April 28, 2021

Pages 360-366
Whole Number 25


by Charles H. Smith

(Editor's Note: A biographical sketch of 25.2 Thomas Hunter Sparks, son of 25. Martin P. Sparks, by Charles H. Smith, appeared in the March, 1958, issue of The Sparks Quarterly, continued in the June issue. Since this sketch appeared, Mr. Smith has been preparing a record of the descendants of each of the children of Thomas H. Sparks. These 'units' will be published in successive issues of the Quarterly.)

(Author's note: This unit in the record of the descendants of Thomas H. Sparks has been largely contributed by two grandchildren of James M. Sparks: Mrs. Annie Sue Brewer Morgan, and her brother, Joseph Blance Brewer. Mrs. Eva Williamson has also contributed on the descendants of CarrieJosephine Brewer.)

"Lulled in the countless chambers of the brain,
Our thoughts are linked by many a hidden chain;
Awake but one, and lo! What myriads rise!
Each stamps its image as the other flies."
   (quoted from Annals of Athens by A. L. Hull, 1906)

by his first wife, Mary Ann (Leonard) Sparks, Thomas H. Sparks had three children:

25.2.1 Martha A. M. E. T. Sparks, born April 27, 1836. Nothing is known of the first child, other than her name and the fact that she lived less than a month, dying on May 11, 1836. Her name, with four middle initials, has long been a matter of curiosity. Perhaps the 'E. T.' stood for 'Elizabeth Towns' since a daughter of Thomas H. Sparks born in 1860 was named Annie Elizabeth Towns Sparks.

25.2.2 Medora Newton Sparks, born August 16, 1837. She was probably named after a relative or friend of the family. She was born in what is now Polk County, Georgia, then a part of Paulding County, on August 16, 1837. Her mother died when Medora was two years old, and she was reared by her step-mother, her father's second wife, Ann (Linton) Sparks, and by her grandmother, Elizabeth (Whatley) Sparks who lived with the family of Thomas H. Sparks from 1837 until her death in 1870. When she wrote her will in 1880, Medora referred to Ann as "my Mother.:

From the diary of Thomas H. Sparks, it is apparent that in 1853 and 1854 Medora attended school in Madison, Georgia. On November 15, 1853, her father recorded the fact that he was in Madison and paid Medora's tuition in the amount of $32.00. On November 17, 1853, he entered in his accounts: 'Difference in board MA, $20.00', 'Medora acct. Board & Tuition, $21.00', and 'MA acct. making dress, $9.00.' On January 4, 1854, he recorded: 'Fare to Madison, 2, $5.40,' and on the following day he noted: 'Gave Medora $10.00' and 'MA tuition, $75.00.'

Shortly before her twentieth birthday, on January 14, 1857, Medora Sparks married James D. Waddell. The marriage was recorded in her father's family Bible as follows: 'James D. Waddel and Medora N. Sparks were married in Polk County, Georgia on 14th of January 1857 at 8 o'clock P.M. by Revd. J. M. Wood, on Wednesday.' James D. Waddell was born in Abbeville District, South Carolina, on December 22, 1832. According to the Annals of Athens by A. L. Hull (1906), he was the son of Isaac Watts and Sarah (Daniel) Waddell. Sarah Daniel, his mother, was a daughter of James Kelso and Violet (Bell) Daniel; his father, Dr. Isaac Watts Waddell, a Presbyterian minister, was a son of Dr. Moses and Eliza W. (Plesants) Waddell. In 1819, Dr. Moses V. Waddell had been chosen president of the University of Georgia. James D. Waddell was a farmer by occupation and owned a plantation near Marietta, Georgia. During the War Between the States, he contributed extensively to the Confederate cause. The first company to leave Polk County to join the Confederate Army was commanded by Captain James D. Waddell, who, before the war ended, was wounded five times and was promoted to colonel. During the closing years of his life, Col. Waddell wrote a biography of Linton Stephens, half-brother of the Vice-President of the Confederacy, Alexander H. Stephens. The latter was a frequent guest in the Waddell home, which still stands on the corner of Waddell and Hansell Streets in Marietta. James D. Waddell died December 15, 1881. Medora, his wife, died March 11, 1880. Both were buried in Marietta. There were no children.

25.2.3 James Martin Sparks, born October 11, 1839 at Cedartown, Polk County (then Paulding County), Georgia. His mother, Mary Ann (Leonard) Sparks, died when he was only seven days old, and James, like his elder sister Medora, was reared by his step-mother, Ann (Linton) Sparks, and by his grandmother, Elizabeth (Whatley) Sparks.

Little is known of the youth of James M. Sparks. We may assume that he was properly educated in the manner of sons of Southern gentlemen of the time, and that he was trained to follow in his father's footsteps as a farmer and plantation owner. Mrs. Morgan, a daughter of James's first child, recalls her mother telling that, on his wedding day, James was given twenty slaves and a plantation. When the 1860 census was taken of Polk County, he was listed as a "farmer," with real estate valued at $4,000 and personal property valued at $13,600.

The marriage of 25.2.3 James Martin Sparks was recorded in his father's family Bible as follows: "James M. Sparks and L. Virginia Blance were married at the residence of Col. H. Fielders in Cedar Town, Polk County, Georgia, on the 2nd December, 1858 at 8 o'clock P.M. by the Rev. J. M. Wood." Lula Virginia Blance was born November 13, 1841, and had thus just turned eighteen when she was married. She was born in Georgia, probably in the Cedartown area, but this far, nothing has been learned regarding her ancestry, although it is known that she and Mrs. Fielders were sisters which accounts for her being married at the "residence of Col. H. Fielders." The fact that her second son was named Joseph Blance Sparks suggests that her father's name may have been Joseph.

Mrs. Morgan has recorded some of the things which her mother used to tell about James M. Sparks: "Mother said that he had the slaves assemble each morning, in a place for the occasion, and would read the Scripture to them and let them sing a few songs before starting the duties of the day. He was just and kind, and he provided well for his household. Throughout the Civil War he served in the Confederate Army as a Lieutenant. Either just before, or during, the war he sold his plantation, and when the war was over, his money was of no value and his slaves had been set free. Although a man of only twenty-six years at the war's end, he was a victim of heart dropsy and never regained his health, remaining an invalid until his death in 1876. Grandmother taught school to support the family, while Aunt Medora Waddell and Uncle Joe Blance seem to have given financial assistance. Grandfather died at the age of thirty-six years, but we reverence his memory as a just, upright man who lived his life, loved and served the Lord, and no doubt led some of his slaves into Heaven. I am the happy possessor of a silver cup which he gave my mother on her first birthday.:

James Martin Sparks died March 5, 1876, and his widow, Lula Virginia (Blance) Sparks, died May 18, 1888. They were buried in Westwood Cemetery, Cedartown, Polk County, Georgia. They were the parents of six children, as follows: Medora Waddell Sparks, born September 15, 1859; died September 8, 1937. James M. Sparks, Jr., born October 6, 1861; date of death unknown. Mary E. Sparks, born ca. 1863; died May 13, 1863. Joseph Blance Sparks, born ca. 1865; died October 6, 1865. Annie D. Sparks, born September 17, 1866; died October 20, 1884. Eugene Pierce Sparks, born March 21, 1871; died May 1, 1943. Medora Waddell Sparks, first child of James M. and L. Virginia (Blance) Sparks, was born September 15, 1859, and died September 8, 1937. She was married on October 1, 1876, to George W. Brewer who was born November 11, 1856, and died May 4, 1933. They were the parents of eleven children, as follows: James J. Brewer, born October 17, 1877; died May 4, 1921. He was married in October, 1911, to Lettie Adams who died in August, 1918. They were the parents of the following children: Lucille Gertrude Brewer, born November 20, 1912; died November 5, 1936. George I. Brewer, born November 12, 1914. He married Mrs. Mattie Ree Irvin who was born June 21, 1915. They have two children: James Edward Brewer, born May 9, 1947; and Larry Benjamin Brewer, born May 8, 1953. Urna Brewer (triplet) born September 12, 1917; died in infancy. Erma Brewer (triplet) born September 12, 1917; died in infancy. Ernest Brewer (triplet) born September 12, 1917; died in infancy. Julious B. Brewer, born March 12, 1880; died October 4, 1906. George Brewer, born August 10, 1881; died November 10, 1882. Carrie Josephine Brewer, born February 28, 1883; died August 10, 1936. She was married on October 1, 1906, to Joseph T. Gay who was born October 17, 1882; he died March 28, 1946. They were the parents of the following children: Julius Louise Gay, born December 9, 1907; died May 5, 1935. She married Galen H. Teeple in 1928. He died in 1948. Lula Esther Gay, born November 22, 1912; died January 29, 1916. Lois Mae Gay, born March 4, 1915, in Cullman Co., Ala. She married Charles A. Wolfe on August 30, 1934. They have one son, Charles C. Wolfe, born November 21, 1935. Eva Jeannette Gay, born January 5, 1918, in Cullman Co., Ala. She married James E. McLaughlin on June 10, 1937, in Duquesne, PA. One son was born to this marriage, John Edward McLaughlin, born June 15, 1942. They were divorced on January 19, 1949. Eva Jeannette Gay married, second, Edwin H. Williamson on August 2, 1957, in Dravosburg, PA. Joseph T. Gay, Jr., born January 12, 1920, in Cullman Co., Ala. He married Jessie Brandt on October 2, 1941, in Duquesne, PA. They have two sons: William Robert Gay, born June 9, 1942; and Curtis Taylor Gay, born September 29, 1947. William Edmond Gay, born September 23, 1923, in Birmingham, Ala. He married Shirley Lee McNellis on April 1, 1948, in Brooklyn, New York. Two children were born to this marriage: Linda Lee Gay, born January 11, 1951; and William E. Gay, Jr., born January 4, 1954.

They were divorced in 1956. On February 14, 1959, Mr. Gay married Elizabeth Ann Trask. She was born January 5, 1934, in Farmington, Maine. They have one son, David Robert Gay, born December 31, 1961, in Schenectady, New York. Benjamin E. Brewer was born April 3, 1886. He was married on April 1, 1917, to Leola E. Stephens who was born April 11, 1894. No children. Virginia Brewer was born March 12, 1888, and died January 8, 1889. Medora Sparks Brewer was born April 3, 1891, and died February 4, 1953, in Nashville, Ga. She was married on May 21, 1914, to William George Connell, who was born May 12, 1886, in Berrien County, Georgia. They were the parents of the following children: Willie Mildred Connell, born May 12, 1915, in Nashville, Ga. She was married on January 25, 1937, in Polk City, Fla., to William Seabron Cameron who was born March 23, 1899. They are the parents of two children: Judith Dianne Cameron, born February 17, 1939, in Winter Haven, Fla.; and George Ronald Cameron, born February 29, 1944, in Nashville, Ga. Hazel Juanita Connell, born July 11, 1916, in Nashville, Ga. She was married in Nashville on August 20, 1945, to Edward Wilson Smith who was born August 28, 1913. They are the parents of one child, Sharon Lea Smith, born August 7, 1946, in Winter Haven, Fla. Randall Brewer Connell, born February 17, 1918, in Nashville, Ga. Ruby Pauline Connell, born January 25, 1921, in Nashville, Ga. She was married on August 25, 1945, to Prince Bragg who was born April 10, 1909. They are the parents of the following children: Carolyn Sue Bragg, born September 29, 1946, in Winter Haven, Fla.; Patricia Ann Bragg, born October 23, 1951, in Nashville, Ga..; and Dora Kathryn Bragg, born March 8, 1955, in Nashville, Ga. George Ferrell Connell, born September 27, 1923, in Nashville, Ga. He was married on March 1, 1947, in Nashville, to Reatha Mae McClelland who was born May 17, 1928. They are the parents of the following children: Sandra Kay Connell, born December 16, 1947, in Hahira, Ga.; and George Ferrell Connell, Jr., born May 15, 1951, in Winter Haven, Fla Doris Irene Connell, born February 7, 1925, in Nashville, Ga. She was married in Atlanta, Ga., on September 4,1947, to Loyd Lee Henderson who was born January 2, 1923. They are the parents of two children: Sarah Marlene Henderson, born October 20, 1949, in Atlanta; and Gary Lee Henderson, born May 30, 1952. Annie Sue Brewer, eighth child of George W. and Medora Waddell (Sparks) Brewer, was born May 4, 1892. She was married at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Craddock on December 24, 1915, to Joseph Westly Morgan who was born May 22, 1891. They are the parents of five children, as follows: Flora Ann Morgan, born January 20, 1916. She was married on May 18, 1943, to Paul Crump. They have two children: Judith Crump, born September 23, 1946; and Jeanne Crump, born December 23, 1949. Ruth Morgan, born January 1, 1917; died January 5, 1917. Joseph Westly Morgan, Jr., born December 2, 1918. He was married on March 28, 1941, to Nanomi EloiseTillman. They have two children: Joseph H. Morgan, born December 2, 1943; and Larry W. Morgan, born April 28, 1948. Dorothy Lee Morgan, born November 21, 1919; died July 3. Geneva Blance Morgan, born July 16, 1921. She married Thomas Gorden Taylor and they have one child, John Morgan Taylor, born December 16, 1940. Ernest L. Brewer was born August 10, 1894, and died February 4, 1953. He was married on March 25, 1921, at Shadyside Baptist Church by the Rev. Theador Harris to Mattie W. Boswell, who was born December 25, 1898, and died February 23, 1946. They had three children: Robert L. Brewer, born February 12, 1922; died in the spring of 1925. Emily Jane Brewer, born November 20, 1925. She married Samuel Clem on July 30, 1941. They have two children: Brenda Jane Clem, born April 28, 1946; and Ernest Roland Clem, born March 28, 1947. Mattie Willine Brewer, born February 14, 1928. She was married on February 28, 1953, to Fred Huston. They have two children: Mary Cathryn Huston, born October 15, 1956; and David Kyle Huston, born December 17, 1957. Joseph A. Blance Brewer, tenth child of George W. and Medora Waddell (Sparks) Brewer, was born February 22, 1899. He was married on March 30, 1937, to Dessie Edith Berry who was born July 14, 1907. They have one daughter: Jo Elaine Brewer, born March 10, 1942. Daisy B. Brewer, eleventh child of George W. and Medora Waddell (Sparks) Brewer, was born March 12, 1902. She was married on June 27, 1928, to Daniel Sturgeon McLean who was born March 29, 1901. They have two children: Joyce Imogene McLean, born October 18, 1929. She married William Fenn on February 27, 1954. Donald Wayne McLean, born February 26, 1938. James M. Sparks, Jr., second child of James Martin and L. Virginia (Blance) Sparks, was born October 6, 1861. His date of death is not known. It is known that he married Ella Carter and that they had one son: James Sparks. Mary E. Sparks, third child of James Martin and L. Virginia (Blance) Sparks, was born ca. 1863. She died in infancy on May 13, 1863. Joseph Blance Sparks, fourth child of James Martin and L. Virginia (Blance) Sparks, was born ca. 1865. He died in infancy on October 6, 1865. Annie D. Sparks, fifth child of James Martin and L. Virginia (Blance) Sparks, was born September 17, 1866, and died October 20, 1884. She married John W. Brewer who was born March 21, 1859, and died April 4, 1951. They were the parents of two children: William E. Brewer, born October 10, 1881; died May 15, 1956. He married Lula Burnley who was born November 10, 1881. They had two children: Inez Brewer, born April 6, 1902. Terrell Brewer, born March 22, 1904; died May 3, 1930. Annie Brewer, born September 17, 1884; died. March 19, 1914. Eugene Pierce Sparks, sixth child of James Martin and L. Virginia (Blance) Sparks, was born March 21, 1871, and died May 1, 1943. In May, 1928, he married Mrs. Addle Bates who died in 1957. There were no children.