April 29, 2021

Pages 1159-1162
Whole Number 62


In the Quarterly for December 1962 (Whole No. 40, pp. 679-704) we published a lengthy article on 9. James Sparks (born ca. 1670, died 1736) of Spotsylvania County, Virginia, and his descendants. One of the sons of James Sparks was 9.1 James Sparks, Junior (born ca. 1700, died 1758), and one of the sons of James Sparks, Jr., was 9.1.1 Daniel Sparks (born 1740, died 1810), who was an officer in the American Revolution. A son of Daniel Sparks was Daniel Pierce Sparks (born 1784, died 1867). In our sketch of this Daniel Pierce Sparks on page 695 of the Quarterly, we stated that he had a son named Daniel Pierce Sparks, Jr, but at that time we had no further information on him.

Mrs. Heppen, our faithful researcher in Washington, recently found an article on this Daniel Pierce Sparks, Jr., which tells his story in a most interesting fashion. This appeared in a volume entitled Oklahoma Portrait and Biographical Record published in Chicago by the Chapman Publishing Company in 1901, pages 885-886. We believe that the entire article is worthy of reproduction here.

It is interesting to note that in this sketch, written in 1901, and directly based on data supplied by Daniel Pierce Sparks, Jr., (who is called D. P. Sparks in the article), reference is made to his great-great-grandfather, James Sparks. According to this article, James Sparks, the great-great-grandfather, "emigrated from England to Virginia in colonial days." Our earliest record of James Sparks is a deed in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, dated December 25, 1723, by which he leased a 200-acre tract from Francis and Anthony Thornton. Perhaps it was in 1723 that James Sparks actually emigrated from England to Virginia.

In this article, the mother of Daniel Pierce Sparks, Jr., is identified as Maliza Vincent, daughter of Enoch Vincent. However, when Maliza applied for a pension in 1878, based on her husband's service in the War of 1812, she stated that her maiden name had been Vinson. (See the Quarterly of September 1960, Whole No. 31, p. 501.)

Following is the complete article on Daniel Pierce Sparks, Jr., taken from the Oklahoma Portrait and Biographical Record, published in 1901.

D. P. SPARKS, proprietor of the English Kitchen Restaurant, of Shawnee, Oklahoma, is the pioneer in this line of business here, and has made a splendid success of the enterprise. He is known far and near, owing to the fact that the people of the surrounding territory are liberal patrons of his in their frequent trips to this thriving town. He makes a point of providing well for them, even though his accommodations have been greatly taxed at times, as on one occasion, when he furnished meals to fifteen hundred persons within one day.

A native of Louisiana, born near Shady Grove, St. Mary's parish, near Centerville, April 3, 1845. D. P. Sparks is a son of D. P. and Maliza (Vincent) Sparks, the father of English and the mother of Irish-English descent. The great-great-grandfather of our subject emigrated from England to Virginia in colonial days, and his grandson, Capt. D. P. Sparks, grandfather of the present bearer of his name, was born in Virginia, and just before the Revolution located upon a plantation in South Carolina, also being a merchant there until some time prior to his death. During the great war he served in the colonial army with the rank of captain under the leadership of General Benton. D. P. Sparks, father of our subject, was born the old South Carolina plantaion, whence he removed to Louisiana, there becoming a wealthy sugar planter, his property being situated on the Bayou Teche. A short time before the Civil war he sold out and bought another large sugar plantation across the river from New Orleans, and there he died in 1867. Though of an old southern family, and a life-long inhabitant of the South, he was firmly opposed to secession from the Union, and it was a great sorrow to him that his two only sons joined the Confederate army. J. C. (John C. Calhoun Sparks), who belonged to the Hampton Legion, South Carolina Volunteers, was killed while employed as a scout in West Virginia. Of his three sisters, one is deceased [1901]. The mother, who departed this life in Texas, was a native of Tennessee, and daughter of Enoch Vincent, also a Tennesseean, and of an old family of that state.

The happy days of boyhood were passed by D. P. Sparks at the old plantation home, "Shady Grove," in Louisiana. His education was pursued under private tutors and in private schools. At the beginning of the Civil war he was attending Furman University at Green, S. C., and when his professor of mathematics, John F. La Meau at once set about organizing a company for Hampton's legion, it is not strange that the youthful ardor of this lad of sixteen led him to respond to the call. After proving his bravery on many a battlefield, he was assigned to a body of scouts, commanded by his brother and a Mr. Mickler. Their duties lying chiefly in the field between the lines of the two opposing armies, their escapes and dangers were multitudinous, it is needless to say. On returning from one hazardous trip, the tired scouts scattered, finding entertainment in different houses in a certain locality. Captain Farnsworth, of Illinois, with three hundred boys in blue, seized his opportunity, and had his soldiers surround the houses and capture as many of the scouts as possible. Mr. Sparks, at the house of a Mr. Howison, with some of his comrades, made a rush for liberty, mounted horses and started for a tract of timber, but while endeavoring to capture a small squad of Federals, were surrounded and made prisoners. After spending three months in prison at Washington, he was exchanged, and later was the second lieutenant of Peterkin's Cavalry company, attached to L. M. Keitt's Regiment of South Carolina. For nearly eight months he was stationed in the state last mentioned, mostly on picket duty, and later returned to the Hampton Legion. For a period prior to the evacuation of Charleston, S. C., he was on duty there, and then was sent to Wilmington, N. C., where he remained until the evacuation of that city. Starting to join the main army corps at Appomattox, he arrived in the vicinity of General Bragg's forces. That officer, desiring to know the strength of the Federals, asked for two volunteers from his army to return to Wilmington, in order to get pointers from Federals. No one would volunteer. The captain of the company to which Mr. Sparks belonged, Captain Williams, appealed to Mr. Sparks and a Mr. Smith, but they did not wish to attempt the work, on account of the near termination of the war; however, they finally consented, and returned to the edge of Wilmington, capturing the courier who came with dispatches to the army at the front. Bringing the dispatch with them they returned to their army. General Schofield marched out on the Newbern road to intercept General Bragg and keep him from going to join General Lee. On this trip, Mr. Sparks and his comrade ran the risk of their lives many times, About five days after their return, the enemy surrendered and disbanded.

While on picket duty in South Carolina, Maloney, an Indianapolis boy, made his escape from Andersonville and fled down the Santee river, where he was captured by the Confederates and taken into camp. Maloney was ragged and wanted a pair of trousers, and talked so constantly about his needs that Mr. Sparks gave him the only pair he had besides the pair he was wearing.

Returning home at the close of the war, Mr. Sparks found that his father had lost much of his property as a result of the conflict. Though he personally was a Union man, the fact that he had two sons in the Confederate army prejudiced the Federals against him and his lands were confiscated. Fortunately, however, the lands were returned later by the government. For a time Mr. Sparks operated the home place. In 1868 he removed to Houston, Tex., where he first clerked, and later was employed as messenger by the Texas Express Company, his line being between Denison and Galveston. His next position was that of bookkeeper in Houston, after which he settled in Hearne, Tex. For one year he engaged in the general mercantile business at Mumford's Prairie, after which he carried on a lumber business at Belleville, Tex., and also manufactured lumber at Brantley Station for four years. Selling out, he settled at Greenville, Tex., where he carried on a grocery and restaurant business, but was not successful, losing all that he had previously made. Starting anew in a small restaurant, he gradually worked his way to a prosperous position.

In 1897 Mr. Sparks came to Shawnee [Oklahoma] and bought an interest in the English Kitchen with James Stewart, the two continuing together for a year. Mr. Sparks then purchased his partner's interest, and continued the business alone. At first, he had a small restaurant across from the station, but after a month he established himself at his present location, and later added to the building, taking out a partition and enlarging his quarters. This is not only the oldest, but also the largest restaurant in the city, and has a capacity for accommodating fifteen hundred persons in one day. During the fall season, when trade brings many farmers to the town, the restaurant often entertains from four to five hundred people in a single day.

Politically Mr. Sparks is a Democrat, but not radical in his opinions. In religion he is an Episcopalian and has officiated as a vestryman in his church. He was made a member of the blue lodge and Royal Arch Chapter in Belleville, Tex., and is also connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He is a stock holder in the Oklahoma State Bank. Recently he purchased the home of A. B. Dunlap, formerly a banker at Shawnee. [Note that this was published in 1901.]

The marriage of Mr. Sparks took place in Belleville, Tex., and united him with Miss Josephine Haggarty, who was born in Georgia and grew to womanhood in Texas. They are the parents of four children: Chesley, who was engaged in the insurance business at Shawnee until his death, September 8, 1900; Josephine, who is a graduate of the high school of Greenville, Tex., and is now [1901] teaching in the Shawnee high school; J. Calhoun, and D. P., Jr.