THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION
“He who careth not from whence he came, careth little whither he goeth.” Daniel Webeter
|VOL. VI, NO. 1||MARCH, 1958||WHOLE NO. 21a|
|Index||Next Page||Previous Page||Previous Whole No.|
[NOTE: Here appear 2 photographs, beneath which are the following captions:]
|THOMAS HUNTER SPARKS
Son of Martin Peeples Sparks
Born in Morgan County, Georgia
September 1, 1814
Died near Arkadelphia, Arkansas
September 13, 1863
|ANN (LINTON) SPARKS
Second wife of Thomas Hunter Sparks
Daughter of Dr. Alexander B. Linton
Born in Greene County, Georgia
October 17, 1827
Died in Rome, Georgia, May 3, 1895
|THE SPARKS QUARTERLY, published by The Sparks Family Association.
Paul E. Sparks, President, 155
N. Hite Ave., Louisville 6, Kentucky
The Sparks Family Association was founded in March, 1953, as a non-profit organization devoted to the assembling of and preserving for posterity all genealogical and historical material pertaining to the Sparks family in America. Membership in the Association is open, to all persons connected in any way with the Sparks family, whether by blood, marriage, or adoption, and especially to those interested in genealogical and historical research. Membership falls into three classes: Active, Contributing., and Sustaining. Active membership dues are two dollars per year; Contributing membership dues are three dollars per year; Sustaining membership dues are any amount over three dollars. All members, whether Active, Contributing, or Sustaining, receive THE SPARKS QUARTERLY as it is published in March, June, September, and December. Libraries, genealogical and historical societies, and individuals may subscribe to the QUARTERLY without joining the Association, at the rate of two dollars per year. Back issues are kept in print and are available for fifty cents per issue. The first issue of the QUARTERLY was published in March, 1953. The editor from March, 1953, to September, 1954, was Paul E. Sparks; since September, 1954, the editor has been Russell E. Bidlack.
A HISTORY OF THE MARTIN P. SPARKS & THOMAS H. SPARKS FAMILIES
By Charles H. Smith & Russell E. Bidlack
Martin Peoples Sparks was born July 18, 1786. The place of his birth has not been determined, nor has his parentage been established. It is evident from official records, however, that he was closely associated throughout his life with Jeremiah Sparks of Morgan County, Georgia. Jeremiah Sparks was born sometime between 1760 and 1770 (on the 1830 census of Morgan County he was listed as between 60 and 70 years of age). Jeremiah Sparks died in 1841, leaving a will which he had written in 1839 and in which he mentioned one son, Carter Walton Sparks (1797-1877).
Martin P. Sparks, Jeremiah Sparks, and Carter W. Sparks all lived in Morgan County, Georgia, on adjoining land. There has been disagreement among descendants regarding the exact relationship between Martin P. and Carter W. Sparks. The grandchildren of Martin P.Sparks called Carter W. Sparks “Uncle Carter,” but in nearly every family there are instances where this title has been used to show love and respect rather than an exact relationship. A short time before he died, William Daniel Sparks, a grandson of Martin P. Sparks, stated that Carter W. Sparks was a brother of Martin P. Sparks. A granddaughter of Carter, Fanny Harper, also believed that they were brothers. She further stated that they had a sister named Sarah, born in 1805, who married a Williams in 1823, and another sister who married a Hunter and was called “Aunt Hunter.” In his will, however, Jeremiah Sparks mentioned only one son, Carter W. Sparks, along with three daughters, Malinda Arnold, Milly Crane, and Nancy Crane, and two grandsons, Joshua Patrick and Ezekiel Partee. The fact that Martin P. Sparks had died two years prior to the date on which Jeremiah wrote his will (October 11, 1839) could account for Jeremiah’s making no reference to him, although it would seem that Jeremiah would have made some mention of Martin’s widow and son, if he were
[NOTE: Page 273 of Whole No. 21 consists of two photographs with the following captions:]
ELIZABETH (WHATLEY) SPARKS, 1795-1870
Wife of Martin Peeples Sparks
BURIAL PLOT ON THE SPARKS PLANTATION
IN CEDAR VALLEY
(On the right is the grave of Martin P. Sparks; on the
left is that of his wife, Elizabeth (Whatley) Sparks
Martin’s father. Furthermore, the name “Jeremiah” has never been used by descendants of Martin P. Sparks. The names “Martin” and “Peeples” were probably derived from the surnames of either relatives or close friends of the family, but no connections have been discovered thus far. Information concerning Martin and Peeples connections will be appreciated. (The will of Jeremiah Sparks, dated October 11, 1839, and probated January 4, 1841, along with a record of Carter W. Sparks arxl his descendants, will appear in a later issue of the Quarterly.)
The earliest official record found thus far which pertains to Martin P. Sparks is a deed executed in Morgan County, Georgia, on November 6, 1810, by which Martin P. Sparks purchased from Charles M. Lin (who was the guardian of Nancy Cooper and James Cooper, orphans of Thomas Cooper), Lot 294, District 20, containing 202 1/2 acres on Sandy Creek in Morgan County. He paid $1002 for this tract of land and was designated in the deed as being a resident of Morgan County. Section 20 is located in the north-west corner of Morgan County, and from subsequent deeds it is evident that Martin P. Sparks lived in this area, although he later owned land, not only in other parts of the County, but in other sections of Georgia as well. His home seems to have been located on Hard Labor Creek, slightly south of Sandy Creek, not far from the present town of Madison. The earliest deed on record in Morgan County pertaining to Jeremiah Sparks is dated July 8, 1811, by which he purchased 202 1/2 acres on Hard Labor Creek from John Shephard. Martin P. Sparks was a witness to this deed.
From the numerous deeds recorded in Morgan County, in which Martin P. Sparks bought and sold land, it is evident that he was a man of means. (Following is a list of the names of persons with whom we have record of his financial dealings: Charles M. Lin, Elisha Sims, Daniel Pynes, Joseph Patrick, Carter W. Sparks, Daniel Whitaker, John Harris, Laird Duke, Benjamin Williams, William H. Jones, John F. Thompson, Henry H. Cook, James C. Cook, William Cox, Judge W. Harris, John Towler, William Porter, Jefferson Burney, Charles H. Walton, heirs of John Franklin, Michael What ley, Jr., Benjamin Butler, and Hampton Whatley.) In 1826 he was the administrator of the estate of George Sanders.
When the 1820 census was taken of Morgan County, Martin P. Sparks was listed as the owner of ten slaves; ten years later, when the 1830 census was taken, he owned twenty-four slaves. On the 1832 tax list of Morgan County, he was listed as the owner of twenty-two slaves, a town lot, and a total of 3,033 acres of land, 960 1/2 acres of which were in Morgan County. (His land outside Morgan County was located in the following Georgia Counties: Baldwin, Monroe, Houston, Troup, Dooly, Lee, Muscogee, and Gwinnett.) He was also taxed in 1832 for one carriage.
Martin P. Sparks was sheriff of Morgan County from January 13, 1818, to January 14, 1820, and from January 9, 1822, until January, 1824. By tradition, the office of sheriff in the Southern States was a post of considerable honor, dating back to Colonial times when the sheriff was appointed by the governor and was the chief executive of the county. It is evident that Martin P. Sparks was a man of stature in his community to have been elected twice to fill this important post. He also represented Morgan County in the Georgia House of Representatives in 1832, 1833, and 1834. It would seem that the background of Sheriff Sparks, also as State Representative, should be of Historical Record in Morgan County, but none has been found.
Little is known of the personal life of Martin P. Sparks, nor is a photograph of him believed to exist. There is a legend handed down in the family that, while sheriff, he paid a substitute fifty dollars to hang a condemned murderer. This one incident reveals an important side of his character.
On December 2, 1810, Martin P. Sparks was married to Elizabeth Whatley, who was born July 28, 1795; she died in Athens, Georgia, September 4, 1870, at the home of Anne Lint on Sparks, widow of her son, Thomas H. Sparks. Elizabeth Whatley is believed to have been a daughter of Oman and Judith Whatley. Oman Whatley, a Revolutionary War soldier from North Carolina, was born May 8, 1751, in North Carolina, and died December 1, 1798, in Georgia. His wife, Judith, whose maiden name has not been found, was born February 8, 1751, and died November 4, 1842. Following the Revolution, they lived in Wilkes County, Georgia, and later moved to Greene County, which borders Morgan County. (Oman and Judith Whatley had a son, Michael Whatley, born August 26, 1789, who married Elizabeth Peeples in Greene County, Georgia, and a son, Burrell Whatley, born December 23, 1781, died December 22, 1805, who married Caroline Matilda Hunter.)
Martin P. and Elizabeth (whatley) Sparks were the parents of three children, only one of whom reached maturity. These children were:
(1) Leonidas Sparks,
born August 31, 1812; died September 19, 1812.
(2) Thomas Hunter Sparks, born September 1, 1814; died September 13, 1863.
(3) Nancy Sparks, born Mary 31, 1817; died August 2, 1827.
On several occasions when new land was opened for settlement in Georgia, distribution was made through what wore called “land lotteries.” Under this system, families which had resided in the State for a year or more were permitted to “draw” for various sized acreages. In 1820, Martin P. Sparks drew 93 acres in Habersham County. In 1831, the State of Georgia acquired by purchase a vast area of land formerly belonging to the Cherokee Indians. On December 3, 1832, this land was divided into ten counties and a lottery was set up. Martin P. Sparks drew a “Gold Lot” of 40 acres in Cobb County (Lot 477, District 16). One of the counties created from these Cherokee lands was Paulding County, the western half of which later (1851) became Polk County. It was to this section which eventually became Polk County that Martin P. Sparks moved with his family about 1836. He settled near the present town of Cedartown in an area called Cedar Valley. Mrs. Lucy Young Hawkins, in her History of the First Baptist Church of Cedartown, Georgia, 1935, stated: “Cedar Valley became known soon after the Cherokee Purchase in 1832 as the richest land in the newly acquired territory. It immediately attracted the attention of some Virginia families who had previously settled in Middle Georgia counties. It reminded them greatly of lands in Old Dominion. These were wealthy people for that time, as wealth then consisted of large families, many slaves, and land. Thus the people lost no time in buying up the Valley lands, erecting crude houses and slave quarters.”
Martin P. Sparks died on June 8, 1837, within a year after moving to Paulding County, and he was buried in a stone-enclosed plot on his plantation. His death was apparently sudden, for he did not leave a will. Thomas H. Sparks became the administrator of his father’s estate and, on August 16, 1845, sold what remained of his father’s property in Morgan County to John W. Porter. This property, which may have been the home place, consisted of 150 acres on Hard Labor Creek and adjoined land owned by John Toler, deceased, Terrell Speed, and John W. Porter. According to the deed, Martin P. Sparks had purchased part of it (Lot 206) from Charles H. Walton and part (50 acres of Lot 106) from the heirs of John Franklin. Provision was made in the deed to reserve “one rod square around the grave of Reubin Lively.” Who Reubin Lively may have been has not been discovered.
Following the death of Martin P. Sparks, his widow, Elizabeth (Whatley) Sparks, made her home with the family of her son, Thomas H. Sparks. Following her son’s death on September 13, 1863, she continued to live with her daughter-in-law until her own death on September 4, 1870, in Athens, Georgia. Those who knew her remembered
Elizabeth (Whatley) Sparks as a saintly mother and a model Christian. She was an active member of the First Baptist Church of Cedartown while living in Cedar Valley, contributing twenty-five dollars toward the erection of a new church in 1845. She lies buried beside her husband in the plantation plot in Cedar Valley. As can be seen in the accompanying photograph, these graves are covered by boxed white marble slabs, with a slab covering the entire grave, on which the epitaphs are chiseled. The inscription on the grave of Martin P. Sparks reads: “SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF MARTIN P. SPARKS, Born July 18, 1786, Died June 8, 1837. AGE 50 years, 10 months, 20 days.” The inscription on the grave of his wife reads: “IN MEMORY OF ELIZABETH WHATLEY SPARKS relict of M. P. Sparks. Born July 23, 1795. Died September 4, 1870. A MOTHER IN ISRAEL - BLESSED BE HER NAME.”
(Editor’s Note: It is requested that any member of THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION having knowledge of the ancestors of Martin P. Sparks and/or Elizabeth Whatley share it with the Association and Major Charles H. Smith.)
THOMAS HUNTER SPARKS (1814-1863)
Thomas Hunter Sparks, the only child of Martin P. Sparks to reach maturity, was born September 1, 1814, in Morgan County, Georgia. If Martin P. Sparks did have a sister who married a Hunter, as was mentioned earlier, it was doubtless in honor of her that he gave his son the middle name “Hunter.” Thomas Hunter Sparks’ name first appears on the official records of Morgan County on November 24, 1835, when he witnessed a deed by which Martin P. Sparks sold land to John Harris and Judge W. Harris. On the day following his twentieth birthday, September 1, 1834, Thomas H. Sparks was married in Morgan County to Mary Ann Leonard, the daughter of James P. Leonard. The marriage is recorded in the family Bible, as follows: “Thomas H. Sparks and Mary Ann Leonard were married the 2nd of Sept. 1834 at candle Lighting in evening, at Mr. Vann Leonard’s in Morgan Co. by the Revd. Lovick Pierce, D.D.”. She was born January 14, 1818, and was thus only sixteen years of age at the time of her marriage.. About 1836, Thomas H. Sparks and his wife moved, with his father, to Paulding County. On June 8, 1837, Martin P. Sparks died, leaving his son, a youth of twenty-two years, as head of the household. Two years later, on October 18, 1839, Mary Ann died, leaving Thomas H. Sparks with a two-year-old daughter, Medora, and an infant son, James, only seven days old. Mary Ann (Leonard) Sparks was buried in the stone-enclosed plot on the Cedar Valley plantation near the grave of her father-in-law. The inscription on her stone reads: “SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF MARY ANN, WIFE OF THOMAS H. SPARKS, A DAUGHTER OF JAMES P. LEONARD. Born June 14, 1818 and died October 18th, 1839. Age 20 years, 9 months and one day.”
In time, Thomas Hunter Sparks realized the need for a companion and helpmeet, not only for himself, but for motherless Medora and James. To that end he courted an eligible lady in his old home district in Morgan County. Following mutual commitments, he returned to claim the lady. However, becoming averse to venturing into a new community without friends, she reversed her intentions. Returning alone to Cedar Valley, he stopped overnight with old friends, “Uncle Billy and Aunt Sally Daniel,” who lived in Greene County. It happened that at the time of his arrival, “Uncle Billy’s” niece was hanging curtains in the parlor. Her domestic ability and obvious gentility impressed him, winning his admiration. The young lady was Ann Linton. Her mother had died when she was twenty-two months old and she had become the ward of her “Uncle Billy” Daniel, her mother’s brother. The family Bible of Thomas H. Sparks records the results of his chance meeting with Ann Linton: “Thos. H. Sparks & Ann Linton were married the 25th of February 1845 - 11 1/2 o’clock A.M. Tuesday at Mrs. Sarah Linton’s, near Penfield, by the Revd. Joseph Baker, D.D.”. (Note: Mrs. Sarah Linton, at whose home the couple were married, was the second wife of Dr. A. B. Linton, father of Ann.)
[NOTE: Page 277 of Whole No. 21 consists
of three photographs with the following captions:]
PHOTO OF THE HOME OF THOMAS HUNTER SPARKS
IN CEDAR VALLEY, MORGAN COUNTY,
TAKEN ON JUNE 15, 1915. IT HAS SINCE BEEN BURNED, ONLY THE BRICK KITCHEN REMAINS.
This photograph was probably taken
shortly before the beginning of the
War Between the States
This photograph was taken in Rome,
Georgia, sometime after the death of
her husband, Thomas Hunter Sparks.
Ann (Linton) Sparks was of the gentility on both sides. Born on October 17, 1827, she was the daughter of Dr. Alexander Brown Linton (born August 10, 1783, died December 4, 1838) and Jane Daniel (born February 28, 1789; died August 16, 1829). Dr. Linton and Jane Daniel were married on November 21, 1811. Dr. Linton was a son of Samuel Linton of Abbeville District, South Carolina (born August 17, 1755; died December, 1826), and his wife, Ruth Brown, who is believed to have been from Pennsylvania. Samuel Linton served as Quartermaster, Wade Hampton’s Regiment, Sumpter’s Brigade, South Carolina Troops, during the Revolution. Dr. Alexander Linton served as a Surgeon during the War of 1812. He and his first wife, Jane (Daniel) Linton, were the parents of the following children: Dr. John S., Mary H., Samuel, William Alexander, James T., Ruth, and Ann. Of that group, only a daughter of Dr. John S. Linton survives, “Miss Lucy”, who passed her ninety-third birthday on June 13, 1957. Born of the gentility, devoid of ostentation, a “Lady”. Dr. Alexander Brown Linton married as his second wife Sarah (Cheney) Faver, widow of John Faver, Jr. According to the marriage contract, neither was to benefit by the other’s estate. She died June 15, 1850, and was buried at Penfield, Georgia. Her impressive stone of base and shaft records: “In memory of Mrs. Sarah Linton, who died June 15, 1850, in the 61st year of her age. She had been 16 years a member of the Baptist Church and an ample Christian. There remaineth, therefore, a rest to the people of God.”
Dr. Alexander Brown Linton and his wife, Jane (Daniel) Linton, were first buried in the old cemetery at Athens, (Georgia) across Jackson Street from the east side of the University campus. In time it became neglected and desecrated. Mr. Hal Linton, brother of "Miss Lucy," bought a lot in the new Oconee Hill Cemetery and had their remains, together with their tombstones, transferred to the new lot. On the white marble memorials covering their entire graves are chiseled: “In memory of Jane Linton, consort of Dr. A. B. Linton, who departed this life on the 29th of August, 1829, Aged 40 years and 6 months.” “In full assurance of a blessed immortality beyond the grave.” (Note: The date of her death as recorded in the family Bible is Sunday, 16th of August 1829; the stone is incorrect. C.H.S.) Dr. Linton’s stone reads: “Sacred to the memory of Dr. Alexander B. Linton, who departed this life on the 4th of December, 1838. Aged 55 years. He lived a life of usefulness and died the death of a Christian.” Dr. A. B. Linton and members of his family pioneered in railroad and cotton mill construction and paper mill development. [Note: For more on "Miss Lucy" and corrections made here, see page 314.]
Following the marriage of Thomas H. Sparks and Ann Linton in 1845, an architect from Athens was employed to visit Cedar Valley and rehabilitate the old homestead. From the accompanying print, it appears that he met with some degree of success. In those days, this home was denominated a “mansion.” Since the accompanying picture was taken (1915), the house has burned. The customary outside brick kitchen still stands, but the box-wood hedges aligning the walk, from the front gate to the house, now lead to a modest frame cottage instead of a memorable legacy of the past: a tragic reflection.
Thomas Hunter Sparks had children by both of his wives. Following is a list of these children as their births were recorded in the family Bible. (A more complete account of them and their descendents will appear in a later issue of the Quarterly.)
Children of Thomas
H. and Mary Ann (Leonard) Sparks:
(1) Martha A. M. E. T. Sparks was born on the 27th April, 1836.
(2) Medora Newton Sparks was born 16th August, 1837.
(3) James Martin Sparks was born 11th Oct. 1839.
Children of Thomas
H. and Aim (Linton) Sparks:
(4) Linton Sparks was born 18th Jan. 1846, 3 o’clock A.M. Sunday.
(5) Sarah Jane Sparks was born 13th Augt. 1848, 8 o’clock P.M. Sunday.
(6) Thos. Hunter Sparks, Jr. was born 22nd April 1850, Monday morning, about 5 o’clock.
(names of children continued on next page)
Children of Thomas H. and Aim (Linton) Sparks, continued:
(7) Win. Daniel Sparks was born 3rd Sept. 1851, 5 o’clock A.M., Saturday.
(8) Carter Whatley Sparks was born 17th Feb. 1853, at 6 o’clock, Wednesday evening.
(9) Samuel Peeples Sparks was born 28th Dec. 1854, at 9 o’clock Thursday morning.
(10) John Veasey Sparks was born 16th Mar. 1856, between 12 & 1 o’clock Sunday.
(11) Alexander Sparks was born 29th Aug. 1857, about 3 o’clock Saturday evening.
(12) Mary Elizabeth Sparks was born 1st Novr. 1859, 20 minutes after 12 AM Tuesday.
(13) Annie Elizabeth Towns Sparks was born Saturday 7 o’clock PM, the 29th of Decr.
(14) Charles Sankey Sparks was born Wednesday the 8th July, 1863, 6 o’clock in the evening in Clark Co.,Arkansas.
(Note: With the exception of Charles Sankey Sparks, all of the children were born in Cedar Valley.)
This story of the family of Thomas Hunter Sparks must of necessity be limited to the disclosures made by contributing sources - both sunshine and shadows; they constitute life without respect for its abode or quality of its actors. Unfortunately for this generation, the Martin P. and Thomas H. Sparks code of ethics was to live what they professed, not to broadcast it. As a result, family lore was almost a muted subject, in spite of its inspirational example.
Thomas Hunter Sparks became head of the family when his father, Martin P. Sparks, died in 1837. He inherited his father’s property, including the plantation in Cedar Valley. Although only twenty-two years old at the time, he became Justice of the Inferior Court of Paulding County on January 20, 1837, continuing to hold the office until January 14, 1841. In 1838 he represented Paulding County in the Georgia House of Representatives. When the 1850 census was taken, his property was valued at $25,000. Ten years later, when the 1860 census was taken, his real estate was valued at $75,000, and his personal property at $50,000. He owned 90 slaves on June 20, 1860, 48 of which were males, ranging in age from one month to 50 years, and 42 females ranging from two months to 50 years of age. “Judge Sparks”, as he was locally known, was highly respected, his neighbors and others frequently calling upon him to settle disagreements. He was recognized as a man of honor and unpurchaseable.
Although generous with loans, he rarely required evidence, assuming that if his creditors were honest, they would pay. If unable to pay or dishonest, he preferred to forget and not sacrifice his good opinions. Those were times when men were as good as their word, and integrity in flower. But once during their married years did he venture disapproval of his wife Ann, and then when she expressed astonishment at the questionable conduct of an acquaintance. He gave vent to surprise at her comments.
The community of Cedartown built a school in Cave Spring, to which the Sparkses contributed, with the understanding that if alcoholic liquors were ever sold in the town, the property would revert to the donors or their heirs. None has been sold there to this day. On March 5, 1856, a charter was issued to the Woodland Female Academy in Cedartown; Thomas H. Sparks was listed as a trustee. The history of the First Baptist Church of Cedartown records that among those contributing to an edifice built in 1845 (costing $1000 and having “a commodious slave gallery”) were: Thomas Sparks $75, and Elizabeth Sparks, his mother, $25. This history also notes that in 1860, “Mr. Thomas Sparks sold his plantation and mansion to Marcus Burm, of Twiggs County. Mr. Sparks, with his pioneer spirit, moved westward to Arkansas.”
The story of how Thomas H. Sparks sold his plantation is intriguing. It occurred that Marcus Burm was enamored with the Sparks Plantation and on numerous occasions conjured what price would buy it. Invariably, it was not for sale. However, the story goes that the two met unexpectedly in Cedartown on a busy day, shortly before the Civil War began, when Mr. Bunn took occasion to again propound his question - “What price today, Judge Sparks?” Hoping to end his importunities, the “Judge” answered: “Fifty thousand dollars in gold, in cash,” believing the price prohibitive. “SOLD!” was the reply. Legend had it “a shock and a blow.” Returning to the plantation, the “Judge” confessed, “Wife, I have sold the place.” (It was their custom to address each other as “Wife” or “Husband,” evidencing mutual respect). It being his first portentious decision without consulting her, she suggested he ask Mr. Bunn to release him from his commitment. He replied: “I have given my word.” To honor his word, he sacrificed his home. (It has recently been found that the condition of “Fifty thousand in gold, in cash” was a legend. There is on record in the Court House at Cedartown the detailed terms of payment, which was cash only.) Was it this “unfortunate” meeting that resulted in the family’s moving from Georgia to Arkansas, and the seemingly premature death of Thomas H. Sparks?
Two vest pocket memorandum books kept by Thomas Hunter Sparks (now the property of Charles H. Smith), which came into possession of his son, William Daniel Sparks, after the death of his mother, Ann (Linton) Sparks, were recovered from the historic 1926 Florida flood, soaked and yellowed, at Punta Gorda, Florida. The entries vary from detail to sketchy and cover planting, reaping, selling, purchases, trips, produce left for stock and hogs, loans and repayments, and finally, references to his Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas investments. It is plantation life of a century ago and intriguing reading. The fact that three land scouting trips to Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Arkansas were made during the decade preceding the sale of the Cedar Valley Plantation suggests that the legendary element of surprise is pure fiction, unless the retention of “Cedar Valley” was also contemplated. No one is ieft who knows. Each trip had its distinctive flavor and is penned in infinite detail. Trips to Madison, Augusta, Richmond, and a resort spring in Tennessee are also recorded. In Richmond, slaves were bought, their names and prices paid being listed. The mid-western trips were made in mid-winter, requiring that he spend Christmas and New Years away from home. Expenditures are listed to the penny, newspapers and lemonade, paragoric and the three “R’s” (Radway’s Ready Relief, “A Sure Cure”). No item was too small to account for and none too large.
One diary records that on April 6, 1861, he, Thomas H. Sparks, purchased from Michael Bozeman two tracts of land, totaling 2,240 acres in Clark County, Arkansas, for which he paid $12,000. Soon after this purchase, the family left the comforts of Cedar Valley to become pioneers in an expected “Promised Land.” Upon arrival in Arkansas, they lived in a temporary house, remote from society. Sarah Jane Sparks, second child and eldest daughter, was in her fourteenth year and her younger brother, Thomas, in his twelfth. In order to attend school, it was necessary for them to go to Texas, a distance of 150 miles, where a school was taught by a Mr. Sparks (not related). The distance was covered on horseback, nights being spent with friends and acquaintances along the way. Of such was the maturity of youth in bygone days.
(This sketch of Thomas Hunter Sparks and his family will be continued in the June issue of the Quarterly)
FORESCORE AND SIX YEARS, (MINUS), CONDENSED BY CHARLES H. SMITH, CO-AUTHOR WITH EDITOR RUSSELL E. BIDLACK OF THE MARTIN PEEPLES SPARKS STORY
(This brief is submitted to the members of The Sparks Family Association, at the request of Editor Bidlack. While I concede “PRIDE” in my ANCESTRY and the LEGACIES left me, I lay no claim to having equaled their prestige or accomplishments, nor have I transgressed their “LIMELIGHT”. To LIVE IN REFLECTION is to CROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE IN THE DARK. Please exonerate me of ego. For some twenty years, I kept under the glass on my office desk a card reading: “Of all humanity since time began, only about five thousand amounted to anything.” The longer providence extends my years, the more am I impressed with the inferiority of superiority.)
My mother was SARAH JANE SPARKS, who, according to the family Bible, was “born 13th Augt., 1848, 8 o’clock P.M. Sunday,” on the Cedar Valley Plantation, Polk County, Georgia. She was the second child and eldest daughter of Thomas Hunter Sparks - (Planter) - and his second wife, Ann Linton. A family Bible entry reads: “Sara Jane Sparks to H. M. Smith on May 17th, 1871, Athens, Georgia, at home - by Rev. F. H. Ivey.” Contrast this with an item in the Southern Watchman, of Athens, Georgia, on May 24, 1871, reading: “Married: in Athens, on the 17th inst. by Rev. H. F. Ivey, Mr. Hines M. Smith, of Rome, Ga., to Miss Sallie T. Sparks.”
My father, Hines Maguire Smith (eldest son of Major Charles Henry Smith - “Bill Arp”, C.S.A. - and Mary Octavia Hutchins, both born in Lawrenceville, Georgia) was born in Lawrenceville on January 19, 1859, in connection with which he claimed that “Two great men were born on that date- himself and General Robert E. Lee.” My name was fixed by “automation.” It happened that I arrived at the home of my Grandmother Sparks in Athens, Georgia, on June 15, 1872 - the 46th birthday of my Grandfather Smith. Of such is “automation.” In due time, I was taken to Rome, Georgia, the home of my father’s people, where Grandmother Sparks acquired a cottage next door, into which my parents moved, assuming a just share of the expenses. When seven years of age, I entered “MRS. WRIGHT’S PRIVATE SCHOOL” (there was no public school for several years), where my home teaching enabled me to “carry on” with some degree of success. Mrs. Wright was a little lady of the gentility and taught practical formality. On entering the school room in the morning we were required to remove our hats at the door, make a bow, and say “Bonjour, Madam;” on leaving, to face about at the door and bow with a “Bon soir’, Madam” - the only French I ever learned except “A la carte” and “A la mode.” The school was in the same block, but across the street from the home of the Rev. S. E. Axson, father of Ellen Louise (“Miss Ellie Lou”), first wife of Woodrow Wilson. It was at Mrs. Wright’s school that Tom Jeffries drew ELEPHANTS, which I envied; and Will Tuggs gyrated his ears “with the greatest of ease.” Charlie Seay sold and bought advertising cards for pins. His sister Susie, a brunette, was my nemesis in spelling bouts, while pretty blonde Annie from across the street was known as “Cottonhead” on account of her golden hair - by no means chivalrous. “Bah-who” was the “co-educational” recess game. Children took pride in their dress, and parents took pride in their children. The girls were pretty and decorous, and the boys correspondingly polite. Soon my younger brother, LINTON, and I completed the curriculum at Mrs. Wright’s, and we entered the “PRIMARY DEPARTMENT” at Shorter College, in Rome - a Baptist School for Girls where, “through special dispensation,” “little boys” were accepted at a price (there being no other school for them). From “Shorter” we transferred to Prof. Bothwell Graham’s boys’ school of more advanced teaching. This recalls that “HUCK” (Charlie) Patton, a red-headed, freckled-faced, older boy (“Huck”) because of having been Huckleberry Finn in a Tom Sawyer play, condensed by “Bill Amp” from Mark Twain’s story. It drew packed houses. The character of “Tom” was played by
Cothran Smith, now known as the evangelist, Wade C. Smith). “Huck” was the school’s professional marble—shooter for either “FUN” or “KEEPS”. To pocket a dozen “Peewees” during one game was commonplace - only one of his many accomplishments, pro and con. It was on the Graham playground that a “flying ginny,” motivated by a spotless white horse of rare beauty, “parked” for a time. To decoy riders, a onelegged follower made balloon flights, hanging to a trapeeze, performing accrobatics. It was my first sight of a balloon larger than a circus vender’s model at ten cents each. It time, Rome decided to build a public school on “Water Tower Hill.” It required much supplication to induce Mr. Landrum, the painter, to permit me to apply some of his green paint to the inner sides of the louver boards in the belfry. When the school opened, I entered the Fourth Grade. Prof. Graham became principal, the most lucid mathematics teacher I ever had. He had the talent of claffifying (sic) arithmetic, geometry, and algebra. I was suspended for receiving help during a verbal Latin quiz. So was my cousin, Will Norton, for helping me. We were sent home for one hour. I never accepted help again. It was a lasting lesson. The fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades followed, the preparatory and High School grades being integrated (not the races).
In 1888, I became MESSENGER BOY, at $10 per month, for Colonel Charles I. Graves, Freight Agent for the E.T.V. & G. Railroad (now part of the Southern). The Colonel had previously trained the Egyptian Army for a period of five years. In the summer of 1889, out of a clear sky and entirely unexpected, my brother Linton and I were instructed to prepare to enter Auburn that fall, September, 1889. After hurdling the entrance examination, we lived in uniforms for four years, graduating on June 14, 1893, I “with distinction,” as Second-ranking Cadet Captain, and a member of the first class in Electrical Engineering to graduate from Auburn. It was taught by the late Prof. Anthony Foster MeKissick, E.E., a man of superior mind and understanding. The day following graduation, June 15th, I joined my parents, brothers, and sister in Cartersville, Georgia, and celebrated my twenty-first birthday with my grandfather, “Bill Amp,” who on that date attained his sixty-seventh year.
For some unaccountable reason, the faculty at Auburn recommended me for an inspection position covering eight south-eastern states with The Fire Insurance Association. As a consequence of technicalities, I was employed - later being informed that I had thirty-five competitors. At the end of eight months, having completed the scheduled work, I was no longer needed. The minutes of the meeting of the Executive Board record that my work was “entirely satisfactory.”
Following a period of applying and waiting (graduates were not handed jobs on silverplatters in those days), Professor McKissick, still at Auburn, influenced Mr. D. A, Tompkins, Westinghouse agent in Charlotte, North Carolina, to approach Vice President Bannister of Westinghouse in my behalf. I subsequently received a letter suggesting that I report at Pittsburgh, “Salary to be arranged later.” (I had been paid $100 and expenses by the Insurance Association.) On arrival, I was bluntly informed that my “SALARY” would be twelve cents per hour, apprentice rate, fifty-four hours per week. Although surprised and disappointed, I had “BOASTED” of going to work for Westinghouse, so I took my medicine. (By working overtime three nights a week and walking a mile each way, to and from work, and gormandizing on ten-cent lunches, I managed to survive on my $26 income.) After three months, “my salary” was increased to sixteen cents per hour (the greatest percentage increase I ever received at any time). By continuing the three nights overtime, at straight time, I finally accumulated an eight-dollar surplus and bought a needed pair of dress trousers, my income being forty-two dollars per month. It was at this time that the Company was moving from Pittsburgh to East Pittsburgh. I wound armatures, maintained incandescent and arc lights, became an inspector of coils, and finally apprentice helper to a selfmade construction engineer named William Bauder. To him I owe much. He was capable,
dependable, and a perfectionist. He taught me that superior workmanship not only became a habit, but also reduced costs. That the “extra touch” - too often neglected - pays off. My first outside job completed and my ability thought increased, I requested an increase from 16 cents to 25 cents an hour. This was refused. It happened that the Cotton States Exposition in Atlanta needed electrical help. I became Chief Electrical Inspector, at seventy-five dollars per month. The work included locating all decorative lights and the calculation of circuits. The overall engineering authority was Charles F. Foster, of national distinction as head of the Mechanical Department of the Chicago World’s Fair, in 1893; a good man to know and remember. We met again at the St. Louis Exposition, approximately a decade later. In this connection, Luther Steringer, who designed the electric fountains for the Chicago Fair (a personal friend of Edison’s) was employed to design the fountain for the Atlanta Exposition. He too was able and likeable.
My next employment was that of Electrical Engineer for a Coal Company in Alabama among the first to electrically equip their mines. After recovering their motordriven cutters from the junk pile, rebuilding an electric locomotive, and bringing order out of chaos - THERE BEING NO FUTURE - I resigned. Odd jobs followed, which included a wooden lattice bridge of 120 ft. span and 16 ft. width, supported by stone abutments on both sides of the creek. It should prove of interest to note that the lattice timbers were two inches by twelve inches, by thirty-six feet, free of knots, sun cracks, and sap, cut from trees selected by me, and delivered at the bridge site for $7.50 per thousand, a total of 36,000 feet being required. The contract price was $1,623. The bridge was finished, including the painting of its shingled top and sides, in less than three months, at a net profit of something less than $250. I cite this item to accentuate what has happened to our forests and what inflation has done to our economy. Completing the bridge, and, being interested in mining, I engaged in prospecting for ferrous ores in Georgia. This was stopped by the Spanish American War. When the call for engineers was made, I applied for a Captaincy in the THIRD REGIMENT, U.S. VOLUNTEER ENGINEERS, being recruited by the late Colonel David Dubose Gaillard, subsequently of the Panama Canal Commission and worthy of every distinction, a credit to the army and to the nation. In time I was ordered to Atlanta for examination. Asked if I would accept a SECOND LIEUTENANCY, I replied “NO”. Then - “Will you accept a First?” Rather than be thought arbitrary, I agreed to consider it. When officially offered that rank, I accepted it, as of July 13, 1898. After a brief recruiting period, I was ordered to Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri, being immediately assigned to “E” Company as “Company Commander” (but “NOT AS CAPTAIN”). Following the organizing and “mustering in” of the regiment, and preliminary training, the command was transferred to Lexington, Kentucky, then to Macon, Georgia. (At Lexington, on October 20, 1898, I was promoted to Captain - my first Captain Shoulder Straps being presented to me by Evangelist Samuel W. Small, Chaplain of the Regiment.) On completing the scheduled training at Macon, my Battalion, the second, was shipped to Charleston, South Carolina, for embarkation on the 1900-ton transport Saratoga, to Cienfuegos, Cuba, for duty. The war being over, there were no eventualities. However, assignments were interesting. In my case, (1) the rehabilitation of the old Spanish Barracks in Cienfuegos for use by our troops - (2) reporting on the waterfall at San-Bias and the large one, known as “SALTOS del HANNABANILLA” - (3) member of a group headed by Col. Gaillard, to select a site and lay out the camp opposite the “CASTILLO de JAGUA” (built to protect the entrance to the harbor) for occupational troops.
(NOTE: It seems timely to include that Henry W. Sparks, youngest son of Linton Sparks, Sr., enlisted in Rome, Georgia, as a second-class private, and was mustered out as First Sergeant of “E” Co., on May 17, 1899; also that my brother, H. Hunter Smith, enlisted at Rome, Ga., on July 25, 1898; became First Sergeant of
“E” Company and was mustered out as Sergeant Major of the Second Battalion. He later became a Captain of Engineers in World War I. Both have answered their last roll calls.)
In April 1899, the three battalions, having been stationed at different locations, were reunited at Fort McPherson, Georgia, where the regiment was mustered out on May 17, approximately fifty-nine years ago.
A few months later, I returned to the Westinghouse Company; first as a “Construction Engineer”; then as District Engineer in the Syracuse, New York district; next, as Assistant to the Director of Westinghouse Exhibits at the St. Louis Exposition, (1904-1905); then District Engineer in the St. Louis area, and later transferred to New York City, as District Engineer in 1906. In 1907 I became Engineer of the Executive Department, with headquarters in East Pittsburgh and the nation as my field of operation. This work I continued until World War I, when I requested “time out” to join the forces of the U.S. Army Engineers. Although admittedly qualified, my commission as Major was delayed until January 28, 1918, (Recorded February 7, 1918) seven months after I reached the required age of 45 for that grade. Confirming, “believe it or not,” a prophetic dream of two months earlier, I was ordered to report at Camp Lee, Virginia, as of May 5, 1918, for training, and later to Camp Humphrey (Fort Belvoir, Virginia), where I was responsible for training troops and controlling the movements of Casuals. In time I was assigned to the prospective 320th Regiment of Engineers, a skeleton outfit, and soon ordered to Camp Fremont, California, to select a camp for a shipment of 170 officers and men to arrive by special train in five days, at which time quarters were to be available and breakfast ready. This contingent was to muster in and train three new Engineering Regiments, the 320th, 321st, and 322nd. When they arrived two days ahead of schedule, they found quarters and breakfast awaiting them. However, the armistice, on November 11th, stopped recruiting, and preliminaries for mustering-out followed, during which period I was appointed Camp Inspector for the 40,000 troop area - delegated to transform the interior of certain Post buildings, in order to expedite the discharging of the men - at first inexcusably slow, and finally appointed Director of a Board to reconcile claims made locally against the Government for property usage and damage. This final duty was not fulfilled for the reason that a “SMITH” error in Washington resulted in my premature discharge, as of December 31, 1918; although I served and was paid to January 6, 1919. My official discharge gives the date of discharge as December 31, 1919. Confusion was confounded.
Becoming a citizen, I returned to Westinghouse, resuming my work as Engineer of the Executive Department, which position I held until retired on September 1, 1938 after forty years of service. During that period, in addition to my prescribed work, I served, by appointment of President Herr, as a Director of the Westinghouse Club for some twenty years, being four times elected President of the Club by its members, increasing the membership, during my administration, from 850 to 1900. The Club was responsible for both technical and social activities. It has since been merged with the Westinghouse Educational Center, primarily concerned with advanced technical education and student training.
When World War II became an eventuality, I became a member of the staff of the Wilbur Watson & Associates Engineering group, serving as Supervising Inspector of Equipment Installation during construction of the Ravenna Ordnance Plant, April 7, 1941, to April 1, 1942, (a story in itself). On completion of that project, I became Construction Superintendent of all electrical and piping work at the Lake Ontario Ordnance Plant, Lewiston, New York, reporting to Chief Engineer Bruce Buchamon of the J. G. White Engineering organization - a very interesting experience. My connection with the project began on May 4, 1942, and ended with the completion of the work on March 13, 1943.
In July, 1943, I was recalled by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation and served as an Assistant to the Manager of the District Engineering and Service Department for a period of four years. My duties had to do primarily with salvaging needed technical talent from the draft and, finally, collecting data for a history of the work of the department during the War.
Since the termination of the above employment, the vicious, inane, and illogical practice of arbitrary retirement has precluded my further employment. Just as arbitrarily, it has not provided for equalizing the ever-cheapening of the inflated dollar as reflected in pensions, dividends, or proceeds from securities invested in, years ago, for retired years. The retired man is the forgotten man. Only organized minorities, including self-raising political pirates, have the influence to “BALANCE” inflation’s burden. It is long past time for the native-born to recover their freedom and become men again - time to build a wall as high as Sputnik around the U.S.A. and close for all time its gates to foreign-born before it becomes over-populated and deluged with premature wars for more space for its people. It is time to consider the future plight of our legatees, as a consequence of alien infiltration as a result of political corruption and un-Americanism.
My immediate family unit will be introduced in a future issue, to include the descendents of Thomas Hunter Sparks, to date, in family units. To this end, it is requested that any members of our Association having knowledge of the Thomas H. Sparks lineage, or the forebears of his father, Martin Peeples Sparks, or mother, Elizabeth Whatley, send it to the Editor, Dr. Russell E. Bidlack, 1131 Granger Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
DOMESTIC AND CIVIL
Charles Henry Smith intermarried with Miss Caryl Mabel Ervin on his fiftieth birthday, June 15, 1922. See “Family Unit” in future issue.
Church affiliation: Presbyterian. Political: Independent.
Charter Member: The Society of American Military Engineers, having served as President of the Pittsburgh Post, as National Director, and been awarded the Gold Medal of the Society in 1926, for constructive effort.
Charter Member of Edgewood Country Club, resigned.
Past Member of the University Club of Pittsburgh.
Past Member, Southern Society of New York.
Past Member, Georgia Society of New York.
Past President, Third U.S.V. Engineers Association (War with Spain).
Member, and Past President, LaFayette Chapter, S.A.R. of Pennsylvania.
Past President and Director, Westinghouse Club - Educational and Social.
Past President, Men’s Association of Edgewood, Pennsylvania.
Past Member, Spanish War Veterans and American Legion.
ADDITIONAL DATA ON EARLY SPARKSES IN NEW JERSEY
Since the publication of the Editor’s article entitled “John Sparks (1717—1802) of Gloucester County, New Jersey” in the September, 1957, issue of the Quarterly, (pp. 242-44), we have learned that one of our members, Evelyn Cole Peters (Mrs. Albert G.), of 2001 W. 103rd St., Chicago 43, Illinois, has done extensive research on the Sparks family of New Jersey. Mrs. Peters is the Illinois State Registrar of the Daughters of the American Revolution and, understandably, is a very busy lady. She plans, however, to prepare for publication a history of the New Jersey Sparks family after her D.A.R. term is over. Meanwhile, Mrs. Peters would like to correspond with all members of the Association who descend from the New Jersey family. She will be happy to assist them in fitting their ancestors into the family and will also appreciate data which will make her own record more complete.
Your Editor very much regrets that he failed to write to Mrs. Peters before publishing the article on John Sparks, for she has been able to provide answers to several unanswered questions in the article regarding his marriages and family.
Mrs. Peters states that the Hon. John Sparks was born in either England or Ireland in 1716 or 1717, and that he was the son of Simon Sparks who was born between 1688 and 1694. Simon Sparks settled in New Jersey sometime prior to 1739. The earliest record of Simon in New Jersey is dated October 15, 1739, when he was appointed an administrator of the estate of William McClane of Salem County, New Jersey. He was described on this document as “of Salem Co., wheelwright.” Simon Sparks died In 1749 (see the abstract of his will on page 245 of the Quarterly.)
SIMON SPARKS was the father of the following children:
(1) Hon. John Sparks, born 1716-17 in either Ireland or Englsnd. He was married three times.
|On 11-6-1738 he was married to his cousin,
Mary Sparks, daughter of Henry Sparks; she died about 1771. He was married,
2nd, in 1773, to Sarah Howell; she died sometime prior to 1777. He was
married, 3rd, in 1777, to widow Ruth (Randall) Biddle, daughter of Alexander
Randall and widow of William Biddle. John Sparks died in 1802 (see page
243 of the Quarterly for an abstract of his will). His children, by his
first wife, were: (1) Simon; (2) Henry; (3) Mary, married Ephraim Miller;
(4) John; (5) Elizabeth, married John (?)
Williamson; (6) Isaac; and (7) Joseph (this child is uncertain). By his second wife, John Sparks had one son, (8) Howell. By his third wife, John Sparks had one son, (9) Alexander Randall Sparks. (Mrs. Peters reports that the John Sparks whose pension application appeared in the September, 1956, issue of the Quarterly (Vol. IV, No. 3, pp. 157-159) was the son of the Hon John Sparks, above. He was born in 1757 and died in 1826.)
(2) Richard Sparks, born between 1718 and 1722; he married about 1740, Elizabeth Wetherby, daughter
|of William Wetherby.|
(3) Elizabeth Sparks, married John Marshall of Salem County on 1-5-1741/42. (see reference to the will of
|John Marshall on page 262 of the Quarterly.)|
|County, New Jersey.|
|1812. He was probably the Capt. Robert Sparks of the Revolutionary War.|
|Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia.|
Children of Simon Sparks, continued:
(8) Henry Sparks, born between 1728 and 1735; married, 1st, about 1752—56, Rhoda (Westcott ?) of
|Cumberlard County, New Jersey. He married, 2nd, Catherine Stratton of Cumberland County. He married, 3rd, Sarah Ogilvy in 1789 in Philadelphia. He died in Philadelphia in 1808 or 1809.|
Simon Sparks had a brother named HENRY SPARKS who was born about 1696 in England or Ireland. Henry Sparks appeared in New Jersey records as early as 1731. When Henry Sparks wrote his will in 1748 (for an abstract see page 246 of the Quarterly) he described himself as “innholder of the town and county of Gloucester." He died in 1755. He was married twice. His first wife was Ann - - - - -, the mother of all his children. He was married, 2nd, in 1750, to widow Elizabeth Ballinger.
An interesting advertisement pertaining to Henry Sparks appeared in a newspaper published in Philadelphia called The Pennsylvania Gazette on July 6, 1738: “Run away on Sunday last, from Henry Sparks, of Gloucester Township, West-New-Jersey, an Irish Servant Man, named James Mordox, about 60 Years of Age, of a dark Complexion, grey Hair, but cut off, by Trade a Smith. Had on a Suit of brown Cloaths, new Shoes and new Stockings. Whoever secures the said Servant so that his Master may have him again shall have Forty Shillings, Reward, and reasonable Charges paid by HENRY SPARKS.”
HENRY and ANN SPARKS were the parents of the following children:
(1) Mary Sparks, born about 1721; she married her cousin, the Hon. John Sparks, son of Simon Sparks, in
|1738. She died about 1771.|
|in Penns Neck, Salem County, New Jersey.|
|1753, Given Gerr, daughter of Robert Gerrard. She died in 1777. Simon Sparks was an innholder in Gloucester County.|
|probably died before him, and she apparently left no issue since none were mentioned in her father’s will as entitled to their mother’s share.|
|Church, Philadelphia. He died in 1775 intestate. He also was an innkeeper.|
|She was of Salem County. He was a captain in the Revolutionary War; buried in old Mill Hollow Cemetery, Quinton Road.|
|(Helm) Seeley in 1765. He may have married, 2nd, a Mary - - - - -.|
Simon Sparks (born 1688-94) and Henry Sparks (born about 1696) may have had a brother named Richard Sparks who was born prior to 1683 and came to Philadelphia before 1704. He was a carpenter and died in Philadelphia. His will was dated 1714 and was proved in 1716. His wife, Joan, was the sole executrix of Richard’s will. Mrs. Peters states that it is possible that Richard was the father of Simon and Henry, or he may have been their uncle.
RECORD OF BIRTHS IN KENTUCKY, 1852-1862
Compiled by Paul E. Sparks
In 1852 the Kentucky legislature enacted a law to provide for the registration of all births, deaths, and marriages in Kentucky. The task fell upon the county assessors, who were required to prepare a yearly list of these events. For this job, the assessor was paid two cents for each name. The law made it obligatory for all clergymen, physicians, surgeons, and midwives to report names for registration. Slaves were registered in the name of the owner.
A printed record of the second report has been preserved and is in the possession of The Filson Club, Louisville, Kentucky. It is entitled: The Second Annual Report to the General Assembly of Kentucky Relating to the Registry and Return of Births, Marriages, and Deaths from January 1, 1853 to December 31, l854. W. G. Sutton, who prepared the report, complained of the incompleteness of the data, for apparently several counties had sent not only incomplete data, but, in some cases, no data at all. He recommended that the assessor’s fee be increased to five cents per name.
Unfortunately, the registration was discontinued in 1862 because of the internal political strife which had hit Kentucky (and the nation as well) and because of insufficient funds to pay the assessors for performing the tedious task. The loss, from a genealogical point of view, was incalculable. A record of a birth, for example, gave the infant’s name, the father’s name, the mother’s name, and, in some cases, the place of birth within the county.
Some counties continued to register these
vital events after 1862, although we have no way of knowing whether the
records are complete or accurate. The earlier records, however, accumulated
dust in the respective courthouses until 1920 when the Kentucky Historical
Society began to salvage them. An index of births and deaths was completed
during the 1930’s, and the index of marriages was completed within the
past few years. The index is typewritten on 3 x 5 cards and is arranged
by counties. The following records of births were taken from these index
cards, not from the original lists.
|Infant’s Name||Date||Father’s Name||Mother’s Name|
|female (no name)||7 Aug. 1877||John Sparks||----- Collins|
|female (no name)||9 Apr. 1877||John Sparks||----- Collins|
|female (no name)||27 June 1855||J. S. Sparks||Harriett Powell|
|Ada Larue||2 Mar. 1877||Adair Sparks||----- Dooley|
|David Jackson||2 Feb. 1855||J. R. Sparks||Precella Ruse|
|Emely E.||-- Sep. 1857||J. A. Sparks||Harriett Powell|
|Eliza Norman||11 Mar. l853||Waller Sparks||Lucinda Gibson|
|Jas. H.||23 Sep. 1861||Geo. W. Sparks||J. L. Flowers|
|Jefferson D.||9 July 1861||Josiah Sparks||Malinda Sherley|
|Jeremiah||-- Apr. 1894||S. D. Sparks||Lou England|
|Jo. K||-- Feb. 1894||Chas. Sparks||Laura Akin|
|Leona||25 Nov. 1855||W. W. Sparks||Louisa Gibson|
|Millard||28 Feb. 1858||Josiah Sparks||Malinda Shirley|
|Myrtle||12 Dec. 1894||Chas. Sparks||Harriett Gill|
|Nepolian B.||9 May 1856||Jeremiah||Jane Janes|
|Nancy Jane||13 Jan. 1855||Jas. Sparks||E. A. Dooly|
|Rachel||1 Nov. 1861||Jerry Sparks||Susanna Dooley|
|William||9 June 1859||James R. Sparks||Gracey Jones|
|William||-- Apr. 1858||William W. Sparks||Lucinda Gilson|
|Infant’s Name||Date||Father’s Name||Mother’s Name|
|Delina F.||18 Mar. 1861||Isham Sparks||Sarah C. Prewitt|
|male (no name)||12 Oct. 1853||Stephen Sparks||Elizabeth Levi|
|Elizabeth||15 Oct. 1855||William Sparks||Mary Vincent|
|Terrissa||16 May 1852||William Sparks||Terrissa Hennings|
|James G.||26 Oct. 1856||Wm B. Sparks||Frances Breckenridge|
|Edna||13 July 1904||N. S. Sparks||Mary Thompson|
|J. H.||17 Aug 1904||Ferdinand Sparks||----- Horn|
|Elizabeth||10 Oct 1856||William F. Sparks||Rebecca Thorton|
|Lytha Allis (female)||19 Jan. 1854||R. J. Sparks||Minerva Woodall|
|Minerva Ann||6 Sep. 1856||B. J. Sparks||Minerva Woodall|
|Sarah A.||25 July 1852||W. T. Sparks||Sarah Bailey|
|William L.||5 Sep. 1858||Burrell J. Sparks||Mary J. Chandler|
|(unnamed)||9 Apr. 1862||Nelson Sparks||Margaret Mauk|
|Eli||-- Oct. 1853||Isaac Sparks||Nancy Jones|
|Eliza J.||22 Jan. 1857||Nelson Sparks||Margaret Mauk|
|Isabel||1 Sep. 1858||Eli Sparks||Rebecca Rice|
|James||18 Nov. 1855||Hugh Sparks||Nancy Curnett|
|Jane F.||31 May 1858||John Sparks||Loucinda Wagoner|
|Jesse A. (twin)||8 Feb. 1855||Thomas Sparks||Dianna Sparks|
|Sarah J. (twin)|
|John M.||5 Sep. 1855||Isaac Sparks, Jr.||Sally Faulkner|
|Levi||2 Jun 1855||Nelson Sparks||Margaret Mauk|
|Lewis C.||16 Nov. 1856||Solomon Sparks||Helen Burchfield|
|Martha F.||25 Dec. 1859||Nelson Sparks||Margaret Mauk|
|Mary Ann (born at||30 May 1852||Jesse Sparks||Sarah Faulkner|
|Old Town Creek)|
|Moses||18 Dec. 1855||Isaac Sparks||Nancy Jones|
|Nancy J.||20 Apr 1855||Daniel Sparks||Elizabeth Sparks|
|Rachel||1 Sep. 1861||John Sparks||Almeda Green|
|Richard P. (born at||6 July 1852||John Sparks||Almeda Green|
|Big Sinking Creek)|
|Richard P.||27 Mar. 1857||Thomas Sparks||Dianna Sparks|
|Robert||3 Apr. 1857||Daniel Sparks||Elizabeth Sparks|
|Sabeerah K.||9 Jun 1855||-------------||Ada Sparks|
|Sarah||24 Jun 1857||Solomon Sparks||Helen Burchfield|
|William Henderson||5 Jun 1861||Thomas Sparks||Diana Sparks|
|Riley||14 May 1852||----- Sparks||Rhoda Miracle|
|Infant’s Name||Date||Father’s Name||Mother’s Name|
|A. F.||-- June 1861||R. F. Sparks||Sarah J. Lanham|
|Addie||26 Aug. 1901||H. Sparks||Loulie Holbrook|
|Biola||6 May 1901||Birch Sparks||Mary Hicks|
(CONTINUED ON PAGE 330)
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
THANK YOU -- CARRIE GRANT HEPPEN
Members of the Association will recall that in an earlier issue of the Quarterly we expressed the Association’s appreciation to Inez Waldenmaier for the work which she was doing for our organization. Mrs. Waldenmaier very kindly “kept on the watch” for Sparks data during her genealogical research in Washington and contributed many valuable records which we have published and shall continue to publish in the Quarterly. Of late, however, Mrs. Waldenmaier has been forced to curtail her professional genealogical research in order to devote full time to her publication, The Genealogical Newsletter which, by the way, is an exceedingly valuable quarterly for anyone interested in genealogy. (Subscriptions are $3.00 per year; write to Inez Waldenmaier, 4724 Fifth St., N.W., Washington 11, D.C.)
When Mrs. Waldenmaier found it impossible to continue her work for The Sparks Family Association, she recommended a successor in the person of Carrie Grant Heppen (Mrs. Peter J.), of 3617 Fessenden St., N.W., Washington 8, D.C. For the past year Mrs. Heppen has been collecting Sparks material for the Association and has proved herself to be an exceedingly conscientious and accurate researcher. She is thoroughly familiar with the records housed in the National Archives, is an expert in reading difficult writing, and has the imagination and initiative so necessary in all historical and genealogical research. She has supplied the Association already with a great many records which are proving to be invaluable. We wish to thank Mrs. Heppen publicly for this service.
Should any member wish to engage a professional genealogist in Washington, your Editor recommends Mrs. Heppen with enthusiasm. She is prompt and her fee is very reasoriable--$2.00 per hour. Since she is so well acquainted with the genealogical resources in Washington, such as the U.S. census reports from 1790 through 1880, she wastes no time in locating the material needed. Write to: Carrie Grant Heppen, 3617 Fessenden St., N.W., Washington 8, D.C.
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The February, 1958, issue of THE BULLETIN OF THE SEATTLE GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY carried an announcement on it's first page regarding our Association’s having completed its fifth year of existence. The Sparks Quarterly was described as “one of the most valuable as well as most interesting of the family association publications.” We thank the editor of the Bulletin, Arthur D. Fiske, for his kind words. We also take pleasure in calling the Bulletin to the attention of our members. Many valuable genealogical records from all over the United States are being published each month, including individual genealogies and family Bible records. There is also a query section. A feature begun in the March issue is a complete index to the 1830 census of Vermont. Yearly subscriptions are $3.00. Write to the Society’s Treasurer, E. B. Bliss, 1618 9th Ave., West, Seattle 99, Washington.
NEW MEMBERS OF THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION
It is a pleasure to report the names of twenty-one Sparks descendants who have joined The Sparks Family Association since December, 1957:
Bibb, Mrs. Roscoe L., 714 Lyndon Lane,
Black, Col. Claude A., 3708 Terrace View Drive, Knoxville 18, Tennessee
Ellis, Walter S., 1210 E. 9th St., Muncie, Indiana
Ely, A. E. Mills, 283 Minocqua, Park Forest, Illinois
Firnhaber, Miss Myra, 319 East King St., Kingsville, Texas
Gross, Jesse Norman, 1508 East Wall St., Fort Scott, Kansas
McCarthy, Mrs. Charles, 710 West 14th St., Merced, California
Oxnberg, Mrs. Annie L., Rt. 2, Jefferson Highway, Box 169, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Rosenkrans, Ruth Sparks, P.O. Box 527, Waynesboro, Virginia
Singletary, Mrs. Margaret Sparks, 409 North Main St., Blakely, Georgia
Sparks, Mrs. Charles, 2210 West Kiowa St., Colorado Springs, Colorado
Sparks, Charles James, 508 Part St., Sterling, Colorado
Sparks, Charles William, R.D. 3, Box 144, Wexford, Pennsylvania
Sparks, Ernest Sargent, 1810 E. Main St., Merrill, Wisconsin
Sparks, Grace Elizabeth, 44934 Joy Road, Plymouth, Michigan
Sparks, Mrs. Mary A., Box 512, Lovell, Wyoming
Sparks, Merrill, 1534 Winona Boulevard, Hollywood 27, California
Sparks, O. G., 113 West Southern Heights Ave., Louisville, Kentucky
Sparks, Robert L., 199 Avery Drive, N.E., Atlanta, Georgia
Sparks, S. H., R.D. 5, Greensburg, Pennsylvania
Vana, Mrs. Jessie Nickerson, 503 No. Center St., Marshalltown, Iowa
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DEATH TAKES MILBY PORTER
The Sparks Family Association extends its sympathy to Mrs. Ruth 0. (Ely) Porter, whose query regarding her Sparks ancestry appeared in the last issue of the Quarterly. Mrs. Porter’s husband, Milby Porter, died on January 18, 1958, in Houston, Texas. Mr. Porter was 81 years old at the time of his death, a native Houstonian. He was a member of the Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church and of the Golden Chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He was a Spanish-American War Veteran, First Volunteer Infantry Regiment, and one of the few remaining members of the Class of ‘96 of VMI. Mr. Porter is survived by his widow, three sisters, and a number of nieces, nephews, and cousins.
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PERSONAL NOTE FROM CHARLES H. SMITH
Please permit me to thank and express my appreciation to those who responded to my “token” bulletin, together with my cordial evaluation of the interest of those who “took time out” during the busy holiday season to write such very welcome letters. I also wish to express to you my appreciation for your many contributions to the welfare of THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION. It is magnificent evidence of your loyalty to your Sparks blood, of which there is none better.
March 19, 1958. Charles H. Smith
S K R A P S
Although your editor usually tries to remain impersonal while writing SKRAPS, he takes the liberty of using the first person on this occasion. I hope that the members of the Association will forgive me if I sound a bit boastful in the following announcement. At 11:07 A.M. on Saturday, March 15, Mrs. Bidlack’s and my fourth child was born at the University of Michigan Woman’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. This one is another boy, our third, and weighed in at nine pounds. He is a fine specimen in his father’s partial judgment. We have named him Harold Wilford Bidlack, “Harold” after my father and Mrs. Bidlack’s brother, and “Wilford” after my maternal grandfather. Mrs. Bidlack, from whom he receives his SPARKS blood, is doing splendidly. I am able to blame Harold for the fact that the Quarterly is a little late this time.
I should like also to express publicly my gratitude to the large number of Association members who so generously contributed to eliminate the 1957 deficit in the publication of the Quarterly. When checks began coming in during the Holidays, some of them without even an accompanying letter, I knew “something was up.” From bits here and there I was able, eventually, to identify Major Charles H. Smith of Pittsburgh as the “instigator of this plot.” When I confronted him with the evidence, he confessed to having sent out, at his own expense, an appeal to each member of the Association. I am quite undeserving of Major Smith’s kind words, but, being human, I was greatly pleased. The many words of appreciation received from the members were also most heartening. From the records sent me by our Secretary-Treasurer, it appears that renewals have been coming in at a record rate, the great majority received thus far being for either contributing or sustaining memberships. We are delighted with your generosity. The expected postal service increase will hit us rather hard, but even with that it appears that we should have no financial problems in 1958.
After receiving so many kind letters regarding my work as Editor, I was just about to begin to walk on air, but the following postal card brought me down to earth again. “Please Understand that I’me no longer interested in the Sparks Association. I will not spend another 2 cents to recieve another copy So please do not write me again. Their are Sparks every Where but I do not care to Know about them So please Keep your news to your self so far as I’me concerned.” (The card was signed but I shall refrain from revealing the name of the ex-member.) I flatter myself that this is an opinion entertained by only a small minority of the membership. My main concern is: Why did she join in the first place?
A copy of the index to the first five volumes of the Quarterly has now been sent to everyone who has become either a contributing or sustaining member for 1958, or has sent fifty cents for it. Should anyone not have received his copy, please drop the Editor a card. As members examine this thirty-seven-page index, they cannot but be impressed with the amount of work which our President, Dr. Paul E. Sparks, devoted to it.
This would be an appropriate time for every member to check his file of the Quarterly to be sure that it is complete (pages 1 through 292). Occasionally it is bound to happen that a copy is assembled incorrectly, with perhaps one or more pages lacking. If anyone finds that he has an imperfect issue or page, let the Editor know and a replacement will be sent without charge.
We hope to increase the membership of the Association substantially in 1958. We have a form letter which we send to everyone known to be a Sparks descendant and are always pleased to receive lists of persons named Sparks copied from telephone or other directories.
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Scanned and Edited by James J. Sparks