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

VOL. XLVII, No. 1 MARCH 1999  WHOLE NO. 185a

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[Here appear two photographs, beneath which are the following captions:]

 William Sparks
Born July 2, 1842
Died February 19, 1895
Sarah Susan P. (Sanborn) Sparks
Born March 14, 1845
Died April 29, 1931

(View photographs)

[Scanning editor's note:  For several corrections between p.5105 and 5114, see SQ p.5260.]


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 organization 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 $10.00 per year;  Contributing membership dues are $15.00 per year; and Sustaining membership dues are any amount over $15.00 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. Nine quinquennial  indexes have been published for the years 1953 -1957, 1958 -1962, 1963 -1967, 1968 -72, 1973 -1977, 1978-1982,1983 -1987, 1988-92, and 1993 -1997.  Each index is available for $5.00. A complete file of the back issues of the Quarterly (1953-1997), including the eight indexes, may be purchased for $310.00.  The forty-five years of the Quarterly (1953 -1997) comprise a total of 5104 pages of Sparks Family history.  The nine indexes  amount to 900 additional pages.  A table of contents is also available for $5.00.  Comprising 65 pages, this lists the articles and collections of data appearing in the Quarterly between 1953 and 1998; it is updated at the end of each year. The International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) that has been assigned to the Quarterly is ISSN 0561-5445.

Orders for individual back issues of the Quarterly, the table of contents, as well as for a complete, file should be sent to the editor, Russell E. Bidlack, 1709 Cherokee Road, Ann Arbor, MI, 48104-4498.  His telephone number is 734-662-5080, but he has no E-mail address.



By Paul E. Sparks

[Editor's Note: The parents of John Sparks were Joseph and Anne (Wilson) Sparks of Lewis County, Kentucky. This couple was the subject of an article


that was published on pages 1315-18 of the June 1970 issue of THE SPARKS QUARTERLY, Whole No. 70.
At that time we conjectured (correctly) that Joseph and Anne (Wilson) Sparks were the parents of seven children; however, we were then unable to name the two youngest children (sons). (See page 1818 of that issue.) Since the publication of the June 1970 article, we have found proof that the two sons who were unnamed in the article were John Sparks and Joseph Sparks. Here we present information regarding the son of Joseph and Anne named John, with a record of his children and grandchildren, when known.

[Joseph Sparks, father of John Sparks (1816-1899),was married to Anne Wilson on January 19, 1797, in Bourbon County, Kentucky. He died in Lewis County, Kentucky, in 1838. Shortly after his death, his son, James Sparks, was awarded by the Lewis County Circuit Court a fifty-acre tract of land formerly owned by his father. The deed, dated June 27, 1842, named all of the persons who had an interest in the transaction. More than two dozen persons were named. Among them were six children of Joseph Sparks. They were: James Sparks, Harriet (Sparks) Truesdell, Katherine (Sparks) Dickson, William Sparks, John Sparks, and Joseph Sparks. Not included was another child of Joseph Sparks, Sidney (Sparks) Tolle, who was either deceased or whose whereabouts was unknown. Following is the text of this deed as it was recorded on page 351 of Deed Book I, on June 27, 1842, Property Deeds of Lewis County, Kentucky.

Indenture between William G. Wilson; William Sparks; John Sparks; Joseph   Sparks; Isaac Dickson a Katherine, his wife; Jesse Trusdell a Harriet,   his wife; James Wilson; Andrew Wilson; George Wilson; Samuel Wilson, the   Ist; Mason Wilson; Amos Wilson; John G. Wilson; William Herbert a Nancy   his wife; George Burns and Elite, his wife; Granville Dye a Mary Anne,   his wife; Susan Wilson; Lucinda Wilson; Samuel Wilson, the 2nd; and James   Wilson, all represented by Socrates Holbrook, a Commissioner duly appoint  ed by the Lewis County, Circuit Court at the March term 1842, all of the   Ist part and James Sparks of the 2nd part; WHEREAS, the Lewis County   Circuit Court rendered a decree in favor of the said James Sparks against   the above named grantors, therefore the grantors give to James Sparks   for $1.00 a tract of land binding on a tract of land owned by the late Samuel Wilson, deceased, known as his Mill tract and on the lower corner   and upper line known as the division line between William G. Wilson and   the said Samuel Wilson, deceased. The land to be conveyed in such man  ner as to include the house and improvements of the late Joseph Sparks,  deceased, being the same tract of land sold by the said Samuel Wilson, deceased, and William G. Wilson to the said Joseph Sparks, deceased, in his  lifetime and containing fifty acres.
[The following article contains information about John Sparks (1816-1899), son of Joseph and Anne (Wilson) Sparks, and some of his descendants. For the sake of uniformity, we are using the same alpha-numeric outline used in the earlier article. ]

6. John Sparks, son of Joseph and Anne (Wilson) Sparks, was born on February  21, 1816, in Lewis County, Kentucky. It was there that he grew to manhood,  learned the trade of blacksmith, and became a wagon maker. He was married  to Caroline ----- about 1936. She had been born on December 27, 1818, in  Kentucky.

John and Caroline Sparks went to housekeeping in 1848 in or near the village of Concord on the south bank of the Ohio River. He practiced his trade of blacksmith, but he gradually began to make wagons. He also made plows and was the designer of a plow known as the "Clipper."


He became a member of the Concord Masonic Lodge in 1859 and was listed as a carriage and wagon maker  in the Kentucky State Gazette and Business Directory that same year. The  children of John and Caroline Sparks were (1) Elizabeth Sparks; (2) Joseph  Sparks; (3) William Sparks; (4) George T. Sparks; and (5) Eliza Jane Sparks.

(1) Elizabeth Sparks, daughter of John and Caroline (-----) Sparks, was born  on February 28, 18391837. She died at the age of nine, on October 1, 1848.

(2) Joseph Sparks, son of John and Caroline (-----) Sparks, was born on    April 24, 1839, in Concord, Kentucky. (He should not be confused with a  cousin, Joseph A. Sparks, son of William C. and Jane [Truesdell] Sparks.    The latter was born on September 14, 1844; see page 1318 of the June 1970  issue of the QUARTERLY, Whole No. 70.)

Joseph Sparks became a mechanic and worked in his father's wagon shop.    He was a member of the Masonic Order like his father and was a member of  the Vanceburg [Kentuckyl Christian Church. He was also an ardent  Democrat in his political affiliation and was appointed postmaster of Vanceburg, Kentucky, during the administration of President Grover Cleveland.

Joseph Sparks was married twice. His first marriage was to Louisa Jane Corns  Cornes in 1856; the license was issued on October 29, 1856 in Lewis County,    Kentucky. She had been born about 1837 in Kentucky. She died on    October 29, 1860, in Lewis County leaving her husband with a two-year old daughter, Mary E. Sparks.

Sparks remained a widower until 1868 when he was married to Mary Jane Seaman. The license was issued on October 26, 1868, in Lewis County. She had been born in September 1839 in Jackson County, Virginia, and was a daughter of Thomas and Catherine (McCoy) Seaman. She was a most capable "parlor milliner" in Vanceburg. She died on July 24, 1908, and was buried at Clarksburg, Kentucky. She and Joseph had three children. After her death, Joseph apparently made his home with a daughter, Margaret C. Cox in Chattanooga, Tennessee, until his death in 19171913.

Joseph Sparks had five children. Two were by his first marriage and three were products of his second marriage.

a. Mary EthelEllen Sparks, daughter of Joseph and Louisa Jane (Corns) Sparks,  was born on January 9, 1858. After the death of her mother in 1860,  she apparently made her home with her paternal grandparents until her  marriage. She was married to W. K. Parker on August 24, 1881, in  Lewis County, Kentucky. He had been born about 1861 and was a son  of W. M. and A. E. (-----) Parker. Mary Ethel (Sparks) Parker died  on September 27, 1917, at Concord, Kentucky. We have no further in formation about this couple.

b. Caroline Sparks, daughter of Joseph and Louisa Jane (Corns) Sparks,  was born on September 15, 1859. She died the following year on  August 11, 1860.

c. John Thomas Sparks, son of Joseph and Mary Jane (Seaman) Sparks,  was born on November 10, 1872. He died on September 12, 1873.

d. Margaret ["Maggie"] Caroline Sparks, daughter of Joseph and Mary  Jane (Seaman) Sparks, was born on July 26, 1875. She was married to  Charles ["Shack"] Albert Cox on March 16, 1896, in Lewis County. He  had been born on October 17, 1870, in Kentucky and was a son of  Albert J. and Virginia (Harrison) Cox. "MaSgie" (Sparks) Cox died in  May 1953 in St. Petersburg, Florida. She and "Shack" Cox had two  children:


     Children of "Shack" and "Maggie" (Sparks) Cox:

(a) Charles Renner Cox was born on February 20, 1897. He was married to Clara -----. He died on July 24, 1937.

(b) Marie Cox was born on December S, 1899, in Vanceburg, Kentucky.  She was married prior to 1920 to Robert Bruce Puckett, probably in Chattannoga, Tennessee. She and Robert had three children:  Carolyn Puckett; Mary Bruce Puckett; and William Renner Puckett.

e. Ella Leota Sparks, daughter of Joseph and Mary Jane (Seaman) Sparks,  was born on June 24, 1900April 6, 1879,  in Lewis County, Kentucky. She was married to Louis Horace Potter on June 24, 1900, in Lewis County, Kentucky.

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

Wedding Picture of Ella Leota Sparks

and Louis Horace Potter

(Taken on June 24, 1900.)

(View photograph)



Louis Horace Potter had been born on October 5, 1874, in Hannibal, Missouri. He was a son of William Baldwin and Lisette (Tupham Tuphorn) Potter.  He died on June 14, 1955; Ella Leota (Sparks) Potter died on November 20, 1966. They were the parents of four children:

(a) Edna Jo Potter was born on September 10, 1908, in Chattanooga,   Tennessee. She died on December 12, 1984.

(b) Carolyn Potter was born on June 23, 1913. She was married to   Frederic Burr Oppenborn on June 21, 1935, at Charles Town, West   Virginia. He had been born on January 18, 1908, in Alpena, Michi gan, and was a son of Henry and NellieNella (Burr) Oppenborn. Carolyn and Frederic had two children, Marilyn Potter Oppenborn and   Nellie Burr Oppenborn. MarilyMarilyn Oppenborn, whose husband is  Forrest E. Steber, has been most helpful in sharing information  about her ancestors, including providing the wedding photograph of  Ella Leota Sparks and Louis Horace Potter appearing on page 5109  of this article.  Marilyn Oppenborn and Forrest E. Steber had been divorced for a number of years prior to his death in 1985.

(C) Mary Margaret Potter was born on December 17, 1919. She was  married to George Samuel Hiller, Jr., and they have three children:  Margaret Hiller, George S. Hiller, III, and Mary Ellen Hiller.

(d) Louis H. Potter, Jr. was born on September 11, 1923, in Denver,   Colorado.

(3) William Sparks, son of John and Caroline (-----) Sparks, was born on   July 2, 1842, in Lewis County. (His photograph and that of his wife   appear on the cover page of the present issue of the QUARTERLY.) He  learned the trade of the blacksmith from his father and worked with him in  his shop in Concord, Kentucky. William was married to Susan P. Sanborn   in 1863. She had been born on March 14, 1845, in Meigs County, Ohio,   and was a daughter of Alexander and Mary G. (-----) Sanborn. She and  William lived in Concord, and he died there on February 19, i895. Susan   survived him for over thirty years, dying on April 29, 1931. They were  buried in the Concord Cemetery. According to census records and descendants, they had ten children:

a. Laura B. Sparks was born on February 28, 1860. She died on February 13, 1886.

b. John Sparks was born on November 2, 1865, in Lewis County. He be came a blacksmith, but he is best remembered as a most capable base ballplayer. According to his obituary in the Lewis County Courier, he  was given a personal tryout in the 1890s by Wylie Pyatt, a star pitcher  for the Philadelphia Phillies. Pyatt was unable to strike Sparks out and  offered to take him to the spring training camp. Sparks declined the  invitation .

Sparks was also remembered as a staunch Republican and would travel a far distance to attend a rally. He was one of the mourners at President Harding's funeral.

John Sparks was married to Elizabeth Belle Essex on September 14, 1884, in Lewis County. She had been born in April  on April 10, 1865 and was a daughter of Amaziah and Sarah (Frazee) Essex. Belie (as she was called) died on October 22, 1942, and John died on October 18, 1952. They were buried in the Concord Cemetery. Photographs of them appear on the following page.


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

Born April 10, 1865
Died October 22, 1942
Born November 2, 1865
Died October 18, 1942
(View photographs)

John and Elizabeth Belle (Essex) Sparks were the parents of twelve children:

(a) Arley Atwood Sparks was born on April 4, 1885, at Concord, Kentucky.   He was married to Aleana A. Ruark on April 18, 1912, in Lewis County.   She had been born on September 18, 1891, and was a daughter of   William and Hattie Ruark. Arley died on May 9, 1951, in Cincinnati,  Ohio. He and Aleana had two children, Nestle Sparks and Alvy Sparks.

(b) Laura Belle Sparks was born on August 12, 1886. She was married to Vernon Rice on May 29, 1909. She died on January 18, 1991 1941, in Cincinnati. She and Vernon had at least seven children. They were:   Daisy Marie Rice, Elmer V. Rice, Woodrow Rice, Edna B. Rice, George   Rice, Leo R. Rice, and Clifford Rice.

(C) Della Lee Sparks was born on May 18, 1888. She was married to William M. Benge in 1910, and they had three children: Harry Benge,   Pearl Benge, and Beulah Louise Benge. Beulah Benge was married to   Gaylord Ala Alva Reese on October 30, 1938, and they were the parents of  Gaylord P. Reese who has been most helpful in the preparation of this  article.


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



Working at his blacksmith shop in

Concord, Kentucky

(View photograph)

(d) Edgar Dart Sparks was born on December 29, 1889. He was married twice. His first marriage was to Elsie S. B. Martin and his second marriage was to Lydia Bowyer. He died in September 1970 in Scioto     County, Ohio. He had two children, both by his second marriage.   They were: Majorie J. Sparks and Charles A. Sparks.

(e) Anna Florence Sparks was born on August 14, 1891. She died on August 21, 1901.

(f) Mary Caroline Sparks was born on August 15, 1893. She was married to George Washington Dixon in 1912. She died on May 7, 1935. She and George had seven children. They were: Garvin Dixon, Myrtle     Dixon, Mildred L. Dixon, Robert E. Dixon, Daisy L. Dixon, Dolly L. Dixon, and Mattie Mottie B. Dixon.

In 1918, John and Belie (Essex) Sparks posed with family members for a  group picture on the front porch of their home in Concord, Kentucky.   Eight of their children were present for this occasion.
[Here appears a photograph, beneath which is a a numbered sketch.
Below the sketch are the following names:]
1. Sarah Anna (Frazee) Easer, mother of Belie (Esser) Sparks.
2. Laura Belie (Sparks) Rice, daughter of John and Belle Sparks.
3. George A. Rice, son of Vernon and Laura Belie (Sparks) Rice.
4. Daisy Marie Rice, daughter of Vernon and Laura Belie (Sparks) Rice.
5. Joseph Hobart Sparks, son of John and Belle Sparks.
6. Mary Caroline (Sparks) Dixon, daughter of John and Belle Sparks.
7. Myrtle Dixon, daughter of George W. and Mary Caroline (Sparks) Dixon.
8. Unidentified.
9.William Amaziah Sparks, son of John and Belle Sparks.
10. Kathryn Lucille (Sparks) Nelson, daughter of John and Belle Sparks.
11. Julius Raymond Sparks, son of John and Belle Sparks.
12. John Sparks (1865-1952).
13. Elizabeth ["Belle"] (Essex) Sparks (1865-1942), wife of John Sparks.
14. Edger Dart Sparks, son of John and Belle Sparks.
15. Elsie (Martin) Sparks, wife of Edgar Dart Sparks.
16. Unnamed child of Edger and Elsie (Martin) Sparks.
17. Arley Atwood Sparks, son of John and Belle Sparks.
18. Aleana ["Alley"] (Roark) Sparks, wife of Arley Atwood Sparks.
19. Alvy Sparks, daughter of Arley Atwood and "Alley" (Roark) Sparks.
20. Unidentified.
21. Unidentified.
22. Unidentified.
23. Ilo Sparks, daughter of Elsie (Martin) Sparks by a previous marriage.

(View photograph and sketch)

Children of John and Elizabeth Belle (Essex) Sparks, (Continued)
(g) Arthur Earl Sparks was born on August 10, 1895. He died on Sep     tember 10, 1895.

(h)  Joseph ["Speed"] Hobart Sparks was born on April 16, 1897. He was married to Dora Alice Martin on December 12, 1918. He died on February 9, 1941. He and Dora had eleven children. They were: Lillian Sparks, Mary E. Sparks, Margaret Sparks, Josephine Sparks, Richard Sparks, Loretta Sparks, Dorothy J. Sparks, Helen C. Sparks, Cornelia E. Sparks, Audrey Sparks, and Carol V. Sparks.

(i)  William Amaziah Sparks was born on April 18, 1900. He was married twice. His first marriage was to Gladis Martin and his second was to Dorothy l\lcElroy. He died on April 8, 1991. He had one child, Ralph M. Sparks, by his second marriage.

(j)  Kathryn ["Katie"] Lucille Sparks was born on February 3, 1902, in Concord, Kentucky. She was married to Morris Ellis Nelson. She died on May 26, 1991. She and Morris had two children, Kenneth Nelson and Denver Nelson.

(k)  Julius Raymond Sparks was born on February 18, 1904. He died on      June 6, 1981. He was married to Lesta Marie Poole on August 16, 1924, in Scioto County, Ohio; she was a daughter of Duncan and  Martha (Moore) Poole. Julius and Lesta Sparks were the parents of Julius R. Sparks, Jr. who has been most helpful in the preparation  of this article. He provided the family photographs appearing on the cover page of this issue of the QUARTERLY as well as those on pages 5111, 5112, and 5113.

(l)  Leo Ralph Sparks was born on May 3, 1907. He died on August 25,  1909.

c. Mary Catherine ["Katie"] Sparks, daughter of William and Susan P.  (Sanborn) Sparks, was born about 1867. She was married to Dart Tatman on August 21, 1893, in Brown County, Ohio. She was living in  Lockland, Ohio, in 1953.

d.   Minnie R. Sparks, daughter of William and Susan P. (Sanborn) Sparks,  was born about 1869. She was married to Arthur Bowls. She died on  February 16, 1939 1936.

e. William H. Sparks, son of William and Susan P. (Sanborn) Sparks, was  born about 1872. He became a railroader. He was married twice. His  first marriage was to Lola Montez Montgomery on March 4, 1894, in  Lewis County.  She was a daughter of Robert and Julia (Batman) Montgomery.  She and William had five children before her death. They were:

(a) Elizabeth Sparks.
(b) Daisy Sparks.
(c) Jeannette Sparks.
(d) Carolyn Sparks.
(e) Julia Irene Sparks was born in 1896.
After the death of his first wife, William H. Sparks was married to Emma ------  We have no further information about this family.
f. Cornelia ["Carrie"] Sparks, daughter of William and Susan P. (Sanborn)  Sparks, was born in February 1874.

g. Cora Sparks, daughter of William and Susan P. (Sanborn) Sparks, was  born about 1875. She was married to Ben Cain. She died on December  10, 1946.

h. Alexander Hamilton Sparks, son of William and Susan P. (Sanborn) Sparks,  was born in February 1878. He was married twice. His first marriage  was to Harriet Montgomery in March 1899. She had been born in August  1878 in Ohio. When the 1900 census was taken of Lewis County, Alexander and Harriet Sparks were shown with a daughter, Christiana M.  Sparks, born in May 1900. According to a relative, Alexander Sparks  was marred (second) to Hattie Beane.

i. Catherine Sparks, daughter of William and Susan P. (Sanborn) Sparks,  was born in May 1880. She died the following month.

j. L. Pearl Sparks, daughter of William and Susan P. (Sanborn) Sparks, was  born in October 1885. She was married to J. W. Mann.

(4) George T. Sparks, son of John and Caroline (-----) Sparks, was born on   February 2, 1846. He died on August 5, 1850.

(5) Susan Sparks, daughter of John and Caroline (-----) Sparks, was born on   September 28, 1847. She died on November 1, 1848.

(6) Eiiza Jane Sparks, daughter of John and Caroline (-----) Sparks, was born   in July 1850 in Lewis County. She was married to Thomas Montgomery about   1870. He had been born in November 1846 in Kentucky. When the 1900 cen  sus was taken of Lewis County, Kentucky, Tom and Eliza Jane were shown   with two daughters living in their household:

a. Annie Montgomery was born in April 1875.
b. Mary Montgomery was born in 1880.
-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -


In the QUARTERLY of December 1998, Whole No. 184, on page 5071, under the entry for "6. Mary ["Polly"] Bryan," 8th line in this paragraph, we referred to her son, "William M. Reed." as having preserved the family Bible, but in listing the names and birth dates of the children of Mary and her husband, David Reed, we gave this son's name as "William Henry Reed." His middle initial was obviously H, not M.

[Scanning editor's note:  Correction made.]



By Paul E. Sparks and Russell E. Bidlack

The preceding article in this issue of the QUARTERLY (pp.5106-5115) about John Sparks (1816-1899) of early Lewis County, Kentucky, affords us an opportunity to conjecture about his Sparks lineage. Unfortunately, at the present time, we can only conjecture; however, there is fairly good evidence that his great-grandfather was William Sparks, Sr., who was in Bourbon County, Kentucky, as early as 1786.

In order to consider the first Sparkses in Lewis County, we must note the parent counties from which Lewis County was formed. Bourbon County was created in 1785 and embraced almost all of present-day eastern Kentucky. Mason County was next created; it was taken from Bourbon County in 1788. Lewis County was formed from Mason County in 1806; thus, a family could have settled on land in Bourbon County in 1785 and have been a resident of Lewis County twenty years later without having moved.

There can be little doubt that most, if not all, of the Sparkses who were early settlors in the Kentucky counties named above (Bourbon, Mason, and Lewis) were descendants of William Sparks, Sr. He was in Bourbon County in 1786 where he and his son, William Sparks, Jr., were among the petitioners to have a new county formed that would be more convenient for them. He and William Sparks (Jr.?) paid property taxes in Bourbon County in 1787. (One was listed as "William Sparks" and the other as "Wm. Sparks" by the tax collector in 1787.) By 1795, William Sparks, Sr. was paying taxes in Bourbon County along with five other men named Sparks who were, we believe, sons of William Sparks, Sr. They were: William Sparks, Jr.; George Sparks; Michael Sparks; John Sparks; and Joseph Sparks. Four of these men were married in Bourbon County between 1791 and 1797. We estimate that they had been born in the 1770s. William Sparks, Sr. continued to pay taxes in Bourbon County until 1797.

Recently we received a copy of a document, "The Daly Family," written in 1930 by Henry Daly and published in the June 1988 issue of a publication of the Ventura [California] Genealogical Society. Mr. Daly made several references to an ancestor named Sarah (Sparks) Morrow of early Bourbon County, Kentucky. Here is what he wrote about her:

Grandma Morrow was Sarah Sparks. She had 5 brothers in the Revolution[ary] War. She died at the home of her youngest son, Samuel Merrow, at Roachport, Boone Co., [Missouri] in August 1851, while nursing her grandson, Robert Morrow, 3rd, with the cholera. The Sparks family was a large one, 15 children. The father and 4 brothers took sides with the British while the other 5 sons supported the colonists. The Morrows objected to their son marrying one of the girls but he married the 4th daughter of Cul (or Cal) Sparks and moved to the wilds of Kentucky; settled 6 miles east of the now city of Paris, Ky. She was a noble woman and raised all of the 10 [sic] children up to be respected.

The size of the family of William Sparks, Sr., and its presence in Bourbon County, tends to make us believe that this is the Sparks family that Henry Daly wrote about. We wonder whether the "Cul" or "Cal" Sparks to whom Daly appears to state was Sarah's father might have been the nickmame for Michael Sparks taxed in Bourbon County in 1795. If so, we wonder whether Henry Daly, writing from childhood memory, may have confused the name of Sarah (Sparks) Morrow's father's name with that of her brother.

Paris, six miles from which Daly stated that Sarah and her husband had settled, is the county seat of Bourbon County. Sarah's husband's name was Robert Morrow, according to Henry Daly, and their children's names were: John, Riley, Jeptha, Delilah, Robert, Isabella, D. [daughter], Hiram, Irene, and Samuel.


Where had William Sparks, Sr. and his family lived prior to his and William Sparks, Jr.'s appearance as taxpayers in Bourbon County, Kentucky, in 1786? There are a few clues. At least one descendant has stated that his pioneer ancestor named Sparks had come to Kentucky from Virginia. An eminent genealogist, Dr. William N. Talley, lecturer at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, wrote that the majority of the early settlers in Lewis County had come there from the southwestern part of present-day Pennsylvania. This area had been claimed by both the colony of Pennsylvania and that of Virginia prior to 1782 when the disputed boundary between the two states was finally settled by Congress in the "Decree of Trenton".   Persons born before 1782 in what became Washington County, Pennsylvania, for example, could later disagree on the state of their births, whether Pennsylvania or Virginia. (See the article entitled "Virginia Claims in Southwest Pennsylvania" in the June 1963 issue of the SPARKS QUARTERLY, Whole No. 42, pp. 735-37.)

Another tentative clue regarding where William Sparks, Sr. may have been before coming to Kentucky is found in Vol. I, 1788-1810, of the Federal Land Series, edited by Clifford Neal Smith and published by the American Library Association in 1972. On p. 149 is the text of a document at the National Archives identified as:

Item 2524, dated November 30, 1785 (D/164/161. Report of the houses situated between Yellow Creek 8r the mouth of the Muskingum [River] on the Ohio destroyed by a detachment under the command of Capt. John Dougherty,

A photocopy of the original document referred to above has been obtained from the National Archives and is reproduced on the following pages. It will be noted that William Sparks is named as occupying a cabin at Mingo Bottom (second from the last name on the first page). We believe that he was probably the William Sparks, Sr. who migrated to Bourbon County, Kentucky.

Why did the Federal government order that these settlers' houses on the upper Ohio River be destroyed in 1785? It was because they, including William Sparks, had, in the terminology of the time, "squatted" on land without obtaining titles to it. The Federal Government had recognized this land as belonging to Native Americans. Thus, these "squatters" were violating agreed upon Indian rights and thus could well ignite the flames of an Indian war. On September 23, 1783, the Continental Congress had issued a proclamation forbidding "all persons from making settlements on land inhabited or claimed by Indians, without [i.e. outside] the jurisdiction of any particular state."

An excellent article devoted to this fascinating incident in American history by Ramdolph C. Downes appeared in the Ohio Archaelogical and Historical &uarterly, Vol. XLIII, July 1934, No. 3, pp. 273-82. In this, Mr. Downes tells how these "squatters" on the Upper Ohio River even attempted to form a separate state within the Union to be governed by a man named William Hoglund.

In his report to Col. Josiah Harmer [see following pages] after his squad's destruction of the settlers' houses in November 1785, Captain Dougherty added a private note: "Notwithstanding which I am firmly of opinion that many will be re-built, for the poor devils have nowhere to go." Indeed, some did remain and rebuilt their cabins, but William Sparks was not among them. When another military unit went in April 1786 again to drive out the "squatters" by destroying their homes, William Sparks's name was not on list. Mr. Downes noted in his article that it was not until 1789 that the last of the "squatters" left the Upper Ohio when an Indian war did actually begin.

He noted: "Then and then only did this nameless state cease to exist as its citizens fled, some back to Pennsylvania and Virginia, others down the Ohio to the fertile lands of Kentucky."

-5118 and 5119-

[Here appear illegible copies of a document consisting of a list of names and described below as follows:]

Shown above, beginning on page 5118, is a 2 page document preserved at the National Archives (2524, Nov. 30, 1875: D/.164/161-2). Report of Capt. John Dougherty to Lt. Col. Josiah Harmar of the 1st U.S. Infantry.  Dougherty had been sent with a squad of soldiers from Fort McIntosh to destroy the cabins of "squatters" on Indian land on the west side of the upper Ohio River.

[Scanner's note: This document scans essentially illegibly.  In addition to a list of names including a William Sparks, the document begins, "Report of the houses situated between Yellow Creek and the mouth of Muskingham (?) on the Ohio: destroyed by the detachment under the command of Captain John Dougherty:  (here begins list of names including the words "Mingo Bottom" across from the name William Sparks.  Near the bottom is what appears to be "Fort Hammar, 30 Nov, 1785."


[Here appears a map.  The image includes the caption.]

(View map)

Was William Sparks one of those who, after the first burning of their homes in 1785, fled "down the Ohio to the fertile lands of Kentucky?" We believe there are reasons to suggest that he was.

If the William Sparks who had "squatted" on land at Mingo Bottom on the west side of the Ohio River was the same William Sparks, Sr. who was in Bourbon County, Kentucky, as early as 1786, where had he been before coming to the Upper Ohio? Again, we have clues amounting to circumstantial evidence, but no specific documents to support them, but it seems highly probable, that he had come there from Washington County, Pennsylvania. Following is a summary of our knowledge of the William Sparks who, in 1713, had "squatted" on land in what would become Washington County, Pennsylvania, following the Degree of Trenton accepted by Congress to become effective in 1782.

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Scanned and Edited by Harold E. Sparks