"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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[Here appear two photographs, beneath which is the following caption:]



Born December 25, 1860 - Died January 21, 1952

Daughter of Stephen and Lucretia Jane (Sparks) Riggs

Granddaughter of Robert Thomas and Mary Ann (Wallingford) Sparks

(View photographs)



The Sparks Quarterly, published by the Sparks Family Association
John J. Carmichael, Jr., President, 3408 N. Rosewood Ave., Muncie, Indiana (47304-2025)

A. Harold Sparks, Vice President, 500 1st St. N., #303, Newton, Iowa (50208-3104)

Russell E. Bidlack, Secretary-Treasurer & Editor, 1709 Cherokee Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan (48104-4498)

The Sparks Family Association was founded in March 1953 as a non-profit organization devoted to assembling and preserving genealogical and historical materials pertaining to the Sparks Family in America. It is exempt from federal tax under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, Section 503(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 con tribute 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 of the Association and for $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 1953-57; 1958-62; 1963-67; 1968-72; 1973-77; 1978-82; 1983-87; 1988-92; and 1993-97. Each index is available for $5.00.

A complete file of all back issues of the Quarterly, including the nine in dexes, may be purchased for $350.00. The forty-seven years of the Quarterly (1953-2000) comprise a total of 5470 pages of Sparks Family History. The nine indexes (1953-97) amount to over 900 additional pages. An index for 1998-2002 will be published in 2003.  A table of contents is also available for $5.00. Comprising 72 pages, this lists the articles and collections of data appearing in the Quarterly between 1953 and 2000; it is updated at the end of each year. The International Standard Serial Number that has been assigned to the Quarterly is ISSN 0561-5445.

Orders for individual back issues of the Quarterly and 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; he has no E-Mail ad




In the QUARTERLY of September 1970, Whole No. 71, we published an article, beginning on page 1336, entitled "Caleb Sparks of Lewis and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky."   From a record found a number of years after this article appeared, we learned that Caleb Sparks had been born on December 3, 1786, in Bourbon County, Kentucky, and that he was a son of a William Sparks who had died in Fleming County, Kentucky, prior to February 10, 1800. It was on this date that Caleb and his brother, Joseph Sparks (born March 1, 1791), were apprenticed as orphans of William Sparks to William McCormack, a tanner by occupation, "to learn the business of tanning and currying." (Fleming County, where William Sparks had died, had been created from Mason County in 1798; Mason County had been created from Bourbon County in 1789.)


Caleb Sparks had been 14 years old when his father died and had been apprenticed to McCormack, while his brother, Joseph Sparks, had been 8 years old. As was then customary, each boy was to end his apprenticeship on his 21st birthday . (See the QUARTERLY of September 1980, Whole No.111, pp. 2240-41, for the Fleming County Court records pertaining to these two apprenticeships, as well as an explanation of the law then in effect in Kentucky regarding orphans and apprenticeships.)

In the QUARTERLY of March 1999, Whole No.185, beginning on page 5116, appears an article entitled "Where Did the Sparkses of Early Lewis County, Kentucky, Come From?" This article presented evidence that the grandfather of Caleb and Joseph Sparks, who was also named William Sparks, had been a son of Joseph and Mary Sparks, and that he (William) had been born in Queen Annes County, Maryland, on April 27, 1738. This William Sparks (born April 27, 1738) was a grandson of the English immigrant, William Sparks, born in or about 1646 in, we believe, Hampshire County, England, who died in Queen Annes County, Maryland, in 1709. (See the QUARTERLY of December 1992, Whole No. 160, for an article devoted to William Sparks, the immigrant, pp.4025-34.)

Caleb Sparks was married in Bourbon County, Kentucky, on October 19, 1805, to Rebecca Wilson, a daughter of Ephraim Wilson . They were the parents of as many as twelve children. Their second son was named Robert Thomas Sparks. As an adult, he was often called by his middle name, Thomas, but here we will refer to him by his full name except in quotations where he has been called Thomas Sparks .

A great-granddaughter of Robert Thomas Sparks, Eula May (Watters) Prince, born on September 27, 1908, who had done research on this branch of the Sparks family, was our principal source for the information on the family of Robert Thomas Sparks appearing in the QUARTERLY of September 1970.

According to Mrs. Prince, Robert Thomas Sparks was married, first, in the 1820s, to a woman (name unknown) who died not long after bearing a daughter. This daughter (name unknown) was believed to have been married to a man named Riggs and had lived in Lampasas, Texas. On April 22, 1830, Robert Thomas Sparks was married, second, to Mary Ann Wallingford in Lewis County, Kentucky.

On page 934 of the QUARTERLY for September 1965, Whole No. 51, we reported a number of marriage bonds for persons named Sparks in Lewis County, Kentucky, that had been copied and placed In the library of the Filson Club in Louisviile, Kentucky. Included in this record is the bond for Robert Thomas Sparks and Mary Ann Wallingford with the date January 8, 1830. This date had been copied incorrecfly, however, as is shown on the photographic copy obtained by Barbara H. Smith, a descendant of this couple, and reproduced on the following page . As seen, this proves that the marriage bond was actuaily dated April 19, 1830, three days before the marriage.

Some time late in the 1840s, Robert Thomas moved to Illinois, and when the 1850 census was taken, he was shown as heading his household in Henderson County, adjoining the Mississippi River. His name appeared as Thomas Sparks on this census, as it had in the record of his marriage to Mary Ann Wallingford . His age In 1850 was recorded as 40 and he was called a laborer. His wife was listed as Mary A. Sparks, age 30, but this was surely an error. She died on September 9, 1860, and on her gravestone her age appears as 45. She must have been at least 35 years old (not 30) when the 1850 census was taken.

Four children had been born to Robert Thomas and Mary Ann Sparks when the 1850 census was taken, as follows, all shown as having been born in Kentucky:

Although census takers were directed in 1850 to report the names only of those persons living in each household as of June 1, 1850, other records prove that for the household of Robert Thomas and Mary Ann Sparks, the census taker recorded the names and ages of all four of their childrn, even though the two oldest daughters, Catherine and Lucretia, had been married prior to 1850 and were living with their husbands when that census was taken: Catherine in Hancock County, Illinois, and Lucretia in Monroe County, Missouri . A fifth child, named Rebecca Jane Sparks, was born to Robert Thomas and Mary Ann in 1851.


According to the obituary of Catherine Sparks (she died in 1897), she had been born on November 9, 1831. It was In Adams County, Illinois, that she had been married; the record reads: "Kitty Ann Sparks and Noel Datin were married on Nov. 9, 1848." ("Datin" was normally spelled Dayton.) For the full text of her obituary, see pp. 1337-38 of the September 1970 issue of the QUARTERLY.  It is interesting to note that Mary Elizabeth Dayton, the eldest daughter of Noel Dayton, was married on May 18, 1844, in Monroe County, Missouri, to Samuel Riggs, a brother of Stephen Riggs . Stephen Riggs, as shown below, was married to Lucretia Sparks, sister of Catherine .

The exact date of birth of Lucretia Jane Sparks, second daughter of Robert Thomas and Mary Ann Sparks, has not been found.   In the September 1970 article cited above, Mrs. Prince, who descended from Ephraim Wilson Sparks (born November 8, 1846, died November 5, 1926, in Brady, Texas), brother of Catherine and Lucretia, was quoted as knowing only that Lucretla had been 16 in 1850, as recorded in the census of that year. A great-great-granddaugher of Lucretia, Barbara Helm Smith, has found, a record of Lucretia's marriage to Stephen Riggs in Adams County, Illinois, dated November 18, 1848. Stephen Riggs was a son of Nathaniel and Rachel (Weldon) Riggs. (We noted above that Stephen's brother, Samuel Riggs, was married to Mary Elizabeth Dayton.) Ms. Smith has found, also, that Lucretia and her husband were living in Monroe County, Missouri, when the 1850 census was taken, being members of Stephen Riggs's mother's household, as follows:

Riggs, Rachel  53  F  Real Estate $1,000  Born in Kentucky
    "      Elizabeth  19 F    "     "  Missouri 
    "       Rebecca 16 F    "     "  Missouri 
    "      Mary A. 13 F    "     "  Missouri 
    "      Stephen 21 M    "     "   Kentucky
    "      Lucretia 16 F    "     "   Missouri 
As noted earlier, Lucretia's age had been given also as 16 in the enumeration of her father's family on the 1850 census of Henderson County, Illinois, although, as noted, both she and her sister Catherine were no longer living with their parents at that time . On the above census, both Rachel Riggs and her son, Stephen Riggs, were shown as unable to read or write, although in later years Stephen signed his name on legal documents . Elizabeth, Mary A., and Lucretia (Sparks) Riggs were shown as having attended school at sometime during the previous year.
A brother of Stephen Riggs, named Leonard Riggs, was shown on the 1850 census of Monroe County, Missouri, as heading a household immediately following that of Rachel Riggs; he was 17 years old, born In Missouri, with wife Malicia A. Riggs, age 16, a native of Kentucky; they had been married within the year. Living with Leonard and Malicia was 8-year-old, David Baker, born in Missouri.


Looking at a map showing the location of the counties of Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri with which Robert Thomas Sparks had or became associated, one may speculate that when he moved west with his family from Kentucky, they probably traveled on, or along, the Ohio River to Its mouth where it joins the Mississippi River, then north on, or along, the Mississippi. Whether the family's destination had been Henderson County in Illinois on the Mississippi, or whether it was there that they happened to settle, in either case they would have passed, perhaps paused for a while, along the river in Adams County where Lucretia Sparks was married to Stephen Riggs and her sister, Catherine ["Kitty Ann"], to Noel Datin (Dayton) just nine days apart, in 1848. (Hancock County lies between Adams and Henderson Counties.) Monroe County, Missouri, where Lucretia Sparks was living with her husband in 1850 in the Rachel Riggs household, is in the second tier of Missouri counties, southwest of Adams County, Illinois.

As noted earlier, it is Barbara Helm Smith who has traced Lucretia to the 1850 census of Monroe County, Missouri, thus proving that neither Lucretia nor her sister, Catherine, were actually living with their parents in Henderson County, Illinois, in 1850, even though the census so indicated.

Although Robert Thomas and Mary Ann (Wallingford) Sparks were living with their younger children in Henderson County, Illinois, when an 1850 census taker came to their home on September 30, they soon thereafter moved to adjoining Hancock County, and it was there that their last daughter, Rebecca Jane Sparks, was born. It was there, also, that Mary Ann died on September 9, 1860, at Dallas City.  Robert Thomas Sparks continued to live In Hancock County for the remainder of his life . When the 1880 census was taken, he was shown there in the household of his daughter, Sarah Ann, and her husband, Henry Gilbreth. He was called Thomas Sparks by the census taker in 1880 as in 1850. When he died in 1889, his obituary was published in a Dallas City newspaper, a clipping of which was copied for us by Eula May Prince many years ago:

ROBERT THOMAS SPARKS was born in 1808, died March 19, 1889, age 81 yrs. He was married to Miss Mary Ann Wallingford, in his native county, April 22, 1830. To them six children were born, five daughters and one son, four of whom survive him . These are: Catharine [sic] (Kittie) Ann Dayton, Nauvoo, Ill.; Sarah Gilbert, Dallas City, Ill.; Ephraim Sparks, Brady, Texas; and Rebecca Jane Walker of Carman, Ill. His wife died Sept. 9, 1860. He came to Illinois about the year 1848, and has lived continually in Dallas City since 1851. He was an ardent Republican and was one of the few pioneers who voted for both the Harrisons. He was never so happy as when arguing politics. When he was 12 yrs. old he was afflicted with white swelling, which settled into chronic rheumatism when he was about 20 years old. From that time on he was a constant sufferer of the disease until some fifteen years ago. The funeral was preached from the residence, by Rev . Herzier, at 3 o'clock Wed. afternoon. The remains were laid to rest beside his wife in the East Cemetery. The family desire no flowers. Dallas City, Ill.
It was shortly after the birth in 1851 of Stephen and Lucretia (Sparks) Riggs's first child, named Martha E. Riggs, that Stephen and Lucretia moved with their baby to Bell County, Texas . Stephen was among those who signed a petition dated November 29, 1853, to create a new county from a portion of Bell County. In 1854, a new county was, indeed, cut off from Bell County and called Coryell County, and it was there, in Plum Creek Beat, that Stephen and Lucretia spent the rest of their lives . Leonville was their post office address .

Lucretia bore five additional children after moving to Texas, the last being a son, Stephen B . Riggs, born February 23, 1863. Both Stephen and Lucretia had died by March 1863. According to Barbara Helm Smith, one family source indicates that both Stephen and Lucretia died of typhoid fever. On the other hand, their daughter, Lucretia Jane ("Jennie") Riggs, is reported as having stated: "Papa went off to war and never came back."


 Lucretia Jane was Ms. Smith's great-grandmother; her great-grandfather was James Gwinn Helm . Ms . Smith, however, has found no record, of Stephen Riggs serving in the Civil War. It is from the papers in the settlement of the estate of Stephen Riggs in Coryell County, Texas, in March 1863, that we know that both he and Lucretia were deceased by that date .

On March 30, 1863, the justices of the Coryell County, Texas, Court appointed Thomas Bertrong as "guardian of the person and property of the minor heirs of Stephen Riggs, Deceased, to wit Martha E., Mary A., John W., Rachel, Jane and Stephen Riggs [Jr.], All minors under the age of Fourteen years old..." [From p.274 of Coryell County Probate Record.]

The following information regarding the children of Stephen and Lucretia (Sparks) Riggs has been provided by Barbara Helm Smith, mentioned above. Her address is 5115 Bowman Rd., Kennedale, Texas, 76060. Ms. Smith would welcome any further
information regarding Lucretia and her children that a reader might provide .


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

Mary Ann (Riggs) Royal
Daughter of Stephen and 
Lucretia (Sparks) Riggs
Lucretia Jane (Riggs) Helm
Stephen B. Riggs (1863-1949)
Daughter and son of Stephen and Lucretia (Sparks) Riggs

(View photographs)

Barbara Helm Smith has been able to provide little Information regarding the life of John W. Riggs, son of Stephen and Lucretia (Sparks) Riggs, born in 1856. (See page 5559.) He seems to have led a rather unconventional life according to two stories she has shared with us.

Here is some information about John W. Riggs which was told to me by Joe Helm, a grandson of Lucretia Jane (Riggs) Helm. Joe Helm's family (Frank, Essie, Joe, and Bill) took a trip to Tularosa, New Mexico, when he was a young boy, about 1932. They visited with his grand-uncle, John W. Riggs, who was camped out on a river near Carlsbad, New Mexico. Joe advised that John W. Riggs later operated a livery stable on the Pecos Highway southeast of Carlsbad. Joe stated that John had only one leg, and he was referred to as "Peg Leg Riggs" by some people .

Nancy Bible told me that Lucretla Jane (Riggs) Helm visited her brother, John W. Riggs, while he lived in New Mexico. He lived in a house with dirt floors. Jennie related that a rug covered the dirt floor, and while she was visiting John, and he was away for a short time, Jennie decided to take up the rug and take it outside to shake it. When she took up the rug, Jennie got the shock of her life . There was a human skele ton partially exposed in the dirt . Jennie was so frightened that she stayed outside until John returned, at which time she told him what she had found.

John explained that the skeleton had been there a long time and had originally been buried deeper. Wear and sweeping the dirt had exposed the skeleton. John said to Jennie: "Now Jennie, that man has been buried there for a long time; no need to worry; just leave him to rest." John returned the rug to the inside of the house, covered up the skeleton, and that was the end of the story. We believe that John W. Riggs died near Carlsbad, New Mexico.

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We regret to report the death on February 26, 2001, of one of our long-time and most generous members, William R. Haas, Sr. of La Grange, Tennessee. His widow, Ann George Haas, has shared with us the following obituary written by John Semien for a local newspaper.

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

William R. Haas, Sr.

(View photograph)

Retired Northwest Airlines pilot William Robert 'Billy Bob' Haas, who coolly guided an airline jet hijacked by three gunmen to Cuba in 1972, died Monday of heart failure . Mr . Haas, a resident of La Grange, was 72. He died at Methodist Hospital of Fayette County in Somerville .

In November 1972, Mr. Haas was piloting a Southern Airway jet out of Memphis when it was hijacked by three gunmen after a stop at Birmingham . There were 27 passengers on the plane, along with the two pilots and two flight attendants. The gunmen demanded $10 million, flak vests and food and drink. They held grenades to the pilots' heads and shoved guns in their faces . . But even after FBI agents shot out the plane's tires, Mr. Haas flew the DC9 to Cuba, where it landed on a foam-covered runway in Havana and the hijackers were apprehended.

A co-pilot was shot in the shoulder, but no one was killed during the three-day ordeal in which Haas made nine stops, including two in Havana. Retired Northwest pilot Bill Himmelreich, a long-time friend of Mr . Haas', called him "a cool, calm pilot.".  "If you were going to have a three-day, marathon hijacking, this was the man you would want on the flight,"  Himmelreich said Monday. Mr. Haas, who later wrote a book about his experience [Odyssey of Terror, 1977] also lobbied Congress for increased airport security and passenger screemng.

Before becoming a pilot, he served In the Marine Corps and Army.  He flew for Southern Airlines and Northwest Airlines before retiring in 1986. Mr . Haas was a Methodist and active in the Airline Pilots Association . He once served as Master Executive Council chairman for Southern Airways in Memphis . He also was an alderman in La Grange for several years and was vice-mayor when he died.

Mr . Haas leaves his wife, Ann George Haas of La Grange, and one daughter, Elizabeth Haas of Memphis; four sons, William Haas, Jr., of Cleveland, Tenn., Gerry Steven Haas of Murfreesboro, Tenn., James Dalton Haas of Somerville, and John Garner Haas of Goodlettsville, Tenn., and a sister, Frances Elizabeth Haas Clifton of College Grove, Tenn.



[Here appear two photographs, beside which is the following caption:]

Photographs of the gravestones of
Cornelius and Susannah (Stevens) Sparks
in a burial plot on land once owned by them in
Buchanan Township, Berrien County, Michigan.

(View photograph)      (View photograph)

In the SPARKS QUARTERLY of March 1978, Whole No.101, we published an article devoted to Cornelius and Susannah (Stevens) Sparks and their eleven children. Cornelius Sparks was born on June 11, 1789, the eldest child of David and Mary (Little) Sparks, in Rowan County, North Carolina. The marriage bond for Cornelius and Susannah was issued in Rowan County on December 14, 1812, and we can be sure that they were married either on that day or soon thereafter. Susannah, who had been born in Rowan County on October 28, 1794, was a daughter of Spencer Stevens (sometimes spelled Stephens) and his wife, Elizabeth Robard (also spelled Rupert) . David Sparks, father of Cornelius, had been born about 1768, a son of Jonas and Elizabeth Sparks.  Jonas Sparks, a son of Joseph and Mary Sparks of Frederick County, Maryland, had migrated with other Sparks relatives to the Forks of the Yadkin in North Carolina in 1754. Jonas was a grandson of the English immigrant who died in Queen Annes County, Maryland, in 1709.


Cornelius and Susannah Sparks left North Carolina by ox-cart in October 1814 with their first child, nine-month-old Joseph Sparks, and accompanied by Susannah'sparents and other Stevens family members . According to family tradition, the reason for Cornelius'migration north was his objection to slavery . In 1828, by which time he and Susannah had eight children, they moved again, this time to Michigan Territory, settling in what would become Niles Township in Berrien County . When Susannah bore her ninth child, Wilson Sparks, on April 19, 1830, he was only the second white child born in Berrien County.

Unfortunately, the tract of land on which Cornelius "squatted,"with the expectation that later he. could purchase It from the U. S. Government, proved to be part of a section designated as "school land," and he had to move over the line into Buchanan Township, in 1831. It was there that he and Susannah spent the remainder of their lives . They were the parents of eleven children, all of whom grew to adulthood, and five lived to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. They were:

Susannah (Stevens) Sparks died in 1861. A great-great-granddaughter, Jean E. Sparks Ducey, has shared with us a short obituary of Susannah preserved as a clipping from a local newspaper:
DIED, Mrs. Susanna Sparks, consort of Cornelius Sparks of this Village, on Thursday morning the 25th inst. The deceased was 67 years old and had lived with her husband for almost fifty years. She united with the Christian Church about twenty years since, of which she was a faithful member until her death . She left a husband, nine children, and a large number of friends to mourn her loss. She died with a well formed hope of blessed immortality beyond the grave .
Cornelius Sparks died on August 17, 1862. Both he and Susannah were buried in a plot on their farm in Berrien County, near the town of Buchanan, Michigan.

As noted in the QUARTERLY of March 1978, cited above, Loretta B . Bingham of Battle Creek, Michigan, then a member of our Association, recalled that she had sought and had located the burial plot of Cornelius and Susannah on what was then called the Chamberlin Farm. She described it as overgrown and neglected, but that. she had found the gravestone of Cornelius "lying flat and broken in half." Althbugh the owners of the farm In 1968 could recall once seeing Susannah's stone beside that of Cqrnelius, Ms. Blngham did not find it. A number of years later, she shared with us a somewhat blurred photograph she had taken of Cornelius' stone, which we have reproduced on the previous page. The inscription reads:

Our Father
Cornelius Sparks
Aug. 17, 1862


Jean E. Sparks Ducey, whose great-grandfather was Levi Sparks (1823-1900), the sixth child of Cornelius and Susannah Sparks, recently located the Sparks burial plot as had Ms . Bingham some thirty years earlier . While unable to find the stone for Cornelius, as Ms. Bingham had done In 1968, Mrs. Ducey found that of Susannah and has provided us with the photograph on page 5563. Part of the inscription on Susannah's stone remains legible, as follows:

Our Mother
Sussanna Sparks
Wife of
Cornelius Sparks

Account by Jean E. Sparks Ducey

Thirty years ago, my husband and I set out to find the graves of Cornelius and Susannah Sparks. I knew they were near a hill, perhaps behind a large farm house.
We saw a field in such a location, planted, except for a stand of trees .  We asked at a nearby farm if there were graves within those trees.  They were pleased to find that someone in the family was interested .
We walked back and found that the iron fence my grandmother, Mrs. Edwin Sparks, (born January 21, 1867), had had erected was missing.  The stone for Cornelius was erect, but that of Susannah was broken and leaning against his . Unfortunately, we had no camera with us.  We intended to return, but never did.
This past summer, when my sons were visiting, they were determined to help me find the graves again . We saw a straggly bunch of trees, but I was certain this could not be the same lovely spot that I remembered. The boys insisted that we go back, and we found the stone for Cornehus was now missing; only that of Susannah remained, leaning against a tree trunk.
The large house nearby had belonged to Burton Jarvis, husband of Elizabeth Sparks, daughter of Cornelius and Susannah, married on January 2, 1840. This is likely why those graves were behind the Jarvis home, on the hill, on land once owned by Cornelius Sparks.

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


[Editor's Note: We are grateful to Lillian Peterka of Swisher, Iowa, for the foflowing abstracts of obituaries on file in the Poweshiek County, Iowa, Historical Society in Montezuma, Iowa.]

Bessie Sparks, age 99, daughter of Arend and Jennie Pietersma Jelsma, born February 27, 1894, died May 30, 1993, at Lynnville, Iowa; married to Glen Sparks on May 1, 1919; one daughter, Minerva Genevieve. Burial In Woodland Cemetery, Lynnville.

Harold Sparks (clipping, undated), of El Cajon, California, formerly of Grinnell, Iowa, died January 19, in El Cajon. He was born February 7, 1927, in Grinnell.  Retired from the U.S. Navy.  Survived by wife and four children and his mother, Beulah Sparks, all of El Cajon.


Blanche Sparks, age 95, daughter of Louis and Louise Renaud Scull, born December 21, 1904, Lynnville, Iowa; died February 26, 2000, Grinnell, Iowa; married Miliard D. Sparks May 29, 1929, children: James Sparks of Newton, Iowa; Katherine Wilmer of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Maida Dunwoody of Iowa Falls, Iowa. Burial in Woodland Cemetery, Lynnville, Iowa.

BeuIah M. Sparks, age 83, daughter of Lawrence and Emma Yount Bench, born September 1, 1906, in Paris, Arkansas; died March 11, 1989, at Lemon Grove, California; married to Donald Sparks on August 29, 1931, in Unionville, Missouri; one son, Harold Sparks . Lived in Grinnell, Iowa, many years; burial in Hazelwood Cemetery, Grinnell, Iowa.

Daisy Sparks, age 84, daughter of Noble J. and Mary Jane Bicknell Border Fugard; born July 19, 1907, in Des Moines, Iowa; died June 29, 1991, in Newton, Iowa; married George Brown on June 3, 1925, in Grinnell, Iowa; married Elmer D. Sparks on March 2, 1944, in Troy, Kansas. Survived by children of first marriage and step-children; preceded in death by both husbands; burial in Newton Union Cemetery.

Doyle Sparks, son of Ralph and Effle Sparks, born February 6, 1907, at Lynnviile, Iowa; died November 18, 1963, in Newton, Iowa; married March 30, 1932, to Alfreda Bettis, at Bethany, Missouri. Children: Larry Sparks, Mrs. Duane Sonquist of Garner, Iowa, one son deceased. Survived by mother, Effle Sparks, of Newton; brothers: Albert, Elmer, and L. M. Sparks of Newton, brother Clair Sparks of Boone, Iowa, sister, Mrs. Charles Stotts, of Danville, Illinois. Burial in Memorial Park Cemetery, Newton, Iowa.

Elsie Mae Sparks, age 83, daughter of Ed and Myrtle Elliot Sparks, born April 29, 1007, near Lynnville, Iowa; died September 7, 1990, at Grinnell, Iowa. Survived by sisters: Lucille Sparks, Edna Copeland, and Blanche Sparks; and by brothers:  Kenneth, Floyd, Lloyd of Lynnville, Ed of Harlan, Iowa, and one brother is deceased. Burial in Woodland Cemetery, Lynnville, Iowa.

Jerry Sparks, Funeral at New Sharon, Iowa; clipping dated July 2, 1917. Veteran of the Civil War, and about eighty years old, died Thursday at his home in New Sharon. Funeral services held Sunday at New Sharon. The deceased was widely respected. He was a prominent Odd Fellow and member of'the G.A.R. His wife died a number of years ago. One daughter, Mrs. Maud Newell, north of New Sharon, and one son who lives In the west, survive . Deceased was a relative of the Ewart family of Ewart, Grinnell, and Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Johm R. Sparks, Clipping date September 1, 1886. The long expected death of John R. Sparks, the pioneer settler of Jasper County, Iowa, occurred August 17, 1886, at his home near Lynnville, Iowa. He was born March 16, 1806, and moved to this county in 1815 where he resided until his death . In looking over the history of this early settler, we find that he erected the first log cabin in the town of Lynnville, he established the first grist mill at that place, he kept the first post office in this part of the country, the first preaching in the neighborhood took place at his home, and the first school was taught in his kitchen. He was a member of the M . E. Chixrch and was an Influential citizen .

Kenneth Asa Sparks, age 88, son of Ed and Myrtle Elliot Sparks, born November 23, 1908, at Lynnville, Iowa; died June 6, 1997, at Newton, Iowa. He was married on June 5, 1941, to Dorothy Davis in Lynnville. Survived by wife; daughters Carolyn Norman of Linwood, Kansas; Marjorie Sparks of Des Moines, Iowa, and Nancy Berk of Overland Park, Kansas; brothers: Floyd, Lloyd of Lynnville; Ed., Jr. of Harlan, Iowa; sisters: Lucille Sparks and Edna Copeland of Lynnville. Preceded in death by son, Keith; brother(Millard; sister, Elsie Sparks. Burial in Woodland Cemetery, Lynnville, Iowa.


Laura Eldora Sparks, age 48 years, 11 months, and 4 days, daughter of Jesse and Nancy Michael Head, born January 27, 1868, south of Grinnell, died December 31, 1916, at Grinnell. She was married to Barton Sparks on February 14, 1886. Nine children, three daughters died young. Survived by husband and daughters: Mrs. George Wisecarver of Grinnell, Iowa, Mrs . Charley Mitchell of Iowa City, Iowa, Mrs . Finley Blande of Des Moines, Iowa; and sons: Jimmie, Merle, and Donald Sparks of Grinnell. Burial Blue Point Cemetery.

Lottie Sparks, age 88; daughter of Andrew J. and Mary Belle Brechtbill Stanford; born August 23, 1901, near Gilman, Iowa; died in April 1990 at Toledo, Iowa. She was married in September 1922 to Lester Sparks of Marshalltown. They lived in Marshall, Tama, and Jasper Counties, then moved to West Allis, Wisconsin. Her husband died in 1952, and in 1980 she moved to Toledo, Iowa. No immediate survivors.

Merle V. Sparks, age 85; daughter of Benjamin and Catherine Keener; born November 3, 1904, at Wapello, Iowa, died March 15, 1990, at Grinnell, Iowa. She was married on February 14, 1928, to Dwight A. Sparks of Marshalltown, Iowa; moved to Lynnville, Iowa, in 1933. Children: Frances Thomas of Fresno, California, Marilyn Burnham of Grinnell, Iowa, and Roger Sparks of Manassas, Virginia. Burial Woodland Cemetery, Lynnville, Iowa.

Olive Duffus Sparks, age 83, daughter of Margaret and Alexander Duffus; born January 25, 1879, near Malcom, Iowa; died July 10, 1962, at Des Moines, Iowa. She was married in 1905 to Harry Sparks; he died in 1912. One son, Delmar Sparks of Des Moines, Iowa. Burial Masonic - IOOF Cemetery, Montezuma, Iowa.

Perry Sparks, age 63. He died January 7, 1937, at Lynnville, Iowa. Burial Lynnville Cemetery.

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William Sparks to Mary Delany (Delaney), May 6, 1831 (page 1)

John Delany to Sarah Sparks, March 20, 1834 (page 3)

Milton Sparks to Amanda Howell, March 14, 1835 (page 4)

Robert Sparks to Martha Percy, April 1, 1841 (page 16)

Obediah Pinkston to Nancy Sparks, February 16, 1843 (page 22)

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William Sparks to Emeline Davis, January 4, 1844

James W. Joslin to Eminne Davis Sparks, August 18, 1858



Ms . Jessie Jeffries seeks information regarding the parentage of Stephen Alexander Sparks, her great-great-grandfather, who seems to have used his middle name, i.e., Alexander Sparks, rather than his full name . Family records indicate that he was born in March 1846, in Washington County, Missouri. He served in Company F, 16th Regiment of Missouri Cavalry, on the Union side in the Civil War, as shown in his application for a U.S. pension in 1890. (An abstract of his pension file preserved at the National Archives was published In the QUARTERLY of September 1970, pp.1349-50. He had served under the name Alexander Sparks.)

Alexander Sparks, as he seems to have been called, was married twice . He was married (first) to Mary Rose who had died in 1869 at Richwoods in Washington County, Missouri, and (second) to Alice Abigail Lucas. This second marriage took place in Franklin County, Missouri, on December 2, 1874. By his first wife, he was the father of two children according to his pension records: Chris Sparks, born in 1866, and William Sparks, born In 1868. By his second wife, who was called.  "Abby," he was the father of eight children: John Sparks, born 1875; Abby Sparks, born 1877; Alex Sparks, born 1881; Luly Sparks, born 1888; Eugene Sparks, born 1890; Blanch Sparks, born 1892; Mary Sparks, born 1895; and Gracie Sparks, born 1898.

Stephen Alexander Sparks (or Alexander Sparks) died in Washington County, Missouri, on November 4, 1903. His second wife, Abby (Lucas) Sparks, then received a widow's pension following his death; she died on February 11, 1911.

When the 1850 census was taken in Washington County, Missouri, the only Sparks household listed was that headed by Elijah Sparks, age 57, a native of North Carolina. His wife, Nancy, age 53, had been born in South Carolina, according to this census record. (See the QUARTERLY of March 1985, Whole No. 129, p.2723.) Although Stephen Alexander Sparks was not listed in the household of Elijah and Nancy Sparks in 1850, we wonder whether the census taker may simply have missed him.

Anyone having knowledge of this branch of the Sparks family is urged to write to Jessie Jeffries, 9458 Ranch Lane, Shreveport, Louisiana (71106), with a copy to the editor of the QUARTERLY.

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Peg Wilson, 2904 W. Rancho Dr., Phoenix, Arizona (85017) writes: "I am trying to find a William F. Sparks that was born in Monroe County, MO. I don't have any dates or location of his death . Only information that I have is he was married to Emily J. Sinkler on February 28, 1897, and she died on December 1, 1937. She was buried in the Sunset Cemetery in Madison, MO. If anyone has any information, I would really appreciate it."


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


(View photograph)

Born on July 4, 1907, in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Jack Burton Sparks, Sr. died in his 94th year on December 14, 2000, at his home in Renton, Washington. He had been an enthusiastic, and "generous member"of our Association for over 40 years His widow, Ina Ree Curless Sparks, has sent us the photograph reproduced above. Jack and Ina were the parents of five children: sons Jack B . Sparks, Jr. and Michael 0. Sparks, and daughters Louanna R. Cook, Marla K. Wright, and Lynette J. Sparks. There are eighteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Jack was a descendant of Richard Sparks (born ca.1725, died ca.1792) of Middlesex County, New Jersey, and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, about whom we published all our known facts In the QUARTERLY of December 1971, Whole No. 76. It was Richard Sparks's son, Walter Sparks (ca.1760-ca.1827/30) and wife Phoebe, who were Jack's gr.-gr.-gr.-grandparents. An article featuring Walter Sparks was published in the QUARTERLY of December 1987, Whole No.140.

A charming eulogy for his father was delivered at his funeral by Jack B . Sparks, Jr.  The portion of this tribute pertaining to his father's youth is quoted below:

I am proud to be here today to talk about my Dad . I am also pleased that this will perhaps be the first time I get the final word on Dad.

Dad was born July 4th, 1907, in Muskogee, Indian Territory, Oklahoma. He always reminded us that he was not born on a reservation, but rather in Indian Territory of the Muskogee Tribe of Creek Indians. Oklahoma became a state later that same year of 1907.


He was born to Ada Louise Lewis Sparks and John Burton Sparks. An old Indian doctor who placed him in a sheet, which was hung on the bedpost, delivered Dad. The Indian doctor was not proficient at baby delivery and did not tie his umbilical cord. When the regular doctor arrived (by horse and buggy) and, checked him out, the doctor found that Dad had lost a lot of blood and remarked that, if he lived, he would be a runt. And Dad was a runt. He peaked out at 5' 4" (about 4' 8" in the end). As a baby he was so small that he fit into a cigar box. Dad always said he was short because of the umbilical cord thing . When we were older, however, we noticed that two of Dad's sisters were even shorter than he was;, They were not delivered by an old Indian doctor who failed to tie off their umbilical cords.

Dad's early years were spent In Oklahoma and Kansas. When he was young, he worked with his father helping build houses. Dad drove a team of horses hauling sand, gravel and lumber for his dad. His parents divorced, leaving him to work to support his mother and three sisters before he was a teenager. Dad's fatherless family moved to Kent, Washington, in 1924, where he finished high school, graduating in 1928 (he started school late due to health reasons) . As small as he was, Dad played football and participated in track and wrestling. Dad also enjoyed radios and electronics . The first radio he ever owned was one he built himself. Upon graduation, he Immediately went into electronics. He furthered his education in electronics at Oklahoma A&M and at MIT in his military days . While working on an electric motor and cleaning it with gasoline, someone plugged the motor in, resulting in an explosion . The explosion burned off his hair. At least that's how Dad explained his baldness.

Dad kept busy. In addition to electronics, he worked for a number of years as a volunteer fireman for the Kent Fire Department.  He learned to fly and flew a biplane. When young, he could scale the side of a building and walk a tight rope . Many of the stories Dad told us were from his years in the National Guard. He joined the Guard in 1925, before finishing high school, and served for 14 years.

His first time driving a car occurred when his friend took Dad along with him to Seattle to meet his ship going to Alaska. The friend took off running to catch the ship and threw Dad the keys to his Model T Ford and said, "Take it home." Dad hollered back, "I don't know how to drive!" The friend hurried back, told Dad quickly how to use the pedals and gears, and dashed off again to board the boat . Dad said he finally got the car going and drove it all the way back to Kent, driving along the gutter. The next day a friend at the Fire Station said, "I saw you driving a car along the gutter. I didn't know you could drive." Dad replied, "I couldn't until I got in it."  The friend asked if he had any trouble driving. Dad replied, "Only keeping it pointing in the right direction."

Dad was a dedicated member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. He had two friends, Moritz Marlow and Paul Dahlberg, one a member of the LDS Church and the other a member of the Reorganized LDS Church. Much discussion ensued back and forth. Finally, Moritz gave Dad a Book of Mormon, which he read. He received a testimony of this book and was baptized a member of the LDS Church on August 6, 1933....



By Craig M. Kilby

[Editor's Note: We are most grateful to Craig M. Kilby of Chesterfield, Missouri, for the following article correcting an article published in the QUARTERLY in 1956. For clarity, we provide this introductory note. In the QUARTERLY of June 1956 entitled " The Sparks Family of Orange, Culpeper and Madison Counties, Virginia," we included information on Thomas Sparks (died 1787), a son of John and Mary Sparks. We noted that Thomas Sparks had been married to Mary Towles, daughter of Stokeley and Ann (Vallott) Towles, born November 1, 1723. On pages 136-7, we listed the nine children of Thomas and Mary as named in Thomas' will dated December 10, 1784. We added information about each of them as best we could in 1956. We noted that the second child of Thomas and Mary Sparks was Ann Sparks, the name used by Thomas in his will. We know now that Ann was a nickname used by her father for her actual name, Nancy Sparks . We erroneously stated that she had been married to Jacob Aylor (page 156). As Mr. Kilby proves in the following article, Nancy (Ann) Sparks was married to Jarvis Smith.

[We identified Frankey Sparks, named as a daughter in the will of Thomas Sparks in 1794, as "apparently unmarried" when her father prepared his will. As Mr. Kilby points out, "Frankey" was a nickname for "Frances," and it was Frances (Frankey), not her sister, Nancy (Ann), who became the wife of Jacob Aylor.]

The 1836 suit in Madison County, Virginia, entitled Clark Administrators vs. Towles Executors provides the missing information. [Madison Co. Chancery File #45.] Since Thomas Sparks had married Mary Towles, a daughter of Stokeley Towles, her heirs were entitled to proceeds from the estate of her much younger half-brother, Henry Towles. Among those named in the court summons of 7 Jan. 1841 were the daughters and their husbands of Thomas & Mary Sparks, who are given as Jacob Aylor and Frances his wife, Jarvis Smith and Nancy his wife, Russell Vawter and Mary his wife, and James Kilby and Lucy his wife (James Kilby married Lucy Sparks before 1770). A second summons dated 18 Oct. 1844, in lieu of Jacob and Frances Aylor, names Merry Aylor, Bluford Aylor, Thomas Aylor, Martin Aylor, William Hitt and Polly his wife, Evans Wilhoite and Rhoda his wife . Not listed are Aaron, Ephraim, Elzy Aylor, or Nancy Aylor who married Caleb Wilhoite in 1812. There is no explanation as to why the Aylor genealogy does not give Bluford Aylor as a son of Jacob Aylor .


The error in stating [in the Aylor genealogy] that Jacob Aylor married Frances Murray arose because of the statement of Jacob in Mark Finks' Revolutionary War pension application that refers to his brother-in-law, Lt. James Murray . The relationship arose, not because Jacob's wife was a Murray but because Jacob's sister, Susannah, married James Murray.
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[Editor's Note: From time to time, we have been publishing abstracts ot pension files for Union soldiers who served in the Civil War . (Confederate soldiers could not qualify for federal pensions.) A great many Union veterans, or their widows (sometimes their parents and their children), received pensions from the U.S. Government based on their poqr health and/or financial need resulting from their military service. Congress was increasingly generous in providing pensions for Civil War veterans and their widows as the years went by, and as their numbers became smaller. The organization known as the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was a powerful lobby in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in obtaining benefits ,for its members and their families .

[The papers comprising each applicant's file, including rejected applications, are preserved at the National Archives In Washington, D.C., and many of them contain fascinating information, not only about the nature of the individual's military service, but about his family as well.

[We have an index of all of the pension files for persons named Sparks that was compiled for us many years ago. Using a special form provided by the National Archives, and for a fee of $14.00, one can request copies of what are called the "selected papers" from a given file . These are the papers in the file, usually not more than ten sheets, that have been selected because they are the papers thought to be most significant from a genealogical point of view . It is also possible to obtain photocopies of the papers in an individual's "non-selected file" as well, but the fee for this separate collection is $37 .00. In most instances, the papers in the "non-selected files" are of a rather routine nature, but sometimes they can be quite helpful, especially where the veteran or his widow had difficulty proving his service, identity, or relationship, and when neighbors, former army comrades, or relatives, were called upon for depositions .

[In the QUARTERLY of September 1967, Whole No.59, we began publishing abstracts of the "selected flles" of Union soldiers named Sparks. We will continue to use these as space permits, adding editorial notes of any genealogical information that we may have regarding the soldier and his family. We now continue this series on the following page.]


LOT [OR LOTT] G. SPARKS, son of Stephen and Asenith [or Asenath] Sparks, was born on July 4, 1836, in Rush County, Indiana. He died on December 6 [or 7], 1906, at McLouth, Kansas. He was married to Rachel M. Townsend. He served in Company D,11th Regiment Kansas Cavalry. File Designation: Inv.Cert.No. 551,340.
A copy of the original pension application of Lot G. Sparks was not included in the "selected papers" received from his pension file, but apparently he made his first declaration for a pension about December 1883. On December 30, 1883, the War Department sent information about his military service to the Bureau of Pensions . Sparks had been enrolled on October 22, 1863, in Company D, 11th Regiment Kansas Cavalry for three years. He was mustered out of service with his company at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on September 13, 1865. The company records showed him as sick on several occasions of short duration, but the nature of his illnesses was not stated .

Apparently Lot G. Sparks was not placed on the pension rolls after his original application was made, for on December 28, 1889, J. W. Shrader, age 47, and L. D. Casebier, age 54, residents of Oskaloosa, Jefferson County, Kansas, made a joint affidavit that after Sparks had returned from the service "he claimed to be suffering from chronic diarrhea, and he looked pale and sickly and complained of feeling badly." Sometime after that date, Sparks was placed on the pension rolls under Invalid Cert ficate No. 551,340, but we have not learned the date of issuance nor the amount of his pension.

On September 16, 1891, Sparks applied for an increase in his pension under the 1890 Act of Congress. He stated that he was still suffering from chronic diarrhea which was of a permanent nature and which was not a result of any "vicious habits." He stated that he was now 55 years of age; he was 5 feet, 9 inches tall; and when he had entered service his hair had been black and his eyes blue. He appointed George E. Lemon of Washington, D.C., as his attorney to aid him in getting the increase .  S. D. Reynolds and Wm. Stout witnessed his mark.  G. J. Minney, age 79, and R. W. Reynolds, age 50, residents of McLouth, Kansas, testified that Sparks had "no vicious habits."

On May 4, 1898, Sparks responded to the questionnaire that was sent to all Civil War pensioners by the Bureau of Pensions . He stated that he had been married to Rachel M. Townsend at Perry, Kansas, by Washington Bufflngton. It had been his first marriage and they had had no children. He did not give the date of the marriage.

When Lot G. Sparks died on December 6, 1906, he was living at McLouth, Kansas. He was then receiving a pension of $12.00 per month.

[Editor's Note: For further details on the branch of the . Sparks family to which Lot G. Sparks belonged, see pages 1457-65 of the March 1972 issue of the QUARTERLY, Whole No. 77. A photograph of Stephen Sparks (1808-1899), father of Lot G. Sparks, with Lot's brother, Francis Marion Sparks, appears on page 1459.]

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JOSEPH SPARKS was born on March 14, 1844, in Marion County, Ohio. He was a son of Samuel and Lucinda [or Malinda, or Clarinda] (Comstock) Sparks. He was married to Elizabeth Dufield on February 13, 1866, in Peoria County, Illinois. He died on September 20, 1877, in Harrison County, Missouri. He served in Company E, 112th Regiment Illinois Infantry. File Designations: Inv.Cert.No. 69,488; Wid.Cert.No. 179,928; Minor Cert.No. 185,796.


On June, 26, 1865, Joseph Sparks, claiming to be 24 years old, a resident of Stark County, Illinois, completed a "Claim for Invalid Pension." He stated that he had been enrolled on August 12, 1862, at Wyoming, Stark County, Illinois, in Company E (commanded by Capt. Otman) of the 112th Regiment Illinois Infantry (commanded by Col . Henderson), and that he had served until he had been discharged at Quincy, Illinois, on June 22, 1865. On August 6, 1864, at the Battle of Atlanta, Georgia, he had received a gunshot wound in the small of his back, and the shot had come out through his right hip. As a result of this injury, he was now unable to perform manual labor . He appointed Austin N McGrindley of Quincy, Illinois, as his attorney to aid him in obtaining a pension. Marchus A. Campbell and George W. Griffin, residents of Adams County, Illinois, witnessed his signature, and his statement was sworn to before Ebenezer B . Barker, Judge of Adams County, Illinois.

On December 6, 1865, Cranmer W. Brown completed an "Officer's Certificate to Disability of Soldier."   He certified that on August 6, 1864, at which time he had been a first lieutenant in command of Company E, 112th Regiment Illinois Infantry, of which Joseph Sparks was a member. At the Battle of Utoy Creek near Atlanta, Sparks had received a gunshot wound in his back and right hip . Prior to this in jury, Sparks had been in good health and physical condition .

Invalid Certificate No. 69,488 was issued to Joseph Sparks, and he was placed upon the pension roll at $8.00 per month. On February 13, 1866, he was married to Elizabeth Dufield in Peoria County, Illinois. Within a year or two, they had moved to Harrison County, Missouri .

On October 13, 1875, when a surgeon named Jackson Walker examined him in Harrison County, Missouri, as required by the Pension Office for continuing his pension, he was pronounced to be totally disabled. Dr. Walker also stated that he was 5 feet, 6 inches tall, that he weighed 128 pounds, that he had a dark complexion, and that he was 32 years old.

Joseph Sparks applied for an increase in his pension on August 16, 1877, stating that "on account of his wound through his back and the pain arising therefrom, he is and has been for about six weeks, confined to his bed and entirely incapacitated for manual labor and is entirely dependant upon the personal aid and attendance of others." His witnesses for this document were Dr. Jackson Walker and John William Wright.

Joseph Sparks died on September 20, 1877, in Harrison County, Missouri. Dr. Jackson Walker and Dr. R. H. Vanderwert made affidavits following his death, stating that the cause of his death had been the gunshot wound that he had received in the Civil War. His pension was $16.00 per month at the time of his death.

On Octpber 3, 1877, Elizabeth Sparks, age 29 years, a resident of Harrison County, Missouri, applied for a widow's pension. She stated that she was the widow of Joseph Sparks who had died on September 20, 1877. They had been married on February 13, 1866, in Peoria County, Illinois, by John C . Yates, Judge of Peoria County, and that she had been married under her maiden name of Elizabeth Dufield. Neither she nor Sparks had been previously married. The surviving children born to this marriage, and who were under the age of sixteen years at the time of her husband's death, were:

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