March 9, 2021

Pages 540-541
Whole Number 33


by Russell E. Bidlack

In 1958, Mrs. Louise Maddin Earle of Waco, Texas, sent the Association a copy of the family Bible record of the descendants of 40. John Sparks, an early settler of Morgan County, Georgia. Shortly after sending this record, Mrs. Earle died. In her letter, Mrs. Earle explained that the Bible had once been the property of Henrietta Sparks Downs, daughter of John Sparks, and that it had been inherited by herself. The Bible record, as copied by Mrs. Earle, reads as follows:

Children of 40. John Sparks and Sarah Tickle:

40.1 Thomas Sparks, born October 6, 1801
40.2 James Robert Sparks, born September 15, 1803
40.3 John Henry Sparks, born May 15, 1806
40.4 Henrietta Sparks, born July 28, 1808
40.5 General Pinckney Sparks, born December 9, 1811
40.6 Andrew Jackson Sparks, born February 23, 1815
40.7 Mahala Bonner Sparks, born August 27, 1819

Little is known regarding John and Sarah (Tickle) Sparks. Assuming that they were married as young adults, we can guess that they were born ca. 1780. No records have been found which would indicate that John Sparks was related to Jeremiah Sparks who died in Morgan County in 1840, although they lived near each other. (See the Quarterly of December, 1960, pp. 518-25, Whole No. 32.) Likewise, it is not known whether John Sparks was related to the David Sparks, born ca. 1794, who was living in Morgan County in 1814 when he volunteered for service in the War of 1812. (See the Quarterly of September, 1960, p. 501, Whole No. 31.)

John Sparks lived in North Carolina before coming to Morgan County, Georgia. On the 1850 census, his son, 40.1 Thomas Sparks, gave his own birthplace as North Carolina, and on the 1880 census John's son, 40.5 General Pinckney Sparks, gave his father's (John's) birthplace as North Carolina.

William Perry Johnson has done extensive searching among North Carolina records in an attempt to identify John Sparks. In 1790, Peter Tickel and John Tickel were listed on the census of Orange County, North Carolina, but there were no Sparks families in that county in 1790. (Both Peter Tickel and John Tickel died in Orange County, Peter in 1823 and John in 1822; neither named a daughter Sarah in his will.) Not far from Orange County, in Rockingham County, North Carolina, a John Sparks was listed on the 1810 census as follows:
(page 18) John Sparks

2 males under 10 years
1 male between 26 and 45
2 females under 10 years
1 female between 16 and 26
1 female between 26 and 45

Although, from the Bible record, it would appear that in 1810 John Sparks had three sons (not two) under 10 years, and one daughter (not two) under 10, we know that errors were made so frequently in the enumeration of households, it seems probable that this John Sparks of Rockingham County, North Carolina, was the same 40. John Sparks who appeared in Morgan County, Georgia, ca. 1816.

From land records, we know that John Sparks was a resident of Morgan County, Georgia, from ca. 1816 until ca. 1825. Following are brief abstracts of the deeds in Morgan County which pertain to John Sparks:

1816, December 30. John Sparks from Jonathan Weaver, both of Morgan County, for $200, part of Lot 187, Dist. 5.
Witnesses: Nipper Adams, Joseph Jones. (Book GG, p. 197)

1817, September 17. John Sparks of Morgan County to Jas. Young far $400, Lot 202, Dist. 5, drawn by Richard Wade.
Witnesses: Harrison McLaren, John Henson, J.P. (Book G, p. 42)

1817, December 9. John Sparks to Davis Rollins, both of Morgan County, for $300, 50 acres of Lot 187, being the n.w.
half of said Lot. Witnesses: Doster Perry, John Coggin. (Book GG, p. 196)

1820, February 2. John Sparks from Elijah Wheless, both of Morgan County, for $200, 34 acres on Apalachee River,
adjoining said Sparks. Witnesses: John Coggin, James Lanear. (Book HH, p. 91)

1824, June 4. John Sparks to Wm. K. Hawkins, f or $1000, Lots 478, Dist. 7, and 233, Dist. 8, in Appling County.
Witnesses: J. Beall, Wiley White. (Book K, p. 623)

1825, January 13. John Sparks to Uriah E. Amons, 35 acres on Apalachee River, adjoining said Sparks. Witnesses:
Harrison McClain, Jeremiah Beall (Book HH, p. 91)

Georgia military records indicate that John Sparks was a lieutenant in the Morgan County Militia from 1817 to 1822 and a captain from 1822 until 1825. His family was listed on the 1820 census of Morgan County, his age being given as between 26 and 45. In Georgia' s Third Land Lottery, which was held in 1820, John Sparks of Morgan County drew lots in Appling County which he sold for $1000 in 1824 (see above deed).

After 1825, the name of John Sparks disappeared from Morgan County records, but whether he died at about that time or moved away, we do not know. He may have moved to Alabama from Morgan County as several of his children are known to have lived in the Lawrence County, Alabama, area in the 1830's.

Following is the information which we have been able to gather regarding the children of John and Sarah (Tickel) Sparks:

40.1 Thomas Sparks, born October 6, 1801. He moved to Lawrence County, Ala., where he married Julina McWhorter ca. 1835. He was a Justice of the Peace in Lawrence County during the 1840's. Thomas and Julina (McWhorter) Sparks had the following children:

40.1.1 Almira Sparks, born ca. 1836. She married James Wallace.
40.1.2 Thadeus P. Sparks, born ca. 1839, married Rebecca Shelton. They moved to Waco, Texas. On the 1880 census their children, ranging in age from 2 to 15 years, were listed as follows: Ida Sparks, Shelley Sparks, Fannie Sparks, Eugene Sparks, Leon Sparks, Eddie Sparks, and Jessie Sparks
(the latter a son).

40.1.3 John Sparks, born ca. 1842. It is known that he had a daughter, 40.1.3.x Alice Sparks.
40.1.4 Titus C. Sparks, born ca. 1844.
40.1.5 Blanche Sparks, born ca. 1850.
40.1.6 Cora Sparks, born ca. 1852.
40.1.7 Thomas Sparks, born ca. 1860.

40.2 James Robert Sparks, born September 10, 1803. (Correction Note from Issue 136: He was NOT the James Sparks who married Rebecca Thompson in Lawrence County, Ala., on March 20, 1834.) He married Susan Harbin in Hall County, Georgia on April 5, 1829.

40.2.1 Augustus Sparks born February 14, 1837, in Blount Springs, Ala., died April 2, 1888. Augustus (Gus) Sparks married ca. 1865 in Waco, Texas, Henrietta McConn, who was born November 8, 1837, in Aberdeen, MS. Augustus Sparks was living in McLennan County, Texas, in 1880. At that time had children named: Fannie Sparks was born in Waco on July 24, 1869, and married her cousin, John Wesley Downs, on October 2, 1889. Jonnie Sparks, and Jessie Sparks,

Additional Note from issue 136: From the 1840 census and information supplied by a genealogist for the Harbin family, it appears that 40.2 James Robert Sparks probably had five daughters and one son born before 1840. We have not found him on the 1850 census. Did he possibly move from Blount County, Alabama, to Scott County, Missouri, after 1840? A Gus Sparks appeared on the 1850 census of Scott County (age 12, born in Alabama) in the household of John W. and Georgianna Price. Also living in the Price household in 1850 were:

Frances M. Sparks, age 15
Mahala Sparks, age 9, and
Virginia Sparks, age 7.

all born in Alabama. We know that the maiden name of Georgianna (Sparks) Price had been Sparks. A Scott County, Missouri, marriage record reveals that "George Ann Sparks" married John Wesley Price on December 30, 1847. by the time that the 1850 census was taken, John W. and Georgianna (Sparks) Price had a daughter named Susan Sparks.

Could Georgianna (Sparks) Price have been a daughter of James Robert and Susan (Harbin) Sparks, and were the Sparks children living in her and her husband's household in 1850 her sisters and brother?

40.3 John Henry Sparks, born May 15, 1806. No further record.

40.4 Henrietta Sparks, born July 28, 1808. She married William Wood Downs on August 10, 1823, "at church on Sunday at 11 A.M. by Rev. Rob. Green, Salem, Ga." William Wood Downs was a son of William and Sarah (Downs) Downs and was born in Fairfax County, N.C., near Weldon, on August 12, 1802. In 1836 they moved to Leighton, Ala., and in 1854 to Waco, Texas. They both died in Waco, Henrietta on April 27, 1886, and her husband on September 22, 1882. They were the parents of 13 children, one of whom, 40.4.x John Wesley Downs, married his cousin, Fannie Sparks, granddaughter of 40.2 James Robert Sparks.

40.5 General Pinckney Sparks, born December 2, 1811, died at the age of 84. He was named for General Thomas Pinckney, hero of the Revolution. He married Rhoda Eliza McWhorter in Lawrence County, Ala., on July 30, 1835. They had one daughter named 40.5.1 Eliza Sparks. Rhoda died, and in 1848 G. P. Sparks married, as his second wife, Georgia Ann Maxwell in Mississippi. by his second wife, G. P. Sparks had six children:

40.5.2 Henry Clay Sparks, born September 6, 1849, in Kemper County, Miss.
40.5.3 William Pinckney Sparks, born April 5, 1852, in Lowndes County, Miss.,died in 1901. He married Victoria Aglentine Bumgardner in Waco, Texas, on September 20, 1877. Children: Marianna Sparks, born July 17, 1879; Ala Alex Sparks, born November 14, 1880; Medora Alms Sparks, born April 2, 1883; William P. Sparks, born January 14, 1887; and Thomas Earl Sparks, born September 28, 1889. Elizabeth Ann Sparks

40.5.4 Medora Henrietta Sparks, born February 23, 1855, in Chocktaw Co., Miss.
40.5.5 Thomas Calvin Sparks, born July 23, 1859, in Chocktaw Co., Miss.
40.5.6 Elizabeth Ann Sparks, born November 6, 1862, in Choctaw Co., Miss.
40.5.7 Alice Alvira Sparks, born April 25, 1869, in Limestone Co., Texas.

40.6 Andrew Jackson Sparks, born February 23, 1815. He married Amanda Melvina Daniel on November 26, 1845, in Sumter County, Ala. David M. Backstrom was bondsman and A. Smith, M.G., performed the marriage. Amanda Daniel was the daughter of Isimm and Polly (Smith) Daniel; she was the granddaughter of David and Magdaline (Lewis) Daniel and of Samuel and Temperance Smith. No further record.

40.7 Mahala Bonner Sparks, born August 27, 1819, in Morgan County, Georgia. She married Marshall King on June 23, 1859, in McLennan County, Texas. She died in Waco, Texas, on February 24, 1883.