May 9, 2021

Pages 955
Whole Number 52


(Editor's Note: The following sketch is copied from An Illustrated History of Jackson County, Minnesota, by Arthur P. Rose, published in 1910.)

Arthur J. Sparks is a farmer and thoroughbred stock raiser who resides within the corporate limits of the village of Lakefield. [Note this was written in 1910.] He owns the old Rasmus Larson homestead adjoining the village of Lakefield and the southeast quarter section 6, Hunter township. He was one of the first to bring a herd of registered Shorthorn cattle to Jackson county, and he has a fine herd of stock. He also has 400 growing fruit trees on his home farm.

Mr. Sparks was born in Grant county, Wisconsin, January 9, 1873, the son of Joseph and Mary A. (Tomlinson) Sparks. Both parents were natives of England. They came to America when seven years of age, lived one winter in Canada, and then located in Grant County, Wisconsin, in 1837, being very early pioneers of that county. The father of our subject crossed the plains to California in 1849 and was the first to reach the famous Grass Valley. He returned to the states by way of Panama, the gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi river and lived in Grant county, Wisconsin, until a short time before his death. He died in 1905, aged 78 years. His wife still lives [1910] and is 72 years of age. They were the parents of ten children, of whom the following five are living: Mrs. C. E. Buell, of Webster City, Iowa;

Mrs. Allie (Sparks) Blank, of North Dakota;
Frank T. Sparks, of Buffalo Center, Iowa,
Arthur J. Sparks, of this sketch; and
Clinton A. Sparks, of Buffalo Center, Iowa.

Arthur lived with his parents in Grant county, Wisconsin, until 1897, and there he received a district school education. In the year last mentioned he came to Jackson county and bought the northwest quarter of section 36, Delafield township, where he lived nearly four years. Selling that, he bought the Larson homestead, on the edge of Lakefield, and there he has since lived, engaged in farming and stockraising. During his residence in Delafield township Mr. Sparks was a member of the school board of his district. He is a member of the Maccabee and M. W. A. lodges.

Mr. Sparks was married in Lakefield February 15, 1899, to Miss Lena D. Larson, who was born the homestead where she now lives. She is the daughter of Rasmus and Christine R. (Hokansen) Larson, early pioneers of the county. Mr. and Mrs. Larson were natives of Norway. They came to America in 1867, lived three years in Goodhue county, Minnesota, and then came to Jackson county and located on their homestead where Lakefield now stands. At that time there was no Lakefield and no railroad. It took one week to get lumber from Madelia with oxen with which to build their abode. On this place they spent the rest of their lives. Mrs. Larson died in 1902 at the age of 75 years and Mr. Larson died in 1903 at the age of 67 years.

Lena D. Larsen, the only child of these parents, was born August 24, 1875. She completed a common school education at Lakefield and then, to fit herself for teaching, she took a course of three terms at the Mankato Normal school. She taught four years in the schools of Jackson county and married Arthur J. Sparks in 1899. To Mr. and Mrs. Sparks have been born the following children:

Stacey H. Sparks,
Florence C.M. Sparks,
D. Roscoe Sparks,
D. Buth Sparks,
Clarence J. Sparks,
Theodore A. Sparks and
Eugene L. Sparks