May 30, 2019

Pages 1228-1241
Whole Number 66 THOMAS SPARKS (1807-1877) of JONESBORO,

by Robert R. Robinson, Jr.

(Editor's note: We are very grateful to Mr. Robinson for this additional article on a branch of the family which descends from the Sparkses of Pittsylvania County, Virginia. A large amount of data on the Pittsylvania County Sparks family was published in the September 1955 issue of the Quarterly (Vol. III, No. 3, Whole No. 11, pp. 79-85) and in the March 1956 issue (Vol. IV, No. 1, Whole No. 13, pp. 109-121). Mr. Robinson' s article on Matthew Patton Sparks, born 1855, died 1940, appeared in the March 1965 issue of the Quarterly (Vol. XIII, No. 1, Whole No. 49, pp. 879-885). Matthew Patton Sparks was a nephew of Thomas Sparks (1807-1877), the subject of this present article by Mr. Robinson.)

Thomas Sparks, subject of this sketch, was a member of the Pittsylvania County, Virginia, Sparks family. His great-grandparents were 17.2 Matthew and Elinor Sparks who came to Pittsylvania County from Maryland in 1778. Matthew and Elinor Sparks were the parents of at least ten children, including a son named 17.2.1 Matthew Sparks, Jr., who married Keziah (or Hezie) Stone, daughter of John Stone. According to family records, John Stone was a descendant of Captain William Stone, Gentleman, the Progenitor, who was the third Governor of the Province of Maryland. When John Stone, father of Keziah, made his will in 1798 (Book D & W, p. 256) he named two daughters of Keziah as Jane Sparks and Eleanor Sparks.

17.2.1 Matthew Sparks, Jr., died in Pittsylvania County prior to July 12, 1811, on which date seven of his children sold their shares in their "deceased parents' lands." The land was sold to Adam Sutherlin, who may have married the daughter Eleanor, since no daughter by that name is listed among the seven. The seven children of Matthew Jr. and Keziah (Stone) Sparks named in this deed (Book 17, p. 483) were listed as follows: Mathew Brooks Sparks and wife Nancy Sutton; Edmund Sparks and wife Patsey Wright; John Sparks and wife Judy Dodson; Jane Sparks, wife of William Dunken; Eleanor ["Nelly"] Sparks; Nancy Sparks, wife of John Ware; and Thomas Sparks; all of Pittsylvania County, Virginia." Edmund Sparks, son of Matthew Sparks, Jr., and Keziah (Stone) Sparks, married Patsey Wright in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, in 1804 - - the marriage bond is dated November 27, 1804. (Abstracts of deeds pertaining to Edmund Sparks were published in the March 1956 Quarterly, Vol. IV, No. 1, Whole No. 13, p.119.) by 1830, Edmund Sparks had moved to Bedford County, Tennessee, with his brother, Matthew B. Sparks. (For a sketch of Matthew B. Sparks, see the Quarterly of March 1962, Vol. X, No. 1, Whole No. 37, pp. 636-37.) When the 1840 census was taken, Edmund Sparks was living in 'Rutherford County, which adjoins Bedford on the north. Apparently he had died prior to 1850. Edmund and Patsey (Wright) Sparks were the parents of five Sons: Thomas Sparks, born October 7, 1807; Matthew Sparks, born ca. 1812, died ca. 1876, Rusk County, Texas; Royall Sparks, born ca. 1813, died July, 1857, Rusk County, Texas; Noel Sparks, born ca. 1820, died after 1873; and Edmond Sparks, born ca. 1822, died after 1874.

(When the 1850 census was taken, Royall Sparks was living in Bedford County, Tennessee; he was unmarried and living with him was his brother Noel Sparks. Also living with Royall Sparks in 1850 was a Mary Ann Sparks, aged 19, who was probably either his sister or perhaps she was Noel's wife. Also living with Royall Sparks in 1850 was a 60-year-old woman named Marth Sparks. Perhaps "Marth" was another nickname of his mother.) Thomas Sparks was born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, on October 7, 1807. He was married there on November 16, 1829, to Mary L. Booth, daughter of Nathan and Mary Booth, and they resided for a short time in Dannville, Virginia, before moving to Tennessee to join his lather and uncle, Matthew Brooks Sparks, who had moved their families to north-east Bedford County prior to 1830. In 1840, Thomas and his family were living in the vicinity of Noah, in Coffee County, Tennessee, adjoining the Pattons into which family his brother, Matthew Brooks Sparks, had married. by 1850, he had moved to McMinnville in adjoining Warren County, the move of the family to the Jonesboro, Craighead County, Arkansas, area taking place in 1859. At that time, Jonesboro consisted of but one shanty which was used as a saloon.

It was in the Jonesboro area that Thomas Sparks prospered as a farmer and trader. In an 1891 biographical sketch of his youngest son is given the information that Thomas in 1859 "purchased 320 acres of land, only slightly improved. Mr. Sparks immediately began erecting good buildings, clearing the land, and soon bought other tracts in the vicinity. He gave all of his children homes at the time of their majority and was a man whose shrewd business tact is remembered by old settlers. He became one of the best known men in several counties. ..."

Both Thomas and Mary were church goers, he belonging to the Methodist Episcopal and she the Baptist. He died on December 21, 1877, and she died on September 20, 1879. They are buried in the southwest corner of the Jonesboro City Cemetery.

Thomas and Mary (Booth) Sparks were the parents of ten children, three of whom died at birth. The seven surviving children were: James E. Sparks, born 1831. Sarah A. Sparks, born April 28, 1837. Thomas Sparks, Jr., born February 27, 1840. Mary Elizabeth Sparks, born February 26, 1842. Alford William Sparks, born July 9, 1845. W. M. Sparks, born 1847. Gustavus Noel Sparks, born April 22, 1853. James E. Sparks, son of Thomas and Mary L. (Booth) Sparks, was born in 1831 at Dannville, Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and died at Harrisburg, Poinsett County, Arkansas, He married Lucretia Degrafenreed Matthews, daughter of Lewis M. and Mary Ann Matthews. During the Civil War, he served as Captain of Company H, 23rd Arkansas Regiment Volunteers, under command of Col. C. P. Lyles. Taken prisoner, he was sent to Louisiana, and the following letter was sent to his wife on February 2, 1863, from Port Hudson, Louisiana, soon after his exchange:

My Dear Wife: I write you a few lines to let you know that I am well at this time, hoping that they may find you and Bertha enjoying the same. I have failed to get a furlough so far, it is a hard matter to get one, as they have stopped giving them only to details. If I had been exchanged some time back I might have been detailed. I was exchanged a few days ago. My dear you must be patient; things will come right after a while. Caldwell Boggs told me that you were talking of going to Tennessee. My dear, I know that you can do better by staying at home until I come. If you go what we have will go to destruction, besides we could not hear from each other at all, and that would worry me nearly to death. I am nearly crazy to hear from you now. I know that times are worse in Tennessee than where you are by a good deal. I think I certainly will get to come home before very long, if I do I want to find you at home, so be certain my dear, to stay at home, for I know that it is best for us both. Father will help you along until I come.

It is the general opinion here that peace will be made this spring. I hope it may, the Yankees are fighting among themselves at Baton Rogue. Day before yesterday a Yankee regiment attempted to desert and come to us and they had a fight among themselves and killed eighty so we hear. They are deserting and coming here constantly. We have this place well fortified, they are expecting a fight a Vicksburg every day. If we can hold Vicksburg and this place a few weeks longer I think the Yankees will become satisfied and make peace. I have no fear but what we can hold both places in spite of all forces they can bring.

Kiss Bertha for me, write to me every opportunity and give me all the news. Give my respects to all the neighbors and do the best you can.

I remain, you loving husband.

To Wife and Baby        James E. Sparks.

Company H later took part in the White River Campaign, but surrendered at Wittsburg, Arkansas, on May 11, 1865. The following was signed by James E. Sparks at Wittsburg on May 25, 1865:

I, the undersigned commanding officer of Company "H" 23rd Regt., Ark., Vol., do, for the within named prisoners of war belonging to the Army of the Northern Sub-Division of Arkansas, who, having been on the 11th Day of May 1865 surrendered by Brigadier General M. Jeff Thompson, C.S.A. Commanding said Army, to Major General G. N. Dodge, U.S.A. Commanding Department of the Missouri, hereby give my solemn parole of honor that the within named shall not hereafter serve in the armies of the so-called Confederate States, or in any military capacity whatever against the United States of America or render aid to the enemies of the latter, until properly exchanged in such manner as shall be mutually approved by the respective authorities.

[signed]   J. E. Sparks, Captain
                Commanding Company "H" 23rd
                Arkansas Regiment.

(Note: At the time he surrendered his company, three of his brothers were serving under his command, 1st Lieutenant Thomas B. Sparks, Jr., Private Alford William Sparks, and Private W. M. Sparks; his brother-in-law, Private Anderson Stroud, was also a member of the company.) James E. Sparks and Lucretia Degrafenreed (Matthews) Sparks were the parents of four children: Bertha Madelynne Sparks, daughter of James E. and Lucretia D. (Matthews) Sparks, was born prior to 1865 and is now deceased. She married George H. Clarke, now deceased. Their children were: Clyde Nuell Clark, born January 4, 1885, in Arkansas, and died on October 12, 1945, in Colorado but was buried in St. Louis, Missouri. He married, first, Minnie Ross, who died in 1910. They had two children: Nell Clarke, married Sidney F. Cooke, who died November 7, 1948. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.They had a daughter, Ann Ross Cooke, who married James Thomas Bagley and lives in New Iberia, Louisiana. They have two sons, Matthew Starke Bagley, born in 1967, and Steven Clarke Bagley, born in 197?. Grace Clarke, married FNU Burks (divorced). One child, David Burks.

Clyde Nuell Clarke married (second) Joe Etta Lee, who is deceased. They had a daughter, Jo Etta Clarke, who died young in Illinois. Thomas Leslie Clarke, born August 18, 1887, and died in October 1940; unmarried, Lois Clarke, died as an infant. Annie Blanch Clarke, died as an infant. Twin1 Sparks, died as an infant. Twin2 Sparks, died as an infant. George Clarke, died as an infant. Lois Madelynne Clarke (twin of Louise) born April 9, 1899; married Charles Puddyphatt, and lives in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Children: Charles Joseph Puddyphatt, born February 12, 1921; Thomas Whitfield Puddyphatt, born 1923; and George Eugene Puddyphatt, born 1925. Louise Clarke, (twin of Lois) born April 9, 1899; married Ellis Allen Sheppard, Clerk of Jefferson County, and lives in Sherrill, Ark. Children: Ellis Allen Sheppard, Jr., born December 13, 1924, died 1932; Louis Clark Sheppard, born 1933; he has children named David Sheppard, Nancy Sheppard, and Lisa Sheppard. Lucille Ella Clark, born June 6, 1894, died June 6, 1957; married Harry Walton (deceased) of Memphis, Tenn. Thomas W. Sparks, son of James E. and Lucretia D. (Matthews) Sparks, now deceased, married Rose Thompson (deceased) and lived in Harrisburg, Arkansas, where he served as postmaster and was in the insurance business. Lucy Sparks, daughter of James B. and Lucretia D. (Matthews) Sparks, now deceased, was married on September 21, 1891, to Judge John C. Mitchell, born January 4, 1865, near Harrisburg, Arkansas, son of Enoch and Catherine (Greenwood) Mitchell. Judge Mitchell, a Democrat, was active in Poinsett County, Arkansas, politics as well as serving as president of the Merchants and Planters Bank of Harrisburg. He was killed about the turn of the century as the result of political differences by the then Poinsett County Sheriff Hooten. The Mitchells had no children, but reared several orphans including Archie Wheatley, Charles Brewster, Ethel Blake Hanson, and Guy Foster Wade. Mollie Sparks, daughter of James B. and Lucretia D. (Matthews) Sparks, married and died at the birth of an infant. Sarah A. Sparks, daughter of Thomas and Mary L. (Booth) Sparks, was born in Coffee County, Tennessee, and married in Tennessee, Anderson Stroud, who was born December 7, 1830, in Tennessee. After their move to Craighead County, Arkansas, they settled first on the old Greensboro Road about one mile beyond the old village of Buck Snort. Later, they moved to the Burvilla Community about one mile west of Jonesboro. Anderson and Sarah, as well as their daughter Matilda, were charter members of the Jonesboro Christian Church organized in 1886. Anderson died on February 22, 1900, and Sarah died on April 13, 1907. They were the parents of four children: Matilda T. Stroud, daughter of Anderson and Sarah (Sparks) Stroud, married Charles N. Evans. Both are deceased. they had one child, Sally Evans Stroud, who married David Dupree; her children include Floyd Douglas Dupree and Lucy Dupree. Walter Stroud, son of Anderson and Sarah (Sparks) Stroud, married (first) Hettie Snoddy, daughter of Fergus Snoddy, one of the earliest settlers of Craighead County. He married (second) Eva Tucker, All deceased. There were several children, some of whom still reside in Jonesboro. Sally Stroud, daughter of Anderson and Sarah (Sparks) Stroud, married George W. Wilson, son of George W. and Martha (Loftis) Wilson. Both are deceased. One daughter, Cora Wilson, lives in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Homer A. Stroud, son of Anderson and Sarah (Sparks) Stroud, died on October 2, 1956. He married Lina Tucker, who is also deceased. Dr. Stroud attended Peabody College, in Nashville, TN., and was graduated from the University of Tennessee School of Medicine in 1903. A past counselor of the Arkansas Medical Society, he practiced medicine in Jonesboro for over fifty years, part of which time he served as Chief of Staff of St. Bernard'.s Hospital. They were the parents of four children: Dr. Ernest J. Stroud, deceased, married Kathleen Stroud. No children. Dr. Paul Stroud, married Alma Ashbranner of Manila, Arkansas. They live in Jonesboro and have no children. Sarah Stroud, married John S. Finch and lives in Corsicana, Texas. Child: Harriett Ann Finch. Homer A. Stroud, Jr., married Lucille Adams, and lives in Jonesboro where he is employed by the U.S. Post Office. Child: Andy Stroud. Thomas Sparks, Jr., son of Thomas and Mary L. (Booth) Sparks, was born in Coffee County, Tennessee on February 27, 1840. He married Elvira Harris in 1868. She was the daughter of Captain Benjamin and Martha (Thrower) Harris, her father having moved to Poinsett County in 1829 and having founded the town of Harrisburg; he later held the offices of Representative, Judge, and also served as Senator of the Twenty-ninth District of Poirisett, Jackson and Mississippi Counties. Thomas, who at various times held the Poinsett County officers of Clerk of the Circuit Court, sheriff and collector, joined with J. L. Smith in January 1887 to form the T. B. Sparks & Co. General merchants, the firm in 1889 carried a stock of goods valued at from $6,000 to $8,000, handled cotton and grain, and was doing the largest business of any firm in Harrisburg. Thomas and Elvira had no children, but reared several children belonging to relatives. Members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, they are buried in Harrisburg. Mary Elizabeth (Mollie) Sparks, daughter of Thomas and Mary L. (Booth) Sparks, was born February 26, 1842, in Coffee County, Tennessee, and died on August 4, 1921, in Jonesboro. She married Homer Paar, an early Jonesboro attorney, who was born circa 1830 in Cape Giradeau, Missouri, and died on December 21, 1884. Both are buried in the Jonesboro City Cemetery. They were the parents of six children: Henry S. Parr, son, was born on January 15, 1868, and died on March 5, 1880. Gustavus W. Parr, son, was born on October 8, 1872, and died on March 8, 1880. James B. Paar, son, was born on January 8, 1876, and died on March 29, 1943. His widow, the former Floy Rogers, lives in Jonesboro. They had no children. James E. Paar was a prominent Jonesboro banker and businessman as well as being a powerful Northeast Arkansas Democratic political figure, he and Mrs. Paar being reported by the Little Rock ARKANSAS GAZETTE at the time of his death as being the closest friends of the then Arkansas U.S. Senator Hattie W. Caraway. James Paar was president of the Jonesboro Cotton Compress when he was shot and killed by Fred Mathes, an employee he had fired shortly before. Mrs. Paar is the former Jonesboro Postmistress. They had no children. Nelle P. Paar, daughter, was born June 3, 1878, and died on December 13, 1956. She married Morris Lide. They had two children: Morris Lide, Jr. He lives in Tyler, Texas. Catherine Lide, married George Alexander and lives in Jackson, Mississippi. One child, George Alexander, Jr. Tom Paar, son, died in 1928. He married Elizabeth F. MNU Edith Paar, daughter, married Fred Purcell of Warren, Arkansas. They had two children: Elizabeth Purcell, married Raymond Rebsamen of Little Rock, Ark. They had several children and are divorced. Fred Purcell, Jr., married and had a son, Joe Purcell, born ca. 1923, in Warren, Ark. He is currently serving his second term as Arkansas Attorney General. He is married and has two children, Lynett Purcell, born ca. 1952 and Edo Purcell, born ca. 1954. Alford William Sparks, son of Thomas and Mary L. (Booth) Sparks, was born in Coffee County, Tennessee, on July 9, 1845; he married in Jonesboro on September 29, 1870, Martha Cynthia Witt, who was born January 20, 1854, in Cherokee County, Alabama, daughter of W. J. and Matilda A. (Shirey) Witt who moved nine miles west of Jonesboro from Alabama in 1860. Alford and his wife later moved to Harrisburg where they resided until their deaths. They were the parents of eight children: Delia Iren Sparks, daughter, was born August 23, 1871, in Jonesboro; she married on December 19, 1889, in Harrisburg, Albert Sidney Stone, who was born August 23, 1869; he was a son of Thomas Ashley and Mary Frances (Goodwin) Stone. They were the parents of seven children: Stillborn son Stone, born 1891. Buried in the old Harrisburg Cemetery. Oscar Albert Stone, born March 25, 1892, Harrisburg, Ark., married Esther Faulk of Covington, TN. He was manager of the William Len Hotel, Memphis, TN, and later associated with the Hotel Peabody of Memphis; his wife was a registered nurse. They had no children; both are buried in the Oak Lawn Cemetery, Jonesboro. Maybelle Clara Stone, born May 30, 1895, Harrisburg, Arkansas; she married Guy Wise Martin of Jonesboro. He is deceased; she lives in Concord, California. They had three children: Dwight Stone Martin, born in Lonoke, Ark.; he married Maxine Tartar of Carlisle, Ark., and they live at Shawnee Mission, Kansas. Children: Lynda Kay Martin married Blanchard Causey; Karen Martin married FNU Bogan; and Gerald Martin. Betty Dolores Martin, died ca. 1967, born in Lonoke, Ark.; she married Joe Green of Little Rock; one daughter, Nanci Green born ca. 1964. Kay Hutchison Martin, born Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio; married Maxine (Tartar) Martin's niece. Children: Phyllis Martin, Carol Martin, and Tony Martin
. Thomas Alford Stone, son, was born February 19, 1898, in Harrisburg; he married (first) Marie Derrington of Little Rook (divorced); he married (second) Mildred MNU of Blytheville, Ark. (divorced); he married (third) Ellen Robinson of Memphis (deceased); he married (fourth) Grace Clark of Weiner, Ark. He is buried in the Jonesboro Memorial Park and his widow resides in Jonesboro. Children: Katherine Marine Stone, daughter of Thomas Alford Stone and his first wife, Merie Derrington; married Donald Henderson of Jonesboro; they live in Memphis. Children: Donna Kay, married Calvin Renfroe; William Donald Henderson, Jr. Thomas Alford Stone, Jr., son of Thomas Alford Stone and his third wife, Ellen Robinson; he married Dorothy MNU and lives in Memphis; three children. Gladys Irene Stone, daughter of Albert S. and Delia Iren (Sparks) Stone, was born in Harrisburg; she married (first) Chester Berry of Memphis, Tenn. After their divorce, she married Walter Stanley of Grass Valley, California. and they live in Memphis. Lela Maude Stone, daughter, was born in Harrisburg; she married Pruitt Davis Wells. Child: Denny P. Wells married Gail June Messersmith; they live in Dallas, Tax., and have a daughter, Sherri Ann Wells, born ca. 1966. Cleo May Stone, daughter, resides in Jonesboro where she is Office Manager and Secretary of the Freeze Insurance Company, Inc. Edna Mabel Sparks, daughter of Alford W. and Martha C. (Witt) Sparks, was born October 23, 1874, in Jonesboro, Ark.; she was married on October 11, 1592, to Ed L. Jacobs of Harrisburg, Ark., an attorney and former State Representative. Both are deceased. They had one child: Viola Jacobs; she married (first) Wortha Ross of Harrisburg, and (second) Paul Renshaw of Memphis. She is now in a nursing hone in Memphis. One child: Lucille Ross, daughter of Wortha and Viola (Jacobs) Ross; she married Charles Raney (deceased) of Memphis and had a son named Charles Keeton Raney who is married and lives in Memphis. May Gertrude Sparks, daughter of Alford W. and Martha C. (Witt) Sparks, was born May 12, 1878, in Harrisburg; she married (first) George Wilder (deceased) of Hope, Arkansas; she married (second) Dr. George Briant (deceased) of Hope, Ark.; she subsequenty married (third) Captain Henry Leybe (deceased), a wealthy shipper and pleasure boat owner of St. Louis, Missouri. Children: Hortence Wilder, daughter of George and May Gertrude (Sparks) Wilder; she married Kenneth L. Mott III, attorney of Toronto, Canada. They are divorced and she lives in St. Louis, Missouri. William Thomas Sparks, son of Alford W. and Martha C. (Witt) Sparks, was born August 8, 1881, in Harrisburg, Ark., and died on November 11, 1882. Ethel Martha Sparks, daughter of Alford W. and Martha C. (Witt) Sparks, was born December 29, 1883, and died on March 8, 1923. She married Thomas L. Speck (deceased) of Ripley, Tennessee, on June 18, 1901. They had no children. Alfred (Allie) Maud Sparks, daughter of Alford W. and Martha C.(Witt) Sparks, was born December 19, 1886, in Harrisburg; she married Marine Black (deceased) of Peoria, Illinois, on March 8, 1923. She lives in Memphis, Term. One child, Martha Elizabeth Black; she married Danny LNU (divorced) and had a son named Paul. Edgar Benton Sparks, son of Alford W. and Martha C. (Witt) Sparks, was born June 20, 1891, in Harrisburg; he married on November 2, 1913, Laura McMallen of Jonesboro, Arkansas. They live in Memphis, Tenn., where he is a retired druggist. They had a daughter named Martha Jane Sparks who married FNU Barnard and has several children. Claude Lee Sparks, son of Alford W. and Martha C. (witt) Sparks, was born July 5, 1894, in Harrisburg (now deceased). He married (first) Mollie (Bunny) Thompson on October 24, 1916, of Black Oak, Ark.; he married (second) Margaret MNU. Children: A. W. Sparks; he is married and lives in Portland, Oregon. Hazel Sparks, she has been married twice and is believed to have four children, two of whom are named Barbara and Sparky. W. M. Sparks, son of Thomas and Mary L. (Booth) Sparks, was born in either Coffee or Warren County, Tennessee, in 1847. The only information available on this son is that he was still alive in 1891 at which time he was a traveling salesman for a wholesale clothing house in Cincinnati, Ohio. Gustavus Noel Sparks, son of Thomas and Mary L. (Booth) Sparks, was born in Warren County, Tennessee, on April 22, 1853, and died in Jonesboro, Arkansas, on October 1, 1927. After graduation at age seventeen from Ledden's College, Memphis, Tennessee, he moved to Forrest City, Arkansas, where he worked in the dry goods stores of N. O. Rhodes & Co. and Sparks and Rollwage. In 1874 he married Pamelia Jane (Jennie) Cobb, who was born November 24, 1854, in St. Francis County, Arkansas. Mrs. Sparks died July 24, 1922, in Jonesboro. She was a daughter of C. H. Cobb. Gus Sparks lived in Wynne, Nettleton, and Jonesboro, Arkansas. In the 1870's, Gus Sparks sent the following two letters to his father's brother, Matthew Sparks, in Texas.

Forrest City, Sept 26/73
Mr. Mathew Sparks
Caledonia, Texas

Dear Uncle

I had the pleasure of reading a letter from you a few days since to my father while on a visit home and by his request answer the same as he is getting so feeble that tis almost impossible for him to write. He was assisting in hauling a load of hay a few days since and fell from the wagon and was for a while hurt right badly though he is getting so that he can be out again now. The balance of the family are all well. Father is very anxious that you should come out here to live and I have no doubt but the country would give entire satisfaction. Uncle Noel speaks of coming next winter or in the latter part of the fall. I have just received a letter from him yesterday. I think that when you and Uncle Noel come the Sparks family will be one of the largest in the state.

I would have written to you long since Uncle had I of known your post office. But I guess you can remember very little about me or at least my rememberance of you is quite limited. But never the less I can realize that I have an Uncle by your name and would be pleased to correspond with you so that you could tell me all about my cousins and I will take pleasure in keeping you posted in the condition of our country.

I will go up to Fathers next week to take Mother home. She has been spending a month with me in this place. Do not think by this that I am married for I have never met with such luck yet but think I will soon. I am selling goods here and would be pleased to hear from you hope you will come in time to eat some of my birthday cake. Will be 21 on the 22 of April 1874. Write immediately to Gus. Noel Sparks.

(Note: Written across one part of the above letter is the following: "I would write more but space you see will not permit" and across another part "N.B. You must write to me on receipt of this and direct your letter to G. N. Sparks Forrest City, St. Francis Co., Arkansas. I am going to get married soon come over.")

The other letter written by Gustavus Noel Sparks to his uncle in Texas reads as follows:

Forrest City, Ark April 16/74
Mr. Mathew Sparks
Caledonia, Texas

Dear Uncle

Yours of the 4th inst to hand. Contents noted and in reply would say that I was truly glad to hear from you although I was some what surprised as I had almost given out the Idea of you making any reply.

Business is very good here at present more so than usual at this season but as excessive rain has prevented the farmers from making much progress on their farms. The most of them have been doing their summers trading which comes a rush now and indicates a dull summer. I have thought of visiting Texas this summer and if I should do so I will bring you the desired cake as I think it will be baked before I come. If I should not come I will send it by mail. I received a letter from Mother this morning which stated that all of the family was well. Uncle Edmond paid Father a visit not long since and was very much pleased with the country. He spoke of moving out here this fall. I will close for the present and hoping to hear from you soon. I remain Yours truly, nephew,

Gus N. Sparks. Gustavus Noel Sparks and Pamelia Jane (Cobb) Sparks were the parents of six children: Ora Sparks, daughter of Gustavus Noel and Pamelia Jane (Cobb) Sparks, was born July 14, 1876, and died as an infant. Buried in Forrest City. Lena May Sparks, daughter of Gustavus Noel and Pamelia Jane (Cobb) Sparks, was born January 24, 1878, and died June 17, 1958. She married Leroy Norris of Nettleton, Arkansas. They had a daughter named Jewell Norris who married M. Shafner Burge and lives in Hemet California; they have two sons. Thomas Christopher Sparks, son of Gustavus Noel and Pamelia Jane (Cobb) Sparks, was born October 21, 1879: he died as an infant and was buried in Forrest City. Annie Blanche Sparks, daughter of Gustavus Noel and Paxnelia Jane (Cobb) Sparks, was born October 23, 1880; she was married on February 22, 1898, to Fletcher Garland May (deceased). She lives in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. They had four children: John Ewell May, born January 17, 1902. Guy Noel May, born January 7, 1904; married and lives in Pine Bluff, Ark. One son is an Episcopalian priest in North Carolina. Fletcher Garland May, Jr., born October 16, 1907; lives in Hot Springs, Ark. Virginia (Jenny) May, born June 11, 1909; married David Brown Crenshaw and lives in Dallas, Texas. Charles Benton Sparks, son of Gustavus Noel and Paxnelia Jane (Cobb) Sparks, was born September 13, 1883, and died as an infant. Buried in Forrest City. Isaac Cedric (Ike) Sparks, son of Gustavus Noel and Pamelia Jane (Cobb) Sparks, was born February 8, 1891, in Wynne, Arkansas; he married (first) Jeanne Quinton Smith (divorced); he married (second) in August 1935, Edith H. Slagle who died March 12, 1957; he married (third) Belva Anne (Carter) Hotchkiss, who was born August 11, 1916, in Wichita, Kansas - - they were married on February 7, 1968. A retired insurance executive, Ike and Mrs. Sparks live in Little Rock, Arkansas. by his first wife, Isaac Cedric Sparks had two daughters: Naomi Jeanne Sparks, daughter of Isaac C. and Jeanne Q. (Smith) Sparks, was born April 8, 1911, in Nettleton, Ark.; she was married on August 30, 1930, in Fort Smith, Ark., to Herbert Wayman Parker, who was born June 22, 1908, in Little Rock, son of Herbert W. and Emma Jean (Nothwang) Parker. They now reside in Jacksonville, Florida; they have two daughters: Jeanne Parker, born March 23, 1933, in Little Rock; married in Jacksonville, Fla., on June 24, 1955, to Dr. John Norton Christie, Jr., who was born July 30, 1933, in Jacksonville, son of John N. and Eda Inez (Grumbles) Christie. Children: Norton Bradley Christie, born May 23, 1957; and Katherine Christie, born December 10, 1958. Mary Elliotte Parker, born March 5, 1941, in Jacksonville; died there June 2, 1960. Helen Elizabeth Sparks, daughter of Isaac C. and Jeanne Q.(Smith) Sparks, was born November 4, 1919, in Little Rock; she married Frank Edward Snell, Jr., who was born February 12, 1903, in Muncie, Ind., son of Frank Edward and Adeline Rebecca (West) Snell. He is retired from the Coca Cola Company and they live in Jacksonville. No children.

(Note: The sources for the above article include The History of Craighead County, Arkansas, by Harry Lee Williams (The Jonesboro Tribune, 1930); U.S. Census records, 1830-1580; Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northeast Arkansas (Goodspeed Publishing Co. 1889); Pioneers and Makers of Arkansas; The Craighead County Historical Quarterly (Vol. III,, 3, Sumrner, 1965); The Arkansas Gazette and family records in the possession of Miss Cleo Stone, Jonesboro, Ark.; Mr. I.C. Sparks, Little Rock, Ark., and Miss Millie Lowe, of Dallas, Texas.)