September 16, 2017

Pages 1517-1527
Whole Number 80

JEREMIAH BURRIS SPARKS, 1808-1886
SON OF 26.1 JESSE R. SPARKS (ca. 1780-1865)

by Russell E. Bidlack



In the March 1962 issue of the Quarterly (Vol. X, No. 1, Whole No. 37) we published an article entitled "Amos Sparks (1785-1867) and His Descendants" (pp. 618-621), and in the Quarterly of September 1969 (Vol. XVII, No, 3, Whole No. 67) we published an article entitled "Jesse R. Sparks (born Ca. 1780, died 1865) and His Descendants," (pp. 1248 -1255). Evidence then and now points strongly toward the probability that Amos Sparks and Jesse R. Sparks were brothers and that they were natives of Maryland. As young men, they both settled in Belmont County, Ohio, and both later moved to Indiana. In each of these articles, however, an unfortunate error was made regarding the parentage of Jeremiah B. Sparks (1808 -1886).

We can now prove that Jeremiah B. Sparks, who was born in Belmont County, Ohio, on November 15, 1808, and died on February 6, 1886, in Hancock County, Indiana, was actually the son of Jesse R. Sparks. In those earlier articles, we had assumed that he was a son of Amos Sparks. Actually, 26.2 Amos Sparks also had a son named 26.2.2 Jeremiah B. Sparks, who was one day younger than Jesse's son. This Jeremiah B. Sparks, son of Amos, was born November 16, 1808; he wrote his will on February 27, 1882, and died shortly thereafter.

Our first realization that there were two persons named Jeremiah B. Sparks, born just one day apart, was when we found that on the 1860 census of Holmes County, Ohio, Amos Sparks, then aged 75 years, was living with the Jeremiah B. Sparks who wrote his will in 1882, while on the 1850 census of Franklin County, Indiana, Jesse R. Sparks was living with the Jeremiah B. Sparks who died in 1886. At first, we thought that Amos was living with his nephew in 1860 and that Jesse R. Sparks was living with his nephew in 1850. It seemed much more likely that each would have been living with his own son. We also found a deed in Franklin County, Indiana, dated March 23, 1829 (Book G, pp.473-4) by which Jesse R. Sparks and his wife Margaret sold to Jeremiah B. Sparks Lot #19 in the town of New Trenton "which said town was laid out by Ralph Weldridge & Samuel Rockefellow." We knew that this was the Jeremiah who died in 1886 and from family records found later, we knew that he had purchased this land from his father, not his uncle. Then, in July 1971, Mrs. Mildred Tomlinson of 917 Monroe St., Rochester, Indiana, a great-great-granddaughter of Jesse R. Sparks (through his son, Jesse Sparks, Jr., 1807 -1896) found a letter among the possessions of a deceased aunt, Mrs. Jessie Sparks Calvin, that had been written in 1924 by one Martha A. Sparks of Indianapolis. The writer identified herself in this letter as a daughter of the Jeremiah B. Sparks who died in 1886 and gave his father's name as Jesse. This letter reads as follows:

                                                                                                                           1442 Central Avenue
                                                                                                                            Indianapolis
                                                                                                                           September 20, '24
Mrs. Jessie Calvin:

Thirty-five or forty years ago you came to our house in Greenfield, Indiana, with your grandfather, Rev. Jesse Sparks who was my father's brother. The years have passed and most of the family have gone on before and of recent years I have wanted to know more about our ancestors. A lady whom I met at Battle Ground Camp Meeting, told me you were living and gave me your address.

 I was glad to hear of you again, and wondered if you could give me any additional information about the original Sparks family.

The extent of my knowledge is as follows,

    My grandfather and your great-grandfather was named Jesse and [he] came from Brooks County, Virginia to Belmont Co. Ohio, where my father was born. Grandmother 's name I think was Mary - - - - -, but I do not know her family name.

   They came to Franklin Co. Indiana, but I do not know the date. Their children were, Jesse, Nathan, Amos, Jeremiah, my father, Tamzon, (Mrs. Taylor) and Jane, (Mrs. Kerr).

    Have you any family records containing any more than this? I am especially anxious to know grandmother 's maiden name and when they came to Indiana. I think my father was the youngest boy and that Aunt Jane was the youngest girl and youngest of the family.

   Tamson was born in Virginia in 1802. Father was born in Ohio in 1809. So the coming of the family to Ohio was between those dates. Do you know anything more? Are the Sparkses in Anderson any of your family? A William Sparks from there married a friend of mine.

    Hoping to hear from you soon, I sign myself
                                                                                               Your cousin
                                                                                                           Martha A. Sparks
                                                                                                           1442 Central Avenue
                                                                                                           Indianapolis, Ind.

It will be noted that Martha A. Sparks stated that her father had been born in 1809. Later we found, however, that she wrote his correct year of birth, 1808, on another occasion and that it was merely a slip of the pen when she wrote 1809 in this 1924 letter. It was also her intent, though she was not as clear as we might wish, to state that her grandfather and Mrs. Calvin's great-grandfather, Jesse Sparks, were the same man. Mrs. Calvin's grandfather was Jesse Sparks, Jr.; he was a brother of Jeremiah B. Sparks who was Martha A. Sparks's father.

Since Martha A. Sparks was obviously an old lady in 1924, we had little hope of ever learning more about her and her family. But luck was with us.

In an effort to learn whether records could be found in Hancock County, Indiana, where we knew that Jeremiah B. Sparks had spent his last years, a letter was written to the County Clerk asking if there were someone in the community who might be willing to search available records for us. The clerk suggested that we write to a local historian named Sue Baker in the town of Greenfield. During the next several months, Mrs. Baker did extensive research for us in Hancock County, including examining old newspapers and visiting local cemeteries. She succeeded in finding two obituaries of Martha Alice Sparks, the writer of the 1924 letter printed above - - she had lived to be 99 years old, dying on May 21, 1950. In one of these obituaries, her parents were identified as Jeremiah Burris Sparks and Eliza Rockafellow Sparks. Learning that the initial "B" was for Burris proved highly significant. This was the maiden name of Margaret Burris, wife of Jesse R. Sparks. (Although Martha A. Sparks knew her father 's middle name was Burris, she did not know that this was her grandmother's maiden name; in her letter quoted above, she said that she was particularly anxious to learn the maiden name of her grandmother, whose first name she thought was Mary. Actually, it was Margaret.)

In these obituaries of Martha A. Sparks, it was stated that a Mrs, John Shirk, a niece, had been the nearest relative of Martha at the time of her death in 1950. Mrs. Baker knew a man named Joe Shirk, so she telephoned him, but he knew nothing about a Sparks family connection. That very evening, however, Joe Shirk served as toastmaster at a Toastmaster's District Meeting in Indianapolis. In the audience that evening last April was John C. S. Coffin who had taken his parents, Mr. and Mr.. Kenneth D. Coffin, as his guests. Their home is in Florida and they were visiting their son. Mrs. Coffin's maiden name had been Shirk, so after the meeting she introduced herself to Joe Shirk and inquired whether they might be related. Mr. Shirk told Mrs. Coffin of his call that day from Sue Baker. To make a long story short, Mrs. Coffin turned out to be a grand-niece of Martha A. Sparks (she had served as her guardian in her last years) and is thus a great-granddaughter of Jeremiah Burns Sparks. Furthermore, Mrs. Coffin not only owns the family Bible that had belonged to Jeremiah Burris Sparks, but also photographs of Jeremiah and his father, Jesse R. Sparks. These have been preserved by Martha A. Sparks. The photograph of Jesse R. Sparks is reproduced on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly; it is a hand-tinted tin-type, mounted behind glass in a lovely gold frame. On the back, Martha A. Sparks had pasted a small piece of paper on which she wrote: "Jessie Sparks, came to Franklin Co. 1820. Father of Jeremiah Sparks."

It is apparent that Jesse R. Sparks was a very old man when this picture was taken. We know that he died in Dearborn County, Indiana, in 1865; this picture was probably taken sometime between 1860 and 1865. Mrs. Coffin also found another tin-type among her great-aunt's possessions which is that of a woman considerably younger than Jesse, but in a nearly identical gold frame. In all probability, this was a close relative of Jesse R. Sparks, perhaps one of his daughters. It could not have been his wife, since she died in 1850, before photography of this type was in use. It is reproduced below with the hope that someone may identify her:

Was this a daughter of Jesse R. Sparks?
(Picture)

As was stated in our sketch of Jesse R. Sparks that appeared in the September 1969 issue of the Quarterly, our knowledge of his life is largely limited to the data contained in a biographical sketch of the life of one of his sons, Dr. Nathan B. Sparks, published in a History of Knox County, Indiana, in 1886 (Goodspeed Pub lishing Co., p. 513), We know that Jesse R. Sparks was born between 1780 and 1785. (On the 1850 census his age was given as 66, while on the 1860 census it was given as 78.) According to the sketch of his son, Jesse was a native of Maryland. On the 1850 census, his birth place was given as Delaware, but on the 1860 census it appears as Maryland. To add to the confusion, Martha A. Sparks, his granddaughter, wrote in the 1824 letter quoted earlier, that he "came from Brooks County, Virginia, to Belmont Co., Ohio."  We know that she intended to write "Brooke County" rather than "Brooks County," because Mrs. Coffin has a paper on which Martha A. Sparks wrote an outline of the ancestry of Mrs. Coffin's mother: "Mrs. Lura Chafee Shirk, daughter of Mrs. Clara Sparks Chafee, daughter of Jeremiah Burns Sparks, son of Jesse Sparks, who came from Brooke County, Virginia, to Dayton, Ohio, then to Franklin Co., Indiana in 1820. Deeds on hand dated 1828 and 1829 for New Trenton lots." (This is an obvious reference to the deed mentioned earlier by which Jesse and Margaret Sparks conveyed lot 19 in New Trenton to their son, Jeremiah Burris Sparks.) Brooke County became a part of West Virginia during the Civil War when the western portion of the state seceded from Virginia to form a new state. Brooke County is located in the narrow neck of West Virginia that extends northward between Ohio and Pennsylvania, and adjoins the corner of Belmont County, Ohio, with the Ohio River running between. Perhaps Jesse R. Sparks lived for awhile in Brooke County before moving across the Ohio River into Belmont County, Ohio. It is also of interest to note that Amos Sparks (1785-1867), whom we are quite positive was a brother of Jesse, was a native of Queen Annes County, Maryland. (When the 1880 census was taken, Jeremiah Burris Sparks stated that both of his parents had been born in Maryland.)

According to the sketch of Jesse R. Sparks's son cited earlier, Jesse R, Sparks married Margaret Burns in Maryland shortly before moving to Ohio. According to Martha A. Sparks, however, their daughter Tamzon (or Tamson) was born in 1802, while they were living in Virginia. (Presumably, she meant Brooke County, in what became part of West Virginia.) Our only other record of a Sparks family living in Brooke County is a Solomon Sparks who was listed there on the 1810 census. He was aged between 26 and 45 and his household comprised three males between 10 and 16, 2 males under 10; one female over 45; one female between 26 and 45; one female be tween 16 and 26; one female between 10 and 16; and one female under 10 years.

According to the sketch of Dr. Nathan B, Sparks, his father, Jesse R. Sparks, was a shoemaker and an auctioneer; he was also sheriff of Belmont County for a number of years.

About 1820, Jesse R. Sparks moved with his family to Indiana. He settled first in Franklin County, probably near the adjoining county of Dearborn, where he was later a resident. He was listed on the 1830 census of Franklin County, his age given as between 50 and 60; his wife was the same age. Living with him were two males, one aged between 16 and 26 and the other between 10 and 16, and two females, one aged 10 to 15 and the other aged 5 to 10. The older of the two males was doubtless his son, Jeremiah B. Sparks, who was then actually 22, while the younger was his son Nathan B. Sparks, who was actually 15. Two other sons, Amos and Jesse, Jr., had married by 1830 and were recorded by the census taker as heads of nearby households.

According to the biographical sketch of Dr. Nathan B. Sparks, cited earlier, Margaret (Burris) Sparks, wife of Jesse R. Sparks, died in 1850, When the census was taken in the fall of 1850, Jesse was living with his son, Jeremiah Burris Sparks, in Brookville Township, Franklin County, Indiana. Jesse 's age was given as 66, which if correct would place his birth in 1784. His place of birth was given as Delaware, which must have been an error, although Queen Anne's County, Maryland, where we think he was born, adjoins Kent County, Delaware, and it is possible that Jesse R. Sparks was born so near the border of Maryland and Delaware that there was some confusion regarding his native state. Perhaps he was not at home the day the census taker came in 1850 and someone merely guessed the state of his origin. Also listed in the family of Jeremiah B. Sparks in 1850 was Jesse's youngest daughter, Jane Sparks, aged 28. In 1852, Jane married Ellas Kerr of Dearborn County, Indiana (marriage bond dated June 27, 1852, in Dearborn County). When the 1860 census of Dearborn County was taken, Jesse R. Sparks was listed in the household of his daughter and her husband, Elias Kerr. His age was given as 78, which, if correct, would mean that he was born in 1782; his birthplace was given as Maryland. Perhaps the photograph that appears on page 1519 that we have been unable to identify was of this daughter, Jane.

Jesse R, Sparks died in Dearborn County in 1865. No record has been found of the settlement of his estate. In the biographical sketch of Dr. Nathan B, Sparks published in 1886, it was stated that Jesse R. Sparks and Margaret (Burns) Sparks had nine children. Martha A. Sparks, their granddaughter, listed only six in her 1924 letter, and census records appear to agree with this number. Perhaps three other children died in infancy. These six known children were:

26.1.1 Tamzon (or Tamson) Sparks, daughter of Jesse R. and Margaret (Burris) Sparks, was born in 1802 according to Martha A. Sparks's letter quoted on pp. 1517-18; she also stated that Tamzon was born in Virginia (she probably meant in Brooke County which became part of West Virginia at the time of the Civil War), She also indicated that Tamzon had married FNU Taylor. We have no other information.

26.1.2 Jesse Sparks, Jr., son of Jesse R. and Margaret (Burris) Sparks, was born in Belmont County, Ohio, on January 11, 1807, and died on January 5, 1896. On September 2, 1827, he married Jemima Thorn in Dearborn County, Indiana; she was a daughter of Stephen and Esther Thorn. After her death, he married a widow named Mrs. Lydia Poling. He was a Methodist minister and had a number of charges in Indiana during his lifetime. He was buried in the Shafer Cemetery in Kewanna, Indiana, beside his first wife. A portrait of Jesse Sparks, Jr., was reproduced on the cover of the September 1969 issue of the Quarterly (Vol. XVII, No. 3, Whole No, 67) and a record of his life and descendants may be found in the same issue, pp. 1250-55.

26.1.3 Jeremiah Burris Sparks, son of Jesse R. Sparks and his wife Margaret (Burris) Sparks, was born November 15, 1808. This date is found, along with those for his wife and children, in his family Bible which is now owned by Mrs. Kenneth D. Coffin. A photograph of the first page of this family record appears on page 1522. Jeremiah Burns Sparks was born in Belmont County, Ohio; he died in Greenfield, Hancock County, Indiana, on February 6, 1886. He was married on September 19, 1830, to Eliza B. Rockafellar (this is the spelling of the name given in the family Bible; it is also spelled Rockafeller and Rockafellow in other records). She was a daughter of John and Mary Rockafeller and was born in New Jersey on 5 February 1805; she died on December 19, 1880, in Hancock County, Indiana. They were married by Thomas Manwarring. According to an obituary of Eliza B. (Rockafeller) Sparks published in the December 23, 1880, issue of the Hancock County Democrat, (Vol. 40, No. 25), her parents moved from New Jersey to Indiana while she was an infant; they "settled upon the present site of New Trenton in the Whitewater Valley."

Jeremiah Burris Sparks, 1808-1886
(Picture)

Jeremiah B. Sparks, like his brother Jesse Sparks, Jr., became a Methodist minister. According to an obituary that appeared in the Minutes of the Thirty-Fifth Annual Session of the South-East Indiana Confererence of the Methodist Episcopal Church for . . . 1866, page 198, it was Mrs. Sparks who, shortly after their marriage, "brought him to Christ and into the Methodist Episcopal Church some time during 1831." He was licensed to preach in 1848 and continued in the ministry until 1879 when, because of increasing deafness, he was forced to retire. He served, usually for two years at a time, in a great many different Indiana churches. He and his wife retired to Greenfield, Indiana, "where his daughters were engaged as teachers in the public school."

Eliza B. (Rockafeller) Sparks died December 19, 1880. The obituary referred to earlier stated that she "had been a member of the M.E. Church ever since she was fifteen years old, at which time she gave and consecrated herself to God. It was stated by the Rev. Mr. Rhoades, who preached her funeral discourse, that this Christian woman had read the Bible through more times that she was years of age and had read it once through when upon her bended knees." Jeremiah and Eliza were buried in the Park Cemetery near Greenfield, Indiana. Three of their children were buried in the same lot, Martha A., Mary E., and William M. A photograph taken of their grave stones appears on page 1524.

Mrs. Coffin has kindly loaned us a photograph of Jeremiah Burns Sparks which appears above. We do not know the year in which it was taken; the photographer was S. P. Bungert of Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Graves of Jeremiah B. and Eliza (Rockerfeller) Sparks
With Three of Their Children
in Park Cemetery near Greenfield, Indiana
(Picture)

Jeremiah Burris and Eliza B. (Rockafeller) Sparks were the parents of the following children:

26.1.3.1 Hester Ann Sparks, daughter of Jeremiah B. and Eliza B. (Rockafeller) Sparks was born April 8, 1833, and died on July 25, 1849.

26.1.3.2 Clara Sparks, daughter of Jeremiah B. and Eliza B. (Rockafeller) Sparks, was born July 5, 1835, and died on October 2, 1918, at Richmond, md. She was married in the Methodist Episcopal Church of Wilmington, Dearborn County, Ind., to the Rev. John Gilmore Chafee on September 28, 1853. He was born October 12, 1828, and died June 2, 1903, in Brookville, Ind. They were the parents of the following children:

26.1.3.2.1 Ella Belle Chafee, born January 17, 1856. She was married on August 20, 1878, in Connersville, Ind., to Capt. Horace Parker McIntosh. She died December 30, 1946, in Boston and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

26.1.3.2.2 Lura Chafee was born April 5, 1864. She married John C. Shirk on March 3, 1886, in the Methodist Episcopal Church in Brookville, Ind. The marriage was performed by her father. She died August 31, 1959, in Rushvillle, Ind. Ellen Shirk Coffin, whose records have made it possible to compile this history, is a daughter of Lura Chafee Shirk. The following were also children of Lura: Groovener Shirk, Mrs. Loren F. Priest, Samuel Sparks Shirk, Charles Andrew Shirk, Chafee Wright Shirk, and Horace Hamilton Shirk.

26.1.3.2.3 Gertrude Anna Chafee, an adopted daughter, was born January 17, 1870. She married Schuyler C. Haughey.

26.1.3.3 Mary Eliza Sparks, daughter of Jeremiah B. and Eliza B. (Rockafeller) Sparks, was born July 5, 1838; she died on August 24, 1903, in Indianapolis. She did not marry.

26.1.3.4 Henry Bascom Sparks, son of Jeremiah B. and Eliza B. (Rockafeller) Sparks, was born August 14, 1841, in Franklin County, Indiana; he died on March 8, 1929, in Rising Sun, Indiana. He married (first) Laura Blakely Kemp on September 12, 1866; she was born January 16, 18147, in Ohio County, Indiana; she died on September 30, 1909. She was a daughter of William Kemp and Content (Hastings) Kemp according to her death certificate on file at the Department of Health in Cincinnati, Ohio. He married as his second wife Miss Elizabeth M. Howey on November 18, 1916, in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. She made application for a pension on May 15, 1929, in Ohio County, Indiana, in which she stated that she had been born February 11, 1875, in Fountain County, Indiana.

26.1.3.4 Henry Bascom Sparks served as a 1st sergeant in Company C, 3rd Indiana Cavalry, 45th Regiment Indiana Volunteers, enrolling at Indianapolis on August 15, 1862; he was discharged in Washington, D.C., on May 27, 1865. In his application for a pension on February 11, 1925, he described himself at the time of his enlistment as 5 feet, 7 inches tall, with dark complexion, dark hair, and dark eyes, and by occupation a merchant and farmer "until compelled to retire about ten years ago." In 1916, when he first applied for a pension, the War Department prepared the following report on his service: "Prisoner of War records show him captured at Culpeper, Va. January 27, 1864; confined at Richmond, Va. January 29, 1864; sent to Andersonville, Ga. (date not given) and admitted to Hospital at Andersonville, Ga. August 17, 1864; returned from hospital August 23, 1864; paroled at Savannah, Ga., November 21, 1864; reported at College Green Barracks, Md,, November 25, 1864; sent to and reported at Camp Parole, Md. November 27, 1864; furloughed December 11, 1864, for 30 days; returned to Camp Parole from furlough January 27, 1865, and sent to Camp Distribution, Alexandria, Va., February 9, 1865. The military records do not show any absence without authority, desertion or confinement." In an obituary of Martha A. Sparks, sister of Henry B. Sparks, appears the statement: "Three of her brothers served in the Civil War, and she often recalled how the life of one brother, at Andersonville prison, was saved by the miraculous appearance of a spring at the prison."

26.1.3.5 William McKendree Sparks, son of Jeremiah B. and Eliza B. (Rockafeller) Sparks, was born October 18, 1843, and died in Danville, Illinois, on September 26, 1926. He married - - - - -  Turner on January 17, 1872. He served in the Civil War, but we do not know in what unit. The following brief obituary appeared in the Greenfield Republican of Septemben 30, 1926, (Vol. XXXVI, No. 39): "Brief funeral services were conducted today by Ross Stoakes at Park Cemetery over the body of William Max Sparks, age 83, who died at the Soldiers Home in Danville, Illinois, Sunday night. The body was brought to the Lynam Funeral Home. The deceased had never lived in Greenfield, but his parents were residents here years ago, His father was a Methodist preacher, J. B. Sparks."

It will be noted that his middle name is given here as Max. In the family Bible it is given as William McK. Sparks at his birth, but his death was recorded in his sister Martha's handwriting as "William McKendree Sparks." 

26.1.3.6 John S. Sparks, son of Jeremiah B. and Eliza B. (Rockafeller) Sparks, was born May 14, 1851; according to the family Bible, he married Sarah J. Walton on June 6, 1867. No further record.

26.1.3.7 Martha Alice T. Sparks, daughter of Jeremiah B. and Eliza B. (Rockafeller) Sparks, was born May 14, 1851; she died in Indianapolis, Indiana, on May 21, 1950, aged 99 years. Sue Baker, to whom we have referred earlier, found a typewritten obituary of Martha in the Greenfield Public Library; this may have been read at her funeral. It reads as follows:

"Miss Martha Alice Sparks was born in a Methodist parsonage May 14, 1851 in the village of Manchester, Dearborn County, Indiana. Her father was Jeremiah Burns Sparks and her mother Eliza Rockafellow Sparks. She was one of seven children. Her father was a Methodist minister circuit rider in Southern Indiana. She taught school for 48 years, first in Greenfield, Indiana, but most of those years in the Marion County schools. She attended and graduated from Moore a Hill College, a Methodist school. She was initiated into Kappa Alpha Theta, national college sorority at Moores Hill in 1873,

"She moved from Greenfield, Indiana, with her sister, Mary Sparks, after the death of their father, to Indianapolis in 1886. She and her sister affiliated with Central Ave. Methodist Church at that time, where she kept her membership the rest of her life. She always lived in close proximity to her church, living at 1442 Central Avenue the past 35 years. Teaching was her livelihood, her church was her religious life, where it was her joy and life to work. She has worked in all departments and phases of the church. As a younger woman she was most active in the Epworth League, as well as in the church school. She helped organize the Epworth League and was instrumental in choosing the verse from the Bible that was adopted as the official benediction for it.

"During the Civil War her family lived in Versailles, Indiana. The Morgan Raiders came through Versailles at that time, Her mother had her take what money and valuables they had and had her crawl under the tobacco barn, out of sight and hiding from the Raiders. Her mother stood at the front gate praying that they would not be harmed. The Raiders asked for food, but left without doing any harm.

"Beside her church, Central Avenue Methodist, she belonged to Indiana Society of Pioneers, her family having come to Indiana in 1806, and to the Kappa Alpha Theta Alumni. Mrs. John C. Shirk of Brookville is the nearest relative, a niece. Mr. Grosvenor Shirk, a grandnephew and Mrs. Kenneth D. Coffin, a grandniece of Indianapolis. She will be buried in Greenfield, Indiana, where mother, father, her sister Mary, and brother William are buried."

There were, of course, several other living relatives not mentioned in the obituary.

26.1.4 Amos Sparks, son of Jesse R. and Margaret (Burns) Sparks, was born ca. 1811 in Ohio. He was probably the Amos Sparks who married Nancy Mercy Harper in Franklin County, Indiana, in 1829 (marriage bond dated October 15, 1829). There is a deed on file in Dearborn County, Indiana, dated June 5, 1835, by which "Amos Sparks and Mercy his wife" sold to Jeremiah B. Sparks, brother of Amos, an 80-acre tract in Dearborn County for $265. The witnesses were Jesse Sparks and G. J. Benham (Book O, p. 225). This wife apparently died and it is believed that he married (second) Mary Dewees in 1844 (Franklin County, Indiana, marriage bond dated August 5, 1844). When the 1850 census was taken of Franklin County, he was listed as a resident of Brookville Township, where his brother Jeremiah was also living. He was a farmer; his wife Mary was 35 years old in 1850, thus born ca. 1815 in Pennsylvania. Five children were living with them, the first three apparently being children by his first wife:

26.1.4.1 Reuben Sparks, born ca. 1834.
26.1.4.2 Tamzon Sparks, born ca. 1839 (a daughter).
26.1.4.3 Charlie Sparks, born ca. 1840.
26.1.4.4 Allen Sparks, born ca. 1845.
26.1.4.5 Margaret Sparks, born ca. 1847.

26.1.5 Nathan B. Sparks, son of Jesse R. and Margaret (Burns) Sparks, was born on April 2, 1815, in Belmont County, Ohio. He attended the Eclectic Medical School in Cincinnati, Ohio, and began the practice of medicine in 1848 in Brooksville, Indiana. He was married on June 3, 1838, in Dearborn County, Indiana, to Harriet E. Skaats, daughter of Jacob and Hannah Skaats. She was born November 29, 1822. In 1861, he was physician and surgeon of the 6th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers, in the Civil War. He returned home in 1863. In 1867 he moved to Knox County, Indiana, and a year later he settled at Monroe City in that county. They were the parents of the following children:

26.1.5.1 Amos H. Sparks, born ca. 1841.
26.1.5.2 Miltiades Miller Sparks, born ca. 1845.
26.1.5.3 Laura V. Sparks, born ca. 1847.
26.1.5.4 James W. Sparks, born ca. 1849.
26.1.5.5 Rosella Sparks, born ca. 1850; she married A. C. Falls.

26.1.6 Jane A. Sparks, believed to have been the youngest child of Jesse R. and Margaret (Burns) Sparks, was born ca. 1821. In 1852 she married Elias Kerr (Dearborn County, Indiana, marriage bond dated June 27, 1852). When the 1860 census was taken, Jesse R. Sparks was living with Jane and her husband in Dearborn County. Our only knowledge of her family are the names of their children listed on the 1860 census:

26.1.6.1 Jeremiah S. Kerr, born ca. 1854.
26.1.6.2 Daniel T0 Kerr, born ca. 1855.
26.1.6.3 Ellas S. Kerr, born ca. 1857.
26.1.6.4 Clarisa S. Kerr, born ca. 1858.

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