THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE SPARKS
"To forget one's ancestors
is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root."
(An old Chinese proverb.)
|VOL. XLIII, NO. 2
|| WHOLE NO.170a
[Here appears a photograph, beneath which
is the following caption:]
JOHN SPARKS (1843-1908)
GOVERNOR OF NEVADA, 1903-1908
Photograph taken ca. 1905
|THE SPARKS QUARTERLY, published
by The Sparks Family Association.
Paul E. Sparks, President, 155
North Hite Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky (40206-2311)
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. Eight quinquennial
indexes have been published for the years 1953 -1957, 1958 -1962, 1963
-1967, 1968 -72, 1973 -1977, 1978-1982,1983 -1987; and 1988-92. Each
index is available for $5.00. A complete file of the back issues of the
QUARTERLY (1953-1994), including the seven indexes, may be purchased for
$260.00. Orders for back issues, as well as the complete file, should be
sent to the editor, Russell E. Bidlack, 1709 Cherokee Road, Ann Arbor,
Michigan, 48104-4448. The forty-two years of the QUARTERLY (1953 -1994)
comprise a total of 4,410 pages of Sparks Family history. The eight
indexes comprise a total of 874 additional pages. Each individual
joining the Association also receives a table of contents listing all of
the articles and collections of data appearing in the QUARTERLY between
1953 and 1994.
Russell E. Bidlack, Secretary-Treasurer
& Editor, 1709 Cherokee Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan (48104-4448)
MILLINGTON SPARKS, III (ca. 1775-ca.
(Sometimes called William Millington Sparks)
AND SOME OF HIS DESCENDANTS
Compiled by Paul E. Sparks
[Editor's Note: Much of the materials used
in this article have been collected by Mary (Sparks) Matthews and Abbott
Sparks. The arrangement of these records was done by the editor, while
the compilation was prepared by the Association's President, Dr. Paul E.
The September 1991 issue of THE SPARKS
QUARTERLY, No. 155, contained an article about Millington Sparks, born
about 1715, died about 1780, of Queen Annes County, Maryland. He was a
son of John and Cornelia Sparks and a grandson of William and Mary Sparks
who had come from Hampshire County, England, to Maryland about 1663. Millington
Sparks was married to Mabel Ruth on February 9, 1740, in Queen Annes County.
Among their six children was a son who was also named Millingtron Sparks,
born about 1745, whom we will designate as Millington Sparks, Jr.
Although the records pertaining to Millington
Sparks, II, are scant, we believe he was married and that he had at least
one son, born about 1775, who was also named Millington Sparks. This Millington
Sparks, whom we will designate as Millington Sparks, III, was married to
Rebecca Brooks on May 25, 1797, in Kent County, Maryland. Some records
indicate that his full name was William Millngton Sparks. [Editor's note:
Millington Sparks, III, may have added the name "William" after becoming
an adult in order to distinguish himself from others with the same name.]
(For further details about this branch
of the Sparks family, see also the March 1971 and December 1974 issues
of the QUARTERLY, Whole Nos. 73 and 88, respectively.)
Millington Sparks, III (also called William
Millington Sparks) was born about 1775 in Maryland, probably in Queen Annes
County. On the 1800 census of Queen Annes County, he was enumerated as
16 to 26 years of age. We have not found him on any 1810 or 1820 census,
but on the 1830 census of Lauderdale County, Alabama, his age was enumerated
as between 50 and 60, thus he was apparently born between 1775 and 1780.
We have been unable to make a definite
identification of the parents of Millington Sparks, III; however, there
can be little doubt that he was a descendant of John and Cornelia Sparks
of Queen Annes County. This couple had a son named Millington, and because
of the unusualness of the name, and the fact that later census records
indicate that Millington Sparks, III, had been born in Maryland, we can
almost be certain that he inherited his name from Millington Sparks, Jr.
Millington Sparks, I, had been born between
1710 and 1720, and he was thus about 55 to 65 years older that Millington
Sparks, III. For this reason, we are reluctant to suggest that he could
have been the father of Millington, III. More information is needed, however,
to clear up what appears on the surface to be a fairly simple family relationship.
The first official document that we have
found perttaining to Millington Sparks, III, is his marriage record. He
was married to Rebecca Brooks on May 25, 1797, in Kent County, Maryland.
The marriage license had been issued on May 23rd. Rebecca had been born
on February 6, 1777, and she was a daughter of Esau and Mary (Wyatt) Brooks.
A second source of data about Millingtbn
Sparks, III, is found in a Bible which was in the possession of a descendant,
Miss Eunice McLeod of Haynesville, Lousi ana, in 1960. The Bible had belonged
originally to Samuel Wyatt Brooks, son of Esau Brooks. Esau had been a
soldier in Maryland during the Revolutionary War. He died in Maryland in
1797. Some of his descendants had gone to Claiborne Parish, Louisiana,
before the Civil War. Here are some pertinent entries found in this Bible.
Mary Brooks, Wife bf Esau Brooks, died
March 31, 1782.
Rebecca Brooks, daughter of Esau Brooks
and his wife, Mary, was married on May 25, 1797, to William Millington
Miilington Sparks, son of Mfllington Sparks
and Rebecca, his wife, was born April 9, 1799.
William and Mary Sparks, son and daughter
of Millington Sparks and his wife, Rebecca, was [were] born January 5,
Samuel and Eliza Sparks, son and daughter
of Millington Sparks and Rebecca, his wife, was [were] born July 7, 1803.
Rebecca Brooks, wife of Millington Sparks,
departed this life January 5, 1807.
Millington Sparks and Ann Swanway were
joined in Holy Matrimony on May 12, 1808.
John Wesley Sparks, son of Millington Sparks
and Ann, his wife, was born December 21, 1809.
Rebecca Sparks, daughter of Millington
Sparks and Ann, his wife, was born September 1, 1811.
Lloyd Sparks, son of Millington Sparks
and Ann, his wife, was born August 15, 1813.
It seems obvious from these entries in
the Bible of Samuel Wyatt Brooks that the full name of Millington Sparks,
who was married to Rebecca Brooks, was William Millington Sparks. His full
name was seldom used, however, and he was usually referred to as Millington
Sparks, as in each of the entries in the Bible record following that of
his marriage to Rebecca Brooks.
On September 10, 1799, Millington Sparks,
III, bought property from his brother- in-law, Samuel Brooks, in Queen
Annes County, Maryland. The consideration was 147 pounds and 4 shillings.
The property included livestock, farming implements, household goods, and
two slaves. Apparently this sale was in preparation for Samuel Brooks to
move to Georgia.
Millington Sparks was shown as bead of
his household when the 1800 census was taken of Queen Annes County. He
was enumerated as 16-20 years of age. Living in his household was a female,
aged 10-16, who was probably his wife, but if so, the enumeration was incorrect;
there were also two males, under 10 years of age. Millington Sparks also
had two slaves, probably the two whom he had purchased from his brother-in-law,
Samuel Brooks, the previous year.
Sparks apparently followed his in-laws
to Georgia about 1803. (The birthplace of his son, Samuel Wyatt Sparks,
was listed as Maryland on the 1860 and 1870 censuses of Lampasas County,
Texas.) In all likelihood, Rebecca (Brooks) Sparks was in Georgia when
she died in 1807, and it was probably there that Millington was married
to Ann Swanway the following year. She had been born about 1782 in Georgia.
She was the mother of three of Millington's children: John Wesley Sparks,
Rebecca Sparks, and Lloyd Sparks.
During the War of 1812, Millington Sparks,
III, served as a 3rd-Sergeant in Capt. Jones Kendrick's Company of Infantry,
4th Regiment Georgia Detached Militia. On the company payroll, his record
was as follows: "He traveled 90 miles (a trip that took six days) to reach
the rendezvous on November 21, 1814. He served as a 3rd-Sergeant until
May 6, 1815, for a total term of service of 5 months 27 days. He was paid
$11.00 per month and received a subsistence of $1.08. The total amount
of his pay was $65.98."
Prior to the taking of the 1830 census,
Millington Sparks, III, had moved west ward to Lauderdale County, Alabama.
He was shown on that census as aged be tween 50 and 60 years; his wife
was enumerated as between 60 and 70, which was probably an error Also in
their household were: 1 male, 10-15; 2 males, 5-10; 1 male under 5; 1 female,
15-20; and one female under 5. It appears quite likely that the male aged
10-15 was the youngest son of Millington, and that the female, aged 15-20,
was his youngest daughter. The four children shown as under 10 years of
age were probably his grandchildren.
We have found no further record of Millington
Sparks, III. He does not appear on any 1840 census that we have searched;
he probably had died by the time that census was taken. When the 1850 census
was taken of Lauderdale County, Alabama, his wife, listed as Nancy Sparks,
was shown as 68 years of age; she was living in the household of a daughter,
Rebecca (Sparks) Berry.
Millington Sparks, III, had eight children:
three sons and two daughters by his first marriage and two sons and one
daughter by his second marriage.
A. Millington Sparks, IV, son of Millington
and Rebecca (Brooks) Sparks, was born on April 9, 1799, in Maryland. We
have found no further record of him.
B. William Sparks, son of Millington and
Rebecca (Brooks) Sparks, was born on January 3, 1801, probably in Maryland.
Few records have been found pertaining to him. Descendants say that his
full name was William Andrew Sparks. He may have been married twice. Apparently
he was the William Sparks, born 1800-1810, who was shown as head of a household
on the 1830 census of Lauderdale County, Alabama; however, there were no
children enumerated in his household. With him was a female., presumedly
his wife, born 1810-1815, and another female who had been born 1780-1790.
Sparks may have been the William A. Sparks
who was married to Cordelia Thomas on June 30, 1840, in Lauderdale County.
(The license had been issued on June 20, 1840.) He may have been the W.
Sparks shown on the 1840 census. If this is correct, however, the census
taker was apparently given incorrect age information. This record Is the
last official document we have found of this man; however, we have received
further information from his descendants.
A descendant, Mrs. Mildred (Sparks) Singleton
of San Angelo; Texas, wrote in 1964 that William's middle name had
been Andrew. She also stated that he had a son named William Andrew Jackson
Sparks who had been born about
1824. She shared the following account
which had been given to her by her father, Emmette Elwood Sparks:
We were always told that grandpa had the
middle names Andrew Jackson. As far as we knew, his name was that of William
Andrew Jackson Sparks. The William Sparks, son of William Millington Sparks
and Rebecca (Brooks) Sparks, is my great-grandfather. He was only seven
when his father married Ann Swanway; that is why he called her his mother
to his children, this leading to the belief that his mother was Ann Swanway
Sparks. 1 have always known that my great-great-grandfather was William
Millington Sparks. I have been told that as long as I can remember, and
that my great- great-grandmother was a Swanway before they married.
I can remember, even though I was a little
kid, Martin Van Buren Sparks. I also remember that his brother was
John Sparks, a Governor. Uncle Reuben Sparks said that Governor John Sparks
came to see them when they lived in Thorndale in Milam County, Texas, and
got grand-daddy to sign some papers that he would move to Nevada and settle
on some land, but grand-daddy didn't want to move to Nevada.
Several years ago, another relative of William
Andrew Sparks, named John Baxter Sparks (1869-1958), stated that William
Andrew Sparks and his brother, Samuel Sparks, had left Mississippi together
and had moved to Arkansas. They had lived near each other there until Sam
left to go to Texas about 1857. William stayed in Arkansas until about
twenty years later when he, too, moved to Texas. There he rented land from
his nephew, John Sparks (later to become Governor of Nevada) in Williamson
From the statements given above, we believe
that William Andrew Sparks had at least one son, William Andrew Jackson
1. William Andrew Jackson Sparks, son
of William Sparks, was born about 1824 in Alabama, probably in Lauderdale
County. He accompanied his father to Mississippi and then on to Arkansas.
He was living in Texas when the Civil War broke out. He joined the Confederate
forces, giving his residence as Austin, Texas. A record preserved in the
National Archives in Washington, D.C., states the following:
W.A.J. Sparks, private, Capt. Carrington's
Company of Giddings' Cavalry Battalion. Residence: Austin, Texas.
Appears on a Roll of Prisoners of War of W. H . D. Carrington's Co. Giddings'
Battn. Cav'y, Confederate States Army, commanded by W.H.D. Carrington,
surrendered at New Orleans, La. by General E.K. Smith, C.S.A. to Major
General E.R.S. Canby, U.S.A. May 26, 1865. Roll
not dated and parole not stated.
Prior to the Civil War, W.A.J. Sparks
had been married to Jackie Ann Joyner about 1854. She had been born about
1830 in North Carolina. After her husband returned from the war, they settled
in Caldwell County, Texas. It was there that they were listed on the 1880
census, and it was there that W.A.J. Sparks died on March 10, 1900. We
have found no record of the death of his wife. They had six children:
a. Benjamin Franklin Sparks was born about
1855 in Texas. He was married to Effle Best in Grimes County, Texas. Apparently
they had no children. He died on April 8, 1936, in Coleman County, Texas.
b. John Richard Sparks was born on October
12, 1880, in Bastrop County, Texas. He was married to Millie Ann Joyner
about 1883. She had been born on April 15, 1865, in Mississippi.
She died on September 25, 1935, at Talpa in Coleman County, Texas. John
died there on September 20, 1939. They were buried at Valera, Texas.
(1) John Reuben Sparks was born on July
12, 1884. He was never married.
(2) Maggie Thula Sparks was born on May
26, 1888. She was married to James Baily Sluder in 1909 in Coleman County,
Texas, and they had one child, James Earl Sluder.
(3) Agnes Beulah Sparks was born about
1890 at Rockdale in Milam County, Texas. She was married to Luther Maricle,
and they had four children: (a) Gail Maricle; (b) Louise Maricle; (c) Preston
Maricle; and (d) Faye Maricle.
(4) Preston Marvin Sparks was born on
September 9, 1893, in Milam County. He was married to Ruth Hardy, and they
lived in Brown County, Texas. Apparently they had no children.
c. Mary Belle Sparks was born about
1863 in Texas. She was married to John Seals ["Dick"] Knight. He was a
son of Dr. David Knight and a brother of Rachel Knight and Elnora Knight,
wives of John Sparks (see Item D, 7, below). Dick Knight accompanied John
Sparks to. Wyoming and became a cattleman. He and Belle (as she was called)
had four children according to Mrs. Singleton. They were: (a) Mariah Knight;
(b) Ed Knight; (c) Susie Knight; and (d) Nora Knight.
d. William ["Will"] Warren Sparks was
born about 1867. He was married twice. His rirst marriage was to Hattie
Daniels, and they had one child named Ora Sparks. Will's second marriage
was to Chessie Lemon, and they had one child, John Millington Sparks. Will
Sparks died on June 12, 1931, in Wichita County, Texas.
e. Jasper Harvey Sparks was born about
1869. He was married to Rosie Elliott, and they had two children; however,
we have learned the name of only one of them, Dovey Sparks.
C. Mary Sparks, daughter of Millington and
Rebecca (Brooks) Sparks, was born on January 3, 1801. She was a twin to
William Andrew Sparks, next above. We have found no further information
f. Ida A. Sparks was born about 1871.
She was married to William H. Moore, and they had three children: (a) May
Moore; (b) Roy Moore; and (c) William H. Moore, Jr.
D. Samuel ["Sam"] Wyatt Sparks, son of
Millington and Rebecca (Brooks) Sparks was born on July 7, 1803, probably
in Queen Annes County, Maryland, and was just a baby when his parents moved
to Wilkes County, Georgia. It was there that his mother died on January
5, 1807, leaving his father with four small children, the oldest one being
just eight years old. His father re-married the following year, and Samuel
was reared by his step-mother, Ann (Swanway) Sparks.
Samuel had attained adulthood when he went
westward with his father to Alabama, and it was there, in Tuscaloosa County,
that he was married to Sarah Deal on January 29, 1829. The license was
issued on January 22nd. Sarah had been born on February 15, 1811, in Pendleton
District, South Carolina, and was a daughter of John and Frances Deal.
The first child of Samuel and Sarah was born in Alabama on October 4, 1830.
Shortly after the birth of his first child,
Samuel Sparks followed his in-laws (the Deals) to Noxubee County, Mississippi.
He settled with his family near Cooksville. Here, two more children were
born to him and Sarah. They did not remain in Noxubee County for very long,
however, and when the 1840 census was taken, Samuel Sparks and his household
were shown in Winston County, a few miles west of Noxubee County. Samuel
and Sarah Sparks now had five children.
Samuel Sparks continued to move westward,
according to descendants, and in 1844 he was in Arkansas where he stopped
in that portion of Drew County that became a part of Ashley County in 1848.
When the 1850 census was taken, he arid his family were living near the
village of Fountain Hill. Descendants say that he had been accompanied
to Arkansas by his brother, William Andrew Sparks, who settled near him.
Samuel Wyatt Sparks made his last move
to the west in the summer of 1857, settling at Sparks Crossing on Sulphur
Creek in newly-formed Lampasas County, Texas, on September 14th. When the
1860 census was taken of Lampasas County, he was described thereon as a
farmer with real estate valued at $6,000 and personal property valued at
$3,300. His four sons were still at home, but his three oldest daughters
were married. His youngest child, a daughter named Atelia, was now 14 years
old and at home.
Three sons of Samuel and Sarah Sparks,
Van, Tom, and John, served in the Confederate States Army during the Civil
War. Van and Tom were sergeants in Company D, 17th Regiment Texas Infantry,
while John served in a regiment of Texas Frontier Cavalry. The war took
a toll from Samuel's property, and in 1870 his real estate was valued at
only $1,000, while his personal property was valued at only $1,200.
According to a descendant, Mrs, Mary (Sparks)
Matthews of Glendora, California, Samuel Sparks was killed on August 19,
1871, while blasting for a well. He was buried in a cemetery on the Sparks
farm, but no tombstone can now be found to mark his grave. He and his family
were members of the Baptist faith.
Sarah (Deal) Sparks survived her husband
for more that twenty-five years, dying on November 20, 1897, at the age
of 86 years. She and Samuel had nine children, eight of whom lived to adulthood.
with families of their own.
1. Frances Emeline Sparks, daughter of
Samuel and Sarah (Deal) Sparks, was born on October 4, 1830, in Alabama,
probably in Tuscaloosa County. She was a young woman when she accompanied
her parents to Mississippi, and then on to Arkansas. There she was married
to David D. Sims on May 13, 1849, in Ashley County. He had been born about
1825 and was a son of John and Isabella (Johnson) Sims.
Shortly after their marriage, David and
moved to Lampasas County, Texas. It was there that David died, apparently
between 1856 and 1860. When the 1860 census was taken of Lampasas County,
Frances was shown as the head of her household, near that of her parents.
When the 1870 census was taken, however, she and her four children were
living in the household of her parents. She was still living in Lampasas
County when the 1880 census was taken, but she was then living in her own
Frances (Sparks) Sims moved to Kent County,
Texas, in 1892, where she bought a ranch. She died there on January 4,
1914, and was buried in the cemetery at Snyder, Texas. She and David had
a. Melissa Eudora Sims was born in September
1850, in Ashley County, Arkansas. She was married to George W. Lamphiew,
and they had twelve children. We have learned the names of only three of
(3) Bertha May Lamphiew was married to
James Calvin Jones, and they had five children:
(a) May Jones;
(b) James Calvin Jones, Jr.;
(c) Nancy Eudora Jones;
(d) Ada Elizabeth Jones; and
(e) Jack Jones.
b. Eliza J. Sims was born on September
14, 1851, in Ashley County, Arkansas. She died on September 9, 1924, in
Garza County, Texas.
c. Belle Sims was born on March 16, 1853,
in Ashley County, Arkansas. She died on January 11, 1926, in Garza County,
d. Samuel David Sims was born on July
6, 1857, in Rusk County, Texas; he may have been a posthumous child. He
was married to Laura Belle Smith on January 9, 1882, in Burnet County,
Texas. She had been born on January 17, 1865, and was a daughter of James
Gibson and Sarah (James) Smith. Samuel Sims died on May 23, 1919, at his
ranch home in Kent County, Texas. Laura died on June 30, 1956, in Garza
County, Texas. They were buried in the cemetery at Post, Texas. They had
(1) Ada Pearl Sims was born on November
7, 1882, in Mills County, Texas. She was married to George McMeans on April
23, 1905. She died on December 10, 1956, in DeBaca County, New Mexico.
(2) Edward Caldwell Sims was born on July
22, 1884. He was married to Gladys Johnson on August 31, 1905, in Scurry
County, Texas. He died on December 16, 1916, and was buried at Post, Texas.
(3) Sallie Ethel Sims was born on November
18, 1886. She was married to Walter Trammall on October 19, 1912. She died
on September 28, 1983, and was buried at Sweetwater, Texas.
(4) U. Valdie Burns ["Kelly"] Sims was
born on February 6, 1888, in a covered wagon enroute to Kent County, Texas.
He was marrled to Lora ["Sweet"] Nance on January 17, 1915, in Garza County,
Texas. He died on March 27, 1957, and was buried at Post, Texas.
(5) Samuel David Sims, Jr. was born on
March 18, 1890, in Kent County, Texas. He was married to Alma Taylor on
September 28, 1910. He died on December 10, 1962, and was buried at Post,
(6) Eva Sims was born on August 4, 1892,
in Kent County, Texas. She was married to Hugh Davis on April 18, 1917.
She died on November 24, 1979, in Fisher County, Texas, and was buried
at Clairmont, Kent County, Texas.
(7) Lee Roy Sims was born on October 19,
1895, in Kent County, Texas. He was married to Mattie Daniels on February
3, 1920. He died on July 19, 1969, at Lubbock, Texas, and was buried there.
(8) John Tom ["Red"] Sims was born on
February 9, 1899. He was married to Byrdie Nelle Davis on December 12,
1923. He died on July 31, 1975, and was buried at Post, Texas.
(9) Golda Belle Sims was born on February
11, 1901, in Kent County, Texas. She was married to Scott Stanfield on
December 24, 1921. She died on September 21, 1987, at Santa Fe, New Mexico.
(10) Georgia Leon Sims was born on December
1, 1904. She was married to Bill Taylor on August 19, 1921. She died on
May 20, 1964, and was buried at Post, Texas.
2. Eliza Jane Sparks, daughter of Sam
and Sarah (Deal) Sparks, was born on February 14, 1833, in Noxubee County,
Mississippi. She was married to Ambrose Bull on August'27, 1851, in Ashley
County, Arkansas. He had been born on February 9, 1802, in Craven County,
North Carolina, and was a sbn of James Hogan and Lovey (Campbell) flull.
He was a widower with nine children who ranged in age from two years to
twenty years. (A daughter, Susan Bull, born in 1842, was married to Van
Sparks, brother of Eliza Jane.) Ambrose and Eliza Jane went to Texas where
they settled in Goldthwaite, a village in Mills County. It was there that
Ambrose died on April 1, 1890. Eliza Jane died there on March 12, 1911.
They were buried in the Mahler Cemetery in Mills County. They had two children.
Children of Ambrose and Eliza Jane (Sparks)
a. Samuel M. Bull was born on December
10, 1853, in Ashley County, Arkansas. He was married to Emily Booth on
February 9, 1876, in Lampasas County, Texas. She was a daughter of Charles
Fox and Emma Marcella (Fitzgerald) Booth. Samuel died in 1937 at Rodeo,
New Mexico. He and Emily had at least four children, including two un-named
daughters who died at birth. The other two children were Benjamin Bull
and Charles Edward Bull. The latter gained minor fame for impersonating
Abraham Lincoln at various places, including the World's Fair in Chicago
in the 1930's. He had the title of "Judge."
b. John Franklin Bull was born in 1857
in Ashley County, Arkansas.
3. Elizabeth ["Betty"] Sparks, daughter
of Sam and Sarah (Deal) Sparks, was born on June 21, 1835, in Noxubee County,
Mississippi. She was married to Shadrach Denson on Christmas Day, 1851,
in Ashley County, Arkansas. He had been born on February 1, 1833, in Rankin
County, Mississippi, and was a son of Isaac and Cassandra (Grayson) Denson.
Shadrach was a captain in Company D, 17th Regiment Texas Infantry, Confederate
States Army, during the Civil War. He served as sheriff of Lampasas County,
Texas, from 1870 to 1874. He and Betty had six children, including an unnamed
child who died at birth. Betty died on July 21, 1861, just a few days after
the birth of her sixth child. Shadrach died on March 31, 1892. He and Betty
were buried in the Sparks Cemetery near Lampasas, Texas. Their children
a. Frances E. ["Fanny"] Denson was born
on March 30, 1853. She was married to Henry ["Harry"] Bowman on February
20, 1880, in Lampasas County. She died on July 7, 1936. She and Harry had
two children, Claude Bowman and William Bowman.
b. Albert Denson was born on October 6,
1854. He died on November 17, 1854.
c. Samuel W. Denson was born on April
10, 1856, and was a lad of about sixteen when his father was shot (but
was not killed) by Mark Short. At the time, Shadrach Denson was sheriff
of Lampasas County. Sam Denson swore that he would kill Short and did so.
He hid for a time in Lampasas, then fled to Montana where he assumed the
name of Gatlin or McGatlin. He was apparently quite prosperous there and
managed to corner a lot of water rights. After twenty-five years, he returned
to Texas, stood trial, and was acquitted.
Sam Denson was married twice, but we have
been unable to learn the names of his spouses. He is said to have had four
children. Three of them, Eva Denson, Anna Denson, and Clifton Denson, were
by his first marriage. By his second marriage, he had a daughter, Shady
Denson. He died on July 10, 1939.
d. Mary Cassandra Denson was born on June
30, 1858. She died on October 19, 1921. She apparently was never married.
e. A child was born to Shadrach and Betty
Denson about 1860 and died at birth.
f. Sarah E. Denson was born on July 4,
1861. She was married to Thomas Norris. She died on December 30, 1941.
[Here appears two photographs, beneath
which are the following captions:]
4. Martin Van Buren ["Van"] Sparks, son
of Sam and Sarah (Deal) Sparks, was born on March 4, 1837, in Winston County,
Mississippi, on the day that Martin Van Buren was inaugrated as the eighth
President of the United States, and was named for the president. He was
just a small boy when his parents moved to Fountain Hill in Ashley County,
Arkansas. There, he grew to manhood, and in 1859 he was a teacher in the
Fountain Hill Academy.
Van Sparks served in the Confederate
States Army during the Civil War. He entered into service at Camp Terry
in Capt. Hillary Ryan's Company of Allen's Regiment Texas Infantry. This
company subsequently became Company D, 17th Regiment Texas Infantry. His
incomplete military record on file in the National Archives shows that
on August 6, 1863, he "resigned office of 3rd Sgt.; pay due him as Sgt.,
April 30 to Aug. 6, 1862." From April 17 to May 28, 1864, he
was in the C.S.A. General Hospital, Shreveport, Louisiana. He was discharged
as a sergeant on April 30, 1865.
A grandson of Martin Van Buren Sparks recalls
that in reminiscing as an old man, his grandfather said that his greatest
concern during his army life had been for the safety of his younger brother,
Tom Sparks, who served in the same military unit - - Company D, 17th Regiment
Texas Infantry. This regiment served in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas.
Sometime near the end of the Civil
War, Van Sparks was married to Susan ["Susie"] Leonora Bull. She had been
born on September 26, 1842, in Yazoo County, Mississippi, and was a daughter
of Ambrose and Sarah (Maxwell) Bull. (See Item D, 2, above.) Van and Susie
started housekeeping in the village of San Saba, Texas, where Van taught
school for one year. Their first child was born there in 1866. They returned
to Lampasas County shortly thereafter, and it was there that Susie died
on March 22, 1870, of typhoid fever. She left Van with three small children.
On October 6, 1875, Van was married (2nd)
to Mary Elizabeth ["Betty"] Newton in Lampasas County. She had been born
in 1839 in Walker County, Texas. She and Van had one child. Van died on
December 12, 1914, in Lampasas County, and Betty died on April 11, 1926,
in MeCulloch County, Texas. They were buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in
Fred Winchell Sparks wrote the following
description of his grandfather, Martin Van Buren Sparks:
MV. B. Sparks was elected a justice
of the peace in Lampasas County in 1873, and in 1876 he was elected the
district clerk of Lampasas. He then was elected Presiding Justice, the
same as county judge; to serve from 1886 to 1888.
After retiring from politics, he was briefly
in the mercantile business and then opened a fire insurance office in partnership
with another man. This business continued until 1899 when his son, Lloyd
Sparks, bought out the partner, and from then on until his death the business
was titled "M.V.B. Sparks and Son."
Van was a faithful member of the First
Baptist Church and served as church clerk and deacon, although he was a
silent parishioner. He did not sing or lead in public prayer and seldom
took part in testimonial sessions. As a man, he was stern, serious, stoical,
and silent. He seldom laughed and rarely let his feelings be known, either
by word of mouth or facial expression. He was highly respected as a citizen
and as a churchman, but few people really knew him. He detested hypocrisy,
flattery, and ostentation.
Frontier conditions, financial stringency,
and the scarcity of schools had limited him to a very rudimentary formal
education, but he supplemented what he had by his reading and private studies.
He was particularly fond of history and biography, and he read everything
he could get his hands on. He took great pride in his handwriting. During
his youth, all legal documents and court records were done in pen and ink,
and he aspired to become a recorder.
a. Lloyd R. Sparks, son of Van and Susie
(Bull) Sparks, was born on April 1, 1866, in San Saba, Texas, where his
father was teaching school, and he was a little boy when his parents returned
to Lampasas. There he grew to maturity, and by the age of twenty-two he
had a book and stationery store. He was visiting his uncle, John Sparks,
in Georgetown, Texas, when he met Lucy Belle Eubank, a cousin of the wives
of John Sparks. She had been born on December 8, 1866, and was a daughter
of Cyrus and Caroline (Knight) Eubank. She and Lloyd were married in the
Georgetown Baptist Church on November 19, 1890, by the Rev. Isaac Sellars.
In 1893, Lloyd Sparks moved his family
to Waco, Texas, where he was a bookkeeper for the Baptist State Mission
Board for a period of time and then went to tne Baptist Standard in the
same capacity. When the Baptistoffices were moved to Dallas, he and his
family lived there for about one year. In 1899, he bought a half interest
in his father's Home Insurance Company, and he moved his family back to
Lampasas. He was elected mayor of Lampasas in 1914 and served until 1919.
[Here appears a photograph, beneath which
is the following caption:]
Lucy Belle (Eubank) Sparks died
on January 12, 1925. Two years later, Lloyd was married to Pearl ["Sally"]
Bolding. He died from complications involving a ruptured gall bladder on
September 12, 1934, in Temple, Texas. He was buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery
beside Lucy Belle. Lloyd R. and Lucy Belle (Eubank) Sparks were the parents
of four children.
(1) Fred Winchell Sparks was born
on November 13, 1891, at Georgetown, Texas. He became a teacher when he
was nineteen years old, and he made teaching his professional career. His
teaching experiences ranged from the elementary grades to graduate school.
He was a full professor at Texas Technological College from 1926 to 1961.
He earned his Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Chicago.
[Here appears a photograph, beneath which
is the following caption:]
THE FOUR CHILDREN OF LLOYD R. AND LUCY
Left to right: Robert Burdette Sparks,Gladys
Mattie Ruth Sparks and Fred Winchell
Dr. Sparks was best known as the
author of a series of mathematics textbooks published by McGraw, Hill &
Company. He was honored by many professional organizations, Including membership
in Sigma Xi. Fred Sparks served in the united States Army during
World War I and was in France for nine months. When he returned from military
service, he was married to Mary Elizabeth ["Madge"] Romans on January 13,
1921. She was a daughter of William M. A. and Ella E. (Kelly) Romans; she
had been born on May 15, 1894, in Austin, Texas.
Fred Sparks died on February 15, 1982,
at La Verne, California. Madge died just two months later, on April 15,
1982. They were buried at Pomona, California. They had one child, Mary
Romans Sparks. She was married to Kermit D. Matthews, and they have two
children, Fred K. Matthews and Mary Lois Matthews. Mary (Sparks)
Matthews has done an outstanding job of collecting information about her
branch of the Sparks family and has furnished several photographs used
in this issue as illustrations. Mary and her husband, Kermit Matthews,
are planning to publish a book about her Sparkses and Knights.
(2) Robert Burdette Sparks was born on
March 7, 1898, in Georgetown, Texas. He was married to Maurine Griffis
on September 3, 1923. He died on January 16, 1959, in Houston, Texas.
He and Maurine had two children, Robert Burdette Sparks, Jr. and Alice
(3) Gladys Sparks was born on June 15,
1902, in Lampasas, Texas. She was married to William R. Arrington on June
23, 1935, in Williamson County, Texas. She died on January 1, 1981, at
Bartlett, Texas. She and William had two children, Anita Rae Arrington
and William R. Arrington, Jr.
(4) Mattie Ruth Sparks was born on May
18, 1910, at Lampasas, Texas. She was married to Wellborn R. Hudson, Jr.
on December 23, 1933. She died on July 9, 1986. She and Weilborn had two
children, Well- born Hudson, III, and James S. Hudson.
b. Thomas ["Tom"] Ulysses Sparks, son
of Van and Susie (Bull) Sparks, was born on November 26, 1867, in Lampasas.
He is said to have been married three times. His first marriage was to
Eunice Vivienne Eubank on October 30, 1889, in Lampasas County. She had
been born on Octo ber 11, 1869, in Salado, Texas, and was a daughter of
John Thomas and Julia Jackson (Lamar) Eubank. She was also a second cousin
of Lucy Bell Eubank, wife of Tom's brother, Lloyd R. Sparks. (See Item
a, above.) Tom and Eunice had two children before her death, which occurred
on October 7, 1894. Tom's second marriage was to Mrs. Gennie Pickett and
his third was to Mrs. Miriam.............. . He died on April 3,
1940, and was buried in the Oatmeal Cemetery near Bertram, Texas. The two
children of Tom and Eunice (Eubank) Sparks were:
(1) Iva Lee Sparks was born on October
4, 1890, at Lampasas, Texas. She died on December 17, 1918, at Austin,
Texas, and was buried there.
(2) Julia Lenore Sparks was born on June
'24, 1892. She was married to Earl Jackson Crawford on March 20, 1916.
He had been born on November 13, 1889, at Post Oak, Texas, and was a son
of Andrew Jackson and Anne (Evans) Crawford. Julia and Earl had six child
ren: (a) Earl Sparks Crawford; (b) Ivan Lee Crawford; (c) Dorothy Lenore
Crawford; (d) Herschel 0. Crawford; (e) William K. Crawford; and (f) Douglas
J. Crawford. Dorothy Lenore (Crawford) Lewis has been most helpful in sharing
information about her family.
c. John Baxter Sparks, son of Van and
Susie (Bull) Sparks, was born on July 26, 1869, in Lampasas County, Texas,
and it was there that he was married to Etta Josephine Cunningham on October
9, 1890. She had been born on February 26, 1871, at Millican, Texas; she
was a daughter of Joseph and Malissa (Edwards) Cunningham. She and John
went to the Oklahoma Territory about 1895 and were shown on the 1900 census
of the Chickasaw Nation at Pauls Valley. John died there on October 7,
1958, and Etta died there on August 26, 1962. They were the parents of
1) Baxter Abbott Sparks was born
on August 7, 1891, in Lampasas, Texas. He was married on April 25, 1915,
in Garvin County, Oklahoma, to Vivian Braden; She had been born on August
2, 1894, in Garvin County and was a daughter of Robert Edward and Jessie(Manning)
Braden. Vivian died on September 27, 1978, and Baxter died on February
6, 1985. They had one child, Baxter Abbott Sparks, Jr.
Abbott Sparks (as he is called) has shown
a remarkable interest in his Sparks lineage. A book which he co-authored,
entitled Cattle in the Cold Desert, contains an excellent
insight into the cattle industry and, in particular, the activities of
his great-uncle, John Sparks. (See Item D, 7, below; see also page 2929
of the September 1986 issue of THE SPARKS QUARTERLY, No.125.) Abbott has
given permission for our use here of photographs from his book. He and
his wife, Vicki, recently made a gift of $25,000 to the Sam Noble Oklahoma
Museum of Natural History.
(2) William Jack Sparks, son of John Baxter
and Etta (Cunningham) Sparks, was born on December 23, 1895. He was married
to Ruth Needham in April 1927. He died on April 7, 1972. He and Ruth had
two children, Billy Jack Sparks and Maryl Dee Sparks.
(3) Van Joseph Sparks, son of John Baxter
and Etta (Cunningham) Sparks, was born on January 28, 1898, in Pauls Valley,
Oklahoma. He was married on April 21, 1922, to Fanne Woods Oehler at Maysville,
Oklahoma. She had been born on December 21, 1900, at Huntersville, North
Carolina, and was a daughter of Miles T. and Susan D. (Morrison) Oehler.
She and Van had two children: Van F. Sparks and Norma Jo Sparks.
(4) Ima Susie Sparks, daughter of John
Baxter and Etta (Cunningham) Sparks, was born on August 15, 1900. She was
married to Frank Fulbright Lam on August 15, 1926. She died at Pauls Valley,
Oklahoma, on August 1, 198t. She and Frank had two children: Carol C. Lam
and Robert R. Lam.
(5) Nora Sparks, daughter of John Baxter
and Etta (Cunningham) Sparks, was born on May 5, 1907, at Pauls Valley.
She was married to Odis Fletcher ["Bill"] Warren on March 7, 1926, at Sulphur,
Murray County, Oklahoma. She died on January 7, 1979, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
She and Bill had four children: (a) Jo L. Warren; (b) Courtney V. Warren;
(c) Faith Warren; and (d) John R. Warren.
d. Samuel Buren Sparks, son of
Van and Betty (Newton) Sparks, was born on January 5, 1879, in Lampasas,
Texas. He became a Baptist minister and served for a time in a church at
Santa Fe, New Mexico; he was also chaplain for the New Mexico Senate, in
the state legislature. On November 17, 1910, he was married to Mayme Lou
Harper in Bell County, Texas. She had been born on September 11, 1891,
and was a daughter of Lee Walker and Lora Elizabeth (Hoover) Harper. Buren
(as he was called) Sparks died on December 13, 1948, at Burnet, Texas.
Mayme died there on December 18, 1973.
The Rev. Buren Sparks made his last appearance
as a clergyman in June 1946, according to an account written in a book,
by Stanley Walker, 1954, about the funeral of Walker's mother. Walker wrote:
"Sparks was dying of cancer and could hardly see, but he was still a delight.
He was religious, make no mistake about that, but he never for got that
he was a human being. He could tell wonderful west Texas and New Mexico
cow-country stories. He was a pretty good writer; he was a dead shot; and
if he felt like it, he would take a drink of whiskey without appologizing
to anyone. His remarks at my mother's funeral were brief, sensible
and terribly moving; mercifully fre of mawkishness and false eloquence.
He spoke of her pioneer girlhood, her rugged life, her devotion to her
family, her friends and neighbors, and to her church, and he reminded his
listeners of thier loss, That was it.
Buren and Mayme Sparks had six children:
(1) Buren Harper Sparks was born on October
10, 1911 He was married to Berdelle Lewellen. He died on November 8, 1979.
He and Berdelle had two children, Sylvia Lee Sparks and James Harper Sparks.
(2) Charles ["Red"] Marshall Sparks was
born on May 26, 1913. He was married to Dorothy Bowers, and they had one
child, Charlotte Frances Sparks.
(3) Lora Elizabeth Sparks was born on
March 8, 1915. She was married to Russell Lanier Chestnut. She died on
July 14, 1974. She and Russell had two children, Beverly Chestnut and Mary
(4) Mayme Frances Sparks was born on January
21, 1919. She was married to Charles Hoyt Lohnes, and they had four children:
(a) Sally Lou Lohnes; (b) Sandra Sue Lohnes; (c) Sharon Kay Lohnes; and
(d) Malcolm Hoyt Lohnes.
(5) James Brady Sparks was born on July
20, 1922. He was married to Bea Strickland. He died on February 11, 1961.
He and Bea had one child, Karen Sparks.
(6) Van Lee Sparks was born on November
10, 1924. He died on July 10, 1926.
5. Samuel Wyatt Sparks, Jr., son
of Sam and Sarah (Deal) Sparks, was born on January 30, 1839, in Winston
County, Mississippi. He was married to Sarah (Landrum) Piper on January
27, 1868, in Lampasas County. She had been born about 1843 in Tennessee
and was probably a widow with a seven-year- old daughter, florence. Sam
Sparks, Jr. died on August 7, 1872, at the untimely age of 33 years, leaving
Sarah with two small children. He was buried in the Sparks Cemetery, three
miles east of Lampasas.
a. Harvey Deal Sparks was born
on November 2, 1868. He was married to Eleanor ["Ella"] Christian on February
7, 1895. She had been born on October 2, 1875. Harvey died on August 22,
1917, and Ella died on May 13, 1928. They were buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery
(1) Samuel Sparks was born on August 16,
1897. He died in May 1915.
(2) Hazel Deal Sparks was born on August
3, 1899. She was married to Bolin W. Stephens on June 17, 1919.
(3) Emily E. Sparks was born on April
4, 1915. She was married to Clint R. Mckinney on June 6, 1957.
b. Atelia Sparks was born about 1871 in
Lampasas County, Texas. She was obviously named for her aunt, Atelia Sparks,
sister of her father. She was married to William A. Alexander on November
5, 1891, in Lampasas County. They had three children.
(1) Van Alexander
(2) Tol Alexander
(3) Sam Alexander
6. Thomas Sparks, son of Sam and Sarah
(Deal) Sparks, was born on April 23, 1841, in Winston County, Mississippi,
and was almost grown when he went with his parents to Lampasas County,
Texas, in 1857. When the Civil War broke out, he enlisted on April 5, 1862,
in Company D, 17th Regiment Texas Infantry, Confederate States Army, along
with his brother, Martin Van Buren Sparks. He promptly caught the measles.
A company muster-roll for April 5-June 30, 1862, has the following entry:
"Tom Sparks, absent with measles." Later, on the muster-roll for Nov.-Dec.
1862, he was listed as "Present, sick." On April 1, 1865, he was carried
on the muster-roll as "On detached service." A granddaughter, Nancy
(Sparks) Lawrence, said that he had been wounded by a Minie ball and furloughed
home to recover. He was on his way back to join his regiment when the war
Tom Sparks returned to Lampasas County
where, in 1867, he registered to vote in Precinct No. 1 along with his
father, Sam Sparks, and his brother, John Sparks. Three years later, he
was married in Lampasas County to Alice Eugenia Coffey on March 10, 1870.
She had been born on Septem ber 26, 1853, in Texas and was a daughter of
Cyrus and Mary Ann (Gibson) Coffey. When the 1870 census was taken of Lampasas
County, Tom and Alice were listed in a household near his father. His real
estate was valued then at $1,000, and he had personal property valued at
In the early 1870s, Tom Sparks and his
brother, John Sparks, drove four "gigantic" herds of cattle from Texas
to Wyoming; however, he continued to live in Lampasas County until the
early 1880s. His family was enumerated twice on the 1880 census. It appeared
on the census of Lampasas County and also on the census of Knox County.
Since Knox County is a considerable distance from Lampasas County and in
the northwest direction, perhaps Tom and his family were then on their
way to Idaho while the census was being taken.
A descendant says that Tom Sparks purchased
a three-thousand-acre ranch near American Falls, Idaho, probably in the
early 1880s. He was a member of the last territorial legislature of the
Idaho Territory and represented Oneida County when it comprised a large
portion of southeastern Idaho. (Idaho became the 43rd state in 1890.) He
suffered a severe loss of cattle during the memorable winter of 1889-1890.
(See also Item 7, below.)
The role of Tom Sparks in the business
affairs of his brother, John Sparks, is not clear. In 1885, in dictating
some autobiographical notes, John recalled that in 1872 "in company with
my brother, I drove cattle to Wyoming and sold them at a good profit."
It seems fairly certain that Tom made several cattle drives with John during
the 1870s. It seems equally certain that Tom managed some properties for
his brother. This, however, is about all of the knowledge that we have
about their relation ship.
Tom Sparks died on January 4, 1892, in
Idaho. Alice survived him by forty years, dying on April 12, 1932, at Pocatello,
Idaho. They were the parents of eight children.
a. Mary Knox Sparks was born on February
10, 1872, in Lampasas County, Texas. She died on July 10, 1875, of diphtheria.
She was buried in the Sparks Cemetery three miles east of Lampasas.