February 3, 2020

Pages 974-976
Whole Number 53


by William C. Robertson III

(Editor's Note: In The Sparks Quarterly for June, 1958, Whole No. 22 appeared an article entitled "Josiah Sparks of Baltimore County, Maryland, and His Descendants." Listed among the grandchildren of Josiah Sparks was Wright Sparks, son of 18.1 Francis and Cassandra (Wright) Sparks. The following is a record of Wright Sparks and his family.)

18.1.4 Wright Bruce Sparks, son of Francis Sparks and grandson of Josiah Sparks of Baltimore County, Maryland, was born in Harford County, Maryland, on May 6, 1785. He was married in Harford County to Mangya von Magnus, whose name was anglicized to Nancy Ann Magnus. She seems generally to have been called Ann. When he applied for a pension in 1871, Wright B. Sparks stated that they had been married sometime in September, 1805.

Little is known of Wright Sparks's life in Maryland, other than that he served in the War of 1812. On January 3, 1850, he made application for bounty land based on that service, stating that he had been a private in Capt. John Turner's company of the 42d Regiment of Maryland Militia. Records in the Treasury Department prove that he served from August 28, 1814, to September 26, 1814. In a later declaration, made on June 27, 1859, Wright B. Sparks stated that he had been a resident of Harford County, Maryland, at the time he entered service. Because he had not received a written discharge, he had some difficulty in proving his service. He wrote to his nephew, John T. Kaufman, in Monkton Post Office, Baltimore County, Maryland, who obtained affidavits from four old friends who could swear to his service: Joseph Walker, Mathew Hunt, John Wiley and Nicholas Shaw. The latter two, both still residents of Harford County, swore that they had been mustered into the same company as Wright B. Sparks and that they had marched with him from Harford County to Baltimore under Captain Turner "to do battle for their country." Sparks eventually received a warrant for 160 acres of bounty land for his service.

In the autumn of 1816, with his wife and several children, Wright Sparks set out for what was then the West--Indiana. by December they had reached Pittsburgh, and it was there, four days before Christmas, that Ann gave birth to a daughter whom they named Julia. The following spring the family came on to their new home in Franklin County, Indiana. The side saddle on which Ann Sparks rode, carrying her infant daughter, has been preserved and is in the museum at Miami University.

Wright Sparks settled in what beqame White Water Township in Franklin County, Indiana. In Maryland, it had been the custom to give each farm a name, and Wright Sparks called his Indiana farm "Sparksgate." The original house that was built at "Sparksgate" was completed in 1818, and between that date and 1847 the main house was built concurrently with Westley Chapel, which is on a part of "Sparksgate." It was in this latter house that, according to family legend, Morgan's Raiders stayed while on a sortee in that area. This was an ideal spot for them as it is off from the main road and a heavily wooded area is very close in the rear. Since the Sparks family was from Maryland, they tended to sympathize with the South, and an attempt was made to burn the main house during the War Between the States. The attempt was unsuccessful, as the house is completely of brick and all of the walls are 24 inches thick.

Wright Bruce Sparks and his wife, Nancy Ann Magnus, were the parents of ten children. Following is a record of these children: William Sparks, son of Wright B. and Nancy Ann (Magnus) Sparks, was born July 16, 1806, in Harford County, Maryland. He married (first) Jane Swift in 1829, and they were the parents of six children, two of whom were living at the time of William's death in 1881. One child was named James Sparks; the names of the other five are unknown to this researcher. William Sparks married (second) Sarah J. Rhodes, date and place unknown; there were no children by this second marriage. William Sparks died in Indiana on April 29, 1881. John Sparks was born October 12, 1808, in Harford County, Maryland. He married Almira Merrill. He died in Indiana on September 11, 1888. No known children. Frank Sparks. No further information. Cyrus Sparks. No further information. Josiah Sparks. He is believed to have been living in Tracy City, Tennessee, in 1889. Elizabeth Sparks was born in Harford County, Maryland, on February 10, 1811, and died May 8, 1884, in Franklin County, Indiana. She never married. Cassandra Sparks was born in Harford County, Maryland, date not known. She married FNU Dusong and died in Indiana. Julia Sparks was born in Pittsburgh, PA, on December 21, 1816, while her parents were en route to Indiana from Maryland; she was carried by her mother in her arms while she rode side-saddle to Franklin County. Julia married William Lowes on September 1, 1836, in Westley M.E. Chapel, by Samuel B. Smith. Three children were born of this union. Julia Sparks Lowes died August 22, 1900, and is buried in the Westley M.E,. Church graveyard, Whitewater Township, Franklin County, Indiana. Her children were: John Lowes. William Wright Lowes. Cassandra Lowes. Clarissa Sparks was born after the family came to Indiana, but the date is not known. She married Elton Merrill on September 15, 1839. Lemuel Sparks was born July 9, 1828 in Franklin County, Indiana. He married Martha Ann Powner on November 8, 1849, in Westley M.E. Church, by Jacob Lanius. He died on February 5, 1892, in Franklin County, Indiana. Three children were born to this union: Mary Celeste Sparks was born in Franklin County, Indiana, on October 20, 1850. She married (first) William A. Beard on November 10, 1875. One child was born to this union named St. Clair Beard; he was born June 7, 1879, and died January 14, 1888. William Beard died in June, 1911, and Mary Celeste then married (second) Luther Badger on June 29, 1920. There were no children by this marriage. She died on October 17, 1925. John Wright Sparks was born in Franklin County, Indiana, on February 9, 1852. He married Sarah May Cheesman. He died in Franklin County, Indiana, on April 30, 1925. There were no children. Clarisa (or Clara) Jane Sparks was born in Franklin County, Indiana, on March 5, 1854. She was married on July 23, 1876, in Westley M.E. Church at Sparksgate to Dr. William C. Robertson. Dr. Robertson was a native of Augusta County, Virginia; he was born July 3, 1850, and died on November 1, 1884, at Oxford, Ohio. Following her husband's death, Clara Jane Sparks Robertson went to Cincinatti. and studied medicine. Upon receiving her degree, she took over her husband's practice, becoming nationally known in the medical profession. She died at West Elkton, Ohio, on January 15, 1941. Two children were born of the above union: Howard Elbert Robertson was born April 29, 1878. He married Grace E. Powell on September 7, 1904. He died in 1956. they were the parents to two children: Clarisa Carolyn Robertson, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on July 24, 1906. She married Charles Henry Lay on October 11, 1930, in Indianapolis. Children: Carolyn Virginia Lay, born January 28, 1932; Fredrika Jeanne Lay, born October 23, 1937. Howard Edwin Robertson, was born in Indianapolis on January 26,1909. He married Marian Rosiland Corya on July 14, 1934. One child was born to this union: Jerome Lee Robertson, born November 22, 1940. William C. Robertson II was born at West Elkton, Ohio, on November 5, 1882. He married Grace Corinne Randall on December 23, 1908, at Zenia, Ohio. He was a newspaper man and public official (see Who's Who, Vols. 15 & 16.) He died on July 18, 1935, at Cleveland, Ohio. They were the parents of two children: William C. Robertson III was born at Minneapolis, MN, on October 24, 1914. He married Mary Elizabeth Baumgarten (granddaughter of the Reconstruction Governor of Louisiana, John McEnery) on July 17, 1939. (For further information, see Who's Who in the South and Southwest, Vol. 6.) Two children were born to this union: William C. Robertson IV, born October 5, 1940, in New Orleans; and John McEnery Robertson, born March 9, 1945 in New Orleans. Patricia Ann Robertson was born July 24, 1920, in Minneapolis. She married Robert Brehm. Children: Barbara Robertson Brehm, born April 8, 1944; Robert Randall Brehm, born October 10, 1945; Richard Lewis Brehm, born January 2, 1947.