March 4, 2021

Pages 1204-1210
Whole Number 65


On the cover of this issue of the Quarterly appears the portrait of Calvin Sparks (1823-1903) and his wife, Mahala Carmichael Sparks (1824-1910). The original of this photograph was loaned to us by Mrs. E. P. Wallin, Grant, Nebraska. Mrs. Wallin is a great-granddaughter of Calvin and Mahala (Carmichael) Sparks.

In the September 1955 issue of the Quarterly, we published some data on this family, noting that the parents of Calvin Sparks were Hardy and Susannah (Brown) Sparks. Hardy Sparks was living in Wilkes County, North Carolina, when he married Susannah Brown in 1815 (the marriage bond was dated January 5, 1815, and they were probably married on that day or one or two days later). Hardy Sparks was born ca. 1797 in North Carolina. He doubtless belonged to the branch of the Sparks family which moved from Frederick County, Maryland, to Wilkes County, North Carolina, in the 1760's, but we have not succeeded in proving his parentage as yet. Hardy Sparks served in the War of 1812 from Wilkes County.

Hardy Sparks and his family were still living in Wilkes County, North Carolina, when the 1820 census was taken, by which time he had two sons listed as under ten years of age. He may have been the Hardy Sparks who obtained a land grant in Ashe County, North Carolina, in 1824. He settled in Monroe County, Indiana, probably in the 1830's, later apparently moving over the line into Greene County.

Hardy Sparks's first wife died in the 1830's and he married as his second wife Martha Motley. He was still living when the 1860 census was taken in Green County, Indiana. Hardy Sparks was the father of seven children by his first wife and eight by his second wife. The following record of these children is based on information supplied by a great-granddaughter (Mrs. Jessie Sparks Conder of Stanford, Indiana, in 1954) and supplemented from census and other official records, plus the Quarterly, Whole No. 182: Allen Sparks, born ca. 1817. He was married, first, to Polly Weaver in Monroe County, Indiana, in November 1837, and, second, to Elizabeth Burton in December 1850. He died in Monroe County in 1882. Matilda Sparks, born ca. 1818. She married Arthur Young. William Martin Sparks, born in 1819, died in 1866. He married Nancy MNU. Elizabeth Sparks, born ca. 1821. She married FNU Carmichael. Calvin Sparks, born 1823, died in Nebraska in 1903. He married Mahala Carmichael (1824-1910). Their portrait appears on the cover of the Quarterly for March 1969, Whole No. 65. (Lizzie Sparks, whose memories of "Old Times" are quoted above, was Calvin and Mahala's youngest daughter. Their son, Joseph Hardy Sparks, was the father of Guy Sparks, father of Alice Sparks, who recorded Lizzie Sparks's memories. Henry Sparks, born in 1829, died in 1905. He married Sarah J. Holder in Greene County, Indiana, in 1851. They were in living in Monroe County, Indiana, when the 1860 census was taken. James Sparks, born ca. 1831. His wife's name was Louisa MNU. They were living in Woodford County, Illinois, by 1860, but by 1880 they were in Gage County, Nebraska.

Children of Hardy Sparks and his second wife, Martha Motley: John Sparks, born in 1833. He was married twice, first to Martha E. Holder, and second to Martha A. Robinson. John Sparks moved to Gage County, Nebraska, after the Civil War, dying there on January 12, 1888, during the "Great Blizzard of 1888." Andrew Sparks, born ca. 1835. He was a Union Soldier in the Civil War, and while he was a prisoner of war in Mississippi he died on March 6, 1863. He had been married to Elizabeth Owen a number of years before enlisting. (See the September 1971 issue of the Quarterly, pp. 1429-30, for an abstract of his widow's pension application.) Alfred Sparks, born ca. 1837, died 1907, in Greene County, Indiana. He married Sarah Martindale. Mary Ann Sparks, born ca. 1839. She married FNU Nellinger. Martha A. Sparks, born ca. 1841. She married FNU Hutchins. Merritt [or Merit] Sparks, born ca. 1843, died in 1873. He married Ellender Martindale. (See the abstract of his Civil War pension application papers in the resent issue of the Quarterly, beginning on page 5015) Nancy Jane Sparks (called Jane], born ca. 1848. She married Dave Weaver. Joseph Sparks, born ca. 1853. He married Hannah Carmichael. Allen Sparks, son of Hardy and Susannah (Brown) Sparks, was born in North Carolina ca. 1817. He came to Monroe County, Indiana, sometime prior to 1837, for in November 1837 he was married there to Polly Weaver (the marriage bond in Monroe County is dated November 17, 1837, Book A, p. 157). She was born in North Carolina ca. 1822. She died between 1850 and 1859, and in December 1859 Allen Sparks married his second wife, Elizabeth Burton (Monroe County marriage bond dated December 14, 1859, Book 4, p. 20). She was born in North Carolina ca. 1821. According to the 1850 census, Allen Sparks was living in Beach Creek Township, Greene County, Indiana, and in 1860 he was living in Indian Creek Township, near Harrodsburgh. When he died in 1882, however, he was a resident of Monroe County, Indiana. It is believed that his first wife, Polly (Weaver) Sparks, was the mother of all of his children except his youngest daughter, Nancy Jane Sparks. In his will, dated March 20, 1882, and probated May 26, 1882 (Monroe County Will Book 4, p. 306), Allen Sparks left the bulk of his property to his second wife, Elizabeth. Children: William Thomas Sparks was born ca. 1838; he died August 4, 1897, in Monroe County, Indiana. He married Vice Madaris, who was born in Owen County, Indiana. They had children named: William T. Sparks, born in 1874; Allen S. Sparks; Mary Sparks, Sarah Sparks, Mandy Sparks, Millie Sparks, Ida Sparks, and Cora Sparks. Calvin Sparks was born ca. 1845; he is believed to have been the Calvin L. Sparks who married Maria E. Smith in Monroe County, Indiana, in 1865 (marriage bond dated January 17, 1865, Book 4, p. 325); he died in Monroe County, Indiana, on March 22, 1907. Elisha (or Eli) Sparks was born ca. 1847; he died August 9, 1910, in Monroe County, Indiana. His will dated August 5, 1910, and probated August 12, 1910, names his children as follows: John Sparks, Samuel Sparks, Frank Sparks, Orpha Weaver, Mary Sparks Counts, James Sparks, Grace Sparks Caines, Anna Sparks Sullivan, Hila Sparks Mood, Roy Sparks, Pearl Sparks, Osia Sparks, and Hubert Sparks. Sarah Sparks was born ca. 1849. In her father's will she was called Sarah Breeden. Nancy Jane Sparks, daughter of Allen and Elizabeth (Burton) Sparks, was born ca. 1860. She married FNU Walker. Matilda Sparks (called Tilda) was born ca. 1818. She married Arthur Young. No children. William Sparks was born in North Carolina ca. 1820. He married Nancy MNU in North Carolina and it was there that their first three children were born. They moved to Indiana ca. 1846 and were living in Monroe County, Indiana, when the 1850 and 1860 censuses were taken. From these census records, it appears that they were the parents of the following children: Leonard J. G. Sparks was born in North Carolina ca. 1842. (twin of Jehue P.) John T. Jehue P. Sparks was born in North Carolina ca. 1842. (twin of Leonard G.) James H. Sparks was born in North Carolina ca. 1845. Elizabeth J. Sparks was born in Indiana ca. 1847. Nancy H. Sparks was born ca. 1849, in Indiana. Susan Sparks was born in Indiana ca. 1854. Elizabeth Sparks was born in North Carolina ca. 1821. She married FNU Carmichael. They were the parents of the following children: John Calvin Carmichael. Matilda Jane Carmichael (called Tilda). Joseph Carmichael. Silvester Carmichael. Wesley Carmichael. Martha Carmichael. Martin Carmichael. Ensley Carmichael. William Harrison Carmichael. Calvin Sparks was born in North Carolina on December 3, 1823, and died at Hoag, located near Beatrice, Nebraska. On January 1, 1846, Calvin Sparks was married in Monroe County, Indiana, to Mahala Carmichael (Book B, p. 98). She was born April 7, 1824, and died March 5, 1910. Their portrait appears on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly. Both are buried in the Sparks Cemetery at Beatrice, Nebraska. Calvin Sparks was the first County Commissioner of Perkins County, Nebraska, where he had moved with his family ca. 1881. Calvin and Mahala (Carmichael) Sparks were the parents of ten children; information about them has been provided by Mrs. E. P. Wallin: Matilda Jane Sparks was born September 5, 1846. She was called Tillie. She married FNU Collett. William Riley Sparks was born December 27, 1847, in Greene County, Indiana, and died August 12, 1926. He married Barbara Elizabeth Carter, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Martendale) Carter; she was born 3 February 1851, in Greene County, Indiana, and died on September 2, 1930. Their children were: William Granvil Sparks, born December 26, 1868, near Bloomington, Ind. When he was about 10 years old, he moved with his parents to Nebraska, settling on a farm near Beatrice where he grew to manhood. On March 7, 1894, he married Estella Morse, daughter of Wallace and Eliza (Sharman) Morse. He died June 7, 1955, at Scottsbluff, Nebraska. (see page 85 of the September 1955 issue of the Quarterly for his obituary.) The wife of William Granvil Sparks, Estella Sparks, died June 22, 1956. (see page 160 of the September 1956 issue of the Quarterly for her obituary.) They were the parents of the following children: Alta Sparks Crook, born 1895; Lucile Sparks Miller, born 1897; Edith Sparks Wallin, born 1899; Chester Sparks, born 1902; Ralph Sparks, born 1905; Wallace Sparks, born 1908, died 1930; Norbert Sparks, born 1913; and Mainard Sparks, born 1919. Luala Sparks, born November 11, 1870, in Greene County, Indiana. She married Sidney Rossiter, who was born October 16, 1868. He celebrated his 100th birthday on October 16, 1968, at his home near Beatrice, Nebraska. John Calvin Sparks, born September 2, 1873, in Greene County, Indiana; he died July 1, 1949, at Beatrice, Nebraska. Joseph Wesley Sparks, born July 10, 1876, in Greene County, Indiana; he died July 13, 1950, at Salem, Oregon. Stephen Douglas Sparks, born September 22, 1880, in Greene County, Indiana; he died in March 1962 at Beatrice, Nebraska. Charlie Sparks, born September 21, 1883, at Diller, Nebraska, and died at North Platte, Nebraska. Purmela Sparks, born November 3, 1886, at Hoag, Nebraska, and died at Grand Island, Nebraska, on September 21, 1968; buried at Beatrice. Alvin Sparks, born December 17, 1890, at Hoag, Nebraska, and died at Beatrice. Murrell Sparks, born September 27, 1892, at Hoag, Nebraska; he is still living at his home at Cheyenne Wells, California. Dianna Sparks was born December 23, 1849. She married FNU Carter, Susanna Sparks was born July 23, 1852. She married FNU Weaver. Annie Sparks; Theodosha Sparks. Sitha Sparks. FNU Sparks; Maria Elizabeth ("Lizzie") Sparks; she was born March 4, 1857; she married James A. Thompson and had children named Albert Thompson and Alta Thompson (twins), Louise Thompson, Manfred Thompson, Pearley Thompson, Estella Thompson, and Leslie Thompson. Joseph Hardy Sparks; he was born December 23, 1859; he married Zapora Jameson and had children named: Noah Sparks, Herbert Sparks, Guy Sparks, Ira Sparks, Effie Mae Sparks, born 1/1/1898, and Elsie Mabel Sparks, born 2/1/1900 Henry Sparks, son of Hardy and Susannah (Brown) Sparks, was born April 19, 1829, in North Carolina, and died in Monroe County, Indiana, on October 10, 1905. According to George Blanchard's History of The Counties of Morgan, Monroe, and Brown, Indiana, published in 1884 he settled in Greene County, Indiana, in 1842. 'When the 1850 census of Greene County was taken he was listed as living with his brother Allen Sparks. Henry Sparks married Sarah J. Holder in Greene County, Indiana, in March, 1851 (marriage bond dated March 10, 1851, Book E, p. 247). She was born in 1833 and died August 21, 1911. They had the following children: Thomas W. Sparks, born March 3, 1852; he married Lou Emma Butcher. John A. Sparks, born ca. 1854. Martha E. Sparks, born ca. 1856. George M. Sparks, born ca. 1859. Solomon E. Sparks. James Sparks was born in North Carolina ca. 1831. He was living with the Jacob Tague family in Monroe County, Indiana, when the 1850 census was taken. He married Louisa MNU, who was born in Indiana ca. 1836. Sometime prior to 1848 he moved to Cazenovia Township, Woodford County, Illinois, where he was living when the 1860 census was taken. by 1880, however, he and his family were living in Blakely Precinct in Gage County, Nebraska. They were the parents of the following children: Matilda J. Sparks (called Tilda) was born ca. 1858 in IL. John H. Sparks, born ca. 1860 in Illinois. Mary C. Sparks, born ca. 1863 in Illinois. Thomas H. Sparks, born ca. 1865 in Illinois. John Sparks was born in North Carolina in 1833. He married Martha E. Holder in Greene County, Indiana, in September 1854 (marriage bond dated September 12, 1854, Book F, p. 34). She was born ca. 1836 In North Carolina and died ca. 1870. John Sparks married (second) Martha A. MNU who was born in 1849 in North Carolina and died in Gage County, Nebraska, in 1919. Jehue Sparks moved from Indiana to Nebraska after the Civil War, settling near his brother, James Sparks, in Gage County where his family was listed on the 1880 census. by his first wife, John Sparks had four children; he had seven by his second wife: Newton (or William) Sparks, was born in Indiana ca. 1856. Sarah J. Sparks was born in Indiana ca. 1857. Mary E. Sparks was born in Indiana ca. 1858. John J. Sparks was born ca. 1862.

children by Martha A. MNU: James H. Sparks (called Henry) was born ca. 1874. Laura F. Sparks was born ca. 1877. George W. Sparks was born ca. 1879. Jasper Sparks was born between 1880 and 1888. [Webmaster Note: Jasper NOT a child of Jehue]. Alice Sparks was born between 1880 and 1888. Ida Sparks was born between 1880 and 1888. Andrew Sparks was born between 1880 and 1888.

John Sparks (son of Hardy and Susannah (Brown) Sparks) lost his life during the famous blizzard of 1888. Mrs. E. P. Wallin has loaned us a clipping from an old scrapbook telling of this tragedy. This particular account was written in 1905 on the 17th anniversary of the great storm. It reads: "Yesterday was the seventeenth anniversary of THE BLIZZARD. The terrible storm which covered the country from the north line of the Dakotas to central Kansas, and to as great an extent east and west, seemed to select this section of the state [Gage County. Nebraska] as its center. Many lives were lost, thousands of cattle perished, trains were delayed, roads were blockaded, in fact we have no record of such a storm since the first white men settled in this section, and began to write history.

"It was during this terrible storm, which has ever been remembered as THE BLIZZARD, since it had no equal before nor since, that Hon. John Sparks lost his life, while trying to return from Beatrice to his home eight miles west of this city....

"On the fatal day, John Sparks, one of the oldest and most highly esteemed citizens of the county, started home from Beatrice and was lost in the blinding storm. He had unhitched his team, and turned them loose, and they found their way home the next day. A search was instituted, and the body of Mr. Sparks found a quarter of a mile from home. Mr. Sparks was a man of about sixty years of age, and had represented Gage county in the legislature. He made a hard fight. but the elements overcame him.

"This was the most severe storm in the history of the country, and its anniversary is remembered by those who were here seventeen years ago yesterday." Andrew Sparks was born ca. 1835. He married and had sons named: John Sparks and Daniel Sparks. Alfred Sparks was born ca. 1837 in Indiana. He married Sarah Martindale in Greene County, Ind., on October 12, 1857, (book F, p. 326). She was born in Indiana ca. 1835. Alfred Sparks died at the age of 70 on March 21, 1907, in Greene County. They had the following children: Mary E. Sparks (called Emmer) was listed as 8 months of age on the 1860 census. She died September 28, 1917, in Greene County, Ind. John Sparks. Calvin Sparks. Angeline Sparks. James Sparks. Elvie Sparks. Theodore Sparks. Cornelia Sparks. Mary Ann Sparks was born ca. 1839 in Indiana. She married FNU Nellinger. They had children named Andy Nellinger, George Nellinger, Lydia Nellinger, Martha Nellinger, and perhaps others. Martha A. Sparks was born ca. 1841 in Indiana. She married Hutchins. Children: Mary Hutchins, Jane Hutchins, Joseph Hutchins, Calvin Hutchins, and Lydia Hutchins. Merritt Sparks was born ca. 1844. He married Elinor Martendale in Greene County, Indiana, in 1862 (marriage bond dated February 4, 1862, Book G, p. 201). She was born in 1843 and died in Greene County on April 6, 1920. They had children named: James Sparks. Alice Sparks. John Sparks. Nancy Jane ["Jane"] Sparks was born ca. 1848 in Indiana. She married Dave Weaver. Their children: Frances Weaver, John Riley Weaver, Newton Weaver, Luoinda Weaver, Allie Weaver, son, Joseph Weaver, Sarah Weaver, Myrtle Weaver, and Jasper Weaver. Joseph Sparks was born ca. 1853 in Indiana. He married Eannah Carmichael. Their children were named: Tilda Sparks; Ida Sparks; Henry Sparks; Florence Sparks; Rosa Sparks; Edgar Sparks; and Bessie Sparks.