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

VOL. X, NO. 4  DECEMBER 1962 

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[Here apears a photocopy of a document, beneath which is the following caption:]

Receipt given to Samuel Sparks (1845-1811) of South Carolina

in 1781 by General Thomas Wade for 120 bushels of corn

used by General Nathaniel Green's army.

 (View Document)


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 Russell E. Bidlack

Spotsylvania County, Virginia, was created in 1720 from parts of three other Virginia counties: Essex County, King and Queen County, and King William County. The earliest record pertaining to a Sparks in Spotsylvania County found thus far is a deed dated December 25, 1723, by which James Sparks leased for 99 years a 200-acre tract of land in Spotsylvania County from Francis Thornton of Essex County and Anthony Thornton of Stafford County, Virginia. The Thorntons are described in the deed as “gentlemen” while James Sparks was described as a “planter.” No place of residence was given for James Sparks, which may suggest that he had just settled in Spotsylvania County. This tract of land was described in the deed (see Deed Book A, 1722-29, pp. 73-74) as follows: “Beginning at the place where Mr Martin Back Corner being a large black Oak Thence S 27d W;  160 pole to two Oaks & a gum Standing in a Small branch that falls into the Tublick Swamp, Thence S: 60d E 200 pole to the Swamp first begun on and from thence along up the run of the sd Swamp to the place first begun on.” Under the terms of this lease, James Sparks was permitted to use the land for “four full Years” without rent, but after the fourth year he agreed that each succeeding year “on the Eighteenth day of October being the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist or within forty days after that” he would pay the Thorntons or their heirs “five hundred & thirty pounds of good Sound Tobacco” and also “to pay the Quitrents for the Said land.” The Thorntons and James Sparks all signed this deed, and Henry Martin and Law. Battaill signed as witnesses. It was admitted to record “Att a Court held for Spotsylvania County on Tuesday the 7th day of April


From later Spotsylvania County records, we learn that James Sparks was born about 1670. In 1736, he was described by the Court as being “very ancient.”

We have references to a number of persons named Sparks who were living in Virginia during the 1600’s, but whether James Sparks was a son of one of these early settlers or whether he had emigrated from the British Isles himself, is not known. (For example, a John Sparks was listed on the Quit Rolls of King and Queen County in 1704.)

Our next; record of James Sparks is found in the Spotsylvania County Court records dated February 1, 1725/6. (This double dating, 1725/6, results from the fact that England and her colonies did not officially adopt the Gregorian Calendar until 1752.) It is a brief record and simply reads: “In the action of debt brought by Richard Cheek, Pit. against James Sparkes, there being no appearance of either parties, ordered that the suit be dismissed.” (Order Book 1724-1730, page 96.)

On November 6, 1728, a jury trial was held in Spotsylvania County in which James Sparks and Henry Sparks were defendants. (See Order Book 1724-1730, page 279.) This is our earliest record of any person named Sparks besides James in Spotsylvania County. Since James and Henry were co-defendants in this case, we may assume that they were closely related, and from later records it appears probable that Henry was a son of James, born probably about 1700. On the other hand, it is possible that James and Henry were brothers. This trial of 1728 resulted from the claim of James Horsnail that James and Henry Sparks were indebted to him for 800 pounds of tobacco. (Tobacco was often used as money in colonial Virginia.) The jury, however, found the defendants innocent, and the Court ordered that the suit be dismissed and that Horsnail pay all costs.

Our next record of James Sparks is dated September 27, 1729. On that date, he was granted a tract of land comprising 1000 acres in Spotsylvania County on the north side of the Rappidan River. He was described in this grant as a resident of Spotsylvania County and of St. George Parish (the boundaries of this parish were the same as those of the county.)

This 1000-acre tract was in a section of Spotsylvania County which is today a part of Madison County, Virginia, and was located many miles from that part of Spotsylvania County where James Sparks lived. On August 31, 1730, James Sparks sold this tract, which probably had never been cleared, to John Scott, also a resident of Spotsylvania County, for ten pounds sterling. James Sparks was described in this deed as a “planter” while Scott was called a “gent.” The land was described as being on the Rappidan River; the witnesses to the deed were Larkin Chew, Thos. Slaughter, and A. Smith. At a court held for Spotsylvania County on September 1, 1730, James Sparks acknowledged the deed “and Jane Sparks wife of the sd. James (after being privately examined) acknowledged her right of dower of the said land,” and the deed was recorded. (See Deed Book B, 1729-34, pp. 65-66.)

Thus, we know that James Sparks’s wife was named Jane. One other record of Jane Sparks has been found. On May 7, 1734, the Spotsylvania County Court made the following record: “On motion of Jane, wife of James Sparks, she is allowed for three days attendance as she was summoned as evidence for James Atkins against Thomas Moore--It therefore is ordered that said Atkins pay said Sparks the same with costs alias execution.” (See Order Book 1730-1738, page 310.)

On June 1, 1736, James Sparks petitioned the Spotsylvania County Court “to be set free from paying of public and county levies.” The court granted his request, “he being very ancient and not able to get his living by labor.” (See Order Book 1730-1738, page 441.) According to Charles H. Hamnlin, authority on Virginia history,


who has searched Spotsylvania County records for Sparks data, in order to have qualified for this privilege, James Sparks would have had to have been at least 60 years old, probably older. Evidently he had been working and paying his taxes up until this time. He was probably suffering from a severe illness when he made his appeal, for by August 31, 1736, James Sparks had died. On that date, August 31, 1736, the following court action was recorded: “On the attachment obtained by Henry Sparks against the Estate of James Sparks for 556 lbs. tobacco--the said plaintiff failing to prosecute the said suit any further, -Ordered that same be dismissed.” (See Order Book 1730—1738, page 461.) On February 2, 1736/7 following, another court record was made pertaining to the “Estate of James Sparks.” Thomas Hill, Gent., had obtained an attachment against the estate for 7 pounds, 7 shillings and 1 penny--”the same being agreed, it is therefore ordered the suit be dismissed.” (See Order Book 1730-1738, page 481.) On this same date, the following court action was recorded: “Henry Sparks against James Sparks, attachment granted for 1086 lbs. tobacco and 4 shillings sterling money--the same being agreed, therefore ordered dismissed.” (Ibid.)

Apparently, James Sparks did not leave a will and no probate records have been found pertaining to the settlement of his estate. References in the Court Records suggest, however, that the settlement of the estate was handled by James’s son, James Sparks, Jr.

Our earliest reference to James Sparks, Jr., is a court order dated July 4, 1733. This order reads as follows: “On the petition of James Sparkes Junior against Thomas Glover for 550 lbs. tobacco due by account, there being no appearance, order that the same be dismist.” (See Order Book 1730-1738, page 231.) By April 3, 1734, Thomas Glover had died and James Sparks, Jr., had obtained an attachment against his estate for 900 pounds of tobacco. When the Court learned that one Thomas Jones owed Glover for 500 pounds of tobacco, it ordered, on April 3, 1734, that Jones deliver the 500 pounds of tobacco to Sparks. (See Order Book 1730-1738, page 301.) In this latter record, James Sparks, Jr., was not designated as “Junior” but there seems little doubt that it was he who was intended rather than his father.

Following the death of the elder James Sparks in 1736, we would expect his son, James, to drop the “junior” from his name . - His name appears without the “junior” in a Court record dated October 5, 1737, when James Sparks sued William Hullot for 50 pounds sterling. (The case was settled out of court.) (See Order Book 1730-1738, page 519.) However, in another suit recorded on April 7, 1741, he was designated as “James Sparks, Junior,” probably out of habit. In this instance, he was sued for 50 pounds current money by Thomas Corbin, Gentleman, but through a legal technicality the suit was dismissed and Corbin was forced to pay the Court costs.

From the Spotsylvania County Court records, it appears that James Sparks, who died in 1736 and whose wife’s name was Jane, had four Sons: (1) James Sparks, Jr.; (2) Henry Sparks; (3) Thomas Sparks; and (4) John Sparks. There is nothing, however, to prove this relationship, such as a probate record naming his heirs, but circumstantial evidence supports this relationship. Following is a summary of the data we have on each; for convenience, James Sparks, Jr., on whom we have considerable information, is listed last.


Henry Sparks, probably a son of James Sparks who died in 1736, first appeared on the Spotsylvania County Court records on November 6, 1728, when he and James Sparks were co-defendants in a suit brought by James Horsnail, which was described on page 681, above. On August 3, 1731, Henry Sparks was appointed a constable by the Spotsylvania County Court in place of John Parks who had asked to be discharged. The Court ordered Henry Sparks to “be sworn as the law directs to view the several fields of


tobacco in his precinct, which is from the Parish line down the Rappahannock River and to the end of the County for the preventing the tending [?] of second slips arid suckers, etc.” (See Order Book 1730-1738, page 57.) On April 6, 1736, Henry Sparks and John Curtis signed as witnesses a deed by which Vincent Tapp sold 175 acres of land in Spotsylvania County to John Elison; this land once belonged to Francis and Anthony Thornton and was probably near the tract which James Sparks leased from the Thorntons in 1723. (See Deed Book C, 1734-42, page 141.) On June 6, 1749, Henry Sparks witnessed another deed by which Thomas and Rachel Cartwright sold 80 acres of land to Joseph Holloday. The other witnesses were John Crettenden Webb and William Gholeston.

In a law suit involving Henry Sparks and Moses Bledsoe in 1743, Henry, the plaintiff, won the verdict and Bledsoe was required to pay 5 pounds, 1 shilling, plus costs. This court action took place on March 6, 1743. (See Order Book 1738-1749, page 254.) On April 3, 1750, Henry Sparks was allowed 25 pounds of tobacco for one day’s attendance in court to give evidence for Betty Head against Mosely Battaley, Gent. (See Order Book, 1749-1755, page 54.) On December 4, 1751, Henry Sparks was “allowed for six days attendance” at court as a witness for Joseph Morris at the suit of Thomas Morris. (See Order Book 1749-1755, page 146.)

Our last record of Henry Sparks in Spotsylvania County is dated February 6, 1752. On this date, the County Court dismissed a suit which James Sparks brought against Henry Sparks. An agreement had been reached outside court. (See Order Book 1749-1755, page 168.)

What became of Henry Sparks after 1752 is not known. It seems probable that he moved out of the county.


Another probable son of James Sparks, who died in 1736, was Thomas Sparks. His name appeared for the first time on the Spotsylvania County Court Order Book on October 7, 1731.  On that date, the Court heard the case of John Tennant against Thomas Sparks, Tennant claiming that Sparks owed him 50 shillings which he demanded to be paid. The Court, “after hearing all evidence and arguments on each side are of the opinion that 15 shillings current money was due on balance of account between them therefore judgement is granted for the same with costs and attorney’s fee.” (See Order Book 1730-1738, page 88.) On the same day, John Tennant also brought suit against John Sparks far one pound, ten shillings. John Sparks was probably another son of James and a brother of Thomas. No other record of Thomas Sparks has been found in Spotsylvania, and, as in the case of Henry Sparks, it seems probable that he moved out of the county.


Another probable son of James Sparks, who died in 1736, was John Sparks who appeared in the Spotsylvania County Court records for the first time on October 7, 1731. On this date, the Court recorded that John Tennant had brought suit against John Sparks far one pound, ten shillings current money. The Court, “after hearing all witnesses and arguments are of the opinion that nothing is due.” The suit was dismissed and Tennant was ordered to pay all costs. It was on this same day that John Tennant sued Thomas Sparks, clearly suggesting, as was noted above, that they were closely related, probably brothers.

On November 8, 1749, John Sparks was paid 25 pounds of tobacco “for guarding the prison” in Fredericksburg. On this same day, James Sparks, Jr., who had been appointed constable of the town of Fredericksburg in 1744, was paid 167 pounds of tobacco “for


summoning three juries of enquest.” (See Order Book 1749-1755, page 13.) It would certainly appear that as constable, James Sparks, Jr., had appointed his brother John to guard the prison on this occasion.

No record pertaining to John Sparks has been found in Spotsylvania County after 1749. He probably moved out of the county, as Henry and Thomas Sparks appear to have done.


James Sparks, Jr., was probably the oldest son of James Sparks who died in 1736, since he appears to have been in charge of settling his father’s estate. More information has been found on James Sparks, Jr., among Spotsylvania County records than on any other member of the family.

James Sparks, Jr., was probably born about 1700. Our earliest record pertaining to him is dated July 4, 1733, on which occasion he sued Thomas Glover for 550 pounds of tobacco. (See Order Book 1730-1738, page 231.) This case was dismissed, but on April 3, 1734, the Court noted that James Sparks (he was not called “Junior” on this occasion) had obtained an attachment against the estate of Thomas Glover. As was noted earlier, the Court then ordered Thomas Jones, who owed Glover 500 pounds of tobacco, to pay this amount to James Sparks. (See Order Book 1730-1738, page 301.)

Following the death of James Sparks, Sr., in 1736, James, Jr., seems to have handled the settling of the estate. He was involved in a number of law suits during the next several years. In October, 1737, he sued William Hullot for 50 pounds sterling  - - the case was settled out of Court. (Order Book 1730-1738, page 519.) In 1741, he successfully defended himself against a suit brought by Thomas Corbin, Gentleman. “for 50 pds. current money damage.” According to the Court record, “the defendant appeared and moved for a non-suit, the plaintiff having not filed a Declaration one day before the Court-- The law is with the Defendant--said Corbin to pay said Sparks a non-suit with costs, etc.” (See Order Book 1730-1738, page 120.)

On February 5, 1744, the Court “ordered that James Sparks serve as Constable of the Town of Fredericksburg in room of William Potter and that he be sworn before some Magistrate of this County according to law.” (Order Book 1738-1749, page 297.) To receive such an appointment, James Sparks, Jr., must have been a man of ability and some degree of education. Other court records reveal that, by occupation, he was an inn-keeper. On June 5, 1750, for example, the County Court noted: “Petition of James Sparks to have his Ordinary [inn] Lycense renewed, being expired, is granted on his giving Bond and paying the Governor’s Due as the law directs.” (Order Book 1749 -1755, page 62.)

On September 3, 1745, James Sparks, Jr., witnessed a deed by which John Durritt sold land in Spotsylvania County to Henry True and Martin True. Benjamin Davis and Alexander Hawkins were also witnesses. (By this time, of course, James had stopped adding”Junior” to his signature,since his father was dead.) On June 2, 1747, another James Sparks signed by mark as witness to a mortgage between Joseph Venable and John Minor. As will be noted later, when James Sparks, Jr., died in 1758, the administrator of his estate was this same James Sparks who signed his name by mark. There can be no doubt but that the James who signed by mark was closely related to James, Jr., but he does not seem to have been a son. Probably he was a nephew, a son of Henry, Thomas, or John Sparks.

On January 10, 1749, James Sparks, Jr., signed his name as witness to the will of John Fox of Fredericksburg. Other witnesses were M. Battaley, John Sutherland, and Richard Tutt.


Two very important documents pertaining to James Sparks, Jr., are dated September 1, 1752. (See Will Book B, 1749-1759, pp. 132-33.) These documents identify two of James’s sons, Daniel Sparks and Charles Sparks. They also provide an interesting illustration of how our Colonial ancestors often provided training for their children through the system of apprenticeship. The first agreement reads as follows:

        This Indenture made the first Day of September one thousand seven hundred and fifty two Between James Sparks of St. George Parish in the County of Spotsylvania of the one Part, and Charles Sebastian of the Parish Brunswick in King George County of the other Part the said James Sparks Doth put and bind his son Daniel Sparks an apprentice to the said Charles Sebastion for and During the term of six years & seven Months fully Compleat and ended & the said Charles Sebastian shall teach or Cause to be taught or Instructed the said Apprentice in the full art or mistery of a Joyner and house Carpenter and also shall give to the said apprentice a full years Schooling and also During the said Term shall find to his said apprentice Good and Convenient meat, Drink, washing and Lodging and apparrel and at the Expiration of the said term shall give unto his said apprentice such Dues as by Act of Assembly is appointed to be given to Imported Servants and Likewise at the Expiration of the said term to Give to his said Apprentice a Set of Carpenters tools. In witness whereof the Parties to these Indentures have set their hands and affixed their seals the Day, month, and year first above written.
                                                                                                                        [signed] James Sparks (seal)
                                                                                                                                    Charles Sebastian (seal)

Both James Sparks, Jr., and Charles Sebastian appeared before the Spotsylvania County Court on September 2, 1752, and acknowledged the above indenture.

A similar agreement was signed by James Sparks, Jr., and Charles Sebasion on the same day, September 1, 1752, placing James’s son, Charles Sparks, also as an apprentice to learn to be “a Joyner and house Carpenter .“ However, instead of the term of six years and seven months, Charles was bound until he should reach the age of twenty-one years.

On February 7, 1753, James Sparks, Jr., was summoned before the County Court “to answer a complaint against him made, for keeping a disorderly house [inn], and bringing up his children in pilfering, stealing, and other ill practices.” This was a serious charge to be brought against a man of James’s position--it required no little influence to be appointed a constable and to have a license to operate an inn in Colonial Virginia. Apparently, James had an enemy who wished to cause him embarrassment. The Court listened to his defense and ordered “that the said complaint be dismissed.” (See Order Book 1749-1755, entry for Feb. 7, 1753.) A few days after this, James Sparks, Jr., was granted a new license to operate his inn for another year, a further vindication of his character.

Early in 1758, James Sparks, Jr., died. The earliest document which mentions his death is an agreement dated March 7, 1758, by which “Daniel Sparks, son of Jas. Sparks, decsd. of the County of Spotsylvania doth with the Consent & approbation of the Court ... put himself apprentice to James Frasher of the County aforesaid Carpenter & Joyner, to learn his Art & mystery ...“ (See Will Book B, 1749-59, pp. 349-50.)  Daniel Sparks agreed to serve as apprentice to Frasher until he reached the age of twenty-one. Apparently, with the death of James Sparks, Jr., the agreement with Charles Sebastian was terminated. From other records, we know that Daniel Sparks was born in 1740 and was thus eighteen when this agreement with Frasher was signed. Daniel Sparks and James Frasher both signed this agreement. (of course, the recorded copy, which is our source, does not bear their actual signatures.)


On February 5, 1760, Samuel Sparks, another son of James Sparks, Jr., bound himself, as had his brother Daniel; to James Frasher. This was done with the approval of the Court since, according to the agreement, Samuel was only “about the age of 15 years.” He agreed to serve as an apprentice for six years “to be taught and instructed in the Art or Mystery of a carpenter and joyner.” (See Will Book B, 1749-59, page 439.)

Unfortunately, from the viewpoint of genealogical research, James Sparks did not leave a will. On August 2, 1758, the Spotsylvania County Court recorded in its Minute Book (page 123) that Sarah Sparks, widow of James Sparks, Jr., had refused to serve as administratrix of her husband’s estate. (Thus we know that the wife of James Sparks, Jr., was named Sarah.) The County Court then appointed another administrator whose name was also James Sparks. This other James Sparks signed his name by mark on the bond he was required to post as administrator. There is no indication of his relationship to the deceased, but the fact that he signed by mark indicates that he was probably the same James Sparks who signed by mark the mortgage between Joseph Venable and John Minor on June 2, 1747, as mentioned earlier. He was probably a nephew of James Sparks, Jr., a son of Henry, Thomas, or John Sparks. The administrator’s bond (see Will Book B, 1749-59, page 382) was dated August 2, 1758; William Lewis and Bland Ballard signed as securities in the amount of “Three Hundred Pounds Currt Money.” (Ballard signed by mark.)

On October 3, 1758, at “a Court held for Spotsylvania County,” John Battaley, Thomas Colson, and William Houston submitted an inventory which they had taken of  “the Estate of James Sparks decd.”  This inventory provides an interesting picture of life in the village of Fredericksburg two centuries ago. (The articles were valued in “current money,” that is, in English pounds, shillings, and pence. (See Will Book B, 1749-59, page 385.)

        In Obedience to an Order of Spotsylvania Court we the Subscribers have Valued & appraised the Estate of James
        Sparks deced. in Current Money as followeth -- Viz.

                                                                                                                                                  £    S   d

1 Bed and Furniture  3 10  0
 l Ditto  2   0  0
1 Ovel Table   0 15  0
1 Old Ditto  0   5  0
1 pr Iron Doggs  0 12  0
1 pr fire Tongs   0   1  0
1 Old Bed Rugg & Blanket, 1 Old Ditto, Lot  4   0  0
A parcel of Tanned Leather   0   5  0
1 Old Spinning Wheel   0   1  6
l SquareTable  0   3  0
1 Fiddle   0   7  6
A parcel of Old Peuter  0 17  0
2 Tin Funnel and one old Cullendar  0   2  6
1 Cupboard   0 12  6
1 Bed and Furniture  2 10  0
1 Rum Case & 6 Bottles  0   7  6
1 Earthern Jugg  0   3  0
1 Gallon, 1 Quart, 1 Pint, I half pint & 1 Jill, Lott   0   1  0
4 Iron Candle sticks, 1 hammer & Pinchers  0   3  0
1 Tin Sugar Box 1/6 1 Skillett 1/6  0   3  0
A parcel of old Knives & forks, 1 Old Pepper Box   0   2  6
1 pr Old money scales 2 Old Iron Wedges & two flatt Irons   0   5  0
1 Old safe 10/ 1 Old Rum Case 1/3  0 11  3
1 Gun 20/ 1 chest 5/ 1 Old Chair 1/   1   6  0
1 Desk  2 10  0
1 Bay horse   4 10  0
3 Pails, 1 Washing Tub  0   4  0
4 Old Iron Potts   0 12  0
2 Iron pot Racks and hooks  0 12  6
1 Old Tea kettle 5/   1 frying pan, Griddle and Ladle 4/  0   9  0
1 Ruin Cock 2/6     1 Chamber pott 1/  0   3  0
2 pr Iron Traces & haines, 1 Cart & saddle  4   0  0
2 Old Axes 2/6     1 Old Looking Glass 2/  0   4  6
l  GrindStone   0   2  6
l  Horse  5   0  6
                                                                                                            £ 38   5  3

        [signed] Jn° Battaley
                    Thoms  Colson
                    Wm Houston
        Att a Court held for Spotsylvania County on Tuesday October the 3rd 1758 This Inventory and appraisement of the
        Estate of James Sparks Deced being Returned in Court it is Ordered to be Recorded.
                                                                                                                                                Test. W: Waller Cl.Crt.

Our only knowledge of the wife of James Sparks, Jr., is the fact that her name was Sarah. She was, without doubt, the Sarah Sparks who married, as his second wife, Anthony Foster. Anthony Foster was a prominent man in Spotsylvania County; he was sheriff of the county in the 1740’s and in 1753 was commissioned by the Governor as “Inspector of Tobacco at Fredericksburg Warehouse.” His first wife’s name was Martha, by whom he had several children, including a daughter named Elizabeth who married James Frasher. As was noted above, it was to James Frasher that Daniel and Samuel Sparks bound themselves as apprentices. In his will dated February 4, 1763, he provided for his wife, Sarah, and bequeated “to my wife’s daughter, Sarah Sparks, one cow and calf to her and her heirs forever.” This was the Sarah Sparks, daughter of James Sparks, Jr., who married Alexander Walden.

The late William B. Newman who was quoted in the June, 1956, issue of the Quarterly, stated that the Sarah Sparks who married Anthony Foster as his second wife was the widow of Zachary Sparks of Orange County, Virginia. There can be little doubt now that Mr. Newman was mistaken, and members of the Association should note this on page 138 of the June, 1956, issue (Vol. IV, No. 2) [Whole No. 14].

On November 9, 1752, the Spotsylvania County Court made record of a suit brought by Jane Sparks against Anthony Foster, but it was dismissed because an agreement had been reached out of Court. This was probably the mother of James Sparks, Jr., (widow of James Sparks who died in 1736), and the suit may have involved property connected with the marriage of her daughter-in-law, Sarah, to Anthony Foster.

From the above mentioned records in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, and later records in South Carolina and North Carolina that will be cited, below, we know that James Sparks, Jr., who died in 1758, had at least four sons, Daniel, Charles, Samuel, and Harry. We know also that he had at least one daughter, Sarah, who married Alexander Walden. He may also have been the father of Eleanor Sparks who married Edlyne Willoughby. Following are brief sketches of these children; more detailed records of their descendants appear on subsequent pages:

1. Daniel Sparks, born in 1740, died in Darlington Connty, South Carolina, about 1810.  As noted earlier, he was  apprenticed by his father to learn to be a carpenter in 1752. Soon after his twenty-first birthday, he moved to South Carolina and settled on the Pee Dee River. He married, first, a
Miss Stephens, in 1763; she died in 1774. He married, second, Martha Pearce.
 2. Charles Sparks, born probably early in the 1740’s; he died in 1797 in Anson County, North Carolina. Like his brother, Daniel, he was apprenticed by his father to learn the carpenter’s trade in 1752. He also settled on the Pee Dee River in South Carolina, but at an early date he moved further up the river into North Carolina. He married twice.  His first wife’s name was Gracilla; his second wife’s name was Jane.
3. Samuel Sparks, born in 1745, died in Surry County, North Carolina, in 1811. As a fifteen-year-old boy he apprenticed himself to James Frasher to learn to be a carpenter. He settled in South Carolina on the Pee Dee River  with his brothers, but about 1794 he moved to Surry County, North Carolina. He married Lucy - - - - -. Since, in his will, he left his property to his nephews and nieces, it would appear that he had no children.
4. Harry Sparks. His real name was apparently Henry and he was born about 1750. He also left Virginia and settled on the Pee Dee River in South Carolina where he was killed during the American Revolution by a group of Tories.
5. Sarah Sparks. She was born about 1750; she married Alexander Walden, who was born November 15, 1748, in Goochland County, Virginia; he was living in Coweta County, Georgia, at the time of his death, soon after 1834. He made application for a Revolutionary War pension on September 3, 1834, and stated that he was living in  Spotsylvania County, Virginia, in 1776 or 1777 when he was drafted and “guarded Scotch Prisoners which were sent to Staunton, Va.” He stated that he moved to the Pee Dee River section of South Carolina on March 17, 1778, where he did guard duty and “was in many skirmishes with the Tories.” He stated that after the war he moved to Carolina (i.e. North Carolina), later to Morgan County, Georgia, and finally to Coweta County, Georgia. From a  letter written to the Pension Office by Alexander Walden, Jr., in 1854, it apppars that Sarah (Sparks) Walden was  still living in 1834. From information appearing in the Historical Collections of the Joseph Habersham Chapter,  Daughters of the American Revolution, Vol. II, Atlanta, Ga., published in 1902, which has been supplied by Katherine Walton Booth and Beatrice Booth of Watkinsville, Georgia, we know that Alexander and Sarah (Sparks) Walden had the following children:
(1) Charles Walden, moved to Mississippi and had a daughter, Elizabeth, who married John Butler of Griffin;
(2) James Walden, moved to Alabama;
(3) Alexander Walden, Jr., lived in Benton County, Alabama, in 1854;
(4) Samuel Walden;
(5) Tavener Walden;
(6) Elizabeth Walden, married a Mr. Threete and had a son, Tavener Threete;
(7) Nellie Walden;
(8) Nancy Walden, married Aaron Crow, and had a daughter Elizabeth Crow  who married Walton Harris Booth.
6. (?) Eleanor Sparks. She was born in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, in 1758 and may have been a daughter of James Sparks, Jr., or she may have been the daughber of one of James’s brothers or nephews. She was married in Spotsylvania County in 1782 to Edlyne Willoughby who, according to his Revolutionary War pension application, was born in Spotsylvania County in 1752. He died in Wadesboro, Anson County, North Carolina, in 1839. Eleanor  died in the same place in 1825. They moved from Spotsylvania County to Richmond, North Carolina, before 1790; by 1810 they were living in Anson County. Their children were: (1) Joseph Willoughby; (2) Willis Willoughby, born 1785. (3) Nathan Willoughby; and (4) Charles Willoughby.



By Russell E. Bidlack

As was noted in the preceeding article, James Sparks, Jr., died in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, in 1758. Four of his sons later moved to the area along the Pee Dee River in South Carolina known as the Welch Neck. Welch Neck is the name that was given to the area in the bend of the Pee Dee River in what is now Marlboro County opposite the present town of Society Hill. This area was first settled in 1736 by a number of Welchmen who had left Wales in 1701 and had lived in what is now Delaware for a number of years before coming to South Carolina. They organized the Welch Neck Baptist Church soon after forming their new settlement. Members of the Sparks family joined this church upon their arrival in the Welch Neck.

The four sons of James Sparks, Jr., who came to South Carolina were Daniel, Charles, Samuel, and Harry. A sister, Sarah, who had married Alexander Walden, also moved from Virginia to the same area. An important source for information on these four brothers and their descendants is a book entitled History of the Old Cheraws by the Right Reverend Alexander Gregg (New York: Richardson and  Co., 1867). Although Gregg had no information on the parentage of these brothers, he knew they came from Virginia. Gregg stated that they moved to the Welch Neck before 1760, but no records have been found to prove that they came quite that early. According to Gregg, the oldest of these brothers was Daniel who, according to his descendants, was born in 1740. The order of birth of the other three brothers has not been discovered, although we know that Samuel was born in 1745. Following is the information we have been able to gather thus far on these four brothers and their descendants.

DANIEL SPARKS, born 1740, died 1810

According to records submitted to the D.A.R. by descendants of Daniel Sparks, he was born in 1740 and died in 1810. As was noted on page 685, our earliest public record of Daniel Sparks is an agreement signed by his father on September 1, 1752, by which Daniel was bound as an apprentice for six years and seven months to Charles Sebastion of King George County, Virginia, to learn the carpenter’s trade. Daniel’s brother, Charles Sparks, was also apprenticed to Sebastion on the same date to learn the same trade. James Sparks, Jr., Daniel’s father, died early in 1758 and apparently this canceled the apprenticeship agreement because on March 7, 1758, Daniel obtained permission from the Spotsylvania County Court to apprentice himeelf to James Frasher of the same county, “Carpenter & Joyner, to learn his Art & mystery.” (See Spotsy1vania County Will Book B, 1749-1759, pages 349-50.) James Frasher, son of a Scotch tailor who had settled in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 1727, was a son-in-law of Anthony Foster to whom Daniel Sparks’s mother, Sarah Sparks, was married soon after the death of James Sparks, Jr.  Daniel agreed to serve as an apprentice to James Frasher until he would become twenty-one years of age. Two years later, Daniel’s younger brother, Samuel Sparks, also bound himself as an apprentice to James Frasher.

Our earliest record of Daniel Sparks after he settled in the Welch Neck, in what is now Marlboro County, South Carolina, is dated January 8, 1765--on that date he mortgaged a slave to Henry Laurens. He is recorded as having mortgaged another slave to Charles Atkins on February 13, 1767. (See Book 3A-71 & 3B-10.) Our earliest record of Daniel’s acquiring land in the Welch Neck is a grant which he received from the Colonial government of South Carolina on August 6, 1771. This tract was described by the Surveyor General as containing “Three Hundred acres of Land Containing a plantation Tract Situate Lying and being in Craven County cnow Marlboro County, on the No. side Peedee river on Muddy Creek, Bounded No Eastward


by William Alstons Land, So Eastward by Mr Boutwells Land, and all other sides by Vact Land.” (The original of this grant and plat is in the South Carolina Archives Department, Columbia, South Carolina.)

From various references, it is apparent that Daniel Sparks prospered in South Carolina, and by the time of the American Revolution he had become an extensive slave owner. Although many of the inhabitants of the Welch Neck were loyal to England during the Revolution, the Sparkses were leaders among the Patriots. Daniel served for several months as a captain under one of the most famous generals of the Revolution, Francis Marion, known as the Swamp Fox. This service, which was in a regiment commanded by Col. Samuel Benton, entitles his descendants to membership in the D.A.R. and S.A.R. There is a tattered record preserved in the South Carolina Archives Department at Columbia of Daniel’s receiving compensation on April 20, 1785, for a portion of this service. This document is an “Indented Certificate,” or note, issued to Daniel Sparks by the South Carolina Treasury for the sum of fifteen pounds, eight shillings and eight pence. Interest would be paid annually to the owner of this certificate in the amount of one pound, one shilling and seven pence, or the certificate could be used to purchase lands confiscated by the state from the Tories. An indorsement on the back of this certificate indicates that Daniel Sparks used nine pounds, six shillings and eight pence of the principle for purchasing land and sold the remainder to Abraham Cook on November 27, 1785. Cook later sold it to Cornelius Henagan. On November 22, 1794, Daniel Sparks made claim for additional compensation, claiming that he had been paid for only thirty-five days of service.

The Welch Neck was inhabited by many wealthy plantation owners who were loyal to the Crown during the Revolution, and the area’s  history during this period is a tragic one, with neighbor fighting neighbor. In 1781, Daniel Sparks’s younger brother, Harry Sparks, was killed by a band of Tories. Gregg tells in his book how Daniel avenged his brother’s death: “Captain Daniel Sparks, a brother of Harry, succeeded in capturing subsequently one of the ringleaders of the Tory gang. Upon being charged with the act, which he promptly acknowledged, Captain Sparks told him he should be hung. ‘Very well,’ said the undaunted fellow, ‘as soon as you please.’ Sparks ordered his men to proceed with the execution of the prisoner, who assisted with apparent cheerfulness in adjusting the rope about his neck, sprang on the back of the horse brought to elevate him from the ground, asked if the rope was well secured to the limb, and upon being told it was, kicked the horse, making him move suddenly from under him and swung off into eternity with an oath upon his lips.” On another occasion, according to Gregg, the Tories “wantonly killed a mulatto man, the slave of Capt. Daniel Sparks.”

Daniel Sparks continued to live in Marlboro County following the Revolution. Our last record of him is a petition which he signed on November 22, 1794, which reads as follows: (The original of this petition is preserved in the South Carolina Archives Department at Columbia and is reproduced on the following page.)

        To the Honorable the President and members of the Senate of the State of South Carolina, the Petition of Daniel Sparks  humbly sheweth, That your Petitioner having served as a Captain of Militia in the Regiment lately commanded by Colonel  Samuel Benton during the late war and from the said Colonel obtained a certificate for one hundred and forty four days service an account of which was through the hands of Thomas Powe Esquire returned to the Auditor’s Office, but your Petitioner never could obtain compensation f or more than about thirty- five days service which will appear by the Books of the Treasurer, and your Petitioner begs leave to represent to your Honorable House that from a Paralytick  complaint with which he has been afflicted for five years he has been unable in person to make the necessary application; he therefore prays that your

[Page 691 consists of a copy of the document referred to in the surrounding text.]

(View document)


        Honorable House will take the business in consideration and grant him such relief as in your wisdom shall seem fit. And  your Petitioner as in duty bound will ever pray
        Marlborough County                                                                                         [signed] Daniel Sparks
        Nov. 22d 1794

According to records of the family, Daniel Sparks died in 1810.

Daniel Sparks was married twice. In 1763, he married a Miss Stephens who was born in 1745 and died in 1774. Several years after the death of his first wife, Daniel married, second, Martha Pearce who was born in October, 1762, and died on March 30, 1853.

By his first wife, Daniel Sparks had two children:

(1) Elizabeth Sparks, born in 1765, died i.n 1815. She married in 1782 Silas Pearce (1760-1820) who was a brother of  Martha Pearce, Daniel’s second wife. Known children of Elizabeth Sparks and Silas Pearce were:
(a) Silas Pearce, Jr.
(b) A daughter who married John Chamblis.
(c) William Pearce.
(d) James H. Pearce, born 1797, died 1856.
(e) A daughter, who married Thomas Cook.
(f) Daniel Pearce, died prior to 1835.
(g) Mary D. Pearce, married a Mr. Thomas.
(h) Dickson Pearce.
(i) A daughter, who married Nathan B. Thomas.
(2) Charles Augustus Sparks. Very little has been learned of this son. He purchased land in Marlboro County, S.C.,on May 17, 1810. His uncle, Samuel Sparks, mentioned him in his will dated June 11, 1811. He entered service as a first lieutenant in the regular U.S. Army on March 17, 1814, and resigned on March 10, 1815. By 1840 he was living in Sumter County, Alabama, where, on August 12, 1840, he was married to Julia Allison, daughter of Robert G. Allison. By 1847, Charles A. Sparks had died and on December 18, 1847, Robert G. Allison was appointed administrator of his estate. On the 1850 census, Julia Sparks, widow of Charles A., was listed as living  with her father; her age was given as 29 and her birthplace as South Carolina. Apparently she and Charles A. Sparks had no children. Charles A. Sparks may well have been married previously, and he may have left descendants of whom we have no record.
By his second wife, Martha Pearce, Daniel Sparks had the following children:
(3) Alexander Sparks, son of Daniel and Martha (Pearce) Sparks, was born September 27, 1780, and died January 29, 1857. He married Janette (or Jane) McKearly who was born in Scotland about 1791 and died on March 6, 1871. He lived on west side of the Pee Dee River, in what is now Darlington County, across the river from Marlboro  County; he and his wife are buried in the cemetery at Society Hill. Alexander Sparks became an extensive land and slave owner and was an exceedingly wealthy man when he died. In his will, dated May 4, 1852 (see Darlington County Will Book 10, page 326) he left his widow his “mansion house at Society Hill” along with 100 acres of land, 20 slaves, the family carriage, carriage horses and “my coachman, Robert,” plus $20,000.  To one daughter he left 2600 acres of land; to another he left 3,000 acres and 32 slaves; to his only living son
he left several plantations, along with 30 slaves; to the only child of a deceased son, he lft $25,000 in trust; and to “the Baptist Church at the Welsh Neck, Peedee River, being the particular Church of which I am a member, worshipping,” he left $1,000. Alexander and Janette (McKearly) Sparks had the following children:
(a) Elizabeth D. Sparks, married Thomas P. Lide.
(b) Margaret Jane Sparks, married Col. Isaac D. Wilson.
(c) Samuel Sparks, Jr., born April 11, 1829; died June 24, 1853, without issue.
(d) Dr. William Alexander Sparks, born October 4, 1817, died August 19, 1849. He attended Columbian College at  Washington and in 1834 entered Yale University. He then studied medicine at the Medical College of South Carolina at Charleston and subsequently in Paris. He was appointed consul at Venice by President Polk in 1845 and died there of Asiatic cholera on August 19, 1849. His body was brought to Society Hill for burial. He married Alicia Middleton, daughter of John and Mary (Burroughs) Middleton, born January 16, 1824. Following the death of Dr. Sparks, his widow married in 1853, as her second husband, General Roswell S. Ripley. She died at Flat Rock, North Carolina, in June, 1898, in her 75th year. Dr. William A. and Alicia (Middleton) Sparks had one daughter:
(i) Marie Alice Sparks, born March 25, 1848; she married on August 14, 1866, Alfred Moore Rhett (1829-1889) and they had the following children:
(1) Mary Alice Rhett, born June 16, 1867, married William Clarkson Stuart.
(2) Ann Barnwell Rhett, born Sept. 23, 1868; married Henry Kirke Preston.
(3) Aimee Rhett, born 1869, died 1869.
(4) Elizabeth Washington Rhett, born Feb. 10, 1871; married Edward George Trenholm.
(5) Alicia Middleton Rhett, born Jan. 9, 1873; married Edward Ford Mayberry.
(6) Marianna Rhett, born Dec. 16, 1876, married Francis Irende du Pont.
(7) Edmund Moore Rhett, born April 7, 1878.
(8) Sarah Blake Rhett, born Aug. 29, 1880; married Payre Gaillard Hanahan.
(e) David G. Sparks. A deed recorded in 1845 indicates that his father, Alexander Sparks, gave David land in1845.  Since this son was not mentioned in Alexander’s will, he probably had died before 1852.
(4) Samuel Sparks, son of Daniel and Martha (Pearce) Sparks, was born March 21, 1787, and died September 19, 1878. He married, first, a Miss Allison. She died, and on July 11, 1822, he married Ann Harry who was born June 22, 1793, and died November 15, 1870. By his first wife, Samuel Sparks had one son:
(a) Charles Sparks, died young.
            By his second wife, Ann Harry, Samuel Sparks had the following children:
(b) Alexander Dottridge Sparks, born in 1829 and died in 1894. He spent his entire life in Marlboro County,  South Carolina, where he married on November 20, 1856, Caroline Middleton Dudley, daughter of the Hon. Christopher William and Rebecca Powe (Robeson) Dudley. She was born June 3, 1838, at Bennettsville, South Carolina, and died there on June 23, 1911. Alexander D. Sparks was a planter on the Pee Dee River;  he served in the Mexican War and held a commission in the U.S. Navy. Later, he served as an officer in the
Confederate Army. His army coat is preserved in the Confederate Museum at Columbia, South Carolina; the inscription on the coat sleeve reads: “This coat worn by Capt. A. D. Sparks, who organized and equipped his own Company I, South Carolina Volunteers (Cavalry).” Alexander D. and Caroline (Dudley) Sparks had the following children:
(i) Leila Sparks, born September 20, 1857, died May 18, 1858.
(ii) Samuel Sparks, born May 22, 1859, died June 19, 1920, at Beaufort, S.C. He married Oct. 9, 1881,Sallie McRae Edens. They had children:
(1) John Clarence Sparks, born Aug. 6, 1882, died Oct. 22, 1932.
(2) Leila Caroline Sparks, born Apr. 21, 1885.
(3) Anita Ramelle Sparks, born Aug. 7, 1889; died July 22, 1950.
(4) Esther Clifton Sparks, born Nov. 9, 1893; married Aug. 29, 1917, Edward P. McClellan;
divorced in 1935.
(iii) William Alexander Sparks, born April 17, 1862; died 1910 at Blenheim, South Carolina. He married Aug. 7, 1889, Mary Hariette Nettles. They had children:
(1) Laurence M. Sparks, born June 29, 1890, at Foreston, S.C.; she married James Henry Polhemus
(2) Annie Lee Sparks, born Sept. 9, 1893; married Thaddeus Hamilton.
(3) Agnes Mason Sparks, born Aug. 3, 1895.
(4) Mabel T. Sparks.
(5) Carrie Dudley Sparks.
(6) Mary Sparks.
(7) Willie Sparks.
(8) Alexander Sparks.
(iv) Susan Laurence Sparks, born Jan. 23, 1864; she married in 1890 Donald McDairnid McLeod, Jr. They had a child named Aleine Alexander McLeod born in 1892.
(v) Minnie Rebecca Sparks, born April 21, 1866; she married, first, in 1889, Francis Benjamin Rogers and had two children:
(1) Hattie Louise Rogers, born in 1891.
(2) Francis Benjamin Rogers, Jr., born in 1894. Minnie married, second, Pierce Butler Watson of
Batesburg, S.C.; they had a son named Pierce B. Watson, Jr., born in 1909.
(vi) Anna Harry Sparks, born Aug. 17, 1870; married in 1888, Pressly Fred. Jones and had children:
(1) Fred. Sparks Jones, born in 1889.
(2) Mamie Lula Jones, born in 1891.
(3) Sallie Alexander Jones, born May 20, 1893.
(4) Claudia Jones,
(vii) Thomas Dudley Sparks, born Feb. 17, 1875; he married on Sept. 5, 1892, Daisey Spencer of Chesterfield County, South Carolina, daughter of George W. and Ann E. (Robeson) Spencer. They had children:
(1) Marie Spencer Sparks, born Sept. 2, 1893.
(2) McIver Le Grand Sparks, born July 22, 1895.

(C) Susanna Sparks, daughter of Samuel and Ann (Harry) Sparks, married Laurence Massillon Keitt who was a member of Congress fran 1852 until 1861. He became an officer in the Confederate Army and was killed during the War. Susanna was noted for her charm and beauty and was mentioned in Ada Sterling’s A Belle of the Fifties and in S. D. Martin’s A Diary from Dixie .  A   letter she wrote to a Northern friend on March 4, 1861, appeared in the April, 1961, issue of theS South Carolina Historical Magazine. Susamia Sparks and  Laurence M. Keitt were the parents of two daughters, one of whom died in youth. The other daughter, Anna  Keitt, never married and died in New York City.

(5) Daniel Pierce Sparks, son of Daniel and Martha (Pearce) Sparks, was born in 1784 and died October 13, 1867. His middle name was that of his mother's maiden name, but he seems to have spelled it “Pierce” rather than “Pearce.”  As a young man he moved away from South Carolina and was living in Savanah, Georgia, where he enlisted in the U.S. Army on June 22, 1812, to serve for five years. His widow, many years later, stated that while in service he “received a hip wound and was laid up in [a] hospital at Savanah, Georgia.” His discharge, received at the end of his period of enlistment, has been preserved in his bounty land file in the National Archives. He was described at that time (June 21, 1817) as being 33 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall, with dark complexion, eyes and hair, and by occupation a carpenter. When he enlisted, he gave his birthplace as Moore, South Carolina. (For more information on his service, see the Quarterly of September, 1960, Vol. VIII, No. 3, page 500.) After his discharge from the Army, Daniel P. Sparks settled in Louisiana where he became a sugar cane planter in St. Mary Parish. He married, at Franklin, Louisiana, a French lady named Constance Etier on June 23, 1818. She died and he married, second, at Franklin, La., Maliza Vinson on June 29, 1841. In 1857, Daniel P. Sparks and his family moved to New Orleans and from there to Texas. While he was a resident of the town of Indianola, Texas, he made his will, but failed to indicate the year in which he wrote it--the only date is March 24. His wife, in her application for a pension, stated that he died on October 13, 1867, at New Orleans--apparently he had returned there from Texas on business, His will was probated in Comal County, Texas. In his will, Daniel P. Sparks named five children, referring to them as “all my children.” Since they were all under age, they must have been children by his second wife. We have no information on these children other than what is given below.
                    (a) John C. Calhoun Sparks, killed in the Civil War, He left no descendants.
                    (b) Daniel Pierce Sparks, Jr.; he is known to have married and left descendants.
                    (c) Martha M. Sparks.
                    (d) Susanna Sparks.
                    (e) Mary Sparks.

        (6) Martha Sparks, daughter of Daniel and Martha (Pearce) Sparks, according to Gregg, died single.

        (7) Mary Ann (or Polly) Sparks, daughter of Daniel and Martha (Pearce) Sparks, married John Crosland of Marlboro County, South Carolina. He was a son of Edward and Ann (Snead) Crosland. They had the following children:
                    (a) Sarah E. Crosland.
                    (b) John V. Crosland. (family continued on next page)


(Children of Mary Ann Sparks and John Crosland, continued)

(c) Daniel E. Crosland.
(d) James Crosland.
(e) Vinette Crosland.
(f) Gillian Crosland.
(g) Mary Jane Crosland, born about 1825; she married, as his second wife, Lewis Andrew Jackson Stubbs, who died in 1853. They had the following children:
(i) John Benjamin Stubbs.
(ii) Nicholas Stubbs.
(iii) Sarah C. Stubbs.
(iv) Thomas Stubbs.
(v) Susannah Stubbs.
(vi) Martha L. Stubbs.
(vii) One child whose name is not known.
(8) Lucy Sparks, daughter of Daniel and Martha (Pearce) Sparks, married three times. She married, first, John Stanard  McDaniel and had the following children:
(a) Alexander McDaniel.
(b) Mary Ann McDaniel; married Roderick MoNair.
(c) Sarah McDaniel; married Barnabas Henagan.
(d) Samuel McDaniel.
(e) John Stanard McDaniel, Jr.
Lucy Sparks married, second, between 1814 and 1816, Alexander Stubbs, son of James Stubbs;  he died prior to October, 1821. They had children:
                    (f) Martha E. Stubbs, married Thomas H. Stubbs.
                    (g) James A. Stubbs.
                    (h) William T. Stubbs.
Lucy Sparks married, third, Thomas Stubbs, who was an uncle of her second husband. They had one daughter,
                    (i) Lucy Ann Stubbs, married Ebenezer W. Goodwin.

        (9) Sarah Sparks, daughter of Daniel and Martha (Pearce) Sparks, married William Pouncey. No further data.

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CHARLES SPARKS, BORN ca. 1743-44, DIED 1797

Charles Sparks, son of James Sparks, Jr., was born in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, early in the 1740’s, probably in 1743 or 1744. On September 1, 1752, his father signed an agreement with Charles Sebastion of King George County, Virginia, by which he was apprenticed to Sebastion “to be taught or Instructed ... In the full art or Mistery of a Joyner and Carpenter.”  It was agreed that Charles Sparks would serve until he “shall become of the full age of twenty one years.” Sebastion agreed to provide “a full years Schooling and also During the said Term shall find unto his said apprentice good and Convenient meat Drink washing Lodging and apparrel and at the Expiration of the said Term shall give unto his said apprentice such Dues as by Act of assembly is appointed to be given to Imported Servants and likewise at the Expiration of the said Term to give to his said Apprentice a set of Carpenters Tools.” (See Spotsylvania County Will Book B, 1749-1759, pp. 132-33.) As was noted earlier, Daniel Sparks, brother of Charles, was apprenticed to Charles Sebastion on the same date, September 1, 1752.


No other record of Charles Sparks has been found in Spotsylvania County. According to Alexander Gregg, in his History of the Old Creraws, Charles Sparks came to the Welch Neck on the Pee Dee River, in what is now Marlboro County, South Carolina, -- with his brother, Daniel Sparks. Our earliest official record of Charles Sparks in South Carolina is the description of a tract of land granted to him on March 6, 1770, and surveyed April 6, 1770. Containing 100 acres, this tract was on the south side of the Pee Dee River and adjoined land owned by W. Young, James Wines, John Flannigin, and Alexander Mclntoshe. On August 7, 1770, a tract of 70 acres was granted to Charles Sparks which adjoined his other tract, as well as land owned by Alexander McIntosh and William Ellerbee. On April 7, 1772, a third tract, containing 200 acres, was granted to Charles Sparks; according to the survey made May 19, 1772, this tract adjoined his other land and land owned by Thomas Ellerbee and John Flanagham. The plats of these three grants are preserved in the South Carolina Archives Department at Columbia, South Carolina. Photostats have been obtained by the author of this sketch.

Gregg gave very little information on Charles Sparks in his History of the Old Creraws and stated that he went to sea. Perhaps he meant by this that he served in the navy during the Revolution.

By 1782, Charles Sparks had moved up the Pee Dee River into Anson County, North Carolina. Our earliest record of him in Anson County is a deed dated Sept., 1782, by which he purchased for 550 pounds a tract of land containing 322 acres from Stephen Thompkins. The witnesses were Morgan Brown, Patrick Boggan, and D. Jamison. (See Anson County Deed Book 4, page 90.) There is nothing in the description of this land to indicate its exact location in Anson County. On April 10, 1783, Charles Sparks purchased for 20 pounds a tract of 100 acres from Stephen Thompkins. (Anson County Deed Book 4, page 279.) On June 13, 1783, Charles Sparks purchased for “two hundred Specie” a tract of 320 acres on the south-west side of the Pee Dee River, below the mouth of Barber’s Creek; he purchased this land from Daniel and Sarah Hicks. Persons owning adjoining land mentioned in the description were Townsend Robinson, James Barber, and Samuel Blackford. Witnesses were Sten. Jackson and Benjamin Whitfield. (Anson County Deed Book 4, page 164.) On September 15, 1785, Charles Sparks purchased 200 acres from John Carruth (Deed Book C-2, page 289). On June 24, 1785, he purchased 200 acres from Thomas Harris (Deed Book C-2, page 295), and on February 9, 1786, he purchased 100 acres from Joshua and Ruth Lizinby (Deed Book B-2, page 100). All of this land, amounting to some 1200 acres, seems to have been located on the south-west side of the Pee Dee River.

Our first record of Charles Sparks selling land in Anson County is a deed dated January 20, 1787. In this deed, he was called a “yeoman” and his wife was named as Gracilla Sparks. For 350 pounds, he sold to Isaac Jackson the 320 acres of land he had purchased from Daniel and Sarah Hicks in 1783. Charles Sparks signed this deed by mark, making a “C” instead of an “X”, however.  He seems always to have signed by mark, but this does not necessarily mean that he was illiterate. Judging from his extensive land holdings, he was certainly a prosperous man and he belonged to a prominent family. The witnesses to this deed were Samuel Spencer and Thomas Sparks. The latter was Charles’ son.

On March 10, 1787, Charles Sparks purchased 200 acres from Peter and Susanna Smith (Deed Book B-2, page 103). Since he named a daughter in his will as Susanna Smith, it seems probable that it was from her husband, Peter, that he purchased this land.

On April 16, 1794, Charles Sparks sold by two separate deeds some 300 acres to William Johnson for 400 pounds. He signed both deeds by mark and Stephen Tomkins and Moses Hollis were his witnesses. The fact that no mention was made in either of this deeds of his wife’s dower rights probably means that she had died by this time and he was a widower. (See Deed Book C-2, pages 287 and 288).


Apparently by 1794, Charles Sparks was experiencing financial difficulty. On November 22, 1794, land belonging to Charles Sparks, Jesse Gilbert, George Hamrnons, and David Jameson was sold because of “arreages of Taxes for the year 1786.”
This land, amounting to 208 acres, was described as on Richardson’s Creek in Anson County. (See Deed Book D & E, page 258.)

The last record in Anson County of Charles Sparks selling land is dated March 7, 1796, when he sold to William Johnson 512 acres on the south-west side of the Pee Dee River adjoining land owned by Blackford, Phillip Herndon, Nicholas White, Stephen Tomkins, and Underwood. He received 600 pounds for this tract; he signed by mark and his witnesses were Morgan Brown and James Johnson. (Deed Book F & G, page 187.)

On May 27, 1797, Charles Sparks made his will. It was probated in January, 1798, proving that he died late in 1797. It reads as follows:

 I Charles Sparks of Anson County & State of North Carolina, being sick but of perfect & sound memory, thanks be to Almighty God, calling to mind the mortality of my flesh and knowing it is appointed for all men to die do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament, that is to say, principally and first of all I give & recommend my Soul into the hands of Almighty God who gave it me, and my Body I give & recommend to the Earth to be buried at the discretion of my Executors, northing doubting but at the General Resurrection, I shall receive the same by the mighty Power of God; and as touching such worldly Goods with which it hath pleased Almighty God to bless me in this life, I give, devise, bequeath & dispose of them in the form and manner following
Imprimis, I give and bequeath to my well beloved wife Jane Sparks all the Services of a Negro Girl named Priscilla (now living at William Lyons) till she is arrived at the age of twenty one years, and then to be sold and the money thence arising to be equally divided amongst my three Younger Children John Sparks, Nancy Sparks, and James Sparks.
Item, I will and bequeath to my Daughter Sarah. Lyons, my Daughter Polly Tomkins, my Daughter Susanna Smith, my son Thomas Sparks, my son William Sparks, my son Daniel Sparks, and my Daughter Elizabeth Sparks to each the sum of five Shillings currant money of N. Carolina.
Item, I will and bequeath to my wife Jane Sparks all & singular the residue of my Estate, Goods & Chattels in any wise to me belonging or pertaining to enable her to bring up and raise her three children with which I leave her, the said Residue (after all lawful demands against my Estate shall be duly settled off & adjusted) to be at her own disposal, and she to be the only, sole Claimant, possessor, lawful owner & proprietress and I do hereby nominate and appoint my true and trusty Friends Charles Bevin & Isaac Lanier together with my wife Jane Sparks to be my lawful Executors to act conjunctly or separately as occassion may require. And I do hereby utterly disannul, abbrogate, invalidate and make void, all, and every Will, Legacy, Gift and Bequeath, by me in any wise willed, legated, given or bequeathed, named or nominated, ratifying and confirming this to be my last Will and Testament --On 27 May One Thousand seven hundred and ninety seven, and in the twenty-fourth Year of American Independence.                                                                                                          his
Signed Sealed, delivered and                                                              Charles      C      Sparks (Seal)
acknowledged in the Prescence of                                                                      mark
        John McRae Jurate
        Duncan x McRae


It is apparent that Charles Sparks was married twice. His first wife’s name was Gracilla; she probably died about 1790. From his will, it appears that Charles and Gracilla Sparks had seven children, all of whom had probably left home by the time of his death, They were named Sarah, Folly, Susanna, Thomas, William, Daniel, and Elizabeth. (Charles Sparks was listed on the 1790 census of Anson County as head of a household containing three males over 16, himself included in this figure, as well as 1 male under 16, 1 female, and 3 slaves.) His will also makes it clear that Charles Sparks married, second, probably after 1790, a woman much younger than himself named Jane. By her, he had three children, John, Nancy, and James, who were quite young at the time of his death in 1797. The name of Jane Sparks does not appear on any subsequent census of Anson County--she probably married a second time.

By his first wife, Gracilla, Charles Sparks had the following children:

(1) Sarah Sparks. She was named first in her father’s will and was probably the oldest child, at least the oldest daughter. Since she was called Sarah Lyons in her father’s will, she was undoubtedly the Sarah Sparks who married William Lyons according to a marriage bond in Anson County, North Carolina, dated either 1786 or 1787 (date uncertain). According to family tradition among descendants of her brother Thomas, Sarah married Benjamin Whitfield. If correct, it would appear that this was a second marriage. It is interesting to note that a Benjamin Whitfield signed as witness a deed by which Daniel Sparks, Sarah’s uncle, sold land to his brother-in-law, Alexander Walden, in the Welch Neck on September 26, 1777. Also, on June 13, 1783, a Benjamin Whitfield signed as witness the deed by which Charles Sparks purchased land in Anson County from Daniel and Sarah Hicks.
(2) Polly Sparks, whose real name was probably Mary. Since in her father’s will she was called Polly Tomkins, we know that prior to 1797 she married a man named Tomkins. No further information, except that a Thomas Tomkins was listed on the 1790 census of Anson County, North Carolina, his name appearing near that of Charles Sparks.
(3) Susanna Sparks. She was called Susanna Smith in her father’s will and was probably the wife of Peter Smith. Charles Sparks purchased a tract of land from Peter and Susanna Smith in 1787.
(4) Thomas Sparks. He was probably born in the early 1770’s, at least as early as 1775. Our earliest record of him in Anson County is his signature as a witness to a deed dated January 20, 1787, by which his father sold land to Isaac Johnson, He married about 1798, Achsah Love, daughter of Lt. Col. David and Jean (Blewett) Love of Anson County. David Love was a member of the Provincial. Congress, a senator from North Carolina in 1777, and a lieutenant colonel of State Troops of North Carolina. He fought in the American Revolution under General Francis Marion. Achsah Love was born on October 25, 1779, and died on April 6, 1834. Soon after his father’s death, or perhaps before, Thomas Sparks moved from Anson County, North Carolina, to Greene County, Georgia. There is a record in the Superior Court of Greene County appointing Thomas Sparks and others to work on a dirt road in 1798, In 1802 he witnessed the will of James Blount in Greene County, In 1803 he was a justice of the peace in the same county, By 1813, Thomas Sparks had moved to Putnam County, Georgia, which adjoins Greene County. He was enumerated on the 1820 and 1830 census of Putnam County and from these records it appears that his family consisted of five sons and one daughter. In 1830, he owned a total of 28 slaves. We have not been able to discover the date of Thomas Sparks’s death, but it is said that he was buried at Shady Dale, a village in Jasper County, Georgia.


We have not been able to compile a complete list of the children of Thomas and Achsah (Love) Sparks, but from scattered references we know they were the parents of the following:
(a) William Henry Sparks, born in Greene County, Georgia, on January 16, 1800; died in Marietta, Georgia, on January 13, 1882. (His biographical sketch in the National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, as well as in a number of other biographical dictionaries, erroneously gives his birth place as Simon’s Island in McIntosh County, Georgia.) He was the author of Memories of Fifty Years published in 1870. A prominent lawyer of Baton Rouge, Louisiana,  J. St. Clair Favrot, is currently writing a biography of William Henry Sparks, and at a later date we shall publish material on  him and his descendants supplied us by Mr. Favrot.

[Scanner's note:  See the major article concerning William Henry Sparks and another article relating to his descendants in the QUARTERLY for December 1981, Whole No. 116, pp2352 - 2368.]

(b) Robertus L. Sparks, born about 1809. Little has been learned regarding Robertus Sparks other than the fact that he moved to Louisiana as a young man. By 1850 he was a wealthy sugar planter in Assumption Parish near Napoleonville. His brother, Col. William H. Sparks, had purchased a plantation in Assumption Parish in 1829, and Robertus apparently came to the same area soon afterward. Col. W. W. Pugh, who had lived in Assumption Parish early in the 1800’s, recalled that upon returning to the Parish in 1835, after a ten-year absence, “I noted many changes particularly in the increase in the American population. I found Col. W. H. Sparks and brothers, etc.” (See Pugh’s article, “Louisiana Planter and Sugar Manufacturer,” in the Assumption Pioneer Newspaper of July 16, 1881.)
From census records, we know that Robertus Sparks's wife was Emily A. Sparks, born about 1811 in Vermont. in 1860, Catherine born about 1836 and Benjamin F. born about 1838, were listed under the name Birdsall. In 1850, however, they were listed under the name Sparks. Robertus Sparks was still living in Assumption Parish in 1880. Known children of Robertus and Emily Sparks were:
(i) William Henry Sparks, born 1842.
(ii)  Robert C. Sparks, born 1849.
(iii)  Mary Sparks, born 1852.
(c) Ovid Garten Sparks was born at Sparks Mill at the confluence of Indian Creek and Little River in Putnam County, Georgia, on December 4, 1813. He died in Macon, Georgia, on October 30, 1900. On May 3, 1854, he was married to Josephine Brazeal, who was born in 1832, Ovid Garten Sparks was a distinguished citizen of Macon, Georgia, and served as that city’s mayor in 1859, 1860, and 1863. A grandson of Ovid Garten Sparks, A.O.B. Sparks of Macon, is a charter member of The Sparks Family Association. We plan to publish a detailed record of the descendants of Ovid Garten Sparks in the near future.
(d) Sherrod Sparks was born about 1814. Like his brothers, Col. William H. and Robertus, Sherrod Sparks became a sugar planter in Assumption Parish, Louisiana. From census records, we know that his wife’s name was Martha and that she was born in South Carolina about 1818. Sherrod Sparks was mentioned by Solon Robinson in the October, 1849, issue of the New York American Agriculturist (Vol. 8, pages 314-16). Describing a tour he had taken in February, 1849, Robinson noted: “Mr. Sherrod Sparks, 14 miles below Donaldsonville, sold his place, last winer, for $20,000, containing 600 arpents, without stock or tools - - 300 arpents in cultivation, with sugar house and engine and two moderate dwelling houses, with other buildings. The place made 100 hogsheads of sugar last year and 110


the year before, with plenty of corn. The corn on hand sold with the place.” From census records, we know that Sherrod Sparks had the following children, perhaps others:
(i) Sarah Sparks, born about 1840.
(ii) Thomas Sparks, born about 1841.
(iii) Robertus Sparks, born about 1844.
(iv) Eliza Sparks, born about 1847.
(v) Georgia Sparks, born 1849.
(e) Sarah Blewett Sparks, daughter of Thomas and Achsah (Love) Sparks, married Thomas Hardeman. Among other children, they had a daughter, Ann Elizabeth Hardeman, who married Elisha Griswold. A son, Thomas Hardeman, Jr., was a captain of the Floyd Rifles, a Macon Company of volunteers during the Civil War; later he became commanding officer of the Second Georgia Battalion with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
(5) William Sparks, son of Charles Sparks, was born about 1780 in Anson County, North Carolina. He was living in Putnam County, Georgia, by 1812 when he was married to Martha Dixon, born in 1787. He died in 1816 and his brother,  Thomas Sparks, was appointed guardian of his two sons, Achiles Knight Sparks, born September 5, 1813, and William McCurdy Sparks, born November 2, 1814. A record of William Sparks and his descendants compiled by Martha Sparks Smith was published in. the September, 1958, issue of the Quarterly (Vol. VI, No. 3).
(6) Daniel Sparks, son of Charles Sparks, was mentioned in his father’s will in 1797, No other record of him has been found.
(7) Elizabeth Sparks, daughter of Charles Sparks, was apparently unmarried in 1797 when her father made his will. No further record.
By his second wife, Jane, Charles Sparks had three children who were quite young at the time of his death in l797. They were:
(8) John Sparks, no further record.
(9) Nancy Sparks, no further record.

(10) James Sparks, no further record.

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SAMUEL SPARKS, born 1745, died 1811

Our earliest record of Samuel Sparks, son of James Sparks, Jr., of Spotsylvania County, Virginia, is an indenture dated February 5, 1760, by which Samuel Sparks, with the consent and approbation of the Spotsylvania County Court, bound himself as an apprentice to James Frasher “to be taught and instructed in the Art or Mystery of a carpenter and joyner.” (See Spotsylvania Will B ook B, page 439.) Samuel was described as “being about the age of 15 years” in this agreement, and he agreed to serve for the term of six years.” Perhaps, since he agreed to serve exactly six years, and since it was customary for a young man to serve as an apprentice until his twenty-first birthday, we may conjecture that Samuel Sparks was born on February 5, 1745. As was noted earlier, Samuel’s brother, Daniel Sparks, apprenticed himself to James Frasher in 1758. As was noted earlier, also, Samuel’s mother, the widow Sarah Sparks, had married Frasher’s rather-in-law, Anthony Foster.


Like his brothers, Samuel Sparks eventually settled in the Welch Neck of the Pee Dee River in what is now Marlboro County, South Carolina. Our earliest record of his acquiring land on the Pee Dee River is dated June 19, 1784, on which date he was granted 200 acres of land near a stream called Muddy Creek. On January 16, 1785, he was granted an additional 440-acre tract.

On June 10, 1785, Samuel Sparks appeared before Tristram Thomas, a justice of the peace in the Welch Neck, and signed sworn statement that during the Revolution he had “furnished the Continental Army with one hundred & twenty Bushels of Corn & that he has Recd no Satisfaction for the Same.” Along with this claim against the United States, Samuel Sparks submitted the receipt which he had received in 1781 from General Thomas Wade for this corn. This document, which is preserved in the South Carolina Archives Department in Columbia, has been reproduced on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly. It reads as follows: “This May Certify that as Commissary Genl. for the State of So Carolina I have Purchased of Mr Saml Sparks one Hundred and Twenty Bushels Corn, which corn was to have been Replaced but never has been done, it being for the use & consumption of the Southern Army under the Command of the Honble Major Genl Greene and at the Price fixed by resolve of the Cont1 Congress dated 25 Feby 1780 & received January 1781.
                                                                                                                                Thos Wade
                                                                                                                    Commissary Genl of Purchase.”

In 1785, Samuel Sparks received compensation for his 120 bushels of “Indian Corn Supplied Public Service in 1781” at the rate of three shillings and six pence per bushel, a total of twenty-one pounds. Samuel Sparks signed the following receipt, which, it will be noted, was written on the bottom of his receipt from General Wade: “Received 21st Nov. 1785 full Satisfaction for the above in an Indent N° 504 Book Y. [signed] Samuel Sparks.”

On the 1790 census of the Welch Neck, Samuel Sparks was listed as the head of a household comprised of one female (his wife) and two white males besides himself, one over sixteen and one under sixteen years of age. He also owned six slaves.

About 1794, Samuel Sparks moved to Surry County, North Carolina--he was listed on the Surry County tax list for the first time in 1794. The only record found of his purchasing land in Surry County is a deed dated February 10, 1806, by which he bought a tract of 253 acres on Seed Cane Creek from Bowater & Rebekab Sumner for 200 pounds current money. He was listed on the 1800 census of Surry County with himself and his wife enumerated as having been born before 1755 (the oldest category) and one male born between 1755 and 1774. He appeared for the last time on the 1810 census of Surry County, his household consisting of only himself and his wife.

Samuel Sparks made his will on June 11, 1811, and it was probated in the Surry County Court meeting in November, 1811. Thus we know that he died between June 11 and November, 1811. His will, recorded in Will Book 3, page 99, reads as follows:

In the name of God Amen.  I Samuel Sparks of the County of Surry and State of North Carolina being sick and weak of body though of perfect mind and memory and knowing it is appointed for all mankind once to die do constitute and ordain this my Last will and testament.
Imprimis First I recommend my soul to Almight God who gave it and my body to the Grave to be buried in decent Christian order at the discretion of my Executors hereafter nominated.


(Will of Samuel Sparks, continued.)
Item I lend to my beloved wife Lucy Sparks my Land and every thing appertaining thereto together with my household and kitchen furniture and stock of every description during her life. I also desire and bequeath unto said Lucy Sparks forty dollars to be at her disposial which money I want raised from a sale of my property and it to be of such articles as can be best spared.
Viz. I lend said Estate to said Lucy Sparks during her life after all my just debts are satisfied: and after her decision of life I give all my Estate that is remaining to Alexander Waldens children and Charles Sparks, Alexander Sparks, Samuel Sparks, and Daniel Sparks sonsof Daniel Sparks deceased to be equally divided amongst them.
And I Samuel Sparks acting as an agent for Tavener Walden do lend to my wife Lucy Sparks a negro man named Pompy dureing her life which after her death said negro is to be the property of said Tavener Walden.

And I do appoint Lucy Sparks, Welcomb Garret and Samuel L. Forkner my Executors of this my last will and testament revolking all others. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 11th day of June in the year of our Lord 1811.                                                                             his
                                                                                                                        Samuel   X   Sparks
        Witnesses,  R. Buckley                                                                                       mark
                            James Roberts
                            Isaac Forkner

An inventory of the estate of Samuel Sparks was recorded in Record Book D in Surry County, page 54. Dated December 20, 1811, the inventory was prepared by Welcome Garret and Lucy Sparks. It reads as follows:

                    300 acres of land
                    1 negro man named Pompy aged 26 years
                    3 head of horses
                    7 head of cattle
                    2 beds and furniture
                    4 tables and 9 chairs
                    4 dishes and 6 basons and 23 plates
                    1 case of knives and forks
                    3 pots, 1 dutch oven and 2 skillets
                    1 coffee mill and 2 coffee pots
                    1 desk
                    1 chest
                    2 trunks
                    1 tea kettle and fire dogs
                    1 potrack, tongs and shovel
                    1 loom, and gears, and 2 wheels
                    1 stone pitcher and 1 stone jug
                    1 saddle and bridle
                    1 set of tea cups, and saucers and 1 reel
                    1 pair of steelyards, and 2 flat irons
                    3 tin pans and 1 stone butter pot
                    1 pair of bellowses, 1 hanmier and tongs
                    1 large looking glass and 1 cannister
                    1 tea cheat, 1 salt celler, and pepper box
                    2 candle sticks and snuffers, 6 spoons
                    farming utentials &c

Since Samuel Sparks willed that, following the death of his widow, Lucy, his property should pass his nephews and nieces, the children of his brother-in-law, Alexander Walden, and the four sons of his brother, Daniel Sparks, we might assume that Samuel had no children. Yet, we know from census records, that young people were living with him in 1790 and 1800. There is the possibility that Samuel Sparks became impoverished during his latter years and borrowed money from his brother-in-law, Alexander Walden, and brother, Daniel Sparks, with the provision that he should leave all of his property to their children. There was a Robert Sparks, born about 1789 and still living in 1863, who may have been a son of Samuel Sparks. Robert Sparks lived much of his life in Putnam County, Georgia, near Thomas and William Sparks, nephews of Samuel. According to census records, Robert Sparks married a woman named Sarah, born in South Carolina, and had a large family. The only child on whom we have definite information, however, was Wilshire H. Sparks, who was born in Putnam County on August 20, 1820; he married Nancy Smith. A son of Wilshire Sparks named Charles Worth Sparks, born January 29, 1856, wrote to Martha Sparks Smith in 1925 that his grandfather, Robert Sparks, was a first cousin of Thomas and William Sparks. If Charles Worth Sparks was correct in this relationship of his grandfather, Robert Sparks was probably a son of Samuel, or perhaps of Harry Sparks, below.

HARRY SPARKS, died 1781

Harry Sparks, whose real name was probably Henry, son of James Sparks, Jr., appears to have been the youngest of the four Sparks brothers who moved from Spotsylvania County, Virginia, to what is now Marlboro County, South Carolina, prior to the American Revolution. Harry Sparks was doubtless a little boy when his father died in 1758. Whether he was married at the time of his death in 1781, we do not know--if he was he may have been the father of Robert Sparks, discussed in the above paragraph.

Harry Sparks was a member of the company of Patriots, from the Welch Neck commanded by his brother, Daniel Sparks. Alexander Gregg, in his History of the Old Cheraws published in 1867, told of how Harry Sparks met his death:

A party of Whigs, shortly before this [April, l78l], went out in search of a noted band of Tories who were known to occupy a stronghold in the swamp of the Three Creeks,[in what is now Marlboro County, from which frequent incursions had been made into the river settlements. At that time, the swamp was an almost impenetrable morass, rendering it a secure retreat for such outlaws. Upon approaching its border, the Whigs remained quiet for some time, hoping to discover some sign of the enemy; but in vain, To penetrate it in a body, not knowing the exact location of the Tory camp, would have been a most hazardous undertaking. They were at a loss what to do, and as painfully impressed with the necessity of striking an effective blow. At length, after a tedious delay, one of their number, Harry Sparks, noted for his activity and courage, volunteered to go in alone and bring back a speedy report to his companions. He succeeded in reaching the camp and after a careful inspection, was in the act of retreating, when he was discovered and captured. His protracted absence excited alarm, and at length, becoming desperate at the thought of Sparks’ fate, the whole part, dashed into the swamp together, determined to rescue him, if alive, or perish in the attempt. Following his trail, they succeeded without difficulty in reaching the spot, and there found the camp deserted, and, to their horror, the lifeless body of their comrade hanging from a tree. A cry went up for vengence, and not long after retribution came. [He goes on to relate how Captain Daniel Sparks and his men captured and hanged the leader of this Tory gang.]
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