March 23, 2021
Whole Number 10
THE NAMING OF SPARKS, KANSAS
Mr. Derril Sparks of Idaho Falls, Idaho, has provided the Association with an interesting account of how the town of Sparks, Kansas, received its name, Mr. Sparks obtained this data from his grandfather, Charles Clair Sparks, who was born September 22, 1882, in Sparks, Kansas, although the town was then called Highland Station.
In the spring of 1865, 44.3.8 John Green Sparks, great-great-grandfather of Derril Sparks moved from his home in St. Joseph, Missouri, to the new and promising state of Kansas, He settled in Doniphan County, just across the river from St. Joseph, in a community which came to be called Highland Station when the C. B. & Q. Railroad came through. A few miles to the west of Highland Station there was a town known as Highland. The two names were so nearly alike that mail was frequently sent to the wrong place and travelers were often confused. Eventually the citizens of Highland Station decided that they would change the name of their town and, after discussing various possibilities, it was agreed that they would use the surname of the town's oldest resident, It was soon discovered that the citizen claiming the earliest birth date was John Green Sparks who had been born March 11, 1826, and so the town was renamed Sparks. This rechristening took place in 1908. John Green Sparks died April 3, 1911.
Derril Sparks has compiled some valuable data on 44.3.8 John Green Sparks which will he of interest to our members. The father of John Green Sparks was 44.3 William John Sparks and was born ca. 1773 in Virginia. He married Mary Jane Green who was born ca. 1783 in Kentucky. Very little is known of 44.3 William John Sparks, but he must have migrated to Kentucky from Virginia before his marriage, which probably occurred in Kentucky ca. 1815. He was living in Greenup County, Kentucky, in 1825. William John and Mary Jane (Green) Sparks were the parents of the following children:
44.3.1 William Sparks, born in Kentucky ca. 1816 (or 1806).
44.3.x Patsey Sparks, born in Kentucky ca. 1820.
44.3.3 Isaac Sparks, born in Kentucky ca. 1820. He married Lucinda Thomas, daughter of James Thomas, in Greenup County, Kentucky, in 1833 (marriage bond dated March 15, 1833).
44.3.8 John Green Sparks (after whom Sparks, Kansas, was named) was born in Greenup County on March 11, 1826. He married in Carter County, Kentucky, on February 12, 1844, Emily Henderson, born March 18, 1827, in Greenup County, died November, 1900, daughter of Robert William and Eliza (Klink) Henderson. Both John Green Sparks and his wife are buried in the lola Cemetery in Sparks, Kansas. Children:
188.8.131.52 Elizabeth Jane Sparks, born in Kentucky on January 27, 1845; married E. R. Parker on April 12, 1864.
184.108.40.206 Robert William Sparks, born in Buchanan County, Missouri, on January 18, 1847 (***Correction), died in Sparks, Kansas, on December 22, 1922, He married in Doniphan County, Kansas, on January 18, 1872, Minerva or Geneora Zenobia Thompson, born in Farming, Kansas, in July, 1854, died in Sparks, Kansas, on August 6, 1894, daughter of Joshua Wilson and Katherine (Milbourne) Thompson. They had the following children:
220.127.116.11.1 William Sparks, born May 26, 1873;
18.104.22.168.2 Iva Mahzma Sparks, born September 3, 1876;
22.214.171.124.3 Silas Sparks, born October 12, 1879; ***Correction made
126.96.36.199.4 Son Sparks 188.8.131.52.5 Dau Sparks, twins lived only a few hours, born September 22, 1881;
184.108.40.206.6 Charles Clair Sparks, born September 22, 1882;
220.127.116.11.7 Susie Elmira Sparks, born May 22, 1885;
18.104.22.168.8 Frank Floyd Sparks, born December 25, 1887;
22.214.171.124.9 Robert Ray Sparks, born November 20, 1890; and
126.96.36.199.10 Elis Everet Sparks, born July 19, 1894, died May 23, 1955. All were born in what is now Sparks, Kansas.
188.8.131.52 Sarah Ann Sparks, born probably in St. Joseph, Missouri, February 2, 1849. She married Nelson Rawles on February 5, 1867
184.108.40.206 John Henry Sparks, born in St. Joseph, Missouri, February 11, 1851. He married Cora Blair on May 16, 1889.
220.127.116.11 James Harvey Sparks, born in St. Joseph, Missouri, February 3, 1853. He married Lowinda Wood, on June 18, 1875.
18.104.22.168 Ratcliff Sparks, born in St. Joseph, Missouri, April 3, 1855. He married Eliza Frazer on November 11, 1875.
22.214.171.124 George Cassell Sparks, born in St. Joseph, Missouri, February 3, 1857. He died October 12, 1857.
126.96.36.199 Pleasant Sparks, born in St. Joseph, Missouri, October 6, 1858. He married Martha Ritchie on January 24, 1880. He went to Texas to live.
188.8.131.52 Isaac Edward Sparks, born in St. Joseph, Missouri, November 14, 1860. He married Mary Kelley on April 10, 1888.
184.108.40.206 Thomas Jefferson Sparks, born in St. Joseph, Missouri, February 22, 1863; died 1937. He married Julia Frazee on March 13, 1886, who died March 26, 1954.
220.127.116.11 Mary Catherine Sparks, born in what is now Sparks, Kansas, May 26, 1865. She married George Miller on March 30, 1884. She died in April, 1954.
18.104.22.168 Alexander Sparks, born in what is now Sparks, Kansas, December 14, 1867. He died November 25, 1881.
22.214.171.124 A son, born 30 August 1874, and died the same day.
126.96.36.199 Hattie Sparks, born in what is now Sparks, Kansas, November 7, 1876.
44.3.9 James L. Sparks, born in Kentucky ca. 1829. He married Melinda MNU.