“He who careth not from whence he came, careth little whither he goeth.” Daniel Webster

VOL. IX, NO. 2  JUNE, 1961 

Index Next Page Previous Page Previous Whole No.

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Prominent Nineteenth-Century Merchant of Fort Smith, Arkansas

Born February 4, 1811

Died November 16, 1864

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THE SPARKS QUARTERLY, published by The Sparks Family Association.

      Paul E. Sparks, President, 155 N Hite Ave., Louisville 6, Kentucky.
      William Perry Johnson, Historian-Genealogist, Box 531 Raleigh, North Carolina.
      Russell E. Bidlack, Secretary-Treasurer, 1709 Cherokee Rd., Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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. The QUARTERLY is 
printed at the Edwards Letter Shop, .711 N. University, Ann Arbor, Michigan.


By Fadjo Cravens, Jr.

Early in the nineteenth century, according to a record made by George T. Sparks in 1903, there were born to Thomas and Elizabeth (McGary) Sparks in Elfin, County Roscommon, Ireland, nine children:

             Mitchell Sparks, born February 4, 1811, died November 16, 1864.
             William Sparks
             George Sparks
             Thomas Sparks, born about 1817.
             Paul Sparks
             Robert Sparks
             James Henry Sparks, born 1830.
             Susan Sparks
             Jane Sparks

Of these nine children, four are believed to have emigrated to the United States; Mitchell, George, and Thomas came in 1836, while James H. came in 1849. According to family legend, George Sparks disappeared without a trace en route from New Orleans to Fort Smith.

A work published in Chicago in 1889 by the Goodspeed Company known as The History of Northwest Arkansas, contains a sketch of the life of David B. Sparks, son of Mitchell.  The information for this sketch was probably furnished by David B. Sparks himself.  According to this sketch, Mitchell Sparks was a native of Dublin, Ireland, and was educated in Trinity College, Dublin Institute. “He graduated in medicine, but never practiced his profession. He emigrated to America when a young man, locating at Fort Smith, where he engaged in merchandizing up and down the river, and entered business


with a man by the name of Miller, who was one of the leading merchants of Fort Smith for many years.” (page 1365) Fort Smith, in the latter 1830’s and all through the 1840’ s, 1850’s, and 1860’ s, was a mercantile center boasting a fort and almost unlimited trade with the five civilized tribes of Indians occupying what was then known as the Indian Territory, and now known as the State of Oklahoma. In this setting, Mitchell and Thomas Sparks entered into a lively mercantile business under the firm name of M. & T. Sparks. James H. Sparks, who arrived in 1849, engaged in the same line of business, but went bankrupt  about 1852; he subsequently engaged in the newspaper profession, in which he became quite well known, editing and publishing, as well as founding, with John F. Wheeler, the Fort Smith Herald.

Mitchell Sparks, oldest child of Thomas and Elizabeth (McGary) Sparks, was born February 4, 1811, and died in Fort Smith on November 16,1864. (His portrait has been reproduced on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly.) In 1847, Mitchell Sparks was married to Miss Hannah Bennett, a native of Massachusetts, who was born January 22, 1822, and died December 12, 1909. According to the sketch In the History of Northwest Arkansas, this marriage took place in New York. Children: George Taylor; David Bennett; Elizabeth; Joseph M.; James M.; and Charlie.

I. George Taylor Sparks, son of Mitchell and Hannah (Bennett) Sparks, was born June 22, 1848, and died July 12, 1907. As was his younger brother, David Bennett Sparks, George Taylor Sparks was educated in Massachusetts.  Upon his return to Fort Smith, he immediately assumed a prominent place in the social and business activities of that town. He was elected a director of the First National Bank in 1875. He became the Bank’s president in 1886 and served until his death in 1907. lie married at Fort Smith on March 11, 1879, Ann Eliza Dibrell, born January 1, 1852, daughter of Dr. James Anthony and Ann Elizabeth (Pryor) Dibrell. Children:

1. Mitchell Bennett Sparks, born Feb. 16, 1881. He died about 1914. Remarried but had no children.
2. James Dibrel Sparks, born June 1, 1883. He died about 1955. He married Mabel - - - - - and had the following children:
A. James, born ca.1928; died ca.1957.
B. Ann Eliza.
C. A daughter, name not known, but called “Cookie”.
3. George Thomas (Jake) Sparks, born Dec. 27, 1886; died when be was 19 years old. Unmarried.
4. Medora Duval Sparks, born Sept. 20, 1889. She married Henry Morrison of St. Louis, her first cousin. No children.

II. David Bennett Sparks, son of Mitchell and Hannah (Bennett) Sparks, was born June 8, 1850, and died December 22, 1932. In 1877 he was married to Lily Pryor, daughter of Cornelius David and Sarah Ann (Kate) (Bailing) Pryor.  He was educated in Massachusetts and afterward returned to Fort Smith where he was connected for some time with the Elporaso Stage Company. He engaged in the saddler’s business for two years, then took up the wholesale boot and shoe business. He was later City Clerk. Children:

1. George Pryor Sparks, born 1878, died 1952(?); he never married. He was a very successful interior decorator.
2. Jere Kannady Sparks, born about 1880; he married Ada Edwards. No children.
3. Kate Pryor Sparks, born Dec. 23, 1881, died Nov. 5, 1956. She was married in December, 1902, to Charles F. Pittman. Children:

(Descendants of David Bennett Sparks, continued)

                Children of Kate Pryor Sparks and Charles F. Pittman:

A. Lily Carr Pittman, born Nov. 13, 1903, in Prescott, Ark. She was married to Thomas McRae Bemis on Jan. 11, 1926. Children:
(1) Kate Sparks Bemis, born Feb. 19, 1930; married William Fadjo Cravens, Jr., Dec. 22, 1950.  Children:
(a) Charles Fadjo Cravens, born Dec. 21, 1951.
(b) Thomas Rutherford Cravens, born April 14, 1953.
(c) William Bennett Cravens, born Nov. 5, 1956.
(d) David Anthony Cravens, born Oct. 31, 1959.
(e) John Bemis Cravens, born Sept. 19, 1960.
(2) Ethel McRae Bemis, born Jan. 23, 1932. She was married to John Hale in Sept., 1957. Children:
(a) Katherine McRae Hale, born March 26, 1959.
B. John Marshall Pittman, born Oct. 25, 1909, in Prescott, Ark. He was married to Pauline Nutt in 193-(?).  He died May 30, 1955.
4. David Bennett Sparks, Jr., born 188-(?). He never married.
5. Neil Sparks, born in the late 1880’s or early 1890’s; married twice, but no children. Now living in Mona,  Arkansas; sign painter.
6. Hynes Sparks, born 1894(?). He married, but his wife is no longer living and he has no children.  He is retired   Chairman of the Board of the Symington Steel Company in New York City. He now lives in London, Eng.
7. Martha Barling Sparks, born August 21(?), 1902; she married William Allan Johnston, II, about 1929 or 1930.  Children:
A. William Allan Johnston, III, born 1930; married Betty Britton in June 1957. He has a son, William Allan Johnston, IV, born in March, 1958.
B.  David Sparks Johnston, born May, 1931. He died in May, 1958; unmarried.
III. Elizabeth Sparks, daughter of Mitchell and Hannah (Bennett) Sparks, married Henry Morrison of Saint Louis on March 6, 1878. Children:
1. Henry Morrison, Jr., married Medora Sparks, daughter of George Taylor Sparks. No children.
2. Elizabeth Morrison; never married. She may still be living in St. Louis.

IV. Joseph M. Sparks, son of Mitchell and Hannah (Bennett) Sparks, born June 16, 1852. He died at the age of six weeks.

V. James Mitchell Sparks, son of Mitchell and Hannah (Bennett) Sparks, born January 1, 1857; died December 14, 1921. He was married to Nina Johnston in 1885. Children:

1.  James Mitchell Sparks, Jr.; married Myra Payne of Fort Smith, Arkansas. He died in 1921. No children.
VI. Charlie Sparks, son of Mitchell and Hannah (Bennett) Sparks, was born June 19, 1860; he died at the age of one year, five months, and 20 days.


Thomas Sparks, the fourth son of Thomas and Elizabeth (McGary) Sparks, was born about 1817. As stated earlier, he came to Fort Smith,Arkansas, with his brother, Mitchell Sparks, in 1836. In 1849, Thomas Sparks joined the California Gold Rush and died on the journey. He was unmarried. There are different traditions regarding the circumstances of his death.  One story tells of his driving a herd of cattle across the plains and his dying near Salt Lake City where he was buried in an unmarked grave. According to another account, he took the sea route and died in Nicaragua. On the back of the daguerreotype reproduced below is inscribed: “Daguerreotype of  Thomas Sparks age 32. Died at Sea. Acapulco, Mexico. Presented to D. Sparks by W. J. Weaver.”

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Born in Ireland about 1817

Died in the California Gold Rush of 1849

(View photograph)

James Henry Sparks, who was born in 1830, was the youngest son of Thomas and Elizabeth (McGary) Sparks. He came to Fort Smith, Arkansas, from Ireland in 1849.  On September 27, 1857, he was married in Van Buren, Arkansas, to Miss Abbie Butler, daughter of Elizur Butler, the famous missionary to the Cherokees in Georgia and in the Indian Territory. James H. Sparks enlisted in the Confederate Army at the outbreak of the Civil War in the First Company of the Fort Smith Rifles. He was wounded at the Battle of Oak Hill. Subsequently, he and his family moved to Texas where he was placed in command of the post at Waco and given the rank of Major. He was editor of a newspaper in Memphis, Tennessee, for a while before returning to Fort Smith. He died in Fort Smith on January 29, 1879.


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


Born in Ireland in 1830

Died in Fort Smith, Arkansas, Jan. 29, 1879

(View photograph)

James Henry and Abbie (Butler) Sparks were the parents of two children: Thomas and Lucy.

I. Thomas Sparks, born in 1849, died in 1866.

II. Lucy Sparks, born February 13, 1865, died November 22, 1945. She was married to James Aull Yantis on June 23, 1885. Children:

1. Sydney Yantis (daughter), born Aug. 25, 1887. She married Harry P. Warner on June 25, 1913. Children:
A. Lucy Yantie Warner, born March 20, 1915. She married David Smith Waddy on Dec. 28, 1938 (later divorced). No children.

B. Charles Edwin Warner, born Nov. 11, 1917. He married Elizabeth Hester Porter on Nov. 12, 1943. They have four children.

2. Edward Montgomery Yantis, born June 5, 1890. He married, first, Ivy Hadkinson in April, 1920. They had one  child:
A. James Aull Yantis, II. He married Lydia in April, 1920.  No children.
Edward Montgomery Yantis married, second, Evelyn Whittall in 1926. They had the following child:
 B. Evelyn Yantis, born in 1927. She married Franz Pederson (now divorced). Children:
(1) Dirk Pederson, born Aug. 22, 1949.
(2) Kristine Pederson, born March 10, 1952.


Children of Lucy Sparks and James Aull Yantis, continued:

3. James H. Sparks Yantis, born Nov. 30, 1892; died Nov. 13, 1936, in Dallas, Texas. He married Ruby Easterling  in 1928. No children.

4. Marshall Lapsley Yantis. born July 18, 1893; he married Eva Vick in Fort Smith, Ark., on Feb. 25, 1916. Children, all of Fort Smith:

A. John Marshall Yantis, born Aug. 1, 1918. He married Julia Ann Welch. They have three children.
B. Sydney Vick Yantis, born May 7, 1922, died June 23, 1924.
C. James Sparks Yantis, born July 17, 1927; unmarried.
D. Lucy Vick Yantis, born Aug. 1, 1931; she married Roscoe Thompson on Sept. 16, 1949. Children:
(1) Sydney Vick Thompson (son), born Aug. 25, 1950.
(2) Ricky Thompson, born April 14, 1953.
(3) Phillip Markham Thompson, born Aug. 5, 1958.

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


Col. William C. Robertson, of 416 Millaudon Street, New Orleans 18, Louisiana, a member of the Sparks Family Association since 1958 and a descendant of Josiah Sparks of Baltimore County, Md., recently presented your editor with a truly beautiful plaque bearing the Sparks Coat of Arms. On a polished wooden base in the shape of a shield 5/8 of an inch thick, measuring 6 x 7 inches, is mounted a slightly smaller shield ¼ inch thick upon which the arms, crest, and mantling have been hand painted. The mantling and helmet are slightly raised, enhancing the beauty of the arms. The scroll, bearing the name Sparks, has been carved from a separate piece of wood and mounted below the shield. On the back there is a slot for hanging the plaque on the wall.

Col. Robertson is in the import business and obtained the plaque from an English company which has a contract with heraldic artists to make these items. He reports that the company has agreed to send him any number he wishes for about $5.00 each. “I don’t  now whether you have ever corresponded with an English firm of this type,” Col, Robertson writes, “but the letters you receive from them in answer to any question that you might ask are so vague that I have suggested to them that they enclose a crystal ball to decipher their content. However, whatever the cost of these items, I shall be glad to forward them for any member of the Association without any compensation, and I am sure that they will not be over the price quoted.”

We feel that Col. Robertson is most generous in offering to import these plaques for members of the Association, and we are certain that a large number will take advantage of this opportunity. Your editor is certainly proud of his and can scarcely believe that the cost could be as low as $5.00. If it were made in this country, the cost would be several times this amount. In order that we may impose upon Col. Robertson as little as possible, may  be suggest tInt you send your orders rather soon so that he can submit one large order to the English firm rather than several small ones.

As a further kindness to the Association, Col. Robertson has announced that he will present  anually to the member of the Association who secures the lartest number of new members during the year, a similar, but larger, plaque measuring 8 x 9 inches. The only other difference will be that the scroll at the base will bear “Sparks Family Association”  rather than just “Sparks.” This is certainly a prize worth winning, and we hope that we shall have a substantial increase in membership as a result of Col. Robertson’s generosity. THANK YOU, COLONEL ROBERTSON!

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Compiled by Russell E. Bidlack and William P. Johnson

In previous issues of the Quarterly, we have made reference to Matthew Sparks who was born during the early 1700’s, probably in Maryland, migrated to North Carolina about 1758, and died in Franklin (later Jackson, now Clarke) County, Georgia, in 1793. We have been collecting data on Matthew Sparks and his family for a number of years. More information will be found later, but we believe that the time has come when we should make available to the members of the Association the information gathered thus far.

In the December, 1956, issue of the Quarterly (Vol. IV, No. 4, pp. 177-78 [Whole No. 16]), we designated Matthew Sparks as “the Elder” to distinguish him from his son, also named Matthew, whose Revolutionary War pension papers we published. Here it has been thought best to refer to the elder Matthew simply as Matthew Sparks, and to refer to his son as Matthew, Jr.

An important source for our research on Matthew Sparks and his descendants has been a letter written by one of Matthew’s descendants, Bettie C. Smith, on March 11, 1899. Mrs. Smith was an old lady in 1899 and wrote this letter to her nephew, Sam Sparks, of  McKinzie, Tennessee, to tell him what she remembered regarding her ancestors. A copy of this letter was placed in the Tennessee State Library several years ago where it has been copied a number of times and has been used as a basis for research by a number of Matthew Sparks’s descendants. Unfortunately, Bettie Smith made a serious error in her letter that has caused a great deal of confusion ever since--when she mentioned her great-grandfather, Matthew Sparks, she erroneously gave his name as “John.” The fact that Matthew had a son named Matthew, as well as a son named John, may have caused this confusion, but more probably Mrs. Smith just made a “slip.” In reproducing Bettie Smith’s letter here, it has seemed best to substitute the correct name of her great-grandfather rather than to perpetuate the mistake. Following is Bettie C. Smith’s letter, with notes:

Sammie: The older ones are, or will soon be all gone; when you get to be older, you will want to know more than now, who was your ancestors. When I was a child old Uncle Mathew Sparks made his home with his brother, Isaac, but spent much of his time with Father and Mamma. I learned of him more than from anyone else. His Father was named Matthew (see explanation above), his mother was Sarah Thompson (Sally Tyson, was named for her), he crossed the waters, I never have known where he was raised; Sally Tyson thought he came  from Wales. I do not know where he  married. He went out to kill a turkey one morning, and was shot by Indians. He left eleven children, nine
red-headed  boys, and two girls. Here are the names of the boys: David, James, William, Mathew, Absolom, Jessie, Nathan, Baily,  Hardy & Isaac. The girls names were Eady and Ann, one of them  married a Traylor.

Mathew fought in the Revolution,  don’t know how many more. They fought the Tories for all they were worth. John, Captain and Mathew Lieutenant. They got up one morning, horses all gone but one, (I guess that was in Georgia) they sit Granny, and a bed on her [the horse] and started for the fort, twenty-five miles bare-headed; there they stayed seven years. Uncle Isaac was five years old, and brother & sister swung by his arm all the way. Old Grandma buried at Old Pleasant Grove; the piece of shirt the ball went through when her husband was killed, was buried with her. I do not know so much of Thompson kin;


        Grandma Thompson was Elizabeth Suduth; Grandma Sparks was Nancy Hancock. My notion is that if we have any mean streaks in us, it did not come through the Sparks’, while many of them have become adulterated; but the good  ones were sure enough good. You may not care to ever read this, but I don’t care, I am going to send it anyway. 

March the 11th, 1899
                                         [signed] Bettie C. Smith
Notes on the above letter: We have not succeeded in getting in touch with any descendants or close relatives of Bettie C. Smith, and available census and official records have failed to reveal positively who she was. There seems little doubt, however, that she was a great-granddaughter of Matthew and Sarah Sparks. Nathan Sparks, one of Matthew’s sons, had a son named Isaac, born about 1805, who was married to Orpha Thompson in Wilson County, Tennessee, in 1824 (bond dated September 27). When Isaac’s estate was settled in Carroll County, Tennessee, following his death in 1878, one of his daughters was listed as Elizabeth E. Smith. Although in her letter of 1899, Bettie’s middle initial appears as “C”, we are inclined to believe that she was the daughter of Isaac and Orpha. If this is correct, her statement that “Grandma Thompson was Elizabeth Suduth” and “Grandma Sparks was Nancy Hancock” refers to Isaac’s and Orpha’s mothers. It seems certain, in any case, that she was not referring to the family of Sarah Thompson, wife of Matthew. We have numerous records to prove that Matthew’s wife was named Sarah, but Bettie Smith’s letter is our only record that her maiden name was Thompson. The Sally Tyson who, according to Mrs. Smith, was named after Sarah (Thompson) Sparks, was a daughter of Isaac Sparks, who was a son of Matthew and Sarah. A marriage record on file in Carroll County, Tennessee, reveals that Sarah Sparks and Samuel Tyson were married January 8, 1845.

Bettie Smith was confused regarding the part the family played in the Revolution--Matthew Sparks was killed by the Indians in 1793, long after the close of the Revolution. Likewise, Mrs. Smith seems to have been somewhat confused when she listed the names of the children of Matthew and Sarah. She stated that there were eleven children in all, but gave the names of twelve. From other sources, we know also that there was a son John whom she failed to mention, making thirteen in all.

Although Bettie Smith stated that Sally Tyson had thought Matthew Sparks had come to America from Wales, it is probable that he was born in this country--perhaps one of Matthew’ s ancestors had come over from Wales. Although we have no positive proof, we believe that Matthew Sparks was living in Frederick County, Maryland, before he moved to Rowan County, North Carolina. He and his wife, Sarah, were probably married about 1754. There can be little doubt that Matthew was closely related to William Sample Sparks and Solomon Sparks who came from Frederick County, Maryland, to Rowan County, North Carolina, in the early 1760’s. (Matthew Sparks sold land to William S. Sparks on April 10, 1765, shortly after William’ s arrival in Rowan County.) Matthew, William S., and Solomon were all of the same generation--all were born about 1725-35--and they may have been brothers. If so, they were probably sons of Joseph and Rachel Sparks. Joseph Sparks died in Frederick County, Maryland, in 1749; he did not leave a will, but the inventory of his estate names William Sample Sparks and Rachel Sparks as his next of  kin. In the Revolutionary War pension application of William Sparks, son of Matthew, he referred to “my uncle James Sparks” who he stated was a member “of the foot company from Wilkes County.” If this statement by Matthew’s son is correct, then Matthew had a brother named James Sparks in North Carolina. (The 1774 tax list of Surry County, North Carolina, "Benjamin Cleavland’s District", contains the name James Sparks. In a fragment that is preserved of the 1779 tax list of Wilkes County, “Capt. Allen’s District,” the name “James Sparkes” is listed with his property valued at 100 pounds. What became of this James Sparks after 1779 is not known.)

[Scanner's Note: See the  Quarterly for December, 1989, Whole No. 148 p. 3483. This article concluded that Matthew Sparks and the above James Sparks were sons of William Sample Sparks and nephews of Solomon Sparks who was a son of Joseph Sparks who died in Frederick County, Maryland, in 1749. William Sample Sparks and Solomon Sparks were first cousins]


The earliest official record pertaining to Matthew Sparks found thus far in Rowan County, North Carolina, is the recorded deed dated April 4, 1761, by which he purchased 372 acres of land from John Carteret, the first Earl Granville. (The Earl was a great-grandson of Sir George Carteret, one of the original Lords Proprietors of the Colony of North Carolina; he owned vast tracts of “vacant land” which he gradually sold to planters for relatively small sums.) Matthew Sparks paid only ten shillings sterling for his 372 acres. The tract was described as follows in the deed (see Rowan County Deed Book 4, page 514): “that tract or Parcel of Vacant Land, Situate Lying and Being in the Parish of St. Luke, in the County of Rowan, in the Said Province, Lying in the forks of Yadkin River, Running up the South Yadkin N.20 x W.20 Chain to a hickery, then N.38.W.lO ch: to a Gum, then N.42.W.20 Ch: to a hickery, thence Due North, 90 chain to a black Oak, then Et. 40 Ch: to a White Oak on the Bank of the Main River, Then Down River to the beginning, Containing in the Whole Three Hundred and Seventy-two acres of Land.”

This tract of land is easy to locate from the description given in the deed - - it is located in what is now Davie County at the point where the South Yadkin flows into the Yadkin River.

On April 10, 1765, Matthew Sparks and Sarah his wife sold 200 acres of this tract to William Sparks for 50 pounds (see Rowan County Deed Book 6, page 139). The witnesses to this deed were William Frohock, John Huston, and Thomas Frohock. Matthew and Sarah both signed by mark. (William S. Sparks sold this same tract of 200 acres to William Frohock for 150 pounds on January 27, 1773 - - see Rowan County Deed Book 8, page 104.) On September 17, 1767, Matthew and Sarah Sparks sold the remaining 172 acres of their tract to William Haden for 150 pounds (Rowan County Deed Book 6, page 482). The witnesses were Benjamin Taylor and James Whitafeur (or Whitakor?); Matthew and Sarah both signed by mark.

Exactly when Matthew Sparks and his family came to Rowan County is not known, but they must have come about 1758; their son, Matthew, Jr., stated in 1832 that he had been born on January 20, 1759, “in Rowan County, near Salisbury.” The earliest reference to Matthew Sparks in the Rowan County Court Records is dated 1761 (page 335) - - he was listed as being on a jury. The first tax list of Rowan County on which his name appears is that of 1761 - - Matthew Sparks, Jonas Sparks, and Solomon Sparks were all listed in Caleb Osborn’s District. (Jonas Sparks, who died in Rowan County in 1805, may also have been a brother of Matthew.[NOTE:  It was later determined that Jonas was a brother of Solomon]) Matthew Sparks was “on Jury” again in 1762 (page 385), in 1765 (page 522), and in 1766 (page 634). An interesting court record dated “Second Tues. in July 1763” (page 469) reads as follows:

On Motion It is Ordered that a Waggon Road the best and nearest and Best way from he Shallow ford upon the Yadkin River to the Town of Salisbury and the following persons are appointed to Lay off and mark the same, to wit Samuel Bryan Morgan Bryan James Bryan Roger Turner Mathew Sparks Edward Roberts Daniel Boon Bernet Stagner David Johnston James MeMahen Robert F’ur bush & Thomas Turner and accordingly they appear upon Notice and be Qualified be fore the nearest Majistrate for their Faithfull discharge of this Office &c.

An undated entry in the Rowan County Court Records (page 608) for either 1765 or 1766, records that Matthew Sparks and Daniel Lewis were “suretys in £100” for Gatry Willcocks (or Willcox), widow of Isaac Wilcocks, and George Wilcox, administrators of the estate of Isaac Willcocks. The following court record, dated Thursday, February 4, 1773, is of interest (Book 3, 1773-1786, page 10):

Overseers of Roads. Ordered on petition that the following jury lay out & open a Road from the Shallow Ford to William  Morrisons Mill Upon Third Creek - Viz: Roger Turner, Patrick Morrison, John Bryan, Andrew Morrison, James Wilison, George Lock, Mathew Sparks, John Reed, John Heren [?], Jas Cooper, Isaac Holman & Moses Potts.  Charles Vandever and James Cooper are appointed Overseers of sd Road.


Two of the sons of Matthew and Sarah Sparks applied for pensions on the basis of their service during the American Revolution. These two sons, Matthew Sparks, Jr., (1759-1841) and William Sparks (1761-ca.1848), gave information in their applications that helps to trace the activities of their parents, Matthew and Sarah. (The pension papers of William Sparks were published in the Quarterly of March and June, 1954 [Whole Nos. 5 & 6]; those of Matthew Sparks, Jr., appeared in the issue of December, 1956. [Whole No. 16]) Matthew Sparks, Jr., stated that he had been born in Rowan County, near Salisbury, on January 20, 1759, and “there lived with his father until he was between fourteen and sixteen years old” - - thus until 1773-1775, or just before the outbreak of the Revolution. He stated that the family moved from Rowan County to “New River in Wilkes County” in North Carolina. William Sparks stated in his application that he was “born within one mile of the town of Salsbury [i.e.Salisbury] in the County of Roan [i.e. Rowan], State of North Carolina” on April 3, 1761. He entered the service in 1778. William Sparks stated that shortly before he entered the service, his father, Matthew Sparks, had moved from the Yadkin River qcross the Blue Ridge to a place on New River” in Wilkes County. Thus, the statements by Matthew, Jr., and his brother, William, agree regarding the family’s removal, although neither gave the exact date. The 1774 tax list of Surry County, which then included the New River area of what later became Wilkes County,  does not contain the name of Matthew Sparks. However, his name does appear on the 1775 tax list. He was listed in “Benjamin Cleaveland’s List” as “Matthew Sparks Sr.” with three taxable polls, i.e., males over 16 and under 60. The two polls besides his own were given as “John Sparks and Matthew Sparks Junr.” From this it would appear that the family moved over on New River in 1775, and that John, who was born in 1755, and Matthew, Jr., who was born in 1759, were the two oldest sons of Matthew and Sarah. Apparently no other son had reached the age of 16 in 1775.

Wilkes County was formed in 1777 from Surry County and the District of Washington. The area in which Matthew Sparks settled on New River had been a part of Surry County and is now a part of Ashe County (Ashe County having been formed from Wilkes in 1799). Matthew lived near the present town of Jefferson in Ashe County.

On March 3, 1779, Matthew Sparks obtained a grant of 400 acres in Wilkes County “at the mouth of Little naked Creek.” Following is the description of this land taken from the file in the Land Grant Office, Raleigh, North Carolina:

Wilkes County, North Carolina.
File No. 22.

Warrant No. 163 -- to Matthew Sparkes -- 400 acres “on the North side of New River Begining on Little Naked Creek Runing Down Including his Impt. [i.e.improvement]”  5 Nov. 1778.
Surveyed 21 Dec. 1778. “Beginning at the mouth of little naked Creek Running South Fifty five degrees along the line of Andrew Baker Seventy one pole thence with sd Bakers line South forty one degrees East thirty two pole to a stake thence North Twenty eight degrees< East Eighty four pole to two Chesnuts thence with the line of land of William Sturdie North Seventy four Degrees East fifty two pole to two< white oak Saplins near the bank of the South fork of New River thence down the several Courses of the river to the mouth of a Small Branch thence West Eighty pole to a red oak  thence South twelve degrees East to the Beginning.” (signed) Joe. Herndon, C .S.
Chain Carriers:
James Vaningle
Matthew Sparkes, Jur.

By 1797 the above land was in the possession of a man named John Dick. In 1797, Dick petitioned the North Carolina General Assembly to the effect that the land, as described, embraced only about half of the 400 acres. Thus in the foregoing File 22 there is a resurvey of the 400 acres dated November 2, 1797, which reads as follows:


        “By Order of Court ReSurveyed for Mathew Sparks -- 400 acres now deeded to John Dick: Begining at a Stake at the Mouth of little Naked Creek a branch of the South fork of New River runing South 12° East 71 pole to a Stake then South 55° East 71 pole to a White Oak then South 41° West 32 pole to a Stake then South 28° East 84 pole to Two Chesnuts then North 70° East 52 pole to Two White Oak Saplings on the Point of a Hill on the West side of the South fork of New River then down the Meanders of said River to a Locust at the Mouth of a Small branch then North 100 pole to a Spanish Oak then West 80 pole to a White Oak then to first Station.
(signed) Robt. Nall, D.S.for H. Roussau, C.S.
This Grant is issued under the authority of a resolution of the General Assembly pass’d. at Raleigh 1797.”

The earliest extant complete tax list of Wilkes County, that of 1782, credits Matthew Sparks with the ownership of 650 acres of land, six horses, and eight cattle--the whole valued for tax purposes at $144.00. He was listed in Capt. Cleveland’s District; his son, John Sparks, was listed in the same district as owning livestock but no land. Likewise, James Sparks was listed as owning livestock but no land. We feel certain that this James Sparks was Matthew’s son, not his brother.

An interesting picture of life in the New River Settlement during the Revolution was given by Matthew’s son, William Sparks, in his pension application. He stated that when he was in his seventeenth year he joined a military unit which conducted a campaign against the Cherokee Indians. Apparently this was in 1778. “Upon my return from this campaign,” William Sparks testified, “the military company, in the bounds of which I resided, was organized into a company of mounted minute men under Andrew Baker as Captain and my Brother John Sparks as Lieutenant. In this company I served till the close of the revolution. We furnished our own horses arms and equipments. Our part of the country was almost constantly infested with robbing and murdering parties of tories, british and Hessians, and I was constantly either out in pursuit of such parties, or, in obedience to the orders of my Captain, held myself in readiness to march at a moment’s warning. Of the many and almost constant scouting parties, pursuits, and expeditions in which I was engaged during this period from my great age and infirmities I can recollect but one, so as to abe. able to state the particulars and that only from the personal interest of my family in it, I will proceed to state it.  In less than a year after my return from the campaign against the Cherokees above detailed a party of tories, about 150 in number, robbed my Father, taking a horse saddle and bridle, six guns, all our pewter (we had no delf ware [i.e. delftware] in those days) and whatever else they could carry. My company was immediately called out and others amounting in all to about one hundred and fifty mounted Gun Men under the command of Col.Benjamin Cleaveland. We pursued the above named tories a distance of between 60 and 70 miles and overtook them in Boxe’s settlement near the Virginia line. They were feasting, frolicing and many of them drunk. We killed and wounded 25 or 30 of them in a fight, made prisoners of nearly all the rest, of whom hung five or six, the ballance of the prisoners were discharged by Colo. Cleaveland upon their promise not to molest the patriots for the future.  In this expedition I was engaged three weeks.”

The earliest mention of Matthew Sparks in the Wilkes County Court Records is dated June 3, 1778--he was among a group of men appointed to lay out a road. This record reads as follows:

Ordered by the Court that Rowland Judd John Robins Jur John Tyrah William Owen Jur John Shepperd Nethaniel Judd Barnet Owen John Baker Matthew Sparks Andrew Baker Jur Thomas Cailoway Robert Bake Zacariah Wells Abel Penington James Ward and James Lewis or any 12 of them be a Jury to Lay out a Road the best and most Convenient  way from the Deep fourd on Reddies River to BenajahPenington’s mill and make Report there of to the next Court.

On September 7, 1778, it was “Order’d that Matthew Sparks Snr. be appointed Overseer of the new marked Road from the Top of the Blue Ridge to the Fourd on the south Fork of the new River, and all the hands Convenient work thereon.” On December 10, 1778, it was Ordered that all hands in Capt. Bakers Company below Benjamin Taylors work on the Road under Matthew Sparks overseer.” On June 7, 1780, it was “Ordered by the Court that Charles Rowland be appointed overseer of the Road in stead of Matthew Sparks and all the hands work thereon.”

Exactly how long Matthew Sparks and his family remained on New River in Wilkes County (now Ashe County) is not known. Matthew’s son, William Sparks, in his pension application, stated that he remained in Wilkes County “till the close of the Revolutionary war when he removed with his father to what was then Franklin County, afterwards Jackson, and now Clarke County in the State of Georgia and settled about four miles from Athens in that State.” Matthew Sparks, Jr., in his pension application, stated that the family remained in Wilkes County “until three or four years after the close of the Revolutionary War.” The fact that on June 7, 1780, Matthew Sparks was replaced as overseer for the new road may indicate the family was making plans to move. They were still in Wilkes County in 1782, however, for on the tax list of Wilkes County for that year Matthew Sparks, Jr., was listed in Capt. Sam Johnson’s District as “single,” without land - - his taxable property consisted of one “horse or mule” valued at six pounds. Matthew Sparks, Sr., was listed in “Capt. Cleveland’s Dist.” with taxable property consisting of 650 acres of land valued at 100 pounds, 6 horses or mules valued at 36 pounds, and 8 cattle valued at 8 pounds, making a total of 144 pounds of taxable property. Listed in the same district, as stated earlier, was James Sparks (with 5 cattle valued at 5 pounds) and John Sparks (with 2 “horses or
mules” valued at 12 pounds and 5 cattle valued at 5 pounds).

A deed by which Matthew Sparks sold 400 acres of land to Edward Cross was proven in the Wilkes County Court on October 27, 1784, by James Bunyard. The fact that Matthew Sparks himself did not appear in court to prove the deed may mean that he had left the county by the fall of 1784. Unfortunately, the deed itself was not recorded--we have only the court record of its being proved. Neither Matthew Sparks nor his sons appeared on the 1784 tax list of Wilkes County.

From the pension papers of Matthew’s two sons, we know that he, with most of his sons, were among the first settlers in the lands east of the Oconee River in Georgia, which, prior to the close of the Revolution, had belonged to the Creek Indians. This vast area was given to the State of Georgia and in February, 1784, the Georgia Legislature passed an act throwing open to settlement this newly acquired territory. It was designated as Washington and Franklin Counties. (Many squatters had moved into the area, however, prior to February, 1784, and perhaps Matthew Sparks was among them.)

The Creek Indians strongly protested the loss of their land and, under their able leader, Alexander McGillivroy, a half-breed with Scottish ancestry, they kept up for several years, in that irregular, desultory manner so common in Indian war, a series of depredations on the white settlements along the Georgia frontier. Spain also claimed this land and signed a treaty with MoGillivroy in 1784 under which the Spanish gave the Indians aid and encouragement. This struggle, which lasted twelve years, is called the Oconee War.

Matthew Sparks, Jr., in his pension application, stated that soon after coming to Georgia, he, “with his father and other settlers, erected a fort which was then and probably still is called Sparks Fort.” He made this statement in 1832. This was probably the fort to which Bettie Smith referred in her letter.

During the years that Matthew Sparks lived in Georgia (from about 1784 to 1793). the constant Indian depredations and unsettled times resulted in few records being maintained. Fortunately for our research, during the period of many years following the


death of Matthew Sparks, his heirs made a number of claims against both the Federal and State government for the losses that the family had suffered. From these claims and the surviving correspondence involving them, we are able to gain some knowledge of Matthew’s closing years. Some of these documents are contained in a file called “Indian Depredations” in the Georgia Department of Archives and History, Atlanta. Others have been preserved by a great-great-grandson of Matthew and Sarah Sparks, J. Kent Sparks of Linden, Tennessee.

The document that provides the most detailed account of Matthew’s troubles with the Creek Indians is a statement sworn to by Nathan Sparks, son of Matthew, in Wilson County, Tennessee, in September, 1828. This document reads as follows:

Matthew Sparks lived in the State of Georgia in the year 1786 untill 1793 and was killed by the Indians in Franklin County near where Atheans [sic] now is and in said date 1766 McGilbrey [i.e. McGillivroy] and his warriors made their first brake on Sparks’s property (To Witt)
2 Spinning Whells one large patch one Garden and other things (too tedious to mention)  30.00
In the year 1787 one Sorrel mare was stolen to the value of  200.00
                             one large Bell also     2.00
                             one Eagle Horse 100.00
                             one Roam Mare  100.00
                             one Black    "   70.00
                            1 Brown Bay Horse   75.00
In the year 1788 one Fort burnt 3 dwelling Houses one Block House and all the stockading 
                            around said Fort to the value of  175.00
Also the fencing around 20 Acres was burnt at the same time to the value of    70.00
Also in the year 1790 one large hewn log house burnt by said Indians to the value of    50.00
                         Also about 20 large hogs and many small ones of the same gang was
                          stolen about the same time val of    90.00
 In the year 1793 one Bay horse Stolen to the value of  100.00
                          Also one Brown mare   50.00
 Also the said Matthew Sparks was in service of the United States in theYear 1792 and his horse died to the value of 
Dollars while in service. 100.00
State of Tennessee
Wilson County         County Court         Sept. Term 1828

        This day Nathan Sparks appeared in open Court, and made Oath that the foregoing is a fair and correct Schedule of the property, which Matthew Sparks was in possession of and was the rightful owner of, and which was destroyed by the Creek Indians, under the command of McGlibry their Cheif & others who first attacked the whites on the frontier settlements of Georgia - in the year 1786: and the Creek Indians continued their depredations from the year 1786 up to the year 1793, and the said Matthew Sparks was killed in the Month November 1793, after the great part of his property was either stolen or destroyed by the Creeks. The sorrel mare mentioned in the foregoing schedule as having been stolen in the year 1787 was an animal of uncommon value in those times, and this affiant knows that a negro boy about fourteen years of age was offered for said mare and refused to be taken by said Matthew Sparks. This affiant also states that the rates at which the several items of property are estimated he believes to be upon a fair and reasonable calculation. Septr. 23rd. 1828
                                                                                                            [signed] Nathan Sparks.

[Note: On November 6, 1828, Nathan Sparks and William Sparks, sons of Matthew, appeared in Baldwin County, Georgia, and swore to the above.]


From this claim, it is apparent that the family suffered most severely in 1788 when what must have been Sparks Fort was burned, along with their “3 dwelling Houses.” Again in 1790 they appear to have been burned out, and finally in November, 1793, Matthew Sparks was killed by the Indians. Bettie Smith, it will be recalled, stated that he “went out to kill a turkey one morning, and was killed by the Indians.” It is not clear, however, to what Bettie Smith referred when she stated that “they got up one morning, horses all gone but one ... they sit Granny, and a bed on her [the horse] and started for the fort, twenty-five miles bare headed; there they stayed seven years.”   Perhaps this was in 1786 when the Indians first attacked.

Following the death of Matthew Sparks in 1793, the family continued to live in what is now Clarke County, Georgia, for a number of years. In< 1802, Matthew’s son, Absolom Sparks, still a resident of Georgia, made the following sworn statements

        State of Georgia, Clark Co. - Personally appeared before me Absolom Sparks and made oath that sometime in 1793 about the firs [sic] week in November in said year he the Sd Sparks Lost one horse and in May 1794 he Lost one horse  which property was taken by the Creek Indians which Creatures was taken upon the warters [sic] of the Oconee  Franklin County Sparks fort Which property he has never recd. any sattisfaction for also his mother Sarray Sparks Lost about the year 1794 in the spring three head of horses which was taken on Shole Creek warters of Ocone franklin County & which property he the said Sparks has Jus [sic] Reason to beliave was taken by the Creek Indians & has Recd. no satisfaction for the same. Sworn to and subscribed befor me this 14th 1802 [month not given]
                                                                                                                             [signed] Absolom    X    Sparks
        Pr. by Jesse & Wm Sparks                                                                                                      mark

Although, as seen in the above statement, sufferers from the Creek Indians made claims against the State as early as 1802, it was not until many years later that provision was made by the Federal government to pay these claims. By that time, the heirs of Matthew Sparks were scattered and some of the sons had completely lost track of some of the others. (This was by no means an unusual situation in the early nineteenth century when distances were greater, letter-writing more difficult, and mail service less dependable.) Five of Matthew’s sons, Isaac, Hardy, Bailey, Jesse, and Nathan, along with their mother, Sarah, had settled in western Tennessee by 1828, in which year these heirs decided to make a serious attempt to collect their father’s claims. Jesse Sparks, who was living in Hickman County, and Nathan Sparks, who was a postmaster in Wilson County, agreed to journey to Georgia in order to present their claims. Jesse Sparks was appointed administrator of his father’s estate on September 14, 1829. By the following document (now in the possession of J. Kent Sparks, greatgrandson of Jesse Sparks), Jesse and Nathan were appointed the lawful attorneys of their mother and the other three brothers. This document reads as follows:

Know all men by these present that we Sarah Sparks, Isaac Sparks, Hardy Sparks, & Bailey Sparks have this day nominated constituted and appoint and do by these present nominate constitute and appoint Jesse Sparks of the County of Hickman and State of Tennessee, and Nathan Sparks of the County of Wilson and State aforesaid, our true and lawfull Attornies in fact for us and in our names and for our use and benefit, to demand and receive any sum or sums of money which may be due or coming to us or either of us, under or by virtue of any act of Congress in consequence of the destruction or loss of the property of Mathew Sparks by the Creek Nation of Indians and any sum or sums of money that  may be due or coming to us or either of us, in any way from the Government of the United States or the agent there of, for the destruction of the property aforesaid or for the use of the same by the officers and soldiers of the United States in the year 1787 or at any other time, and we do hereby authorize and


empower them or either of them to execute and deliver receipts and acquittances for the same. . .

        In witness where of we hereunto set our hands and ff ix our seal this the 11th day of Sept. 1828
                                                                                                                    [signed] Sary X Sparks (Seal)
 Test. [signed]   Isaac Sparks                                                                                       mark
                        Bailey Sparks                                                                                 Isaac Sparks (Seal)
                                                                                                                                 Hardy Sparks (Seal)
                                                                                                                                 Bailey Sparks (Seal)

The following agreement was then drawn up regarding the expenses of the journey of Nathan and Jesse Sparks (document in the possession of J. Kent Sparks):

Know all men by these present that we Sarah Sparks, Isaac Sparks, Hardy Sparks and Bailey Sparks do jointly agree hereby to give unto Jesse Sparks and Nathan Sparks for the trouble and expense in seeking after the property that was stolen and destroyed on the frontier of Georgia belonging to their father Mathew Sparks to give them one half of’ what they can get out their expenses paid out of our part and if they get nothing they bear their own expenses and we do agree to pay the attorney that they employ as counsel for their fixing all these papers respecting to get pay for said property for which we bind ourselves and each of our heirs for that sum that they shall give said counsel and said fee to be paid out of our part. In witness we have hereunto set our hand and seals this 11 day of September 1828.
                                                                                                                 [signed] Isaac Sparks (Seal)
                                                                                                                                Hardy Sparks (Seal)
                                                                                                                                Bailey Sparks (Seal)

Nathan and Jesse Sparks were unsuccessful in their attempt to collect for their claims in 1828. In 1832, a member of Congress, Representative Cave Johnson, presented a petition to the House of Representatives from Jesse Sparks. (See Journal of the House of Representatives of’ the United States, 22d Congress, page 293.This brief record, dated February 6, 1832, reads as follows::

 Mr. Cave Johnson presented a petition of Jesse Sparks, administrator of Matthew Sparks, deceased, praying indemnity for depredations committed on his own property, and on the property of his intestate, by Creek Indians.
        Ordered, That the said memorials and petitions be referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs.

On March 13, 1834, it was ordered “That the Committee on Indian affairs be discharged from the further consideration of the case of Jesse Sparks, and that it lie on the table.” On September 22, 1835, Cave Johnson wrote on behalf of Jesse Sparks to the Commissioner of Indian Claims in Milledgeville, Georgia, as follows:

Dear Sir,
         Two claims have been filed sent on from Washington City - - a great part of which is on the Books of the Georgia Commissioners one claim in the name of the admr. of Mathew Sparks & one in the name of Jesse Sparks--JesseSparks has the control of the claims as Admr. of Matthew & in his own right--he is verry anxious to know what has been the decision & the amount allowed and desires me to ask of you the favor of informing him what has been done - - he is now advanced in life & desires to avoid an useless trip & will be greatly obleged to know when the money is ready - - be pleased to address Jesse Sparks Esqr. Duck River furnace, Hickman County, Tennessee.
I am very respectfully
Your friend
C Johnson

The letter notifying Jesse Sparks that settlement had at last been made has been preserved by J. Kent Sparks. It reads as follows:

Your letter to Gov. Lumpkin dated 4th inst. reached this department today. About the date of your letter Gov. Lumpkin’s official term expired and he has retired. Gov. William Schley directs me to give you the information requested in your letter.  By the report of the commission appointed to adjust the claims against the Creek Indians, Jesse Sparks is entitled to $70.00 principal and $17.25 interest making $87.25 and Mathew Sparks is entitled to $1,112.00 principal and $316.10 interest making $1,428.10. If you apply in person, you will bring with you legal and satisfactory evidence that you are the administrator on the estate of Mathew Sparks dec., which will entitle you to draw the money due him. If you should not come in person you should send a duly executed power of attorney authorizing the person to draw your money and also one made by you as admr. of Mathew Sparks, and in this case be sure to send the evidence to show you are the admr.
Your obt. serv.
R. A. Green Secretary.
N.B. The money will be paid when called for.
At about the same time that Cave Johnson wrote on behalf of Jesse Sparks, he wrote also on behalf of Sarah Sparks (widow of Matthew) and her son, Absolom. This claim pertained to Sarah’s losses following her husband’s death in 1793, and to Absolom’s own losses. This was the claim made in 1802 and quoted earlier. Cave Johnson’s letter, written at Clarksville, Tennessee, was dated July 13, 1835, and reads as follows:
John A, Cuthbert, Esqr.
Dr. Sir,
Sarah & Absalom Sparks are claimants under the late law authorizing Georgia to pay for Indian Depredations prior to 1800 & their names on the Books of the Georgia claimants & their papers also forwarded from Washington they are desirous of knowing what time the claims will be acted on & whether the money could be paid to me for them at Washington City, so as to save them the trouble of coming to Georgia - - if it be necessary for them to come or send, be pleased to write me the time, they should be there.
I am verry respectfully
Your obdt. Servt
C: Johnson.

No records have been found regarding the settlement of the claim of Sarah and her son, Absolom, but in all probability their claim was paid. Our knowledge of Sarah Sparks, widow of Matthew, is limited to the references contained in these claims and to Bettie Smith’s statement that she was “buried at Old Pleasant Grove; the piece of shirt the ball went through when her husband was killed, was buried with her.” We have not succeeded in locating “Old Pleasant Grove,” but it was probably in Carroll County, Tennessee. The date of Sarah’s death is not known. She was still living on September 11, 1828, when she signed (by mark) the document making her sons Jesse and Nathan the family lawful attorneys. Although from the above letter it would appear that Cave Johnson thought she was still living in 1835, it seems doubtful that she was, for she would have been close to 100 years old. She probably made her home with one of her children, but which one is not known.


Over a long period of time we have succeeded in collecting material on a number of the children of Matthew and Sarah Sparks, although our data is far from complete. In future issues of the Quarterly we plan to publish what we have been able to collect on these children and their descendants.

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


By Charles Hughes Hamlin

The Land Patents and the Land Grants of Virginia are among the most valuable sources of genealogical material and information that we have. Many counties in Virginia have had a total loss of their records by reason of fire, damage, neglect, war, and other causes, but the records of the Land Office are complete and intact from about the year 1623 until the Civil War. In most cases the writing is a beautiful script and a photostatic print is very ornamental when framed or included in a family album or history. There are about 42 books of the Patents under the Regal Government and about 78 books of Grants under the Commonwealth (until 1803). There are also quite a few books containing the “Northern Neck Grants” under the Lord Proprietors, Culpeper and Fairfax. Fortunately, they are all indexed.


       Book 1, page 239:

June 3, 1635 - 750 acres of land at the head of’ Pagan Creek granted to JOHN SPARKES for the transportation of 15 persons. (Included are himself, GRACE SPARKS, and MARY SPARKES, relationship not stated. Pagan Creek is in ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY. 150 acres of this tract was granted to Mrs. Ann Pitt on 19th October 1665, Book 5, p. 521.)

       Book 13, page 414:

September 27, 1729 - 1000 acres of land granted to JAMES SPARKS of St. George’s Parish in Spotsylvania on the north side of the Rappidan River in the Parish and County aforesaid. Signed by William Gooch.


       Book E, page 441:

September 1, 1780 - 305 acres of land granted to MATHEW SPARKS in the County of Pittsylvania on the branches of Sandy River - adjoining lands of William Wilson, Richardson, Nehemiah Norton, etc. Signed by Thomas Jefferson.

       Book E, page 451:

September 1, 1780 - 137 acres of land granted to THOMAS SPARKS in the County of Pittsylvania, on the branches of Strawberry Creek, adjoining lands of Adam Larkey and Jonathan Thomas. Signed by Thomas Jefferson.

Book E, page 923:

February 1, 1781 - 569 acres of land granted to EDWARD SPARKS, for three pounds sterling, in the county of Pittsylvania on< Rutledge’s Creek, adjoining lands of Bynum, Yeates, etc. Signed by Thomas Jefferson.



Book H, page 250:

July 3, 1783 - 496 acres granted to Matthew Sparks, for 2 pounds 10 shillings sterling, in the County of Pittsylvaniaon both sides of Morton’s Spring Branch of Sandy River, adjoining lands of Beck, Morton, etc. Signed  by Benjamin Harrison.

Book 16, page 809:

May 23, 1788 - 100 acres of land granted to DANIEL SPARKS, Assignee of James Sullivan, attorney for Daniel Sullivan, by virtue of and in consideration of Treasury Warrant number 11317 issued 9th March 1782, the land being in the County of Jefferson (now Kentucky) on the waters of Beargrease (?) and the waters of Asturgas Run, adjoining lands of John McManxiess, Daniel Sullivan, Kites, James Asturgas, etc. Signed by Edmund Randolph.

Book 34, page 634:

September 28, 1796 - 60 acres of land granted to WILLIAM SPARKS, Assignee of James Cordell, in consideration of Treasury Warrant number 13215 issued 3d August 1782, situated and being in the County of Montgomery on Big Fox Creek, a branch of New River, adjoining land of Baxter Davis, etc. Signed by Robert  Brooke.

Book 51, page 388:

July 6, 1803 - 52 acres of land granted to THOMAS SPARKS in consideration of Treasury Warrant number 14050, issued 30th August 1782, lying and being in the County of Pittsylvania on Bean’s Creek Mountain,  adjoining land of McGuffords, Drury Pulliam, Davis, Price, Trahun, etc. Signed by John Page.


Book R, page 20:

November 16, 1778 - 103 acres of land in Culpeper County granted to THOMAS SPARKS of Culpeper County,  on the south side of Stonehouse Run, adjoining lands of the said THOMAS SPARKS, etc. Granted by Thomas,  Lord Fairfax, Baron of Cameron in that part of Great Britain called Scotland, Proprietor of the Northern Neck of Virginia, etc.

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


Charles Hughes Hamlin, who located and abstracted the early Virginia land records given above, is a professional genealogist who specializes in Virginia families. He has had many years of’ experience in this area and, since he lives in Richmond, he has easy access to extensive< collections of Virginia documents and records of’ value to the genealogist. We heartily recommend Mr. Hamlin to anyone who wishes to engage a researcher in Virginia. His fees are reasonable, and his reports are carefully and accurately typed. Address him as follows: Mr. Charles Hughes Hamlin, 7202 Washington Highway, Box 24, Richmond 27, Virginia.



Two early Sparks marriages are recorded in a work entitled Names of Persons for Whom Marriage Licenses Were Issued by the Secretary of the Province of New York, Previous to 1784 (Printed by Order Of Gideon J. Tucker, Secy. of State).

        Page 367: ELIZABETH SPARKS to Robert Quick, January 21, 1769. (Marriage Bonds, Vol. 14, P. 17)

Page 39 (Supplementary List): ELIZABETH SPARKS to John Travill, November 14, 1704. (Marriage Bonds, Vol. 11,  p. 2:27)

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


It is a pleasure to report the names of twenty-eight new members of The Sparks Family Association. These are our new members thus far in 196l:

Beard, Mrs. Dan, 707 North Alameda, Carlsbad, New Mexico.
Borge, Mrs. Irene Sparks, 3632 S. Henderson St., Ft. Worth, Texas.
Burness, Mrs. Walter M., P.O. box 387, Dallas, Texas.
Chapman, Donna S., 460 South 1st West, Logan, Utah.
Evans, Mrs. Christina, R.R. 1, Bozeman, Montana.
Frazier, Barto, 4041 W. Carroll, Chicago 24, Illinois.
Hanby, lone F., 1021 Country Club Road, Wilmington, North Carolina.
Hord, Mrs. Doris Sparks, Ivory Hill Farm, West Friendship, Maryland.
Hord, Mrs. Ruth Katheryn Smith, Creston, California.
Malay, Mrs. Bob, 1811 Manzana Road, Box 768, Carlsbad, New Mexico.
Melton, James Carroll, 7662 Maury Arch, Norfolk 5, Virginia.
Pitzer, Mrs. Harvey, Box 64, Erioson, Nebraska.
Roberts, Mrs. Victoria, Route 3, Box 449, Wadesboro, North Carolina.
Robson, Mildred, 401 Elm Street, Gordon, Nebraska.
Slater, Mrs. Beulah M., Box 31, Keystone Rt., Rapid City, South Dakota.
Smith, Mrs. Howard E., 1107 Oak Ave., Ashland, Kentucky.
Sparks, Rev. D. Chester, President, The Oneida Institute, Oneida, Kentucky.
Sparks, Delmar H., 3484 Warburton Ave., Santa Clara, California.
Sparks, E. Clyde, Chestertown, Maryland.
Sparks, Elmer H., 692 Westminster if. Rd., Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
Sparks, George W., Box 165, MacArthur, West Virginia.
Sparks, George Wood, 4516 Peachtree Circle, East, Jacksonville 7, Florida.
Sparks, J. F., 913 North Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills, California.
Sparks, Maynard Earl, Route 1, Box 437, Graham, Washington.
Sparks, Ralph Elsworth, Box 256, Enoino, New Mexico.
Sparks, Ralph Emerson, 316 N. Ave. 50, Los Angeles 42, California.
Taylor, Mrs. Olive Sparks, Box 44, N. Stony Road, Ponder, Texas.
Tiffin, Katie S., Box 237, Red Bay, Alabama.


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