August 19, 2017

Pages 840-841
Whole Number 47

WILLIAM H. SPARKE (1807-1896)

Mrs. Jeannette Sparke Holt, of 489 Ockley Dr., Shreveport, Louisiana, is seeking information on the ancestry of her grandfather, William H. Sparke, who was born in Elmira, New York, on October 22, 1807, and died in Shreveport, Louisiana, on June 30, 1896. Mrs. Holt has not been able to determine the name of William H. Sparke's father, but from his family Bible we know that his mother's name was Hannah Jones, born in 1779 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts; she was a sister of Anson Jones, the last President of the Republic of Texas. Mrs. Holt recalls that her grandfather stated that his father's family came from North Umberland, between Scotland and Wales.

William H. Sparke was married three times. He married, first, Abitha Rochelle on August 10, 1831 in Warren County, Mississippi. She died on April 9, 1832, in a steamboat accident on the Mississippi River. William H. Sparke married, second, Mary M. Stevens, on August 31, 1833, also in Warren County, Mississippi. She died on October 10, 1847. by 1850, William H. Sparke had married his third wife, Eliza Withers Perrin, who was born in Kentucky on May 17, 1828, and died in Shreveport, Louisiana, on December 7, 1893. She was a daughter of Green Kennedy and Mary Bogan (Ingalls) Perrin. When the 1850 census was taken, William H. Sparke was living in Warren County, Mississippi; his occupation was given as stable keeper and the value of his real estate was set at $1,000. During the 1850's and 1860's, William H. Sparke lived in Louisville, Kentucky, and was listed in the city directories of that period as a "grocer" and "commercial merchant."

According to the family Bible of William H. Sparke, he and his second wife, Mary Stevens Sparke, were the parents of the following children:

1. Ann Cordelia Sparke, born June 16, 1834, died August 24, 1893.
2. Walter Sparke, born March 25, 1837.
3. Henrietta Sparke, born September 1, 1841, died in Louisville, Kentucky, March 24, 1864.
4. John Stevens Sparke, born October 15, 1843, died February 21, 1853.
5. Francis Bartlett Sparke, born October 21, 1845, died May 23, 1850 (?).

William H. Sparke and his third wife, Eliza Withers Perrin, were the parents of the following children:

6. Julia Sparke, born September 7, 1851, in Grant Co., Kentucky; died April 28,1931.
7. Willie Sparke, born March 31, 1853, in Vicksburg, Mississippi; died April 12, 1853.
8. Louise Sparke, born April 8, 1856, on Steamer Eclipse, near Memphis, Tenn.; died July 19, 1936, in Texas.
9. Eliza Sparke, born July 5, 1857, in Jefferson Co., Kentucky; died August 3, 1871, in Shreveport, Louisiana.
10. Perrin Sparke, born June 29, 1860, in Louisville, Kentucky; died September 18, 1873, of yellow fever.
11. Mary Johnston Sparke, born August 30, 1862, in Louisville, Kentucky; died May 10, 1879, in Shreveport, Louisiana.
12. William Preston Sparke, born April 6, 1864, in Louisville, Kentucky; died February 8, 1932, in Shreveport, Louisiana.
13. Flora Va. Sparke, born November 21, 1865, in Louisville, Kentucky; died August 1, 1866, in Louisville, Kentucky.
14. Birdie Guy Sparke, born October 28, 1869, in Louisville, Kentucky; died July 31, 1870, in Shreveport, Louisiana.

When Mrs. bolt sent the Sparke data from her grandfather's family Bible, she including a fascinating account of a tragic incident in the life of William H. Sparke. Mrs. bolt has kindly consented to our publishing it here:

"As the story was told to me, Grandfather and his first wife, Abitha, were aboard a steamboat on the Mississippi River in April, 1832, some eight months following their marriage. The boat caught fire, Abitha could not swim, but I am told that Grandfather was an excellent swimmer, and he prevailed upon her to let him jump overboard with the promise that she would jump into his arms. She promised, he jumped, but she became too frightened to jump and was lost with the boat. Many years passed, and two marriages later, my grandfather happened to be on a train traveling through Mississippi, and seated next to him was a gentleman. As the train was traveling rather close to the river's edge, the gentleman remarked to Grandfather about a certain spot they were passing. "Right there, many years ago, I found a woman's body that floated ashore, and this wedding ring I am wearing was on her finger." My grandfather looked at the ring the man was wearing and asked what year it was that he found the body. "In 1832," was the reply. My grandfather then asked, "If I can tell you the date and the inscription inside the ring, will you give it to me?" The man agreed. It was the wedding ring that Grandfather had given to Abitha Rochelle on their wedding day, August 10, 1831. My grandfather then asked what disposal had been made of the body, and the man said that he had buried her in his own family plot, for which my grandfather insisted upon paying him."