March 9, 2021

Pages 1537-1539
Whole Number 81

73. ARCHIBALD SPARKS (born ca. 1790, died ca. 1836) With a List of His Children

In the Quarterly of December 1964, No. 11, Whole No. 48, p. 862, we published a query regarding 73. Archibald Sparks, who was born ca. 1790 and died ca. 1836. Although we still do not know his parentage, Mrs. Mary Ellen Reeves of Sacramento, California (95818), has provided us with additional information as well as the family photograph appearing on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly in which two of Archibald's children appear, 73.4 William Lewis Sparks and 73.5 Catherine (Sparks) Reed. Mrs. Reeves descends from Sarah (Lewis) Sparks, who was born April 23, 1806, and was Archibald's second wife. After his death, Sarah married as her second husband, John Dietz II in 1838. Mrs. Reeves descends from a child of this union between Sarah and John Dietz.

73. Archibald Sparks probably was born in Virginia, but he was living in Woodford County, Kentucky, in 1814 when he married his first wife, Elizabeth Carter. The marriage bond is dated June 18, 1814. She was a daughter of John B. and Elizabeth (Mosby) Carter.  Archibald and Elizabeth (Carter) Sparks are known to have had three children:

73.1 Georgeann Sparks, born ca. 1815; married Allen Carter in Woodlord County, Kentucky, on January 9, 1838.
73.2 John Sparks, born ca. 1817.
73.3 Berry F. Sparks, born ca. 1819; married Sarah Simmons in Woodford County, Kentucky, on June 21, 1849.

Archibald's name appears on the tax records of Woodford County, Kentucky, for the first time in 1815. It was recorded as "Arch' Sparks" and he was taxed as a white male over 21; he was also taxed for one horse. His name appeared as "Archibald Sparks" on the tax lists of 1816 and 1817. The list for 1815 has been lost, but his name appears on the list for 1819. This was the last year he was taxed there; his name did not appear on the 1820 census of Woodford County.

While living in Woodford County, 73. Archibald Sparks was a close neighbor of James Sparks, Martin Sparks, and Humphrey Sparks, Jr. It seems probable that they were related to him. Martin Sparks and Humphrey Sparks, Jr., were sons of 21.1.3 Humphrey and Milly (Nalle) Sparks.

The 21.1.3 Humphrey Sparks, who was born ca. 1749, was a son of 21.1 Thomas and Mary (Towles) Sparks of Culpeper County, Virginia, (see the Quarterly of June 1956, Whole No. 14, pp. 132-137, for a record of this family). 21.1.3 Humphrey and Milly (Nalle) Sparks (whose parents were Martin and Isabel Nalle) moved from Virginia to Scott County, Kentucky, in 1795. (Scott and Woodford Counties adjoin, Scott having been cut off from Woodford in 1792.)

21.1.3 Humphrey and Milly (Nalle) Sparks are known to have Caty Sparks (mentioned in her grandfather Nalle's will in 1783), Mareba Sparks, Fanny Sparks, Martin Sparks, Isabella Sparks, Milly Sparks and Humphrey Sparks.

It is possible that Archibald could have been their son also. Humphrey Sparks, Sr., had a brother named 21.1.6 Thomas Sparks, born ca. 1755, who left Virginia prior to 1784 and probably settled in Kentucky. We have learned nothing about his family; it is quite possible that Archibald was a son of this Thomas Sparks.

Among the early Sparks marriage bonds recorded in Woodford County, Kentucky, in addition to that of Archibald Sparks, are the following: James B. Sparks married Rachel Petty, August 18, 1804 (bondsman: Jacob Wilson) Martin Sparks married Caty Middleton, October 3, 1801 (bondsman: Lewis Sullivan) Madison Sparks married Fanny Sparks, February 12, 1818 (bondsman: Humphrey Sparks, father of Fanny)

( Madison Sparks, born August 10, 1795, died August 13, 1873, was a son of 21.1.5 Henry and Lucy (Clark) Sparks; Fanny Sparks was his first cousin, i.e., his father, Henry Sparks, and Fanny's father, Humphrey Sparks, were brothers.)

Archibald Sparks sold land in Fayette County, Kentucky, to William Metcalf on July 19, 1821. Fayette County adjoins both Woodford and Scott Counties.

Sometime prior to 1826, Elizabeth (Carter) Sparks, Archibald's first wife, died. Archibald subsequently moved to Jefferson County, Kentucky. Apparently he left his three children with Elizabeth's parents in Woodford County; they were named in their Grandfather Carter's will in 1834 and two of them are known to have married in Woodford County.

On April 7, 1826, Archibald Sparks married in Clark County, Indiana, his second wife, Sarah Lewis.  Jefferson County, Kentucky, and Clark County, Indiana, are directly across from each other, separated by the Ohio River. Sarah Lewis was born April 23, 1806, and died on November 5, 1873, in Monroe Township, Clark County, Indiana.

Archibald Sparks was living in Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky, when the 1830 census was taken. A near neighbor was a Nimrod Sparks who was aged between 30 and 40 with a wife between 20 and 30 and a boy under 5 years. Archibald Sparks is known to have been in Louisville also in 1832 when, on November 3, 1832, he served as a bondsman for George McCumber and Almyra Row. Sometime between 1832 and 1838, Archibald Sparks died. Mrs. Reeves remembers the story of his death, as told by older members of the family: "Archibald Sparks and a partner owned a flat boat and made trips to New Orleans carrying freight. Several other men of that time and area did likewise. Archibald failed to come back from one of these trips. His partner explained that Archibald died and that he had had to sell the boat to get funds to bury him in New Orleans."

Mrs. Reeves is quite certain that Archibald Sparks had relatives in Clark County, Indiana, or in Louisville, Kentucky, for these relatives rallied around. Sarah (Lewis) Sparks when her husband failed to return and helped her to keep their children together. In 1838, Sarah married as her second husband, John Dietz II. He had been married before, to Catherine McDonald. Sarah (Lewis) Sparks Dietz died on November 5, 1873, at the age of 67.

Mrs. Reeves recalls a family story about a George Sparks, probably a relative of Archilbald's, who went west with another man. As they were returning, they ran out of food and killed a calf. They were caught and prosecuted for this offense and were not heard from by the rest of the family for many years.

73. Archibald Sparks and his second wife, Sarah Lewis, had three children. Mrs. Reeves found the dates of their birth recorded in the family Bible of her grandfather, James Allen Clegg.

73.4 William Lewis Sparks was born in Clark County, Indiana, on February 10, 1827, and died in Liberty, Missouri, on January 30, 1914. A son, John I. Sparks, stated in a letter that he wrote in 1938 that the family had moved from Kentucky to Missouri in 1852.

73.5 Catherine Davis Sparks, born March 24, 1829, in Clark County, Indiana, died January 18, 1901, in Cainsville, Harrison County, Missouri. She married Alexander Harvey Reed in Clark County. Their children were:

73.5.1 Bert Reed, married Ava MNU;
73.5.2 Sadie Reed, married Dave Chambers;
73.5.3 Martha Reed, married Albert Glines; and
73.5.4 Alice Reed, married FNU Wilson.

73.6 Thomas D. Sparks, born February 10, 1832. When the 1850 census was taken, he was living with the family of Thomas Louis in Clark County, Indiana. Thomas Louis (which is an alternate spelling for Lewis and was probably written incorrectly by the census taker) was 36 years old in 1850. Living in the same household was Martha Louis (or Lewis) aged 73, born in Tennessee. She may well have been Sarah's mother and the grandmother of the above Thomas D. Sparks. We have no other information regarding Thomas D. Sparks.