March 10, 2021

Pages 1498-1502
Whole Number 79


by Russell E. Bidlack

A former member of the Association whom we believe is now deceased, Mrs. Edna Briggs, once reported that ca. 1943 she visited a Mrs. Clara Sparks, widow of John J. Sparks. Mrs. Sparks had been born October 7, 1855; she was 88 years old at the time Mrs. Briggs interviewed her. Her maiden name had been Clara Bramlett. She stated that her husband's father had been John Franklin Sparks (sometimes called Franklin). The father of John Franklin Sparks was Jonas Sparks, who had a brother named William Sparks.

According to Clara Sparks, the brothers Jonas and William Sparks had settled in Nicholas County, Kentucky, having come there from Virginia, but originally they were from North Carolina. The two brothers owned land together, and she remembered that the families had had trouble dividing the land in Bourbon and Nicholas Counties.

There can be no doubt that these two brothers about whom Clara Sparks spoke were the WILLIAM SPARKS, born July 30, 1793, who married Catherine Knox, and JONAS SPARKS, born ca. 1799, who married Elizabeth Knox, both of Nicholas County, Kentucky.

Actually, Jonas and William Sparks were born in Kentucky, not Virginia as Clara Sparks believed. Their father, John Sparks, who was born ca. 1770 was married in Bourbon County, Kentucky, in 1792 (marriage bond dated August 22, 1792). He married Katherine Waddell, who, according to Dr. J. S. Gallaway's Memories of Old Times in Paris, Kentucky, published in 1939, was a daughter of James Waddell. Her nickname was Katy (sometimes spelled Caty). John Sparks died in Bourbon County, Kentucky, in 1814 or 1815. His wife, Katharine (or Katy), died in 1843 in Nicholas County. (The Margaret Waddell, aged 83, born in Maryland, who was living with William Sparks (son of John) when the 1850 census was taken may have been the mother of Katharine and thus the grandmother of William Sparks.) John Sparks's will, dated August 13, 1814, in Bourbon County, left his property to his wife "Caty." Because he owned land in adjoining Nicholas County as well as Bourbon County, there are deeds pertaining to his estate in Nicholas County in which his children are named. There are also deeds that indicate he owned land in Fleming County, Kentucky. On August 16, 1808, for example, he purchased for 180 pounds a tract of 104 acres on Fleming Creek in Fleming County (Book B, p. 376) from James Henderson of Clermont County, Ohio; John Sparks was described in this deed as "of Bourbon County."  He sold this tract to William Wishard on July 22, 1811 (Book D, p. 411) for $800.

John Sparks was probably closely related to other Sparkses who settled in Bourbon County, Kentucky, in the late 1780's. These were: William Sparks, Sr., paid taxes in Bourbon County as early as 1787. William Sparks, Jr., paid taxes in Bourbon County as early as 1787.
George Sparks, paid taxes in Bourbon County as early as 1787.
Joseph Sparks, paid taxes in Bourbon County as early as 1795.
Michael Sparks, paid taxes in Bourbon County as early as 1795.

John Sparks's will was dated August 13, 1814, and was probated in February 1815, thus proving that he died sometime between those two dates.

On August 8, 1825, William Sparks of Nicholas County (Book G, p. 90) "did swear out a writ of tiere facie against the estate of John Sparks, decd." This was apparently a legal step by which the land belonging to John Sparks in Nicholas County could be advertised and sold, which was done, and William Sparks purchased said land. In this document of August 8, 1825, the heirs of John Sparks were identified as follows:

Katharine Sparks, widow;
Michael Stokes, late Michael Sparks; widow and relict of Benjamin Stokes, deceased;
Mary Ann Stokes,
Catharine Stokes, and
Harriet Stokes, heirs of the said Benjamin Stokes, deceased;
Isaac Baker and Martha his wife, late Martha Sparks;
Jonas Sparks;
Susan Sparks; and
Katharine Sparks, Jr. (The name Katharine was sometimes spelled Catherine in these records.)

Katharine Sparks, widow of John Sparks, lived in Nicholas County following her husband's death. On January 6, 1843, she made her will which was probated in the August 1843 court, proving that she died between January and August, 1843. She described herself in the will as "aged and infirm". She divided her 36-acre farm between her daughter Elizabeth and a granddaughter, Honor Sparks. She left her "bed and bedding" to a grandson named Thomas Baker.

From probate records, deeds, census records, and other documents in Bourbon and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky, we know that John and Katharine (Waddell) Sparks had the following children: William Sparks, son of John and Katharine (Waddell) Sparks, was born July 30, 1793, and died on March 20, 1864; he married Catherine Knox (called Caty) in 1820 (Nicholas County marriage bond dated May 18, 1820). She was born December 3, 1797, and died January 11, 1845. (These dates are taken from Dr. Robert Peter's History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky, published in 1882. There are several deeds dated 1818 and 1819 by which William Sparks purchased land on Hinkston Creek in Nicholas County. (Hinkston Creek forms most of the boundary between Bourbon and Nicholas Counties; it flows northwestward to empty into the South Fork of the Licking Creek.) On August 21, 1821, Caty Sparks purchased for $33.25 from Lydia Swearington a tract of 33 acres on Hinkston Creek (Book E, p. 627); whether this was William's wife or his mother cannot be determined since they both had the nickname "Caty."

William Sparks and his brother Jonas appear to have been in some form of partnership. On October 22, 1836, for example, they purchased for $2800 a tract of 113¼ acres in Nicholas County from John and Nancy Fugate. (Book L, p. 199) On December 19, 1851, they purchased a tract of 69 acres for $2,094 in Nicholas County from John Crouch (Book P, p. 377). On March 16, 1852, they purchased a tract of 514 acres for $1771 from Daniel and Rachel Thomas (Book P, p. 1406), Apparently it was this property that Clara (Bramlett) Sparks recalled in 1943 that the families later had difficulty dividing.From a deed in Book 1, page 76 in Nicholas County, Kentucky, dated May 14, 1864, we know that William and Catherine (Knox) Sparks had the following children: Elvira (or Alvira) Sparks, born ca. 1821; married James Huffstrutter in 1841 (Nicholas County marriage bond dated September 21, 1841. From census records, it appears that they had the following children: Louisa Huffstrutter who was born ca. 1842; she married John C. Bedford on August 18, 1865; William W. Huffstrutter who was born ca. 1846; John F. Huffstrutter, who was born ca. 1848; James Huffstrutter, who was born ca. 1658; and Susan Huffstrutter, who was born ca. 1863. Susan Sparks, married George W. Crouch. Joseph W. Sparks, born ca. 1823, died in 1895 or 1896; he married Christiana A. MNU, who was born ca. 1835. They had children named William J. Sparks, born ca. 1858; Edward or Edniond D. Sparks, born ca. 1860; Mary Lee Sparks, born ca. 1863, married FNU Thomason; Benjamin J. Sparks, born ca. 1866; and Jemima E. Sparks, born ca. 1876, married FNU Harrison.

Joseph W. Sparks made his will in 1895 in Nicholas County and named these five children. Elizabeth Sparks, daughter of William and Catherine (Knox) Sparks, was born ca. 1829-30; she was living with her father when the 1850 census was taken. Harriet Sparks, was born June 17,1831, and married William Firman Gillespie in 1863. He was born November 2, 1833, and was a son of Calvin and Cythia (Hedges) Gillespie. Harriet (Sparks) Gillespie died in 1888 and was buried in the Carlisle (KY) Cemetery. Emmarine Sparks, daughter of William and Catherine (Knox) Sparks, was born November 2, 1833; she married William J. Inlow, son of Abraham and Susan (Sparks) Inlow. He died June 19, 1886, age 52. They had a son named Elliott Inlow, born December 18, 1866. (This is from Bowen's History of Montgomery County, Indiana.) Micha Sparks, daughter of John and Katharine (Waddell) Sparks, was born ca. 1795. Although this was a daughter with what is usually considered a man's name, it is interesting to speculate that she may have been named for the Michael Sparks who first paid taxes in Bourbon County in 1795. She married Benjamin Stokes in Bourbon County, Kentucky, in 1815 (marriage bond dated April 30, 1815). He died before 1825. They had the following children: Mary Ann Stokes, married Charles Fishback. Katharine Stokes, married 86.4 George Sparks, Jr., in Nicholas County, KY, in 1836 (marriage bond dated December 30, 1836). George Sparks, Jr., is believed to have been a son of 86. George and Rachel (McClenahan) Sparks (see p. 1320 of the June 1970 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No, 70). George Sparks, Jr., was born ca. 1811 in Kentucky and moved to Montgomery County, Indiana, ca. 1852. It is believed that he died at New Ross, Indiana, in 18814. Katharine (Stokes) Sparks died ca. 1848 in Kentucky and George Sparks, Jr., married as his second wife Hannah Fishback. For a list of the children of George Sparks, Jr., by each of his two wives, see the Quarterly cited above. Harriet Stokes, daughter of Benjamin and Michael (Sparks) Stokes, married William Wasson. Jonas Sparks, son of John and Katharine (Waddell) Sparks, born ca. 1799; he died in 1855 in Nicholas County, Kentucky. He married Elizabeth Knox (called Betsey) in 1821 (Nicholas County marriage bond dated October 30, 1821). She was born ca. 1802, (She may have been a sister of Catherine Knox who married William Sparks, brother of Jonas.) As noted in the sketch of William Sparks, Jonas and William owned a number of tracts of land in Nicholas County in partnership. In his will, dated October 26, 1855, Jonas Sparks mentioned his wife, Elizabeth, and the following three children: John, Samuel, and Margaret Ann. Margaret Ann Sparks, daughter of Jonas and Elizabeth (Knox) Sparks, was called Margaret Jane in some records. She was born February 11, 1824, and died on March 10, 1884; she married James Addison Young on October 9, 1852 (Nicholas County marriage bond dated September 30, 1852). He was born May 6, 1826, and died on March 23, 1905. They had a son named Benjamin Young born ca. 1854 and a son named William Young born ca. 1856 according to a manuscript written by one James Kimble Young in 1963 entitled "The Young-Banta Family". From census records, it appears that they also had children named Walter Young, born ca. 1861, a daughter named "Lot" Young born ca. 1864; and another daughter named Mary Young born ca. 1867. John Franklin Sparks, son of Jonas and Elizabeth (Knox) Sparks, was born ca. 1827. He married Cyntha Bradshaw in 1849 (marriage bond in Nicholas County dated August 23, 1849). John Franklin Sparks was still living in 1880 when he was listed on the census of Nicholas County as 54 years old, by November 1885, however, he had died, On that date, corncommissioners met in Nicholas County to determine how his land should be divided among his heirs, and the actual division was made during the February term of Court, 1886. Named in the division of his estate (Nicholas County Inventories and Appeasement Book 1, p. 588) his heirs were named as Cynthia A. Sparks, widow; Jonas A. Sparks; Samuel G. Sparks; John J. Sparks; David W. Sparks; Josephine Alexander; Ida M. Sparks; and Margaret M. Sparks. From census records it appears that John Franklin and Cyntha (Bradahaw) Sparks were the parents of the following children: Martha Sparks, born ca. 1850. Jonas A. Sparks, born ca. 1852; married Margaret and had
 sons William Sparks and Charles Sparks. Elizabeth Sparks, born ca. 1854. Benjamin Troop Sparks, born December 10, 1855. John James Sparks, born November 3, 1857; married Clara Bramlett, who was born October 7, 1855. Mary Emma Sparks, born ca. 1860. Margaret Marjorie Sparks, born ca. 1862. David W. Sparks, born ca. 1864. Ida M. Sparks, born ca. 1866. Josephine Sparks, married Alexander. (No daughter named Josephine is found in census records, but in the division of the estate of John Franklin Sparks an heir is listed as Josephine Alexander.) Samuel G. Sparks, born ca. 1871. Samuel Sparks, son of Jonas and Elizabeth (Knox) Sparks, was born ca. 1829; he married Abigail H. McVey, daughter of John McVey, in 1854 (Nicholas County marriage bond dated July 18, 18514). She was born ca. 1836, On May 20, 1857, Samuel and Abbey assigned "all our right in Jonas Sparks, December 'd., land to James Young." From census records, it would appear that they had the following children: Sarah Elizabeth (or Susan) Sparks, born August 7, 1855. Charles Sparks, born ca. 1857. Jonas Sparks, born ca. 1859. Margaret Sparks, born ca. 1861. Robert Sparks, born ca. 1864. Lydia Sparks, born ca. 1867. Benjamin Sparks, son of Jonas and Elizabeth (Knox) Sparks, was born ca. 1833. Apparently he had died prior to 1855 for he was not mentioned in his father's will. Elizabeth Sparks, who was born ca. 1800, is believed to have been a daughter of John and Katharine (Waddell) Sparks. There is no reference to a daughter named Elizabeth in the 1825 deed (Nicholas County, Book G, p. 90) where the other heirs of John Sparks were listed. However, Katharine Sparks, widow of John, who made her will on January 6, 1843, mentioned the thirty-six-acre farm "where I live with my daughter, Elizabeth."  Earlier, on April 23, 1835, Katharine Sparks and Elizabeth Sparks had purchased a 33-acre tract on Hinkaton Creek in Nicholas County for ten dollars from Drusilla Thornburgh (Book L, p. 15). On March 9, 1836, Katharine and Elizabeth Sparks sold 35 acres of land for $1.00 to a man named Alvin Branch (Book L, p. 156). On November 19, 1838, Elizabeth Sparks purchased a tract of 36 acres in Nicholas County for $333.33 from Pratt Hughes and his wife Sarah (Book L, p. 5147). She sold this to E, H. Wilson for $610 on May 21, 1853 (Book P, p. 550).

This same Elizabeth Sparks made her will on December 6, 1867, which was probated at the February 1869 meeting of the Court in Nicholas County (thus we know that she died between December 1867 and February 1869). In her will, Elizabeth Sparks named her children as Honor Sparks, Sally Varner, and Kitty H. Wilson. (This will is recorded in Book H, in Nicholas County.) Katharine Sparks, widow of John Sparks, not only called Elizabeth her daughter in her own will of 1843, but she also left one-third of her 36-acre farm to her "granddaughter, Honor Sparks."

One might speculate that Elizabeth Sparks was a daughter of Katharine (Waddell) Sparks by a previous marriage. Since she was listed on the 1850 census as fifty years of age, however, this is unlikely since John and Katharine were married in 1792. It is possible that she was actually the daughter-in-law of Katharine and was thus the widow of an unknown son, but this again seems highly unlikely. On the census records from 1810 to 1840, a female is enumerated in the family of John and Katharine Sparks whose age fits that of Elizabeth, while no son is so enumerated.

We know from the will of Elizabeth Sparks that she had three daughters. Who was her husband? Was her maiden name Sparks, and did she marry FNU Sparks, or were her three children illegitimate? If the latter is the case, we can speculate that her father may have disowned her and omitted her from the division of his property, while her mother later brought her into her own home, Perhaps someday a descendant will be able to provide us with the truth. Following is the information we have been able to gather regarding Elizabeth's three children: Honora (or Honor) Sparks, was born ca. 1817, Her grandmother, Katharine Sparks, left one-third of her farm to her while her mother also left property to her in her will of 1867. She apparently never married. She was listed as living alone on both the 1870 and 1880 censuses of Nicholas County. She gave Kentucky as the birth place of both of her parents on the 1880 census. Sarah Sparks, was born ca. 1814. She was called Sally Ann Sparks on her marriage bond, dated April 7, 1833, her husband being Noah Varner. He was born ca. 1810. It would appear from census records of Nicholas County, KY, that they had children named Francis M. Varner Armilda Varner; Elizabeth Varner; John Varner; Margaret Z. Varner; William Varner; and Edwin N. Varner
. Kitty Harriet Sparks, was born ca. 1819. She married Ephraim Wilson in Nicholas County in 1842 (marriage bond dated April 19, 1842). He was born ca. 1820. According to the 1850 census, they had children named Artemas Wilson; Catherine Wilson; George Ann Wilson; William O. Wilson.
The 1860 census indicates that they also had a son named Edward Sparks, born ca. 1852, and a son named David Sparks, born ca. 1853.

(Editor 's Note: Credit must be given to our President, Dr. Paul E. Sparks, who located and copied the records on which the above notes are based.)

Page 2262
Whole Number 112


(Editor's Note: In the September 1972 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 79, pages 1498-1502, an account was published of the descendants of John and Katherine (Waddell) Sparks of Bourbon and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky. For some reason, we failed to include material on three of the seven children, Martha, Susan, and Katherine. The four children whom we did include were William, Micha, Jonas, and Elizabeth. We now present the information we have about each of the three that we omitted earlier and ask our readers to make the appropriate notes on their copy of the earlier article.) Martha "Patsey" Sparks, daughter of John and Katherine (Waddell) Sparks, was born March 30, 1802. She married Isaac Baker in 1823 in Nicholas County, Kentucky, by Peter Horn. (Nicholas County bond dated August 28, 1823.) Isaac Baker was born February 5, 1801. He was probably the Isaac Baker who had married Artrisma Sparks a year earlier in Nicholas County (Nicholas County bond dated May 16, 1822). She probably had died. Isaac and Patsey (Sparks) Baker moved to Montgomery County, Indiana, in 1830, probably to join Patsey's sister, Susan (Sparks) Inlow, who had moved to that county with her husband, Abraham Inlow, in 1828. Isaac and Patsey had at least three children: Thomas Baker was mentioned in the will of his maternal grandmother,Katherine (Waddell) Sparks, in 1843. She left him her "bed and Bedding." John S. Baker was born December 8, 1827. He died on June 12, 1897. He married Lucinda Clark on June 12, 1851, and they had eight children according to a History of Montgomery County, Indiana, written in 1913, which gives the following: "Winifred, deceased; Harriet E., living at home with her mother; Emma, Martha H., George, all are deceased; Mary A., wife of Walter Canine; William is deceased; the youngest died at infancy, unnamed." Jonas Baker apparently died when quite young. Susan Sparks, daughter of John and Katherine (Waddell) Sparks, married Abraham Inlow in 1828 by John Rogers in Nicholas County, Kentucky. (Nicholas County bond dated July 17, 1828.) They moved to Montgomery County, Indiana, that same year. Abraham Inlow died in 1860. They had at least two children,there may have been others: William J. Inlow was born December 6, 1833, in Montgomery County. On March 15, 1866, he married Emmarine Sparks. She was born November 2,1833, and was a daughter of William and Catherine (Knox) Sparks of Nicholas County, Kentucky.

(In the article of The Sparks Quarterly referred to above, Emmarine Sparks's name is given as Harriet Sparks. Emmarine Sparks had a sister, Harriet Sparks, who was omitted from the article. She was born June 17,1831, and married William Firman Gillespie in 1863. He was born November 2, 1833, and was a son of Calvin and Cythia (Hedges) Gillespie. Harriet (Sparks) Gillespie died in 1888 and was buried in the Carlisle (KY) Cemetery. Our readers are asked to make the appropriate addition on page 1500 of the Quarterly referred to above.) Susan Inlow was born February 20, 1838. She married James H. Kelly in 1866. She died on February 25, 1879. Katherine Sparks, Jr., daughter of John and Katherine (Waddell) Sparks, was born ca. 1811. She was identified as an heir of John and Katherine Sparks in 1825. We have no further record of her.