April 29, 2021

Pages 576-579
Whole Number 35

27.2 WILLIAM SPARKS (1772-1862),
Son of 27. Zachariah Sparks

The life story of 27.2 William Sparks, son of 27. Zachariah, was briefly summarized by his son, Hiram Sparks, in the Biographical and Genealogical History of Wayne, Fayette, Union and Franklin Counties, Indiana, published in 1899, page 896: 'William Sparks was born in South Carolina August 16, 1772, son of 27. Zachariah Sparks. William Sparks grew to manhood in his native state and married Mary Palmer, who like himself was of English origin. In 1812 he emigrated to Indiana and first located in Union County near the site of the present city of Liberty. He remained there for a time, or until land in this vicinity came into market when he removed to Fayette County and entered land on section 36 in Connersville Township and there made a home and passed away the rest of his life. He died January 31, 1862. His wife passed away on her birthday, July 6, 1848, at age of 69 years. William Sparks was a most estimable citizen, honored and respected by all who knew him and both he and his wife were life-long members of the Baptist Church,'

Mary Palmer (born July 6, 1779) and William Sparks were married in South Carolina ca. 1795. She was a daughter of Joshua Palmer. Both she and her husband were buried in the old Village Creek Baptist Church Graveyard near Connersville. Joshua Palmer, father of Mary, was a prominent minister in the Baptist Church. In 1833 he applied for a pension as a veteran of the American Revolution and stated that he had been born March 12, 1750, in Amelia County, Virginia. Hiram Sparks stated that Joshua Palmer, father of Mary, was a native of England and that he served on an English ship at sea for thre. years and then came to America as a young man. However, as noted above, in his pension papers, Joshua Palmer himself stated that he had been born in Virginia. He died in Union District, South Carolina, in December, 1835. Hiram Sparks gave the following account of the Rev. Joshua Palmer's later years: 'It appears that when Joshua Palmer decided to emigrate north with his family he had appointments to preach at various places and felt that he should fill these engagements. It was therefore determined that the mother and children should come north in advance of the father who would follow later. When passing through Kentucky the mother became seriously ill and they camped at a place now known as Crab Orchard. In that vicinity they found the hut of a settler and decided to move the sick mother to it. On entering the hut, however, they found it unfit for such purposes and returned to the wagon and there the children had the sad experience of witnessing their mother die. Tenderly they laid her to rest and carefully marked the spot, and sadly the children continued their journey to Indiana.

Later, when the father and husband came he sought and found the lonely grave in Kentucky where he tarried a time and while there he collected the scattered settlers and preached to them the gospel of eternal life beyond the grave. These events proved to be an amazing influence that resulted in the organization of a Baptist Church at Crab Orchard and finally the erection of the first church at this place. Rev. Joshua Palmer settled in Union County where nearly all the rest of his life was spent engaged in the work of the ministry. After taking up his residence in Indiana, he often returned to Crab Orchard and preached to the people and his visits were always warmly welcomed.'

William and Mary (Palmer) Sparks were the parents of the following children:

27.2.1 Zachariah Sparks was born in 1796 in Laurens County, South Carolina. He married Elizabeth Carter on May 16, 1815, in Franklin County, Indiana, by James Smith. They had children named: Stephen Sparks, born ca. 1823; Amizah Sparks; Zachariah Sparks; Sarah Ann Sparks; Becky Sparks; Nancy Sparks; Jane Sparks; Matilda Sparks; Malinda Sparks; and Martha Sparks.

27.2.2 Joshua Sparks was born in 1798 in Laurens County, South Carolina. He married Rachael McCray, daughter of Phineas and Sarah Jane (Peters) McCray, on April 9, 1818, in Franklin County, Indiana. At one time they lived in Bartholomew County, Indiana; later Rush County. Rachael died prior to 1847 and Joshua married (second) Sarah Cross (Rush County marriage bond dated September 23, 1847). From deeds and probate records, it appears that Sarah Cross was a widow of James Cross. Joshua Sparks made his will on October 12, 1848, and died prior to May, 1850. In his will he referred to his daughter Sarah Sparks, his daughter Nancy Sparks, his son Phineas, and an 'unborn heir.' From later probate records in Rush County, it appears that this 'unborn heir' was a son who was named John Sparks and that Joshua's brother, the Rev. John Sparks (1806-1863) became the child's guardian. Although no other children were mentioned in Joshua's will, it seems likely that the Moses Sparks and Joshua Sparks, were also sons of Joshua. Sarah Sparks who had married William Newhouse in 1839 Nancy Sparks who had married George Redding in 1838 Moses Sparks who married Abigail Redding in 1838 Joshua Sparks who married Mary Nixon in 1842 in Rush County Phineas Sparks who married Elizabeth Sergeant in 1854 John Sparks born ca. 1850. See the Quarterly, Whole No. 171 for more information on this family.

27.2.3 Jane Sparks, daughter of William and Mary (Palmer) Sparks, was born December 22, 1800, and died December 12, 1864. On February 16, 1817, she married Moses McCray, son of Phineas and Sarah Jane (Peters) McCray, in Franklin County, MD. Moses McCray was born August 15, 1794, in Bourbon County, Kentucky, and died May 5, 1883. He and his wife are buried in the McCray Cemetery, in Hancock County, MD. They were the parents of 13 children: Phineas McCray, born 1818; Mary McCray, born August 20, 1820; William McCray; Rachel McCray, born 1825; John McCray, born 1827; Stephen McCray, born 1829; James Thomas McCray, born 1831; Martha McCray, born 1833; Moses A. McCray, born 1835; Nancy McCray, born 1837; Sally McCray, died in infancy; Sarah Ann McCray, born 1840, died in infancy; and Phebe L. McCray, born 1842.

27.2.4 Mary Sparks was born February 6, 1802, and died November 23, 1887. She married, on December 19, 1821, Stephen Harlan, in Fayette County, Ind. He was a son of Samuel and Nancy (Brown) Harlan and was born in Laurens County, S.C., on June 9, 1801, and died in Hancock County, Ind., on April 19, 1877. They moved to Hancock County, Ind., in 1834. They were the parents of the following children: Jane Harlan; Nancy Harlan; Mary Harlan; Sarah Harlan; Caroline Harlan; Joshua P. Harlan; and Elizabeth Harlan.

27.2.5 John Sparks was born December 6, 1806, in Laurens County, S.C., and died at La Fontaine, Ind., on March 8, 1863. He was a prominent Baptist preacher and, with his brother, William, also a Baptist preacher, dedicated the new Baptist Church in Concord, Hancock County, Ind., in 1856. According to tradition, when the organ was brought to the new church, John Sparks refused to permit it to enter until it had been baptized in Sugar Creek.

John Sparks married Elizabeth Harlan, (Fayette County, Ind., marriage bond dated November 2, 1826), daughter of Samuel and Nancy (Brown) Harlan. She was born January 25, 1807, and died at La Fontaine, Ind., on September 19, 1879. They were the parents of the following children: Nancy Sparks, born 1828; Mary Sparks, born 1829; Charlotte Sparks, born 1831; Amanda Sparks, born 1833; Martha Ann Sparks, born 1834; Jane Sparks, born 1837; Wilson Thompson Sparks, born 1838; Elizabeth R. Sparks, born 1841; John Jefferson Sparks, born 1843; Sarah Emeline Sparks, born 1845; and William Thomas Sparks, born 1848.

27.2.6 Stephen Sparks was born July 6, 1808, and died in Kansas on February 11, 1899.

According to family records, he was married on July 10, 1827, to Asenath Greene, who was born in Tenn. ca. 1806 and died in Leavenworth County, Kansas, before 1862. However, the marriage bond as recorded in Fayette County, MD, is dated July 9, 1828, and the wife's name appears as Asenith Woolverton. Perhaps she was a widow whose maiden name was Greene. Stephen and his family moved from Indiana to Missouri in 1845 and later, in 1854, to Kansas where they were active Abolitionists. Stephen and Asenath were the parents of the following children: Stephen Sparks, Jr., born ca. 1828; John Sparks, born ca. 1829; William Sparks, born 1830; Moses Sparks, born 1831; Lott S. Sparks, born 1836; Mary Jane Sparks, born 1838; Green C. Sparks, born 1840; and Francis Marion Sparks, born 1843.

[Webmaster Note: List from Whole No. 77] William Sparks, born March 31, 1830; Moses Sparks, born January 2, 1831; John E. Sparks, born ca. 1833; Stephen Sparks, Jr., born ca. 1835; Lott S. Sparks, born July 4, 1836; Mary Jane Sparks, born July 5, 1838 Green C. Sparks, born October, 1840; and Francis Marion Sparks, born April 20, 1843.

27.2.7 William Sparks was born in 1812 and died in 1891, He was a prominent Baptist preacher and lived most of his life in Fayette County, Indiana. In 1833 he married Elizabeth Webb in Fayette County, Ind.; she was born in 1818 and died in 1881. They were the parents of the following children: Mary Jane Sparks, born 1834; John E. Sparks, born 1835; William Lewis Sparks, born 1837; Katherine Sparks, born ca. 1841; Sarah Elizabeth Sparks, born ca. 1843; Milton Thompson Sparks, born November 25, 1842; Frances Emmerine Sparks, born ca. 1847; Hiram F. Sparks, born ca. 1848; Ella Sparks; and Phoebe Sparks.

27.2.8 Mathew Sparks was born ca. 1815. He died before reaching maturity.

27.2.9 Joseph Sparks was born ca. 1819. He died before reaching maturity.

27.2.10 Hiram Sparks was born October 21, 1821. He married Elizabeth Stoopes, daughter of John and Eady Stoopes, in Fayette County, Ind., on February 17, 1842. Except for fifteen years spent in Kansas, they lived their lives in Fayette County, Indiana. Hiram Sparks was the author of the sketch quoted earlier regarding his grandfather, Zachariah Sparks, and his father, William Sparks. No record has been found of Hiram Sparks having any children.