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

VOL. XIX, NO.  1 MARCH, 1971

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[Note:  On the cover is a map, beneath which is the following caption:]

Probable location of William Sparks's plantations, 1680-1709
Island Creek, Queen Anne's County, Maryland

(View Map)


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 531, 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 nonprofit 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 dues are four dollars per year, and Sustaining; 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; and the third covering the years from 1963 through 1967. Each of these is available for $1.00. A complete file of all issues of the QUARTERLY (1953-1969) with the three indexes may be purchased for $41.00.
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 E. Bidlack, 1709 Cherokee Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan (48104). Back issues and applications for membership are available through Dr. Bidlack. The QUARTERLY is printed by off-set at the Edwards Letter Shop, 711 North University Ave., Ann Arbor, Michigan.


In the December 1970 issue of the QUARTERLY, (Whole No. 72), pages 1362-63, we published a short article listing a number of early immigrants to Maryland whose name was Sparks (or Sparkes, or Spark). There can be little doubt that the Sparkses of early Maryland were ancestors of a large proportion of persons named Sparks living across America today. From this area, Sparks descendants moved south-westward down the Great Valley to Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia; thence over the mountains to Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama; and then on across the Mississippi to Texas, Missouri and the far west. Other descendants moved north-westward to Pennsylvania; thence down the Ohio to the Northwest Territory, settling in the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois before joining their southern cousins west of the Mississippi.

Because of the key position that Maryland holds in the genealogy of the Sparks family, we have decided to publish the following data even though the story is not complete. Many persons have contributed to the collection including our professional


genealogist, William Perry Johnson, our president, Paul E. Sparks, and several professional genealogists. While many gaps remain to be filled in, the account which follows is based entirely on documentary evidence.

The history of the Colony of Maryland begins with the first Lord Baltimore (George Calvert), convert to the Roman Catholic faith, who prevailed upon King James I to grant him a colony along the Atlantic coast which would serve as an asylum for Englishmen seeking religious freedom. Although the first Lord Baltimore died before his dream could be realized, the King granted the promised charter to his son, Cecilius Calvert, the 2nd Lord Baltimore, on June 20, 1632.  Leonard Calvert, brother to Cecilius, became the Colony’s first governor. Although the 2nd Lord Baltimore never visited his colony, he supervised its development until his death in 1675 and has often been referred to as the First Lord Proprietor.

Before Lord Baltimore could arrange to send the first colonists to his colony, a Virginian named William Claiborne had established a trading post on Kent Island. For many decades thereafter there was conflict between the Virginia traders and settlers on Kent Island (which is now part of Queen Anne’s County) and the settlers brought from England to the Colony by Lord Baltimore. There were also disagreements with William Penn regarding the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania and with the Duke of York regarding the boundary between Maryland and Delaware. There were also Indian uprisings and civil strife, but religious freedom prevailed through all of these troubles.

In the article appearing in the December 1970 QUARTERLY, page 1362, Dr. Paul Sparks described the system by which large numbers of settlers were brought to Maryland from England in the 1600’s. Many of the settlers came as “indentured servants,"  individuals and families who had traded a term of service, (from two to six years for adults and longer for children), for the cost of passage to America. The individual who wished to emigrate but could not afford the passage would get in touch with a ship master or his agent and a contract would be drawn up in which the passenger agreed to serve the ship master or his agent for a stated term of years. When the passenger, now an “indentured servant”, reached his destination, his master was free to sell the passenger’s services to any purchaser in order to recoup the expense of passage. The “servant” then went to live with and to work for the new master for the number of years specified in the contract. (The number of years of service varied from one “indentured servant” to another because their skills varied - - the skilled artisan brought a higher price than an ordinary laborer; thus the agent would have to demand longer service of the laborer in order to sell his indenture and recover the cost of the voyage.) Many of the early immigrants to Maryland settled on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay in the area that is now Queen Anne's County. It was here that the branch of the Sparks family settled which is traced in this article.

Kent County, comprising what is now the counties of Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne ‘s, Talbot, and a portion of Caroline, was created officially in 1642. In 1661, Talbot County was cut off from Kent, although Kent Island remained as part of Kent County until 1695. In 1706, Talbot County was divided to form Queen Anne ‘s County. (Queen Anne's accession to the English throne had occurred four years earlier and the new county was named for her.) The Sparks family in whom we are currently interested lived in what became Queen Anne ‘s County in 1706.   Edward Sparks lived on Kent Island (that portion of Queen Anne‘s County which extends into the Bay.)  William and John Sparks, believed to have been brothers, both owned property in “West Chester Towne”, believed to have been the western part of what is now the town of Chester; their land holdings were on the Chester River (which forms the northern boundary of Queen Anne ‘s and the southern boundary of Kent County) near the present towns of Centreville and Church Hill.   Island Creek and


Southeast Creek are mentioned in the deeds describing the land of William Sparks. There was also a Thomas Sparks who was a servant of Richard Tilghman in 1671 who lived on Chester River.

It is important to keep in mind that records of this branch of the Sparks family are found in Kent County up until 1661 when Talbot County was set apart from Kent County. From 1661 until 1706, the records of this family were recorded in both Kent and Talbot because their land lay in both counties and the boundary line was often uncertain.  Furthermore, Kent Island remained part of Kent County until 1695. After 1706, records of the family are found chiefly in Queen Anne ‘s County, which was carved out of Talbot County. In 1706, Kent Island also became a part of Queen Anne's County.

EDWARD SPARKS (died about 1679)

On October 20, 1661,  Edward Sparks was a witness to the will of Capt. Thomas Bradnox of Kent Island. (See Jane Baldwin Cotton’s Maryland Calendar of Wills, Vol. 1, 1635-1685, p. 20.) Thomas Bradnox had been a resident of Kent Island as early as 1638; he owned a large tract of land and was High Sheriff of Kent County in 1653. This is our earliest reference to Edward Sparks, although on October 14, 1658, a man named “Edd Sparks” witnessed an assignment or mortgage of Henry Tailer (or Taylor) to Henry Morgan, both of Kent Island; the other witness was John Coursey. (See Archives of Maryland, Vol. LIV, “Kent County Court Proceedings,” p. 1142.)  On October 19, 1665, the same “Edd Sparks” and John Coursey witnessed a similar mortgage by Gregory Murell to Henry Morgan, both of Kent Island. (Same volume, p. 1143) There seems little doubt that “Edd Sparks” and Edward Sparks were the same person. It is of interest that he signed as a witness along with John Coursey. The Coursey family, who later called themselves De Coursy, had come to Maryland from lower Virginia in 1649 or 1650. They are known to have had affiliations in Dublin, Ireland, but were Protestants. John Coursey was clerk of the Kent County Court in 1658-60, sheriff in 1660, and a justice of the peace in 1660-61. On September 2, l668, Edward Sparks witnessed the will of William Elliot (spelled Elleyeot in the will), a prominent resident of Kent Island. (See Cotton ‘s Maryland Calendar of Wills, Vol. 1, p. 47.)

On June 16 1668,  Edward Sparks appeared with Simon Carpenter before the Court of Talbot County. The record of this case provides a clue regarding his coming to Maryland. (See Archives of Maryland, Vol. LIV, pp. 1142-3.) The purpose of their appearance was for the Court to determine how many years Edward Sparks should be required to serve (i.e. work for) Mr. Simon Carpenter for having paid his transportation to Maryland. The Court adjudged that he should serve six years. It is difficult to know how to interpret this court action. Six years was the normal maximum for a man to work for another man in exchange for his passage - - in many instances the debt was paid in as few as two years. We cannot tell from this entry whether the six years ended in 1668 - - perhaps Carpenter had demanded that he work longer than six years and Edward Sparks was now (in 1668) protesting.  Since Edward Sparks himself acquired a tract of land on June 20, 1668, as a result of transporting a man named Edward John to the Province, it would seem that he must have completed. his own indenture before this, especially inasmuch as he was identified as a “Planter” in this deed.  Simon Carpenter had been commissioned a justice of the Talbot County Court on March 22, 1664. The following year he patented land on the south side of the Chester River in what is now Queen Anne’s County, where he seems to have made his home. He was still on the Talbot County Court in 1670, the year in which he died.

It was the custom in Maryland for the first owner of a tract of land to give it a name, often perpetuating his own family name along with some physical characteristic  of the land in question Edward Sparks gave the name “Sparks Point”


EDWARD SPARKS, died about 1679, continued:

to the fifty-acre tract which he received for transporting Edward John to Maryland. (See Liber 12, pp. 35-36, Kent County Deeds.) His name is spelled “Sparkes” in this deed. The land is described as follows: “a parcell of land called Sparkes point lying in the county of Kent aforesaid in a bay called the Wadeing place beginning at a marked white oak standing upon a point at the mouth of a creek and runing down the said bay west fifty perches to a marked pine by a cove side bounded on the west by a line drawn north from the said pine for length one hundred and sixty perches on the north by a line drawn east from the end of the north line fifty perches unto the said creek and by the said creek to the first named white oak containing and now laid out for fifty acres more or less.” This tract had been surveyed for Edward Sparks on September 214, 1667. It is interesting to note that the “Wadeing place” referred to in this deed was a ford used by persons in passing from Kent Island to the mainland.

On March 26, 1667, Edward Sparks purchased from a man named Pascoe Dunn a tract of 150 acres in Kent County called “Pascoe’s Adventure.” (See Kent County Deed Book A, pp. 202-03.) In this deed, Edward Sparks is identified as “Edward Sparkes of the Island of Kent.” The tract is not described in this deed. The witnesses were Richard Fitz Alleyne and Toby Wedes. (Pascoe Dunn was a member of the Dunn family which had been among a group of Puritans who came to Maryland from Virginia in 1649.)

Sometime prior to February 1679, Edward Sparks died. He left no children and on February 9, 1679, “at the council held at St. Peters” a man named Anthony Workman (spelled Warteman in this record) presented a petition in which he referred to the tract of 150 acres called “Pascoe's Adventure” which Pascoe Dunn “late of the island of Kent” had acquired as a grant in 1664 and had sold to Edward Sparks. Anthony Workman referred to Edward Sparks as “deceased” and because he had died “without issue,” Workman noted that his land would be “escheated”, that is, it would revert to the Lord Proprietor of the Province. Workman requested that  "your lordship will grant a mandamus to enquire by the oaths of twelve honest and lawful men, for that purpose to be empannelled and sworne, what lands and tenements Edward Sparkes dyed seized of, that your lordship may by record be entitled thereunto.” Workman’s purpose in making his request is obvious by the last sentence of his petition: “And then your petitioner most humbly prays the premises being considered that your lordship will graciously please to admit your petitioner to purchase upon reasonable tearmes from your lordship the one hundred fifty acres as is before mentioned.” (This document is quoted in John Kilty’s The Landholders Assistant & Land-Office Guide, 1808, published by the Filson Club, Louisville, Ky., p. 108.) Anthony Workman kept an inn or a tavern on Kent Island. In 1683 he and several other residents of the Island were appointed commissioners to establish a town and it is believed the town they established was at Broad Creek where Workman had his tavern. In later years, Workman operated an inn at Annapolis.

Walter Kerby and Henry Carter were appointed commissioners by the Chancery Court of the Province on February 10, 1679, to make the survey of Edward Sparks‘s property. We have not succeeded in finding any subsequent document, but in all probability, Anthony Workman succeeded in acquiring Edward Sparks‘s plantation.

Whether Edward Sparks was in any way related to Thomas, John, or William Sparks in the following accounts, we have not been able to determine. It is obvious from the above record, however, that he left no descendants in Maryland. Since he was associated with a number of families who had come to Maryland from Virginia, it is possible that Edward Sparks was also a Virginian.


THOMAS SPARKS (Immigrant to Maryland, 1669)

As was noted in the article on “Immigrants Named Sparks Who Came to Maryland Before 1675” which appeared in the December 1970 issue of the QUARTERLY, a Thomas Sparks was brought to Maryland (had his passage paid) by Richard Tilghman in 1669. Richard Tilghman himself had come from England to Maryland on the ship Elizabeth and Mary in 1657 and had settled on the Chester River in what would become Queen Anne ‘s County. According to Paul Wilstach, in his Tidewater Maryland (1931), Dr. Tilghman “was the family doctor to all the first families on the Chester, making his way from one plantation landing to another in a ‘batteau’, under a ‘leg o’ mutton’ sail if there was a favoring wind, or, if the sick called him in a calm, rowed by his strong armed slaves.“

On August 15, 1671, Thomas Sparks appeared as a witness before the Justices of the Peace in Talbot County, Maryland, (Talbot County would later be divided to form Queen Anne ‘s County) to testify regarding some goods which had been stolen from his master, Dr. Tilghrnan. (See Maryland Archives, Vol. LIV, “Talbot County Court Proceedings”, 1662-1674, pp. 508-510.) The case was complicated and the record of the testimony of Thomas Sparks and other witnesses does not provide a very clear picture, but it seems that Thomas Sparks had been sent by Dr. Tilghman to work for a neighbor named Patrick Shulivant (also spelled Soulavant, but later standardized as Sullavant). While working for Shulivant, Sparks observed that a tailor came to Shulivant ‘s house to make him a coat “of black frise which I suspected to be made of a Coate Which Charles Eggerton lost.” Sparks also observed that the tailor lined Shulivant’s new coat “with Canvis which I did Suspecte wass part of my masters Canvis which wass Stolne.” Sparks also noticed a pair of drawers and some towels and napkins which had been stolen from Dr. Tilghman, and he saw Mrs. Tilghman’s name on some sheets that Mrs. Shulivant was using. According to his account, Sparks confided his discovery to a man named Rice Cookeman and also a miller named Geoffrey Mattecey. Patrick Shulivant learned of Sparks ‘a discovery and threatened him, but Sparks appealed to Mrs. Tilghman who “told me Patrick should doe me noe hurt.” She also arranged for Dr. Tilghman to go to speak to both Sparks and Patrick Shulivant. At that point, Shulivant accused Sparks of having stolen these goods from Dr. Tilghinan.

It is not clear from this record how this case was eventually settled, although Shulivant was arrested, Sometime after this, Richard Tilghman consigned a number of his servants, including Thomas Sparks, to Richard Carter, another wealthy planter of Talbot County. It should be remembered that “servants” of this type in Maryland were actually immigrants from England whose passage had been paid by someone for whom the “servant” had agreed to work for a specified number of years in return for the expense of his passage. The law provided that a “master” could consign a “servant” to another person to work out his time.

This is our last record of Thomas Sparks found thus far. Whether he married and left descendants is not known.

 JOHN SPARKS (died 1700)

Our earliest record of John Sparks is a deed in Talbot County, Maryland (Book 7, p. 100) dated May 11, 1695, by which he acquired a tract of land located on the north side of Chester River in what is now Kent County, although either because of confusion or subsequent changes in boundary lines, it was thought in 1695 to be in Talbot County (now Queen Anne’s County). This tract, consisting of 100 acres, was called “Buck Hill” (sometimes written “Buckshill”) and John Sparks acquired it in 1695 from John Salter in exchange for “all those Lotts of land and all the houses upon the Same whereon the said John Sparks now Dwelleth Scituate, lyeing in West


JOHN SPARKS (died 1700), continued:

Chester Towne in Chester river in Talbott Co.” John Sparks signed this deed by mark as “S£” (obviously intended as “SJ”, the reverse of his initials., “JS”. His wife, Elinor Sparks, also signed this deed by mark as “X”. Elias Robinson and James Nicholson signed as witnesses.

It is interesting to note that William Sparks, who died in 1709, also sold to John Salter a lot which he owned in West Chester in 1691 (Talbot Deed Book 7, p. 53). According to other records, there seems to be little doubt that John Sparks and William Sparks were brothers. One wonders whether they may have inherited the lots in West Chester.

We have found no other reference to “West Chester Town”, although it seems probable that it was the western portion of the present Chestertown on the west side of the Chester River in what is now Kent County. Chestertown was created officially in 1706 “in Chester River on a plantation of Mr. Joce ‘s, between Mr. Wilmore ‘s and Edward Walvin ‘s plantation,” but it is probable that it existed unofficially a few years earlier. (See Frederic Emory ‘s Queen Anne ‘s County, Maryland, Baltimore, 1950, pp. 319-320.) John Salter was a leading citizen of the area. In 1707, he was appointed a vestryman of St. Paul’s Parish, which included all of Queen Anne’s County and a portion of Talbot. He was one of Queen Anne ‘s County ‘s first representatives to the Assembly and in 1715, with John Hawkins, recommended that a fine of 12 pounds be imposed upon anyone who should liberate a slave because such action caused other slaves to become dissatisified. He was a justice of the court in 1707 and was a commissioner from Queen Anne's County to purchase and lay out towns in 1706.

Our next record of John Sparks is his will dated September 2, 1699. Although this document was published in the QUARTERLY of June 1960 (Vol. VIII, No. 2, Whole No. 30, p. 490) it is given again here:


In the name of God amen I John Sparks being Sick and Weak in Body but of perfect Sence of mind and memory for the avoiding suits at Law or controversies that may happen after my Death do make and ordain and declare this to be my Last will and Testament herby Revoaking all wills formerly made as Vizt
1st - I bequeath my Soul into the hands of Almighty God my Saviour hopeing by his precious Blood to obtain Remission and forgiveness of all my Sins - and my Body to be Desently Buried at the Discretion of my Executrix hereafter named.
2ndly - I give to my Beloved wife Ellinor Sparks after my Just Debts paid my whole & small [?] Estate to her heirs or assignee.
3rdly - I give to my Sons John and George Sparks one hundred acres of Land Called Bucks hill provided Either of them Comes to Enjoy it.
4thly - I do Constitute and appoint my wife Ellinor Sparks my whole and Sole Executrix of this my Last will & Testmt In wittness hereunto I have Sett my hand and affixed my Seale the 2 day of September 1699.                                                                   his
                                                                   Jno  S E  Sparks
Signd Seald and Delivrd & Declared            mark
to be my Last Wi].]. & Testament in the presence of us
Jno. Salter
Thos T Prestige
Elizab +++ Robinson

JOHN SPARKS (died 1700), continued:

The will of John Sparks was copied for us by William Perry Johnson a number of years ago from the recorded copy among the Queen Anne ‘s County records. It is apparent that this was recorded some years after the death of John Sparks, because the following statement follows the will itself:

On the back of the aforegoing Will was thus Written as follows Vizt
Janry the 3d 1701
Couty Kent
Then Came the within named John Salter, Thomas Prestidge, & Eliza Robinson Wittnesses to the Wth-in Will and made oath upon the holy Evangelist that they Did See the within John Sparks Signe & Seale the Within Will and Declare the Same to be his Last Will & Testamt.

There also appears the statement that John Salter and James Smith were appointed to make an inventory of the estate of John Sparks.

It is interesting to note that John Salter, with whom John Sparks had traded property in 1695, signed as a witness to his will and was also one of those appointed to take the inventory. Perhaps the “Elizab Robinson” who signed as witness was the wife of Elias Robinson who had witnessed the 1695 deed. Since the witnesses appeared in court to testify in the probation of the will on January 3, 1701, we may assume that John Sparks died late in the year 1700. Several days or even weeks usually passed between a person’s death and the probating of his will.

It should be noted that John Sparks named only two children in his will, Sons named John and George, neither of whom was living in Maryland. To these sons he left his farm called “Buck Hill” provided “Either of them Comes to Enjoy it.” A subsequent document reveals that both of these sons were in England.

Following the death of John Sparks, his farm called “Buck Hill” or “Buckshill” passed into the possession of a nephew of John Sparks named William Sparks, Jr. There can be little doubt that this William Sparks was actually the eldest son of William Sparks, Sr., who died in 1709. (See the following sketch of that family.) William Sparks, Jr., was born about 1674 and was living in Queen Anne ‘s County as late as 1730. On March 6, 1710, William Sparks, Jr., and his wife Margaret sold “Buck Hill” to William Comegys of Kent County (See Kent County Land Records JS #N, pp. 248-49). That this tract was indeed the same land mentioned by John Sparks in his will is proved by the statement in this deed of 1710 that he, William Sparks, Jr., promised that he would “for Ever defend the before granted premises to the said William Comegys his heirs & assigns for Ever against the heirs & successors of John Sparks Deceased, Onckle [i.e. uncle]  to the afore named William Sparks as alsoe any other person or persons Claiming Right by heire Ship from the Said John Sparkes Deceased...”

William Comegys, whose father Cornelius Cornegys had brought his family to Kent County from the Swedish colony on the Delaware in 1670, had good reason to require W:lliam Sparks. Jr. to agree to defend his title to “Buck Hill,” for he surely knew the provisions which John Sparks had made in his will by which his sons could Inherit the property. These sons, John and George Sparks back in Eng1and did indeed still claim their right to their father’s land,  as is proved by a document dated October 23, 1716, written in England and recorded in Kent County. (See Kent Co. Land Records BC #1, pp. 181-83.) It reads as follows:


JOHN SPARKS (died 1700), continued:

John and George Sparks, 1717

    TO ALL XPIAN PEOPLE to whome these presents shall come John Sparks of the Burrough of Christchurch Twyneham in the County of Southson in the Kingdom of England Butcher Eldest Son and heire and devisee of John Sparks late of Chester River in Kent County in Maryland in Virginia decs’d and George Sparks of the Burrough of Christchurch Twyneham aforesaid Glover one other of the Sons and devisees of the said John Sparks deceased Send Greeting whereas the said John Sparks party to these presents and George Sparks are or one of them is lawfully constituted in and to one hundred acres of Land called Buckhill Lying in Chester River in Kent County afd to the use of them or one of them their or one of their heires and whereas by reason of the remoteness of the Said Land they the said John Sparks party to these presents and George Sparks are minded and intended to dispose of the Same Now know Yee that the said John Sparks party hereunto and George Sparks have and either of them hath made constituted and appointed and in their and either of their Steads and places put and depute and by these presents do and either of them doth make constitute appoint and in their and either of their Steads and places put and depute their true and trusty friend Hugh Arbuthnot of Weymouth in the County of Dorst in ye Kingdom of England Mariner their and either of their true and Lawfull attorney irrevocably for them and either of them and in their and either of their names act for them and their benefit to sell and Dispose of to any person and persons whatsoever and for Such consideration and considerations as to him Shall Seem meet all and every the Said Lands called Buckhill with the rights members and appurtenances thereof and upon Such Sale and Sales any conveyance and conveyances in their and either of their name or names or in the name of him the Said Hugh Arbuthnott to Sign Seale and as their or either of them or his own act and deed to deliver and also for them and either of them and in their and either of their name and names or in his own name to appear in all every and any proper Court and Courts in Virginia afd and also to do all and every Lawfull Act and Acts as is afsd in Such cases in Virginia afd for the Strengthning corroborating and confirming as well of these presents as the Title of the Said Land to Such Purchasor and purchasors they and their Heires Executors Administrators and Assigns as fully in every respect as they the Said John Sparks party to these presents and George Sparks and either of them may might or will do if personally present and they the Said John Sparks party hereunto and George Sparks have and either of them hath given and granted and by these presents do and either of them Doth give and grant unto the Said Hugh Arbuthnott their and either of their full whole and absolute Power in the premises and do and either of them Doth hereby ratify and confirm make good and valid all and whatsoever the Said Hugh Arbuthnott Shall Lawfully do or cause to be done in about touching or concerning the Same by Virtue of these presents Greetings whereof the Said John Sparks party to these presents and George Sparks have Sett their hands and Seales this three and Twentieth day of October in the year of our Lord Christ according to the Computation afsd in England One Thousand Seven hundred and Sixteen.

                                                                                                                        John Sparks
                                                                                                                        George Sparks

Sealed and delivered in presence of John Lester Esq Mayor of the Town and County of Pool in the Kingdom of England who in testimony there of hath in the Margin of these presents affixed the Common Seale of the Said Town and County

 John Lester Mayor

and in the presence off John Favel]. [and] Robert Robertson.  On the back of the preceeding instrument of Power of Attorney was endorsed as follows:
Viz: Kent County in Maryland:


JOHN SPARKS (died 1700) continued

 Bee it Remembered that at a Court held in Kent County at the Courthouse on Chester River in the Town of Chester in Said County on the nineteenth day of March Anno Domini. one Thousand Seven hundred and Sixteen personally appeared in open Court Robert Robertson one of the Evidences to within written power of attorney before Col.Nathaniel Hynson and his appointed Justices of our Lord Proprietor for Said Courty and then and there being sworn on the holy Evangelist of Almighty God Saith that he did See John Sparks and George Sparks Signe Seal and as their Act and deed delivered the power of attorney on the other side written to the uses and intents as thereon contained and saith that he did See John Favell an other Evidence to the Same Power of Attorney Signe at the Same Time Proved in open court: and to which I have Sett. my hand and affixed the Seale of the County Afsd

                                                                                                                Jams Smith  Clk.

 Recorded March Twentyfirst day in the year of our Lord Christ one thousand seven hundred and seventeen.
                                                                                                                Jams Smith Clk. Kt Cty Ct

Tnus it was that John and George Sparks, residents of what is now called the County of Hampshire England, the sons of John Sparks who died in 1700, attempted in 1716 to gain ownership of their father's estate, called “Buck Hill.”  They authorized their “true and trusty friend, Hugh Arbuthnot”, a sailor, to attempt to sell the land for thern.  It is also Interesting to note that one of the witnesses to their drawing up this power of attorney in England was a man named Robert Robertson, who five months later appeared before the court in Kent County, Maryland, to swear that “he did See John Sparks and George Sparks Signe [and] Seal” the document. (It should be kept in mind that under the Julian Calendar, used in England and Colonial America until 1752,  the new year began on March 25; thus when Robert Robertson appeared before the Kent County Court on March 19 it was still 1716 according to the Julian Calendar However, other European countries had long before adopted the Gregorian Calendar, with the new year falling on January 1, and many Englishmen and Americans considered January 1 as New Year's Day long before 1752. Note that the clerk who recorded the above document on March 21 gave the year as 1717 while two days before when Robertson appearted in court his statement was dated March 19, 1716.)

It is interesting to speculate regarding the connection of Robert Robertson with the Sparks family. He was in England when John and George Sparks signed their power of attorney and he obviously carried the document from England to Maryland. It. is kown that a Robert Robertson was a warden of St. Paul’s Parish, Kent County, in 1704.

Although we have no further record of t.he attempt of John and George Sparks to gain possession of and sell their father’s farm, it can be assumed that their “lawful attorney, Hugh Arbuthnot failed in his mission because their father, John Sparks had made it a condition in his will that one of his sons would actually have to come to Maryland in order to inherit “Buck Hill.”

The above document should prove to be an important link between this branch of the Sparks family in Maryland and their origin in England. A professional genealogist, Mr. C. R. Humphrey-Smith, has done some preliminary research for us. He reports that the Burrough of Christchurch. Twyneham, which John and George Sparks gave as their residence in 1716, is in fact Christchurch near Bournernouth in Hampshire. ("Southson" is an abbreviataon cf Southamptonshire, now known as Hampshire.) The mariner named Hugh Arbuthnott, whose residence was given as “Weymouth in the County of Dorst," was a residen of the county of Dorset, where indeed the port of Weymouth is located.  One wonders how Arbuthnott became a “trusty friend” of John and George


JOHN SPARKS (died 1700), continued:

Sparks and one is tempted to speculate that members of the Sparks family may have been sailors, although in 1716 John was a butcher and George was a glove maker.

Mr. Humphrey-Smith reports that there exist four volumes of parish registers for Christchurch in Hampshire, but the volume covering the years 1643 to 1681 is no longer extant. This is most unfortunate because this was the period during which William Sparks (who died in 1709) and John Sparks (who died in 1700) were probably born. Mr. Humphrey-Smith has noted that an entry in the register dated March 16, 1686/87 records the death of William Sparkes, son of John Sparkes, by drowning.

Further research among the records of the county of Hampshire may well reveal the origins of this branch of the Sparks family.

WILLIAM SPARKS (died 1709)

Our earliest reference to a William Sparks in Maryland is dated 1663 when Thomas Skillingham sold to George Richardson the land which he had been granted by the Lord Proprietor for having transported six settlers to the Province, one of whom was William Sparks. The other five were himself and his wife Mary, Ann Powell, Mary Webb, and John Green. A little later the same year George Richardson, in making claim for the land sold to him by Thomas Skillingham, Richardson gave William Sparks‘s name as William Sparke and the date of his coming to Maryland as 1662. (See the article on “Immigrants Named Sparks Who Came to Maryland Before 1675” in the QUARTERLY of December 1970, Whole No. 72.) Neither the name of Thomas Skillingham nor George Richardson has been found among the records of Kent, Talbot, and Queen Anne ‘s County; perhaps this William Sparks was not the William Sparks who died in Queen Anne ‘s County in 1709. Further research will probably determine this.

Our first definite record of the William Sparks who died in 1709 living in the area that is now Queen Anne‘s County, Maryland, is a deed by which he and a man named Thomas Heather purchased jointly a tract of 100 acres from Richard Pernes on July 17, 1672, for 5600 pounds of tobacco. This deed was recorded in Talbot County (Deed Book I, p. 213). The land was described as “Lying and being on the North Side of St. Michaels River beginning at a marked Oake Standing at the head of a Small branch Running North West & Runing for breadth down the branch East South east 50 poles to a marked gumme tree then North East up the River for Length 320 poles being formerly laid out for Francis Martin.” The witnesses were James and Mary Murphy.

Apparently William Sparks and Thomas Heather were business associates, perhaps even partners, because five years later, on October 16, 1677, Heather publicly ackknowledged that he owed Sparks 20,000 pounds of tobacco. In this document, Heather‘s wife was identified as Anna; the document was witnessed by Ralph Elston, Jr., and Richard Duddley. (Talbot County Deed Book 3, p. 93) (Tobacco was the chief medium of currency at that time in Maryland and Virginia and remained as currency until sometime after the Revolutionary War.)

There is no evidence that William Sparks ever lived on the land on St. Michael’s River, located in what is now the southern portion of Queen Anne ‘s County. On July 21, 1696, William Sparks (called William Sparks, Senr.) and his wife Mary sold this tract to Alexander Ray for 10,000 pounds of tobacco. Apparently he had acquired Thomas Heather’s portion of this land earlier. (See Talbot County Deed Book 7, p. 224.)

-1382 -

WILLIAM SPARKS (died 1709), continued:

During the years from the early 1670’s until his death in 1709, William Sparks’s name was frequently recorded in the official records of Kent, Talbot and Queen Anne’s Counties. We cannot, however, make many statements of fact regarding his personal life. He was probably born about 1640 in England. His wife ‘a name was Mary and they had at least five children, four sons and one daughter. William Sparks gradually acquired a considerable amount of land. At one time he owned nearly 1,000 acres on Island Creek, a tributary of Southeast Creek, which in turn, is a tributary of Chester River. He was a member of the Anglican faith.

On August 16, 1681, William Sparks purchased a tract of 100 acres from Michael Hackett and his wife Mary of Talbot County for 5,000 pounds of tobacco. This tract had originally been granted on October 16, 1670, to John Mitchell at which time it had been given the name “Adventure.” Mitchell had later sold it to Hackett, who sold it to William Sparks. This deed of 1681 (Book 4, p. 68) and the rent rolls describe the tract as lying on the south side of Chester River and on the southeast side of Island Creek, and adjoining land owned by John Hawkins. The deed by which William Sparks purchased this tract was witnessed by Henry Willcockes and John Parsons. On June 1, 1691, William Sparks sold this tract along with 100 additional acres to Samuel Withers (Book 5, p. 336). (John Hawkins, who owned land adjoining William Sparks ‘s “Adventure”, also owned land on Coursey ‘s Creek; in 1706 the Assembly passed an act to establish the county-seat of Queen Anne‘s County on a tract of 100 acres “upon the plantation of Major John Hawkins, in Coursey’s Creek” to be called Queens-Towne. After the Revolution, however, the county-seat was moved to Centreville. John Hawkins was a vestryman of the parish church at Chester; when he died in 1718 he was succeeded by Augustine Thompson, another close friend and neighbor of the Sparks family.)

At about the same time that William Sparks purchased “Adventure” from Michael Hackett, he also acquired a tract of 250 acres which had been originally surveyed as part of a 450-acre tract for Michael Hackett on July 18, 1681. This 250-acre tract was known as “Sparks Choice” and was located on the “east side of Chester River near the head of a small branch of Island Creek.” Although we have not found the actual patent by which he acquired this important tract, we know from the Rent Rolls and subsequent deeds that this was the land on which William Sparks and his family actually lived. Anthony Ivy owned the remaining 200 acres in the original tract of 450 acres that had been granted to Michael Hackett.

On September 10, 1684, William Sparks obtained a patent from the Province of Maryland for another tract of land adjoining his home plantation comprising 100 acres. It had been surveyed for him on June 21, 1683 (Rent Rolls, Queen Anne ‘s County, p. 242).  To this new tract, he gave the name "Sparks Own”, or “Sparks Oune” as it was first recorded in Talbot County Deed Book A, p. 507, although it had been previously owned by Anthony Ivy and his wife Anne. William Sparks purchased this tract from William Coursey, Jr., assignee for Col. Venceant Lowe who had obtained it as part of a tract of 3,000 acres granted to him on March 20, 1683. The description of William Sparks‘s tract reads as follows in the patent dated September 10, 1683: “... all that tract or parcell of land called Sparks Oune lying in the county of Talbott on the east side of Chester River beginning at a marked oake standing neere the head of a branch on the north side of Island Creeke and running north north-west parallel with a line of a tract of land held by Michaell Hackett to Capt. Hide one hundred perches untill it intersects an east and by south line of a parcell of land formerly laid out for John Michell and then running with the said line two hundred perches untill it come to a parcell of land called Sparks Choice and running thence south south-east one hundred perches untill it comes to a parcell of land called Mount Hope lately taken up by Henry Wilcocks and from


WILLIAM SPARKS (died 1709), continued:

the end of that said line west and by north to the first tree two hundred perches containing ... one hundred acres . ..“ For this grant, William Sparks agreed to pay the Lord Proprietor “Rent of four Shillings Sterling in Silver or Gold.” (Talbot County Land Records, Book SD #A, p. 507.)

Island Creek, mentioned in the patent for “Sparks Own”, has its source about four miles northeast of Centreville, the county seat of Queen Anne ‘a County. It meanders nearly due north as a gentle stream through fairly level land until it reaches Southeast Creek, nearly nine miles away. There, Southeast Creek empties into the Chester River about three miles west of the community of Church Hill. The surrounding area is low and inclined to be marshy. It was, and is, an agricultural area. One of the roads serving the area today is Sparks Mill Road.

On October 22, 1687, a tract of 114 acres known as “Sparks Outlet” was surveyed for William Sparks. The patent for this tract was issued on June 12, 1688 (Talbot County Deed Book 2, p. 625). According to this patent, this tract was assigned to Sparks by Thomas Smithson who was an assignee of Daniel Walker, all being of Talbot County. Walker had acquired this tract as part of a grant of 1200 acres on June 13, 1687. In the patent it is described as “that tract or parcel of land called Sparkes Outlett lyeing in Talbott County neare Chester River betwixt the Land of the said William Sparkes and the Land of John Hawkins, beginning at a marked Red oake standing in or near the line of John Hawkins Land and --?-- runs thence south south-west most eighty perches to another marked Red oaks thence south south-east forty perches to a marked blacke oake att the Corner of a little pocoson, thence east and by south one hundred and sixty perches, and from the end thereof Runing north and by east towards the Land of John Hawkins one hundred and fourteen perches and from the end of the north and by east line runing west and by north to the first Red Oake Containing within the sd lines and now laid out for one hundred and fourteen Acres be it more or less according to the Certificate of survey thereof taken and Returned into the Land office att the City of St. Manes being date the twenty second day of October one thousand six hundred eighty seaven.. “   For this tract, William Sparks promised to pay the Lord Proprietor “Rent of foure shillings and seven pence sterling in silver or Gold...”

A near neighbor of William Sparks was John Hamer. On May 12, 1689, William Sparks was named by Hannah Hamer, wife of John Hamer, as her “true and lawful attorney” in connection with the sale of some land (Talbot County Deed Book 5, p. 232).

On June 1. 1691, William Sparks sold lot No. 6 in the Town of West Chester to John Salter, Joyner, “for a valuable Consideration by mee in hand allready received.” (Talbot County Deed Book 7, p. 53) As on other occasions, William Sparks signed this deed by mark. The witnesses were John Hamer and William Godinge. John Salter appears to have been a close friend of William Sparks. He was a prominent man in the area that became Queen Anne ‘s County in 1707 and was a member of the House of Delegates from 1708 to 1711. He was also a member of the Probate Court and a vestryrnan of St. Pauls Parish. John Salter was a witness along with John Hairier, Jr., to William Sparks’s will when it was probated in 1709. As noted earlier in the sketch on John Sparks who died in 1700, this same John Salter purchased a lot in West Chester from John Sparks in 1695. There is little doubt that John Sparks (died 1700) and William Sparks (died 1709) were brothers. (See page 1377 for a comment regarding the location of West Chester.)

On October 20, 1691, William Sparks purchased from Robert and Ann Smith a tract of 200 acres for 8500 pounds of tobacco. This tract was part of a larger tract called “Wrights Choyse” and was located on the south side of Chester River “and on the


WILLIAM SPARKS (died 1709), continued:

North Side of the South East branch of a Creek in the Said River called Island Creek.” In the descript.ion of this tract, there is a reference to an adjoining tract “formerly Layde out for Robert Smith.” It must have been located very near William Sparks's other holdings. The witnesses to this deed were Thomas Beckles and Sollomon Wright. (Taibot County Deed Book 5, p. 328) (Robert Smith died about 1703 and Anthony Ivy and Renatus Smith were the executors of his estate. They sold his land on Island Creek (150 acres) to John Fowler and it was noted in the deed that it adjoined land owned by John Hawkins, John Singleton, and Thomas Norris. (See Emory's history of Queen Anne’s County, p. 39) Solomon Wright, whose wife ‘s name was Anna. was a member of a large and prominent family in Queen Anne‘s County; he was a church warden in 1698. We believe that there were family connections between the Wright and Sparks families.)

The day following his purchase of this 200-acre tract, William Sparks and his wife Mary sold 200 acres of their other land to Samuel Withers for 8,000 pounds of tobacco. In all probability, William Sparks increased the value of his other holdings through this purchase and sale. As part of the 200 acres which he sold to Withers was “Sparks Own” which he had acquired in 1684. The other 100 acres was a portion of his 250-acre tract called “Sparks Choice” which he had acquired in 1681. The witnesses to this deed were Solomon Wright, John Salter, and John Chafe, (Talbot County Deed Book 5, p. 336) (Emory, in his history of Queen Anne’s County, p. 49,  notes that Samuel Withers "erected a brickhouse sometime prior to 1724 on Island Creek."

The first official record of a son of WIlliam Sparks was recorded in October 1695 when he and his son William Sparks, Jr., were witnesses to the will of John Ellet in Talbot County. (Maryland Calendar of Wills. Vol. 2, p. 109) From this we may infer that William Sparks, Jr., was the oldest son of’ William Sparks and was probably born twenty-one or more years earlier or at least by 1674. If this inference is corrects we may speculate that William and Mary had been married about 1670-73.

In 1696, William Sparks was elected a warden of St. Paul’s Parish. The territory of this parish comprised the lower part of what is now Queen Anne‘s County and the upper part of Talbot County This parish had existed many years prior to 1692 when the act establishing the Anglican Church in the province was passed by the General Assembly, but thereafter records seem to have been kept for the first time. Edward Tomlins was the other warden in 1696. William Sparks was succeeded in 1698 by Solomon Wright.

On December 2, 1696, both William Sparks and his son, William Sparks, Jr., signed an interesting document adressed to the King of England, William III. In the previous February there had been an assassination plot, to restore King James II to the throne. The plot was betrayed; most of the consptrators were arrested, and eight of them were put to death. Statng that news had “here Arriv ‘d of the horrible intended Conspiracy against his Royal person” the justices of the province, along with the civil officers and mlitary officers of each county, signed an “address” of congratulations to their ‘"Dread Soveraign.” The signers professed their loyalty to King William and promised to “Stand by & Assist Each other to the Utmost of our power in the Support and Defence of yor Mats Governmt against the late King James and all his Adherents...’  William Sparks’s name appears among the 29 “Civill Officers & Magistrates” of Kent Count.y wno signed this address, and the names of both William Sparks and his son, William Sparks, Jr. were included among the 62 “Military Officers of Kent County."   (A number of other individuals were listed among both the civil and military officers including John Hunter and John Hamer,


WILLIAM SPARKS (died 1709), continued:

thus we can be quite sure that the William Sparks in both lists was the same person.) Why William Sparks and his son were listed among the officials of Kent County rather than Talbot County, we cannot be sure. Talbot County had been cut off from Kent County in 1662, although Kent Island remained part of’ Kent County until 1695. Histories of the province have frequently pointed out, however, that the boundaries between the counties were often indefinite during the 1600 ‘s and early 1700’s. This is proven by a deed dated January 27, 1701, by which William Sparks and his wife Mary sold to John Hamer for 4,000 pounds of tobacco the tract of land which William Sparks had purchased in 1691 from Robert and Ann Smith called “Wright’s Choice” located on Ellis Branch of Island Creek. (Kent County Land Records JD #1, p. 79-81) The 1691 deed was recorded in Talbot County, but in 1701 the deed was recorded in Kent County and William and Mary Sparks were identified therein as “of Kent County.” (The tract was described as it had been in 1691, except that the “South-East Branch of Island Creek” was now called “Ellis Branch.” The tract was identified as “being lately in the tenure or occupation of the sd. William Sparks.”) It is possible, of course, that the family had moved over the line from Talbot County into Kent County, but it seems more probable that their land holdings were located so nearly on the dividing line between Kent and Talbot Counties that there was some confusion regarding their exact whereabouts. Even after Queen Anne ‘s County was cut off from Talbot in 1706, the boundary between Kent and the new county seems not to have been clearly determined.

In this 1701 deed, William Sparks was identified as “William Sparks, Sen”.”; as was his custom, he signed by mark as “X” (in a circle), while his wife Mary signed as "M" (approximate).  The witnesses were Edward Coding and Thomas Hawkins.

The last time that William Sparks purchased land was on February 2, 1707, when John and Elizabeth Ranier of Kent County sold him two tracts in what had just become Queen Anne’s County (formerly Talbot County). (Book A, Liber EF, p. 16) In this deed, William Sparks was identified as being a resident of Queen Anne ‘s County. One tract comprised 249 acres and the other 199 acres; both were located on the south side of Chester River on Island Creek. Solomon Wright and John Salter signed as witnesses on February 13, 1707. At the same time, in a separate transaction, William and Mary Sparks (her name appeared in the deed as “Marah”, but her signature was clearly “Mary”) sold 480 acres in Queen Anne’s County to John Hamer, Sr., for the same amount, 22,000 pounds of tobacco. (Book A, Liber EF, p. 12) Frederick Emory, who wrote a history of Queen Anne ‘s County in 1950, noted (p. 39) that this deed contains the earliest reference to Royston’s Creek, this being a tract laid out by Richard Royston.) The witnesses were again Solomon Wright and John Salter, and since they signed both deeds on February 13, even though one was dated February 2 and the other October 3, it is apparent that John Hamer and William Sparks were actually trading tracts of land.

Two years later, when William Sparks made his will, he left the tract that he had purchased from Hamer to his son John Sparks. However, he stated that if Hamer should be dispossessed from the land which William Sparks had sold to him, then Hamer would have the right to take back the other tract. It would appear that William Sparks was uncertain of his title to the tract that he had sold to Hamer, perhaps because of his wife‘s dower rights. On March 15, 1716, William and John Sparks, identified as “Planters of Queen Anne’s County ... fulfilling the last Will and Testament of their father William Sparks” gave a new deed to John Hamer, Sr., for those two tracts called “Harden” and “Higate”. Then on April 22, 1722, John Hamer, Sr., gave William Sparks, Jr., a new deed for the 480-acre tract of Royston’s Creek which he had sold to William Sparks, Sr., in 1707; however, William Sparks, Jr., had to give Hamer 700 pounds of tobacco for the new deed.


WILLIAM SPARKS (died 1709), continued:

On March 25, 1707, William Sparks gave a tract of land to his son, George Sparks. Perhaps this was a wedding present. In this deed, which is recorded in Kent County (Book C, p. 187), William Sparks was identified as “of said County, Planter.” He stated that “I, William Sparkes as well for and in Respect of the Love I bear unto my Son,  George Sparkes of said County as also for other divers good Causes and Considerations me at this time Especial moving have given ... unto the said George Sparkes one hundred and fifty acres of Land part of a tract of Land called Sparks Choice,” This tract of 150 acres was the remaining portion of the 250-acre tract called “Sparks Choice” which William Sparks had acquired in 1681. He had sold the other 100 acres to Samuel Withers in 1691.

Our last record of William Sparks disposing of property is a deed recorded in Kent County dated April 16, 1707 (Book C, p. 227-235). In this deed, William Sparks and his wife Mary, along with John Hamer and his wife Elizabeth, sold a tract of 250 acres to James Wyat for 7,500 pounds of tobacco. All parties in this deed were identified as "of Kent County."  We have found no record of Sparks and Hamer having acquired this land, although it is probable that it relates to the exchange of tracts between them two months earlier. This tract is described in this deed of April 16,  1707, as “situate and being in Kent County on the South side of Chester River and on the upper side of Royston Creek, Beginning at a bounded pine Tree standing on the River side a little below a small Marsh being the Second bounded Tree of the said Land called Royston and running thence South and by East three hundred perches to Royston's branch then by and with the said branch down to the River and then by and with the said River up to the afs pine containing by Estimation two hundred and fifty acres more or less.” William Sparks signed this deed with his usual mark “X" (in a circle) and Mary Sparks signed as “M” as was her custom. John and Elizabeth Hamer both signed their names, as did the three witnesses, C. Wright, Nathaniel Wright, and Flower Wattes.

On June 21, 1709, William Sparks made his will, signing by his usual mark “X” (in a circle). Four months later his will was probated, on October 24, 1709. This proves that he died between June 21 and October 21, 1709. From his will, given below, certain inferences can be made, He was obviously quite ill at the time he made his will, apparently quite certain that he would die.  His son William Sparks, Jr., whom he named to serve as executor with his wife, was obviously his oldest son. He probably named his other children in the other of their birth. George must have been the second son - - he had obviously married and had children by 1709. Apparently the next oldest child was a daughter who had married a man named Rynson and had a son named Charles Rynson by 1709 to whom William Sparks willed a heifer. He also gave a heifer to the daughter of his son William Sparks, Jr. John Sparks, his third son,  was apparently at least 21 years old in 1709 and to him William Sparks left the land which he had purchased from John Hamer in 1707, although he realized that there was apparently some doubt about the title to that land and he provided an alternative inheritance f or John if that proved to be the case. To his eldest son, William Sparks, Jr., and to his youngest son, Joseph Sparks, who was not yet of age in 1709, William Sparks left the plantation “that I now live on called hills adventure and Sparkes outlet.” It thus appears that William Sparks’s home was either on the 100-acre tract called “Adventure” (or”Hill ‘s Adventure”) which he had purchased from Michael Hackett in 1681, or on the 114-acre adjoining tract called “Sparks Outlet” which he had purchased in 1687 from Thomas Smithson. He made the customary provision for his wife, providing carefully for her so long as she did not remarry and assuring that her sons should not take any advantage of her.

Following is the full text of the will of William Sparks:


WILLIAM SPARKS (died 1709), continued:

The Last Will of’ William Sparks of Queen Anne's County, Maryland

Maryland. In the Name of God Amen     I William Sparks of Queen Anns County being Sick in body but of Sound and perfect memory but knowing the uncertainty of Life and being Desirous to ---?--- my Estate do make Constitute and order this to be my last will and Testament hereby makeing Void all and every will or wills heretofore by me made

    first I bequeath my Soul into the hands of God beleiving by the merritts of Jesus Christ to receive pardon of all my Sins and my body to the Earth to be Decently buried in such Decent manner as my Exr’s hereafter named Shall think of it and as to the worldly good it has pleased God to bestow upon me my will is they be Disposed of in Manner and forme following -

   Item    I will that all my Just Debts and funerall Necessary Charges be first paid

   I give to my Son George Sparks one fether bed and bolster two blankets and one Rugg being the same he use to lye on the same to be Delivered to him presently after my Decease & that my Son George and his wife and Children Shall have Liberty to live three years with his mother on my now Dwelling plantation in my now Dwelling house to make a crop of Corne and Tobo he laying in five barrells of’ Indian corne every year dureing the said time and to take due care of his mothers Stock and for so doing to have his and his wife and Children’s accomodations and to pay no rent dureing the sd Time

   Item I give to my grandson Charles Hynson one two year old heffer with all her female Increase and the male Increase to them who Shall take Care and Look after the Same the Said heifer to be marked for him Imediatly after my Death

   I give to my Daughter that is to say my grand Daughter being the Daughter of my Son Wm Sparks one year heifer with all her female Increase to be marked and Delivered for her use presently after my Death the males to go to him her or them that Shall or does take care of the same

   My will is that my Loveing wife Mary Sparks Shall have possess and Injoy my now Dwelling planta with all it‘s appurts and the Land belonging to the Same dureing her widow hood but not to protest her Son William Sparks but then he Shall have the Same Liberty As he has now what is ordered before for George Sparks Excepting that neither the said Wm nor George do molest or disturb their mother dureing her widowhood but if my said wife Mary Sparkes does marry again then to have no more than her thirds of’ my Said Land and plantation dureing her life and the thirds of my personal. Estate but Dureing her widowhood She Shall have the Disposall of’ all my personal Estate Except as before Excepted and if she does happen to die before She marrys then to Dispose of’ it as She will but if She marrys my personal Estate Except her thirds to be Equally Divided among all my Children

   Item I give and bequeath to my Son John Sparks that planta and tract of Land with all its appurts thereunto belonging formerly John Hamers to him and to his heires forever

   Item I give to my Sons Wm Sparks and Joseph Sparks all may planta and Land there unto belonging that I now live on Called hills adventure and Sparkes out let and my will is that if the planta late John Hamers above given to may Son John Should be Returned again to the sd John Hamer as my said Son is obliged to do if John Hamer Shall be Legally Dispose at of’ the Land he now lives on part of 10’S [sic] he had of me in Exchange for the said planta then my will is that my Son John Shall Come in with his two brothers Wm and Joseph and Shall


WILLIAM SPARKS  (died 1709) continued:

have Equall Share and proportion of the Said Land and Shall be Equally Divided among them & Shall have hold & Enjoy the Same to them and their heires forever

I will that if my Son Joseph Shall happen to die before he comes to age then his part of Land is to fall to my Son William and hd.s heires forever he paying to my Son George Sparks his heires and assignes the Sume of two thousand pounds of tobo.

    I give to my Son Joseph Sparks one Yearling heffer

    I do hereby appoint my wife Mary Sparks and my son William to be the Exrs of this my Last will and Testamt.

    In Witness hereunto I have Set my hand and affixed my Seale the Twenty first  Day of June 1709.
   Signed Sealed pronounced and                                    Wm    W   Sparks (Seal)
   Declared to be my Last will &                                                 mark
   Testament in the presents of
          (signed) John Salter                                                 Wm     A    Boulton
                         John Harrier Junr.                                               mark

                        Thomas    0    Trickee

   Octr 24th 1709
Then came John Salter   John Hamer Junr and Thos Tirckey   three of the Evidences to the above will made oath upon the holy Evangelist tht they saw the Teste Wm Sparks Signe Seale pronounce and Declare the above writeing to be his Last will and Testamt and tht he was at the time of a Sound & Disposeing mind and memory before me

                                                                                              Evan Thomas Dty County.

The above will has been copied from the copy that was made in the Will Book of Queen Anne's County, Liber 13, folio 4.

As noted earlier in this article, William Sparks and his family were members of St. Paul's Parish.  Unfortunately, the records of births, marriages, and deaths of this parish do not survive.  In 1729, however, St. Paul's Parish was divided and the descendants of William Sparks became members of the new parish known as St. Luke's.  The church for this parish was (and is) located at Church Hill; it was long known as "Up-River Chapel."  Its records have been preserved beginning in 1728 (although some pages have been lost).  A careful search of the births, marriages, and death records of St. Luke's has been made for us by John Frederick Dorman, and the Sparks entries from this record appear hereafter.

We have found no record of the death of Mary Sparks, widow of William.

From his will and other records, we know that William and Mary Sparks were the parents of four sons and one daughter.  In subsequent issues of the QUARTERLY, we plan to publish additional material on these sons and their descendants.  The names of these children were:


WILLIAM SPARKS (died 1709), continued:

 Children of William and Mary Sparks:

1. William Sparks, Jr., born about 1674. He married (f’irst) Margaret Hamilton, daughter of’ Josiah Hamilton; she died prior to 1729 and he married (second) Ann - - - - - , who died January 15, 1730/31. We have found no record of’ the death of William Sparks, Jr., nor have we been able to identify airy of his children except a daughter Sarah.

2. George Sparks, born about 1678. He married Mary prior to 1709 and had children, but we have not been able to identify his children.

 3. Daughter, name not discovered, married - - - - - Hynson. She had apparently died prior to 1709, for her father mentioned only his grandson, Charles Hynson, in his will.

4. John Sparks, born about 1680. Prior to 1704 he married Cornelia - - - - - .   He died April 19, 1737, and Comnelia died December 22, 1737. They were the parents of ten children: William; George; John, Jr.; Millington; Absalom; Caleb; Sarah; Mary; Rachel; and Cornelia.

5.  Joseph Sparks, born in the late 1680 ‘s.

[Scanner's Note:  For a list of the children of the above persons see the article in the QUARTERLY  for June, 1988, Whole No. 142, at pp. 3229-31.]

 * * * * * * * * * * * * *



(Editor’s Note: Old Chester Church. St. Paul’s Parish, was probably the first church building on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and was probably built about 1640-50. As originally created, the parish embraced the area from the head of the Chester River southward to the Wye River and included portions of both Kent and Talbot Counties. The actual church building was located about a mile southwest of Centreville on the road to Queenstown.

The church building at Church Hill, Maryland, was built at least as early as 1716 as a chapel-of-ease for St. Paul’s Parish; however, it was not until about 1728 that the General Assembly divided St. Paul’s Parish and created a new parish to be called St. Luke’s. Its southern boundary apparently was the Corsica River to the head of Three Bridges branch thence southeast across Tuckahoe River to Choptank River to the Province of Delaware.

Descendants of William Sparks apparently transferred their memberships from St. Paul ‘s to St. Luke‘s when the latter was created in 1728 - - in fact they probably had no choice in the matter since their land was now contained in the new parish.   During the next two decades, marriages, births and deaths were recorded in the registers of St. Luke’s and fortunately have been preserved.

John Frederick Dorman has made a careful search of the original records of births, marriages and deaths as recorded in St. Luke ‘s Parish. Following are the entries pertaining to persons named Sparks. Here they have been arranged alphabetically for convenience.  Items enclosed in brackets have been inserted from a heading in the record preceding the entry in question. The dates have been copied as they were written. It should be recalled that prior to 1752, England and her colonies



still followed the Julian Calendar while most other European countries had changed to the Gregorian Calendar. The differences were two: the Julian Calendar was eleven days behind the Gregorian, and under the Julian Calendar the new year began on March 25. Thus, in the first entry below, Absolum Sparks was born, according to the Julian Calendar, in 1740 which began on March 25 and ended on the following March 24. According to the Gregorian Calendar, he would have been born on January 26, 1741, rather than January 15, 1740. Sometimes in recording a date falling between January 1 and March 25, a clerk would add the Gregorian year. Thus, when the death of’ Wm. Sparks, Junr. was recorded, the date was given as “Janry 15th 1730/1.” According to the Julian Calendar, he died in 1730, but according to the Gregorian Calendar he died in 1731. During the years preceding 1752, it became increasingly common in the Colonies to celebrate January 1st as the new year and clerks would sometimes begin writing the new year after January 1st instead of waiting until March 25. This may be the explanation for Rachal D. Sparks ‘s having been baptized on January 12, 1741, but whose birthdate appears to have been given as October 1741.)
(page 114) Absolum son to John and Sarah Sparks January 15 1740
                                [Baptized Apl. 19   1741]
(page 12)  Ann Daughr to George and Sarah Sparks Jany the 8: 1740
(page 14) Benjamin Sparks adult ; [baptized] Apl. 22d 1738
(page 8) David S[on of] Joseph & Eliza. Sparks Aug. 18 1737
(page 1) Elizabeth D[aughter] of George and Eliz. Sparks, Apr. 7, 17[?]
(page 1) George S[on] of George & Elizabeth Sparks Oct. 7, 1738
(page 114) James son to John & Rachel Sparks January 2 1741 [baptized 
                                  Sept 25  1747]
(page 18) Jemima Daughr to Jonas and Mary Sparks Novemr 10 [1741]
                                 [baptized May 16 1742]
(page 29) Jonas Hinson Wright son of Benjamin and Mary Sparks March 23 1751
(page 1) Lambert S[on] of Jonas & Mary Sparks Mar 16, 173[?]
(page 5) Mary, daughter of’ John and Sarah Sparks January 30, 1738
(page 23) Mary Daughr to John & Rachel Sparks May 11 1744  [baptized 1744]
(page 23) Mary Daughr to Joseph arid Elizh Sparks July 25 1744 [baptized 1744]
(page 13) Mary Ann, Daughter to Jonas & Mary Sparks March 2: 1739
                                 [baptized July 1740]
(page 14) Mary Ann D[aughter] to Benjn and Mary Sparks June 28 1714.
                                 [baptized Sept. 25, 1741]
(page 15) Rachel D[aughter] to Millinton & Mabil Sparks January 12, 1741
                                 [baptized] Octor 1741 [?]
(page 1) Rebecca, D[aughter] of George & Eliz. Sparks May 16, 17[?]
(page 5) Richard, Son of George and Sarah Sparks September 8 1738
(page 5) Sarah Daughter of George and Sarah Sparks November 1 1733
(page 5) Sarah daughter of John and Sarah Sparks January 30  [1738]
(page 1) Thomas S[on] of George & Elizabeth Sparks Jan. 8, 1736
(page 13) Ursly D[aughter of]  James & Rebecca Sparks, December 13 1741
                                 [baptized] June 2
(page 3) William Son of John and Rachel Sparks March 1, 1737
                                 [baptized] May 20
(page 14)  William   Son of Joseph and Mary Sparks, April 27, 1738
                                 [baptized] June 14, 1738
(page 15 William son of Solomon & Esther Sparks Nov. 3 1738
(page 29)  William   son of James and Rebeccah Sparks June 14 1751



Marriages from the Register of St. Luke's Parish

Queen Anne's County, Maryland, 1728-1850

(page  45)  Abigal Sparks & Henry Tippings [May] 18 [1737] publ.
                     [i.e. by publication of banns]
(page 68) Abner Sparks and Mary Ann Bolton, Augt 24 1758  [Pub.]
(page 59) Absolam Sparks and Elizabeth Brown, Novemr 17 1748 Lics
                     [i.e. by license rather than publication of banns]
(page 68) Araminta Sparks and James Daley April 20 1758 [Pub.]
(page 46) Benjamin Sparks and Mary Baley May 18 1738 [pub]
(page 56) Caleb Sparks and Hanah C Bryan, [March] 19 [1745]
(page 69)  David Sparks and Mary Tippins Febry 20, 1759 [Pub.]
(page 63) Edward Sparks and Rebecca Banks July 21 1752 [Lic.]
(page 64)  Eliza. Sparks and John Sinott October 28 1755  [Lic.]
(page 39B) George Sparks and Elizabeth Rickets [September] 14, 1729
(page 40)  George Sparkes and Sarah Salisbury, [December] 3, 1730
(page 45)  James Sparks & Eliz: Barkhurst, [Feb.] 9 1737 [ Pub.]
(page 65) John Sparks Junr and Catherine Hayse Janry 1 1756 [Pub.]
(page 40) Jonas Sparks and Mary Sinnot August 14 1731
(page 40)  Joseph Sparks and Elizabeth Kelly [November.] 18 1731.
(page 68)  Mary Sparks and William Wilkinson April 6 1758 Pub.
(page 48) Millington Sparks and Mabel Ruth, Febry 9 [1740/1]
(page 69) Nathan Sparks and Eliza Bolton, Febry 20 1759 [Pub.]
(page 64) Rachel Sparks and William Scott October 28 1755 [Lic.]
(page 65)  Rhoda Sparks and James Linch June 25 1756 [Pub.]
(page 53)  Sarah Sparks and Thomas Vallintine Honey July the 10 [1743]
(page 56) Sarah Sparks and John Moor, June the 25 [1745]
(page 57)  Sarah Sparks and John Offley Collings [Febry] 10 [1746/7]
(page 70)  Sarah Sparks and Thomas Thompson Augt. 9 1759 Pub.
(page 49)  Ursley Sparks and William Gregory~ Decemr 22 [1741]
(page 41) William Sparks and Mary Courmon[?] [August] 24, 1732
(page 146)  William Sparks and Ellinor Brooks Augt 30: 1738 [publ]
(page 71) William Sparks [son] of Solo. [and] Anne E. Warham Sept. 17 1816
           Deaths from the Register of St. Luke ‘s Parish
(page 76)  Anne the wife of William Sparkes deced December 16 1730
(page 76)  Win. Sparks Junr. Decd Janry 15th 1730/1
(page 79) Old John Sparks died Apr 19 Buried Apr 26 ~1737]
(page 79)  Cornelia Sparks [died] Dr. 22 [Buried Dec.] 29 [1737]

(Note: the William Sparks, Jr., who died on Jan. 15, 1730/1, was a son of John and Cornelia Sparks; he was called “junior” to distinguish him from his uncle, William Sparks, born about 1674.)



Book A, 1849-1869

(Compiled in 1961 by Elizabeth Prather Ellsberry & copied by Carrie Grant Heppen)

John Sparks and Mary Jane West, November 2, 1854
Bleuford West and Lucy Sparks, November 8, 1855
Daniel Morgan and Nancy Jane Sparks, October 16, 1856
Peter Sparks and Elizabeth Corneilson, September 15, 1859
James H. Richmond and Fannie Sparks, April 5, 1860, at the residence of Daniel Sparks.
James Sparks and Ellen Lane, July 5, 1860
Talton E. Sparks and Susan Hoog, March 17, 1861
John W. Robins and Nancy J. Sparks, May 30, 1861
George Sparks and Margaret E. Vincent, July 28, 1861
John Sparks and Susan Welks, April 20, 1865
George West and Amanda Sparks, February 8, 1865, at the residence of Beuford West
Asa Callahan and Margaret E. Sparks, October 29, 1865
John H. Vestal and Milla Sparks, December 10, 1865
Peter Sparks and Sarah F. Vestil, November 16, 1865
Andrew Kerby Hurley and Elizabeth Sparks, August 8, 1869

[Scanner's note:  See SQ p. 2340 for the above correction.]

(A record of the Sparks families living in Putnam County, Missouri, as recorded
on the 1860 census was published in the QUARTERLY for June 1966, Vol. XIV, No. 2,
Whole No. 54, p. 991.)

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


It is a pleasure to report the names and addresses of sixteen new members of the SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION. These Sparks descendants have joined the Association since December, 1970:

Baney, Ellen (Mrs. R. L.), 68510 Linden Road, Lakeville, Indiana (46536)
Brockman, Mrs. Emily R., 15811 N.E. 175th St., Woodinville, Washington (98072)
Conner, Mrs. Ila, Rt. 1, Winters, Texas (79567)
Evans, Leona N. (Mrs. Carl), Rt. 3, Box 758, Morehead, Kentucky (40351)
McNakin, Evelyn Baldwin (Mrs. Robert), Box 107, Faflon, Montana (59326)
Petro, Kenneth Johnson, 3840 Riverside Ave., Muncie, Indiana (47304)
Robinson, Mary Sparks, P.O. Box 725, Jonesboro, Louisiana (71251)
Sparks, Carl L., 100 Clifton Place, Old Hickory, Tennessee (37138)
Sparks, Mrs. Clifford C., 706 Cerro Vista, Goodlettsville, Tennessee (37072)
Sparks, Dr. F. H., P.O. Box 427, Demopolis, Alabama (36732)
Sparks, Gerald H., Box 443, Runge, Texas (78151)
Sparks, Lester L., 404 Homewood Dr., Huntsville, Alabama (35801)
Sparks, Mrs. R. D., Rt. 2, Box 116, Springtown, Texas (76082)
Sparks, Dr. Sam L., 20416 60th Ave., N.E., Seattle, Washington (98155)
White, Patricia Ann (Mrs. John F.), 1331 Spencer Ave., Marion, Indiana (46952)
Ziegler, Dolly (Mrs. James D.), 2712 Normal Ave., Billings, Montana (59102)

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

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Scanned and Edited by James J. Sparks