Whole Number 21
by Charles H. Smith & Russell E. Bidlack
25. Martin Peeples Sparks was born July 18, 1786. The place of his birth has not been determined, nor has his parentage been established. It is evident from official records, however, that he was closely associated throughout his life with 70.1.1 Jeremiah Sparks of Morgan County, Georgia. Jeremiah Sparks was born sometime between 1760 and 1770 (on the 1830 census of Morgan County he was listed as between 60 and 70 years of age). Jeremiah Sparks died in 1841, leaving a will which he had written in 1839 and in which he mentioned one son, 22.214.171.124 Carter Walton Sparks (1797-1877).
Martin P. Sparks, Jeremiah Sparks, and Carter W. Sparks all lived in Morgan County, Georgia, on adjoining land. There has been disagreement among descendants regarding the exact relationship between Martin P. and Carter W. Sparks. The grandchildren of Martin P.Sparks called Carter W. Sparks "Uncle Carter," but in nearly every family there are instances where this title has been used to show love and respect rather than an exact relationship. A short time before he died, William Daniel Sparks, a grandson of Martin P. Sparks, stated that Carter W. Sparks was a brother of 25. Martin P. Sparks. A granddaughter of Carter, Fanny Harper, also believed that they were brothers. She further stated that they had a sister named Sarah, born in 1805, who married a Williams in 1823, and another sister who married FNU Hunter and was called "Aunt Hunter." In his will, however,
70.1.1 Jeremiah Sparks mentioned only one son,
126.96.36.199 Carter W. Sparks, along with three daughters,
188.8.131.52 Malinda Sparks Arnold,
184.108.40.206 Milly Sparks Crane, and
220.127.116.11 Nancy Sparks Crane,
and two grandsons:
Joshua Patrick and
The fact that Martin P. Sparks had died two years prior to the date on which Jeremiah wrote his will (October 11, 1839) could account for Jeremiah's making no reference to him, although it would seem that Jeremiah would have made some mention of Martin's widow and son, if he were Martin's father. Furthermore, the name "Jeremiah" has never been used by descendants of Martin P. Sparks. The names 'Martin' and 'Peeples' were probably derived from the surnames of either relatives or close friends of the family, but no connections have been discovered thus far. Information concerning Martin and Peeples connections will be appreciated. (The will of Jeremiah Sparks, dated October 11, 1839, and probated January 4, 1841, along with a record of Carter W. Sparks and his descendants, will appear in a later issue of the Quarterly.)
The earliest official record found thus far which pertains to 25. Martin P. Sparks is a deed executed in Morgan County, Georgia, on November 6, 1810, by which Martin P. Sparks purchased from Charles M. Lin (who was the guardian of Nancy Cooper and James Cooper, orphans of Thomas Cooper), Lot 294, District 20, containing 202 1/2 acres on Sandy Creek in Morgan County. He paid $1002 for this tract of land and was designated in the deed as being a resident of Morgan County. Section 20 is located in the north-west corner of Morgan County, and from subsequent deeds it is evident that Martin P. Sparks lived in this area, although he later owned land, not only in other parts of the County, but in other sections of Georgia as well. His home seems to have been located on Hard Labor Creek, slightly south of Sandy Creek, not far from the present town of Madison. The earliest deed on record in Morgan County pertaining to Jeremiah Sparks is dated July 8, 1811, by which he purchased 202 1/2 acres on Hard Labor Creek from John Shephard. Martin P. Sparks was a witness to this deed.
From the numerous deeds recorded in Morgan County, in which Martin P. Sparks bought and sold land, it is evident that he was a man of means. (Following is a list of the names of persons with whom we have record of his financial dealings: Charles M. Lin, Elisha Sims, Daniel Pynes, Joseph Patrick, Carter W. Sparks, Daniel Whitaker, John Harris, Laird Duke, Benjamin Williams, William H. Jones, John F. Thompson, Henry H. Cook, James C. Cook, William Cox, Judge W. Harris, John Towler, William Porter, Jefferson Burney, Charles H. Walton, heirs of John Franklin, Michael What ley, Jr., Benjamin Butler, and Hampton Whatley.) In 1826 he was the administrator of the estate of George Sanders.
When the 1820 census was taken of Morgan County, Martin P. Sparks was listed as the owner of ten slaves; ten years later, when the 1830 census was taken, he owned twenty-four slaves. On the 1832 tax list of Morgan County, he was listed as the owner of twenty-two slaves, a town lot, and a total of 3,033 acres of land, 960 1/2 acres of which were in Morgan County. (His land outside Morgan County was located in the following Georgia Counties: Baldwin, Monroe, Houston, Troup, Dooly, Lee, Muscogee, and Gwinnett.) He was also taxed in 1832 for one carriage.
Martin P. Sparks was sheriff of Morgan County from January 13, 1818, to January 14, 1820, and from January 9, 1822, until January 1824. by tradition, the office of sheriff in the Southern States was a post of considerable honor, dating back to Colonial times when the sheriff was appointed by the governor and was the chief executive of the county. It is evident that Martin P. Sparks was a man of stature in his community to have been elected twice to fill this important post. He also represented Morgan County in the Georgia House of Representatives in 1832, 1833, and 1834. It would seem that the background of Sheriff Sparks, also as State Representative, should be of Historical Record in Morgan County, but none has been found.
Little is known of the personal life of 25. Martin P. Sparks, nor is a photograph of him believed to exist. There is a legend handed down in the family that, while sheriff, he paid a substitute fifty dollars to hang a condemned murderer. This one incident reveals an important side of his character.
On December 2, 1810, Martin P. Sparks married Elizabeth Whatley, who was born July 28, 1795; she died in Athens, Georgia, September 4, 1870, at the home of Anne Linton Sparks, widow of her son, 25.2 Thomas H. Sparks. Elizabeth Whatley is believed to have been a daughter of Oman and Judith Whatley. Oman Whatley, a Revolutionary War soldier from North Carolina, was born May 8, 1751, in North Carolina, and died December 1, 1798, in Georgia. His wife, Judith, whose maiden name has not been found, was born February 8, 1751, and died November 4, 1842. Following the Revolution, they lived in Wilkes County, Georgia, and later moved to Greene County, which borders Morgan County. (Oman and Judith Whatley had a son, Michael Whatley, born August 26, 1789, who married Elizabeth Peeples in Greene County, Georgia, and a son, Burrell Whatley, born December 23, 1781, died December 22, 1805, who married Caroline Matilda Hunter.)
Martin P. and Elizabeth (Whatley) Sparks were the parents of three children, only one of whom reached maturity. These children were:
25.1 Leonidas Sparks, born August 31, 1812; died September 19, 1812.
25.2 Thomas Hunter Sparks, born September 1, 1814; died September 13, 1863.
25.3 Nancy Sparks, born Mary 31, 1817; died August 2, 1827.
On several occasions when new land was opened for settlement in Georgia, distribution was made through what wore called "land lotteries." Under this system, families which had resided in the State for a year or more were permitted to "draw" for various sized acreages. In 1820, Martin P. Sparks drew 93 acres in Habersham County. In 1831, the State of Georgia acquired by purchase a vast area of land formerly belonging to the Cherokee Indians. On December 3, 1832, this land was divided into ten counties and a lottery was set up. Martin P. Sparks drew a "Gold Lot" of 40 acres in Cobb County (Lot 477, District 16). One of the counties created from these Cherokee lands was Paulding County, the western half of which later (1851) became Polk County. It was to this section which eventually became Polk County that Martin P. Sparks moved with his family ca. 1836. He settled near the present town of Cedartown in an area called Cedar Valley. Mrs. Lucy Young Hawkins, in her History of the First Baptist Church of Cedartown, Georgia, 1935, stated: "Cedar Valley became known soon after the Cherokee Purchase in 1832 as the richest land in the newly acquired territory. It immediately attracted the attention of some Virginia families who had previously settled in Middle Georgia counties. It reminded them greatly of lands in Old Dominion. These were wealthy people for that time, as wealth then consisted of large families, many slaves, and land. Thus the people lost no time in buying up the Valley lands, erecting crude houses and slave quarters."
Martin P. Sparks died on June 8, 1837, within a year after moving to Paulding County, and he was buried in a stone-enclosed plot on his plantation. His death was apparently sudden, for he did not leave a will. Thomas H. Sparks became the administrator of his father's estate and, on August 16, 1845, sold what remained of his father's property in Morgan County to John W. Porter. This property, which may have been the home place, consisted of 150 acres on Hard Labor Creek and adjoined land owned by John Toler, deceased, Terrell Speed, and John W. Porter. According to the deed, Martin P. Sparks had purchased part of it (Lot 206) from Charles H. Walton and part (50 acres of Lot 106) from the heirs of John Franklin. Provision was made in the deed to reserve "one rod square around the grave of Reubin Lively." Who Reubin Lively may have been has not been discovered.
Following the death of Martin P. Sparks, his widow, Elizabeth (Whatley) Sparks, made her home with the family of her son, Thomas H. Sparks. Following her son's death on September 13, 1863, she continued to live with her daughter-in-law until her own death on September 4, 1870, in Athens, Georgia. Those who knew her remembered Elizabeth (Whatley) Sparks as a saintly mother and a model Christian. She was an active member of the First Baptist Church of Cedartown while living in Cedar Valley, contributing twenty-five dollars toward the erection of a new church in 1845. She lies buried beside her husband in the plantation plot in Cedar Valley. As can be seen in the accompanying photograph, these graves are covered by boxed white marble slabs, with a slab covering the entire grave, on which the epitaphs are chiseled. The inscription on the grave of Martin P. Sparks reads: "SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF MARTIN P. SPARKS, Born July 18, 1786, Died June 8, 1837. AGE 50 years, 10 months, 20 days." The inscription on the grave of his wife reads: "IN MEMORY OF ELIZABETH WHATLEY SPARKS relict of M. P. Sparks. Born July 23, 1795. Died September 4, 1870. A MOTHER IN ISRAEL - BLESSED BE HER NAME."
(Editor's Note: It is requested that any member of THE SPARKS FAMILY ASSOCIATION having knowledge of the ancestors of Martin P. Sparks and/or Elizabeth Whatley share it with the Association and Major Charles H. Smith.)
Whole Number 21
25.2 Thomas Hunter Sparks, the only child of 25. Martin P. Sparks to reach maturity, was born September 1, 1814, in Morgan County, Georgia. If Martin P. Sparks did have a sister who married a Hunter, as was mentioned earlier, it was doubtless in honor of her that he gave his son the middle name "Hunter." Thomas Hunter Sparks' name first appears on the official records of Morgan County on November 24, 1835, when he witnessed a deed by which Martin P. Sparks sold land to John Harris and Judge W. Harris. On the day following his twentieth birthday, September 1, 1834, Thomas H. Sparks was married in Morgan County to Mary Ann Leonard, the daughter of James P. Leonard. The marriage is recorded in the family Bible, as follows: 'Thomas H. Sparks and Mary Ann Leonard were married the 2nd of September 1834 at candle Lighting in evening, at Mr. Vann Leonard's in Morgan Co. by the Revd. Lovick Pierce, D.D.'. She was born January 14, 1818, and was thus only sixteen years of age at the time of her marriage.. About 1836, Thomas H. Sparks and his wife moved, with his father, to Paulding County. On June 8, 1837, Martin P. Sparks died, leaving his son, a youth of twenty-two years, as head of the household. Two years later, on October 18, 1839, Mary Ann died, leaving Thomas H. Sparks with a two-year-old daughter, 25.2.1 Medora, and an infant son, 25.2.2 James, only seven days old. Mary Ann (Leonard) Sparks was buried in the stone-enclosed plot on the Cedar Valley plantation near the grave of her father-in-law. The inscription on her stone reads: 'SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF MARY ANN, WIFE OF THOMAS H. SPARKS, A DAUGHTER OF JAMES P. LEONARD. Born June 14, 1818 and died October 18th, 1839. Age 20 years, 9 months and one day.'
In time, Thomas Hunter Sparks realized the need for a companion and helpmeet, not only for himself, but for motherless Medora and James. To that end he courted an eligible lady in his old home district in Morgan County. Following mutual commitments, he returned to claim the lady. However, becoming averse to venturing into a new community without friends, she reversed her intentions. Returning alone to Cedar Valley, he stopped overnight with old friends, "Uncle Billy and Aunt Sally Daniel," who lived in Greene County. It happened that at the time of his arrival, "'Uncle Billy's" niece was hanging curtains in the parlor. Her domestic ability and obvious gentility impressed him, winning his admiration. The young lady was Ann Linton. Her mother had died when she was twenty-two months old and she had become the ward of her 'Uncle Billy' Daniel, her mother's brother. The family Bible of Thomas H. Sparks records the results of his chance meeting with Ann Linton: 'Thos. H. Sparks & Ann Linton were married the 25th of February 1845 - 11 1/2 o'clock A.M. Tuesday at Mrs. Sarah Linton's, near Penfield, by the Revd. Joseph Baker, D.D.'. (Note: Mrs. Sarah Linton, at whose home the couple were married, was the second wife of Dr. A. B. Linton, father of Ann.)
|THOMAS HUNTER SPARKS
This photograph was probably taken
shortly before the beginning of the
War Between the States
|ANN (LINTON) SPARKS
This photograph was taken in Rome,
Georgia, sometime after the death of
her husband, Thomas Hunter Sparks.
Ann (Linton) Sparks was of the gentility on both sides. Born October 17, 1827, she was the daughter of Dr. Alexander Brown Linton (born August 10, 1783, died December 4, 1838) and Jane Daniel (born February 28, 1789; died August 16, 1829). Dr. Linton and Jane Daniel were married on November 21, 1811. Dr. Linton was a son of Samuel Linton of Abbeville District, South Carolina (born August 17, 1755; died Dec, 1826), and his wife, Ruth Brown, who is believed to have been from Pennsylvania. Samuel Linton served as Quartermaster, Wade Hampton's Regiment, Sumpter's Brigade, South Carolina Troops, during the Revolution. Dr. Alexander Linton served as a Surgeon during the War of 1812. He and his first wife, Jane (Daniel) Linton, were the parents of the following children:
Dr. John S. Linton,
Mary H. Linton,
William Alexander Linton,
James T. Linton,
Ruth Linton, and
Of that group, only a daughter of Dr. John S. Linton survives, 'Miss Lucy', who passed her ninety-third birthday on June 13, 1957. Born of the gentility, devoid of ostentation, a 'Lady'. Dr. Alexander Brown Linton married as his second wife Sarah (Cheney) Faver, widow of John Faver, Jr. According to the marriage contract, neither was to benefit by the other's estate. She died June 15, 1850, and was buried at Penfield, Georgia. Her impressive stone of base and shaft records: 'In memory of Mrs. Sarah Linton, who died June 15, 1850, in the 61st year of her age. She had been 16 years a member of the Baptist Church and an ample Christian. There remaineth, therefore, a rest to the people of God.'
Dr. Alexander Brown Linton and his wife, Jane Daniel, were first buried in the old cemetery at Athens, across Jackson Street from the east side of the University campus. In time it became neglected and desecrated. Mr. Hal Linton, brother of "Miss Lucy,” bought a lot in the new Oconee Hill Cemetery and had their remains, together with their tombstones, transferred to the new lot. (Note: "Miss Lucy" is Lucy Linton, who was born July 14, 1865, in Athens, Georgia.) On the white marble memorials covering their entire graves are chiseled: 'In memory of Jane Linton, consort of Dr. A. B. Linton, who departed this life on the 29th of August, 1829, Aged 40 years and 6 months.' 'In full assurance of a blessed immortality beyond the grave.' (Note: The date of her death as recorded in the family Bible is Sunday, 16th of August 1829; the stone is incorrect. C.H.S.) Dr. Linton's stone reads: 'Sacred to the memory of Dr. Alexander B. Linton, who departed this life on the 4th of Dec, 1838. Aged 55 years. He lived a life of usefulness and died the death of a Christian.' Dr. A. B. Linton and members of his family pioneered in railroad and cotton mill construction and paper mill development.
Following the marriage of Thomas H. Sparks and Ann Linton in 1845, an architect from Athens was employed to visit Cedar Valley and rehabilitate the old homestead. From the accompanying print, it appears that he met with some degree of success. In those days, this home was denominated a "mansion." Since the accompanying picture was taken (1915), the house has burned. The customary outside brick kitchen still stands, but the box-wood hedges aligning the walk, from the front gate to the house, now lead to a modest frame cottage instead of a memorable legacy of the past: a tragic reflection.
Thomas Hunter Sparks had children by both of his wives. Following is a list of these children as their births were recorded in the family Bible. (A more complete account of them and their descendents will appear in a later issue of the Quarterly.)
Children of Thomas H. and Mary Ann (Leonard) Sparks:
25.2.1 Martha A. M. E. T. Sparks was born April 27, 1836.
25.2.2 Medora Newton Sparks was born August 16, 1837.
25.2.3 James Martin Sparks was born October 11, 1839.
Children of Thomas H. and Ann (Linton) Sparks:
25.2.4 Linton Sparks was born January 18, 1846, 3 o'clock A.M. Sunday.
25.2.5 Sarah Jane Sparks was born August 13, 1848, 8 o'clock P.M. Sunday.
25.2.6 Thos. Hunter Sparks, Jr. was born April 22, 1850, Monday morning, about 5 o'clock.
25.2.7 Wm. Daniel Sparks was born September 3, 1851, 5 o'clock A.M., Saturday.
25.2.8 Carter Whatley Sparks was born February 17, 1853, at 6 o'clock, Wednesday evening.
25.2.9 Samuel Peeples Sparks was born December 28, 1854, at 9 o'clock Thursday morning.
25.2.10 John Veasey Sparks was born March 16, 1856, between 12 & 1 o'clock Sunday.
25.2.11 Alexander Sparks was born August 29, 1857, about 3 o'clock Saturday evening.
25.2.12 Mary Elizabeth Sparks was born November 1, 1859, 20 minutes after 12 AM Tuesday.
25.2.13 Annie Elizabeth Towns Sparks was born Saturday, 7 o'clock PM, December 29, 1861
25.2.14 Charles Sankey Sparks was born Wednesday July 8, 1863, 6 o'clock in the evening in Clark Co.,Arkansas.
(Note: With the exception of Charles Sankey Sparks, all of the children were born in Cedar Valley.)
This story of the family of Thomas Hunter Sparks must of necessity be limited to the disclosures made by contributing sources - both sunshine and shadows; they constitute life without respect for its abode or quality of its actors. Unfortunately for this generation, the Martin P. and Thomas H. Sparks code of ethics was to live what they professed, not to broadcast it. As a result, family lore was almost a muted subject, in spite of its inspirational example.
25.2 Thomas Hunter Sparks became head of the family when his father, 25. Martin P. Sparks, died in 1837. He inherited his father's property, including the plantation in Cedar Valley. Although only twenty-two years old at the time, he became Justice of the Inferior Court of Paulding County on January 20, 1837, continuing to hold the office until January 14, 1841. In 1838 he represented Paulding County in the Georgia House of Representatives. When the 1850 census was taken, his property was valued at $25,000. Ten years later, when the 1860 census was taken, his real estate was valued at $75,000, and his personal property at $50,000. He owned 90 slaves on June 20, 1860, 48 of which were males, ranging in age from one month to 50 years, and 42 females ranging from two months to 50 years of age. 'Judge Sparks', as he was locally known, was highly respected, his neighbors and others frequently calling upon him to settle disagreements. He was recognized as a man of honor and unpurchaseable.
Although generous with loans, he rarely required evidence, assuming that if his creditors were honest, they would pay. If unable to pay or dishonest, he preferred to forget and not sacrifice his good opinions. Those were times when men were as good as their word, and integrity in flower. But once during their married years did he venture disapproval of his wife Ann, and then when she expressed astonishment at the questionable conduct of an acquaintance. He gave vent to surprise at her comments.
The community of Cedartown built a school in Cave Spring, to which the Sparkses contributed, with the understanding that if alcoholic liquors were ever sold in the town, the property would revert to the donors or their heirs. None has been sold there to this day. On March 5, 1856, a charter was issued to the Woodland Female Academy in Cedartown; Thomas H. Sparks was listed as a trustee. The history of the First Baptist Church of Cedartown records that among those contributing to an edifice built in 1845 (costing $1000 and having 'a commodious slave gallery') were: Thomas Sparks $75, and Elizabeth Sparks, his mother, $25. This history also notes that in 1860, 'Mr. Thomas Sparks sold his plantation and mansion to Marcus Burm, of Twiggs County. Mr. Sparks, with his pioneer spirit, moved westward to Arkansas.'
The story of how Thomas H. Sparks sold his plantation is intriguing. It occurred that Marcus Burm was enamored with the Sparks Plantation and on numerous occasions conjured what price would buy it. Invariably, it was not for sale. However, the story goes that the two met unexpectedly in Cedartown on a busy day, shortly before the Civil War began, when Mr. Bunn took occasion to again propound his question - 'What price today, Judge Sparks?' Hoping to end his importunities, the 'Judge' answered: 'Fifty thousand dollars in gold, in cash,' believing the price prohibitive. 'SOLD!' was the reply. Legend had it 'a shock and a blow.' Returning to the plantation, the 'Judge' confessed, 'Wife, I have sold the place.' (It was their custom to address each other as 'Wife' or 'Husband,' evidencing mutual respect). It being his first portentious decision without consulting her, she suggested he ask Mr. Bunn to release him from his commitment. He replied: 'I have given my word.' To honor his word, he sacrificed his home. (It has recently been found that the condition of 'Fifty thousand in gold, in cash' was a legend. There is on record in the Court House at Cedartown the detailed terms of payment, which was cash only.) Was it this "unfortunate" meeting that resulted in the family's moving from Georgia to Arkansas, and the seemingly premature death of Thomas H. Sparks?
Two vest pocket memorandum books kept by Thomas Hunter Sparks (now the property of Charles H. Smith), which came into possession of his son, William Daniel Sparks, after the death of his mother, Ann (Linton) Sparks, were recovered from the historic 1926 Florida flood, soaked and yellowed, at Punta Gorda, Florida. The entries vary from detail to sketchy and cover planting, reaping, selling, purchases, trips, produce left for stock and hogs, loans and repayments, and finally, references to his Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas investments. It is plantation life of a century ago and intriguing reading. The fact that three land scouting trips to Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Arkansas were made during the decade preceding the sale of the Cedar Valley Plantation suggests that the legendary element of surprise is pure fiction, unless the retention of "Cedar Valley" was also contemplated. No one is ieft who knows. Each trip had its distinctive flavor and is penned in infinite detail. Trips to Madison, Augusta, Richmond, and a resort spring in Tennessee are also recorded. In Richmond, slaves were bought, their names and prices paid being listed. The mid-western trips were made in mid-winter, requiring that he spend Christmas and New Years away from home. Expenditures are listed to the penny, newspapers and lemonade, paragoric and the three 'R's' (Radway's Ready Relief, 'A Sure Cure'). No item was too small to account for and none too large.
One diary records that on April 6, 1861, he, 25.2 Thomas H. Sparks, purchased from Michael Bozeman two tracts of land, totaling 2,240 acres in Clark County, Arkansas, for which he paid $12,000. Soon after this purchase, the family left the comforts of Cedar Valley to become pioneers in an expected "Promised Land." Upon arrival in Arkansas, they lived in a temporary house, remote from society. Sarah Jane Sparks, second child and eldest daughter, was in her fourteenth year and her younger brother, Thomas, in his twelfth. In order to attend school, it was necessary for them to go to Texas, a distance of 150 miles, where a school was taught by a Mr. Sparks (not related). The distance was covered on horseback, nights being spent with friends and acquaintances along the way. Of such was the maturity of youth in bygone days.
Whole Number 22
In the March, 1958, issue of The Sparks Quarterly the events in the life of 25.2 Thomas Hunter Sparks, son of 25. Martin P. and Elizabeth (Whatley) Sparks, were related to the year 1861 when Thomas, with his family, left the comforts of his plantation in Cedar Valley and moved to Clark County, Arkansas, where he had purchased a tract of 2,240 acres.
The "Arkansas Dream"' was doomed to failure. Adversity and sorrow first struck on August 16, 1863, when ten-year-old Carter Whatley Sparks died from some local malady. On a Sunday afternoon a fortnight after Carter was buried, his father and mother were walking over the property and stopped to admire an impressively wooded knoll, which prompted his father to remark, 'Wife, when I die, I wish to be buried there.' She replied: 'But, husband, you are too young to contemplate death.' He responded: 'I am not too sure of that'; and they walked on. (Was it a premonition?) This was on September 6, 1863; one week later, on Sunday, September 13, at 10 P.M., Thomas Hunter Sparks died and was laid to rest in the grave with his son Carter, who had been his constant companion--not on the wooded knoll, but in the Bozeman Community Cemetery five miles from Arkadelphia, Arkansas.
On the day of his death, he. dictated his last will, which reads as follows:
|'In the name of God, Amen. I, Thomas H. Sparks, of the County of Clark and State of Arkansas, being of sound mind and memory and considering the uncertainty of this frail and transitory life, do therefore make and ordain, publish and declare this to be my last will and testament, that is to say:
'First, after all my lawful debts are paid and discharged, the residue of my estate, real and personal, I give, bequeath and dispose of as follows: To wit. To my beloved wife the tract of land upon which she is situated, embracing the whole tract of land which is on Boggy and McNeeley Creeks in the County of Clark and State of Arkansas, which the deed and certificate will show, embracing stock, household furniture, farming utensils contained on the place, also the slaves that I possess. My wife to hold and control according to circumstances that will best protect the interest of my estate now possessed by me, during her natural life or widowhood. After death or marriage, to be equally divided with the heirs of her body and at majority of my son Linton for him to have his equal share and all of my sons as they become of age to receive their equal shares. If either son shall decease before becoming of age his portion to be considered as the original estate. My two daughters, Sarah Jane and Eliz. Towns, whenever they shall marry, that their portion of my estate be settled upon them and their heirs. To my mother, a servant of her own choosing to wait on her during her life and $1000 annually from my death and at her death for her to dispose of it at her will with her grandchildren. I also will and bequeath to my wife and mother, $40,000 in Confederate money, $30,000 in notes on different persons. I also will and bequeath to my wife and mother certain tracts of land in Mississippi known as the Lost Lake Place, which the deed and oertifioate will show. I also ---?--- my stock and dividend in the Athens factory in Georgia amounting to $40,000. I also will and bequeath to my wife and mother my stock and dividend in the Georgia Railroad, $5,000 as the original stock and whatever there may be due on the same. I also will and bequeath to my wife and mother certain notes amounting to several thousand dollars in the hands of Col. Herbert Fielder. Also one note in the ---?--- of William Moore of $1250. Likewise I make, constitute and appoint my wife Ann Sparks and Michael Bozeman to be executors of my last will and testament, thereby revoking any former wills by me. In testimony whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and annexed my seal this 13 September 1863.
[Signed] Thos. H. Sparks (Seal)
'It is understood my daughter Medora and my son James Martin are to have their portions out of my estate upon the appraisement as though they had an advancement already. Then they shall have out of my estate such portions as shall make them equal to my other children. The property hereby bequeathed to my daughter Medora is given to her and her children.
H. H. Coleman [Signed] Thos. H. Sparks
The will of Thomas Hunter Sparks, although made, witnessed, and executed in Clark County, Arkansas, is recorded in the court house in Athens, Georgia, also in the Floyd County Court House at Rome, Georgia. The explanation is that, in order that the estate might be settled, it was necessary to record the will in both places. A search in the court house in Clark County, Arkansas, by a member of the family disclosed blank pages left in the Book of Wills, the first page being headed: 'Will of Thomas H. Sparks.' However, the will was never recorded there, presumably due to a shortage of clerical help during the Civil War. It was first located in Will Book D, pages 188-205, in Athens, Clarke County, Georgia. The will itself, as can be seen, is relatively short, but there are six pages of legal appendanges. Ann Sparks, as one of the executors, provided bond in the amount of $60,000. James M. Sparks, her stepson, and R. P. Peeples, signed as securities on November 10, 1865, in Clark County, Arkansas. Since Martin P. Sparks, father of Thomas H. Sparks, had the middle name "Peeples," it would seem that R. P. Peeples was in some way connected with the family, but thus far he has not been identified.
Thus, Widow Ann Linton Sparks was left at the age of thirty-six with nine children of her own, the eldest sixteen and the youngest still at the breast, together with a stepson, James, and a stepdaughter, Medora, both of whom were married. Thomas H. Sparks died believing his family would be well provided for. He owned plantations, not only in Arkansas but in Mississippi, and land in Texas. However, due to sickness and occasional deaths, the slaves in Mississippi had been shifted to Arkansas and 'Lost Lake' abandoned. He had invested $30,000 in Confederate Bonds and had $40,000 in Confederate cash, confident in the ultimate success of the Southern cause.
As a young widow, Ann Linton Sparks took over the management of the plantations in the midst of the Civil War. As the months passed, her burdens grew heavier. In April, 1864, a group of marauders of the Union Army, led by a Col. Kidd, arbitrarily commandeered 1,330 bushels of corn. They arrived at noon time, as dinner was being served, and, regardless of the absence of men and the hunger of the children, pirated the meal. On departing, they left a receipt for the corn, knowing that it was a worthless slip of paper. Such is the hypocrisy of war. None was ever fought for a Godly cause.
The fall of the Confederacy ended the Arkansas dream. Ann Linton Sparks packed her requisite belongings and moved to Athens, Georgia, where she occupied a house owned by her older brother, Dr. John Linton (previously mentioned). Since baggage was not checked in those days, the owners were responsible for seeing that transfers were made from trains to boats and boats to trains. At Memphis, all trunks were put aboard the boat on the Arkansas side. One particular trunk impressed the stevedores as being unusually heavy and they were heard to comment to that effect. Arriving at the Memphis side, no check of the baggage was made. However, on reaching Athens, the 'heavy trunk' was missing. It contained the 'family silver.' Although son Linton returned to Memphis to recover it, neither trunk nor any of its contents were found. Nor, to this day--regardless of its being initialed--has a piece been heard of. Of the "family silver," only that carried in a handbag, for feeding the children enroute to Athens, was saved.
The reason Widow Sparks decided to return to Athens was not only in order to live in a familiar environment, but, more important, in order that she could educate her children at local schools and the university. Sarah Jane was sent to a girls' school at Lagrange, Georgia, where she spent the closing months of the war. When Union troops entered the town, the girls were notified 'The Yanks are coming.' Having been instructed regarding their conduct and warned that they would doubtless be dispossossed of most or all of their belongings, they squeezed themselves into as many garments as possible and waited. Sarah Jane recalled 'twenty' and 'looking like a balloon.' On arriving, the 'Yankees evaluated the situation with circumspection,' although conversing with the girls; one of whom presented Sarah Jane with a 'ten dollar greenback,' which she feared to accept or refuse. It was the first valuable money she had seen in many months. Fortunately, the troops were either of superior origin or under orders of superiors of gentility--the girls being accorded merited respect.
The war of shooting was over, but Reconstruction defiled the south. There was a revival of social life, however, in which the Sparks family participated. Although reduced in circumstances, Sarah Jane had two maids to dress and admire her, and to attend her, regardless of the hour, on her return from social affairs. Those were her halcyon days. Marriage and motherhood imposed obligations and responsibilities remote from those of a 'Planter's Daughter'; but as wife and mother, she excelled--a model 'worthy of all acceptation,' just as in her halcyon days she was an exemplary and model daughter.
Before leaving Cedar Valley, the home furnishings, consisting of mahogany of "clawfoot" design from Maryland, a harpsicord, and less valuable articles had been sold locally, with the understanding that they could be reclaimed if wanted. In the middle 1890's, Charles Sankey Sparks, youngest son, with his wife Lee Ella, cruised the area in search of the ante-bellum furnishings. Aside from the harpsichord, nothing was found. It was purchased and sent to their home in Rome, Georgia, and is now the property of 18.104.22.168 Mrs. Sarah Smith Henshall (only daughter of 25.2.5 Sarah Jane and her husband, Hines M. Smith) now residing in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Although aged and crazed and missing many ivory tops for the keys, it is still a handsome instrument, an antique worthy of a place in any museum. Fortunately, Mrs. Henshall and her retired husband, George K. Henshall, Sr., are engaged in a work of restoration such as will revitalize the strains of a century ago.
The mother of Thomas Hunter Sparks, Elizabeth (Whatley) Sparks, became a member of her son's household following the death of Martin P. Sparks in 1837. She moved to Arkansas with the family, and, following the 'fall of the Confederacy,' moved, with her daughter-in-law and family, to Athens, Georgia. There she died on September 4, 1870, at the age of seventy-five years. Her body was returned to Cedar Valley and lies beside that of her husband. She failed to leave a will; at least none is on record. A much read and badly worn New Testament, published by the American Bible Society in New York in 1859, carries this presentation: 'To Grandmother from her devoted Grand Daughter Medora, May 1st, 1862. - - Affection's Gift - - Her Children rise up & call her blessed.' (The penmanship is excellent.)
Exact copy of record which Thomas H. Sparks made on Christmas Day, 1859, of the height and weight of each member of his family.
My Grandmother, Ann (Linton) Sparks, seldom discussed the past, so, little could be learned about the every-day occurrences of her life as wife and widow. She did disclose that her son Sam was bitten by a copperhead while playing on a lumber pile, and son Alex. was kicked by a mule on her brother John's place in Athens, converting him to a friend of false teeth at an early age. Questioned about the loss of 'Grandfather,' Thomas H. Sparks, at the comparatively early age of forty-nine years, to which she seemed, outwardly, to have become entirely reconciled, she replied, in substance: 'He died thinking the Confederacy would survive. Had he lived to be confronted with the vicissitudes of defeat, having had so much, I fear he would have found life difficult. It was the way of Providence.' When Grandmother died, my father's tribute was: 'She was the best woman I have ever known,' a conviction shared by all who knew her. Before her death, she destroyed a drawer full of personal letters and effects considered 'too intimate' for the curiosity of posterity. Of such was the gentility of her times. God bless her.
Daughter Sarah Jane recalled that on one occasion she was to accompany her father and mother on a visit. She was duly dressed, her clothes packed and in the carriage. For some childish reason, she was unhappy about her attire. Rufusing to be reconciled, she was left at home--her father's ruling. This incident illustrates the importance of rational parental austerity as recognized a century ago by Thomas H. Sparks, and so universally ignored today. (In this Scribe's case, 'peachtree oil' and the 'hickory stick' were unencumbered.)
Shortly after my advent, in Athens, Georgia, on June 15, 1872, my Grandmother Sparks purchased a home in Rome, Georgia, where my parents had settled--which home she shared with them for many years on a mutual expense basis. Later she purchased a larger and more pretentious home 'across the street,' into which we moved. In 1889, my Mother (Sarah Jane) purchased the 'front yard' and built a modern home--the old house being modernized and occupied by 'Grandma,' her son Charles Sankey Sparks and his wife Lee Ella, until her death on May 3, 1895. She lies in the Sparks lot on Myrtle Hill at Rome, Georgia, with her three sons--John Veasey Sparks, Samuel Peeples Sparks, Charles Sankey Sparks, and the latter's wife, Lee Ella Sparks. Linton Sparks, eldest son of Thomas and Ann, and his wife, Sally Wimberly, are buried in Cave Spring, Georgia. (Uncle Linton is remembered with particular affection. He was a frequent visitor with Grandma in his homes at Etna, Priors Station, Cave Spring, and the 'Tumlin Place,' where I say my first and last flying squirrels and my only alternately-coupled black and red snake. Memory recalls how at Etna he gathered hickory nuts and sweet gum from the trees for the children, and how, when there, we occupied the front room, first floor right of the center hail; how in the mornings he slipped in and 'lit the fire.' The blowing, flames and striking of the old Seth Thomas clock are still music in my ears.) Thomas Sparks, Jr., died and was buried in Tyler, Texas. Alexander H. Sparks is buried in Neame, Louisiana. He was killed by a train. William D. Sparks and his wife, Annie (Wimberly) Sparks, are buried in Punta Gorda, Florida. Annie Elizabeth Sparks and her husband, David B. Hamilton, Jr., are buried on Myrtle Hill, Rome, Georgia. The parents of the writer, Sarah Jane Sparks and Hines Maguire Smith, are buried on Myrtle Hill, beside their second son, Linton Sparks Smith, and fifth son, 'Little Hines.' Medora Sparks, daughter of Mary Ann Linton, and her husband, Col. James Waddell, are buried in Marietta, Georgia. James Sparks, brother of Medora, and his wife, L. Virginia Blance, are buried in Cedartown, Georgia.
Among the writer's uncles, William Daniel Sparks was 'a big brother.' Following his return from Arkansas to Georgia, he attended local grade schools in Athens, matriculating at the University in 1871. There is no record of his being graduated. A recent disclosure is to the effect that he left Athens rather suddenly, following the disappearance of a negro soldier, a former slave, guilty of 'pushing' the Athens girls off the sidewalk. If there is substance to this disclosure, he was not alone in the 'disappearance.' However, his resentment and courage can be vouched for in case of such a circumstance. He was fearless. My first recollection of him is as manager of the Etna Furnace Company's store at Etna, Georgia. It was while employed there that, on June 1, 1882, he married Miss Annie Elizabeth Wimberly. The author is the lone surviving witness of the event. Prior to the wedding, Grandmother Sparks went from Rome to Etna to rehabilitate a dilapidated employee's house on 'Furnace Row.' It was a two-story structure of rough boards, applied vertically and stripped for protection against the weather. The floors were of 12-inch planks, dresse'd on one side, but neither tongued nor grooved. The inside walls and ceilings were undressed. It was a sorry prospect--however, to Grandma, just another incident. Her versatility was limitless. The exterior was whitewashed--the inside walls and ceilings covered with cheese cloth, over which appropriate paper was applied. The floors were covered with matting, a practice universal in the south. Over the outside back stairs, upper landing, a grooved wheel was mounted, being equipped with a rope and bucket for elevating water, kindling wood, and coal to the second story. (This was a very wonderful contraption to me, and thrills me still. Only Grandma 'could do so much with so little.') When finished, the transformation was that of a magician's wand.
Following the wedding at the home of the bride's mother at Prior Station, Georgia, Grandma and I joined the newlyweds on their wedding trip, in a 'double buggy' with fringe hanging from the top, drawn by two horses, on their wedding trip of the long, long mile from Prior Station to Etna, where they crossed for the first time the threshold of their transformed abode. Of their honeymoon season, my memory recalls only their first Sunday night supper--cold fried chicken, cooked only as age knew how, cold biscuits, the usual side dishes, all cold. Being seated, our bride: 'Willie, ask the blessing.' Willie: 'Lord, bless us and make us thankful for this cold snack. Amen.' Irreverent? No, just a statement of fact. Nevertheless, consternation and, 'Why! Willie!'
I do recall not spending the night with Joe Stilwell, son of the Furnace Superintendent, for the reason that he refused to close the door to his room on account of fear of being 'hanted' by the cats he had killed. He died later from typhoid fever. That was seventy-five years ago, when pig iron was reduced from local ores with charcoal and furnaces belonged to independents. The woods were spotted with charcoal ovens, which devastated the forests. The 'pig' was known as 'hot blast' and was considered superior to coke iron, known as 'cold blast,' which has long since taken its place, combinations having absorbed or eliminated independent furnaces. Etna has been only a name for an ordinary lifetime. However, while independents were still in power, William D. Sparks left Etna to assume managership of the Bass Furnace Company's store at Rock Run, Alabama, where his success was immediate and stewardship long. When a New England cotton mill company built a modern mill in Georgia, he was induced to assume managership of their extensive store. It happened that the agent of the mill, ignorant of southern pride and practices and afflicted with a disagreeable superiority complex, was given to domineering outbursts, one of which he directed to Manager Sparks, whose resentment was mimediate, also his resignation, together with a warning that further indignities would exact physical measures. Subsequently, William D. Sparks became manager of a second mill nearby, which position he later relinquished on account of failing health. In time, he recovered sufficiently to accept other duties, finally establishing a business of his own in Chattanooga, Tennessee. When that venture was closed, he moved to Florida, where he and his wife Annie lived with their son, William Randolph Sparks, until their days were numbered. In Florida, he fished his life away. Always a lover of rod and gun, he was self-sufficient. When in his late eighties, he accompanied the writer to Morgan County, Georgia, who hoped he would be able to bring to light some of the Martin Peeples Sparks background, but without success, due primarily to a temporary digestive upset which precluded physical as well as mental effort on his part. He was an individuality deserving of far greater values than were his lot. Providential justice will bless him and 'his Annie.' William D. Sparks died and was buried in Punta Gorda, Florida. His beloved wife died in a hospital at Arcadia, Florida, but is buried beside him. Thus endeth an inadequate appreciation of an uncle and aunt of enviable prestige.
In a future issue of The Sparks Quarterly will appear a record, as complete as the author is able to compile, of the descendants of Thomas Hunter Sparks--to be contributed largely by the descendants themselves. For the material on Thomas H. Sparks and his father, Martin P. Sparks, it has been necessary to rely upon memory, legend, and official records. The tragic destruction of family lore during the Civil War imposes constant problems on those who 'careth from whence they came and whither they goeth.' It is to those who 'careth' that we submit this 'story,' fully recognizing its failure to do credit to the worthiness of the actors involved. Selah. Except for the past, there would be no present or future. Time and space would stand still.
(Note: Such Sparks, Whatley, Linton, Daniel, Smith, Maguire, Holt, Hutchins, Dixon, Noyos, Rawson, Reed, and other data as I have are subject to call without money and without price. One never knows where or when the 'missing link' will turn up.
Address: Charles H. Smith
213 Dewey Street, Edgewood,
Pittsburgh 18, Pennsylvania.)
Editor Bidlack and the author wish to thank those who have contributed, both data and dollars. Among them:
|Miss Lucy Linton, Athens, Georgia
Mr. Frank T. Sparks, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Mrs. Sallie Sparks McHenry, Ambridge, Pennsylvania
Mr. & Mrs. G. K. Henshall, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Miss Anne Mae Mims, Augusta, Georgia (Miss Mims is compiling a genealogy of the Whatley family.)
Miss Anne Hamilton, Rome, Georgia
Mrs. Annie L. Sparks Omberg, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The family of the late Dr. John G. Herndon, Jr., for his invaluable contributions.
Mayor C. W. Bramlett, Marietta, Georgia, & Mrs. Alice W. Heck, of his staff
Mrs. Lucy Young Hawkins, Cedartown, Georgia
Mrs. Kirby Anderson, Madison, Georgia
Whole Number 182
25.2 Thomas Hunter Sparks, son of 25. Martin Peeples and Elizabeth (Whatley) Sparks, was born in Morgan County, Georgia, on September 1, 1814. As his parents' only child to reach adulthood, at age twenty-two he became a Southern planter with a considerable inheritance. He had been married on September 2, 1834, a day following his twentieth birthday, to Mary Ann Leonard, daughter of James P. Leonard. She had been born January 14, 1818. Thomas and his wife had moved with his parents to Paulding County in or ca. 1836. Either shortly before, or soon after their move, a daughter was born to Mary Ann and Thomas. They named her Martha, adding four middle initials: A. M. E. T. She was born April 27, 1836, but she died on the following May 11th. Another daughter, Medora Newton Sparks, was born August 16, 1837, and a son, James Martin Sparks, was born on October 11, 1839. A week following the birth of James, Mary Ann died, not yet having attained her twenty-second birthday. Elizabeth (Whatley) Sparks, who made her home with Thomas following the death of her husband, doubtless became a second mother to her two small grandchildren.
Thomas Hunter Sparks did not consider marrying a second time until ca. 1844 when he returned to Morgan County to court a lady whom he had known there. Apparently, through correspondence, he had gained the impression she would accept his proposal of marriage. She had second thoughts, however, when she considered having to move to Paulding County where she had no friends. Thomas started home alone. Stopping in Greene County to visit old friends ["Uncle Billy and Aunt Sally Daniel"), he there met the Daniels' ward, a niece of "Uncle Billy, named Ann Linton. Ann's mother had died in 1829, two years after Ann's birth on October 17, 1827. On February 25, 1845, Thomas H. Sparks and Ann Linton were married. During the following eighteen years they became parents of eleven children, nine of whom survived childhood. The family Bible in which these births were recorded by Thomas and Ann Sparks was inherited by their son, William Daniel Sparks. In the 1930s, Charles H. Smith borrowed this Bible from his uncle who had inherited it and had photostatic copies made of the family record to share with family members. The pages devoted to births and deaths are reproduced on pages 4981 and 4982.
Photographs of Thomas and Ann (Linton) Sparks, as well as their beautiful home in Cedar Valley, appeared in the Quarterly of March 1958, Whole No. 21.
Like his father before him, Thomas prospered, and when the 1860 census was taken, he was credited with land valued at $75,000 and personal property at $50,000. The latter figure included ninety slaves, ranging in age from infancy to fifty years.
With the outbreak of the Civil War, and anxious to acquire land outside the state of Georgia, Thomas made several "land scouting trips" to Florida, Mississippi, and Arkansas. He was most favorably impressed with an available tract of 2,240 acres in Clark County, Arkansas, and soon moved his family there in 1861, confident that the war would be won by the Confederacy. This "Arkansas Dream was doomed to failure, however, when, shortly after his ten-year-old son, Carter Whatley Sparks, died of a local malady called 'congestion of the brain,' the same disease claimed the life of Thomas H. Sparks. Father and son shared the same grave in Bozeman Cemetery near Arkadelphia, Clark County, Arkansas. Thomas had dictated his will on September 13, 1863, and he died at 10 o'clock that night. The text of Thomas H. Sparkss will appears on pp. 308-09 of the Quarterly of June 1958. While he provided liberally for the support of his mother, he left the bulk of his estate to his wife. Still firm in his belief that the Civil War would be won by the South, he died believing that his land and his Confederate bonds and cash would easily meet his family1s future financial needs. Although Ann's two stepchildren had been married by 1863, she was left with nine surviving children of her own, the youngest, Charles Sankey Sparks, having been born July 8, 1863, only two months prior to his father's death.
After the wars end, Ann (Linton) Sparks returned to Georgia with her children and her mother-in-law, who continued to live with Ann for the remainder of her life. Anns brother, Dr. John Linton, provided a house for her and her family in Athens, Georgia. As noted earlier, Elizabeth (Whatley) Sparks, widow of Martin Peeples Sparks, died at the Athens home of her daughter-in-law on September 4, 1870. Ann (Linton) Sparks later moved to Rome, Georgia, where she died on May 3, 1895.
Many more incidents in the lives of Thomas H. and Ann (Linton) Sparks appear in an article in the Quarterly of March 1958, Whole No. 21, pp. 272-280, and that of June 1958, Whole No. 22, pp. 308-314, written by their grandson, Charles H. Smith. We did not include in that article, however, a record of their children and grandchildren, hoping that more information might come to light regarding them, beyond that known to Mr. Smith. Recently, a new member of our Association, Sallie McHenry of Sherman Oaks, California, who descends from Thomas H. and Ann Sparks through their son, William Daniel Sparks, has provided additional information. We now publish this record. It is our hope that it will come to the attention of other descendants who may provide us with still more information on this branch of the Sparks family.
Likewise, we are publishing for the first time photographs of Ann (Linton) Sparks and six of her children. Charles H. Smith had loaned these to the present writer for reproduction. They had been arranged as a collage for framing, with the mother (Ann) in the center. Judging from the apparent age of the youngest child, Charles Sankey Sparks (probably about six years old), it would seem that these photographs were probably taken ca. 1869, in Athens, Georgia. The six children included seem to have been those still living at home then: Sarah Jane, Samuel Peeples, John Veasey, Alexander H., Annie Elizabeth, and Charles Sankey. Mr. Smith was positive in his identification of each of these children except he could not distinguish between the sons of Ann named John and Alexander. In reproducing these children's pictures on page 4991, we have speculated on the identity of these two sons based on their dates of birth. Perhaps with the publication of these photographs, someone will be able to determine positively which is which. Ann (Linton) Sparks's photograph from this collage appears on page 4983.
Children of Thomas H. Sparks by His First Wife, Mary Ann Leonard:
25.2.1 Martha A. M. E. T. Sparks, was born April 27, 1836; she died on May 11, 1836.
25.2.2 Medora Newton Sparks was born August 16, 1837; she died on March 11, 1880. She was married on January 14, 1857, in Cedartown, Georgia, to Col. James D. Waddell, who had been born in Abbeville District, South Carolina, on December 22, 1832; he died in Marietta, Georgia, on December 15, 1881. Both were buried in Marietta. They had no children. Portraits of Col. James D. and Medora (Sparks) Waddell were published on page 361 of the Quarterly for March 1959, Whole No. 25. A record also appears there of Col. Waddell's military career in the Confederate Army.
25.2.3 James Martin Sparks was born October 11, 1839; he died on March 5, 1876. He married Lula Virginia Blance in Cedartown, Georgia, on December 2, 1858. ["Lula" may have been a nickname for Louisa, which the census taker in 1860 recorded as her name.) According to The family Bible of his father, the marriage was performed "at the residence of Col. H. Fielders in Cedartown at 8 o'clock P.M. by the Rev. J. M. Wood."
Lula Virginia Blance was a sister-in-law of Col. Fielders. A grandchild of James Martin Sparks, Annie Sue (Brewer) Morgan, recalled many years ago that her mother, Medora Waddell (Sparks) Brewer, told her that, on his wedding day, James Martin Sparks had been given twenty slaves and a plantation by his father. James sold his plantation, investing in Confederate bonds, early in the Civil War, throughout which he served as an officer in the army, advancing to the rank of colonel. Financially ruined at the end of the war, James had also lost his health due to "heart dropsy." He died at the age of thirty-eight, on March 5, 1876. His widow, who supported the family by teaching school, lived until May 18, 1888. Both were buried in Westwood Cemetery, in Cedartown, Polk County, Georgia.
Portraits of James Martin and Lula Virginia (Blance) Sparks, may be found in an article regarding their lives and family in the Quarterly of March 1959, Whole No. 25, pp. 360-66. We will not repeat that information here, except to list the names of their children.
22.214.171.124 Medora Waddell Sparks, born September 15, 1859; died September 8, 1937.
126.96.36.199 James M. Sparks, Jr., born October 6, 1861; date of death not known.
188.8.131.52 Mary E. Sparks, born ca. 1863; died May 13, 1863.
184.108.40.206 Joseph Blance Sparks, born ca. 1865; died October 6, 1865.
220.127.116.11 Annie D. Sparks, born September 17, 1866; died October 20, 1884.
18.104.22.168 Eugene Pierce Sparks, born March 21, 1871; died May 1, 1943.
[Editor's Note:A great-grandson of Medora Waddell Sparks (her husband was George W. Brewer) was Curtis Taylor Gay, born September 29, 1947.Curtis' name is one of some 58,000 names carved on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. Seephotograph on page 4595 of the Quarterly of March 1996, Whole No. 173. He was killed in action on January 20, 1968, while defending a bunker on the summit of Ke Sien Mountain in the Battle of Qui Nhon.]
Children of Thomas H. Sparks by His Second Wife, Ann Linton:
25.2.4 Linton Sparks, son of Thomas H. and Ann (Linton) Sparks, was born January 18, 1846; he died on September 20, 1913. (The family Bible of his parents gives his name as Linton Sparks, but some descendants give it as "Thomas Linton Sparks".) He was married in Cedartown, Georgia, on December 17, 1867, to Sarah Elizabeth Wimberly, daughter of Capt. Henry Franklin and Anna (Wood) Wimberly. (See Sallie McHenry's sketch of their lives following this article.)
Sarah Elizabeth Wimberly had been born June 5, 1846; she died on July 5, 1912. Both Linton and Sarah were buried at Cave Spring, in Floyd County, Georgia.Their children:
22.214.171.124 Eula Sparks was born November 16, 1869, in Rome, Georgia; she died in Wilmington, North Carolina, on August 6, 1949. She was married in Cave Spring, Georgia, on January 4, 1893, to Joshua Hill Foster, Sr. of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Their children:
126.96.36.199.1 Linton Foster, born April 2, 1894, died June 1, 1898.
188.8.131.52.2 Frances Cornelia Foster, born December 19, 1895, died January 16. She married Henry Hale, and they lived in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.Their children:
184.108.40.206.2.1 Henry Harrison Hale
220.127.116.11.2.2 Dayton Hale,
18.104.22.168.2.3 Cornelia Hale
22.214.171.124.2.4 Frances Hale (twin to Cornelia). The latter married Forrest Patterson.
126.96.36.199.3 Joshua Hill Foster, Jr., born January 2, 1897, died January 5, 1897. He was buried in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
188.8.131.52.4 lone Foster, born May 26, 1899. She married Howard A. Hanby. They lived in Wilmington, North Carolina. They had no children.
184.108.40.206.5 Frank Foster, born May 22, 1902. He married Anne FarrarTurner of Louisa County, Virginia. who had been born on May 31, 1915. Their children:
220.127.116.11.5.1 Frank, Jr., born in 1936
18.104.22.168.5.2 William Hill, born in 1951
22.214.171.124.5.3 Patricia Farrar, born in 1949.
126.96.36.199.6 Helen Foster, born January 2, 1905, in Anniston, Alabama.She was married in Wilmington, North Carolina, on June 20, 1938, to John Segar Newcomb. He had been born in Gloucester County, Virginia, on May 12, 1890. They had a son, John Foster, born April 23, 1839.
188.8.131.52 Ione Sparks, daughter of Linton and Sarah (Wimberly) Sparks, was born in 1871, died July 5, 1945. She married Samuel L. Crook, and lived in Anniston, Alabama. Their children:
184.108.40.206.1 Margaret Crook. She married General Edward Almond.
220.127.116.11.2 Eula Crook. She married Hunt Vaden.
18.104.22.168.3 Samuel Linton Crook.
22.214.171.124 Linton Sparks, Jr. was born in 1873. He was married and lived in Georgia. Their children:
126.96.36.199.1 Linton Sparks, III.
188.8.131.52.2 Eula lone Sparks.
184.108.40.206 Frank Sparks was born in Aetna, Georgia, on December 12, 1874. A graduate of the University of Georgia, he was a professional baseball player. His career began in the Southern League, and he later pitched for the teams of Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, New York, Boston, and, from 1903 through 1910, for Philadelphia. He was married twice; the name of his first wife is not known. In May 1936, in Anniston, Alabama, he married, secondly, Mrs. Sadie (Patterson) Comer, widow of J. W. Comer. They had no children.
220.127.116.11 Hal Sparks was born in 1877. He married late in life. He had no children.
18.104.22.168 Lillian Sparks was born in 1880; she died in 1957. She married C. W. Davis, and they were the parents of the following children:
22.214.171.124.1 Chievous W. Davis, Jr. He married Page Luck of Ashland,Virginia. Their children:
126.96.36.199.1.1 Chievous Whitney Davis
188.8.131.52.1.2 a daughter.
184.108.40.206.2 Hal Davis
220.127.116.11 Sarah Jane Sparks, daughter of Thomas H. and Ann (Linton) Sparks, was born August 13, 1848; she died on September 27, 1912, and was buried in Myrtle Hill Cemetery in Rome, Georgia. She married in Athens, Georgia, on May 17,1871, Hines Maguire Smith, who had been born January 19, 1850; he died on June 8, 1935. He was the son of Major Charles H. Smith, C.S.A., born 1826, died 1903, a noted humorist of his day who wrote under the pseudonym of "Bill Arp," and Mary Octavia Hutchins. Children of Hines Maguire and Sarah Jane (Sparks) Smith:
18.104.22.168.1 Charles Henry Smith was born in Athens, Georgia, on June 15, 1872; he died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on August 11, 1964. He was married on June 15, 1922, in St. Paul, Minnesota, to Caryl Mabel Ervin of Yellow Springs, Ohio.She had been born January 19, 1890, and was a daughter of Robert and Martha (George) Ervin. Known as Mabel, she died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on February 4, 1964, and was buried in Rome, Georgia. It was Charles H. Smith who provided this writer with many of the family records contained in this article.(See his autobiographical sketch in the Quarterly of March 1958.) Their children:
22.214.171.124.1.1 Charles Henry Smith, Jr., born April 11, 1923. On August 23, 1952, he married Mary Elizabeth Lenhart, who had been born October 21, 1930. Their children:
126.96.36.199.1.1.1 Cynthia Jean Smith born in 1953
188.8.131.52.1.1.2 Roger Alan Smith, born in 1960.
184.108.40.206.1.2 Mabel Sara Ann Smith, known as Sally, born March 21, 1926. On January 31, 1948, she married Harvey Spicer Miller, who had been born March 1, 1923. He died tragically in a car accident in December 1963.Their children:
220.127.116.11.1.2.1 Jay Allan Miller, born in 1957
18.104.22.168.1.2.2 Sara Beth Miller, born in 1960.
On July 16, 1966, Sally married, secondly, Stanley R. Scott.
22.214.171.124.2 Linton Sparks Smith was born November 8, 1873; he died on August 8,1906. He married Mabel Bradford on May 15, 1905,in Memphis, Tennessee.
126.96.36.199.3 Hines Hunter Smith was born October 5, 1877; he died at Bay Pines, Florida, on May 18, 1948. He married Belle Dawson Richie on June 15, 1904.
188.8.131.52.4 Victor Alexander Smith was born December 6, 1881, at Rome, Georgia. He married Rebecca Veal on April 20, 1910.
184.108.40.206.5 Hines Maguire Smith, Jr., was born May 17, 1887; he died at Rome, Georgia, on April 22, 1889.
220.127.116.11.6 Sarah Smith was born March 17, 1890. She married George K. Henshall, who was born May 3, 1887, at Richmond, Virginia. Their children:
18.104.22.168.6.1 Sarah Jane Henshall, born April 3, 1912.
22.214.171.124.6.2 George Kenneth Henshall, born May 12, 1914.
126.96.36.199.6.3 Ann Holt Henshall, born December 8, 1918.
188.8.131.52 Thomas Hunter Sparks, Jr. was born April 22, 1850; he died on June 25, 1893, in Tyler, Texas. He never married.
184.108.40.206 William Daniel Sparks was born September 3, 1851, in Polk County, Georgia. He married Annie Elizabeth Wimberly at Pryors Station, Georgia, in the temporary home of his bride's mother, on June 1, 1882. Annie had been born at Cedartown in Polk County, Georgia, on July 4, 1858, and was the daughter of Capt. Henry Franklin and Anna (Wood) Wimberly. (See Sallie McHenry's sketch of their lives following this article.) Annie Wimberly's sister, Sarah Elizabeth Wimberly, had been married to 220.127.116.11 Linton Sparks, brother of William Daniel Sparks, in 1867.
A record of Wimberly Family marriages from the family Bible (New York: American Bible Society, 1841) of Capt. Henry Franklin and Ann C. (Wood) Wimberly.
William Daniel and Annie (Wimberly) Sparks began their family in Georgia with two children, then moved to Alabama where they added five more. They settled later in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where William Daniel Sparks was a sales agent for the J. R. Barnes Coal Company. William Daniel and Annie (Wimberly) Sparks retired to Punta Gorda, Florida. She died there on January 9, 1926, as did he, on March 3, 1943. Sallie McHenry of 14225 Dickens St., #7, Sherman Oaks, California (91423), a great granddaughter of Annie (Wimberly) Sparks, owns her Bible where the births of their children were recorded. Their children:
18.104.22.168.1 Annie Linton Sparks was born February 16, 1883, at Etna, Polk County, Georgia. She married Gregory Miller Omberg in Rome, Georgia, on September 3, 1901, and later lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She died in January 1977 while residing as a widow in Pennsylvania with one of her daughters.Their children:
22.214.171.124.1.1 William Gregory Omberg. He married FNU Gall
126.96.36.199.1.2 Sallie Elizabeth Omberg. She married Harvey Black.
188.8.131.52.1.3 Sparks Omberg. He married FNU Kirkie; he died in 1960.
184.108.40.206.1.4 Anne Omberg. She died as an infant
220.127.116.11.1.5 Mary Sue Omberg.
18.104.22.168.1.6 Edgar Omberg. He died as an infant.
22.214.171.124.1.7 Charles Franklin Omberg.
126.96.36.199.2 William Randolph Sparks was born February 16, 1885, at Etna, Georgia; he died on April 18, 1951, at Tampa, Florida, and he was buried in Punta Gorda. He was a professional accountant and the owner of a sporting goods store at Punta Gorda. He married, prior to 1918, a widow named Louella Armstrong; she had a son by her previous marriage. William R. Sparks had no children of his own.
188.8.131.52.3 Lora Aline Sparks was born December 12, 1887, at Rock Run, Cherokee County, Alabama. She died on February 10, 1888,
184.108.40.206.4 Sallie Wimberly Sparks was born November 18, 1888, at Rock Run, Alabama. She married Thomas McHenry, Jr. on June 3, 1919, in the Highland Park Methodist Church, South, Chattanooga, Tennessee. He had been born December 18, 1880, in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania. This later became the north side of Pittsburgh. He was the son of a pharmacist, Thomas McHenry, Sr. who was born September 20, 1850, in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, and died there on March 26, 1936. On December 18, 1877, Thomas McHenry, Sr. had been married to Sarah Catharine Wilson, who had been born August 5, 1855, in Ohio; she died on January 2, 1881, just over two weeks after giving birth to her son. The children of Thomas McHenry, Sr. and Sarah Catherine Wilson:
220.127.116.11.4.1 Katherine McHenry
18.104.22.168.4.2 Thomas McHenry, Jr., who married Sallie Wimberly Sparks.
Thomas McHenry, Sr. was one of six sons of James McHenry, who had been born ca. 1823 in Ireland. Sarah Catharine Wilson was the daughter of Thomas C. Wilson, born July 13, 1827, and died June 2, 1877, and Catharine (Derrenberger) Wilson, born December 15, 1836, and died on April 24, 1902. A widow, Catharine moved in to raise her grandchildren, Thomas, Jr. and his older sister, Katharine. Thomas McHenry, Jr. was a 1904 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in civil engineering.
He worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad in Chattanooga, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. He died at home in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, on October 22, 1957. Sallie (Sparks) McHenry followed him to the grave on October 7, 1962. They were buried in Highwood Cemetery. (A photograph of Sallie Wimberly Sparks appears on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly, courtesy of her granddaughter, Sallie McHenry.) Thomas, Jr. and Sallie Wimberly (Sparks) McHenry were the parents of the following children:
22.214.171.124.4.2.1 Dr. Thomas McHenry, III was born June 6, 1920, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. On May 20, 1944, in East Liberty, Pennsylvania, he married Gloria Louise Schmitt, who had been born December 26, 1919, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After graduating from the Medical School at the University of Pittsburgh in 1944, he served as a captain in the U.S. Army in World War II. Later, he had a long career as a pediatrician in private practice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They had a daughter,Christine Louise McHenry, born in 1951.
126.96.36.199.4.2.2 William Sparks McHenry was born February 24, 1923, in Sewickley, Pennsylvania. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army, and his future wife was a volunteer nurse's aide. On September 6, 1947, in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, he married Adelaide Kowaleska, who had been born there on December 16, 1923. He graduated in 1949 from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in industrial engineering. He had a thirty-four-year career with the General Electric Company in Ohio and Illinois. Adelaide (Kowaleska) McHenry died in Chandler, Arizona, on September 5, 1994, and was buried in Green Acres Cemetery in Scottsdale, Arizona. The children of William Sparks and Adelaide (Kowaleska) McHenry are:
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Sallie Ann Sparks, born in 1949
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Susan Alice Sparks, born in 1951
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Robert William Sparks
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 David (twin to Robert William) Sparks, born in 1953.
He married, (second), Ruth Dahn, on March 22, 1997, in Scottsdale.
[Editor's Note: Sallie Ann McHenry, as noted earlier in this article, has contributed significantly to this article.]
220.127.116.11.4.2.3 Frank Wilson McHenry was born July 30, 1927, in Sewickley, Pennsylvania. He served in the U.S. Navy in World War II, and he graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in civil engineering. On October 3, 1953, in Edgeworth, Pennsylvania, he married Betty Ruth Sittig, who had been born in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, on December 21, 1926. He had a career in the Pittsburgh area in the steel iron industry. They were the parents of two sons,Gregg Wilson McHenry, born in 1956, and Brian Ford McHenry, born in 1961, and a daughter, Rebecca Ann McHenry, born in 1963.
18.104.22.168.5 Ruth Sparks, daughter of William Daniel and Annie (Wimberly) Sparks, was born February 19, 1892; she died at Rock Run, Alabama, on May 2, 1893.
22.214.171.124.6 Franklin Hunter Sparks was born September 19, 1893, at Rock Run, Alabama. He married on June 23, 1923, Willie Lou Johnson, daughter of William Burrell and Mary Lenora (Smith) Johnson, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. They had no children.
126.96.36.199.7 Charles Augustus Sparks was born June 21, 1895, at Rock Run, Alabama. He served in World War I. In 1964, he published a novel entitled "Birthmark," under the pen name "Charles Augustus." He married Olivette Cowart and lived in Atlanta, Georgia. They had one adopted daughter.
188.8.131.52 Carter Whatley Sparks was born February 17, 1853. He died on August 16, 1863, after his parents had moved to Arkansas. In his parents' family Bible, the disease that took his life was called "congestion of the brain." He shares a grave with his father in Bozeman Cemetery near Arkadelphia, Arkansas.
184.108.40.206 Samuel Peeples Sparks was born December 28, 1854. He died on October 29, 1894, in Atlanta, Georgia. He married on November 27, 1889, a widow, Emma C. Edwards, of Atlanta. He was buried at Cave Spring, Georgia.
220.127.116.11 John Veasey Sparks was born March 16, 1856; he died on March 14, 1901, at Bessemer, Alabama. He never married. He was buried in the Sparks lot in the Myrtle Hill Cemetery at Rome, Georgia.
18.104.22.168 Alexander H. Sparks was born August 29, 1857; he died on March 1, 1906. He was killed by a train at Rosepine, Louisiana, and was buried at Neame, Louisiana.
22.214.171.124 Mary Elizabeth Sparks was born November 1, 1859; she died the same day, after living about ten hours.
126.96.36.199 Annie Elizabeth Townes Sparks was born December 29, 1860; she died on July 18, 1938. She married David Blount Hamilton, Jr. on October 27, 1881, in Rome, Georgia. He had been born September 17, 1869; he died on July 6, 1921.Their six children:
188.8.131.52.1 Martha Harper Hamilton was born March 27, 1883; she died on September 9, 1924. She married Elmer Parker Grant, Sr. on October 16, 1902. Their children:
184.108.40.206.1.1 Hamilton Grant.
220.127.116.11.1.2 Wallace Grant.
18.104.22.168.1.3 Martha Grant.
22.214.171.124.1.4 Elmer Parker Grant, Jr.
126.96.36.199.1.5 Hunter Grant.
188.8.131.52.2 Anne Sparks Hamilton was born June 19, 1884. She did not marry.
184.108.40.206.3 Sarah Linton Hamilton was born February 17, 1886. She married James Boyce Brooks on September 21, 1914. Their three children:
220.127.116.11.3.1 James Brooks.
18.104.22.168.3.2 David Brooks.
22.214.171.124.3.3 Paul Brooks.
126.96.36.199.4 David Emanual Hamilton was born March 1, 1888. He married Addie Belle Gray in June 1919.Their two children:
188.8.131.52.4.1 George Gray Hamilton.
184.108.40.206.3.2 David Blount Hamilton.
220.127.116.11.5 Linton Alexander Hamilton was born November 11, 1889; he died onJanuary 5, 1929. He married Hazel Fraze in November 1913. They were the parents of two children:
18.104.22.168.5.1 Juliette Hamilton; she married FNU Steele.
22.214.171.124.3.2 Hazel Hamilton.
126.96.36.199.6 Florence Linton Hamilton was born October 5, 1896; she died on January 14, 1957. She married Elmer Parker Grant on November 5, 1927.
188.8.131.52 Charles Sankey Sparks was born July 8 1863, in Clarke County, Arkansas; he died on February 23, 1929, in Rome, Georgia. He married Lee Ella Smith in Rome, Georgia, on October 15, 1891. She had been born in 1862; she died on October 27, 1939. Both were buried in the Myrtle Hill Cemetery in Rome, Georgia. They had no children.