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


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This monument is dedicated to all of the Mormon pioneers who came to San Bernardino, California, in the early 1850s. Among them was Quartus Strong Sparks who arrived there with his family in 1853. The monument is located near the San Bernardino City Hall.
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THE SPARKS QUARTERLY, published by The Sparks Family Association.
Paul E. Sparks, President, 155 North Hite Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky (40206-2311)
Russell E. Bidlack, Secretary-Treasurer & Editor, 1709 Cherokee Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan (48104-4448)
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.



By Paul E. Sparks

[Editor's Note : Quartus Strong Sparks was one of the early converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints , commonly referred to as the Mormon Church. He had a most unusual and colorful life, a large portion of which was devoted to his religion , and he has become a part of the Church's history. Relatives have also kept records that help to give us a picture of him and of his role in the Mormon Church .

[In all probability, the grandfather of Quartus Sparks was David Sparks of Maine who was born about 1745. David Sparks's birthplace is not known. He served in the Massachusetts Line for three years during the Revolutionary War. He was at the surrender of General Burgoyne in the fall of 1777. He received a pension for his military Service.  (See pp.2100-2103 of the June 1979 issue of THE SPARKS QUARTERLY , Whole No. 106, for an abstract of his pension file.) Our readers are reminded that until 1820, Maine was a part of the state of Massachusetts .]


David Sparks was married to Jane Eaton on October 21, 1780, at Brunswick, Maine . It may have been his second marriage . According to the Vital Records of Topsham, Maine, on November 6, 1768, David Sparks and Mrs. Anna Danford published their intentions to marry.  Another entry also states that on July 9, 1786, Darkis Sparks and John Dunlap published their intentions to wed. She could have been a daughter of David Sparks.

Sparks was living in the town of Brunswick when the 1790 census was taken of Cumberland County , Maine.  Also enumerated in his household that year were two females. He and his spouse were also enumerated on the 1800 and 1810 censuses of Cumberland County . They were then the only members of David's household, with both of them having been born prior to 1755. He died on March 6, 1820, at Brunswick , Maine . We have found no further record of him .

David Sparks, probable son of David and Jane (Eaton) Sparks, was born at Bowdoinham, Maine, about 1783.  At that time, Bowdoinham was a small village in that portion of Lincoln County that became Sagadahoc County in 1854, and was just a few miles northeast of the town of Brunswick . It is because of this proximity that we believe David Sparks, born ca.1783, was a son of David Sparks, born ca.1745.

According to family tradition, David Sparks (born ca.1783) became a sailor, and it may have been during his travels that he met Mercy Thayer of Belcher town, Massachusetts . She had been born on December 6, 1782, at Ware, Massachusetts , and was a daughter of Silas and Perley (Pond) Thayer. She and David were married on April 21, 1804, at Northampton in Hampshire County, Massachusetts. (See page 441 of the December 1959 issue of THE SPARKS QUARTERLY, No.28, for a query pertaining to this family.)

(David Sparks, probable son of David and Jane [Eaton] Sparks, has sometimes been confused as a member of another branch of the Sparks family that was in this area of Maine about the same time. So far, we have been unable to establish any relationship between these two branches . See also pp. 2078-2079 of the March 1979 issue of the QUARTERLY, No. 105.)

During the War of 1812, David Sparks was drafted at Westhampton, Massachusetts, into Captain Southworth Jenkins'Company of Lt. Col. Thomas Langley's Regiment of Massachusetts Militia. He served at or near Boston from September 13, 1814, until November 7, 1814. The company was formed at Williamsburg in Hampshire County. (See pp.4512-13 of this issue of the QUARTERLY for an abstract of his bounty land file.)

Quite of bit of the information we have about David Sparks has come from his widow's application for bounty land . On March 9, 1858, at the age of 73 years, she testified that she and David had been marrried on , " ---- day of April 1804 by Solomon Williams, a clergyman, and that her name before her marriage was Mercy Thayer. Her husband had died at sea on the ---- day of 1821 and she was a widow."

Mercy Sparks was shown as the head of her household when the 1820 census was taken; her husband, David Sparks, may have been on an ocean voyage at the time. She was enumerated in the town of Westhampton. With her were two males, 0-10 years of age, and two females, also 0-10 years of age. In all like likelihood, they were her children.

After the death of her husband, David Sparks, in 1821, Mercy Sparks was married to William Sluck; however , we have not learned the place or the date of the marriage. We do not believe that she and Sluck had any children. He was dead when she made her application for bounty land in 1858. We have found no record of her death.


There are two principal sources of information about the number of sons and daughters of David and Mercy (Thayer) Sparks. The more important source is a diary of one of their grandsons, Henry Weeks Sanderson. The other source is the 1820 and 1850 censuses of Hampshire County, Massachusetts. According to these sources, it appears that they had eight children, four sons and four daughters .

1. David Sparks, Jr. , son of David and Mercy (Thayer) Sparks, was born on January 22, 1804, at Northampton,  Massachusetts, according to information furnished to us by Mrs. Alba J. Anderson of Spanish Fork, Utah, in 1978.  She gave as her source of information the diary of a grandson of  David and Mercy Sparks. David Sparks, Jr. is said to have died about 1806.

2. Jane Sparks, daughter of David and Mercy (Thayer) Sparks, was born on April 28, 1805, at Northampton , Massachusetts.   She may have been named for her paternal grandmother, Jane (Eaton) Sparks. No further information has been found of her; she had probably died prior to 1809 when her sister, named Mary Jane, was born.

3. Jemima Sparks, daughter of David and Mercy (Thayer) Sparks, was born about 1807 in the village of Chesterfield in Hampshire County, Massachusetts. We have no further information about her.

4. Mary Jane Sparks was born on November 16, 1809, at Northampton, Massachusetts; apparently she was the second child of David and Mercy Sparks to

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Mary Jane (Sparks) Sanderson


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bear the name of Jane She was married twice . Her first marriage was to James Sanderson in July 1827 in Massachusetts . He had been born on June 30, 1804, at Chester, Massachusetts, and was a son of Sylvanus and Charlotte (Cooley) Sanderson. James Sanderson was a school teacher during the winter months and farmed during the growing season. He also managed a toll bridge (probably across the Connecticut River) which he owned with a man named Thompson . Mary Jane was also able to manage the bridge and sold bread and beer to travelers.

James and Mary Jane had probably started west when he died on September 13, 1845, at Saint Louis, Missouri.  He left her with three children. She was married, second, to Moses Martin Sanders on March 21, 1847. They apparently had no children .

A few years ago , Margaret M. LeRoy of Salt Lake City wrote the following :

"Mary Lucinda (Sanderson) LeRoy, a great-granddaughter of Mary Jane, remembered well as a child that she was staying with her grandparents when Mary Jane came to live with them . She was still quite slender and was comely , but not pretty . It was said that she was most capable and had been a leader and teacher in the Methodist Church . Mary Lucinda would read to her great-grandmother because her vision was poor. . Then she became ill and went to live with her son, Henry Weeks Sanderson, at Fairview, Utah. There she spent the last six years of her life, dying on November 20, 1898, at the age of 89 years."
The children of James and Mary Jane (Sparks) Sanderson were:
Heury Weeks Sanderson (1829-1890)

Son of James and Mary Jane (Sparks) Sanderson

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William Henry Sanderson

(1861 - 1932)

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Salt Lake City. She had been born on January 29, 1864, at Springville, Utah, and was a daughter of Philip and Lucinda Harris (Guymon) Hurst. William Henry died on October 30, 1932, at Elmo, Utah. Elfieda died on February 3, 1941, at Orangeville, Utah. They had ten children: Julia Adelaide Sanderson, Mary Lucinda Sanderson, Isabel Sanderson, Harriet Elfieda Sanderson, William Harrison Sanderson , Marcellus Sanderson , Samuel Sylvanus Sanderson , Philip Hurst Sanderson , Walter Sanderson , and Rebecca Sanderson .

5. Louisa Sparks, daughter of David and Mercy (Thayer) Sparks, was born on September 29, 1811, in Massachusetts . She was quite likely the Louisa Sparks (aged 37, born in Massachusetts) who was living in the household of David Champlain (aged 42, born in New York) when the 1850 census was taken of Hampshire County , Massachusetts . Also enumerated in this house hold was a young girl, Mary E. Sparks, age 12, born in Massachusetts. Relatives say that Louisa Sparks was married to David Champlain. She corresponded with the family for many years and told of a sister who became a lecturer and spoke throughout the country. She never disclosed the nature of the lectures, however. Louisa is said to have died in 1898.

6. Jonathan Sparks, son of. David and Mercy (Thayer) Sparks, was born about 1815. He is said to have served in the United States Army. According to the diary of James Weeks Sanderson , mentioned above , Jonathan wrote to his sister, Mary Jane (Sparks) Sanderson, that he was planning to visit her in Illinois, but he never did get there. We have no further information about him .

7. Dwight Sparks, probable son of David and Mercy (Thayer) Sparks, was born about 1818 in Massachusetts. He was quite likely the Dwight Sparks (aged 32, born in Massachusetts) who was living in the household of Francis Daniels (aged 30, born in Massachusetts) when the 1850 census was taken of Hampshire County, Massachusetts. Dwight Sparks was described as a laborer. He may have had a nephew, Dwight Coridon Sparks, son of Quartus and Mary (Hamilton) Sparks, and who was named for him. We have no further information about him .


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8. Quartus Strong Sparks, son of David and Mercy (Thayer) Sparks, the principal subject of this article, was born on October 20, 1820, in Hampshire County, Massachusetts. He was christened on February 13, 1821, at Northampton , Massachusetts . According to a descendant , he was named for a relative, Quartus Thayer . He grew to manhood in Hampshire County , and it was probably there that he received his education. He became a teacher, a career that took him to Long Island (Suffolk County) New York, and it may have been there that he was converted and became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints .

(Editor's Note : Much of the information about Quartus Sparks that follows is taken from a four-page manuscript written about 1978 by Della Orme for her husband's family, but which she has shared with us. Her mother-in- law, Loretta (Sparks) Orme, was a daughter of Dwight Coridon Sparks. See Item 8, e, on page 4512 of this issue of the QUARTERLY. We are not able to provide documentation for the facts presented by Mrs. Orme.]

Sparks rapidly became a leader in the church by his skills in teaching and preaching , and soon became an elder . He was described as "of gentle manners and a ready flow of language."  In November 1841, just one month after reaching his twenty-first birthday , he was instrumental in organizing a church at Setauket on Long Island. By October 1842, he had converted twenty members in New Jersey in the counties of  Warren , Sussex, and Morris.  In May 1843, church records show that he reported eighteen members at Westfield, Massachusetts.

The growth of the newly-created church was not without personal danger to its leaders. Some members of other organizations felt threatened and were bitterly opposed to a church with new doctrines and practices, and they frequently expressed their opposition with open hostility . An entry in the Journal of Church History made on July 3, 1843, states:


From May to September 1844, Sparks presided at the General Conference of the church in Connecticut , and it may have been there that he met and courted Mary Holland Hamilton. They were married on August 3, 1844, in Hartford. Mary had been born on July 26, 1821, at Chester, Massachusetts , and was a daughter of John and Mary Hamilton. She had been christened on October 14, 1821. The first child of Quartus and Mary was born on May 25, 1845.

According to the diary of his nephew , Henry Weeks Sanderson, Quartus Sparks accompanied the church leaders on their move to Nauvoo, Illinois, and it was there that his nephew was his pupil . It was also there that the church leaders were attacked by a mob and their founder, Joseph Smith, was killed on June 27, 1844.  His death convinced the other church officials that they must move to the far west.

Records in the Journal of Church History indicate that the church leaders instructed Elder Samuel Brennan (or Brannan) of Saco, Maine, to "charter a ship; fill It with saints; and settle In a new country."   Brennan proceeded to charter a 450-ton sailing vessel, Brooklyn, for $1200 and made plans to go to the far west by sailing around Cape Horn and then north to California. They stocked the ship with food and supplies . Other items in the cargo were three flour mills, a printing press, and a 179-volume library. They set sail from New York City on February 4, 1846, with 238 persons , 70 men , 68 women , and 100 children.   Among these were  Quartus and Mary (Hamilton) Sparks; their son, Quartus Strong Sparks, Jr.; and Mary's mother, Mary Hamilton.

The journey lasted nearly six months and covered nearly 16,000 miles . Two babies were born on the trip , a little boy named Atlantica and a little girl named Pacifica.  Ten persons died and were buried at sea. The ship made two stops for supplies and water, one at Juan Fernandez Island, the other at Honolulu, the ship having been blown off course .  After enduring storms, bad food, and illness, the ship finally reached San Francisco on July 31, 1846.

The Sparks family settled down at the Mission Dolores in San Francisco shortly after leaving the Brooklyn. Quartus continued to have a keen interest in the church's activities and was a member of a group of men who established a community near the confluence of the Stanislaus and San Joaquin Rivers in 1846/47. They named the little community NEW HOPE. A State Registered Landmark Tablet (No. 436) has been erected on National Highway 99 to memorialize the event. It reads as follows :

NEW HOPE - 1846



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The Brooklyn, a 450-ton pre-Gold Rush Trading Vessel

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Q. S. Sparks and his family lived in San Francisco for several years and were there during the gold-rush days when law and order was almost unheard of.  Ultimately, vigilante committees were required to restore a form of order . He tried his hand at mining and was able to acquire quite a lot of real estate. Three more children were born to him and Mary.

For some reason , Quartus and Mary Sparks "fell away" from the Mormon Church.  An entry in the diary of Elder Parley Parker Pratt records that on "Saturday, August 3, 1851, Baptized In San Francisco Bay the following persons: . Quartus S. Sparks, Mary H. Sparks . . [and others]. Confirmed those baptized as mentioned above and blessed the following infants , viz Quartus S. Sparks, Mary H. Sparks . . . [and others]."  Actually, the Sparkses were re-baptized , and Quartus renewed his interest in the growth of the church.  He presided over the San Francisco Mormon Branch temporarily when Elder Brennan was asked to visit Brigham Young in Utah.

In 1853, Sparks moved his family from San Francisco to San Bernardino, a thriving Mormon community. He is said to have had "several thousand dollars" when he arrived, but he met with financial trouble and was soon "broke."  He taught school there and was paid $76.00 for teaching for three months. He was the principal of the San Bernardino City Schools in 1854.   He was also the principal speaker when San Bernardino became a city on July 4, 1854.

On October 8, 1854, Quartus S. Sparks was sent on a church mission to Los Angeles. His son, Dwight Coridon Sparks, was born the following spring, on May 25, 1855. Shortly thereafter, he and Mary were divorced. She later (in 1859) was married to Charles Wesley Wandell in Beaver, Utah, and, according to relatives , they had three children . These children were :


(Children of Mary (Hamilton) Sparks and her second husband , Charles Wesley Wandell) :  Jacob Wandell, born on June 26, 1860; Annie Wandell; and Still Wandell. Mary died on October 30, 1898, at Salt Lake City, Utah.

Quartus Strong Sparks was married three more times after he was divorced by Mary Holland (Hamilton) Sparks. His second marriage was to Lucy Jane --------  in 1856. They were divorced in 1860.  His third marriage was to Ann Buck, and relatives say that they had a son named Albert Sparks who was born in 1862.   Quartus and Ann were divorced in 1875.   His last (and fourth) marriage was to Lizzie ------- .   We do not know whether other children were born to these marriages.

The last entry in the Journal of Church History is dated December 12, 1857.  It is as follows : "Brother Wall had just returned from a mission to Australia and brought back of company of saints with him to California. He was accosted on the street and later was called on at his hotel room by apostate Mormons he says threatened to kill him.  In that group he names Dr. Andrews, Mr. Chatman, Quartus S. Sparks and others he knew but did not name. He got away and continued his journey to Salt Lake."

Quartus Sparks was admitted to the bar of San Bernardino in 1858. He soon acquired a good reputation as a criminal lawyer and was named among the leaders in his practice . One of the anecdotes preserved about him as a lawyer is as follows:

Sparks entered into all phases of the civic life of San Bernardino. Along with his law practice, he found time to write poetry and was a prominent public speaker. He was elected to the city council; he was a justice of the peace; and he ran for county recorder. He also had a law office in Los Angeles and was listed there in the city directory in 1887, 1888, and 1890. He lectured for a temperance organization, and people came from far and near to hear him.

Quartus Sparks died at San Bernardino on August 5, 1891, at the age of seventy. His death was caused by "a catarrh of the bladder."   His death announcement in a newspaper stated : "He was a pioneer of the state as early as 1852 and he took an active part in the formation of the American Party in California. In 1856, he organized the proceedings for the first Fourth of July celebration ever held in San Bernardino County . The press of that county and southern California speak of him in the highest terms of eulogy as one who helped to create the county and state."

Quartus Strong Sparks had five children by his first marriage; he may have had another child by his third marriage . As seen in the following paragraphs , our information on some of these is quite limited . We shall welcome any additional information that our readers can offer.


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Quartus Strong Sparks, Jr. (1845-1918)

With his Wife, Caroline Frances (Carlow) Sparks (1846-1928)
and Their Great-Granddaughter, Maxine (Barraclough) Groher

Photograph Taken in California in 1918

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In the September 1960 issue of THE SPARKS QUARTERLY, we began a series of abstracts of applications for bounty land and pensions by soldiers named Sparks who had served in the War of 1812. We are pleased to add another abstract to that series.
DAVID SPARKS, was born about 1783, probably at Bowdoinham, Maine, and was lost at sea in 1821. He was married to Mercy Thayer on April 21, 1804, in Hampshire County, Massachusetts. He served in Jenkins' Company of Langley's Regiment of the Massachusetts Militia. Bounty Land File: 288,148.

 On March 9, 1858, Mercy Sluck, aged 73 years, a resident of Southampton, Massachusetts , and widow of William Sluck, her second husband, made a declaration for the purpose of obtaining bounty land under an "Act approved March 3, 1855." She stated that she was the widow of David Sparks, deceased, who had been a soldier in a company commanded by Capt. Southworth Jenkins in the regiment of Massachusetts Militia commanded by Colonel Thomas Langley in the war with Great Britain declared by the United States on June 18, 1812.


Her husband had been drafted at Westhampton, Massachusetts, on September 10, 1814, for a term of three months, and he continued in actual service for a term of about two months when he was honorably discharged at or near Boston about November 1, 1814. She had been married to David Sparks at Northampton, Massachusetts, on the ---- day of April 1804, by Solomon Williams, a clergyman.  Her name before her marriage was Mercy Thayer. Her husband had died at sea on the ---- day of ---- A.D. 1821, and she was now a widow.  She attested to the declaration by making her mark.  James Quigley and Thomas E. Elliott , residents of Southampton, were witnesses , and the declaration was sworn to before Elisha Edwards, a justice of the peace.

A footnote to the declaration instructed the Commissioner of Pensions to forward her warrant to her agent, A. W. Thayer, at Northampton, Massachusetts. It, too, bore the signature (by mark) of Mercy Sluck.

Apparently the application of Mercy Sluck was rejected, perhaps because of the short term of military service of her first husband, David Sparks.

[Editor's Note: See pages 4500-02 of the present issue of the QUARTERLY for further information about David Sparks.]

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It is with a degree of personal sadness that we report the death of one of our Association's charter members, Helen Sparks, who passed away on February 11, 1995, at the Victoria Special Care Home in El Cajon, California. She was 101 years of age!  Her survivors include a nephew, James Sparks, and a niece, Helen Stutzman.

Helen was born on March 24, 1893, in Valentine, Nebraska. She was a daughter of Levi Carlton and Bertha C . (Ludwig) Sparks and a granddaughter of Joseph and Caroline (Flanegin) Sparks . Great-grandparents were Cornelius and Susannah (Stevens) Sparks, pioneer settlers of Berrien County, Michigan. (See the March 1964 and March 1978 issues of the QUARTERLY, Nos. 45 and 101, respectively, for further details of thIs branch of the Sparks family.) A special article and photograph appeared In the March 1993 issue of the QUARTERLY on Helen's 100th birthday.

We extend our sympathy to Helen's nephew and niece and to other members of her family.

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At the Gutzon Borglum Museum at Keystone, South Dakota, there is a history of the construction of Mount Rushmore. At the end of the tour of the museum there is a plaque with the names of all the people who worked on the national monument. One of those listed is Harry H. Sparks.  A letter of inquiry was sent to the museum , but they have no information . Does anyone know who Harry H. Sparks was? He worked there in the 1930s. Where was he from?

Query submitted by Ruth Sparks De Wald, Rt. 3, Box 52, Wagner, SD 57380.

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By Paul E. Sparks

(Editor's Note : For a considerable period of time, we have wanted to publish an account of the life of Frank Hugh Sparks, a capitalist, educator, and college president in Indiana. His story could well fit into a book written by Horatio Alger. Such a book would include his humble beginnings, his energetic ambition, his financial success, and his ultimate desire to be recognized as an educated man.

(Our apparent procrastination in honoring this man was caused by our inability to find his Sparks lineage. He, himself, acknowledged that he did not know the name of his paternal grandfather, and for this reason, we were unable to make any progress on tracing his Sparks ancestry .  Recent research by our President, Dr. Paul E. Sparks, however, has been most productive, and we are now able to place him on a proper branch of the Sparks family tree . We here share his life with our readers.)

Frank Hugh Sparks was born on January 11, 1891, in Grant County, Indiana. He was a son (and seventh child) of John and Jennie Lilly (Ryan) Sparks and a grandson of Joshua and Sarah (------ ) Sparks.  Joshua Sparks was born about 1798, probably in Laurens County, South Carolina, and was a son of William and Mary (Palmer) Sparks. (See pp. 576-579 of the September 1961 issue of THE SPARKS QUARTERLY, No.35.)

Joshua Sparks was a teen-aged lad when he accompanied his parents from South Carolina to Indiana in 1812, and it was there that he was married to Rachel McCray on April 9, 1818, in Franklin County. She had been born about 1795 and was a daughter of Phineas and Sarah Jane (Peters) McCray . Joshua and Rachel began housekeeping In Fayette County , Indiana, and were enumerated there when the 1820 census was taken, but by 1830 they were in Rush County where they were enumerated on that census . By this time, they had two children, a daughter born 1820-25 and a son born 1825-30.

On October 31, 1823, William and Mary Sparks of Fayette County, Indiana, gave a 160-acre tract of land in Bartholomew County, Indiana, to Joshua Sparks. The deed stated that he was "of Bartholomew County."  William Sparks had entered the land in 1820. On February 1, 1832, Joshua and Rachel Sparks of Rush County, Indiana, sold 160 acres of land in  Bartholomew County to Joseph Chambers for $400.

[Joshua Sparks, son of William and Mary (Palmer) Sparks, is sometimes confused with Joshua Low Sparks, son of Elijah and Annie (Anderson) Sparks of Baltimore County, Maryland. Joshua Low Sparks was born about 1796 in Maryland and went to Franklin County , Indiana, where he was enumerated on the 1820 to 1850 census. See pages 4518-4520 of this issue of the QUARTERLY for further information about Joshua Low Sparks.]

Rachel (McCray).Sparks died sometime prior to 1847, and Joshua Sparks was married (second) to Mrs. Sarah Cross on September 23, 1847, in Rush County. She had been born about 1805 in Pennsylvania and was the widow of James Cross . She had at least four children by her marriage to Cross, ranging in age from six years to fifteen years at the time she was married to Joshua Sparks.

It seems likely that soon after his second marriage , Joshua Sparks became seriously ill, and on October 12, 1848, he made his will. He died probably in the early spring of 1850, and his will was probated In the Rush County Court on May 27, 1850. Major provisions in the will included the following items:


(Significant items from the will of Joshua Sparks:)

Item 2: He bequeathed $400 to his son, Phineas Sparks.
Although no other children were mentioned in Joshua's will, it seems likely that the Moses Sparks who was married to Abigail Redding in 1838 in Rush County, and the Joshua Sparks who was married to Mary Nixon in 1842 in Rush County, were also sons of Joshua. John Sparks and Hiram Sparks, executors of Joshua's will, were undoubtedly his brothers

When the 1850 census was taken of Rush County on September 10th, Sarah Sparks, 45, was shown as head of her household in Union Township. Living in the household were four Cross children: Eli Cross, 18; Jackson Cross, 15; Polly Ann Cross ; and James H. Cross, 9.  Also living with her was John Sparks, one year old. It seems obvious that he was the "unborn heir"  to whom Joshua Sparks had made reference in his will.

On December 26, 1853, Sarah Sparks, widow of Joshua, was married to Hiram Kendall in Rush County. He had been born about 1801 in Kentucky, and he, like Sarah, was also widowed and had several children in his household . By the time the 1860 census was taken, he and Sarah had moved northward about one hundred miles to Wabash County where they had settled in Liberty Township.

John Sparks, son of Joshua, did not accompany his mother and stepfather to Wabash County; apparently he continued to live in Rush County . He may have been the twelve-year-old Albert Sparks who was living in the household of Hiram and Elizabeth Sparks in neighboring Fayette County when the 1860 census was taken. Other members of Hiram Sparks's household on that census were: William Sparks, 88, father of Hiram, and Francis M. Sparks, 17, nephew of Hiram who was a son of Stephen and Assenith (Greene) Sparks.

(Apparently there were two Albert Sparkses in this section of Indiana who were born about the same time. One was the Albert Sparks, mentioned above. The other was Albert Leroy Sparks, who was born about 1847 and was a son of Joshua Low Sparks.)

At the February 1861 term of the Rush County Court, John Sparks was made a ward of his uncle, John Sparks, who made a final settlement of his ward's share of his father's estate shortly afterwards . John Sparks, uncle of the younger John Sparks, died on March 8, 1863, in Wabash County, Indiana. When the 1870 census was taken, John Sparks, now aged 21, and his mother, Sarah (------ ) Sparks Cross Kendall, were back together and were living in Wayne Township in Huntington County , Indiana.  Sarah was shown on the 1870 census as 65 years old and a native of Pennsylvania. Wayne Township in Huntington County adjoins Liberty Township in Wabash County .


John Sparks was married to Jennie Lilly Ryan about 1875, probably in Huntington County, and when the 1880 census was taken, they were still in Wayne Township. John was shown as 30 years old; Jennie was 21 years old and a native of Ohio. With them was a five-months-old daughter, Luella Sparks. Also living in the household was John's mother, Sarah Kendall (copied as "Rindle") , aged 75 years and a native of Pennsylvania.

The last record we have found of the family of John and Jennie (Ryan) Sparks is in the 1900 census of Grant County, Indiana. According to that census, the family consisted of the following :

Sparks John White Male Head [Born] Nov. 1848 [Age] 51 Indiana
     " Jennie     "  Female Wife            Feb 1859           41 Ohio
     " Ira C.     " Male Son            Dec 1886           12 Indiana
     " Frank H.     " Male Son             Jan 1891             9 Indiana

Without doubt , the youngest child in the family next above is Frank Hugh Sparks , subject of this article . Little wonder that he was unable to name his grandfather Sparks. His grandfather Sparks (Joshua Sparks) had died over forty years before Frank was born! We now present a story of the life of Frank Hugh Sparks.

The story of the life of Frank Hugh Sparks can be told in three parts: (1) his boyhood and youth; (2) his success as an industrialist; and (3) his attaining his lifelong ambition to become a college president.

The first part of the story of the life of Frank Hugh Sparks is about his boyhood on a small farm near Lake Maxinkuckee in southwestern Marshall County, Indiana. The lake was a popular place for summer campers, and as a boy he learned to rent boats and fishing tackle and to sell bait.  He was also able to meet well-to-do men who brought their families from Midwest cities to spend the summer on the lake . Among these men was Carl Fisher, an automobile fancier and the founder of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He and young Sparks became good friends.

The second part of the life of Frank Sparks begins in 1910. It was in that year, while working for Fisher, that Sparks met Quentin Noblltt, and a relationship was formed that was both enduring and profitable.  In 1911, he and Noblitt formed an auto, tire, and equipment company, and in 1916 they established a training school for automobile mechanics. After the end of World War I, they formed the Indianapolis Air Pump Company with capital of $3,000. The company prospered and soon grew into the Noblitt-Sparks Industries, specializing in making automobile heaters, radios, and other accessories. It soon developed into the Arvin Industries and became internationally known .  By 1938, Sparks had achieved financial independence.

Frank Sparks was married to Edna Christina Shellhouse on November 22, 1911, and two sons, Duane Frank Sparks and Joseph Stanley Sparks, were born to this union. Mrs Sparks became chronically ill during the mid-1930s, and be cause of her illness, Sparks moved his family to Arizona. It was about this time that he set out to become a college president.

The third part of the life of Frank Sparks begins in 1935 when he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Butler University in Indianapolis.  Two years later, he had earned a Master of Arts degree from the University of Southern California. It was in California that his wife died in the fall of 1939. He continued his study at U. S. C. , and he received a Doctor of Philosophy degree from that institution on June 7, 1941. He had learned just a month earlier that he had been selected to head Wabash College at Crawfordsville, Indiana. He was married to Abbie Mann on June 16, 1941.

The life of Frank Hugh Sparks is continued on page wn171b (Next Page)
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Scanning edited by James J. Sparks