April 28, 2021

Pages 367-372
Whole Number 25 JAMES SPARKS (1802-1866) AND HIS DESCENDANTS

by Mrs. H. A. Hood

(Editor's Note: The following record of James Sparks and his family has been prepared by Mrs. H. A. Hood, of Katy, Texas. Mrs. Hood hopes that someone reading this will be able to tell her more about the parents of James Sparks.) James Sparks, my great-grandfather, was born July 6, 1802, in South Carolina and died on September 5, 1866, in Alabama. He was married on January 24, 1830, to Mary Ann (Matthews) Bell, widow of Joseph Bell of Wilkes County, Georgia. She was born March 11, 1807, in Georgia and died on October 11, 1868, in Alabama. Both were buried in Shelby County, Alabama.

Mary Ann's mother crossed over from Ireland at the age of eight years. We have been unable to find her maiden name, however, nor where her family settled, but she married a Matthews and was living in Georgia when Mary Ann was born. A sister of Mary Ann's married Thomas Ellender.

Mary Ann Matthews married, first, Joseph Bell in Wilkes County, Georgia. He died there in 1826. Their daughter, Lucretia Ann Bell, was born January 29, 1827. (Lucretia Ann married FNU Caldwell and moved to Texas. She had three children, two sons and one daughter. One of the sons was named Joe; the daughter was named Lou and married a Chappell.)

In 1830, James Sparks, his wife, Mary Ann, and Mary Ann's daughter, Lucretia Ann, moved to Jefferson County, Alabama. They were received into membership in the Canaan Baptist Church of Jefferson County on November 26, 1831. James Sparks was the only Sparks listed on the 1830 census of Jefferson County, but on the 1840 census, two other Sparkses appeared, Peterson Sparks and Samuel Sparks, both of whom gave their ages as between 30 and 40. Both were married and had children, but it will be recalled that census records prior to 1850 listed by name only the head of each family. (by 1850, Peterson Sparks had moved to Pontotoc County, Mississippi; the census of that year gave his age as forty-four and his birthplace as South Carolina. Isabella Sparks, Peterson's wife, was only 30 years old and must have been his second wife. The Sparks children were listed as: Sarah Sparks, 19, born in Tenn., ca. 1831 Dred Sparks, 11, born in Ala., ca. 1839; Caroline Sparks, 10, born in Ala., ca. 1840; Ruth Sparks, 9, born in Ala., ca. 1841; Samuel Sparks, 7, born in Ala., ca. 1843; William Sparks, 5, born in Miss., ca. 1845; Robert Sparks, 3, born in Miss., ca. 1847; and James Sparks, 4 months, born in Miss., ca. 1849

by 1860, Peterson Sparks had moved to Carroll County, Arkansas, where the census of 1860 listed additional children: Richard M. Sparks, 8, born in Ark., ca. 1852; Martha I. Sparks, 6, born in Ark., ca. 1854; and Noah Sparks, 4, born in Ark., ca. 1856.

It is believed that Peterson Sparks moved to Texas shortly after 1860 and died there.)

There is some evidence to indicate that James Sparks, my great-grandfather, born in 1802, and Peterson Sparks, born ca. 1806, were brothers; that they had three other brothers named Thomas Sparks, Samuel Sparks, and Joshua Sparks; and that eventually all of these brothers moved to Texas. Mrs. Lida D. Phillips, Rt. 1, Box 8-B, Opelousas, Louisiana, is a granddaughter of Robert Turner Sparks (1847-1936), who was a son of Peterson Sparks. According to Mrs. Phillips, Robert Turner Sparks listed the following names in an old ledger in such a way as to suggest that he was recording his line of descent:

Peterson Sparks, born in Georgia
Richard Sparks, born in Georgia
Peter Sparks, born in Georgia
Robert Turner Sparks, born in Aberdeen, Miss.

The Peterson Sparks noted on the above census records was the 'Peter Sparks" listed above Robert Turner Sparks, his son, although he was then in South Carolinia, not Georgia. The implication of this list is that the father of Peterson Sparks was named Richard Sparks. It is interesting to note that living very near the family of Peterson Sparks in Carroll County, Arkansas, near the town of Cross Creek, was listed an old couple on the 1860 census as follows:

Sparks Richard 81 Farmer Virginia
" Sarah 78   South Carolina

Could the above Richard and Sarah Sparks be the same Richard and Sarah listed on the 1850 census of Roane County, Tennessee, as follows?

Sparks Richard 69 Farmer Virginia
" Sarah 67   South Carolina
" Abigail 24   Tennessee
" Nancy J. 22    
" David 16    

James Sparks (1802-1866), my great-grandfather, settled in Jefferson County, Alabama, near the village of Jonesboro (now Birmingham). by 1860, James Sparks had moved over the county line into Shelby County, Alabama, near the town of Montevallo.

James and Mary Ann (Matthews) Sparks were the parents of nine children, all born in Jefferson County, Alabama. Their names and dates of birth have been taken from the family Bible belonging to James Sparks, now in the possession of Ed D. Horn, Nashville, Arkansas. John Harvey Sparks, oldest child of James and Mary Ann (Matthews) Sparks, was born December 6, 1830, and died Dec11, 1919, in Berwyn, Oklahoma. He was married three times. His first two wives died soon after marriage. His first marriage was to Melissa Caroline King. This marriage was recorded in the Jefferson County Marriage Book No. 3, p. 307, as follows: John H. Sparks to Melissa C. King, 7 March 1855; married 7th March at residence of James Peterson by A. M. Sadler, M. G.; Joseph Goodwin, security.' A note accompanies this record which reads: 'Judge Bagley: Sir, This will inform you that we have no objection in Melissa Caroline King being married to John H. Sparks. March 6, 1855. [signed] James Peterson, Mahala Peterson.'

On September 15, 1859, John H. Sparks married his second wife, Elizabeth Luretter King, by Thomas J. Freeman, J.P., in Shelby County, Alabama, (see Marriage Book 3, p. 59). John H. Sparks and his second wife were living in Shelby County when the 1860 census was taken (his wife's name was given by the census taker as 'Eliza L. Sparks' 17 years of age). A son named Frank, one month old, was also listed, but since there is no further record of this child it is probable that he died in infancy.

After the War of 1861-65, John H. Sparks moved to Arkansas and there married Frances Mason. She was born April 19, 1844, in Lockesburg, Sevier County, Arkansas, and died in Bowie, Texas, on May 24, 1883. John H. and Frances (Mason) Sparks moved to Cook County, Texas, around 1870. In the early 1870's, he freighted between Jefferson City and Gainsville, and in 1880 he moved to Bowie and operated a store. They had six children, three of whom died in infancy. Following the death of his third wife, John H. Sparks and his three surviving children moved to Berwyn, Indian Territory, (now Oklahoma), ca. 1890. He operated a grocery store and was postmaster for a while, then bought a ranch. John H. Sparks was known as a 'lone wolf' type, crowding the frontiers. He described the Indian Territory as 'plenty tough.'

Children of John Harvey and Frances (Mason) Sparks: Mary Lou Anna Sparks, born November 28, 1871; died April 6, 1929, in Okia. She married a FNU Wallis. Their children were: Fred Wallis, who married Florence Bone Lorena Wallis, who married Nat Vance. W. H. Wallis, who married Kitty Rambo William John Sparks, born March 7, 1874; died May 17, 1878. Josy May Sparks, born March 21, 1876; died April 24, 1878. Oliver G. Sparks, born March 16, 1878. He married Callie Wright. They were the parents of three children: Allen Sparks, unmarried. Hazel Sparks, who married Oliver LNU Alta Sparks, who married a FNU Pettyjohn. Olice Allen Sparks, born August 15, 1880. He married Gladys Vance and they have two children: Frances Sparks, unmarried. Olice Allen Sparks, Jr Alice Mauderia Sparks, born January 31, 1883; died May 31, 1883. Easter Luvena Sparks (called Luvena), the second child of James and Mary Ann (Matthews) Sparks, was born August 31, 1833, and died January 10, 1911, in Howard County, Arkansas. She was married on September 16, 1851, in Jefferson County, Alabama, to James Hooker. He was born February 4, 1829, in Jefferson County, Alabama, and died July 18, 1875, in Howard County, Arkansas. James Hooker was the son of John and Rachel (Loveless) Hooker. Five of James and Luvena (Sparks) Hooker's children were born in Alabama. In 1859, they sold their farm (which is now covered by the city of Birmingham) and moved to Cane Ridge, Louisiana. One child was born there. Luvena lived with her sister, Sarah, while James served in the War Between the States. After he returned home from the war, he moved across the state line to Eldorado, Arkansas. Two children were born there.

[NOTE: A photograph appears at the bottom of page 369 under which is the following caption:]
Easter Luvena (Sparks) Hooker (1833-1911)
Daughter of James and Mary Ann (Matthews) Sparks

In 1869, James bought some land in Howard County, Arkansas, and built a large double log house on it. For a few years this was home for the growing family. Three more children were born there. Following is a list of the eleven children of James and Luvena (Sparks) Hooker: Lafayette Hooker, born July 30, 1852; died December 26, 1922, in Hempstead County, Ark. He married Mary Clark. William L. Hooker, born November 19, 1853; died January 11, 1933, in Hempstead County, Ark. He first married Mary Anne Gathright, who died in 1880. He married, second, Cyntha Barton. Anney Hooker, born March 8, 1856; died in Howard County, Ark., in 1884. She never married. Safrony Hooker, born June 20, 1857; died May 6, 1918, in Howard Co., Ark. She married William H. Jones. John Richard Hooker, born June 19, 1858; died April, 1897, in Howard Co., Ark. He married Betty Myrick. Mary Elizabeth Hooker, born August 8, 1861, in Cane Ridge, Louisiana; died in 1912 in Howard Co., Ark. She married Johnny Alphin. Samuel W. Hooker, born July 13, 1866, in Eldorado, Ark., and died February17, 1938, in Howard Co., Ark. He married Malinda Blackwood. Joab Hooker, born May 10, 1868, in Eldorado, Ark. He is the only child of James and Luvena (Sparks) Hooker still living. He married Alice Gathright. Thomas Oliver Hooker, born September 28, 1870, in Howard Co., Ark.; and died August 22, 1923, in Balwin Park, California. He married Emily Jane Holly. Robert Edward Hooker, my father, was born January 14, 1872, in Howard Co., Ark.; and died February 24, 1952. He married Nancy Jane Simpson on November 18, 1891. She was born March 15, 1872, and died April 2, 1918. She and Robert Edward are both buried at Quanah, Texas. They had five children: Zelba Hooker, born August 24, 1892; died September 24, 1892. Ottra Hooker, born June 29, 1895; died August 4, 1917; unmarried Vera Dove Hooker (author of this sketch), born July 6, 1901; married Henry Hood. We have five children: Jane Hood, born August 29, 1921; married Herbert Carew. Doris Hood, born June 28, 1923; married John Hencke. Henry Ed Hood, born January 11, 1931; married Bonnie Smith. Shirley Hood, born August 10, 1934; married Philip Lykes. Dean Hood, born January 10, 1942. Irene Hooker, born February 15, 1905; married Eugene Hoyt. Texas Hooker, born October 31, 1909; married Oscar Hale W. A. Hooker, born March 18, 1785; died in infancy. Sarah (Saraphin) Sparks, third child of James and Mary Ann (Matthews) Sparks, was born September 15, 1835, and died in 1900 in Homer, Louisiana. She was married at the residence of Thomas Allender in Jefferson County, Alabama, on October 28, 1857, to Shelton Alphin, and shortly after their marriage they moved to Cane Ridge, Louisiana. They had two children: Johnny Alphin, who married Betty Hooker. Billy Alphin, who married Julia Jackson.

Following the death of Shelton Alphin, Sarah married Thomas Everett. They had five children: Emma Everett, died in infancy. Minnie Everett, died in infancy. Eunia Everett, married John Farrar. Viola Everett, married John Young. Ada Everett, married Obie Kenly. William B. Sparks, fourth child of James and Mary Ann (Matthews) Sparks, was born January 22, 1837, and died May 25, 1862. He was killed in the War Between the States. Mary Ann Sparks, fifth child of James and Mary Ann (Matthews) Sparks, was born July 15, 1839. She was married in Shelby County, Alabama, on January 5, 1862, to Wesley W. Arnett. They had two children: William Lee Arnett, born September 19, 1862; died in early childhood. Sam Arnett, born ca. 1864; died in 1934 in Arkansas; unmarried. Nancy Jane Sparks, sixth child of James and Mary Arm (Matthews) Sparks, was born May 8, 1840. She died February 7, 1923, in Howard County, Arkansas. She married Harrison Bradford on October 12, 1865, in Shelby County, Alabama, and they moved to Howard County, Arkansas, in 1869. They purchased land which is still in the possession of thefamily. Of their eight children, the first three were born in Alabama. Mary Ellen Bradford, born August 3, 1866; died December 23, 1926. She married James Dennis. James Bradford, born September 25, 1867; died May, 1924. He married Sally Bandy. Ludie Bradford, born April 21, 1869; died December 26, 1953. She married Stephen Lewis. Bartholow Bradford, born March 28, 1871; died in 1879. Shelby Bradford, born March 2, 1874; died February 26, 1950. He married Ella Garrett. Hoy Bradford, born July 12, 1878. He married Willie Eppers. Naomi Bradford, born October 10, 1881. She married Charlie Davis. Eliza Hope Bradford, born November 10, 1883. She never married. James Hopson Sparks, child of James and Mary Ann (Matthews) Sparks, was born December 4, 1843. He died December 19, 1863, in an army hospital. Samuel H. Sparks, child of James and Mary Ann (Matthews) Sparks, was born April 26, 1845, and died in 1924 in Locksburg, Arkansas. He married Lou McMurrian and they followed his sisters to Arkansas, settling in Sevier County. They had one son and threedaughters: Rudson Sparks, married Anna Mauldin. Emma Sparks, married Ben Hopson. Maude Sparks, married Stanford White. Fanny Sparks, married Mr. Johnson. Eliza O. Sparks, child of James and Mary Ann (Matthews) Sparks, was born December 25, 1848. She died December 25, 1887, in Nashville, Arkansas. She married Louis C. Horn on December 5, 1867, in Shelby County, Alabama. Following the death of her parents in Alabama, Eliza and her husband also followed the rest of thefamily to Arkansas. They had five children: Oscar Horn, born August 14, 1869; died in 1949. Laura Horn, born June 9, 1873; died in 1937. Ed D. Horn, born April 7, 1879. Mary Etta Horn, born October 21, 1876; died October 21, 1957. She married J. W. Bailey. Sim P. Horn, born December 19, 1882; she married R. H. Ford.

The letter which Eliza O. Sparks wrote to her relatives in Arkansas following the death of her father, James Sparks, has been preserved. Eliza was the youngest child and had assumed the responsibility of looking after her parents in their old age. This letter reads as follows:

December the 6, 1866

Dear brothers and sisters and children

I seat my self this morning to write a letter for the first time in life. This leaves us all well at this time hoping these few lines may find you all well. I haven't any good news to write to you, times is hard here. We have all made plenty of corne to do us by being saving with it but there are a great many that have not made half enough to do them.

You all have heard of the death of our beloved father. It was an awful thing but we could do nothing more, death came and we had to part with him. Sisters oh sisters I stayed by his bed side till the last breath left him. Oh it seemed like my hart would burst but he has only paid the debt that we all have to pay and the last word that he spoke was to hurry me to the graveyard. Oh sisters you would miss him if you was here today for he was a father that was always at home with his family.

Nancy Jane and Harrison live in that old house where you lived above us. Nancy Jane has a girl. Its name is Mary Elviry. Wesley and Mary live at the place where they lived when you left here and are doing very well there. Sam is a great big fellow and says he can whip any of his cousins.

Mother has broke a great deal since you have seen her. All her talk is in her children. She says that she would give all she has in the world to see you all again.

Oh sisters if I could call back the days I have stayed with you and your sweet little children, oh it would be joyful but that day will never come again. Brother Jim you was more like a father to me than a brother.

All the old neighbors are well. Tell Fate and Billy and Anny and Frony when they get grown they must come to see sis. They will not see little sis, I weigh one hundred and thirty pounds. Well I will come to a close for this time. Nothing more only I remain your true sister untill death. Write to me soon if you please. farewell.

Eliza O. Sparks
to James Hooker
and connection.