Whole Number 77
by Ken Sparks
(Editor's Note: The author of this sketch, Ken Sparks of Camas, Washington, is a great-great-grandson of Stephen Sparks. The original of the photograph of Stephen Sparks and Francis Marion Sparks, as well as that of William Sparks which appears on the cover, are owned by an uncle of Ken Sparks.)
27.2.6 Stephen Sparks was born July 6, 1808, in Laurens County, South Carolina, the sixth child of 27.2 William and Mary (Palmer) Sparks and a grandson of 27. Zachariah Sparks who died ca. 1781 in Ninety-Six District, South Carolina. (See the Quarterly of September 1961, Vol. IX, No. 3, Whole No. 35, pp. 569-79.) William and Mary (Palmer) Sparks, with a number of other Baptists, left South Carolina and emigrated to Indiana in 1812. They first settled near Liberty, Union County, Indiana. They stayed there "until their land came into the market," then sold and moved to Connersville Township, Fayette County, Indiana, settling on Section 36. They remained there until their deaths. They were charter members of the Village Creek Baptist Church, not far from Connersville, where they are buried. Mary Sparks died July 6, 1848, and William Sparks died on January 31, 1862.
On July 10, 1828, 27.2.6 Stephen Sparks married Asenith Woolverton (spelling from marriage bond) in Fayette County, Indiana, They were married by the Reverend William Miller. Little is known of Asenith before her marriage. She supposedly was born in Tennessee ca. 1804. (Her age on the 1850 census was given as 46.) According to family tradition, she was a descendant of General Nathaniel Greene, of Revolutionary War fame, although the connection has not been substantiated. Some descendants feel that she had been married previously to FNU Woolverton and that her maiden name was actually Greene. In several family records her name was recorded as Asenath Greene Walverton.
Stephen and Asenath Sparks lived in Rush County, Indiana, where their eight children were born. Following is a brief sketch of the children:
18.104.22.168 William Sparks, born March 31, 1830, in Indiana. He married (first) FNU Davis in Missouri after 1850, and (second) Jemima Roberts before 1860. He married (third) Mary MNU before 1880. He had at least six children. In 1860 and in 1880 he was listed on the census of Leavenworth County, Kansas. He died on January 18, 1911. From census records it would appear that he had the following children:
22.214.171.124.1 Susan Sparks, born ca. 1854 in Missouri.
126.96.36.199.2 Elizabeth Sparks, born ca. 1857 in Kansas.
188.8.131.52.3 Mary Sparks, born ca. 1859 in Kansas.
184.108.40.206.4 Dora Bell Sparks, born ca. 1867 in Kansas.
220.127.116.11.5 Lonzo Sparks, born ca. 1868 in Kansas.
18.104.22.168.6 Craton Sparks, born ca. 1870 in Kansas.
22.214.171.124 Moses Sparks was born January 2, 1831. He married Anna Kincade ca. 1854 in Missouri. She was born August 2, 1837. Moses Sparks died March 27, 1892, and Anna died June 15, 1915. According to the records of a granddaughter, Mrs. Pearl Sparks Sauer, Moses and Anna (Kincade) Sparks bad the following children:
126.96.36.199.1 Martha Alice Sparks, born January 17, 1855, died February 22, 1932. She married Socrates Clinkinbeard on March 15, 1872.
188.8.131.52.2 Frances Anna Sparks, born March 14, 1857, died October 9, 1919. She married Simon Corwine on November 14, 1877.
184.108.40.206.3 Nancy Jane Sparks, born August 16, 1858, died April 14, 1859.
220.127.116.11.4 Mary Bell Sparks, born April 5, 1861, died March 26, 1932. Unmarried.
18.104.22.168.5 Sarah Ellen Sparks, born June 22, 1863, died February 22, 1866.
22.214.171.124.6 Charles Grant Sparks, born December 1, 1865, died August 1, 1866.
126.96.36.199.7 Thomas Andrew Sparks, born February 1, 1868, died December 23, 1924. He married Ida Fenerly,
188.8.131.52.8 Laura Henderson Sparks, born October 18, 1869, died February 16, 1943. She married George W. Sanders on November 30, 18xx.
184.108.40.206.9 William Wyatt Sparks, born April 16, 1874. He married Anna Bell Adams.
220.127.116.11.10 Ernest Frank Sparks, born August 23, 1879, died September 2, 1879.
18.104.22.168 John E. Sparks born ca. 1833 in Indiana. He married Susan Marrocks in Missouri ca. 1857. John, too, moved to Kansas ca. 1859. John died before 1870. Susan remarried to Absalom Hickerson. John and Susan Sparks had three children:
22.214.171.124.1 William Sparks, born ca. 1858 in Missouri.
126.96.36.199.2 Albert Sparks, born ca. 1861 in Kansas.
188.8.131.52.3 John Sparks, born ca. 1862 in Missouri.
184.108.40.206 Stephen Sparks, Jr., born ca. 1835 in Indiana. He lived at Easton, Kansas.
220.127.116.11 Lott S. Sparks was born July 4, 1836, in Indiana. He married Rachel Townsend in Kansas after 1860. In 1860 he was living with his brother Moses Sparks and family. Lott Sparks died December 7, 1906.
18.104.22.168 Mary Jane Sparks was born July 5, 1838, in Indiana. She married Jesse Ford Pyle. Mary died December 11, 1928.
22.214.171.124 Green C. Sparks was born in October 1840, in Indiana. He married Margaret A. McGee, possibly a daughter of his father's third wife. Green Sparks died in June, 1917.
126.96.36.199 Francis Marion Sparks was born April 20, 1843, in Rush County, Indiana. He returned to Indiana following the death of his mother before 1860 and lived with his uncle, Hiram Sparks, and his grandfather, William Sparks. He joined the Indiana Volunteer Infantry in 1861. He received a medical discharge in 1863. On December 1, 1863, he married Sarah Frances Warne at Connersville, Fayette County, Indiana. She was born October 1, 1843, in Franklin County, Ind., the daughter of John H. and Eliza Jane (Martin) Warne. They returned to Kansas November 4, 1865. They lived in Leavenworth County until November 1889 when they moved to Canadian County, Oklahoma, because Francis was suffering from tuberculosis and needed a drier climate. They had ten children, three dying in infancy. Sarah died on April 19, 1915, and Francis died on December 9, 1930, in Canadian County, Oklahoma. (In a later issue of the Quarterly we plan to publish a record of descendants.)
In 1845, Stephen and Asenath Sparks, with their eight children, emigrated westward to Platte County, Missouri, and settled in Marshall Township. When the 1850 census of Platte County was taken, their post office was given as Weston; Stephen Sparks was listed as a farmer with real estate valued at $3,200. They again moved in 1854, this time to Leavenworth County, Kansas, four miles south of Easton. There Stephen Sparks was active in the Free-State Party, which strongly opposed the introduction of slavery into Kansas Territory, and he served as a representative in the territorial legislature. Because of this role, his life and the lives of his family were threatened numerous times by the pro-slavery settlers. Because of the bloodshed and general unrest in the Territory, a committee from the United States Congress visited Kansas in the spring of 1856 and took testimony from the settlers. Both Stephen Sparks and his wife testified and their statements were later published in House Report No. 200, "Report of the Special Committee Appointed to Investigate the Troubles in Kansas" (34th Congress, 1st Session, Washington, 1856). Stephen's testimony appears on pages 1011-1015 and that of his wife on pages 1818-1820. These documents are reproduced below in full:
STEPHEN SPARKS CALLED AND SWORN: "I came to the Territory in Oct, 1854, from "Platte county, Missouri, where I had been living since 1845. An election was called to be held on Tuesday, the 15th of January A.D. 1856, at Easton; and upon learning a rumor that prevailed through the neighborhood that Kickapoo Rangers were collecting in force to prevent the election, it was postponed until the Thursday following, the 17th. On the evening before that day I went up to Easton. The polls were opened about noon; everything was quiet then; but we saw a company at Janesville, half a mile or a mile from us, passing on horses once in a while on a bluff there, and several persons came in and complained of being insulted by them, and were stopped by them.
Among others, my son, Moses Sparks, was halted, also Mr. Pennock, and some two or three with them were stopped, and their guns taken out of their sleds and wagons. From a bluff near the polls we could see the party. It passed on so until a little before sundown. They came over into Easton across the creek, and stopped at a grocery near Dawson's. About dusk, between thirty-five and forty-five men, as near as I could guess, came up towards Minard's, where the election was held. I heard some one of the crowd, who appeared to be the leader, say, "Charge on them, Goddamn them, I aint afraid." About this time our men had nearly formed themselves from the door to the road. Upon seeing our force they halted, and returned without further difficulty. Some time after a note was sent to the house where we were, from them. The note was directed to me and Mr. Hinard, and had no name to it. After looking at it, we concluded to give no answer until some one would put his name to it. Another note was sent by a messenger with Dr. Hotter's name signed to it. Mr. McAlear then came up, and Kookogey with him to reason with us, and said it would be better for us to give up the ballot-box, or it would turn out worse. We concluded there would be no difficulty. This was late at night, and I proposed that I would go home, and started home with my son and nephew. My road was through Easton. Snow was on the ground, and that was the only broken way to my house, and it is the road I always go. When getting near Dawson's store, I saw several men, and heard several say, "God damn him, there he is," and called old man Sparks, and said they had got me now. There was a great deal of talk, and the men had been drinking. I walked on and came near the store door; several men threatened me very heavy, and demanded that I should surrender. They were then all round me, some in front and some behind, and on each side. I kept on until where the road turned off between the store and the grocery. They demanded that I should go in and drink with them, but I refused. My son wanted me to surrender, but I spoke to him low, and told him to keep near me and close by my side. We then turned south from Easton towards home. The company then fell back and gathered as if in consultation, so that I got several rods ahead of them. They then burst loose with a good many threats and cursings, and followed me. I kept on at my usual pace, and kept the boys close by me. They again stopped to consult, and then the crowd came on and made a heavy charge on me, and their common expressions were, God-damn him, shoot himI kill him! damned abolitionist! There were then two guns fired. Upon this I turned and levelled my gun, but my son dissuaded me and I did not fire, but started on again, and was then near Dawson's house. I turned into the lane leading to his house, and part of the crowd formed a line across the lane, so that I could get neither way, and were making towards me. My son and nephew, at my suggestion, got into a corner of the fence - - a rail fence, staked and ridered. We were there at bay, and were prepared to make the best defence we could. I reasoned with them, and said there were plenty of my old neighbors in Platte county with them; that I knew I would not surrender to a drunken mob. Benjamin Foster then fetched his fist in my shoulder, and said, God damn you, I could (or would) smash you. I then told him to stand back, and told him if he laid his hands again on me he would regret it. They demanded our general surrender, and that we should go back to the grocery. They had guns, pistols, &c., and presented them at me, and told me to march or they would shoot me, I told them to shoot. No gun was fired there. I said they must shoot me, as I would not give up to a drunken mob. David Large then took hold of my son's gun and demanded that he give it up. He refused, and in their struggling I presented mine and told him to let go. He did so. They then, with threats, hallooed several times; and we remained in that position some fifteen minutes, until R. P. Brown came and rescued me
"At the time they fired, as I spoke of, the man who was riding my horse sent back to Minard's and gave the word. I had no idea of this. The first I saw of Brown he was near by, and his party afoot, stretched across the road, and inquired if I was there. I answered that I was. He told me to march to him. I started and was about half way when Sam Burgess caught hold of my shoulder. I told him to let me go, and prepared for defence, and he did let me go. He marched forward around me, and my son and nephew also came into the ring. Brown told his men to march back, and all dId so, friend and foe going together in a crowd, I being in the centre. Then we went to the forks of the road; there the other party took the straightforward road, and we, with Brown's party, turned to the left. About forty or fifty yards, Brown urged me to walk in, as they were going to shoot. This he told me three times distinctly. The last time, I told him I would obey him. He was marching backwards looking towards the other crowd, conversing with them not to fire, and told them that if they did, he would return the fire. When we were about sixty or eighty yards off, the fire was opened upon us. The first fire was from the north-west of their crowd. I am sure they fired first, as I saw the fire distinctly. Then Brown ordered a fire in return, and both parties fired, and a great many guns were fired. The men were scattered in Indian file, and the fire was kept up for some time. My son was wounded and knocked down, within six or eight feet of me, at the second fire, but he raised again and fired. He was wounded in the arm and head slightly. We finally marched back to Minard 's. I staid there all night, and started home before breakfast. About 3 o'clock in the afternoon I heard of Brown's capture, and that Minard was also taken, and that they were to be hung. I never saw Brown afterwards."
(Stephen Sparks was then cross-examined by a member of the Congressional committee, D.A.N. Grover. Grover's questions are not included in the published statement, only the reply by Stephen Sparks.)
"There was a rumor that the Kicicapoo Rangers were mustering on Sunday, in Kickapoo, for the purpose of taking the ballot-box at Easton. I heard this in my neighborhood before Tuesday; I think I heard it on Sunday or Monday. The election was put off from the l5th to the 17th, on account of this rumor. There was an election held by the free-State party at Easton on the 17th of January 1856. The purpose of the election was to elect State officers under the state organization. I can't say, for my life, whether the organization was either a free-State or slave-State organization, but, as I understood, an organization of the people of Kansas. Robinson and Roberts were the candidates for governor; Miles Moore was a candidate for attorney general; I was a candidate for the legislature, and was declared elected to the lower branch, and was at Topeka, and served as such. Over fifty votes were cast at Easton that day. I belong to the free-State party, but am no abolitionist either.
"I can't say whether the men at Minard's house were armed. There were arms at the house. I did not see men come there with arms, as far as I now recollect. I did not go to the polls that morning, and I did not go there that day. I went the evening before, but I did not take my gun with me. I had two sons there with me, and I did not see either of my sons or my nephew have guns the night of the election. I think Brown's company had guns - - all, I think, who came for me. There was a rumor that the Kickapoo Rangers had taken the ballot-box at Leavenworth city, and were coming to Easton to get the ballot-box there. How true the rumor was I do not know. While I was at Minard's I saw a company of men across on the bluffs, on the other side of the creek, riding back and forth, during the day. I only know from hearsay whether these men were armed or not. I should think it was three-quarters of a mile from Minard's to where these men were. I do not know who these men were, except from hearsay, where they were from, or where they were going. I do not think I went from the polls, during the day, alone down to Dawson's store. I went to Bristow's store, but I did not go alone. That was in the evening. I had no difficulty with the pro-slavery men at the time near the store; not a word, as far as I recollect. There was some whiskey at Minard 's. It was, I think, about sundown that I went down to Bristow's. I had not a word of difficulty with any individual that I now recollect. I was there but a very short time when I saw a crowd coming up; I walked up to keep out of difficulty. I had no difficulty with John Moore. Did not see him, to my knowledge, until I started for home that night, and he pitched around me and said, Damn you, I have got you now. There has been a private difficulty between us, and my opinion was that he sought that difficulty. There had been unpleasant feelings between us for some time. Dr. Notter came to me in Dawson's there, when more than twenty-five or thirty men were standing around me making threats, and said to the company "as Mr. Sparks is on his way home and has got thus far, let him go." He requested that of the company, and then went round between me and home, and the last I saw of him was standing there in the lane. I do not know as any messages were sent by the men at Minard 'a down to the men at Dawson's to provoke them. I heard nothing of any challenge being sent down to the pro-slavery men to come up and fight. I sent none myself, and I never heard of any, though there might have been. A man by the name of Woodward came up to Minard's with one of the notes, and I saw the same man around me in the lane. Shep Woodward was not sent back to the store to tell the boys to come on, as I recollect. My answer was, I think, that if they got the ballot-box they would get it at all hazards, as they said they would have it. I had but little to do with the notes, but handed them over to Mr. Minard: the second one; I never handed any more. I may have had a conversation with Shep. Woodward, but I did not know it. I felt a little fired when I was noted out as an individual, and the threats were made that they would have the ballot-box, and I may have said something harsh, but I do not recollect. I saw a crowd come up towards Minard's house, and I heard one of them call out to charge; he was not afraid; but he did not charge. Our company were drawn out from the door, pretty much towards the road, and I think some had arms and some had not, but whether the most of them had arms or not I cannot say. I do not know as any one commanded our company at that time. I could have gone from Mr. Minard's house on a bee-line home, which would have been nearer home than the way I went, but it would have been over rocks and drifts. I went the road I usually go - - and go yet. I saw one young man who was drunk on that day, and there were several who went down to Dawson's for drink; and there was some whiskey at Minard' s. Mr. R. P. Brown wanted me to go down with him once and get some liquor; but I did not go, and cannot say whether he went or not, but I think he did. I do not know that Brown got into any difficulty there that day, but I heard of such a thing, I think, a day or two afterwards;. I have no recollection of Brown coming back and making hard assertions against those down there; I think some one did, but I do not recollect who it was. I saw John Moore and his brother, in the crowd that surrounded me in the lane. There was one man laid his hand on my shoulder and said he would or could trash me, and a great many harsh threats were made against me. I do not know how many men staid at Minard's that night. I remained there that night until 12 o'clock, in consequence of the threats made against the ballot-box. I did request a large number to stay, when reports were brought to me of what was said down town. After staying there a while I concluded that I would go home, as I thought the mob had gone away, or would go away, and there would be no difficulty.
Leavenworth City, K.T., [Signed] STEPHEN SPARKS
May 22, 1856."
(The wife of Stephen Sparks testified before the Congressional committee on May 24, 1856. Her name was given as "Esseneth Sparks" in this document.)
"My husband's name is Stephen Sparks. We live on the other side of Stranger creek, about twelve miles from this place, and four miles south of Easton. My husband and son were arrested, as they told me, on the night of the 17th of January last, by the Missourians and Kickapoo Rangers, and they were rescued by R. P. Brown, and others. I know that they came home from some conflict by their wounds. My son was grazed by shots on his head and arm.
"In the evening of the next day, about 3 o'clock, a party of from 10 to 18, a right smart company of men, came to our house and inquired for Mr. Sparks, my husband. At the time they were coming, Francis Browning was at the house. He had just rode up, and asked two men, who were going along the road, to help him rescue Brown. One of them said he could not go. The other said he did not know how soon it might be his case, and took the harness off his horse, and one of the guns which the man had, and rode off with him. This was Francis Browning; the name of the other who went with him was Richard Houcks.
"Just as they started, two men rode up and called for Mr. Sparks. I told them he was out on business. They said they had private business with him.
"Just then Mr. Browning, seeing a party of horsemen on a little rise, coming from Dawson's, turned back and asked these two men what it meant. They said 'they did not know; there was a great excitement at Dawson's, they had heard, but they had not been there.' They then gave the sign by firing two pistols in the air, and motioning to the party with their hands. The party then came riding on as fast as they could, shouting. When they came up, they all joined in pursuit of Browning and Houcks, shouting 'kill them,' 'kill them,' 'kill the damned abolitionists,' and firing upon them; but they divided, one going one way, round the hill, and the other the other way, and escaped.
"The party of horsemen then returned, and stopped before the door, and held council for a few moments, and one man said, 'Capt. Dunn, give orders;' and the man he spoke to gave orders. He said, 'Now we will take the house; shoot down Capt. Sparks at sight.'
"I then told them I had an afflicted son, and that anything that excited him threw him into spasms right at once; and that Mr. Sparks, and all but him were away from home. When I stepped to the door and looked in, I saw Captain Dunn, with a sixshooter presented at my son's breast. I did not hear the question asked, but I heard my son's answer - - 'I sin on the Lord's side, and if you want to kill me, kill me; I am not afraid to die.' Dunn then left him, and turned to my little son, about twelve years old, and put the pistol to his breast and asked him where his father's Sharpe's rifle was, and my son told him he had none. Dunn asked him where those guns were, pointing to the racks, and told him if he did not tell the truth, he would kill him; and my son told him the men-folks generally took care of the guns.
"When they came out, I asked Captain Dunn, 'What does all this mean?' He answered that they had 'taken the law into their own hands, and they intended to use it.'
"McAleer, who formerly lived here in Leavenworth, was one of the party, and one of the Scotts, from Missouri, and some said there were two of them there. One John Dunn, a brother of the captain, was there. I heard the name of Dunn from others, but the Scotts and McAleer I know myself. The Scotts were raised within a mile or so of where we lived, in Platte county, Missouri. The party then left.
"Late in February, eight men came to the house. Two men came up first, and the others followed to the house on foot, in the afternoon, and asked for Mr. Sparks, and left the following paper with me:
'TO STEPHEN SPARKS:
'The undersigned, as you are aware, are citizens of this neighborhood. Many of us have come here with our families, intending to make Kansas our permanent home. It is our interest and desire that peace and good-will prevail among us; and whatever may conduce to this desirable end, will meet our hearty approval.
'The local excitements that have occurred in this vicinity, have been principally attributed to you, and, we believe, justly. You have figured in them conspicuously, and, in the affair at Easton, more reprehensible than ever.
'Believing, therefore, that your further residence among us is incompatible with the peace and welfare of this community, we advise you to leave as soon as you can conveniently do so.
|Joseph Thomas||John Moore|
|Abner Foster||H. E. Kennedy|
|Reuben Sutton||George W. Brown|
|Lark Farrell||William Gill|
|Geo. W. Browning||James Foster|
|Wm. McLain||Simon B. Pankake|
|Carom Norvell||C. H. Allen|
|Augustine White||R. P. Briggs|
|Matthew A. Register||W. Z. Thompson|
|John N. White||O. S. Allen|
|Thomas Hickman||Morgan Wright|
|Benjamin Foster||Edward McClain|
|Joseph Moore||C. C. Harrison|
|Joseph Moran||Wesley Davidson|
|Andrew J. Scott||Edward N. Kennedy|
|Samuel Burgess||Andrew J. Davis|
|John C. Scott||John W. Burgess|
|John Burgess||James Norvell|
|Joseph L. McAleer||Joseph Gray.|
'Only one of the signers is an actual resident in the neighborhood. Most of them are Kickapoo Rangers and Missourians. One of the two who first came to the door, said his name was Kennedy, from Alabama; the other, I think, emigrated from Missouri to Kansas. I asked him what he had against Mr. Sparks. He said he had nothing against him, but he was too influential in his party, and they intended to break it down. He told me to tell Mr. Sparks to leave by the 10th of March, or abide the consequences.
'A night or two before the 10th of March, four men came into the house, about 10 o'clock, and searched for Mr. Sparks, but did not find him. They asked for the 'notice to leave,' and if I had given it to Mr. Sparks, and made many threats, and charged us to leave at that time, and said that if he was there, they would cut him in pieces.'
This statement was signed by mark by "Esseneth Sparks" at Leavenworth City, Kansas Territory, on May 24, 1856.
Stephen Sparks and his family resisted the threats of their pro-slavery neighbors, and they had the satisfaction of seeing Kansas admitted to the Union in 1861 as a free state. According to family memories, Stephen Sparks was a large man of great strength and a quick temper. There is a family legend in which a pro-slavery man tried to kill him by hitting him with a club from behind. Stunned and bleeding, Stephen took the club from the man, hit him with it, killing him.
Asenath, wife of Stephen Sparks, died between1856 and 1859. When the 1860 census of Leavenworth County, Kansas, was taken, Stephen Sparks was listed in Alexandria Township, near his son Moses. His son Lott Sparks was living with Moses, while his youngest son, Francis Marion Sparks, was living with his uncle, Hiram Sparks, in Fayette County, Indiana. When our first search of the 1860 census of Leavenworth County was made, we thought that Stephen Sparks was living alone. Another search has revealed, however, that living in the same household was "Green C. Smith" aged 19 years. There can be little doubt that the census taker simply made an error and wrote "Smith" rather than Sparks. Green C. Sparks, seventh child of Stephen and Asenath, was born in October 1840; the census taker (J. M. Gallagher) visited the home of Stephen Sparks on August 24, 1860, at which time Green C. Sparks would have been 19 years old. (The name of Stephen was written on the bottom of page 861 of the census, while Green's name appeared at the top of the following page, which helps to explain the census taker's error.) Stephen's age was given as 49.
According to records in the possession of descendants of his son Moses, Stephen Sparks married as his second wife, Emma Piper. A death notice in the Leavenworth Daily News of March 9, 1860, states that "Emilie Sparks, wife of Stephen Sparks, aged 27 years, died on Walnut Creek, March 6, 1860." A "Schedule of Mortality for the Year 1860" was taken as part of the 1860 census, and among those listed as having died that year in Leavenworth County, Kansas, was "Emma Sparks, age 26, died March, 1860, in confinement." It would appear that this was Stephen Sparks's second wife, even though she was a great deal younger than Stephen. There is the possibility, however, that she could have been the wife of his son, Stephen Sparks, Jr. We have found no record of Stephen Sparks, Jr., having married. He was not listed on the 1860 census of Leavenworth County. Perhaps he was the "afflicted son" to whom Asenath Sparks referred in her testimony in 1856 and may have died by 1860.
On October 15, 1860, Stephen Sparks was married again to Mrs. Elizabeth McGee, a widow with children. The marriage was performed in Fayette County, Indiana, by the Rev. John Sparks, Stephen's older brother. We may speculate that Stephen Sparks and Mrs. McGee had known each other during their youth in Indiana; Stephen obviously returned to Indiana in the autumn of 1860 to marry her and to bring her back to Kansas. Her sons, James and Charles, were living with them in 1870 and Charles was still with them in 1880.
Stephen Sparks lived in Leavenworth County, Kansas, until his death on February 11, 1899, at the age of 90½ years.
Whole Number 88
27.2.6 Stephen Sparks was born July 6, 1808, in either Union County, Indiana Territory, or in Laurens County, South Carolina. He was the sixth child of 27.2 William and Mary (Palmer) Sparks and the grandson of 27. Zachariah and Mary Sparks of South Carolina. It was assumed previously that Stephen was born in South Carolina because of a sketch written by his brother, 27.2.10 Hiram Sparks, in which it was stated that William and Mary Sparks emigrated to Indiana Territory in 1812. There is now some doubt about that date. On all census records available that record birthplace, Stephen's is recorded as Indiana. This is also true of other accounts, one giving his birthplace as Union County, Indiana. Stephen obviously believed that he had been born in Indiana. It is interesting that 27.1 John Sparks, brother of Stephen, who was less than two years older, always gave his own birthplace as South Carolina. Either William and Mary Sparks came to Indiana Territory in 1807 or 1808, instead of in 1812, or Stephen was wrong about his birthplace. He was married in 1828, so it is unlikely that he could have been born after 1812. When the 1810 census of Laurens County, South Carolina, was taken, William Sparks was not listed. Unfortunately, there was no census of Indiana Territory in 1810. In volume VII of the Territorial Papers of the. United States (Indiana), page 691, there is a petition to Congress by a group of Indiana citizens dated December 12, 1809. One of the signers was William Sparks. It is not certain that this was the same William Sparks who emigrated from South Carolina.
On July 10, 1828, Stephen Sparks married Asenith Woolverton (spelling from the marriage bond) in Fayette County, Indiana. She was a widow whose maiden name was Esseneth Green, or Greene. She was married first to Thomas Woolverton in Fayette County on November 2, 1825. Thomas Woolverton was born ca. 1800, probably in Ohio. He bought 40 acres of land on Village Creek, in Fayette County, Indiana, on March 20, 1823, not far from the William Sparks farm. Thomas Woolverton built and operated a grist mill and a saw mill on this land, possibly with his brother or relative, Moses Woolverton. Thomas was one of the charter members, as were William and Mary Sparks, of the Village Creek Baptist Church which was constituted on July 24, 1824. He made his last will. and testament on October 22, 1827, and died before November 13, 1827. Apparently there were no children, at least none living in 1827. As stated above, on July 10, 1828, Esseneth (Greene) Woolverton married Stephen Sparks. She had been born in East Tennessee ca. 1804. It is not known who her parents were, although there were three Green families in Fayette County in 1820, all of whom had daughters between 16 and 25: Daniel Green and wife Peggy (no mention is made of Esseneth in his will of 1854); James M. Green; and Ransbard Green and wife Ruth (they moved to Rush County in 1820). All three families were probably related. According to family tradition, Esseneth was a descendant of General Nathaniel Greene, of Revolutionary War fame, although the connection has not been substantiated. The above mentioned Daniel Green was also referred to as a descendant of General Greene.
Stephen and Esseneth Sparks moved to Rush County, Indiana, where Stephen received a grant of land comprising 80 acres about four miles north of Rushville on December 31, 1828. On January 11, 1845, Stephen and Esseneth Sparks sold their farm in Rush County to David Fitzpatrick and, with their eight children, emigrated westward to Platte County, Missouri. Stephen apparently bought his new land from the State of Missouri, part of the Internal Improvement Lands. He owned 158 acres.
The family moved again in the fall of 1854, this time to Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory, locating on Walnut Creek, three miles south of Easton. Stephen bought 160 acres from the U.S. Government, a part of the Deleware Trust Lands, for $1.25 per acre. Stephen and Esseneth sold their land in Missouri to Smith Turner on April 19, 1856. In Kansas, Stephen was active in the Free-State Party, which strongly opposed the introduction of slavery into Kansas Territory. He voted in all Free-State elections beginning in Nov, 1854. He was a member of the Topeka (Free-State) Legislature in Oct, 1855, which drafted a frame of government forbidding slavery. Stephen was subsequently reelected, holding this office four terms. As quoted in the original article in the March 1972 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 77, (pp. 1459-65), Stephen and Esseneth testified before the Congressional Committee investigating the troubles in Kansas in May, 1856. In 1858, Stephen Sparks was elected a member of the State Senate under the Lecompton Constitution, but never filled the office.
Esseneth Sparks died between 1856 and 1859. Stephen married as his second wife, Margaret Emma Piper, a native of Ohio. They were married in Leavenworth, Kansas, sometime before May 1859 when they mortgaged. some land. They did not, have any children, although she apparently died in childbirth. She died in May, 1860.
Stephen Sparks's third wife was Mrs. Elizabeth McGee, a widow whom he married on October 15, 1860, in Fayette County, Indiana. She was born ca. 1820 in Kentucky, the daughter of a German immigrant father. It is not known when she died. Stephen Sparks was a member of the Primitive Baptist Church, near his home, where he continued to live until his death on February 11, 1899.
(Editor's Note: The author of the above article, Kenneth Edgar Sparks of Vancouver, Washington (98661), recently published a 74-page book entitled The History of a Sparks Family (1974). In this volume, Mr. Sparks has provided a detailed record of Stephen Sparks's father and grandfather, as well as that of many of his descendants. Sketches appear of each of Stephen's eight children, including Francis Marion Sparks, the subject of the following article. Mr. Sparks reports that he has a few copies of this volume that members may purchase for $5.00.)