April 29, 2021
Whole Number 23
A SPARKS LOVE-LETTER WRITTEN A CENTURY AGO
(Editor's note: The original of the following letter is owned by Mary Etta Mills (Mrs. John R.) of Perry, Ohio, who has given permission to the Editor to publish it in the Quarterly. Mrs. Mills is the granddaughter of the writer of this letter, 22.214.171.124.1 Abraham Gregory Sparks. He was born ca. 1810 and was the son of 126.96.36.199 Martin Sparks (see the September, 1956, issue of The Sparks Quarterly, Whole No. 15, p. 155). The lady to whom the following letter was addressed was a widow named Sarah Frances (Martin) Moore. She and Abraham G. Sparks were married later during the year (1858). She died in 1875 and Abraham G. Sparks died on July 18, 1886, in Owen County, Kentucky. They had three children:
188.8.131.52.1.1 Martin Sparks, born 1859, died 1860;
184.108.40.206.1.2 Sarah Sparks, born 1863, died 1940;
220.127.116.11.1.3 John Abraham Sparks, born in 1863.
This letter, which has considerable historical interest, has been copied word for word, including errors in spelling, except that capitalization and punctuation have been modernized. It is apparent that when the letter was written, Abraham G. Sparks, who lived near the town of Monterey on the Kentucky River in Owen County, Kentucky, had just returned from the town of Midway, in Woodford County, where he and Mrs. Moore had made plans for their wedding.)
Owen Cty KY. June 24th 1858.
To Mrs. Sarah F. Moore
Agreeable to promise, I now take my pen in hand to try to address you a few lines by way of correspondance &c. Perhaps my communication will appear to you more in the shape of a journal than otherwise. Well, the day I parted with you at Midway, you now, was intensly warm and perhaps would of been more intolerable had my mind been otherwise engaged. Before I reached the first mill from your town, I fell into a reflective mood, that is, Old Sodom. I reflected on bygone days, the days of my youth, the hapiest time of life or has been such to me. I past by the many playgrounds where me and my comrades used to revel, and thought how many had gone down to the dark and silent tomb, and why was it that I still survive, and while in this mood I was allmost forced to acknowledge the predestination doctrine, which is that man has to accomplish a certain destiny while on earth and I still had something to accomplish before my destiny is complete. I thought of you who is dearer to me than anything on earth and imagined that I was spared, or you still survive, to accomplish. the last link of our destiny. But enough. And while ploding on my weary way with nothing but my own thoughts to amuse me, for I had no company throughout the entire day, I came to Mr. Arnolds of mail notoriety, who at this time would give all the wealth of the Indies, did he possess it, to give to gain his former reputation and standing in society. Alass, how vail is wealth unless gotten in the rite way. Well, I made better progress in traveling than I expected when I left you. I reached the heights of Mogadore just as the sun went down some twenty one miles from Midway. The most butiful and sublime scene I witnessed there that has fallen to my lot to witness. I saw there on one of the highest mountains on a rout but seldom traveled by man, the going down of the sun in all its splendor. Where I was I had a commanding view of the Kentucky River with its mianderings and windings through the many gorges that seamed to raise their mighty arms as barriers to its further progress. I turned from the contemplation of that scene to look on the many farms and houses & hamlets that were visible in the distance, and while there I looked in the direction of Midway and you, but looked in vain. The tall hills that reared there everlasting peaks high in that direction prevented my view and iff ever, while In the contemplation of these scenes, I praid devoutly it was then and there. My past life came to my mind that I had lived for the welfare and comfort of others alone, and now it mite be possible my time for comfort and enjoyment was near at hand.
I ---?--- or imagined I felt as Moses of old felt after journying through the wilderof Padanceram [?], for forty years of his life. He came at last to Mount Pisgah looked over into the land of promise and was taken hence and his sepulcher remains there to this day. Well, I reached Mr. Bullards a short time after dark, met with him until morning, left his house in time to get to Monterey to meet my friends that I spoke of when I was at your house. We did not transact the business, but appointed a day for that purpose which is in a short time. I wish to get through with business of that sort as speedy as possible and hope by the 13th of July. I shall be entirely through so that I can remane at home after you get here. Perhaps I should say that some of your friends in Midway are quite anxious and solicitous our arrangement, one gentleman in particular. After I left you, I was through with business in that section and hastened onward as fast as possible, but was detained some time by a gentleman a wishing to now when I was coming to Midway and thus and so and to make him a confident in that cause and all would be rite. I said to him it is no use for me to come here, my visits avail nothing and I will come no more. Well, it seems to me today that it has been a month since I saw you. Time passes off very tardy to me. Three weeks from last Tuesday I will see you again and after that I hope we will no more be separated in life. The river is falling very fast at this time but should the river go dry and I should keep my health I will be at Frankfort [the county seat of Franklin County] at the appointed time. I have not seen Milly my sister since I came home but expect to see her this week and tell her all, so she may be prepared. For the lack of paper I must now come to a close, but feel like I could write to you all the evening. Write as you said you would for anxiety is greatly heightened with me since I saw you. So farewell, may happiness ever attend you both solid and serene and may your last days be the best, is the sincere wish of your humble friend &c. &c.
[signed] A. G. Sparks