Whole Number 27
It is believed that the following letters will be of interest to all who enjoy reading about the experiences of America's pioneers. They were first brought to the editor's attention by Mrs. Una Sparks Pierce, 2851 Ewald Circle, Detroit, Michigan; Mrs. Pierce had made a copy a number of years ago. Later it was learned that the originals are now owned by Charles Sparks of Grand Junction, Colorado, and through his sister, Elizabethe S. Ericksen, we were able to borrow them. Mrs. Ericksen, who lives at 225 N. Prospect St., Colorado Springs, Colorado, also loaned us the original of the photograph of William H, Sparks and Emerson B. Sparks which appears the cover of this issue, as well as that of William and Melinda Ann (Sparks) Earhart which appears on page 409.
These letters were written in February and March, 1867, on the pages of two small day-books which were later sewed together to form a booklet. In transcribing them,capitalization and punctuation have been modernized, but the original spelling and content have been carefully retained.
The writer of these letters was 188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 William Henderson Sparks who was born in Wells County, Indiana, on May 18, 1839. The recipient was his brother, 220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Emerson Barber Sparks, who was born March 25, 1850, in Huntington County, Indiana. They were sons of 22.214.171.124.3.2.4 George W. and Sarah (Mossburg) Sparks (see the June, 1959, issue of The Sparks Quarterly, page 393). In the letters it will be noted that William H. Sparks referred to his brother, 126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Henry Sparks, and his sister, 184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Melinda Ann, wife of William Earhart. These were the only other children of 18.104.22.168.3.2.4 George W. and Sarah (Mossburg) Sparks, although following Sarah's death in 1864, George W. Sparks married again and had another son, 22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Ellison George Sparks, born December 19, 1866. George W. Sparks died in Wells County, Indiana on September 14, 1892.
It is apparent from the tone of his letters that William H. Sparks was a homesick young man in 1867. Four months earlier, with his 23-year-old wife, Mary Jane, and their three small children, he had set out by covered wagon from his home in Huntington, Indiana, for St. Clair County, Missouri. His sister, Melinda Ann, and her husband, William Earhart, traveled with them, as well as his wife's parents, Hiram and Margaret (Mitchell) Sale. From references in the letters it would appear that there were other families as well. They started on October 18, 1866, and reached the Indiana-Illinois state line on October 26. They crossed the Mississippi River on November 7 and arrived at their new home on November 18, a journey of 32 days in which they covered 578 miles, according to William's reckoning.
Although when he wrote these letters, William H. Sparks was uncertain that he would remain in Missouri, he did make his permanent home there. He died on January 24, 1904, at Lowry City, Missouri, at the age of 64. His wife, whom he had married in Wells County, Indiana, on November 15, 1860, was Mary Jane Sale, daughter of Hiram and Margaret (Mitchell) Sale. (The Sale family, often spelled 'Sales,' had lived near the Sparks family in Wilkes County, North Carolina. In 1868, Hiram Sale went to Southeast Missouri looking for a new location and died there.) Mary Jane Sale, wife of William H. Sparks, was born in Wells County, Indiana, on March 24, 1843, and died near Osceola, Missouri, on February 24, 1908. William H. and Mary Jane (Sale) Sparks were the parents of the following children:
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1 Harrison Lane Sparks, born March 21, 1862; died 1892; married Deiphia Cracey.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.2 Alice Ann Sparks, born January 12, 1864; died September, 1948; married William K.Walker.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.3 Roselda Isabelle Sparks, born March 12, 1866; died May 30, 1948; married Clayton H. Replogle.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.4 Ida Elizabeth Sparks, born December 18, 1867; married March 14, 1895, Frederick William Venter.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.5 Ella May Sparks, born September 20, 1869; died May 28, 1927; married Jack Walters.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.6 Mary Etta Sparks, born October 4, 1871; married Ed. Stillwell.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.7 Laura Melvina Sparks, born September 23, 1873; married Louis Gonseth.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.8 John Henry Sparks (twin), born October 14, 1875; died January 30, 1958; married Bess Duval.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.9 Hiram Sparks (twin), born October 14, 1875; died in infancy.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.10 Lillian Adoma Sparks, born July 26, 1877; died in 1903.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.11 Charles Wilson Sparks, born September or October 13, 1879; died July 23, 1955; married Victoria Forsythe.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.12 Lula Belle Sparks, born March 1, 1881; married William Duvall.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.13 James Monroe Sparks, born March 13, 1884; died July 9, 1952; married June 8, 1912, Eva Isabel Thompson.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.14 Joseph J. Sparks, born November 5, 1885; died January 1921.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Emerson Barber Sparks, to whom William H. Sparks addressed his letters, was born in Warren, Huntington County, Indiana, on March 25, 1850, and died at Kalamazoo, Michigan, on December 6, 1919. Although born in Huntington County, he spent most of his life just over the county line in Wells County, in Rockcreek Township. On July 27, 1873, he was married in Shelbyville, Indiana, to Lovicy Gunn, daughter of Willian and Jane (Morford) Gunn. She was born December 14, 1854, in Hancock County, Indiana, and died on August 29, 1921, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Emerson Sparks was eleven years younger than his brother, William, and was sixteen years old when the letters were written. Without knowing this fact, it would still be apparent from the tone of the letters that William was writing to his 'kid brother.' Ernerson B. and Lovicy (Gunn) Sparks were the parents of the following children, all born in Indiana:
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1 Vernie Chester Sparks, born June 22, 1874, in Wells County, Ind.; died October 28, 1930; married July 28, 1898, Mary Adaline Plasterer.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.2 James Homer Sparks, born December 13, 1877, in Wells Co., Ind.; died August 15, 1939; married; March 29, 1912, Jennie Brown.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.3 Lucion Otis Sparks, born June 6, 1879, in Hancock Co., Ind.; died March 15, 1918; married; June 27, 1900, Della May Wolfcale.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.4 Charles Reed Sparks, born March 8, 1881, in Hancock Co., Ind.; died May 16, 1941; married Goldie MNU.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.5 Xantha Jane Sparks, born April 27, 1883, in Hancock Co., Ind.; died January 27, 1943; married Alvin Kinder.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.6 Una May Sparks, born March 2, 1885, in Hancock Co., Ind.; married, 1st Oct, 1908, Clarence William Hunt; 2d, May 20, 1922,Noel J. Pierce.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.7 William Everett Sparks, born June 17, 1888, in Wells Co., Ind.; died June 21, 1958; married; October 25, 1911, Nellie Boyd.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.8 Dessie Pearl Sparks, born April 18, 1894; married FNU Bodine.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Henry Sparks, brother of William H. and Emerson Sparks, who was mentioned frequently in William's letters, was born November 25, 1841. He married Elizabeth E. Grant in Wells County, Indiana, on August 22, 1867. They are known to have had at least one child, 188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1 Oscar W. Sparks, born in 1869. Henry Sparks died in April, 1882.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Melinda Ann Sparks, sister of William H. and Enterson B. Sparks, was born June 16, 1847, in Indiana and died in 1923. She was married in Indiana to William Henry Earhart, who died on October 6, 1937, in Markle, Indiana. Although they accompanied William H. Sparks to Missouri, Melinda Ann and her husband soon returned to Indiana, where all eight of their children were born. A photograph of Melinda Ann with her husband appears on page 409. Their children were:
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1 Lester Earhart; married Emma Wilcoxon.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.2 Theodore Earhart; married Almeda Woods.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.3 Philip Earhart; unmarried.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.4 Clarence Earhart; married Ossie Cross.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.5 Elza Earhart; born October 10, ----; married Martha Roberts.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.6 Charles Earhart; married Vernie Wilcoxson.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.7 Henry Milton Earhart, born September 12, 1881; died November 1, 1950; married September 14, 1904, Louisa Ann Parks.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.8 Milo Earhart, born July 24, 1883; unmarried.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Ellison George Sparks, son of George W. Sparks and his second wife, Phoebe Jane (Pouless) Sparks, was born December 19, 1866, in Wells County, Indiana, and died November 27, 1946, at Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana. He married Rosella Ellen Redding, daughter of John and Sarah (Nicholson) Redding, in Wells County, Indiana, on November 17, 1888. She was born February 16, 1868, in Huntington County, Indiana, and died on June 8, 1954, at Bluffton, Wells County, Indiana. Ellison G. and Rosella E. (Redding) Sparks were the parents of three children:
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1 Ninetta Leota Sparks, born August 6, 1889; died February 9, 1892.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.2 Fern Ada Sparks, born June 3, 1894; married, May 28, 1913, John Howard Gordon.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.3 Ralph Kenneth Sparks, born November 5, 1900; married June 17, 1922, Emma Josephine Bell.
State of Missouri., St. Clair Co.
Febuary 20th 1867
I seat myself this evening for to comence a small letter to you. Well, this evening finds us all well as comon, and I hope this will find you well and harty. Well Emerson, I do not know whither I can fill these six sheets or not, but I will keep writing along by spells till I get them filled with something, if' it is not anything but blue marks. If I was a good editor I could fill this little book, but as the girl said 'his name is only comon Bill, and he wishes me to wed him, but I hardly think I will,' so my name is only comon Bill, and so you will not expect a flowery speech from me. I have told you before what I think of this country, so it is useless for me to spend time and paper to write mutch on that subject, I will give you a short report of the weather. Well, we have some rain and mud now. It has thawed out and is pretty muddy. The weather is warm but damp. Well, I was over to town today to see if I could get some letters from that part of the country, but I did not get any. I have not had a letter for about tow weeks; I am almost starved for a letter. Why dont you write me one for spite? Well, you think that would be a goodeal like cutting your nose off to spite your face. Emerson, I tell you the Osage River is big enough to swim in; it is about 20 feet deep now--it is up big. I cross it most every week. It looks dangers to cross it now on the fary boat. They have a rope streeched a cross the river and they haft to pull it a cross by there hands. Some times they cant hold it and they go down the river. I tell you I would not care bout being on the bote now and for it to get loast. It took 4 men to hold the bote today. The water is very swift and the bote is big so it is hard to hold it from going down the river. While I was over town my old mare broke loos and I had to walk home. That did not suit me very well, for I had to go so far around to keep from wading. So I was pretty tired when I got home, and the old mair lost the bridle and sheep skin, and when she came home I jumped on her and went clear back to the river and there I found them. When she broke the halter some body tied her by the bridle, and she pulled the bridle off and away she went. Me and the old mair had a big time, dident we? Well, I will quit for tonight. I wrote one letter before this tonight. So it is nine o'clock bed time, butt if you were here I would not go to bed tonight. I would set up all night, and go home with the girls in the morning. So I bid you good evening brother.
Well Emerson, this is Thursday morning and, as it is a cold morning, I will write while it is tow cold to work. Last night when I quit writing it was warm, and before I got in bed it comenced turning cold and this morning is a bout as cold as it gets. The sun dogs show plain. It changes very quick; it puts me in mind of a little story I heard. There was a man out by a pond a chopping, and he was warm and a swetting, and he saw a clowd rising in the west, and before he could get on his coat the cloud came up and froze the pond over so quick that the frogs could not get there heads under, so he went along and kicked there heads off. (I left then.) I think it was as apt to be here as any where els, for the weather can change here in the twinkling of an eye. I am afraid that all of the peaches is kiled, for they begin to swell pretty smart, and sutch a cold spell will be pretty apt to kill them. If it dos, my fun will be spilt from eating peaches. I was in hopes that we would have a good crop of every thing this year so I could tell how I would like this country against next fall, and if I liked it pretty well then I would write for you all to come out here. But if I dont like it, then I dont want you to come, for if I dont like it then I dont think I will stay here if I can get away. But they say if we stay one year here that we will not leave. Well, I think there is a goodeal of truth in that, for we will be so poor that we cant get away. Any how, I wrote for brother Henry to come out and see this country, and if he did not like it he could go back in the fall if he wanted to. If he comes out, if he dont want to work out he can help me tend a crop of corn. I would be glad if he would come out, for I guess that I will havt to work by myself, for William Earhart is going over to work at the carpenter work. They want a good many hands this spring and summer. They give $1.50 cts. a day, and you haft to bord yourself. You haft to pay $4 dollar a week for board, so they can make $5.00 dollars a week clear. That is good as they can do here. Wm Earhart lowed to go over today, but it is so cold he did not go. I am looking for Henry all the time. I wrote to him about three weeks ago; I told him that I would not write to him till I heard from him. I told him to write soon and let me know what he would do about coming. If he comes wish he would come write away so he could see how the spring was for himself. I told him to fetch as mutch good navey tobaco as he could cary. I would be glad to have some of the tobaco now; I have not had any good navey tobaco since I left there. If he has not started when you get this, I wish you would tell him to to Taylors in Tracy and tell him I want good tobaco. I wish Henry was here now; I will be lonesome when Wm Earhart leaves. He will make the fourth one that has left. Malinda Ann left first, and Andrew Lamb next, and Miray Redding next. Ann and Miary is both working in town, so our family is getting quite small to what it was. Well now I am at the middle of my letter book. I guess I will write anacrostic; that is to write my name down for the beginning of the lines, then compos lines to suit it as well as I can. I cant compose a very nice one, but I do t best I can.
|When winter storms is ore and past
I think May'll form a pleasent Spring at last;
Let peace and hope our wants sustain,
Let love and union still remain.
I hope to meet you all once more,
And if its on the golden shore,
My wishes are to meet you all
High up in Heaven where Jesus calls.
So when I bid this world adieu,
Prepaire to meet a savior true,
And when I bid farewell to all,
Remember tis my saviors call.
Kind friends, I must my poetry end,
So fare you well, my loveing friends.
Composed and written by
Wm H. Sparks,
Febuary 21st A.D. 1867.
|Early my God, without delay,
My thirsty spirits faints away.
Earth has engrossed my love too long,
Resolved I am.to learn this song.
Sinners, this solemn thought regard,
Once more before on earth we part.
Nature with all her powers shall sing,
Begin my tounge some heavenly theme.
Spring is now coming nigh at hand,
Perhaps I'll see some beautiful land.
And when the toils of this earth is ore,
Remember I hope to me to part no more.
Kind friends, I must my poetry end,
So farewell my loveing friends.
Composed and written by
Wm H. Sparks
February 21st A.D. 1867
Emerson, I don the best I could in writing these anacrosticks. I want you to write one or tow for me, and beet them if you can. My head is tow thick to compose any thing very well. Emerson, I shall write something of my imagination of the prairies, whitch are found in every direction over the face of this vast territory. They are of two kinds, the swelling or rolling whitch consists of undulating fields or dry swells or ridges, with low marshy ground between them; and the level or flat whitch are plains or rich alluvia, overgrown with long rank grass, occasionally presenting a lake, and often studded here and there with groves of wild crabapple and clusters of forest trees. There is a bright and animated beauty upon the flat prairies in the spring of the year, when they put forth their rich verdure, embossed with the early wild flowers of many hues, and spread a gorgeous carpeting which no turkish fabric can equal. Then at early dawn while the mists hang upon their borders curling in folds like vapory curtains, through which the morning sheds a softened light, they appear now light, now shaded, and present a beautiful panorama, ever varying, brightening and darkening, until the mists roll up, and the uncurtained sun reveals himself in the full brightness of his rising in the summer. The long grass stoops and swells with every breath of wind, like the waves of a heaving ocean, and the bright blossoms seem to dance and laugh in the sunshine as they toss their gaudy heads to the rustling of the passing breeze. The grass upon the prairies grows to the height of six or eight feet and makes a beautiful appearance as it sinks and rises before the wind. When the grass is thoroughly ripe in autumn, most of the prairies are burned. Sometimes the fires originate by accident, but more frequently from the design of the hunders, to facilitate them in the destruction of game. The dry grass burns with a fierce and terrible rapidity and extends the flames for miles in a few minutes, impressing the beholder with the idea of a general conflagration. In no possible condition can the prariee be seen without exciting feelings of a peculiar and most lively interest. They are gloriously beautiful or awfully terrible, according to the times and seasons in which they are beheld. But the prairies are most beautiful when the first tints of autumn are upon them; when the lovely flowers, in ten thousand varieties, are decked in their gorgeous foliage; when the gold and purple blossoms are contrasted with the emerald green surface; and silver linings of their rich leaves and the various hues of the iris, in every modification, show themselves on all sides to dazzle, bewilder, and amaze.
I guess I have wrote enough on that subject. Well, I have got this little book pretty near full, sutch as it is, but I have done the best I could. You must keep this till I see you, if you can; not because it is anything extra, but keep it to remember your brother Bill. Well, Rosey is mad and I haft to quit for awhile and play with her. Harrison and Alice is a poping pop corn. I tell you that they jump around when the corn begins to pop. They like it pretty well. Little Rosey can eat pop corn rite along. She loves it. Oh, I wish you could see some of their shines, you would laugh. They are at everything you can think of. It keeps one buisey to keep them out of mischief. Well Emerson, it will soon be night again and I want to write pop a letter all though I wrote to him since I got any letter from him. I have not got much more to write to you this time. If you will write me as much next time as I have to you this time, I will be glad. I like to get big letters. I now must bring my letter to a close for this time. I expect you will be tired before you get this read through. It is the first time that I ever sent six sheets in one letter. Now you must write me one as long as your arm. So fare well for this time. Write soon--excuse all mystakes. Direct as before. Tell pop to write to me. I have not got a letter from him for some time.
Wm. H. Sparks.
Emerson B. Sparks.
State of Missouri., St. Clair Co.,
March 5th 1867.
I seat myself this evening for to try and answer your kind and loveing letter that I received last Sunday. I received your letter with pleasure, and when I opened it and found your image inclosed in a paper, when I saw your likeness, I kissed the cold glass that covered your likeness, and the tears streamed down my cheeks. Oh, if it had of only ben yourself instead of your likeness it would of ben a greateal more pleasure to me, but it give me a great pleasure to see your's and pop's likeness. It brought my memory back to the childhood of our past lives. We once was all a family together around the old frindly fireside where we have past a many a happy hour away, but we did not realize the sweetness of each other's company then. If we had that privelage now we would appresiate it more than we did then, but we must do the best we can while we are deprived of all those precious privelages. We must try and be more interested in being kind to those that are around us now, for maby some day we will be seperated from them as we are, then we will feel well that we used them kind. We can part with them in friendship and love, then if we are ever made to reflect back on our past times we can do it with pleasure. Well Emerson, I do thank you for sending us your 1ikeness, for it proves to me that you are still mindful of your brother and sister and little nephew and your little neaces, all so for you to enquire after them. Little Harrison knowed your likeness as soon as he saw it. They are inquiring about you and grandpap a most every day. I do feel so sorry for the little children some times that I dont know what to do. They had the best supper for them this evening that they have had since we left old Indiana. The old man bought a cow today and they had mush and milk. It was the first milk they had since we left there. I tell you that they went for it heavy. I felt all most like crying to see how near starved they was for milk. But they eat ther supper and went to bed and they are now asleep. Well Emerson, are you asleep? If I was there I would rouse you up, I tell you. They are all in bed but myself, and I am lonesome. The children has sutch bad colds that they are not very well. The wrest of us is well tonight. I hope you are all well tonight. Well Emerson, I wrote you a little book ful like this some time ago, and I did not put all in it that I had lowed to, and so I thought I would write another one. I intended to give you the names of all of the towns that we came through a coming out here, but I forgot it till I had sent it to you. So I will give you the names of the towns and the number of miles from one to the other and the day of the month and so on. I noted down all of the towns as we came out here. It may interest you some; if it don't I hope there will be no harm done. I will commence on the next page with it and if you get the other one that I sent and this, you must sow them together and keep them till I see you.
Started to the State of Missouri. October 18th 1866.
|We crossed the state line of Ill, and Lid. October 26th 1866.
Now I will give you the names of the towns thru IL.
|The month of November 1866|
|Cross the Miss. River, the state line, November 7, '66.|
|Arrived at home||22||18|
Emerson, this rout that we came a moveing out here from the state of Indiana to the state of Missouri, this is the names of the towns that we came through and the days of the month and the distance from one town to the other. The hull distance is five hundred and seventy-eight miles, but it seamed like it was a thousand miles, but when the weather was nice and fair, I like to travel very well, but when it was rainy and bad I did not like it very well, but if I ever lowed to take another sutch a trip by land, I would start earlier in the fall, so it wouldn't be so cold and the roads would not be so bad, it would be more pleasure. We had a good many up and downs while on our journey. We had some big hils to go up and down, some that looked like we could not climb, but we went through it all, by exersizing patience, for I tell you we had to have patience to get along. There was a goodeal of growling among us at times, but we got along with out fighting. I tell you that I felt like it some times, but it is all over now and I am glad of it. Well Emerson, this is the 6th and we are still well as comon. Today it is trying to snow some, but it cant make much at it. But it is colder than it was through February. The moon changed this morning, and we will be apt to have some bad weather for a few days. Well Emerson, I just got a letter from brother Henry today. His letter was wrote Febuary 15th. It has been a good while a coming. He wanted to know if he could get anything to do if he would come out here. I will write to him tonight. He said if I thought it would pay him to come out here he would come. Well, he can get plenty of work now if he wants to come. I wrote to him three or four weeks ago if he wanted to come that he could get work over in town, and if he did not want to work out that way that he could help me tend a crop of corn, if he wanted to do so. But I guess he has not got the letter. He did not say anything about it no how. I will tell him tonight what he can do. I would like for him to come out and stay here awhile, and see if he wouldn't be better for his health. I believe he would have better health out here than he has there. But I know if he comes it will leave you and pop alone, but I would like it if you would all come out here, for if you all was out here I think I would be satisfied to live here. They say there is plenty of fruit of all kinds, and they ketch fish here in the Osage River that is four feet long, they way fifty pounds and upwards. Now that would be a pretty big mess for one family woulden it? They say that there is fish in the creack that runs through our place that ways fifteen to twenty. There fish hook here looks like log chain hooks. I never saw such fish hooks in my life, but if the fish is as big as they say they are, it will take big hooks to hold them. We are going to make us a fish trap pretty soon. We will live on fish this summer if they are as plenty as they say they are. You must come over some Saturday and we will go a fishing and haul out about a twenty pounder. That will make us a pretty good mess for supper. Roarcks boys said that they kitched some in our creek that wayed eighteen pounds. I would like to see one of them. Roarch is the man that owned this place when we came out here. Well Emerson, little Rosalda bothers me so that I can't more than half write. She can begin to walk alone some and she is all of the time pulling at my knees, so it is hard for me to write so as you can read it. But if you cant read it, fetch it over, I will read it for you. Well, I set down Roselda Isabel Sparks age and birthday; she was born March 12th 1866. She will be one year old the 12th of this month. Well Emerson, you wish that I would get Mary's and the childrens likeness and send them to you. I do wish that I had the money. I would get them all and send to you and pop, but I will haft to wait till I get the money. Then I will try to get them and send them to you, but I can't tell you when that will be, but maby I can some time. Well I declare, I don't believe I can fill all of this. I know that I can't with anything that will interest you. Well Emerson, you must come over some of these nice bright days and take a ride with me out over the prairies, just to get on a hors some nice warm day and ride over the prairies. They do look beautiful. Everything looks smothe and nice. You can see the cattle and horses and gines and mules and sheep and hogs and all kinds of stalk; you can see them for miles and miles. This is a great place for stock, there is sutch a good range; it is a good place for hogs. Hogs can live all winter out in the woods. Every little oak bush is loaded with acorns, but they have a poor stock of hogs and cattle and horses. They need a better stock here. If some man would fetch some good stock of hogs and cattle out here I think he could make it pay pretty big, for it is a good place for stock and good stock would be valuable out here. Cows is worth from twenty to 35 dollars a head with young calves. So I guess I will close that subject for the present. Emerson, I want you to write me six sheats full the next letter and see if you don't get tired of writing. Well, I am about done this letter and you must excuse all mistakes, if you please. Well Emerson, I will close this by sending you the names of my family and best love and respect. This is from William Henderson Sparks, Mary Jane Sparks, William Harrison, Jane Sparks, Alice Ann Sparks, Roselda Isabel Sparks. This is the names of my family. You must write soon and tell me who you go to see. So no more at present. Fare ye well for this time, Emerson B. Sparks. When this you see remember me. [In margin] Mary sends you her heart and hand, to meet you in that happy land. (That is all she has got to send. Emerson, I will haft to make a envelope for this. It is took big to go in an envelope. You must not laugh at it for I have not got any paper fit to make one out of. So excuse this envelope.
Wm. H. Sparks.