May 3, 2021

Pages 1904-1905
Whole Number 98


A member of the Association, Mildred Pierce, recently copied for us an item that she happened across in a Methodist Church paper called The Christian Advocate and Journal, New York Issue dated July 3, 1840 (Vol. 14, No. 46, Whole No. 722). This item reads as follows:

Samuel R. Sparks left this city [Baltimore] between two and three years ago for the west. He left his family and home with a view of procuring employment as a turner, which was his calling. He was a man of good character, and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The last satisfactory information received of him was a letter to his family dated at Hancock, Maryland, April 1838. Anyone who can give satisfactory information of him will render an important service to the cause of humanity to forward it to the address of his deeply disconsolate wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Sparks of this City.

Baltimore, January 4, 1840.

We know that a Samuel R. Sparks was married in Baltimore County, Maryland, on January 10, 1822, to Elizabeth Hitchcock. This story was repeated on many occasions - - a man headed west and his family never heard from him again. Did Samuel R. Sparks die among stangers of a sudden illness, was he murdered for the money that he probably carried with him to start a new life, or did he desert his family, take a new wife, and rear another family somewhere in "the west"?