April 28, 2021

Pages 316-323
Whole Number 23


by Martha Sparks Smith William Sparks, my great-grandfather, was born ca. 1780, probably in Anson County, North Carolina. A number of people have tried at different times to trace his ancestry, but no one has been able, as yet, to prove It conclusively. At the present time, a considerable amount of evidence points to his being the son of 9.1.2 Charles Sparks, who was a resident of Anson County, North Carolina, at the time of his death in 1797. Charles Sparks had lived earlier on the Pee Dee River in what is now Marlboro County, South Carolina. Following the Revolutionary War, he had moved up the river into Anson County, North Carolina. From the will of Charles Sparks, dated May, 1797, it is evident that he had been married twice. To each of the children by his first wife, (whose name is given on some early deeds as Gracella), he left five shillings as a token bequest. These children Charles named as: Sarah Lyons (she married William Lyons in Anson County in 1786 or 1787), Polly Tomkins, Susanna Smith, Thomas Sparks, William Sparks, Daniel Sparks, and Elizabeth Sparks.

The second wife of Charles Sparks was named Jane, by whom he had 'three younger children,' named John Sparks, Nancy Sparks, and James Sparks. He left the bulk of his property to Jane 'to enable her to bring up and raise her three children with which I leave her.' From various references and traditions in the family, it is believed that the William Sparks whom Charles Sparks named as one of the children by his first wife, was my great-grandfather.

There is, however, another tradition regarding the parentage of William Sparks. In an old Bible owned by Joseph Wood Sparks, who was born in 1846 and who was a grandson of William Sparks, appears the statement that the father of William Sparks also had the name William. A daughter of Joseph Wood Sparks copied this record for me in 1922, but today the Bible cannot be located. According to this record, which was written in the Bible many years after the events recorded, a William Sparks, who was born North Carolina in 1743, settled in White Plains, Greene County, Georgia. He is said to have been married twice, first to Rachel Cohen by whom he had one son, John Sparks, who had a son named William J. Sparks who is supposed to have been a prominent lawyer in Jefferson, Texas.

Following Rachel's death, William Sparks is supposed to have married a second time by whom he had three children: William Sparks (my great-grandfather), Thomas Sparks, and Sarah Sparks. The name of the second wife is not recorded in the Bible. In this same Bible record, the marriage of my great- grandfather is erroneously recorded--according to the Bible record he married Patsey Bryan on September 10, 1812; actually he married Martha ('Patsey') Dixon on that date. Since this error occurs, it seems all the more probable that an error also exists regarding the 'William Sparks, born in 1743.'

The 'William Sparks, born in 1743' tradition was accepted as true by Colonel Thomas Hardeman of Macon, Georgia, who was the son of Thomas Sparks and Sarah (Sparks) Hardeman, (Sarah being the daughter of Thomas Sparks and Achsah (Love) Sparks and a niece of my great-grandfather). The late Julia McIntosh Sparks, a descendant of the Revolutionary War soldier, John Sparks, of Washington County, Georgia, (see bottom of page 99 of The Sparks Quarterly for December, 1955), related several years ago how, when she was enough to join the D.A.R., she went to Col. Hardeman to ask whether he could help her with her Sparks line. 'He was then old,' Miss Sparks stated, 'retired, and an invalid and somewhat childish. He would not let me touch his big manuscript book, but read to me and I took notes.' Miss Sparks passed on to a number of Sparks descendants the information which she obtained from Col. Hardeman, including the story of a William Sparks born in 1743. In 1924, Mrs. Robert Love Sparks of Macon, Georgia, (whose husband was a grandson of Thomas and Achsah (Love) Sparks), wrote me that, after many months of searching, she had found 'Mr. 'Preach' Hardeman's book of Genealogies,' and she copied for me the following statement regarding the Sparks family: 'Three brothers came to America in 1757, landing at Baltimore. One Sparks went to N.J., one to Mass., and one to N.C. It was from the last one named we descended--One Philip, one Sam (supposed to be the N.C. one) & one named Aleck. The 1st one I know anything positive about is William who came from N.C. & settled in White Plains, GA. He was born in 1743 and was married twice. . .' The story of 'three brothers' coming to America and settling in widely separated areas, is one which professional geneagists meet continually--apparently stemming from an attempt to explain how persons of the same surname could appear in different American colonies at about the same time. As with nearly every other family in which such a tradition exists, it is virtually certain that this Sparks tradition is erroneous. Furthermore, although we are not able to disprove the existence of the William Sparks who was supposed to have been born in 1743 and to have married a Miss Cohen, nothing has been found thus far among official records to indicate that such a person ever did live in Georgia. Whether Col. Hardeman obtained his information regarding this William Sparks from the Bible record referred to above, or whether someone inserted this information in the Bible after obtaining it from Col. Hardeman, is not known.

It is true that William Sparks, my great-grandfather, had a brother named Thomas and a sister named Sarah. Thomas Sparks was born sometime prior to 1775; he married, ca. 1798, Achsah Love, daughter of Lt. Col. David and Jean (Blewett) Love of Anson County, North Carolina. Achsah was born October 25, 1779, and died April 6, 1834. The death date of Thomas Sparks has not been found, but he was buried at Shady Dale, Georgia, a village located in Jasper County. Thomas and Achsah (Love) Sparks were the parents of William H. Sparks (1800-1882), who wrote the book known to so many Sparks descendants, Memories of Fifty Years. (Mr. Bidlack has been collecting material on this family and is preparing an article for a later issue of the Quarterly.) Thomas Sparks was living on St. Simon's Island in McIntosh County, Georgia, in 1800 when his son, William H. Sparks, was born. However, he was in Greene County, Georgia, in 1798 and again in 1802; he was a justice of the peace in Greene County in 1803. by 1813 he was a resident of Putnam County, Georgia, where a son, Ovid Garten Sparks, was born December 4, 1813. In addition to these two sons, Thomas Sparks had a daughter, Sarah, who married Thomas Hardeman.

There is no question but that William Sparks (my great-grandfather) and Thomas Sparks were brothers. It is known also that they had a sister named Sarah who married Benjamin Whitfield. Note that Charles Sparks, whom I believe to have been the father of William and Thomas, had a daughter named Sarah, but that in his will he gave her name as Sarah Lyons. A marriage record in Anson County, North Carolina, indicates that she did marry William Lyons in 1786 or 1787. There is the possibility, of course, that she married Benjamin Whitfield as her second husband. (In 1783 Benjamin Whitfield was a witness to a deed signed by Charles Sparks in Anson County.)

by 1812, William Sparks (my great-grandfather) was living in Putnam County, Georgia, where he was married on September 10, 1812, to Miss Martha Dixon, born in 1787, daughter of Nicholas and Martha Dixon of Putnam County. The record of this marriage is on file in the Ordinary's Office in Putnam County. A tax list of Putnam County for 1813 listed both William and his brother Thomas as residents. William was taxed on his land in Putnam County along with '11 polls'--in all probability, ten of these eleven polls were slaves. Thomas Sparks was taxed for '6 polls' and land in Putnam, Greene, and Wilkinson Counties.

William Sparks died as a relative young man in 1816. He did not leave a will and William Whitfield was appointed administrator of his estate on May 6, 1816. The inventory of his estate, showing all household furnishings, farm stock and tools, and about twelve slaves, amounted to $6,767.37 1/2. The later court minutes reveal that on February 2, 1818, Thomas Sparks, brother of William, was appointed guardian of the two minor sons of William and Martha (Dixon) Sparks. Martha, the widow, received 'a child's part of the estate.' She was called 'Patsey' in the records of the estate, also in the will of her father, Nicholas Dixon, which was dated March 28, 1823, and probated October 18, 1826. On October 12, 1819, she married, as her second husband, Daniel McKay. She died May 20, 1834, and was buried at Forsyth, Georgia. William and Martha (Dixon) Sparks were the parents of two children: Achilles Knight Sparks, my grandfather. (see below) William McCurdy Sparks (called Mack, sometimes Major), born at Eatonton, Putnam County, Georgia, on November 2, 1814; died August 12, 1896, at East Point (near Atlanta) in Fulton County, Georgia, and was buried on the Sparks Plantation near Juniper. He married Penelope Terrell Milner, daughter of Benjamin and Penelope (Holmes) Milner, on November 19, 1835, at Blountsville, Jones County, Georgia. She was born October 11, 1812, in Lexington, Oglethorpe County, Georgia, and died June 18, 1888, in Talbot County, Georgia. William McCurdy Sparks held the rank of Major during the Mexican War. (We plan to publish a record of the descendants of William McCurdy Sparks at a later date--Ed.) [NOTE: See also page 701 of the Sparks Quarterly.] ACHILLES KNIGHT SPARKS, 1813-1873

This writer's paternal grandfather, Achilles (called 'Killy') Knight Sparks, was born in Eatonton, Putnam County, Georgia, on September 5, 1813. On September 12, 1835, at the age of twenty-two, he married Miss Martha Ann Lake, who was born in Forsyth, Monroe County, Georgia, on August 2, 1815. She was a daughter of Abraham and Elizabeth (Acree) Lake, and was a granddaughter of Richard Lake, Revolutionary soldier from Hunderdon County, New Jersey, who purchased land in Greene County, Georgia, in 1796. The U.S. census of 1790 lists Richard Lake among the taxpayers of that district. (See The Lake Family by Devereux Lake, page 137.) Achilles Sparks died in Putnam County, Georgia, on November 24, 1873; Martha Ann, his widow, died in Pike County, Georgia, on August 16, 1898. They are both buried in the cemetery at Griffin, Georgia. At the time of her death, Martha Ann was making her home with her eldest son, William Sparks, and his wife, Sarah.

Practically nothing is known to me of my grandfather's youth. He was three years old when his father, William Sparks, died. His father's brother, Thomas Sparks, became his guardian and from census records it appears that he and his brother, McCurdy, lived with their uncle. My father, Ludlow Ekillis Sparks, gave me in 1919 the following information about his father:

'After my mother and father were married they lived on his plantation near some river--think Ocmulgee--in Monroe County. From this plantation he moved to Harris County to his plantation there. From there he went to either Forsyth or Griffin; took a contract with Dred Hill and some ----- Fisher to build a railroad--later known as the Central of Georgia. During his lifetime he built part of the West Point road about Opelika, Alabama. Took a contract filling up some long trestles on the So. Western road from Macon to Columbus. Next he built part of the road--that part between Millen and Waynesboro--now known as the Central. He built the road from Thomaston to Barnesville in 1854 to1865, now known as the Central of Georgia. He moved to Graysville, Georgia, and lived there when he was cutting the tunnel through Missionary Ridge, four or five miles from Chattanooga. It was said that the tunnel through that Ridge was so nearly completed that the Union and Confederate soldiers could hear through it. Work on this tunnel during the War Between the States was necessarily suspended and not resumed during his lifetime. When the war ended he left Graysville, and returned to his plantation near Griffin.'

It was at Ringgold, Catoosa County, Georgia, that my father and his brothers enlisted in the Confederate Army. (Ringgold is quite near Graysville.)

My father's middle name was the same as my grandfather's first name, Achilles, but my father always spelled it 'Ekillis,' probably because at that time ours was a phonetic language and a name was spelled in any way that conveyed the sound--hence 'Ekillis' for Achilles.

So far as we know, Achilles Sparks left no written record of any incident of his life, of his home, of his associations, of his Seminole War record, nor of his physical or social status. We can only speculate about these things. From his photograph, reproduced on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly, we know he was a man of powerful physique. He appears to have been of good moral habits and a communicant of the Methodist Church. He seems to have prospered and we gather that his children inherited a comfortable property.

We believe he was a man of some standing and worth in the communities in which he lived. We have knowledge of his sons and daughters; likewise of their descendants. If, as is often the case, the mental and moral qualities of a man are reflected in the personalities of his children, we are warranted in concluding that he was a man of forceful character, a man of sobriety, of industry and probably of a religious turn of mind.

Following is a listing of the children of Achilles Knight and Martha Ann (Lake) Sparks and their descendants: William Abraham Sparks, eldest son of Achilles Knight and Martha Ann (Lake) Sparks, was born December 19, 1836; died May 5, 1911. He married Miss Sallie Crawford. She died in June, 1911. No children. Alonzo Norflick Sparks, son of Achilles Knight and Martha Ann (Lake) Sparks, was born April 16, 1838; died in California. He married, in Graysville, Ga., Miss Hattie Smith of Richmond, Va. Children: Two daughters, names unknown, who lived in Tennessee. Ludlow Ekillis Sparks, son of Achilles Knight and Martha Ann (Lake) Sparks, was born April 21, 1840, near Forsyth, Monroe County, Ga.; died November 6, 1922, at Morrow Station, Ga. He served in the Confederate Army during the War Between the States; following is his own account of his service:

'I enlisted in the Confederate Army at Ringgold, Catoosa County, Georgia, in May 1861 as a private in Company B, 1st Georgia Battalion, for one year's service. Our battalion was sent to Pensacola, Florida; from there we went to Navy Yard at the mouth of Pensacola Bay. Garrisoned Fort McRee at the bombardment of that Fort for three days by the Yanks' Fleet, and Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island; from there transferred to Mobile, Alabama. At the organization I was elected First Sergeant of our Company (B). At the expiration of our first enlistment, we re-enlisted for duration of the war and organized the First Confederate Regiment Georgia Volunteers; sent to Fort Gaines, Ala., mouth of Mobile Bay. Remained there until '64; transferred to Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's Army at Dalton, Ga.; was in campaign from there to Atlanta, Ga.; was wounded at Pine Mountain, near Marietta, Ga.; was in campaign from there to Atlanta, Ga.; was wounded at Pine Mountain, near Marietta, Ga., 15 June, '64. After my wound healed I was put on special service at Columbus, Ga., remained there until the surrender.'

Ludlow Ekillis Sparks was married twice; first, to Mrs. Molly (Innis) Stanton on November 6, 1870. There were no children of this marriage. After the death of his first wife, he was married, second, on March 12, 1885, to Miss Mary Ida McClary, daughter of Capt. Robert James and Anna Leonora (Plowden) McClary. She was born April 11, 1854, in Calhoun Co., Ga., and died May 11, 1908, in Atlanta, Ga. Children: Margaret Audessa Sparks, born December 25, 1885, in Atlanta, Ga. She married, February 27,1908, Bartow Woodson Elliott, who was born October 26, 1874. Children: Robert Henry Elliott, born at Morrow Station, Ga., October 4, 1909; married, September 7, 1946, Miss Carrie Lucile Cole, who was born December 31, 1921. Robert Henry Elliott served in the Air Force in World War II. No children. Mary Ida Elliott, born at Morrow Station, Ga., August 29, 1911; married, first, February 3, 1934, Alonza Frank Brooks, born December 10, 1912; they had one daughter: Lillian Joanne Brooks, who was born December 28, 1934, and married William Heidenrich on September 1, 1957. Mary Ida married, second, on March 15, 1946, John W. Little, born September 24, 1904; children: Jimmy Lynn Little, born December 13, 1946; Nancy Elaine Little, born September 2, 1950. An infant, Roger Elliott, born 1916, died 1916. Lynn Ekillis Elliott, born January 10, 1922; died December 5, 1929. Floyd Gregory Elliott, born September 19, 1924; married February 8, 1946, Miss Mary Veatrice Landingham, who was born August 26, 1924. Children: Floyd Gregory Elliott, born December 9, 1946; Michael Lee Elliott, born October 28, 1950; and Randal Lynn Elliott, born August 26, 1956. Edward Knight Sparks was born in Pike County, Ga., on September 15, 1888; married November 14, 1912, Miss Estelle Chambliss, born July 19, 1892. They had one daughter, Mary Elizabeth Sparks, born in Atlanta, Ga., on September 8, 1914. She married James B. Owen; they have one son, James B. Owen Jr., born in Atlanta on October 9, 1946. Martha McClary Sparks was born near Morrow Station, Ga., November 20, 1891; married, June 12, 1912, Olin Parks Smith, who was born July 4, 1889, in Elbert Ga. He died November 14, 1941. One daughter: Mildred Marlin Smith, born in Elberton, Ga., May 26, 1913; she married in Bryn Mawr, Pa on July 8, 1939, Dr. David Graham Wright, who was born November 9, 1912. They have two children: David Wallace Wright, born in Philadelphia, Pa., on January 16, 1942; and John Thornton Wright, born in Providence,R.I., on January 20, 1946. Robert Ludlow Sparks, son of Ludlow E. and Mary Ida (McClary) Sparks was born near Morrow Station, Clayton Co., Ga., on July 11, 1893; married on December 22, 1923, Miss Elizabeth Parkins, who was born September 4, 1893. No children. Sarah Elizabeth Sparks, daughter of Achilles Knight and Martha Ann (Lake) Sparks, was born in October, 1841; she married, on December 10, 1866, John C. Whitcomb. She died January 24, 1886. They had two children: Harry Whitcomb. Iva Whitcomb.
No further information about descendants James McCurdy Sparks, son of Achilles Knight and Martha Ann (Lake) Sparks was born in October, 1843; died February 12, 1881. He married Miss Lizzie Blanton on October 4, 1870. She was born in 1852 and died in 189 Both were buried at Griffin, Ga. He was a dealer in hardware and furniture, proprietor of a livery stable, and proprietor of the hotel in Griffin. They had one son, Henry Sparks, who married Annie Claston and lived in Alabama; he had a son named Henry Claxton Sparks, born 1915.

[Webmaster Note: the following is copied from WN 48] Henry Williamson Sparks, was born October 8, 1872, and died September 20, 1943. He married on August 16, 1914, Miss Annie Claxton.

Their son, Henry Claxton Sparks, born June 4, 1915, in Birmingham, Alabama. (Information received from Mr. H. Claxton Sparks - envelope marked HCS Board of Education, Post Office Drawer 114, Birmingham 1, Alabama.) Mr. Claxton Sparks wrote:

"I have no brothers or sisters, or no children, so this may be the end of the line." His home address: 2000 Warwick Road, Ensley-Birmingham, Alabama. His mother is still living (1964). Joseph Wood Sparks, son of Achilles Knight and Martha Ann (Lake) Sparks was born August 12,1846; died March 9, 1918, in Albany, Ga., buried in Montgomery, Ala. He was married on December 27, 1875, to Miss Estelle C. Allen, daughter of Robert H. and Sarah (Santett) Allen. She was born April 25, 1857, and died May 24, 1907. Children: Lois Sparks, born January 11, 1877; married on June 12, 1899, Dr. Charles F. Chandler, of Montgomery, Ala. They had one child: Annie Lasseter Chandler, born May 4, 1906; married October 16, 1929, J. A. Williams. Ruth Sparks, born March 19, 1880; died September 17, 1934; married October 15, 1903, Mr. J. E. Robinson, of Thomasville, Ga. Children: Joseph Evans Robinson, Jr., born December 26, 1905; died November 1940; married February 22, 193-, Marjorie Cox. Robert Sparks Robinson, born October 15, 1912; married, August 1935, Mildred McDonald. Joseph Robert Sparks, born March 14, 1883; died April 16, 1925; married in April or March, 1907, Ruth Ziegler. Children: George Wood Sparks, born June 20, 1908; married July 28, 1934, Mary Evelyn Kline. No children. Joseph Robert Sparks, Jr., born August 1, 1915; he married and had one daughter, name unknown. Elizabeth Ruth Sparks, born October 9, 1912. Achilles (or Echilles) Sparks, son of Joseph Wood Sparks, born September 2, 1888; married April 4, 1920, Pearl Wall. Children: E. K. Sparks, Jr., born December 14, 1920; married, January 16, 1942, Estelle G. Hudson. Children: K. Sparks III, born June 29, 1943; James F. Sparks, born June 29, 1949; Timothy H. Sparks, born December 27, 1951; Melissa Ann Sparks, born July 27, 1953; Robert Brian Sparks, born April 8, 1957. Ruth Estelle (or Rena) Sparks, daughter of Achilles and Pearl (Wall) Sparks, born April 25, 1926. She married April 17, 1949, Wayman Wallace. They have two children: Debbie L. Wallace, born July 27, 1950; and Claudia (Nancy) Wallace, born January 8, 1953. Elna Lois Sparks, daughter of Achilles and Pearl (Wall) Sparks, born August 11, 1924; married October 26, 1942, Harry A. Bozarth. They have two children: Lois Ann Bozarth, born June 7, 1944; and Harry A. Bozarth, Jr., born June 13, 1948. Henry Conklin Sparks, son of Joseph Wood and Estelle C. (Allen) Sparks, was born April 16, 1894; married October 12, 1921, Louise Pharr, of Washington, Ga. Children: Henry C. Sparks, Jr., born August 8, 1922; died August 9, 1922. Lavonia Hammond Sparks, born June 27, 1925; married December 26, 1946, Col. Max Thurmond. They had one daughter: Louise Carroll Thurmond, born June 9, 1951.

Following the death of Col. Thurmond, Lavonia married, second, on April 24, 1954, Ed D. Richetson,[sic] Jr. They have one son: Edward Doughty Richetson [sic] III, born March 10, 1955. Henry C. Sparks, Jr., born July 7, 1928; married June 26, 1955, Helen Powell. Children: Henry Sparks III, born April 23, 1956; and Joseph M. Sparks, born April 23, 1956 (twins).

Joseph Wood and Estelle C. (Allen) Sparks also had an infant daughter, born December 6, 1878, who died at birth. There were also an infant daughter and infant son who died at birth for whom we have no dates. Martha Pruella (Ella) Sparks, daughter of Achilles Knight and Martha Ann (Lake) Sparks, was born August 19, 1849. She married John T. Jones of Pike Co., Ga. It is known that they had a son named William Jones. No further data.