August 1, 2017

Pages 618-621
Whole Number 37

26.2 AMOS SPARKS (1785-1867) AND HIS DESCENDANTS



(Editor's Note: Mrs. Hagle T. Tarman, 457 West Main St., El Paso, Illinois, has furnished most of the data from which the following record has been prepared.)

26.2 Amos Sparks was born June 7, 1785, in Queen Anne's County, Maryland, according to an obituary written by Anoil Beach that appeared in the Western Christian Advocate of 6 February 1867. Thus far we have not succeeded in identifying the parents of Amos Sparks in Queen Anne's County, although a large branch of the Sparks family lived there throughout the eighteenth century. It is known that Amos Sparks had a close relative, probably a brother, whose name was 26.1 Jesse R. Sparks and who seems to have been two or three years older than Amos. According to a biographical sketch of one of his sons (see History of Knox County, Indiana, Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1886, page 513), Jesse R. Sparks married Margaret Burns in Maryland and shortly thereafter moved to Belmont County, Ohio, 'where he was a leading citizen and was sheriff several years.' In 1820, Jesse R. Sparks moved to Dearborn County, Indiana, where he died in 1865. One of his children is known to have been 26.1.2 Nathan B. Sparks (born 1815) who married Harriet E. Skates in 1838; another was 26.1.1 Jesse Sparks, Jr., born ca. 1803, married Jemima Thorn in 1827 and in 1850 was living in Allen County, Indiana, with children named 26.1.1.1 Jeremiah, 26.1.1.2 Stephen, 26.1.1.3 Mary T., and 26.1.1.4 Margaret; he was a clergyman according to this census record.

The parents of Amos Sparks, according to Ancil Beach, 'were Methodists and raised their children in the fear of the Lord.' In 1803, according to Mr. Beach, Amos Sparks 'was converted and commenced exhorting.' Shortly after his conversion, he is said to have commenced preaching in Pennsylvania and Virginia, traveling from one settler's cabin to another. Mr. Beach quoted Amos Sparks in recalling these times: 'The children of God would get shouting happy till the whole house would be rejoicing at once.'

Amos Sparks moved to eastern Ohio sometime prior to 1807. AccordIng to the family Bible, he married Nancy Borough on June 2, 1805. Nancy was born December 1, 1789, somewhere in Indiana; her name was given as Nancy Arm on the 1850 census. Amos and Nancy Sparks were living in Ohio at the time their first child was born in 1807, probably in Belmont County where it is known that they were living in 1808. They were in Warren County in 1817. In due time, according to Ancil Beach, Amos Sparks 'was ordained Deacon by Bishop George and Elder by Bishop Soule.' He began his itinerant career in 1825 in the Ohio Conference. He was admitted in the Ohio Annual Conference in 1826 and was appointed to the Greenville Circuit. In 1829 he was transferred to the Indiana Conference aril the following year to the Illinois Conference. He was 'received into full connection' in 1832. During the five-year period from 1829 to 1834 he held the following appointments:
1829 -- Connersville, Madison District, Illinois Conference
1830 -- Rushville, Madison District, Illinois Conference
1831 -- Columbus, Indianapolis District, Illinois Conference
1832 -- Brownstown, Charlestown District, Indiana Conference
1833 -- Franklin, Indianapolis District, Indiana Conference
1834 -- Mooresville, Indianapolis District, Indiana Conference
John C. Smith, who was appointed as junior pastor with Amos Sparks in 1830, recalled in a book entitled Reminiscences of Early Methodism in Indiana, that Amos Sparks was 'a most unique man full of good common sense, of marked eloquence and power in the pulpit, and popular with the people.' According to Smith, Sparks's annual salary in 1830 was $175.00.

After 1835, Amos Sparks gave up traveling a circuit, probably because of family responsibilities, but he continued as a 'local minister' until his death. According to Beach, 'Brother Sparks was a good man and a firm believer in an Evangelical Ministry, called by the Holy Ghost to the work, and feeling 'woe is me if. I preach not the Gospel.' Said he, 'I do not believe anything else is true religion, but which we can feel and enjoy.''

When the 1850 census was taken, Amos Sparks was living in Shelbyville, Shelby County, Indiana. His occupation was given as 'Shoemaker,' his age as 64, and his birthplace as Maryland.

Amos Sparks died on January 11, 1867, at the age of 82. His wife died sometime prior to 1867--the exact date has not been discovered. They were the parents of the following children:

26.2.1 Noah Sparks, born January 11, 1807.
26.2.2 Jeremiah Sparks, born Nov 16, 1808.
26.2.3 Jesse Sparks, born 12 January 1810.
26.2.4 Bathsheber Sparks, born May 30, 1813.
26.2.5 Benjamin A. Sparks, born Nov 16, 1815.
26.2.6 Asa A. Sparks, born Nov 10, 1817.
26.2.7 May Sparks, born February 17, 1819.

26.2.1 Noah Sparks, eldest son of Amos and Nancy (Borough) Sparks, was born in Ohio on January 11, 1807. According to the family Bible, he marriedSusanna Woodward on May 6, 1826. The births of their first three children are recorded in the family Bible as follows:

26.2.1.1 Mary Jane Sparks, born June 13, 1828.
26.2.1.2 Nancy Sparks, born December 12, 1829.
26.2.1.3 Amanda Sparks, born August 22, 1833.

All three of these daughters appear to have either died or to have left home by 1850. According to the 1850 census, Noah Sparks was living In Addison Township, Shelby County, Indiana. His family was listed as follows:

Name Age birthplace
Noah Sparks 43 Ohio
Susan Sparks 42 Indiana
Lafayette Sparks 13 "
Theodore Sparks 12 "
Susan Sparks 6 "
Hercial Sparks 5 "
Lanner E. Sparks 2 "

26.2.2 Jeremiah B. Sparks, second son of Amos and Nancy (Borough) Sparks, was born in Belmont County, Ohio, on Nov 16, 1808. He was married in Franklin County, Indiana, on September 19, 1830, to Eliza B. Rockafeller, of New Trenton, Indiana. She was a daughter of John and Mary Rockafeller and was born in New Jersey on 5 February 1805. Jeremiah B. Sparks died in Greenfield, Hancock County, Indiana, on 6 February 1886; his wife died also in Greenfield, on December 19, 1880. According to an obituary that appeared in the Minutes of the Thirty-fifth Annual Session of the South-East Indiana Conference for the Methodist Episcopal Church, Jeremiah B.Sparks joined the Methodist Church in 1831 and shortly thereafter was 'licensed to exhort.' In 1848, he was licensed to preach and two years later was received on trial in the Indiana Conference, being placed in charge of the Manchester Circuit. During his long career in the ministry, he served many churches in south-east Indiana.

We have not been able to obtain a complete list of the children of 26.2.2 Jeremiah and Eliza (Rockafeller) Sparks, but from census records it would appear that they were the parents of at least the following children:

26.2.2.1 Clarissa Sparks, born ca. 1837.
26.2.2.2 Eliza Sparks, born ca. 1838.
26.2.2.3 Henry Sparks, born ca. 1841.
26.2.2.4 William Sparks, born ca. 1843.
26.2.2.5 John Sparks, born ca. 1846.

26.2.3 Jesse Sparks, third son of Amos and Nancy (Borough) Sparks, was born 12 January 1810. According to the family Bible of Amos Sparks, Jesse married Judith Dorrah (or Darrah). A record of this marriage is on file in Decatur County, Indiana, and is dated June 27, 1831. On this record, Judith's name appears as Judith Darrow; the marriage was performed by Nathan Hobbs, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. No further record of Jesse Sparks has been found.

26.2.4 Bathsheber (or Bathsheba) Sparks, fourth child and eldest daughter of Amos and Nancy (Borough) Sparks, was born April 30, 1813, According to the family Bible, she married Robert Davis on January 30, 1830. The bond for this marriage is on file in Fayette County, Indiana, and is dated 7 January 1830. The marriage was performed by Moses Fay, a justice of the peace. No further record of Bathsheba has been found.

26.2.5 Benjamin A. Sparks, fifth child of Amos and Nancy (Borough) Sparks, was born Nov 16, 1815. According to the family Bible, he was married to Mary Imhuff on June 13, 1836. This marriage is also recorded in Shelby County, Indiana, on the same date, but Mary's name is spelled 'Imhof' instead of 'Imhuff'. According to the 1850 census, Mary was born in Kentucky about 1819. When the 1850 census was taken, Benjamin A. Sparks was a resident of Shelby County, Indiana, and his occupation was given as that of tailor. According to this census record, they were the parents of the following children (more were probably born after 1850):

(The family of 26.2.5 Benjamin A. Sparks as listed on the 1850 census:)

26.2.5 Benjamin A. Sparks 33 Ohio
Mary Sparks 31 Kentucky
26.2.5.2 Junlina [?] Sparks 10 Indiana
26.2.5.3 Henry Sparks 8 "
26.2.5.4 Benj. F. Sparks 4 "
26.2.5.5 Amos Sparks 1 "
26.2.5.1 Amanda Sparks 17 Ohio

26.2.6 Asa Egbert Sparks, sixth child and fifth son of Amos and Nancy (Borough) Sparks, was born Nov 10, 1817, in Warren County, Ohio, and died June 24, 1892, in El Paso, Illinois, See below for a detailed record of his descendants.

26.2.6.7 May Sparks, seventh child and second daughter of Amos and Nancy (Borough) Sparks, was born February 17, 1819, according to the family Bible. We have no further record of her.

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