Nelson and that there were five children of Charles and Margaret Sparks, although the youngest son was not named. Following is an exact copy, except for the addition of punctuation:

Know all men by these Presents that I Absalam Sparks, Charles Sparks, Feby Sparks, Mar gret Nelson, Henry Nelson, Margret Newell & James Newell, all of us of the one part And John Paxton, Junr. of Bedford County of the other part, Witnesseth that I Absolm Sparks and all the rest of the heirs aforesaid Do Bargain and given unto John Paxton aforesaid all our write and Title of that place formerly knowen by the name of Charles Sparks's place at Tuseys narrows on Juneata Creek and Bedford County, we aforesaid Absolm Sparks and the rest of the Heirs Do give and make over all our right, Title, and Clam of said place from us Our heirs or assigns unto sd John Paxton His heir or Assigns all our Rite, tile, and Claim of said place, the Receit of which We Do Acknowledge to Be Good for our pay.


 I Absolm Sparks Do Bind me by me, my heirs or assigns in the pannal sum of forty pounds Penn. currincy to keep him undamaged from the youngest Heire when he comes of age, I will Pay unto sd Paxton The sum of forty Pounds if ever the youngest heir Does Breach This Bargain, to which we have hereunto Set our hands and seals this 23rd Day of November 1786.
    Absolm   Sparks (seal)
Witness Present:
Samuel Paxton
       Charles   Sparks (seal)
              Margret M   Newell (seal) Al

James Newell (seal)

             Henry   \    Neilson (seal)

Bedford County to wit: Samuel Paxton, Junr. Personally came Before me the subscriber, one of the justices of the peace in and for the said county and on his solemn oath saith that he saw the within named Solomon Sparks, Charles Sparks, Margret Newel, James Newel, Margret Nilson, Feby Sparks Sign, seal, and Deliver the within Instrument of Wrighting. Sworn and Subscribed the 18 Day of January 1788. Before James Martin, Esq. Recorded and compared with the original 28 day of April 1795.

As can be seen from the above deed, the heirs of Charles Sparks sold his land in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, on November 23, 1786, to John Paxton, Jr. These heirs consisted of the widow of Charles now married to Henry Nelson and four of the five children of Charles Sparks. Absalom was obviously the eldest son; the other three were Charles, Jr., Margaret, and Phebe (or Feby). Henry Nelson (or Neilson), the second husband of the widow, Margaret, also signed the deed as did James Newell, husband of the daughter, Margaret. The daughter named Phebe had not married when this deed was prepared. Because he was not yet of age in 1786, the youngest child of Charles Sparks, a boy, could not enter into the legal sale, but Absalom agreed to repay Paxton the 40 pounds Pennsylvania currency which the heirs had received from Paxton if at any future time this younger son should challenge his siblings' and mother's right to sell the land.

As frequently happened, the witness to this deed, Samuel Paxton, who was doubtless a relative of John Paxton, Jr., did not swear before a county official that he had witnessed the signing until later. Samuel Paxton did so on January 18, 1788. In listing the names of the heirs who had made the sale, it is interesting to note that Samuel Paxton gave first the name "Solomon Sparks" and omitted entirely the name of Absalom Sparks. He may simply have made a slip of the pen, although his use of the name of Solomon may suggest that the minor son of Charles and Margaret Sparks who was not named in the deed may have had the name Solomon. Charles Sparks had a brother named Solomon, and this name was used by several of his siblings in naming their own children.

This deed was not recorded in the Bedford County courthouse until April 28, 1795. Such delays were frequent in those days.

As has been noted, the children of Charles and Margaret Sparks were as follows:


A. Absalom Sparks was probably born about 1753 in Frederick County, Mary land, and was almost grown when his father died. As noted above, he was involved in a lawsuit in what was then Ohio County, Virginia, in 1778 and appeared before the justices on March 3 and 4. The case was decided in his favor, a witness on his behalf being Henry Nelson, his step-father. As has been noted, from 1776 to 1780, the Virginia county of Ohio included what later became Washington County, Pennsylvania, and there can be no doubt that Absalom was living there in 1778.

In 1777, the General Assembly of Virginia had directed that all white males over the age of 21 living in Virginia be required to take an oath of allegiance to the Commonwealth. William Scott, one of the justices of the Ohio County Court, was charged with administering this oath and recording the names. Scott's record for Ohio County survives and was published in the GENEALOGICAL REFERENCE BUILDERS NEWSLETTER, Whole No. 32, dated February 1971. According to this listing, Absalom Sparks took this oath on November 5, 1777. Four other men did so on the same day, which may suggest that they were close neighbors; they were Robert Cavin, Ezekiel Boggs, Samuel Taylor, and William Boggs. The fact that Charles Sparks, Jr.'s name does not appear on this list may suggest that he had not reached the age of 21 by 1777. George Sparks, uncle of Absalom Sparks, and Henry Nelson, his step-father, both took the oath on October 6, 1777. There were some men, however, who refused to take the oath--they were called "recusants." William Sparks, the other uncle of Absalom, was one of nine men listed as "recusants" in Ohio County. It may mean that these "recusants," including William Sparks, were expressing their loyalty to King George, III when they refused to take this oath. Another possibility is that they considered themselves to be citizen of Pennsylvania rather than Virginia.

William Scott was not only a justice of the Ohio County Court, but after the settlement of the boundary line between Pennsylvania and Virginia, he became captain of a company of militia in Washington County following its organization as a Pennsylvania county in 1781. A return of Capt. Scott's company, which was part of the Fourth Battalion of Washington County Militia, shows Absalom Sparks as a member of the 7th Class in the Company in 1782. (See the 6th Series of the PENNSYLVANIA ARCHIVES, Vol. II, pp. 158-9.)

Among the papers of THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS, 1774-1789, there is a document dated October 30, 1784, listing "Inhabitants near the Ohio River." Among those listed are Absalom Sparks and his uncle, William Sparks. Also among these papers is a petition to the President of the Continental Congress dated April 11, 1785, from "Inhabitants of the Old Northwest." Among the names appearing on this petition is that of Absalom Sparks as well as his brother, Charles.

The last reference to Absalom Sparks found thus far among Pennsylvania records is the deed of November 23, 1786, noted earlier.

While we have not found positive documentary proof, we believe that it is highly probable that, following the settlement of their father's estate in 1786, Absalom Sparks and his brother Charles moved from Washington County, Pennsylvania, southward to the general area where present-day Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee meet. If this assumption is correct, their move may have been motivated by the general national expansion westward, or they may have been influenced by their knowledge that two of their father's brothers, Solomon Sparks and Jonas Sparks, along with some cousins, had settled in this general area some 30 years earlier. We know for certain that there was an Absalom Sparks, whom we have been unable otherwise to identify, living in Washington County, Virginia, from 1799 to 1805. Likewise, there was a Charles Sparks whom we have been otherwise unable to identify, who was living in Wilkes County, North Carolina, from about 1789 to 1806.


Among the very few early marriage records preserved in Washington County, Virginia, is that of Absalom Sparks and Elizabeth McQuann on January 5, 1801. Considering that the Absalom Sparks who was a son of Charles Sparks was born about 1753, it would seem probable, IF he was the same person as the Absalom who married Elizabeth McQuann in Wilkes County, North Caro lina, this would have represented a second marriage for him.

Absalom Sparks paid taxes in Washington County, Virginia, in 1799, 1802- 1805, and then in Lee County, Virginia, in 1811. He moved to Knox County, Kentucky, in 1819 and settled in that part of the county that was cut off the same year to form Harlan County. He was taxed in Harlan County, Kentucky, from 1820 to 1829. He died, apparently, about 1829.

There were three households in Harlan County shown on the 1830 census as headed by men named Sparks. Whether there was a relationship among these individuals to Absalom Sparks is not known. They were: (1) James Sparks who was one of the two males enumerated opposite his name as aged between 20 and 30; also comprising his household were 4 females aged 20 to 30, one male under 5 and two females under 5; (2) William Sparks was shown as aged between 60 and 70, and enumerated as comprising his household was one female also aged 60 to 70, 2 females aged 20 to 30, one female aged 10 to 15, one male aged 5 to 10, one male under 5, and one female also under 5; and (3) William Sparks, Jr. was shown as aged 20 to 30; comprising his household was one female also aged 20 to 30, and one male under 5 years. (See the QUARTERLY of September 1959, Whole No. 27, pp. 419-422, for a full listing of Sparkses shown on the 1830 census of Kentucky.)

B. Charles Sparks, Jr. was identified as a son of Charles Sparks, deceased, in the 1786 deed in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, by which the land once owned in Bedford County by this elder Charles Sparks was sold by his heirs. He was born between 1755 and 1760. He served in the Washington County, Pennsylvania, militia at the time of the American Revolution, as did his older brother, Absalom. Charles was shown as a private in Lieutenant Harned's company in a roster printed in the PENNSYLVANIA ARCHIVES, Sixth Series, Vol. II, p. 242. In another roster (page 245) he was shown as a member of Sergeant Leatherman's Party. In a petition from a group of "Inhabitants of the Old Northwest" to the President of the Continental Congress dated April 11, 1785, Charles Sparks's name appears with that of his brother, Absalom, and also his two uncles living in Washington County named George Sparks and William Sparks.  A David Sparks is also shown in this listing. (See Vol. IV, page 4939, of THE PAPERS OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS, 1774-1789.)

As we noted in the sketch of Absalom Sparks, above, we believe that it is probable (but NOT proven) that both Charles and Absalom, following the settlement of their father's estate in 1786, moved from Washington County, Pennsylvania, southward to the general area where present-day Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee meet. Two of their father's brothers, Solomon and Jonas Sparks, along with several cousins, had moved to this area some 30 years earlier. A Charles Sparks was living in Wilkes County, North Carolina, from about 1789 to 1806 whom we believe to have been this same Charles Sparks, Jr. His name first appears in the land records of Wilkes County when he witnessed a deed between Abraham Cook and John Dawson on March 22, 1796. (Book D, p. 14) He signed by mark.


Charles Sparks purchased land for the first time in Wilkes County, North Carolina, on March 2, 1797. He paid 30 pounds for a tract of 200 acres which had been granted to Rosannah Roberts by the state in 1784. Charles purchased this tract from Rosannah Roberts. It was described as lying on the Duggars Branch of Hunting Creek and adjoined land owned by Luke Adams, Leonard Sales, and Widow Williams. John Williams and James Roberts served as witnesses. (Deed Book D, p. 202)

Charles Sparks's name appeared on the 1800 census of Wilkes County, his household consisting of only himself (aged between 26 and 45) and one female aged between 10 and 16. This may suggest that he was a widower.

On November 27, 1802, Charles Sparks sold to John Walker for 42 shillings, 81 acres from the 200 acres which he had purchased in 1797. In this deed, Duggars Branch was called Duggars Creek, and the adjoining land owners were named as Luke Adams, Leonard Sales, and Cook.  John Wilson and John Harrison were the witnesses. Again, Charles Sparks signed by mark. (Deed book F-i, p. 368) We have not been able to learn if or when Charles Sparks sold the remainder of his land.

Our last record of Charles Sparks in Wilkes County, North Carolina, is found in a file preserved at the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh. This is a record of "Bastardy Bonds" and is marked File C. R. 104.102.   At that time, when an illegitimate child was born to an unwed mother, North Carolina law required that she be brought before the county court and asked to identify the father, pay a fine, or be placed in jail.   If the father was identified, he was required to sign a bond with two responsible citizens serving as securities pledging that the child would not become a financial burden to the parish. On August 9, 1806, Charles Sparks acknowledged in court that he was the father of a son named Archibald Felts born to Polly Felts. The two men who signed the bond as securities were Thomas Ferguson and Isham Harvel. Then on August 8, 1807, Charles Sparks was again brought before the Wilkes County Court and acknowledged that he was the father of Nathan Felts, also born to Polly Felts, except that she was called Mary Felts. (Polly is a common nickname for Mary.) The securities for this second bastardy bond were John Wilcox and Wm. Chambers.

Charles Sparks was not listed on the 1810 census of Wilkes County nor in any other North Carolina county that we have found. Perhaps he moved out of the state following the scandal of his two illegitimate children.

C. Phebe (or Febe) Sparks, daughter of Charles and Margaret Sparks, was named by her step-father, Henry Nelson, in his request for reimbursement from the estate of Charles Sparks, for the maintenance of three of the Sparks children; he claimed to have provided cloathing as well as "educating & main taining" Phebe and her brother, Charles Sparks, Jr., for three years. His claim was dated February 9, 1773.

When the land that had been owned in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, was sold by his heirs on November 23, 1786, Feby signed the deed by mark as "Feby Sparks." Whether she married subsequently to this, we do not know.

D. Margaret Sparks, daughter of Charles and Margaret Sparks, signed the deed by which the heirs of Charles Sparks sold the land that they had inherited, Margaret signed by mark as "Margret Newell." James Newell's name also appears on the deed as an heir, so there can be no doubt that he and Mar garet had been married prior to 1786. We have found no further information regarding them.


E. A son of Charles and Margaret Sparks was identified as an heir of Charles Sparks when his siblings, mother, and step-father signed the Bedford County, Pennsylvania, deed dated November 23, 1786. Unfortunately he was referred to only as "the youngest Heire" not yet "of age." This means that he was born after November 1765. As was noted earlier, when the witness to this deed, Samuel Paxton, swore to its validity on January 18, 1788, he recalled incorrectly that "Solomon Sparks" had been one of the signers, and omitted Absalom Sparks, the oldest child of Charles and Margaret. This may suggest the possibility that this youngest son may have been named Solomon. We have no further information regarding him.

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Robert L. Sparks, 9904 Edmund Dr., Benbrook, TX 76126, seeks information regarding his grandfather's parentage. His grandfather was Charles W. Sparks who was born somewhere in Illinois in December 1863. He is known to have been married at least twice and to have had six children, the eldest of whom was born in Arkansas while the others were born in Texas. Their names and years of birth were: (1) John Sparks, born 1886; (2) Rachel Sparks, born 1888; (3) Frankie Sparks, born 1889; (4) Kirk Sparks, born 1894; (5) Scott Sparks, born 1896; and (6) Wood Sparks, born 1898. According to the 1900 and 1910 censuses of Texas, Charles W. Sparks, widower, was then living in Runnels County, Texas. Mr. Sparks hopes that a member of the Association may be able to tell him who Charles W. Sparks's parents were as well as to provide information regarding the names, birth dates, and death dates of his wives.

[Scanning editor's note:  Corrections made.]

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Two errors have been called to our attention which appeared in the June 1990 issue of the QUARTERLY, Whole No. 150. On page 3615, in the second paragraph, we stated that Bernice (Sparks) Salz had died in 1974. We are pleased to report that Mrs. Salz is still living. On page 3616, in items g and i, we indicated that Ellendale is in Harper County. This is an Error.  Ellendale is in Woodward County, Oklahoma.

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Mrs. Margaret L. Hairel, 6718 Carvel Lane, Houston, Texas 77074, has called our attention to some errors in the articles about William Sparks (ca.1760-ca. 1834) of Adair County, Kentucky. These articles appeared on pages 1794 -1812 of the March 1976 issue and pages 1856 -1875 of the December 1976 issue of the QUARTERLY, Whole Nos. 93 and 96, respectively. Two of the errors obviously can be explained by the fact that there were two men named Dudley Sparks in Adair County between 1850 and 1880. Our readers are asked the make the following changes in their copies of those issues.

Page 1806.
The first line at the top of the page should read as follows:
"Children of Jeremiah M. and Sirena (Dooley) Sparks:"


Page 1806. Item I, D, 7, d, should read as follows:

Page 1806. Item I, D, 11. As was pointed out on page 2420 of the June 1982 issue of the QUARTERLY, David J. Sparks was not a son of Jeremiah Sparks. He was a son of John R. and Priscilla (Reece) Sparks and belongs with that family on page 2179 of the March 1980 issue of the QUARTERLY, Whole No. 109.

Page 1860. Item III, F, 4, f, should read as follows:

Page 1861. Item III, K, should read as follows:


Page 1869. Item VI, D, 1, should be replaced by the following:

[Scanning editor's note:  The above corrections have been inserted where appropriate in the original articles.]

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A new member of our Association, Dr. A. L. McClellan, 8636 Don Carol Dr., El Cerrito, CA 94530, would like to correspond with any descendant of Reuben H. Sparks and his wife, Sarah L. McClellan. Reuben H. Sparks was born in Maryland about 1777 and died in Washington County, Tennessee, on July 15, 1855. His wife, Sarah, was born about 1789 in Virginia. She was a daughter of John and Margaret (Browniow) McClellan. (The marriage bond, dated January 26, 1788, for John McClellan and Margaret Brownlow was issued in Rockbridge County, Virginia; Margaret was born on November 27, 1769, and was a daughter of James and Kate Browniow.)

Reuben H. and Sarah L. McClellan were married at Blountville, Sullivan County, Tennessee, on September 14, 1807. Reuben was taxed for the first time in Washington County, Virginia, in 1809. He was listed as heading a household there when the census was taken in 1810, 1820, and 1830. About 1836 he moved his family from Washington County Virginia, to Washington County, Tennessee, a distance of about 40 miles.

Most of our information regarding Reuben H. Sparks has been found in his and his wife's applications for bounty land and, in her case, also for a pension, based on his service to the U.S. in the War of 1812. These papers have been preserved at the National Archives; an abstract of these papers appeared in the QUARTERLY of June 1962, Whole No. 38.

It was on November 22, 1850, that Reuben H. Sparks, a resident of Jonesborough, Washington County, Tennessee, first applied for bounty land. He stated that he was then (1850) 73 years old and that he had been a private in a company called the "Bucktail Riflemen" commanded by Capt. Henry St. John Dixon in a Virginia volunteer regiment under Major Charles Fenton Mercer. He served from March 8, 1814, to July 5, 1814. He received a warrant for 40 acres of land following the approval of his application.


In 1855, when Congress authorized the granting of additional bounty land to War of 1812 veterans, Reuben H. Sparks again applied (on April 10, 1855). He was still a resident of Washington County, Tennessee, and he gave his age as 78. He died on July 15, 1855, before his application could be acted upon, but his widow was then granted 80 acres of bounty land.

Pensions for widows of soldiers of the War of 1812 were authorized by Congress in 1871, and on June 6, 1872, Sarah (McClellan) Sparks made application. She gave her age in 1872 as 82 years and her residence as Washington County, Tennessee. It was in this application that she gave the information regarding their marriage, as has been noted above. Her application was approved, and she was given a federal pension of $8.00 per month. This continued to be paid until her death on June 21, 1875.

From census records, it appears that Reuben H. and Sarah L. (McClellan) Sparks were the parents of five sons and five daughters. We have succeeded in identifying only six of these children, and accounts of these six were published on pages 2800 -2801 of the December 1985 issue of the QUARTERLY, Whole No. 132. Since the publication of those accounts, however, additional information has been received which changes several of them. These changes are given below and members of the Association who are maintaining files of the QUARTERLY are urged to make note of these corrections in their copy of the December 1985 issue. For the purpose of maintaining uniformity, the same alpha-numeric outline used in the earlier accounts will be used here.

Page 2800. Item 3.
Ann Eliza Sparks, daughter of Reuben H. and Sarah L. (McClellan) Sparks,,was born in 1810 or 1811. She was a seamstress and never married. She was living with her brother, William A. Sparks, when the 1870 census was taken of Washington County, Tennessee.

Page 2800. Item 4.
James Lawrence Sparks, son of Reuben H. and Sarah L. (McClellan) Sparks, was born on October 9, 1813, in Abingdon, Virginia; he died on September 15, 1897, in Lauderdale County, Tennessee. He was married to Mar garet C. Greer in Washington County, Tennessee, on October 18, 1836. (In the December 1985 issue of the QUARTERLY, Whole No. 132, appeared a record of Samuel Greer Sparks, son of James L. and Margaret C. (Greer) Sparks, based on Samuel's answers to a questionnaire sent to all Tennessee veterans of the Civil War in 1922. Information concerning his own and his father's family appears there.)

Page 2800. Item 4, e.
James Lawrence Sparks, Jr., son of James L. and Mar garet (Greer) Sparks, was born in Tennessee about 1847. He was married to Laura Mays on November 3, 1870, in Fayette County, Tennessee. When the 1880 census was taken, they were listed in Lauderdale County, Tennessee. With them were four children; there may have been others born to them later.

[Scanning editor's note:  Above corrections added to original article.]
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Scanning edited by James J. Sparks