January 25, 2019

Pages 1355-1360
Whole Number 72


[Webmaster Note: As of Issue 113, we know that this Jonathan Sparks was NOT the son of John and Sarah (Shores) Sparks].

(Editor 's Note: Most of the information on Jonathan Sparks and his family has been compiled for us by Mr. J. W. Willis of 521 Talley Road, Chattanooga, Tenn. Mr. Willis has made a hobby of tracing the early families of Franklin County, Tennessee. We are very grateful for his assistance.)

Jonathan Sparks was born in North Carolina ca. 1792. There seems little doubt that he was a son of John and Sarah (Shores) Sparks (see the Quarterly of December 1955, Vol. III, Whole No. 12, pp. 97-104). John Sparks, who was born February 25, 1753, was a son of Solomon and Sarah Sparks who had moved from Frederick County, Maryland, to Rowan County, North Carolina, in 1753. John Sparks had moved with his parents to what is now Wilkes County, North Carolina (then Surry County) ca. 1772. John Sparks married Sarah Shores, daughter of Reuben and Susannah Shores in Surry County, North Carolina, ca. 1777. John Sparks served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War and received a pension for his services in later years. He died in Wilkes County, North Carolina, ca. 1840.

Our first official record of Jonathan Sparks is his name on the Surry County tax list of 1815 when he was taxed in Captain Martin's District for 220 acres valued at $300, located on Beaver Dam Creek adjoining the land of J. Edwards. He was taxed regularly for this land until 1821, when his name appears on the tax list for the last time. The owners of land adjoining Jonathan Sparks in 1820 and 1821 were William Rose, John Rose, Jr., Benjamin Sparks, James Parks, Sr., and John Parks. We have found no record of Jonathan Sparks either purchasing or selling this tract of land - - perhaps he inherited it.

Jonathan Sparks married Rachel Swaim in Surry County, North Carolina, in 1817. The marriage bond was dated November 26, 1817, and William Sparks served as bondsman while James Parks served as witness. The marriage was probably performed a few days after November 26. It is believed that Jonathan Sparks had an older brother named William Sparks (see the article cited above, page 101).

Another Jonathan Sparks, this one of Wilkes County, North Carolina, can easily be confused with the subject of this sketch. This Jonathan of Wilkes County was a son of Solomon Sparks, Jr., and his wife Charity (see the Quarterly of June 1956, Vol. VII, No. 2, Whole No. 26, pp. 381-387). This latter Jonathan was a number of years younger than the Jonathan who was a son of John and Sarah Sparks and was unmarried at the time that his father, Solomon, made his will in December 1817.

Jonathan Sparks, son of John and Sarah (Shores) Sparks, was listed on the 1820 census of Surry County, his age being given as between 26 and 45, thus born between 1775 and 1794. His wife's age was given as 16 to 26 (born between 1794 and 1804). by 1820 they had had three children, two sons and one daughter.

Jonathan Sparks was not listed on the 1830 census of Surry County, North Carolina. Apparently he had moved away, perhaps as early as 1821, but his name did not appear on the 1830 census of Franklin County, Tennessee. He was listed there on the 1840 census, however, and from the birth places of his children in subsequent census records it appears that he was living somewhere in Tennessee in the late 1820's.

Jonathan and Rachel Sparks were still living in 1850; we have no later record of them. From census records and other research performed by Mr. J. W. Willis, we have been able to assemble the following record of their children and grandchildren.

It is believed that Jonathan and Rachel (Swaim) Sparks had ten children: DAU Sparks, a daughter, born between 1818 and 1820, according to the 1820 census. Lawson Sparks, son of Jonathan and Rachel (Swaim) Sparks, was born ca. 1819 in North Carolina. About 1845 he married Charity who, according to the 1850 census, was born in Tennessee ca. 1828. About 1855, Lawson Sparks moved to Princeton, Dallas County, Arkansas, where his wife apparently died shortly after a baby boy was born in March 1860. From census records it appears that Lawson and Charity Sparks had the following children: Royal Sparks (a son), born ca. 1846; apparently died before 1860. Susan J. Sparks, born ca. 1847. Caroline Sparks, born ca. 1850. Washington Sparks, born ca. 1852. John Sparks, born ca. 1854. Rachel Sparks, born ca. 1856. Jane C. Sparks, born ca. 1858. "Infant” (son) born in March 1860. Solomon Sparks was born ca. 1820; he moved from Franklin County, Tennessee, to Cleveland County, Arkansas, ca. 1858. A grandson, John Sells, recalled in 1958 that Solomon Sparks was driving a stagecoach out of Stevenson, Alabama, on the night of November 13, 1833, during the famous meteor shower - - his horses were frightened and ran away. Solomon Sparks married ca. 1840-42 Jane Champion, daughter of Daniel and Mary Champion. She was born ca. 1820 in Tennessee. Based on the 1870 census of Saline Township, Princeton, Arkansas, where he moved in 1867, Solomon Sparks had the following children: (all born in Tennessee) John Sparks, born ca. 1849. Mary Sparks, born ca. 1852. Martha Sparks, born ca. 1854; she married James R. Sells, son of William McDonald and Eleanor (Champion) Sells who was known as "Bear Jim” because of his size. Their children were: Elizabeth Sells; James Sells; William Sells; John Sells born 1881, died 1958; Grover Sells; Robert Sells; and Ruth Sells. Alice Sparks, born ca. 1856. Benjamin Sparks, born ca. 1858. Hannah Sparks, born ca. 1859. James H. Sparks, born ca. 1860. Ed Sparks, born ca. 1862. Franklin Sparks, born ca. 1865. Nora Sparks, born ca. 1867. Jacobson Sparks (called Jacob Esau in one record), son of Jonathan and Rachel (Swain) Sparks, was born ca. 1828; according to census records, it appears that he was born after his parents moved from North Carolina to Tennessee. He married Cynthia Champion, who was born in Tennessee ca. 1822 and died in Franklin County, Tennessee, in 1910; she was a daughter of Randolph and Martha (Wilson) Champion. About 1852 he moved with his brother, John C. Sparks, to Dallas County, Arkansas. According to Civil War records in the National Archives, Jacobson Sparks and his brother, John C. Sparks, both served in the Confederate Army in Company F of Morgan's Battalion of Arkansas Infantry; both were enrolled on June 16, 1862, in Tulip, Dallas County, Arkansas, by Capt. McNeill and traveled 70 miles to rendezvous in Little Rock on June 24. Jacobson Sparks (called Jacob in these Army records) was listed as "absent, sick furlough" in January 1863. A document is on file signed by a surgeon named J. N. Thompson on January 27, 1863, which states that a furlough had been approved by various officers for Private Jacob Sparks. He stated: "I hereby certify that I have carefully examined said soldier and find him incaptable of performing the duties of a soldier because of diarrhea following remet fever. I further certify that in my opinion he will not be able to resume his duties in a less period than twenty days. Believing that it would be beneficial to his health, I recommend that a furlough for twenty days be granted to him.”

This is the last record of Jacobson Sparks in this Confederate Army file. However, a granddaughter of Jacobson and Cynthia Sparks, Mrs. Elizabeth Sparks Summers of Sherwood, Tenn., has preserved a letter dated August 30, 1863, by John C. Sparks, brother of Jacobson, informing his wife Cynthia of Jacobson's death on August 20, 1863. This letter was written from Camp Prince where John C. Sparks had returned following some kind of military action, probably patrol duty, in which both he and his brother had been engaged. Writing to his sister-in-law, whom he addressed as "Dear Sister”, he informed her and her family of the tragedy. The individuals whom he referred to as Carter and Garner were obviously fellow soldiers:

"Camp Prince, August 30, 1863

"Dear Sister: With a heavy heart I take my pen in hand to inform you of the lamentable death of your husband which occured on the 20th of this instant. He Carter and Garner went to the creek after water, and when they had got their water they went off a few steps to the shade and was lying down. Carter and Garner said they didn 't know whether they all went to sleep or not. When they were awakened by the tree falling it was a dead oak and it struck in the top of the sycamore that they were lying under, brother Jacob had run 5 or 6 steps from where he was lying when Garner went back. He found a limb on him nearly foot through and took it off of him and he never breathed nor struggled. It also hurt Carters arm pretty badly but didn't break it, we got a good strong coffin and buried him as decent as we could on the bank of the Porto River near where we are camping 10 miles south of Fort Smith. The grave is on the east side of the river at what is called the upper ford about 20 steps from the bank under a burdock tree about 10 inches through, and a large field on the left of the road as you eye from Fort Smith. The grave is on the left between the corner of the fence and the ford of the river. His name is cut on a stone and stands up at the head of the grave close to the tree. I didn't tell you where the limb fell on him. It struck him across from the left hip to the right shoulder. I thought I would describe the place so that if you wanted to send after him that you could find the place. I will send his clothes and money by first safe chance that I have. He had 100 dollars in Confederate and 2½ in gold and 90 cents in silver, I am the worst lost that I ever was in my life. It appears like every friend that I ever had is gone but that is only what we all owe our maker and we should not grieve, but we can't help it when our relations and friends fall around. I want you to write to me as soon as you get this so I will know whether you get this or not. I can't give you any news at present.

Yours truly,

J. C. Sparks to Cinthia Sparks and family."

Following the death of her husband, Cynthia Sparks moved back to Franklin County, Tenn., with her children. Mrs. Summers owns the family Bible containing the births of their children. Jacobson Sparks had placed a string at the page he had reached in reading it through and that string still remains at the same place.

Jacobson and Cynthia (Champion) Sparks were the parents of six children: William (Bill) Sparks, born March 27, 1852, in Arkansas and died on March 10, 1943. He married (first) Elizabeth Sells on September 30, 1870. She was born in 1860 and died in May 1932, the daughter of William MacDonald and Eleanor (Champion) Sells. He married (second) Alice (Swain) Sanders, a widow, in 1892; she was born ca. 1865 and died in 1954. (She had three children by her previous marriage, Sallie Sanders, born 1882; John Sanders, born 1884; & Lindsey Sanders, born 1888.) by his first wife, William Sparks had the following children: Albert Sidney Sparks, born 18 December 1871, died March 7, 1970, at Normandy, Tenn. He married (first) Sallie Summers on January 5, 1875 (she was born August 2, 1856 and died March 25, 1897). They had one child, Foster Sparks, born March 25, 1897, died August 8, 1964.

Albert S. Sparks married (second) Sarah Crimpshire (no children); he married (third) FNU Donaldson, by whom he had three children: Lorna Sparks, born March 24, 1924; Mabel Sparks, born October 28, 1928; and Herbert Sparks, born December 7, 1930. James E. Sparks, born May 6, 1873; died young. Margaret Sparks, born June 6, 1875; died January 1, 1910; married Walsh Stubblefield. Allen A. Sparks, born August 12, 1878, died August 6, 1932; married Della Landers. Ben F. Sparks, born August 28, 1881; married Louie Bell Holder, born June 7, 1885, daughter of John L. and Mary (Anderson) Holder. They had three children: John E. Sparks, born May 23, 1905, married Grace Fults and had

Edgar C. Sparks, born 1931, and Kenneth C. Sparks, born 1932; Emily Sparks; and Mary Sparks. Jacob (Jake) Sparks, born December 25, 1884; died August 10, 1908. Did not marry. Son Sparks, died in infancy.

by his second wife, William Sparks had the following children: Elizabeth Sparks, born 30 August 1893; married Cam Summers,
born 1888. They had Elsie J. Summers, born 24 September 1925; and Ethel Jean Summers, born 26 September 1927. William (Pat) Sparks, born 3 May 1895; died 1916. Lever (or Lewis) Sparks, born 27 November 1897; died 1899. Lucy Sparks, born 24 December 1900; married J. J. Crownover, born 1894, died 1966; they had one child, Peggie Crownover, born 28 November 1931, who married FNU Jackson. Hugh Sparks, (called Buck), born 24 July 1904. Katie Sparks, born August 3, 1906; married Will O'Dell. Horace Sparks, born June 16, 1908, died December 22, 1926. Susie Sparks, born September 25, 1911; married George D. Hitchcock, born 1898, died May 17, 1961. Eleanor Caroline Sparks was born February 20, 1854, and died September 12, 1943; she married Wince Canton, born December 6, 1848. Moses Sparks, born June 30, 1856; died young. Fanny Sparks, born July 21, 1857; married Marion Elliott. Jonathan (Jack) Sparks, born October 18, 1859 (or October 26); married Martha Sells September 4, 1879, who was born ca. 1858, daughter of James T. and Frances (Shipp) Sells. Jacob (Bud) Sparks, born October 27, 1861 (?), in Arkansas, died October 30, 1932; married September 22, 1880, Eliza Sells, born March 13, 1860, died February 21, 1936, daughter of James T. and Frances (Shipp) Sells. They had the following children: Tom Sparks; lived in Texas. Jake Sparks, born 1883; died June 22, 1959; married Mollie Stubblefield, daughter of Henry and Emma Morris Stubblefield. Children: Chester Sparks, Thomas Sparks, James Sparks, and Minnie Sparks. Will Sparks; lived in California. Cynthia Sparks; married Luke Summers (born in 1873 and died in 1945); she was his second wife. Fannie Sparks, born 1893; married Andy Holder. Ben Sparks, married Verdie Stubblefield, daughter of Henry Stubblefield. John Sparks, born 1900; married Lucy Summers, daughter of Bob and Callie Willis Summers. Cynthia Sparks, daughter of Jonathan and Rachel (Swaim) Sparks, was born ca. 1830. No further information. Isabella Sparks, born ca. 1832. She is probably the Isabella Sparks who married Henry F. Sells in Franklin County, Tennessee, on 25 September 1852. Jane Sparks, born ca. 1834, daughter of Jonathan and Rachel (Swaim) Sparks. John C. Sparks was born ca. 1838. He moved to Dallas County, Arkansas in the 1850's. His age was given as 24 at the time of his enlistment in the Confederate army in 1862. When the 1860 census was taken of Dallas County, John C. Sparks was listed as a farmer with real estate valued at $840 and personal property valued at $180. He was apparently unmarried and was living in the household of A. P. Henderson. His age was given as 29, but other records would seem to indicate this was an error and that he was actually 22. Like his brother, Jacobson Sparks, he was enrolled by Capt. McNeill in Tulip, Dallas County, Arkansas, in Company F, Morgan's Battalion of the 26th Arkansas Infantry, and they both traveled 70 miles to rendezvous with their company in Little Rock on June 24, 1862. He was listed on his company roll as present regularly until March 14, 1865, when he was hospitalized in Shreveport, La., with the disease "rubecola.” He was released from the hospital on March 21, 1865. We may assume that he was discharged soon after this date. (John C. Sparks's middle name may have been Crockett - - a descendant of his brother Solomon, named W. P. Drake, wrote in 1940 that Solomon had a brother named Crockett Sparks. A Crocket Sparks was living with wife Martha in Dorsey County, Arkansas, in 1880, as was also a Solomon Sparks.) John C. Sparks married Martha in the late 1860 's. In 1870, when his family was given on the 1870 census of Dallas County, Arkansas, he and Martha had a nine-month-old son named Jacob E. Sparks, obviously named for his brother who had been killed during the Civil War. Edzmond Sparks was born ca. 1840. No further information. Sarah F. Sparks was born ca. 1843. No further information.

Page 1704
Whole Number 88


In the Quarterly of December 1970 (Vol. XVIII, No. 4, Whole No. 72) we published (pp. 1355-1361) a record of the family of Jonathan Sparks who was born ca. 1792. We believe that Jonathan was a son of John and Sarah (Shores) Sparks of Surry County, North Carolina. Jonathan Sparks married Rachel Swaim in Surry County in 1817 (marriage bond dated November 26, 1817). The last record that we have of Jonathan Sparks is the 1840 census, at which time he was living in Franklin County, Tennessee. It is believed that he died there. Mrs. Ted K. Clifton of Fort Wayne, Indiana, believes that Rachel was the Rachel Swaim born August 15, 1802, to Quaker parents named Elihu and Sarah (Mills) Swaim. This family came to Guilford County, North Carolina, ca. 1773 from Nantucket. There were also other Swaims who moved to Franklin County, Tennessee, as did Jonathan and Rachel (Swaim) Sparks. Mrs. Clifton's source for this information is the Hinshaw Quaker Records.

Page 1792
Whole Number 92


In the Quarterly of December 1974 (Vol. XXII, No. 4, Whole No. 88, p. 1704) we reported that Rachel Swaim, who married Jonathan Sparks (he was born ca. 1792 in Surry County, North Carolina) was probably the Rachel Swaim born August 15, 1802, to Quaker parents. William Perry Johnson, the Association's official historian-genealogist and an expert on North Carolina genealogy, tells us that we were mistaken. The Rachel who was born August 15, 1802, was Rachel SWAIN, daughter of Elihu and Sarah (Mills) SWAIN. Mr. Johnson has done research on both the Swaim and the Swain families of North Carolina and has found that, despite the similarity of the spelling of the two names, they are very different families. As a result, he notes, they are often confused, one with the other. The date of birth and the parentage of Rachel Swaim who married Jonathan Sparks in Surry County, N.C., in 1817 (marriage bond dated November 26, 1817) remains a mystery after all.