March 9, 2021

Pages 1527-1530
Whole Number 80

26.2.2 JEREMIAH B. SPARKS, 1808-ca. 1882
SON OF 26.2 AMOS SPARKS (1785-1867)

by Russell E. Bidlack

 In the Quarterly of March 1962, Whole No. 37 pp. 618 -21, we published an article on Amos Sparks (1785 -1867) and his descendants. Most of the information that we have on Amos Sparks is found in an obituary of him written by Ancil Beach, a colleague in the Methodist ministry, for the Western Christian Advocate of February 6, 1867. Amos Sparks was a Methodist minister, born June 7, 1785, in Queen Annes County, Maryland, and died on January 11, 1867, at the age of 82. His life history, as given in this obituary, was summarized in the Quarterly, as cited above, and will not be repeated here. We believe that Amos Sparks was a brother of Jesse R. Sparks, see the above article, pp. 1517-27.

A descendant of Amos Sparks through his son 26.2.6 Asa Egbert Sparks (1817 -1892), Mrs. Hazel T. Tarman, has copied for us the records of his marriage and the births of his children as they appear in the family Bible. Amos Sparks married Nancy Ann Borough on June 2, 1805. She was born in Indiana on December 1, 1789. Their children were:

26.2.1 Noah Sparks, born January 11, 1807; married Susanna Woodward on May 6, 1826.
26.2.2 Jeremiah B. Sparks, born November 16, 1808. (see below)
26.2.3 Jesse Sparks, born January 12, 1810; married Judith Darrah on June 27, 1831.
26.2.4 Bathaheber Sparks, born May 30, 1813; married Robert Davis on January 30, 1830.
26.2.5 Benjamin A. Sparks, born November 16, 1815; married Mary Imhuff on June 13, 1836.
26.2.6 Asa E. Sparks, born November 10, 1817; married Amanda Van Scyoc on May 29, 1838.
26.2.7 May Sparks, born February 17, 1819.

Further records of the children of Amos and Nancy Ann (Borough) Sparks may be found in the March 1962 Quarterly as cited above. However, a serious error was made in that article (page 620) where we erroneously identified their son Jeremiah B. Sparks as the Jeremiah Burris Sparks (1808-1886) who was actually the son of 26.1 Jesse R. Sparks. Apparently, both Amos Sparks and Jesse R. Sparks were living in Belmont County, Ohio, in 1808. As stated before, we believe that they were brothers. From the Bible record of Jeremiah Burris Sparks, son of Jesse R. Sparks, we know that he (Jeremiah Burris Sparks) was born November 15, 1808. According to the Bible that belonged to Amos Sparks (1785-1867), his son Jeremiah was born the following day, on November 16, 1808. Born only one day apart, it is not surprising (though certainly confusing) that the parents of these two cousins chose to name them both Jeremiah. They even had the same middle initial, "B".  Although Amos Sparks did not record in his Bible a middle initial for his son, census records and his will give his name as Jeremiah B. Sparks, though we do not know what the "B" stood for, It is interesting to note, however, that the maiden name of the wife of Amos Sparks was Borough, so perhaps the "B" stood for Borough, or perhaps his middle name was actually Borough.

Our knowledge of the life of Jeremiah B, Sparks, son of Amos, is limited. We know that his father, the 26.2 Rev. Amos Sparks, remained in Ohio until 1829. From 1826, when he was admitted as a junior preacher to the Ohio Conference of the Methodist Church, until 1829, Amos Sparks was assigned to the Greenville Circuit. The town of Greenville is in Darke County, on the Indiana border. Two counties below Darke County is Butler County, which adjoins the Indiana line on the west and is opposite Franklin County in Indiana. In Butler County, Ohio, there is a record of the marriage of a Jeremiah Sparks and Ann Hughs on November 6, 1837; the marriage was performed by the Rev. William D. Barrett. We believe that this was the Jeremiah B. Sparks who was the son of Amos Sparks.

26.2.2 Jeremiah B. Sparks, son of 26.2 Amos Sparks, had one son, Granville Moody Sparks, who was born October 26, 1845 and died in 1920. His death certificate gave his mother's name as Sara Hughes, born in Ohio, The marriage record in Butler County gives Jeremiah's bride in 1837 as Ann Hughs. . . perhaps her full name was Sarah Ann Hughes (or Hughs). When Granville Sparks signed a declaration for a Civil War pension in 1916, he gave his place of birth as Pretty Prairie, Indiana, but we have not been able to identify this location.

It is a tradition in the family of Granville Moody Sparks that he was named for a popular Methodist minister named Granville Moody. Granville Moody Sparks served in the Civil War and in his pension application he stated that his mother died before 1850, that his father remarried and that in the summer of 1850 he was living with his father and step-mother in Wooster, Wayne County, Ohio, According to the 1850 census, however, the family was living in adjoining Holmes County, Ohio, in August 1850. Jeremiah was listed on that census as J. B. Sparks, age 40, a cooper by occupation, and a native of Ohio. His son Granville was listed as "Andrew Sparks" aged 4. Apparently the census taker misunderstood "Granville". and wrote "Andrew" by mistake A nine-year-old girl, probably a daughter, was also listed-the writing is difficult to read, but the name looks like "Arcul."

On May 5, 1851, Jeremiah B. Sparks married as his second wife, Ary Twaddle, in Holmes County, Ohio. From the 1860 census, it would appear that she had been born ca. 1822. Her name was actually Ariel, the name "Ary" being a nickname. She may have been a widow, because when the 1860 census was taken, a 17-year-old girl was listed in the family as "Ariel Sparks"- - - the same name as Jeremiah's second wife. Perhaps this was a daughter of the second wife by an earlier marriage who changed her name to Sparks. On the other hand, this could have been the 9-year old girl who appeared on the 1850 census (ten years earlier) with a name that appears to be "Arcul". If so, however, it would seem strange that Jeremiah and his first wife would have chosen an unusual name "Ariel" and that ten years later this would also have been the name of Jeremiah's second wife.

From the 1860 census, it appears that Jeremiah B. Sparks had three daughters by his second wife: Altha A. Sparks, born ca. 1845, and Ida C. Sparks, born ca. 1848. Lois B. Sparks, born ca. 1853;

Amos Sparks was living with his son, Jeremiah B. Sparks, in Knox Township, Holmes County, Ohio, when the 1860 census was taken. Amos age was given as 75. The 1870 census of Holmes County shows Jeremiah, Ariel, and four children living in Nashville, Knox Township.

We have not succeeded in finding the death date of Jeremiah B. Sparks. In a letter in the pension file of Granville Moody Sparks, he stated that his father had died at Nashville, Ohio, in 1881 and that his step-mother had moved to Huron County, Ohio, shortly thereafter, where she died in 1886. Granville was in error regarding his father's death date - Jeremiah could not have died in 1881 because he made his will on February 27, 1882. This will is on file in Holmes County, Ohio, Will Book 14, page 232. We have obtained a copy of this will from the probate clerk's office, but that office has not been able to provide us with the date that the will was probated, Jeremiah B. Sparks probably died in 1882 shortly after writing his will. Unfortunately, he did not identify his children in his will, which reads as follows:

In the name of God, Amen: I, Jeremiah B. Spanks of the town of Nashville, in the County of Holmes and State of Ohio, being of sound mind and memory, and considering the uncertainty of this frail and transitory life, do therefore make, ordain and publish and declare this to be my last will and testament; that is to say; after all my lawful debts are paid and discharged, I give, bequeath and dispose of the residue of my estate, real and personal, as follows, to-wit : - - -

To my beloved wife Ariel Sparks the house and lot where we now reside, being lot numbered fifty-nine in the town of Nashville in Holmes County, Ohio and also what loose or personal property I am in possession of at the time of my decease. Likewise, I make, constitute and appoint my said wife Ariel to be executor of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me made.

    In witness whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal this 27th day of February, A.D., 1882.

(signed) J. B. Sparks

   The above written instrument was subscribed by the said Jeremiah B. Sparks in our presence and acknowledged by him to each of us; and he at the same time published and declared the above instrument to be his last will and testament and we at the testator's request and in his presence have signed our names as witnesses hereto.

(signed) E. J. Darby

    R. Darby Granville Moody Sparks, only son of Jeremiah B. and Sarah Ann (Hughes) Sparks, was born October 26, 1845. Most of the information that we have found regarding him is contained in his Civil War pension file. He was enrolled in the Union Army on December 20, 1863, in Wooster, Wayne County, Ohio, as a private in Company B, 60th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and was honorably discharged in Cleveland, Ohio, on August 8, 1865. He described himself at the time of his enlistment as 5 feet 5 inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes, light hair, and a farmer by occupation. In a declaration for a pension dated May 16, 1916, he stated that he had lived in Holmes County, Ohio, after the Civil War until he moved to Kansas in 1888. His post office was Emporia. He was married on November 8, 1871, to Harriet F. Morgan in Nashville, Holmes County, Ohio. In a statement that he signed on May 14, 1898, he gave his living children as: Olive M. Sparks, born October 25, 1874. Victoria B. Sparks, born September 1, 1876. Arminta M. Sparks, born January (or June?) 19, 1878. Alvah O. Sparks, born July 8, 1882. Edith O. Sparks, born March 14, 1885. Vera Z. Sparks, born October 19, 1895.

Granville Moody Sparks died in Emporia, Kansas, on November 18, 1920. His death certificate gave his occupation as carpenter. Harriet, his wife, continued to receive a pension for his Civil War service until her death in 1916.