April 28, 2021

Pages 286-287
Whole Number 21


Since the publication of the Editor's article entitled "19.1.1 John Sparks (1717-1802) of Gloucester County, New Jersey"' in the September, 1957, issue of the Quarterly, (pp. 242-44), we have learned that one of our members, Evelyn Cole Peters (Mrs. Albert G.), of 2001 W. 103rd St., Chicago 43, Illinois, has done extensive research on the Sparks family of New Jersey. Mrs. Peters is the Illinois State Registrar of the Daughters of the American Revolution and, understandably, is a very busy lady. She plans, however, to prepare for publication a history of the New Jersey Sparks family after her D.A.R. term is over. Meanwhile, Mrs. Peters would like to correspond with all members of the Association who descend from the New Jersey family. She will be happy to assist them in fitting their ancestors into the family and will also appreciate data which will make her own record more complete.

Your Editor very much regrets that he failed to write to Mrs. Peters before publishing the article on John Sparks, for she has been able to provide answers to several unanswered questions in the article regarding his marriages and family.

Mrs. Peters states that the 19.1.1 Hon. John Sparks was born in either England or Ireland in 1716 or 1717, and that he was the son of 19.1 Simon Sparks who was born between 1688 and 1694. Simon Sparks settled in New Jersey sometime prior to 1739. The earliest record of Simon in New Jersey is dated October 15, 1739, when he was appointed an administrator of the estate of William McClane of Salem County, New Jersey. He was described on this document as 'of Salem Co., wheelwright.' Simon Sparks died In 1749 (see the abstract of his will on page 245 of the Quarterly.)

19.1 Simon Sparks was the father of the following children:

19.1.1 Hon. John Sparks, born 1716-17 in either Ireland or England. He married three times. On November 6, 1738 he married his cousin, 19.2.1 Mary Sparks, daughter of 19.2 Henry Sparks; she died ca. 1771. He married, (second), in 1773, Sarah Howell; she died sometime prior to 1777. He married, (third), in 1777, to widow Ruth (Randall) Biddle, daughter of Alexander Randall and widow of William Biddle. John Sparks died in 1802 (see page 243 of the Quarterly for an abstract of his will). His children, by his first wife, were: ( Simon Sparks; ( Henry Sparks; ( Mary Sparks, married Ephraim Miller; ( John Sparks, born 1757; ( Elizabeth Sparks, married John (?) Williamson; ( Isaac Sparks; see the Quarterly for September 1962 Whole N0. 39 for the will of Isaac Sparks. ( Joseph Sparks (this child is uncertain).

by his second wife, John Sparks had one son, Howell Sparks.

by his third wife, John Sparks had one son, Alexander Randall Sparks.

(Mrs. Peters reports that the John Sparks whose pension application appeared in the September, 1956, issue of the Quarterly, pp. 157-159 was the son of the 19.1.1 Hon John Sparks, above. He was born in 1757 and died in 1826.)

19.1.2 Richard Sparks, born between 1718 and 1722; he married ca. 1740, Elizabeth Weatherby, daughter of William Weatherby
19.1.3 Elizabeth Sparks, married John Marshall of Salem County on January 5, 1741/42. (see reference to the will of John Marshall on page 262 of the Quarterly.)
19.1.4 Thomas Sparks, born ca. 1726; married Rachel Weatherby; he died ca. 1791 at Pilesgrove, Salem County, New Jersey.
19.1.5 Robert Sparks, born ca. 1730-35; married the widow Mary Smallwood in 1760; he died intestate in 1812. He was probably the Capt. Robert Sparks of the Revolutionary War.
19.1.6 Agnes Sparks; she was probably the Agnes Sparks who married William Trimble in 1743 in the 1st Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia.
19.1.7 Mary Sparks, married Henry Wooleby in 1742 in the 1st Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia.
19.1.8 Henry Sparks, born between 1728 and 1735; married, (first), ca. 1752, Rhoda Westcott (?) of Cumberland County, New Jersey. He married, (second), Catherine Stratton of Cumberland County. He married, (third), Sarah Ogilvy in 1789 in Philadelphia. He died in Philadelphia in 1808 or 1809.

19.2 Henry Sparks was born ca. 1696 in England or Ireland. Henry Sparks appeared in New Jersey records as early as 1731. When Henry Sparks wrote his will in 1748 (for an abstract see page 246 of the Quarterly) he described himself as 'innholder of the town and county of Gloucester." He died in 1755. He married twice. His first wife was Ann MNU, the mother of all his children. He married, (second), in 1750, to widow Elizabeth Ballinger.

An interesting advertisement pertaining to Henry Sparks appeared in a newspaper published in Philadelphia called The Pennsylvania Gazette on July 6, 1738: 'Run away on Sunday last, from Henry Sparks, of Gloucester Township, West-New-Jersey, an Irish Servant Man, named James Mordox, about 60 Years of Age, of a dark Complexion, grey Hair, but cut off, by Trade a Smith. Had on a Suit of brown Cloaths, new Shoes and new Stockings. Whoever secures the said Servant so that his Master may have him again shall have Forty Shillings, Reward, and reasonable Charges paid by HENRY SPARKS.'

Henry and Ann Sparks were the parents of the following children:

19.2.1 Mary Sparks, born ca. 1721; she married her cousin, the 19.1.1 Hon. John Sparks, son of 19.1 Simon Sparks, in 1738. She died ca. 1771.

19.2.2 John Sparks, born 1723, died 1790; he married Margaret Gerrard, daughter of Robert Gerrard. He lived in Penns Neck, Salem County, New Jersey.

19.2.3 Simon Sparks, born 1725, died 1786 in Gloucester County, New Jersey; he married, between 1748 and 1753, Given Gerrard, daughter of Robert Gerrard. She died in 1777. Simon Sparks was an innholder in Gloucester County.

19.2.4 Agnes Sparks, born between 1726 and 1730. She was not mentioned in her father's will in 1748 so probably died before him, and she apparently left no issue since none were mentioned in her father's will as entitled to their mother's share.

19.2.5 Robert Sparks, born between 1727 and 1734; he married Desire Brinnew or Bruneau in 1754 in Christ Church, Philadelphia. He died in 1775 intestate. He also was an innkeeper.

19.2.6 Henry Sparks, born between 1735 and 1742 (ca. 1740); he married Rachel Quinton in 1766. She was of Salem County. He was a captain in the Revolutionary War; buried in old Mill Hollow Cemetery, Quinton Road.

19.2.7 George Sparks, born between 1735 and 1744 (ca. 1742); married widow (?) Magdalena (Helm) Seeley in 1765. He may have married, 2nd, a Mary MNU.

Simon Sparks (born between 1688 and 1694) and Henry Sparks (born ca. 1696) may have had a brother named 19.3 Richard Sparks who was born prior to 1683 and came to Philadelphia before 1704. He was a carpenter and died in Philadelphia. His will was dated 1714 and was proved in 1716. His wife, Joan, was the sole executrix of Richard's will. Mrs. Peters states that it is possible that Richard was the father of Simon and Henry, or he may have been their uncle.