March 9, 2021
Whole Number 40
THE SPARKS FAMILY OF THE WELCH NECK SECTION OF SOUTH CAROLINA
DESCENDANTS OF 9.1 JAMES SPARKS, JR. (died 1758)
OF SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY, VIRGINIA
by Russell E. Bidlack
As was noted in the preceeding article, 9.1 James Sparks, Jr., died in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, in 1758. Four of his sons later moved to the area along the Pee Dee River in South Carolina known as the Welch Neck. Welch Neck is the name that was given to the area in the bend of the Pee Dee River in what is now Marlboro County opposite the present town of Society Hill. This area was first settled in 1736 by a number of Welchmen who had left Wales in 1701 and had lived in what is now Delaware for a number of years before coming to South Carolina. They organized the Welch Neck Baptist Church soon after forming their new settlement. Members of the Sparks family joined this church upon their arrival in the Welch Neck.
The four sons of James Sparks, Jr., who came to South Carolina were Daniel, Charles, Samuel, and Harry. A sister, Sarah, who had married Alexander Walden, also moved from Virginia to the same area. An important source for information on these four brothers and their descendants is a book entitled History of the Old Cheraws by the Right Reverend Alexander Gregg (New York: Richardson and Co., 1867). Although Gregg had no information on the parentage of these brothers, he knew they came from Virginia. Gregg stated that they moved to the Welch Neck before 1760, but no records have been found to prove that they came quite that early. According to Gregg, the oldest of these brothers was Daniel who, according to his descendants, was born in 1740. The order of birth of the other three brothers has not been discovered, although we know that Samuel was born in 1745. Following is the information we have been able to gather thus far on these four brothers and their descendants.
9.1.1 DANIEL SPARKS, born 1740, died 1810
According to records submitted to the D.A.R. by descendants of Daniel Sparks, he was born in 1740 and died in 1810. As was noted on page 685, our earliest public record of Daniel Sparks is an agreement signed by his father on September 1, 1752, by which Daniel was bound as an apprentice for six years and seven months to Charles Sebastion of King George County, Virginia, to learn the carpenter's trade. Daniel's brother, Charles Sparks, was also apprenticed to Sebastion on the same date to learn the same trade. James Sparks, Jr., Daniel's father, died early in 1758 and apparently this canceled the apprenticeship agreement because on March 7, 1758, Daniel obtained permission from the Spotsylvania County Court to apprentice himeelf to James Frasher of the same county, 'Carpenter & Joyner, to learn his Art & mystery.' (See Spotsylvania County Will Book B, 1749-1759, pages 349-50.) James Frasher, son of a Scotch tailor who had settled in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 1727, was a son-in-law of Anthony Foster to whom Daniel Sparks's mother, Sarah Sparks, was married soon after the death of James Sparks, Jr. Daniel agreed to serve as an apprentice to James Frasher until he would become twenty-one years of age. Two years later, Daniel's younger brother, Samuel Sparks, also bound himself as an apprentice to James Frasher.
Our earliest record of Daniel Sparks after he settled in the Welch Neck, in what is now Marlboro County, South Carolina, is dated January 8, 1765--on that date he mortgaged a slave to Henry Laurens. He is recorded as having mortgaged another slave to Charles Atkins on February 13, 1767. (See Book 3A-71 & 3B-10.) Our earliest record of Daniel's acquiring land in the Welch Neck is a grant which he received from the Colonial government of South Carolina on August 6, 1771. This tract was described by the Surveyor General as containing 'Three Hundred acres of Land Containing a plantation Tract Situate Lying and being in Craven County cnow Marlboro County, on the No. side Peedee river on Muddy Creek, Bounded No Eastward by William Alstons Land, So Eastward by Mr Boutwells Land, and all other sides by Vact Land.' (The original of this grant and plat is in the South Carolina Archives Department, Columbia, South Carolina.)
From various references, it is apparent that Daniel Sparks prospered in South Carolina, and by the time of the American Revolution he had become an extensive slave owner. Although many of the inhabitants of the Welch Neck were loyal to England during the Revolution, the Sparkses were leaders among the Patriots. Daniel served for several months as a captain under one of the most famous generals of the Revolution, Francis Marion, known as the Swamp Fox. This service, which was in a regiment commanded by Col. Samuel Benton, entitles his descendants to membership in the D.A.R. and S.A.R. There is a tattered record preserved in the South Carolina Archives Department at Columbia of Daniel's receiving compensation on April 20, 1785, for a portion of this service. This document is an 'Indented Certificate,' or note, issued to Daniel Sparks by the South Carolina Treasury for the sum of fifteen pounds, eight shillings and eight pence. Interest would be paid annually to the owner of this certificate in the amount of one pound, one shilling and seven pence, or the certificate could be used to purchase lands confiscated by the state from the Tories. An indorsement on the back of this certificate indicates that Daniel Sparks used nine pounds, six shillings and eight pence of the principle for purchasing land and sold the remainder to Abraham Cook on November 27, 1785. Cook later sold it to Cornelius Henagan. On November 22, 1794, Daniel Sparks made claim for additional compensation, claiming that he had been paid for only thirty-five days of service.
The Welch Neck was inhabited by many wealthy plantation owners who were loyal to the Crown during the Revolution, and the area's history during this period is a tragic one, with neighbor fighting neighbor. In 1781, Daniel Sparks's younger brother, Harry Sparks, was killed by a band of Tories. Gregg tells in his book how Daniel avenged his brother's death: 'Captain Daniel Sparks, a brother of Harry, succeeded in capturing subsequently one of the ringleaders of the Tory gang. Upon being charged with the act, which he promptly acknowledged, Captain Sparks told him he should be hung. 'Very well,' said the undaunted fellow, 'as soon as you please.' Sparks ordered his men to proceed with the execution of the prisoner, who assisted with apparent cheerfulness in adjusting the rope about his neck, sprang on the back of the horse brought to elevate him from the ground, asked if the rope was well secured to the limb, and upon being told it was, kicked the horse, making him move suddenly from under him and swung off into eternity with an oath upon his lips.' On another occasion, according to Gregg, the Tories 'wantonly killed a mulatto man, the slave of Capt. Daniel Sparks.'
Daniel Sparks continued to live in Marlboro County following the Revolution. Our last record of him is a petition which he signed on November 22, 1794, which reads as follows: (The original of this petition is preserved in the South Carolina Archives Department at Columbia and is reproduced on the following page.)
[NOTE: Page 691 consists of a copy of the document quoted in part above (page 690) and completed below (page 692).]
To the Honorable the President and members of the Senate of the State of South Carolina, the Petition of Daniel Sparks humbly sheweth, That your Petitioner having served as a Captain of Militia in the Regiment lately commanded by Colonel Samuel Benton during the late war and from the said Colonel obtained a certificate for one hundred and forty four days service an account of which was through the hands of Thomas Powe Esquire returned to the Auditor's Office, but your Petitioner never could obtain compensation f or more than about thirty- five days service which will appear by the Books of the Treasurer, and your Petitioner begs leave to represent to your Honorable House that from a Paralytick complaint with which he has been afflicted for five years he has been unable in person to make the necessary application; he therefore prays that your Honorable House will take the business in consideration and grant him such relief as in your wisdom shall seem fit. And your Petitioner as in duty bound will ever pray
Marlborough County [signed] Daniel Sparks
November 22d 1794
According to records of the family, Daniel Sparks died in 1810.
Daniel Sparks was married twice. In 1763, he married a Miss Stephens who was born in 1745 and died in 1774. Several years after the death of his first wife, Daniel married, second, Martha Pearce who was born in October, 1762, and died on March 30, 1853.
by his first wife, Daniel Sparks had two children:
188.8.131.52 Elizabeth Sparks, born in 1765, died in 1815. She married in 1782 Silas Pearce (1760-1820) who was a brother of Martha Pearce, Daniel's second wife. Known children of Elizabeth Sparks and Silas Pearce were:
184.108.40.206.1 Silas Pearce, Jr.
220.127.116.11.2 A daughter who married John Chamblis.
18.104.22.168.3 William Pearce.
22.214.171.124.4 James H. Pearce, born 1797, died 1856.
126.96.36.199.5 A daughter, who married Thomas Cook.
188.8.131.52.6 Daniel Pearce, died prior to 1835.
184.108.40.206.7 Mary D. Pearce, married a FNU Thomas.
220.127.116.11.8 Dickson Pearce.
18.104.22.168.9 A daughter, who married Nathan B. Thomas.
22.214.171.124 Charles Augustus Sparks. Very little has been learned of this son. He purchased land in Marlboro County, S.C., on May 17, 1810. His uncle, Samuel Sparks, mentioned him in his will dated June 11, 1811. He entered service as a first lieutenant in the regular U.S. Army on March 17, 1814, and resigned on March 10, 1815. by 1840 he was living in Sumter County, Alabama, where, on August 12, 1840, he married Julia Allison, daughter of Robert G. Allison. by 1847, Charles A. Sparks had died and on December 18, 1847, Robert G. Allison was appointed administrator of his estate. On the 1850 census, Julia Sparks, widow of Charles A. Sparks, was listed as living with her father; her age was given as 29 and her birthplace as South Carolina. Apparently she and Charles A. Sparks had no children. Charles A. Sparks may well have been married previously, and he may have left descendants of whom we have no record.
by his second wife, Martha Pearce, Daniel Sparks had the following children:
126.96.36.199 Alexander Sparks, son of Daniel and Martha (Pearce) Sparks, was born September 27, 1780, and died January 29, 1857. He married Janette (or Jane) McKearly who was born in Scotland ca. 1791 and died on March 6, 1871. He lived on west side of the Pee Dee River, in what is now Darlington County, across the river from Marlboro County; he and his wife are buried in the cemetery at Society Hill. Alexander Sparks became an extensive land and slave owner and was an exceedingly wealthy man when he died. In his will, dated May 4, 1852 (see Darlington County Will Book 10, page 326) he left his widow his 'mansion house at Society Hill' along with 100 acres of land, 20 slaves, the family carriage, carriage horses and 'my coachman, Robert,' plus $20,000. To one daughter he left 2600 acres of land; to another he left 3,000 acres and 32 slaves; to his only living son he left several plantations, along with 30 slaves; to the only child of a deceased son, he lft $25,000 in trust; and to 'the Baptist Church at the Welsh Neck, Peedee River, being the particular Church of which I am a member, worshipping,' he left $1,000. Alexander and Janette (McKearly) Sparks had the following children:
188.8.131.52.1 Elizabeth D. Sparks, married Thomas P. Lide.
184.108.40.206.2 Margaret Jane Sparks, married Col. Isaac D. Wilson.
220.127.116.11.3 Samuel Sparks, Jr., born April 11, 1829; died June 24, 1853, without issue.
18.104.22.168.4 Dr. William Alexander Sparks, born October 4, 1817, died August 19, 1849. He attended Columbian College at Washington and in 1834 entered Yale University. He then studied medicine at the Medical College of South Carolina at Charleston and subsequently in Paris. He was appointed consul at Venice by President Polk in 1845 and died there of Asiatic cholera on August 19, 1849. His body was brought to Society Hill for burial. He married Alicia Middleton, daughter of John and Mary (Burroughs) Middleton, born January 16, 1824. Following the death of Dr. Sparks, his widow married in 1853, as her second husband, General Roswell S. Ripley. She died at Flat Rock, North Carolina, in June, 1898, in her 75th year. Dr. William A. and Alicia (Middleton) Sparks had one daughter:
22.214.171.124.4.1 Marie Alice Sparks, born March 25, 1848; she married on August 14, 1866, Alfred Moore Rhett (1829-1889) and they had the following children:
126.96.36.199.4.1.1 Mary Alice Rhett, born June 16, 1867, married William Clarkson Stuart.
188.8.131.52.4.1.2 Ann Barnwell Rhett, born September 23, 1868; married Henry Kirke Preston.
184.108.40.206.4.1.3 Aimee Rhett, born 1869, died 1869.
220.127.116.11.4.1.4 Elizabeth Washington Rhett, born February 10, 1871; married Edward George Trenholm.
18.104.22.168.4.1.5 Alicia Middleton Rhett, born January 9, 1873; married Edward Ford Mayberry.
22.214.171.124.4.1.6 Marianna Rhett, born December 16, 1876, married Francis Irende du Pont.
126.96.36.199.4.1.7 Edmund Moore Rhett, born April 7, 1878.
188.8.131.52.4.1.8 Sarah Blake Rhett, born August 29, 1880; married Payre Gaillard Hanahan.
184.108.40.206.5 David G. Sparks. A deed recorded in 1845 indicates that his father, Alexander Sparks, gave David land in 1845. Since this son was not mentioned in Alexander's will, he probably had died before 1852.
220.127.116.11 Samuel Sparks, son of Daniel and Martha (Pearce) Sparks, was born March 21, 1787, and died September 19, 1878. He married, first, a FNU Allison. She died, and on July 11, 1822, he married Ann Harry who was born June 22, 1793, and died November 15, 1870. by his first wife, Samuel Sparks had one son:
18.104.22.168.1 Charles Sparks, died young.
by his second wife, Ann Harry, Samuel Sparks had the following children:
22.214.171.124.2 Alexander Dottridge Sparks, born in 1829 and died in 1894. He spent his entire life in Marlboro County, South Carolina, where he married on November 20, 1856, Caroline Middleton Dudley, daughter of the Hon. Christopher William and Rebecca Powe (Robeson) Dudley. She was born June 3, 1838, at Bennettsville, South Carolina, and died there on June 23, 1911. Alexander D. Sparks was a planter on the Pee Dee River; he served in the Mexican War and held a commission in the U.S. Navy. Later, he served as an officer in the Confederate Army. His army coat is preserved in the Confederate Museum at Columbia, South Carolina; the inscription on the coat sleeve reads: 'This coat worn by Capt. A. D. Sparks, who organized and equipped his own Company I, South Carolina Volunteers (Cavalry).' Alexander D. and Caroline (Dudley) Sparks had the following children:
126.96.36.199.2.1 Leila Sparks, born September 20, 1857, died May 18, 1858.
188.8.131.52.2.2 Samuel Sparks, born May 22, 1859, died June 19, 1920, at Beaufort, S.C. He married October 9, 1881, Sallie McRae Edens. They had children:
184.108.40.206.2.2.1 John Clarence Sparks, born August 6, 1882, died October 22, 1932.
220.127.116.11.2.2.2 Leila Caroline Sparks, born April 21, 1885.
18.104.22.168.2.2.3 Anita Ramelle Sparks, born August 7, 1889; died July 22, 1950.
22.214.171.124.2.2.4 Esther Clifton Sparks, born November 9, 1893; married August 29, 1917, Edward P. McClellan; divorced in 1935.
126.96.36.199.2.3 William Alexander Sparks, born April 17, 1862; died 1910 at Blenheim, South Carolina. He married August 7, 1889, Mary Hariette Nettles. They had children:
188.8.131.52.2.3.1 Laurence M. Sparks, born June 29, 1890, at Foreston, S.C.; she married James Henry Polhemus
184.108.40.206.2.3.2 Annie Lee Sparks, born September 9, 1893; married Thaddeus Hamilton.
220.127.116.11.2.3.3 Agnes Mason Sparks, born August 3, 1895.
18.104.22.168.2.3.4 Mabel T. Sparks.
22.214.171.124.2.3.5 Carrie Dudley Sparks.
126.96.36.199.2.3.6 Mary Sparks.
188.8.131.52.2.3.7 Willie Sparks.
184.108.40.206.2.3.8 Alexander Sparks.
220.127.116.11.2.4 Susan Laurence Sparks, born January 23, 1864; she married in 1890 Donald McDairnid (###) McLeod, Jr. They had a child named 18.104.22.168.2.4.1 Aleine Alexander McLeod born in 1892.
22.214.171.124.2.5 Minnie Rebecca Sparks, born April 21, 1866; she married, first, in 1889, Francis Benjamin Rogers and had two children:
126.96.36.199.2.5.1 Hattie Louise Rogers, born in 1891.
188.8.131.52.2.5.2 Francis Benjamin Rogers, Jr., born in 1894. Minnie married, second, Pierce Butler Watson of Batesburg, S.C.; they had a son named Pierce B. Watson, Jr., born in 1909.
184.108.40.206.2.6 Anna Harry Sparks, born August 17, 1870; married in 1888, Pressly Fred. Jones and had children:
220.127.116.11.2.6.1 Fred. Sparks Jones, born in 1889.
18.104.22.168.2.6.2 Mamie Lula Jones, born in 1891.
22.214.171.124.2.6.3 Sallie Alexander Jones, born May 20, 1893.
126.96.36.199.2.6.4 Claudia Jones,
188.8.131.52.2.7 Thomas Dudley Sparks, born February 17, 1875; he married on September 5, 1892, Daisey Spencer of Chesterfield County, South Carolina, daughter of George W. and Ann E. (Robeson) Spencer. They had children:
184.108.40.206.2.7.1 Marie Spencer Sparks, born September 2, 1893.
220.127.116.11.2.7.2 McIver Le Grand Sparks, born July 22, 1895.
18.104.22.168.3 Susanna Sparks, daughter of Samuel and Ann (Harry) Sparks, married Laurence Massillon Keitt who was a member of Congress fran 1852 until 1861. He became an officer in the Confederate Army and was killed during the War. Susanna was noted for her charm and beauty and was mentioned in Ada Sterling's A Belle of the Fifties and in S. D. Martin' a A Diary from Dixie. A letter she wrote to a Northern friend on March 4, 1861, appeared in the April, 1961, issue of the South Carolina Historical Magazine. Susamia Sparks and Laurence M. Keitt were the parents of two daughters, one of whom died in youth. The other daughter, 22.214.171.124.3.2 Anna Keitt, never married and died in New York City.
126.96.36.199 Daniel Pierce Sparks, son of Daniel and Martha (Pearce) Sparks, was born in 1784 and died October 13, 1867. His middle name was that of his mother's maiden name, but he seems to have spelled it 'Pierce' rather than 'Pearce.' As a young man he moved away from South Carolina and was living in Savanah, Georgia, where he enlisted in the U.S. Army on June 22, 1812, to serve for five years. His widow, many years later, stated that while in service he 'received a hip wound and was laid up in [a] hospital at Savanah, Georgia.' His discharge, received at the end of his period of enlistment, has been preserved in his bounty land file in the National Archives. He was described at that time (June 21, 1817) as being 33 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall, with dark complexion, eyes and hair, and by occupation a carpenter. When he enlisted, he gave his birthplace as Moore, South Carolina. (For more information on his service, see the Quarterly of September, 1960, page 500, Whole No. 31.) After his discharge from the Army, Daniel P. Sparks settled in Louisiana where he became a sugar cane planter in St. Mary Parish. He married, at Franklin, Louisiana, a French lady named Constance Etier on June 23, 1818. She died and he married, second, at Franklin, La., Maliza Vinson on June 29, 1841. In 1857, Daniel P. Sparks and his family moved to New Orleans and from there to Texas. While he was a resident of the town of Indianola, Texas, he made his will, but failed to indicate the year in which he wrote it--the only date is March 24. His wife, in her application for a pension, stated that he died on October 13, 1867, at New Orleans--apparently he had returned there from Texas on business, His will was probated in Comal County, Texas. In his will, Daniel P. Sparks named five children, referring to them as 'all my children.' Since they were all under age, they must have been children by his second wife. We have no information on these children other than what is given below.
188.8.131.52.1 John C. Calhoun Sparks, killed in the Civil War, He left no descendants.
184.108.40.206.2 Daniel Pierce Sparks, Jr.; he is known to have married and left descendants.
220.127.116.11.3 Martha M. Sparks.
18.104.22.168.4 Susanna Sparks.
22.214.171.124.5 Mary Sparks.
126.96.36.199 Martha Sparks, daughter of Daniel and Martha (Pearce) Sparks, according to Gregg, died single.
188.8.131.52 Mary Ann (or Polly) Sparks married John Crosland of Marlboro County, South Carolina. He was a son of Edward and Ann (Snead) Crosland. They had the following children:
184.108.40.206.1 Sarah E. Crosland.
220.127.116.11.2 John V. Crosland.
18.104.22.168.3 Daniel E. Crosland.
22.214.171.124.4 James Crosland.
126.96.36.199.5 Vinette Crosland.
188.8.131.52.6 Gillian Crosland.
184.108.40.206.7 Mary Jane Crosland, born ca. 1825; she married, as his second wife, Lewis Andrew Jackson Stubbs, who died in 1853. They had the following children:
220.127.116.11.7.1 John Benjamin Stubbs.
18.104.22.168.7.2 Nicholas Stubbs.
22.214.171.124.7.3 Sarah C. Stubbs.
126.96.36.199.7.4 Thomas Stubbs.
188.8.131.52.7.5 Susannah Stubbs.
184.108.40.206.7.6 Martha L. Stubbs.
220.127.116.11.7.7 One child whose name is not known.
18.104.22.168 Lucy Sparks married three times. She married, first, John Stanard McDaniel and had the following children:
22.214.171.124.1 Alexander McDaniel.
126.96.36.199.2 Mary Ann McDaniel; married Roderick McNair.
188.8.131.52.3 Sarah McDaniel; married Barnabas Henagan.
184.108.40.206.4 Samuel McDaniel.
220.127.116.11.5 John Stanard McDaniel, Jr.
Lucy Sparks married, second, between 1814 and 1816, Alexander Stubbs, son of James Stubbs; he died prior to October, 1821. (The name of his first wife is unknown. However, his second wife was Mrs. Sarah Tallent Miller.) He had children:
18.104.22.168.6 Martha E. Stubbs, married Thomas H. Stubbs.
22.214.171.124.7 James A. Stubbs.
126.96.36.199.8 William T. Stubbs.
Lucy Sparks married, third, Thomas Stubbs, who was an uncle of her second husband. They had one daughter:
188.8.131.52.9 Lucy Ann Stubbs, married Ebenezer W. Goodwin.
184.108.40.206 Sarah Sparks, daughter of Daniel and Martha (Pearce) Sparks, married William Pouncey. No further data.
9.1.2 CHARLES SPARKS, born ca. 1743-44, DIED 1797
9.1.2 Charles Sparks, son of 9.1 James Sparks, Jr., was born in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, early in the 1740's, probably in 1743 or 1744. On September 1, 1752, his father signed an agreement with Charles Sebastion of King George County, Virginia, by which he was apprenticed to Sebastion 'to be taught or Instructed... In the full art or Mistery of a Joyner and Carpenter.' It was agreed that Charles Sparks would serve until he 'shall become of the full age of twenty one years.' Sebastion agreed to provide 'a full years Schooling and also During the said Term shall find unto his said apprentice good and Convenient meat Drink washing Lodging and apparrel and at the Expiration of the said Term shall give unto his said apprentice such Dues as by Act of assembly is appointed to be given to Imported Servants and likewise at the Expiration of the said Term to give to his said Apprentice a set of Carpenters Tools.' (See Spotsylvania County Will Book B, 1749-1759, pp. 132-33.) As was noted earlier, Daniel Sparks, brother of Charles, was apprenticed to Charles Sebastion on the same date, September 1, 1752.
No other record of Charles Sparks has been found in Spotsylvania County. According to Alexander Gregg, in his History of the Old Creraws, Charles Sparks came to the Welch Neck on the Pee Dee River, in what is now Marlboro County, South Carolina, -- with his brother, Daniel Sparks. Our earliest official record of Charles Sparks in South Carolina is the description of a tract of land granted to him on March 6, 1770, and surveyed April 6, 1770. Containing 100 acres, this tract was on the south side of the Pee Dee River and adjoined land owned by W. Young, James Wines, John Flannigin, and Alexander Mclntoshe. On August 7, 1770, a tract of 70 acres was granted to Charles Sparks which adjoined his other tract, as well as land owned by Alexander McIntosh and William Ellerbee. On April 7, 1772, a third tract, containing 200 acres, was granted to Charles Sparks; according to the survey made May 19, 1772, this tract adjoined his other land and land owned by Thomas Ellerbee and John Flanagham. The plats of these three grants are preserved in the South Carolina Archives Department at Columbia, South Carolina. Photostats have been obtained by the author of this sketch.
Gregg gave very little information on Charles Sparks in his History of the Old Creraws and stated that he went to sea. Perhaps he meant by this that he served in the navy during the Revolution.
by 1782, Charles Sparks had moved up the Pee Dee River into Anson County, North Carolina. Our earliest record of him in Anson County is a deed dated September, 1782, by which he purchased for 550 pounds a tract of land containing 322 acres from Stephen Thompkins. The witnesses were Morgan Brown, Patrick Boggan, and D. Jamison. (See Anson County Deed Book 4, page 90.) There is nothing in the description of this land to indicate its exact location in Anson County. On April 10, 1783, Charles Sparks purchased for 20 pounds a tract of 100 acres from Stephen Thompkins. (Anson County Deed Book 4, page 279.) On June 13, 1783, Charles Sparks purchased for 'two hundred Specie' a tract of 320 acres on the southwest side of the Pee Dee River, below the mouth of Barber's Creek; he purchased this land from Daniel and Sarah Hicks. Persons owning adjoining land mentioned in the description were Townsend Robinson, James Barber, and Samuel Blackford. Witnesses were Sten. Jackson and Benjamin Whitfield. (Anson County Deed Book 4, page 164.) On September 15, 1785, Charles Sparks purchased 200 acres from John Carruth (Deed Book C-2, page 289). On June 24, 1785, he purchased 200 acres from Thomas Harris (Deed Book C-2, page 295), and on February 9, 1786, he purchased 100 acres from Joshua and Ruth Lizinby (Deed Book B-2, page 100). All of this land, amounting to some 1200 acres, seems to have been located on the southwest side of the Pee Dee River.
Our first record of Charles Sparks selling land in Anson County is a deed dated January 20, 1787. In this deed, he was called a 'yeoman' and his wife was named as Gracilla Sparks. For 350 pounds, he sold to Isaac Jackson the 320 acres of land he had purchased from Daniel and Sarah Hicks in 1783. Charles Sparks signed this deed by mark, making a 'C' instead of an 'X', however. He seems always to have signed by mark, but this does not necessarily mean that he was illiterate. Judging from his extensive land holdings, he was certainly a prosperous man and he belonged to a prominent family. The witnesses to this deed were Samuel Spencer and Thomas Sparks. The latter was Charles' son.
On March 10, 1787, Charles Sparks purchased 200 acres from Peter and Susanna Smith (Deed Book B-2, page 103). Since he named a daughter in his will as Susanna Smith, it seems probable that it was from her husband, Peter, that he purchased this land.
On April 16, 1794, Charles Sparks sold by two separate deeds some 300 acres to William Johnson for 400 pounds. He signed both deeds by mark and Stephen Tomkins and Moses Hollis were his witnesses. The fact that no mention was made in either of this deeds of his wife's dower rights probably means that she had died by this time and he was a widower. (See Deed Book C-2, pages 287 and 288).
Apparently by 1794, Charles Sparks was experiencing financial difficulty. On November 22, 1794, land belonging to Charles Sparks, Jesse Gilbert, George Hamrnons, and David Jameson was sold because of 'arreages of Taxes for the year 1786.'
This land, amounting to 208 acres, was described as on Richardson's Creek in Anson County. (See Deed Book D & E, page 258.)
The last record in Anson County of Charles Sparks selling land is dated March 7, 1796, when he sold to William Johnson 512 acres on the southwest side of the Pee Dee River adjoining land owned by Blackford, Phillip Herndon, Nicholas White, Stephen Tomkins, and Underwood. He received 600 pounds for this tract; he signed by mark and his witnesses were Morgan Brown and James Johnson. (Deed Book F & G, page 187.)
On May 27, 1797, Charles Sparks made his will. It was probated in January 1798, proving that he died late in 1797. It reads as follows:
I Charles Sparks of Anson County & State of North Carolina, being sick but of perfect & sound memory, thanks be to Almighty God, calling to mind the mortality of my flesh and knowing it is appointed for all men to die do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament, that is to say, principally and first of all I give & recommend my Soul into the hands of Almighty God who gave it me, and my Body I give & recommend to the Earth to be buried at the discretion of my Executors, northing doubting but at the General Resurrection, I shall receive the same by the mighty Power of God; and as touching such worldly Goods with which it hath pleased Almighty God to bless me in this life, I give, devise, bequeath & dispose of them in the form and manner following:
Imprimis, I give and bequeath to my well beloved wife Jane Sparks all the Services of a Negro Girl named Priscilla (now living at William Lyons) till she is arrived at the age of twenty one years, and then to be sold and the money thence arising to be equally divided amongst my three Younger Children John Sparks, Nancy Sparks, and James Sparks.
Item, I will and bequeath to my Daughter Sarah. Lyons, my Daughter Polly Tomkins, my Daughter Susanna Smith, my son Thomas Sparks, my son William Sparks, my son Daniel Sparks, and my Daughter Elizabeth Sparks to each the sum of five Shillings currant money of N. Carolina.
Item, I will and bequeath to my wife Jane Sparks all & singular the residue of my Estate, Goods & Chattels in any wise to me belonging or pertaining to enable her to bring up and raise her three children with which I leave her, the said Residue (after all lawful demands against my Estate shall be duly settled off & adjusted) to be at her own disposal, and she to be the only, sole Claimant, possessor, lawful owner & proprietress and I do hereby nominate and appoint my true and trusty Friends Charles Bevin & Isaac Lanier together with my wife Jane Sparks to be my lawful Executors to act conjunctly or separately as occassion may require. And I do hereby utterly disannul, abbrogate, invalidate and make void, all, and every Will, Legacy, Gift and Bequeath, by me in any wise willed, legated, given or bequeathed, named or nominated, ratifying and confirming this to be my last Will and Testament
--On 27 May One Thousand seven hundred and ninety seven, and in the twenty-fourth Year of American Independence. his
Signed Sealed, delivered and Charles C Sparks (Seal)
acknowledged in the Prescence of mark
John McRae Jurate
Duncan x McRae
It is apparent that Charles Sparks was married twice. His first wife's name was Gracilla; she probably died ca. 1790. From his will, it appears that Charles and Gracilla Sparks had seven children, all of whom had probably left home by the time of his death, They were named Sarah, Folly, Susanna, Thomas, William, Daniel, and Elizabeth. (Charles Sparks was listed on the 1790 census of Anson County as head of a household containing three males over 16, himself included in this figure, as well as 1 male under 16, 1 female, and 3 slaves.) His will also makes it clear that Charles Sparks married, second, probably after 1790, a woman much younger than himself named Jane. by her, he had three children, John, Nancy, and James, who were quite young at the time of his death in 1797. The name of Jane Sparks does not appear on any subsequent census of Anson County--she probably married a second time.
by his first wife, Gracilla, Charles Sparks had the following children:
220.127.116.11 Sarah Sparks. She was named first in her father's will and was probably the oldest child, at least the oldest daughter. Since she was called Sarah Lyons in her father's will, she was undoubtedly the Sarah Sparks who married William Lyons according to a marriage bond in Anson County, North Carolina, dated either 1786 or 1787 (date uncertain). According to family tradition among descendants of her brother Thomas, Sarah married Benjamin Whitfield. If correct, it would appear that this was a second marriage. It is interesting to note that a Benjamin Whitfield signed as witness a deed by which Daniel Sparks, Sarah's uncle, sold land to his brother-in-law, Alexander Walden, in the Welch Neck on September 26, 1777. Also, on June 13, 1783, a Benjamin Whitfield signed as witness the deed by which Charles Sparks purchased land in Anson County from Daniel and Sarah Hicks.
18.104.22.168 Polly Sparks, whose real name was probably Mary. Since in her father's will she was called Polly Tomkins, we know that prior to 1797 she married FNU Tomkins. No further information, except that a Thomas Tomkins was listed on the 1790 census of Anson County, North Carolina, his name appearing near that of Charles Sparks.
22.214.171.124 Susanna Sparks. She was called Susanna Smith in her father's will and was probably the wife of Peter Smith. Charles Sparks purchased a tract of land from Peter and Susanna Smith in 1787.
126.96.36.199 Thomas Sparks. He probably was born in the early 1770's, at least as early as 1775. Our earliest record of him in Anson County is his signature as a witness to a deed dated January 20, 1787, by which his father sold land to Isaac Johnson, He married ca. 1798, Achsah Love, daughter of Lt. Col. David and Jean (Blewett) Love of Anson County. David Love was a member of the Provincial Congress, a senator from North Carolina in 1777, and a lieutenant colonel of State Troops of North Carolina. He fought in the American Revolution under General Francis Marion. Achsah Love was born October 25, 1779, and died on April 6, 1834. Soon after his father's death, or perhaps before, Thomas Sparks moved from Anson County, North Carolina, to Greene County, Georgia. There is a record in the Superior Court of Greene County appointing Thomas Sparks and others to work on a dirt road in 1798, In 1802 he witnessed the will of James Blount in Greene County, In 1803 he was a justice of the peace in the same county, by 1813, Thomas Sparks had moved to Putnam County, Georgia, which adjoins Greene County. He was enumerated on the 1820 and 1830 census of Putnam County and from these records it appears that his family consisted of five sons and one daughter. In 1830, he owned a total of 28 slaves. We have not been able to discover the date of Thomas Sparks's death, but it is said that he was buried at Shady Dale, a village in Jasper County, Georgia.
We have not been able to compile a complete list of the children of Thomas and Achsah (Love) Sparks, but from scattered references we know they were the parents of the following:
188.8.131.52.1 William Henry Sparks, born in Greene County, Georgia, on January 16, 1800; died in Marietta, Georgia, on January 13, 1882. (His biographical sketch in the National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, as well as in a number of other biographical dictionaries, erroneously gives his birth place as Simon's Island in McIntosh County, Georgia.) He was the author of Memories of Fifty Years published in 1870. A prominent lawyer of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, J. St. Clair Favrot, is currently writing a biography of William Henry Sparks, and at a later date we shall publish material on him and his descendants supplied us by Mr. Favrot.
184.108.40.206.2 Robertus L. Sparks, born ca. 1809. Little has been learned regarding Robertus Sparks other than the fact that he moved to Louisiana as a young man. by 1850 he was a wealthy sugar planter in Assumption Parish near Napoleonville. His brother, Col. William H. Sparks, had purchased a plantation in Assumption Parish in 1829, and Robertus apparently came to the same area soon afterward. Col. W. W. Pugh, who had lived in Assumption Parish early in the 1800's, recalled that upon returning to the Parish in 1835, after a ten-year absence, 'I noted many changes particularly in the increase in the American population. I found Col. W. H. Sparks and brothers, etc.' (See Pugh's article, 'Louisiana Planter and Sugar Manufacturer,' in the Assumption Pioneer Newspaper of July 16, 1881.) From census records, we know that Robertus Sparks's wife was Emily A. Sparks, born ca. 1811 in Vermont. She may have been a widow when she married Sparks because the two oldest children living with Robertus and Emily in 1860, Catherine born ca. 1836 and Benjamin F. born ca. 1838, were listed under the name Birdsall. In 1850, however, they were listed under the name Sparks. Robertus Sparks was still living in Assumption Parish in 1880. Known children of Robertus and Emily Sparks were:
220.127.116.11.2.1 William Henry Sparks, born 1842.
18.104.22.168.2.2 Robert C. Sparks, born 1849.
22.214.171.124.2.3 Mary Sparks, born 1852.
126.96.36.199.3 Ovid Garten Sparks was born at Sparks Mill at the confluence of Indian Creek and Little River in Putnam County, Georgia, on December 4, 1813. He died in Macon, Georgia, on October 30, 1900. On May 3, 1854, he married Josephine Brazeal, who was born in 1832, Ovid Garten Sparks was a distinguished citizen of Macon, Georgia, and served as that city's mayor in 1859, 1860, and 1863. A grandson of Ovid Garten Sparks, A.O.B. Sparks of Macon, is a charter member of The Sparks Family Association. We plan to publish a detailed record of he descendants of Ovid Garten Sparks in the near future.
188.8.131.52.4 Sherrod Sparks was born ca. 1814. Like his brothers, Col. William H. and Robertus, Sherrod Sparks became a sugar planter in Assumption Parish, Louisiana. From census records, we know that his wife's name was Martha and that she was born in South Carolina ca. 1818. Sherrod Sparks was mentioned by Solon Robinson in the October, 1849, issue of the New York American Agriculturist (Vol. 8, pages 314-16). Describing a tour he had taken in February, 1849, Robinson noted: 'Mr. Sherrod Sparks, 14 miles below Donaldsonville, sold his place, last winer, for $20,000, containing 600 arpents, without stock or tools--300 arpents in cultivation, with sugar house and engine and two moderate dwelling houses, with other buildings. The place made 100 hogsheads of sugar last year and 110 the year before, with plenty of corn. The corn on hand sold with the place.' From census records, we know that Sherrod Sparks had the following children, perhaps others:
184.108.40.206.4.1 Sarah Sparks, born ca. 1840.
220.127.116.11.4.2 Thomas Sparks, born ca. 1841.
18.104.22.168.4.3 Robertus Sparks, born ca. 1844.
22.214.171.124.4.4 Eliza Sparks, born ca. 1847.
126.96.36.199.4.5 Georgia Sparks, born 1849.
188.8.131.52.5 Sarah Blewett Sparks, daughter of Thomas and Achsah (Love) Sparks, married Thomas Hardeman. Among other children, they had a daughter, Ann Elizabeth Hardeman, who married Elisha Griswold. A son, Thomas Hardeman, Jr., was a captain of the Floyd Rifles, a Macon Company of volunteers during the Civil War; later he became commanding officer of the Second Georgia Battalion with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
184.108.40.206 William Sparks, son of 9.1.2 Charles Sparks, was born ca. 1780 in Anson County, North Carolina. He was living in Putnam County, Georgia, by 1812 when he married Martha Dixon, born in 1787. He died in 1816 and his brother, Thomas Sparks, was appointed guardian of his two sons,
220.127.116.11.1 Achiles Knight Sparks, born September 5, 1813, and
18.104.22.168.2 William McCurdy Sparks, born November 2, 1814.
A record of William Sparks and his descendants compiled by Martha Sparks Smith was published in the September, 1958, issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 23.
22.214.171.124 Daniel Sparks was mentioned in his father's will in 1797, No other record of him has been found.
126.96.36.199 Elizabeth Sparks was apparently unmarried in 1797 when her father made his will. No further record.
by his second wife, Jane, Charles Sparks had three children who were quite young at the time of his death in 1797. They were:
188.8.131.52 John Sparks, no further record.
184.108.40.206 Nancy Sparks, no further record.
220.127.116.11 James Sparks, no further record.
9.1.3 SAMUEL SPARKS, born 1745, died 1811
Our earliest record of 9.1.3 Samuel Sparks, son of 9.1 James Sparks, Jr., of Spotsylvania County, Virginia, is an indenture dated February 5, 1760, by which Samuel Sparks, with the consent and approbation of the Spotsylvania County Court, bound himself as an apprentice to James Frasher 'to be taught and instructed in the Art or Mystery of a carpenter and joyner.' (See Spotsylvania Will B ook B, page 439.) Samuel was described as 'being about the age of 15 years' in this agreement, and he agreed to serve for the term of six years.' Perhaps, since he agreed to serve exactly six years, and since it was customary for a young man to serve as an apprentice until his twenty-first birthday, we may conjecture that Samuel Sparks was born February 5, 1745. As was noted earlier, Samuel's brother, Daniel Sparks, apprenticed himself to James Frasher in 1758. As was noted earlier, also, Samuel's mother, the widow Sarah Sparks, had married Frasher's father-in-law, Anthony Foster.
Like his brothers, Samuel Sparks eventually settled in the Welch Neck of the Pee Dee River in what is now Marlboro County, South Carolina. Our earliest record of his acquiring land on the Pee Dee River is dated June 19, 1784, on which date he was granted 200 acres of land near a stream called Muddy Creek. On January 16, 1785, he was granted an additional 440-acre tract.
On June 10, 1785, 9.1.3 Samuel Sparks appeared before Tristram Thomas, a justice of the peace in the Welch Neck, and signed sworn statement that during the Revolution he had 'furnished the Continental Army with one hundred & twenty Bushels of Corn & that he has Recd no Satisfaction for the Same.' Along with this claim against the United States, Samuel Sparks submitted the receipt which he had received in 1781 from General Thomas Wade for this corn. This document, which is preserved in the South Carolina Archives Department in Columbia, has been reproduced on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly. It reads as follows: 'This May Certify that as Commissary Genl. for the State of So Carolina I have Purchased of Mr Saml Sparks one Hundred and Twenty Bushels Corn, which corn was to have been Replaced but never has been done, it being for the use & consumption of the Southern Army under the Command of the Honble Major Genl Greene and at the Price fixed by resolve of the Cont1 Congress dated 25 Feby 1780 & received January 1781.
Commissary Genl of Purchase.'
In 1785, Samuel Sparks received compensation for his 120 bushels of 'Indian Corn Supplied Public Service in 1781' at the rate of three shillings and six pence per bushel, a total of twenty-one pounds. Samuel Sparks signed the following receipt, which, it will be noted, was written on the bottom of his receipt from General Wade: 'Received 21st November 1785 full Satisfaction for the above in an Indent N° 504 Book Y. [signed] Samuel Sparks.'
On the 1790 census of the Welch Neck, Samuel Sparks was listed as the head of a household comprised of one female (his wife) and two white males besides himself, one over sixteen and one under sixteen years of age. He also owned six slaves.
About 1794, 9.1.3 Samuel Sparks moved to Surry County, North Carolina--he was listed on the Surry County tax list for the first time in 1794. The only record found of his purchasing land in Surry County is a deed dated February 10, 1806, by which he bought a tract of 253 acres on Seed Cane Creek from Bowater & Rebekab Sumner for 200 pounds current money. He was listed on the 1800 census of Surry County with himself and his wife enumerated as having been born before 1755 (the oldest category) and one male born between 1755 and 1774. He appeared for the last time on the 1810 census of Surry County, his household consisting of only himself and his wife.
Samuel Sparks made his will on June 11, 1811, and it was probated in the Surry County Court meeting in November, 1811. Thus we know that he died between June 11 and November, 1811. His will, recorded in Will Book 3, page 99, reads as follows:
In the name of God Amen. I Samuel Sparks of the County of Surry and State of North Carolina being sick and weak of body though of perfect mind and memory and knowing it is appointed for all mankind once to die do constitute and ordain this my Last will and testament.
Imprimis First I recommend my soul to Almight God who gave it and my body to the Grave to be buried in decent Christian order at the discretion of my Executors hereafter nominated.
Item I lend to my beloved wife Lucy Sparks my Land and every thing appertaining thereto together with my household and kitchen furniture and stock of every description during her life. I also desire and bequeath unto said Lucy Sparks forty dollars to be at her disposial which money I want raised from a sale of my property and it to be of such articles as can be best spared.
Viz. I lend said Estate to said Lucy Sparks during her life after all my just debts are satisfied: and after her decision of life I give all my Estate that is remaining to Alexander Waldens children and Charles Sparks, Alexander Sparks, Samuel Sparks, and Daniel Sparks sons of Daniel Sparks deceased to be equally divided amongst them.
And I Samuel Sparks acting as an agent for Tavener Walden do lend to my wife Lucy Sparks a negro man named Pompy dureing her life which after her death said negro is to be the property of said Tavener Walden.
And I do appoint Lucy Sparks, Welcomb Garret and Samuel L. Forkner my Executors of this my last will and testament revolking all others. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 11th day of June in the year of our Lord 1811. his
Samuel X Sparks
Witnesses, R. Buckley mark
An inventory of the estate of Samuel Sparks was recorded in Record Book D in Surry County, page 54. Dated December 20, 1811, the inventory was prepared by Welcome Garret and Lucy Sparks. It reads as follows:
300 acres of land
1 negro man named Pompy aged 26 years
3 head of horses
7 head of cattle
2 beds and furniture
4 tables and 9 chairs
4 dishes and 6 basons and 23 plates
1 case of knives and forks
3 pots, 1 dutch oven and 2 skillets
1 coffee mill and 2 coffee pots
1 tea kettle and fire dogs
1 potrack, tongs and shovel
1 loom, and gears, and 2 wheels
1 stone pitcher and 1 stone jug
1 saddle and bridle
1 set of tea cups, and saucers and 1 reel
1 pair of steelyards, and 2 flat irons
3 tin pans and 1 stone butter pot
1 pair of bellowses, 1 hanmier and tongs
1 large looking glass and 1 cannister
1 tea cheat, 1 salt celler, and pepper box
2 candle sticks and snuffers, 6 spoons
farming utentials &etc
Since Samuel Sparks willed that, following the death of his widow, Lucy, his property should pass his nephews and nieces, the children of his brother-in-law, Alexander Walden, and the four sons of his brother, Daniel Sparks, we might assume that Samuel had no children. Yet, we know from census records, that young people were living with him in 1790 and 1800. There is the possibility that Samuel Sparks became impoverished during his latter years and borrowed money from his brother-in-law, Alexander Walden, and brother, Daniel Sparks, with the provision that he should leave all of his property to their children. There was a Robert Sparks, born ca. 1789 and still living in 1863, who may have been a son of Samuel Sparks. Robert Sparks lived much of his life in Putnam County, Georgia, near Thomas and William Sparks, nephews of Samuel. According to census records, Robert Sparks married a woman named Sarah, born in South Carolina, and had a large family. The only child on whom we have definite information, however, was Wilshire H. Sparks, who was born in Putnam County on August 20, 1820; he married Nancy Smith. A son of Wilshire Sparks named Charles Worth Sparks, born January 29, 1856, wrote to Martha Sparks Smith in 1925 that his grandfather, Robert Sparks, was a first cousin of Thomas and William Sparks. If Charles Worth Sparks was correct in this relationship of his grandfather, Robert Sparks was probably a son of Samuel, or perhaps of Harry Sparks, below.
9.1.4 HARRY SPARKS, died 1781
Harry Sparks, whose real name was probably Henry, son of 9.1 James Sparks, Jr., appears to have been the youngest of the four Sparks brothers who moved from Spotsylvania County, Virginia, to what is now Marlboro County, South Carolina, prior to the American Revolution. Harry Sparks was doubtless a little boy when his father died in 1758. Whether he was married at the time of his death in 1781, we do not know--if he was he may have been the father of Robert Sparks, discussed in the above paragraph.
Harry Sparks was a member of the company of Patriots, from the Welch Neck commanded by his brother, Daniel Sparks. Alexander Gregg, in his History of the Old Cheraws published in 1867, told of how Harry Sparks met his death:
A party of Whigs, shortly before this [April, 1781], went out in search of a noted band of Tories who were known to occupy a stronghold in the swamp of the Three Creeks,[in what is now Marlboro County, from which frequent incursions had been made into the river settlements. At that time, the swamp was an almost impenetrable morass, rendering it a secure retreat for such outlaws. Upon approaching its border, the Whigs remained quiet for some time, hoping to discover some sign of the enemy; but in vain, To penetrate it in a body, not knowing the exact location of the Tory camp, would have been a most hazardous undertaking. They were at a loss what to do, and as painfully impressed with the necessity of striking an effective blow. At length, after a tedious delay, one of their number, Harry Sparks, noted for his activity and courage, volunteered to go in alone and bring back a speedy report to his companions. He succeeded in reaching the camp and after a careful inspection, was in the act of retreating, when he was discovered and captured. His protracted absence excited alarm, and at length, becoming desperate at the thought of Sparks' fate, the whole part, dashed into the swamp together, determined to rescue him, if alive, or perish in the attempt. Following his trail, they succeeded without difficulty in reaching the spot, and there found the camp deserted, and, to their horror, the lifeless body of their comrade hanging from a tree. A cry went up for vengence, and not long after retribution came. [He goes on to relate how Captain Daniel Sparks and his men captured and hanged the leader of this Tory gang.]