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

VOL. XVII, NO. 2 JUNE, 1969

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

THOMAS SPARKS (1807-1877)

Born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia
Died in Jonesboro, Arkansas

Son of Edmund and Patsey (Wright) Sparks

(View photograph)


THE SPARKS QUARTERLY, published by The Sparks Family Association.
Paul E. Sparks, President, 155 North Hite Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky (40206)
William P. Johnson, Historian-Genealogist, Box 1710, Raleigh, North Carolina (27602)
Russell E. Bidlack, Secretary-Treasurer & Editor, 1709 Cherokee Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan (48104)

The Sparks Family Association was founded in March, 1953, as a non-profit organization devoted to the assembling and preserving of genealogical and historical materials pertaining to the Sparks family in America. Membership in the Association is open to all persons connected in any way with the Sparks family, whether by blood, marriage, or adoption, and to persons interested in genealogical and historical research. Membership falls into three classes: Active, Contributing, and Sustaining. Active membership dues are three dollars per year; Contributing membership duos are four dollars per year; and Sustaining membership dues are any amount over four dollars which the member wishes to contribute for the support of the Association. 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 associations, and individuals may subscribe to the QUARTERLY without joining the Association at the rate of three dollars per year. Back issues are kept in print and are available for seventy-five cents per issue. The first issue of the QUARTERLY was published in March, 1953. Three indexes have been published, the first covering the first five years of the QUARTERLY (1953-1957); the second covering the years from 1958 to 1962; arid the third covering the years from 1965 through 1967. Each of these is available for $1.00. A complete file of all issues of the QUARTERLY (1953-1968.) with the three indexes may be purchased for $35.00.

The editor of the QUARTERLY from March 1953 to September 1954 was Dr. Paul E. Sparks; since September 1954 the editor has been Dr. Russell B. Bidlack, 1709 Cherokee Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan (48104). Back issues should be ordered from Dr. Bidlack. The QUARTERLY is printed at the Edwards Letter Shop, 711 North University Ave., Ann Arbor, Michigan.



By Robert R. Robinson, Jr.

(Editor’s note: We are very grateful to Mr. Robinson for this additional article on a branch of the family which descends from the Sparkses of Pittsylvania County, Virginia. A large amount of data on the Pittsylvania County Sparks family was published in the September 1955 issue of the QUARTERLY (Vol. III, No. 3, Whole No. 11, pp. 79-85) and in the March 1956 issue (Vol. IV, No. 1, Whole No. 13, pp. 109-121). Mr.  Robinson’ s article on Matthew Patton Sparks, born 1855, died 1940, appeared in the March 1965 issue of the QUARTERLY (Vol. XIII, No. 1, Whole No. 49, pp. 879-885). Matthew Patton Sparks was a nephew of Thomas Sparks (1807-1877), the subject of this present article by Mr. Robinson.)


THOMAS SPARKS (1807-1877) of JONESBORO, ARKANSAS:  (continued)

Thomas Sparks, subject of this sketch, was a member of the Pittsylvania County, Virginia, Sparks family. His great-grandparents were Matthew and Eleanor Sparks who came to Pittsylvania County from Maryland in 1778. Matthew and Eleanor Sparks were the parents of at least ten children, including a son named Matthew Sparks, Jr., who married Keziah (or Hezie) Stone, daughter of John Stone. According to family records, John Stone was a descendant of Captain William Stone, Gentleman, the Progenitor, who was the third Governor of the Province of Maryland. When John Stone, father of Keziah, made his will in 1798 (Book D & W, p. 256) he named two daughters of Keziah as Jane Sparks and Eleanor Sparks.

Matthew Sparks, Jr., died in Pittsylvania County prior to July 12, 1811, on which date seven of his children sold their shares in their “deceased parents’ lands.” The land was sold to Adam Sutherlin, who may have married the daughter Eleanor, since no daughter by that name is listed among the seven. The seven children of Matthew Jr. and Keziah (Stone) Sparks named in this deed (Book 17, p. 483) were listed as follows: “Mathew B. Sparks and wife Nancy; Edmund Sparks and wife Patsey; John Sparks and wife Judy; Jane Sparks, wife of William Dunken; Nelly Sparks; Nancy Sparks, wife of John Ware; and Thomas Sparks; all of Pittsylvania County, Virginia.”

Edmund Sparks, son of Matthew Sparks, Jr., and Keziah (Stone) Sparks, married Patsey Wright in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, in 1804 - - the marriage bond is dated November 27, 1804. (Abstracts of deeds pertaining to Edmund Sparks were published in the March 1956 QUARTERLY, Vol. IV, No. 1, Whole No. 13, p.119.) By 1830, Edmund Sparks had moved to Bedford County, Tennessee, with his brother, Matthew B. Sparks. (For a sketch of Matthew B. Sparks, see the QUARTERLY of March 1962, Vol. X, No. 1, Whole No. 37, pp. 636-37.) When the 1840 census was taken, Edmund Sparks was living in ‘Rutherford County, which adjoins Bedford on the north. Apparently he had died prior to 1850. Edmund and Patsey (Wright) Sparks were the parents of five Sons: (1) Thomas Sparks, born October 7, 1807; (2) Matthew Sparks, born about 1812, died about 1876, Rusk County, Texas; (3) Royall Sparks, born about 1813, died July, 1857, Rusk County, Texas; (4) Noel Sparks, born about 1820, died after 1873; and (5) Edmond Sparks, born about 1822, died after 1874. (When the 1850 census was taken, Royall Sparks was living in Bedford County, Tennessee; he was unmarried and living with him was his brother Noel Sparks. Also living with Royall Sparks in 1850 was a Mary Ann Sparks, aged 19, who was probably either his sister or perhaps she was Noel’s wife. Also living with Royall Sparks in 1850 was a 60-year-old woman named Marth Sparks. Perhaps “Marth” was another nickname of his mother.)

Oldest of the five sons of Edmund and Patsey (Wright) Sparks, Thomas Sparks was born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, on October 7, 1807. He was married there on November 16, 1829, to Mary L. Booth, daughter of Nathan and Mary Booth(s), and they resided for a short time in Darinville, Virginia, before moving to Tennessee to join his lather and uncle, Matthew Brooks Sparks, who had moved their families to north-east Bedford County prior to 1830. In 1840, Thomas and his family were living in the vicinity of Noah, in Coffee County, Tennessee, adjoining the Pattons into which family his brother, Matthew Brooks Sparks, had married. By 1850, he had moved to McMinnville in adjoining Warren County, the


THOMAS SPARKS (1807-1877) of JONESBORO, ARKANSAS, continued:

move of the family to the Jonesboro, Craighead County, Arkansas, area taking place in 1859. At that time, Jonesboro consisted of but one shanty which was used as a saloon.

It was in the Jonesboro area that Thomas Sparks prospered as a farmer and trader. In an 1891 biographical sketch of his youngest son is given the information that Thomas in 1859 “purchased 320 acres of land, only slightly improved. Mr. Sparks immediately began erecting good buildings, clearing the land, and soon bought other tracts in the vicinity. He gave all of his children homes at the time of their majority and was a man whose shrewd business tact is remembered by old settlers. He became one of the best known men in several counties...."

Both Thomas and Mary were church-goers, he belonging to the Methodist Episcopal and she the Baptist. He died on December 21, 1877, and she died on September 20, 1879. They are buried in the south-west corner of the Jonesboro City Cemetery.

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

The Graves of Thomas and Mary (Booth) Sparks

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Thomas and Mary (Booth) Sparks were the parents of ten children, three of whom died at birth. The seven surviving children were:

    I.  James E. Sparks, born 1831.
   II.. Sarah A. Sparks, born April 28, 1837.
  III.  Thomas Sparks, Jr., born February 27, 1840.
 IV.  Mary Elizabeth Sparks, born February 26, 1842.
  V. Alford William Sparks, born July 9, 1845.
 VI. W. M. Sparks, born 1847.
VII. Gustavus Noel Sparks, born April 22, 1853.


THOMAS SPARKS (1807-1877) of JONESBORO, ARKANSAS, continued:

I. James B. Sparks, son of Thomas and Mary L. (Booth) Sparks, was born in 1831 at Dannville, Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and died at Harrisburg, Poinsett County, Arkansas, He married Lucretia Degrafenreed Matthews, daughter of Lewis M. and Mary Ann Matthews. During the Civil War, he served as Captain of Company H, 23rd Arkansas Regiment Volunteers, under command of Col. C. P. Lyles. Taken prisoner, he was sent to Louisiana, and the following letter was sent to his wife on February 2, 1863, from Port Hudson, Louisiana, soon after his exchange:

My Dear Wife: I write you a few lines to let you know that I am well at this time, hoping that they may find you arid Bertha enjoying the same. I have failed to get a furlough so far, it is a hard matter to get one, as they have stopped giving them only to details. If I had been exchanged some time back I might have been detailed. I was exchanged a few days ago. My dear you must be patient; things will come right after a while. Caldwell Boggs told me that you were talking of going to Tennessee. My dear, I know that you can do better by staying at home until I come. If you go what we have will go to destruction, besides we could not hear from each other at all, and that would worry me nearly to death. I am nearly crazy to hear from you now. I know that times are worse in Tennessee than where you are by a good deal. I think I certainly will get to come home before very long, if I do I want to find you at home, so be certain my dear, to stay at home, for I know that it is best for us both. Father will help you along until I come.

It is the general opinion here that peace will be made this spring. I hope it may, the Yankees are fighting among themselves at Baton Rogue. Day before yesterday a Yankee regiment attempted to desert and come to us and they had a fight among themselves and killed eighty so we hear. They are deserting and coming here constantly. We have this place well fortified, they are expecting a fight a Vicksburg every day. If we can hold Vicksburg and this place a few weeks longer I think the Yankees will become satisfied and make peace. I have no fear but what we can hold both places in spite of all forces they can bring.

Kiss Bertha for me, write to me every opportunity and give me all the news. Give my respects to all the neighbors and do the best you can.

I remain, you loving husband.

To Wife and Baby         James E. Sparks.

Company H later took part in the White River Campaign, but surrendered at Wittsburg, Arkansas, on May 11, 1865. The following was signed by James E. Sparks at Wittsburg on May 25, 1865:

I, the undersigned commanding officer of Company "H" 23rd Regt., Ark., Vol., do, for the within named prisoners of war belonging to the Army of the Northern Sub-Division of Arkansas, who, having been on the 11th Day of May 1865 surrendered by Brigadier General M. Jeff Thompson, C.S.A. Commanding said Army, to Major General G. N. Dodge, U.S.A. Commanding Department of the Missouri, hereby give my solemn parole of honor that the within named shall not hereafter serve in the armies of the so-called Confederate States, or in any military capacity what-


ever against the United States of America or render aid to the enemies of the latter, until properly exchanged in such manner as shall be mutually approved by the respective authorities.
[signed]    J. E. Sparks, Captain
                 Commanding Company “H” 23rd
                 Arkansas Regiment.
(Note: At the time he surrendered his company, three of his brothers were serving under his command, 1st Lieutenant Thomas B. Sparks, Private A.  W. Sparks, and Private W. N. Sparks; his brother-in-law, Private Anderson Stroud, was also a member of the company.)
James E. and Lucretia Degrafenreed (Matthews) Sparks were the parents of four children: Bertha Madelyne Sparks, Thomas W. Sparks, Lucy Sparks, and Mollie Sparks.
A. Bertha Madelynne Sparks, daughter of James E. and Lucretia D. (Matthews) Sparks, was born prior to 1865 and is now deceased. She married George H. Clarke, now deceased. Their children were:
1. Clyde Nuell Clarke, born Jan. 4, 1885, in Arkansas, and died on Oct. 12, 1945, in Colorado and was buried in St. Louis, MO. He married, first, Minnie Ross, who died in 1910. They had two children:
(a) Nell Clarke, married Sidney F. Cooke, who died Nov. 7, 1948. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.They had a daughter, Ann Ross Cooke, who married James Thomas Bagley of Fayetteville, TN.  They have two sons, Matthew Starke Bagley, Jr., born in 1967, and Steven Clarke Bagley, born in 1970. (See SQ p. 1314.)
(b) Grace Clarke, married - - - - Burks (divorced). One child, David Burks.
Clyde Nuell Clarke married (second) Joe Etta Lee, who is deceased. They had a daughter, Jo Etta Clarke, who died young in Illinois.

2. Thomas Leslie Clarke, born Aug. 18, 1887, and died in Oct. 1940; unmarried,
3. Lois Clarke, died as an infant.
4. Annie Blanch Clarke, died as an infant.
5. Twin, died as an infant.
6. Twin, died as an infant.
7. George Clarke, died as an infant.
8. Lois Madelynne Clarke (twin Of Louise) born Apr. 9, 1899; married Charles Puddyphatt, and lives in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Children:

(a) Charles Joseph Puddyphatt, born Feb. 12, 1921;
(b) Thomas Whitfield Puddyphatt, born 1923; and
(c) George Eugene Puddyphatt, born 1925.
9. Louise Clarke, (twin of Lois) born April 9, 1899; married Ellis Allen Sheppard, Clerk of Jefferson County, and lives in Sherrill, Ark. Children:
(a) Ellis Allen Sheppard, Jr., born Dec. 13, 1924, died 1932;
(b) Louis Clark Sheppard, born 1933; he has children named David, Nancy, and Lisa.
10. Lucille Ella Clarke, born June 6, 1894, died June 6, 1957; married Harry Walton (deceased) of Memphis, Tenn.


B.  Thomas L Sparks, son of James E. and Lucretia D. (Matthews) Sparks, now deceased, married Rose Thompson (deceased) and lived in Harrisburg, Arkansas, where he served as postmaster and was in the insurance business.
C. Lucy Sparks, daughter of James B. and Lucretia D. (Matthews) Sparks, now deceased, was married on September 21, 1891, to Judge John C. Mitchell, born Jan. 4, 1865, near Harrisburg, Arkansas, son of Enoch and Catherine (Greenwood) Mitchell. Judge Mitchell, a Democrat, was active in Poinsett County, Arkansas, politics as well as serving as president of the Merchants and Planters Bank of Harrisburg. He was killed about the turn of the century as the result of political differences by the then Poinsett County Sheriff Hooten. The Mitchells had no children, but reared several orphans including Archie Wheatley, Charles Brewster, Ethel Blake Hanson, and Guy Foster Wade.
D. Mollie Sparks, daughter of James B. and Lucretia D. (Matthews) Sparks, married and died at the birth of an infant.
II.  Sarah A. Sparks, daughter of Thomas and Mary L. (Booth) Sparks, was born in Coffee County, Tennessee, and married in Tennessee, Anderson Stroud, who was born December 7, 1830, in Tennessee. After their move to Craighead County, Arkansas, they settled first on the old Greensboro Road about one mile beyond the old village of Buck Snort. Later, they moved to the Burvilla Community about one mile west of Jonesboro. Anderson and Sarah, as well as their daughter Matilda, were charter members of the Jonesboro Christian Church organized in 1886. Anderson died on February 22, 1900, and Sarah died on April 13, 1907. They were the parents of four children:
A. Matilda T. Stroud, daughter of Anderson and Sarah (Sparks) Stroud, married Charles N. Evans. Both are deceased. they had one child, Sally Evans Stroud, who married David Dupree; her children include Floyd Douglas Dupree and Lucy Dupree.
B. Walter Stroud, son of Anderson and Sarah (Sparks) Stroud, married (first) Hettie Snoddy, daughter of Fergus Snoddy, one of the earliest settlers of Craighead County. He married (second) Eva Tucker, All deceased. There were several children, some of whom still reside in Jonesboro.
C. Sally Stroud, daughter of Anderson and Sarah (Sparks) Stroud, married George W. Wilson, son of George W. and Martha (Loftis) Wilson. Both are deceased. One daughter, Cora Wilson, lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

D.  Dr. Homer A. Stroud, son of Anderson and Sarah (Sparks) Stroud, died on October 2, 1956. He married Lina Tucker, who is also deceased. Dr. Stroud attended Peabody College, in Nashville, Term., and was graduated from the University of Tennessee School of Medicine in 1903. A past counselor of the Arkansas Medical Society, he practiced medicine in Jonesboro for over fifty years, part of which time he served as Chief of Staff of St. Bernard’.s Hospital. They were the parents of four children:


Children of Dr. Homer A. and Lina (Tucker) Stroud:
1. Dr. Ernest J. Stroud, deceased, married Kathleen Stroud. No children.
2. Dr. Paul Stroud, married Alma Ashbranner of Manila, Arkansas. They live in Jonesboro and have no children.
3. Sarah Stroud, married John S. Finch and lives in Corsicana, Texas. Child: Harriett Ann Finch.
4. Homer A. Stroud, Jr., married Lucille Adams, and lives in Jonesboro where he is employed by the U.S. Post Office. Child: Andy Stroud.
III. Thomas Sparks, Jr., son of Thomas and Mary L. (Booth) Sparks, was born in Coffee County, Tennessee on February 27, 1840. He married Elvira Harris in 1868. She was the daughter of Captain Benjamin and Martha (Thrower) Harris, her father having moved to Poinsett County in 1829 and having founded the town of Harrisburg; he later held the offices of Representative, Judge, and also served as Senator of the Twenty-ninth District of Poirisett, Jackson and Mississippi Counties. Thomas, who at various times held the Poinsett County officers of Clerk of the Circuit Court, sheriff and collector, joined with J. L. Smith in January 1887 to form the T. B. Sparks & Co. General merchants, the firm in 1889 carried a stock of goods valued at from $6,000 to $8,000, handled cotton and grain, and was doing the largest business of any firm in Harrisburg. Thomas and Elvira had no children, but reared several children belonging to relatives. Members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, they are buried in Harrisburg.

IV. Mary Elizabeth (Mollie) Sparks, daughter of Thomas and Mary L. (Booth) Sparks, was born February 26, 1842, in Coffee County, Tennessee, and died on August 4, 1921, in Jonesboro. She married Homer Paar, an early Jonesboro attorney, who was born circa 1830 in Cape Giradeau, Missouri, and died on December 21, 1884. Both are buried in the Jonesboro City Cemetery. They were the parents of six children:

A. Henry S. Parr, son of Homer and Mary Elizabeth (Sparks) Paar, was born on Jan. 15, 1868, and died on March 5, 1880.
B. Gustavus W. Parr, son of Homer and Mary Elizabeth (Sparks) Paar, was born on October 8, 1872, and died on March 8, 1880.
C. James B. Paar, son of Homer and Mary Elizabeth (Sparks) Paar, was born on January 8, 1876, and died on March 29, 1943. His widow, the former Floy Rogers, lives in Jonesboro. They had no children. James E. Paar was a prominent Jonesboro banker and businessman as well as being a powerful Northeast Arkansas Democratic political figure, he and Mrs. Paer being reported by the Little Rock ARKANSAS GAZETTE at the time of his death as being the closest friends of the then Arkansas U.S. Senator Hattie W. Caraway. James Paar was president of the Jonesboro Cotton Compress when he was shot and killed by Fred Mathes, an employee he had fired shortly before. Mrs. Paar is the former Jonesboro Postmistress. They had no children.


D. Nelle P. Paar, daughter of Homer and Mary Elizabeth (Sparks) Paar, was born June 3, 1878, and died on December 13, 1956. She married Morris Lide. They had two children:
1. Morris Lide, Jr. He lives in Tyler, Texas.
2. Catherine Lide, married George Alexander and lives in Jackson, Mississippi. One child, George Alexander, Jr.
E. Tom Parr, son of Homer and Mary Elizabeth (Sparks) Paar, died in 1928. He married Elizabeth F. Edith Paar, daughter of Homer and Mary Elizabeth (Sparks) Paar, married Fred Purcell of Warren, Arkansas. They had two children:
1. Elizabeth Purcell, married Raymond Rebsamen of Little Rock, Ark. They had several children and are divorced.
2. Fred Purcell, Jr., married and had a son named Joe Purcell, born about 1923, in Warren, Ark. He is currently serving his second term as Arkansas Attorney General. He is married and has two children, Lynett Purcell, born about 1952 and Edo Purcell, born about 1954.
V. Alford William Sparks, son of Thomas and Mary L. (Booth) Sparks, was born in Coffee County, Tennessee, on July 9, 1845; he married in Jonesboro on September 29, 1870, Martha Cynthia Witt, who was born January 20, 1854, in Cherokee County, Alabama, daughter of W. J. and Matilda A. (Shirey) Witt who moved nine miles west of Jonesboro from Alabama in 1860. Alford and his wife later moved to Harrisburg where they resided until their deaths. They were the parents of eight children:
A. Delia Iren Sparks, daughter of Alford W. and Martha C. (Witt) Sparks, was born on August 23, 1871, in Jonesboro; she married on December 19, 1889, in Harrisburg, Albert Sidney Stone, who was born August 23, 1869; he was a son of Thomas Ashley and Mary Frances (Goodwin) Stone. They were the parents of seven children:
1. Stillborn son, born 1891. Buried in the old Harrisburg Cemetery.
2. Oscar Albert Stone, born March 25, 1892, Harrisburg, Ark., married Esther Faulk of Covington, Term. He was manager of the William Len Hotel, Memphis, Term., and later associated with the Hotel Peabody of Memphis; his wife was a registered nurse. They had no children; both are buried in the Oak Lawn Cemetery, Jonesboro.
3. Maybelle Clara Stone, born May 30, 1895, Harrisburg, Arkansas; she married Guy Wise Martin of Jonesboro. He is deceased; she lives in Concord, Calif. They had three children:
(a) Dwight Stone Martin, born in Lonoke, Ark.; he married Maxine Tartar of Carlisle, Ark., and they live at Shawnee Mission, Kansas. Children:
(1) Lynda Kay Martin married Blanchard Causey;
(2) Karen married - - - - - Bogan; and
(3) Gerald.
Children of Guy and Maybelle (Stone) Martin:
(b) Betty Dolores Martin, died ca. 1967, born in Lonoke, Ark.; she married Joe Green of Little Rock; one daughter, Nanci Green born ca. 1964.
(c) Kay Hutchison Martin, born Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio; married Maxine (Tartar) Martin’s niece. Children: Phyllis, Carol, and Tony.
4. Thomas Alford Stone, son of Albert S. and Delia Iren (Sparks) Stone, was born Feb. 19, 1898, in Harrisburg; he married (first) Marie Derrington of Little Rook (divorced); he married (second) Mildred of Blytheville, Ark. (divorced); he married (third) Ellen Robinson of Memphis (deceased); he married (fourth) Grace Clark of Weiner, Ark. He is buried in the Jonesboro Memorial Park and his widow resides in Jonesboro. Children:
(a) Katherine Marine Stone, daughter of Thomas Alford Stone and his first
wife, Merie Derrington; married Donald Henderson of Jonesboro; they live in Memphis. Children:
(1) Donna Kay, married Calvin Renfroe;
(2) William Donald Henderson, Jr.
(b) Thomas Alford Stone, Jr., son of Thomas Alford Stone and his third wife, Ellen Robinson; he married Dorothy - - - - and lives in Memphis; three children.
5. Gladys Irene Stone, daughter of Albert S. and Delia Iren (Sparks) Stone, was born in Harrisburg; she married (first) Chester Berry of Memphis, Term. After their divorce, she married Walter Stanley of Grass Valley, Calif. and they live in Memphis.

6. Lela Maude Stone, daughter of Albert S. and Delia Iren (Sparks) Stone, was born in Harrisburg; she married Pruitt Davis Wells. Child: Denny P. Wells married Gail June Messer smith; they live in Dallas, Tax., and have a daughter, Sherri Ann Wells, born about 1966.

7. Cleo May Stone, daughter of Albert S. and Delia Iren (Sparks) Stone. She now resides in Jonesboro where she is Office Manager and Secretary of the Freeze Insurance Company, Inc.



B. Edna Mabel Sparks, daughter of Alford W. and Martha C. (Witt) Sparks, was born October 23, 1874, in Jonesboro, Ark.; she was married on October 11, 1592, to Ed L. Jacobs of Harrisburg, Ark., an attorney and former State Representative. Both are deceased. They had one child:
1. Viola Jacobs; she married (first) Wortha Ross of Harrisburg, and (second) Paul Renshaw of Memphis.  She is now in a nursing hone in Memphis. One child:
(a) Lucille Ross, daughter of Wortha and Viola (Jacobs) Ross; she married Charles Raney (deceased) of Memphis and had a son named Charles Keeton Raney who is married and lives in Memphis.
C. May Gertrude Sparks, daughter of Alford W. and Martha C. (Witt) Sparks, was born on May 12, 1878, in Harrisburg; she married (first) George Wilder (deceased) of Hope, Arkansas; she married (second) Dr. George Briant (deceased) of Hope, Ark.; she subsequenty married (third) Captain Henry Leybe (deceased), a wealthy shipper and pleasure boat owner of St. Louis, Missouri. Children:
1. Hortence Wilder, daughter of George and May Gertrude (Sparks) Wilder; she married Kenneth L. Mott III, attorney of Toronto, Canada. They are divorced and she lives in St. Louis, Missouri.
D. William Thomas Sparks, son of Alford W. and Martha C. (Witt) Sparks, was born August 8, 1881, in Harrisburg, Ark., and died on November 11, 1882.
E. Ethel Martha Sparks, daughter of Alford W. and Martha C. (Witt) Sparks, was born December 29, 1883, and died on March 8, 1923. She married Thomas L. Speck (deceased) of Ripley, Tennessee, on June 18, 1901. They had no children.
F. Alfred (Allie) Maud Sparks, daughter of Alford W. and Martha C.(Witt) Sparks, was born December .19, 1886, in Harrisburg; she married Marine Black (deceased) of Peoria, Illinois, on March 8, 1923. She lives in Memphis, Term. One child, Martha Elizabeth Black; she married Danny - - - - - (divorced) and had a son named Paul.

G. Edgar Benton Sparks, son of Alford W. and Martha C. (Witt) Sparks, was born June 20, 1891, in Harrisburg; he married on November 2, 1913, Laura McMallen of Jonesboro, Arkansas. They live in Memphis, Tenn., where he is a retired druggist. They had a daughter named Martha Jane Sparks who married a man named Barnard and has several children.

H. Claude Lee Sparks, son of Alford W. and Martha C. (witt) Sparks, was born July 5, 1894, in Harrisburg (now deceased). He married (first) Mollie (Bunny) Thompson on October 24, 1916, of Black Oak, Ark.; he married (second) Margaret . Children:
1. A. W. Sparks; he is married and lives in Portland, Oregon.
2. Hazel Sparks, he has been married twice and is believed to have four children, two of whom are named Barbara and Sparky.



VI. W. M. Sparks, son of Thomas and Mary L. (Booth) Sparks, was born in either Coffee or Warren County, Tennessee, in 1847. The only information available on this son is that he was still alive in 1891 at which time he was a traveling salesman for a wholesale clothing house in Cincinnati, Ohio.

VII. Gustavus Noel Sparks, son of Thomas and Mary L. (Booth) Sparks, was born in Warren County, Tennessee, on April 22, 1853, and died in Jonesboro, Arkansas, on October 1, 1927. After graduation at age seventeen from Ledden’s College, Memphis, Tennessee, he moved to Forrest City, Arkansas, where he worked in the dry goods stores of N. O. Rhodes & Co. and Sparks and Rollwage. In 1874 he married Pamelia Jane (Jennie) Cobb, who was born November 24, 1854, in St. Francis County, Arkansas. Mrs. Sparks died July 24, 1922, in Jonesboro. She was a daughter of C. H. Cobb. Gus Sparks lived in Wynne, Nettleton, and Jonesboro, Arkansas. In the 1870’s, Gus Sparks sent the following two letters to his father’s brother, Matthew Sparks, in Texas.

Forrest City, Sept 26/73
Mr. Mathew Sparks
Caledonia, Texas
Dear Uncle
I had the pleasure of reading a letter from you a few days since to my father while on a visit home and by his request answer the same as he is getting so feeble that tis almost impossible for him to write. He was assisting in hauling a load of hay a few days since and fell from the wagon and was for a while hurt right badly though he is getting so that he can be out again now. The balance of the family are all well.  Father is very anxious that you should come out here to live and I have no doubt but the country would give entire satisfaction. Uncle Noel speaks of coming next winter or in the latter part of the fall. I have just received a letter from him yesterday. I think that when you and Uncle Noel come the Sparks family will be one of the largest in the state.
I would have written to you long since Uncle had I of known your post office. But I guess you can remember very little about me or at least my rememberance of you is quite limited. But never the less I can realize that I have an Uncle by your name and would be pleased to correspond with you so that you could tell me all about my cousins and I will take pleasure in keeping you posted in the condition of our country.
I will go up to Fathers next week to take Mother home. She has been spending a month with me in this place. Do not think by this that I am married for I have never met with such luck yet but think I will soon. I am selling goods here and would be pleased to hear from you hope you will come in time to eat some of my birthday cake. Will be 21 on the 22 of April 1874. Write immediately to Gus. Noel Sparks.
(Note: Written across one part of the above letter is the following: “I would write more but space you see will not permit” and across


[NOTE: On page 1239 is a photograph, beneath which is the following caption:]


Son of Thomas & Mary L. (Booth) Sparks

with his wife


(View photograph)



another part “N.B. You must write to me on receipt of this and direct your letter to G. N. Sparks Forrest City, St. Francis Co., Arkansas. I am going to get married soon come over.”)

The other letter written by Gustavus Noel Sparks to his uncle in Texas reads as follows:

Forrest City, Ark April 16/74
Mr. Mathew Sparks
Caledonia, Texas

Dear Uncle

Yours of the 4th inst to hand. Contents noted and in reply would say that I was truly glad to hear from you although I was some what surprised as I had almost given out the Idea of you making any reply.

Business is very good here at present more so than usual at this season but as excessive rain has prevented the farmers from making much progress on their farms. The most of them have been doing their summers trading which comes a rush now and indicates a dull summer. I have thought of visiting Texas this summer and if I should do so I will bring you the desired cake as I think it will be baked before I come. If I should not come I will send it by mail. I received a letter from Mother this morning which stated that all of the family was well. Uncle Edmond paid Father a visit not long since and was very much pleased with the country. He spoke of moving out here this fall. I will close for the present and hoping to hear from you soon. I remain Yours truly, nephew,

Gus N. Sparks.
Gustavus Noel and Pamelia Jane (Cobb) Sparks were the parents of six children:
A. Ora Sparks, daughter of Gustavus Noel and Pamelia Jane (Cobb) Sparks, was born July 14, 1876, and died as an infant. Buried in Forrest City.

B. Lena May Sparks, daughter of Gustavus Noel and Pamelia Jane (Cobb) Sparks, was born January 24, 1878, and died June 17, 1958. She married Leroy Norris of Nettleton, Arkansas. They had a daughter named Jewell Norris who married M. Shafner Burge and lives in Hemet California; they have two sons.

C. Thomas Christopher Sparks, son of Gustavus Noel and Pamelia Jane (Cobb) Sparks, was born October 21, 1879: he died as an infant and was buried in Forrest City.
D. Annie Blanche Sparks, daughter of Gustavus Noel and Paxnelia Jane (Cobb) Sparks, was born October 23, 1880; she was married on February 22, 1898, to Fletcher Garland May (deceased). She lives in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. They had four children:



Children of Fletcher Garland and Annie Blanche (Sparks) May:

1. John Ewell May, born Jan. 17, 1902.
2. Guy Noel May, born Jan. 7, 1904; married and lives in Pine Bluff, Ark. One son is an Episcopalian priest in North Carolina.
3. Fletcher Garland May, Jr., born Oct. 16, 1907; lives in Hot Springs, Ark. Virginia (Jenny) May, born June 11, 1909; married David Brown Crenshaw and lives in Dallas, Texas.
E. Charles Benton Sparks, son of Gustavus Noel and Paxnelia Jane (Cobb) Sparks, was born September 13, 1883, and died as an infant. Buried in Forrest City.
F. Isaac Cedric (Ike) Sparks, son of Gustavus Noel and Pamelia Jane (Cobb) Sparks, was born on February 8, 1891, in Wynne, Arkansas; he married (first) Jeanne Quinton Smith (divorced); he married (second) in August 1935, Edith H. Slagle who died March 12, 1957; he married (third) Belva Anne (Carter) Hotchkiss, who was born August 11, 1916, in Wichita, Kansas - - they were married on Feb. 7, 1968. A retired insurance executive, Ike arid Mrs. Sparks live in Little Rock, Arkansas. By his first wife, Isaac Cedric Sparks had two daughters:
1. Naomi Jeanne Sparks, daughter of Isaac C. and Jeanne Q. (Smith) Sparks, was born April 8, 1911, in Nettleton, Ark.; she was married on Aug. 30, 1930, in Fort Smith, Ark., to Herbert Wayman Parker, who was born June 22, 1908, in Little Rock, son of Herbert W. and Emma Jean (Nothwang) Parker. They now reside in Jacksonville, Florida; they have two daughters:
(a) Jeanne Parker, born March 23, 1933, in Little Rock; married in Jacksonville, Fla., on June 24, 1955, to Dr. John Norton Christie, Jr., who was born July 30, 1933, in Jacksonville, son of John N. and Eda Inez (Grumbles) Christie. Children: Norton Bradley Christie, born May 23, 1957; and Katherine Christie, born Dec. 10, 1858.
(b) Mary Elliotte Parker, born March 5, 1941, in Jacksonville; died there June 2, 1960.
2. Helen Elizabeth Sparks, daughter of Isaac C. and Jeanne Q.(Smith) Sparks, was born Nov. 4, 1919, in Little Rock; she married Frank Edward Snell, Jr., who was born Feb. 12, 1903, in Muncie, Ind., son of Frank Edward and Adeline Rebecca (West) Snell. He is retired from the Coca Cola Company and they live in Jacksonville. No children.
(Note: The sources for the above article include The History of Craighead County, Arkansas, by Harry Lee Williams (The Jonesboro Tribune, 1930); U.S. Census records, 1830-1580; Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northeast Arkansas (Goodspeed Publishing Co. 1889); Pioneers and Makers of ArkansasThe Craighead County Historical Quarterly (Vol. III, , 3, Sumrner, 1965); The Arkansas Gazette and family records in the possession of Miss Cleo Stone, Jonesboro, Ark.; Mr. I.C. Sparks, Little Rock, Ark., and Miss Millie Lowe, of Dallas, Texas.)




Editor’s Note: The following article appeared in 1939 in The Big Sandy News, a weekly newspaper of Lawrence County, Kentucky. Its author, Colby Sparks, grandfather of the President of The Sparks Family Association, Dr. Paul B. Sparks, died in 1951 at the age of 93. Colby Sparks was named for a great uncle, the Rev. Colby Sparks, who was a Baptist preacher of Wilkes County, North Carolina. (See page 104 of the QUARTERLY, Vol. III, No. 4, Whole No. 12, December, 1955.)

Colby Sparks and his father-in-law, G. W. Chaffin, and their families moved from Lawrence County, Kentucky, to Forney, Texas, in 1887 to become cotton farmers. But the Texas climate caused Mrs. Sparks’s health to fail, arid this, coupled with two consecutive bad crop years, convinced Mr. Sparks that he should return to Kentucky. A trip from Texas to Kentucky in 1890 was no novelty, but Mrs. Sparks’s doctors warned her husband that she was too weak to change climates by train - thus the decision to return by covered wagons drawn by Texas mules.

In recounting the trip, Mr. Sparks made several geographical errors, but this is to be understood when we recall that he was remembering events at age 82 which had happened almost one-half century before.

Only two members of the group of fourteen persons who made the trip almost 80 years ago are now living. They are daughters of Colby Sparks, Miss Rose Sparks and Mrs. Flora (Sparks) Williams. Other members of the cavalcade were: George Washington and Margaret (Short) Chaffin and children: Bill Jim, Charlie, Tennessee, Emma, and Minnie; Colby and Martha (Chaffin) Sparks arid other children, James and Nora; and Mr. Sparks’s mother, Nancy (Curnutte) Sparks.

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It was the twenty-second day of November, 1890, when we started the long trek back to Kentucky in covered wagons drawn by four Texas mules, with a lead horse, a dog and some good trusty firearms. There were two families of us, seven in each family, and a happier big family could not have been found in all the west than we were when we left the little town of Forney, with its cotton gins and flat topped houses behind.

The first four days travel brought us to the border (or boundary line) between Texas and the Indian Territory. We crossed Red River at Colbert Ferry into the Chocktaw Nation which is now Oklahoma. We camped that night on the banks of Red River, and next morning I bid goodby to the Lone Star State with my views of life greatly changed since entering it. I was now willing to work hard for just the necessities of life if God would spare my wife to go through life with me, and this He did, for we lived together fifty years before she left me to go to her Eternal Home, where she is waiting for me today.  I have traveled far along the uneven trail of life since that morning and like David of old, I have never once been forsaken, or had to beg bread.

We started next morning along dim trails, through deep forests of the Indian Territory, through which we traveled for thirteen days. At noon the following day we made camp, cooked our dinners, fed our teams and rested. Soon we were happily on our way again. B. J. Chaffin (my brother-in-law) and I decided we would walk awhile so we hit the trail and after walking for an hour or so we



were quite a distance ahead of the team. I thought while we were waiting for the wagons to catch up with us, I’d entertain B. J. by preaching him one of Reuben Powers’ sermons. So I commenced, by text being: “We shall mount up as on wings of eagles. We shall run and not worry; walk and not faint.” After soaring with this eagle through the blue ether until I had landed him safe in his home above, and had started to give his famous exhortation, I was rudely brought back to earth by a gruffy voice, saying “feeling pretty good, aren’t you, boys?” We turned to face a man with two forty-fives buckled around his waist and a Winchester (rifle) laying across his lap. He said, “Where is your whiskey, boys.” We told him we didn’t have any, as the ferryman had told us we were not to bring any whiskey into the Territory. He smiled, and said, “So long, boys.” He was one of Uncle Sam’s mounted patrolman looking for whiskey pedlers arid other violaters of the law, but I never preached so loud any more while I was in the Indian’s land.

Not far from here we crossed Big Blue River. It was the first river we had crossed since entering the Territory. It was a deep stream arid the water was as clear as crystal. We followed this river for many miles, going through a dense “canebrake” where we saw some “razor backed” hogs which looked like wild animals more than bogs. We then came to Muddy Boggy River. Here I bought my first feed from the Indians. It was rather difficult to trade with them as we could not understand each others language, but I showed them my sack, pointing to their corn crib, then to our teams. They sold us the corn. I asked what it was worth. They smiled and said “we, no savy!” So I took a dollar bill and some change iii my hand and offered it to them. They accepted the bill, but refused the change.

We didn’t travel many miles from this place until we made camp for the night. Next morning we came to Pony River. The bridge across it was made of round logs and was covered with water, which made it very difficult to drive over.  Two of my wagon’s wheels ran off the bridge and we had to get in water waist deep to lift it back to safety. We soon made camp and had a good lunch. With dry clothes and a full stomach we were ready to face the unknown trail again.

There were very few trees missing from the great forests through which we were traveling. There was plenty of game, such as turkey, deer and bear in the unexplored forest and plenty of fish in the broad deep stream, and today, I can say, I do not blame the Indians for fighting to keep their land where they were born.

We crossed the Caddo River and camped for the night, and next day we drove through the country where the Little Missouri River flowed. We camped on the bank of the Little Missouri that night, and the next day we drove to Atoka, an Indian village at that time.

Here we saw the first railroad since leaving Texas. Atoka had one store, a feed stable, a court house and a Government school building. Here we camped over the week-end. We had some repairs made on our wagons and had our mules shod and Monday at noon we visited the school arid saw one hundred Indian children, who were cared for by the Government. Their court house was a small boxed building. We were given permission to camp in the court house yard and court was in session and all were Indians except two white men. Many of the Indian men were wearing gold rings in their ears, while the women wore all kinds of beads and flashy jewelry.



Our faithful old dog became very sick at this place, and we thought the Indians had poisoned him, but he soon recovered and lived to be very old. We left this Indian camp Monday afternoon and stopped about two miles from town. It was not long after dark when a band of Indian women came riding down the trail, and I had to lead their ponies past our camp first, as they seemed to be afraid.

We followed the old military trail to the town of Goodland. Here we crossed the Kiamichi River and nearby stood the body of an old chimney, the only sign of civilization except the dim trail we were traveling. G. W. Chaffin remarked, “Here is where the old Indian was when he gave to the world that famous old fiddle tune ‘The Lost Indians’.” A few miles from here, we came to where another dim trail crossed the one we were traveling and where the trails crossed, there was a large sign board. It looked to be very old, but carved in a neat hand, was the picture of two hands, one pointing upward, said “To Heaven, five million miles.” The other one pointed downward, said “To Hell, one half mile.” That day we drove late wanting to get as far away from the last named place as we could before we camped for the night.

The next day we left the Territory and entered Arkansas at a small town called Whitehouse. Here we crossed Cush River by ferry, then driving through Forest Grove to Cloteka Bay, where the Government had a public ferry. From here we headed straight for Little Rock, Arkansas. After another hard days driving we arrived in Little Rock. That night we camped in a livery stable. It was the first building that had sheltered us since leaving Forney, Texas. Next morning we left Little Rock for Memphis, Tenn.

We crossed the Arkansas River by bridge, and drove all day through beautiful virgin forests and late in the evening we crossed the Entwine River and camped close to the cabin of one of the early settlers. The people were very friendly through this section of the country. They lived in little log cabins with small plots of land cleared for gardens and corn. They only needed enough corn for their bread, as they had plenty of meat and all it cost them was ammunition for their guns.

We came to the Ouachita River which was a broad stream and very muddy at that time. We crossed it on a lumberman’s bridge. When we were about one-third the way across, we discovered the sign “condemned” and knowing we couldn’t turn back we had all these folks to walk across and when they were safely over, we drivers led our teams, thinking if the bridge gave way, we would try to make it to safety ourselves and when we were safe across we must have felt like the Pilgrim Fathers did when the Mayflower landed them on American soil. We drove through the rain most of the day and that evening we pitched our tents on the banks of Lancer River and next morning to our dismay, our trail was under water. The Mississippi River had overflowed the lowlands. Here I got the greatest scare of my life. We crossed this river on a wooden bridge, the butts of which at each end were very steep with no protection on either side. It was still raining and the bridge was very slick. As I started on the bridge I set my brakes very light and the wagon began to slip toward the edge. I saw that it was going over and there was only one thing for me to do, so I dropped my check lines and jumped to the bridge and picked up the hind carriage of the wagon and carried it back to safety, saving my family. That was the one time I was proud of my strength!

It was Christmas day, and we walked all morning in the water guiding the wagons in the road and about eleven o’clock we landed in Windtown, Arkansas where the Missouri Pacific and B. Knob Railroads crossed. Here we camped in the center of



the little railroad town and many big hearted Arkansans, both men and women, came to visit us that evening. The next morning high water was all in our way. I put the folks on the train for Memphis, Tenn. It was a distance of forty miles. I had to stay in Windtown until three o’clock that afternoon before I could get a car in which to ship our wagons and mules, etc. I heard many big “yarns” while standing around the camp fire after the folks had left. I noticed one man in his shirt sleeves who didn’t have much to say. I ask him if he would like to have a drink. He replied “I would.” We walked into a saloon, I ask him what he’d have, he said, “Straight whiskey.” We listened to a few more of their jokes and I ask the fellow what he would have next. “Straight whiskey,” he said, so I bought a pint and told him if he would help me take the wagons apart and put them in the box car he could have the pint. It didn’t take long to load the car. When it was done, I gave him the pint and the last I saw of him he was going toward the camp fire singing, “My Highland Mary.”

I rode the local (train) with our teams to the town of Hopefield, here I ferried the Mississippi River in the Tom Spurlock ferry boat. From here the shifter (local engine) ran me into Memphis, Term. It wasn’t long until we were all waiting at the waiting at the wharfboat for the Missouri Packet, which would take us to Cincinnati. We were eight days and nights by river reaching Cincinnati. Here we transferred to the steamboat Boss Tony which brought us to Ashland, Ky. We camped in the suburb of Ashland that night and next morning we drove over to Cannonsburg. There we met John McDyre, the first man we recognized after reaching Kentucky. We camped that night at the Hazel Schoolhouse on East Fork and next day we reached Long Branch arid ate dinner with E. Dall, the first table we had set down to since leaving Texas. We came by the way of Fallsburg (Lawrence Co., Ky.) and landed at Hardin Hulette’s on January 8th, 1891, after one month and twenty days of travel. This is a true story, as I remember and experienced it forty-nine years ago.

I am 82 years old [this was in 1939] and in a short time I am going on another trip where there are no dim trails or disappointments, but where my mansion home is already prepared, and a host of friends waiting f or me, and in all humility, I send my heartfelt thanks to Him who made all this possible for me.

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We learned recently that on June 5, 1968, death claimed another member of The Sparks Family Association, Mrs. Nancy Jane Sparks Scaggs. Mrs. Scaggs was a daughter of Levi Hansford and Nancy (Lawson) Sparks and was born in Elliott County, Kentucky, on March 9, 1878. She was united in marriage to William Scaggs on May 20, 1897. To this union were born: Eva, Estill, Cecil, Joseph, Alma Lee, Nellie, Earnest, and Charlie. Mrs. Scaggs’s paternal grandparents were George and Nancy (Short) Sparks. (See the December 1956 issue of the QUARTERLY, Vol. III, No. 4, Whole No. 12, page 102.)



In the June 1968 issue of the QUARTERLY (Vol. XVI, No. 2, Whole No. 62, page 1158) we published a query submitted by Mrs. Fred J. Spiser regarding Phoebe Sparks who married Christopher Ault. Recently another descendant of Phoebe (Sparks) Ault sent additional material, including a complete list of the children of Phoebe taken from the family Bible which belonged to her and her husband. Christopher W. Cockrell reports that this Bible gives Phoebe Sparks’s date of birth as January 31, 1797, and that a note appears beside this entry indicating that she was a daughter of John Sparks. She died on March 2, 1872. Her husband, whose name is written as “Christley” in the Bible, was born February 2, 1793. Phoebe Sparks and Christley (or Christopher) Ault were married in Highland County, Ohio, on June 21, 1815. They later lived in Tippecanoe County, Indiana.

Only four of the children of Phoebe Sparks and Christopher Ault were given in the earlier query. We are now able to give a complete list as taken from the family Bible, as follows:

1. Henry Ault, born 15 April 1816; died 30 January 1871
2. Louvine Ault, born 19 December 1817; died 23 October 1890
3. Elizabeth Ault, born 23 September 1819; died 23 February 1903
4. Lear Ault, born 26 August 1821; died 1 September 1884
5. John Ault, born 25 December 1823; died 27 February 1849
6. Adam Ault, born 6 March 1826; died 15 May, 1910
7. Phebe Ault, born 22 March 1830; died
8. Christly Ault, born 19 June 1832; died 10 April 1862
9. Jesse Ault, born 22 October 1835; died 22 August 1910
10. Lidyan Ault, born 14 February 1838; died 3 January 1841
Mr.  Cockrell reports that as these children grew up, some of them changed the spelling of their names, i.e., Louvine became Lovina, Lear became Leah, and Christly became Christopher.

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Mrs. McGuyre has called our attention to two typographical errors which appeared in her article in the QUARTERLY of March 1969 (Vol. XVII, No. 1, Whole No. 65). On page 1215, 11 lines from the bottom, the name Nan Casebold should be Nan Casebolt. On page 1218, next to the last line, the name Nathaniel Vannor should be spelled Vannoy.

[Scanner's note:  Corrections made.]

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It is a pleasure to report the names and addresses of six new members of THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION.

Alcorn, Max Beeler, 641 S. Hudson Ave., Pasadena, California. 91106
Hawkins, Virginia Sparks (Mrs. Stanley), 3174 Hearthside St., Orange, Calif.92667
Hubbard, Robert G., Rt. 6, Box 188-I, Hot Springs, Arkansas. 71901.
McDowell, Catherine (Mrs. Bernard), 324 Leonard Dr., Lancaster, Ohio. 43130.
Sparks, Miss Camille, 130 N. McLean, Apt. 15, Memphis, Tennessee. 38104
Walker, Mrs. Marion Z., 336 Fleming St., Laurens, South Carolina. 29360
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Scanned and Edited by James J. Sparks