May 27, 2019

Pages 2273-2279
Whole Number 113

21.1.3 HUMPHREY SPARKS (ca. 1749-ca. 1827)

by Paul E. Sparks

(Editor's Note: On pages 136-137 of the June 1956 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 14, we presented the family of Humphrey and Milly (Nalle) Sparks who lived in Culpeper County, Virginia, before moving to Scott County, Kentucky, in 1795. The information we had at that time of this family was taken from an article written by William B. Newman, entitled "Towles and Clark Families," which appeared in Tyler's Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Vol. XIII, No. 1, July 1931. Since that article was written, other data have been found about the family of Humphrey and Milly Sparks. We are pleased to share these with our readers.)

21.1.3 Humphrey Sparks, son of 21.1 Thomas and Mary (Towles) Sparks, was born ca. 1749 in Culpeper County, Virginia, and it was probably there that he married Milly Nalle ca. 1775. She was born ca. 1758 and was a daughter of Martin (born ca. 1702) and Isabelle Nalle of Culpeper County. Her grandfather was also named Martin Nalle who came from England to Virginia in 1701-02. Humphrey and Milly Sparks moved to Kentucky in 1795 and settled on McConnell Run in Scott County near the Franklin County line. Humphrey paid taxes there in 1795 and continued to be the only person named SPARKS who paid taxes there until 1806 when he was joined by his son, 21.1.3.x James Sparks, as a taxpayer. Humphrey paid taxes in Scott County until 1812 when he apparently moved to Franklin County.

Humphrey Sparks paid taxes in Franklin County until 1818 and when Owen County was formed in 1819, he went with the newly-formed county. He paid taxes in Owen County until 1823 when he apparently went to live with his son, Martin Sparks. Humphrey died ca. 1827.

Milly Sparks, wife of Humphrey Sparks, joined the Forks of Elkhorn (Baptist) Church in 1801. She was listed on the church minutes as Milly Sparks, Sr., probably to distinguish her from her daughter, Milly Sparks, Jr., who was also a member of the church. Both were dismissed from that church when the family moved to what is now Owen County in 1818.

Information about the children of Humphrey and Milly (Nalle) Sparks has came from four sources.

1. The first source to consider will be the June 1956 issue of THE SPARKS Quarterly which is mentioned above. According to an article appearing in that issue, William Newman, an eminent genealogist, prepared an article about the Towles and Clark families of Culpeper County, Virginia, but extended his research to include the Sparkses who had intermarried with these families. He did not reveal the source of his information, but he stated that Humphrey and Milly (Nalle) Sparks had seven children: Caty Sparks Mareba Sparks Fanny Sparks Martin Sparks Isabella Sparks Milly Sparks and Humphrey Sparks.

2. A second source of information about the family of 21.1.3 Humphrey and Milly (Nalle) Sparks is Forks of Elkhorn Church, a book published in 1946 by the Standard Printing Co., Louisville, Kentucky. The author is Mrs. Ermina Jett Darnell who transcribed the old church minutes and then added several pages of genealogical notes about the members of the early church. Here is how the family of Humphrey and Milly Sparks appeared in that book, on page 269:

"Milly Sparks, Sr., 1801, dis 1818.
Isabella Sparks, 1802.
Milly Sparks, Jr.,dis 1818.

The Sparks family came from Culpeper Co., Va.
Humphrey Sparks m Milly Nall, and they were in Scott Co., KY, 1795, removing later to Owen Co., KY. Their children were: Caty Sparks, born, before 1783; Maria Sparks, who died in Henry Co., KY, 1859; Fanny Sparks married Madison Sparks; Martin Sparks married Caty Middleton in Woodford Co., KY, 1801; Isabella Sparks Ballard; Milly Sparks Smither; Humphrey Sparks married Eliza Ann Calvert in Franklin Co.,KY, 1836.

Sarah Palmer, niece of Martin Sparks, m. R. F. Oliver in Owen Co., KY, 1847."

There are two errors in notes by Mrs. Darnell. Both are easy to understand, for they involve the given names of Humphrey and Milly. Humphrey and Milly (Nalle) Sparks did have children named Humphrey Sparks and Milly Sparks, but from all that we can learn, neither of them ever married. The Humphrey Sparks who married Eliza Ann Calvert in Franklin Co., KY, in 1836, was a son of Anthony and Mary (Sparks) Sparks and was a grandson of 21.1.3 Humphrey and Milly (Nalle) Sparks, Mary (wife of Anthony) being their daughter. Likewise, the Milly Sparks who married Wesley Smither ca. 1830 was a daughter of Anthony and Mary (Sparks) Sparks, and also a granddaughter of Humphrey and Milly (Nalle) Sparks.

3. A third source of information about the children of Humphrey and Milly (Nalle) Sparks is a deposition made by James Jones and Dennis byrns in Owen County, Kentucky, on September 1, 1845. The deposition was made in a suit in chancery in Madison County, Virginia. The complainant was James Clark, administrator of the will of Mary Clark, deceased, and the defendants were Joseph Hume and Nathaniel Tatum, executors of the will of Henry Towles, deceased. Here is Mr. Jones's deposition in part:

"He knew Humphrey Sparks, deceased, who died sometime prior to the year 1830, deponent thinks about the year 1827. The decedent left as his heirs, James Sparks who lives in the state of Illinois; Martin Sparks; Isabella Ballard, widow of Johnson Ballard, deceased; Elleanor Sparks who lives in Owen Co., KY; Peachy Kilby, late Sparks, who intermarried with John Kilby who lives in Scott Co., KY; Thomas Sparks who lives in Henry Co., KY; also Mary Sparks who intermarried with Anthony Sparks who died in March 1843 leaving her husband with several children; and Towles Palmer and Sally Palmer, children of Susan Palmer, deceased, late Sparks, who intermarried with Charles Palmer, deceased; and Nancy Cole, late Sparks, who intermarried with Jesse Cole, and who is dead leaving her husband and several children."

Mr. Jones was joined in the deposition by Dennis byrns who stated that he "adopted it as his own.

The list of children given by Mr. Jones and Mr. byrns is most puzzling when compared with the other two lists, for they do not have five of the children which the other two lists have. In addition, they have six names which are not included in the other two sources. In spite of these great differences, however, since the deposition was made a relatively short time after the death of Humphrey Sparks, and since both Mr. Jones and Mr. byrns knew him personally, we are inclined to accept this list as more accurate than the other two. There are a few discrepancies in this list, too, and here are our notes regarding them:

The deposition by Jones and byrns made no mention of Caty Sparks who was identified as a child of Humphrey and Milly (Nalle) Sparks when her grandfather's(Martin Nalle's) will was made in 1783. She may have died prior to 1845; she may have been the Elleanor Sparks named in the deposition; or her name may have been Catherine Eleanor.

No mention was made in the deposition of Fanny Sparks who married Madison Sparks in 1818 in Woodford County, Kentucky. Her father, Humphrey Sparks,was named on the marriage record. She died ca. 1825, apparently without issue, and had probably been forgotten by Jones and byrns.

The deposition made no mention of Mariah Sparks. She died in Henry County, Kentucky, in 1855, and her father, Humphrey Sparks, was named on the death certificate. She married Thomas Jameson Sparks on October 17, 1831, in Owen County. He was a son of Robert and Isabella (Ford) Sparks, thus he and Mariah were first cousins, once removed. (See the June 1967 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 58, for a further account of the family of Robert and Isabella (Ford) Sparks.)

Finally, the deposition made no mention of Humphrey Sparks, Jr., and of Milly Sparks, Jr., children of Humphrey and Milly (Nalle) Sparks. Both had probably died prior to the taking of the deposition in 1845.

4. The fourth source concerning the children of Humphrey Sparks, and his wife, Milly (Nalle) Sparks, is the 1810 census of Scott County, Kentucky. According to that census, Humphrey Sparks was the head of a household which included (in addition to himself and his spouse, both born prior to 1765), two males and six females. Assuming that all were his children, and having knowledge that one son and three daughters were married prior to 1810, this would mean that Humphrey and Milly were the parents of twelve children.

A composite list of the children of Humphrey and Milly Sparks from all of our sources given above contains a total of fifteen. If we assume that they had only twelve children, then three of the fifteen names should be eliminated from further consideration. In our opinion, the following three should be eliminated:

Thomas Sparks. We have found no records of a Thomas Sparks who was a son of Humphrey and Milly. It is true, as we have indicated elsewhere in this article, that Thomas Jameson Sparks, son of Robert and Isabella (Ford) Sparks, married Mariah Sparks, daughter of Humphrey and Milly, and they lived in Henry County, Kentucky. Perhaps Mr. Jones and byrns were confused about Thomas Jameson Sparks's relationship to Humphrey.

Eleanor Sparks. We have found no records of an Eleanor Sparks, nor any of a Nellie Sparks, nickname of Eleanor, in this section of early Kentucky. As indicated elsewhere, Eleanor may have been part of a double given name, such as Catherine Eleanor.

Mareba Sparks. She may have been Mariah Sparks, and perhaps her name was miscopied as "Mareba." She may have been Mary B. Sparks, and her name was misspelled as Mareba. In either case, we have found no records of a Mareba Sparks.

With the elimination of these three names, we now have the names of the twelve children whom we believe to have been the children of Humphrey and Milly (Nalle) Sparks. Assuming that Humphrey and Milly were married ca. 1775, we will now attempt to place these twelve children in a logical order of birth. We will also give a brief biography about each of them. Nancy Sparks, daughter of Humphrey and Milly (Nalle) Sparks, may have been the oldest child. In the Forks of Elkhorn Church, Mrs. Darnell stated in a separate ancestral note that "Nancy Sparks, contemporary with Humphrey Sparks and Henry Sparks m Jesse Cole." For this reason, we place her date of birth as ca. 1776. She married Jesse James Cole ca. 1792. He was born ca. 1769, and was a son of Richard James and Ann (Hubbard) Cole.
Nancy (Sparks) Cole apparently died ca. 1815 and after her death, Jesse Cole married Elizabeth Roberts and they moved to Ripley County, Indiana. Jesse died there in 1857. He and Nancy had eight children according to information received from a descendant, Mrs. Averil Larson. Jeremiah Cole was born ca. 1793. He died in 1854 in Andrew County, Missouri. He married Rebecca Young on May 25, 1820, and they had nine children: Richard Cole, Martha Cole, Catherine Cole, Mary, Eliza Cole, Elizabeth Cole, John Cole, Margaret Cole, and Abigail Cole. Charles C. Cole was born ca. 1795. He died in 1854 in Ripley County, Indiana. He married Sarah Brown on August 19, 1818, in Ripley County and they had eight children: William Cole, Mary Cole, Sally Ann Cole, Jesse Cole, Elizabeth Cole, Sisley Cole, Anthony Cole, and
one child whose name we have not learned. Elizabeth Cole was born ca. 1798. She married Noah Ransdoll and they had six children: Jesse Ransdoll, Benjamin Ransdoll, William Ransdoll, Nancy Ransdoll, Julie Ransdoll,and Millie Ransdoll. John Hubbard Cole was born November 15, 1801, in Kentucky. He died on April 23, 1875. On November 4, 1825, he married Sarah Henry Collier. She was born February 10, 1808, in Garrard County, Kentucky. She died in 1879. They had ten children: Nancy Cole, Millie Cole, Mary Cole, Sarah Cole, Jesse Cole, John Cole, Capt. Robert Cole, William Cole, Samuel Cole, and Emily Cole. Jesse Cole was born ca. 1805 in Franklin County, Kentucky. He married Aljailina Wheeler in 1826 in Shelby County, Indiana, and they had eight children: John Cole, Sarah Cole, Berilla Cole, Aljailina Cole, Jesse Cole, Jr., Benjamin Cole, Jane Cole, and Henry Cole. Mary Cole was born ca. 1806. She married George Young on January 15, 1821. Milly Cole was born ca. 1807. On March 28, 1824, she married George Saylor in Ripley County, Indiana. They had at least one child, William B. Saylor. Nancy Cole was born ca. 1810. She married Hezekiah Evans on October 25, 1824, and they had two children, Benjamin Evans and Elijah Evans. Caty Sparks was born prior to 1783 for she was named that year in the will of her maternal grandfather, Martin Nalle dated March 7, 1783 (probated September 15, 1788). Conjecture would place her date of birth as ca. 1778. She may have been the Katherine Sparks, aged 65, who was living in the household of John Sparks, age 46, when the 1850 census was taken of Owen County, Kentucky. John Sparks was a bachelor. He was a son of 21.1.5 Henry and Lucy (Clark) Sparks, 21.1.5 Henry being a brother of Humphrey. James Sparks was born ca. 1780. (He was listed as 69 years of age on the 1850 census of Schuyler County, Illinois.) He paid taxes first in Scott County, Kentucky, in 1804 and continued to pay taxes there until ca. 1830, when he apparently moved away. He is undoubtedly the James Sparks who appeared on the 1850 census of Schuyler County, Illinois. He was then 69 years of age and his birth was recorded as having taken place in Virginia. With him in 1850 was his wife, Elizabeth MNU, aged 55, born in Kentucky. They had four children, all born in Kentucky. Hamilton Sparks was born ca. 1819. In 1850 he was living in the household of his parents, but when the 1880 census was taken of Schuyler County, he was the head of a household which included his sister, Jane Sparks, 57; his sister, Mildred Sparks, age 55; and a niece, Mary Sparks, age 20. A Melvina Sparks, born ca. 1855, may also have been a niece - - she was listed in the household of Hamilton Sparks in the city of Rushville in Schuyler County when the 1870 census was taken - - Melvina was then 15 years old. Fountain Sparks was born ca. 1823. He was probably the father of the Mary Sparks who appeared in the household of her uncle, Hamilton Sparks, in 1880. Jane L. Sparks was born ca. 1825. She apparently never married. Mildred H. Sparks was born ca. 1829. She apparently never married. Martin Sparks was born ca. 1782. He married Caty Middleton on October 3, 1801, in Woodford County, Kentucky. In 1810, Martin and Caty were in Madison County, KY. (See the September 1956 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 15.) by 1820, however, Martin Sparks had moved to the newly-formed Owen County where he joined his parents. He continued to live in Owen County until his death which occurred between January and April 1849. Martin Sparks made a will on January 18, 1849, by which he left two-thirds of his estate to his son, Abram Gregory Sparks, and one-third to his daughter, Milly Sparks. The will was probated at the April term of the Owen County Court. Apparently, his wife, Caty (Middleton) Sparks had died and Abraham and Milly were the only children at home. According to census records, Martin and Caty had six children, five sons and one daughter. Middleton Sparks was born ca. 1802, since he paid poll taxes in Owen County in 1823 as over age 21. On April 30, 1832, he married Nancy Williams in Owen County. Son Sparks Son Sparks Son Sparks Mildred "Milly" Sparks was born ca. 1812. On November 10, 1856, she married Thomas Jameson Sparks in Owen County. He was born October 10, 1804, in Virginia and was a son of Robert and Isabelle (Ford) Sparks. (See the June 1967 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 58, for further details of this family.) Milly and Thomas J. Sparks had no children. (Thomas Jameson Sparks's first wife had been Mariah Sparks, daughter of 21.1.3 Humphrey and Milly Sparks.) Abraham Gregory Sparks was born ca. 1814. On July 13, 1858, he married Sarah Frances (Martin) Moore in Franklin County, Kentucky. She was born ca. 1828 in Scott County, Kentucky, and was a daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth (Cole) Martin. She was a widow at the time of her marriage to Abraham Sparks. She died September 10,1875; Abraham died on July 18, 1886. He and Sarah had three children: Martin Sparks, born 1859, died 1860; Sarah Mildred Sparks, born 1863, died 1940; and John Abraham Sparks, born September 26, 1863, married Mary Clements (1864 -1948). Humphrey Sparks was born ca. 1784. We have found no record of him other than the sources given above. Mary "Polly" Sparks was born ca. 1786 in Virginia. She married Anthony Sparks, ca. 1805. He was born January 7, 1781, in Virginia and was a son of 21.1.5 Henry and Lucy (Clark) Sparks, and was thus a first cousin to Polly. (See the December 1960 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 32, for further details about the family of Henry and Lucy Sparks.) Polly Sparks died in March 1843. Anthony continued to live in their home (he was by himself when the 1850 census was taken of Owen County) until ca. 1856 when he accompanied his son, Henry, and Henry's family to Clinton County, Missouri. He died at St. Joseph, Missouri, in the fall of 1865. He and Polly had ten children. Isabelle "Ibby" Sparks was born ca. 1806. On January 8, 1827, she married Lewis Smither in Owen County. Mildred "Milly" Sparks was born August 8, 1808. She married John Wesley Smither on January 5, 1829, and they had nine children: Noel (probably Nalle) Smither Isabella Smither Anthony Smither John Smither Mary Smither Thomas Smither George Smither Victory Smither and Russell Smither. Henry Sparks was born June 28, 1810. He died on December 31, 1884, in Clay County, Missouri. He married Sarah "Sally" Smither on December 21, 1831, in Owen County, Kentucky. They had six children: Louisa Sparks, William Anthony Sparks, Julia Sparks, Georgiana Sparks, Adelbert Sparks, and Mary Sparks. Humphrey Sparks was born ca. 1812. On March 24, 1836, he married Eliza Ann Calvert in Franklin County, Kentucky. They went to housekeeping in Henry County, Kentucky, and spent the rest of their lives there. They had four children: Thomas Anthony Sparks, Permelia Sparks, Mary Isabelle Sparks, and Martha Ann Sparks. Lucy Sparks was born ca. 1814. She married Dr. Robert J. Hill on March 16, 1837, in Owen County. Milton Sparks was born ca. 1817. He married Sarah "Sally" Spires, ca. 1838. Milton was drowned in the Kentucky River ca. 1841. He and Sally had two children: Mary Sparks and John Milton Sparks. Clifton Sparks was born August 18, 1818. He died on April 25, 1848. He married Nancy Lawler on February 3, 1842, and they had three children: Jessie Sparks, George Sparks, and John Sparks. Martha Sparks was born ca. 1821. On October 2, 1837, she married Jesse P. Hill in Owen County, Kentucky. Thomas Sparks was born ca. 1824. He is said to have married Eliza Quinn. Mary Sparks was born ca. 1826. On July 8, 1848, she married William H. Smith in Owen County, Kentucky. Peachie Sparks was born ca. 1788 in Virginia. She married John Kilbey, ca. 1809. He was born September 19, 1780 in Virginia, and he may have been a son of James and Lucy (Sparks) Kilbey. (See page 137 of the June 1956 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 14.) Peachie apparently died between 1840 and 1850. John died in September 1858, at St. Joseph, Missouri. He and Peachie had four children: Lucy B. Kilbey was born in June 1811. Mildred A. Kilbey was born May 4, 1813. Frances Ellen Kilbey was born August 17, 1817. James Martin Kilbey was born February 29, 1825. He died on May 31, 1870, at St. Joseph, Missouri. He married Ann Elizabeth Corum on January 22, 1856. Isabella Sparks was born ca. 1790 in Virginia. She married Johnson Ballard, ca. 1814. He was born ca. 1770 and this was his second marriage. His first marriage was to Bettie Eastham in 1791 in Culpeper County, Virginia. He died prior to 1845, while Isabella died after 1845, according to the deposition mentioned above. Isabella and Johnson Ballard had four children. Mildred Ballard was born ca. 1815. She married Moses Harrod in Owen County, Kentucky, in 1835. They moved to Missouri. Frances "Fanny" Ballard. B. Ballard. His given name may have been Bland. Johnson Ballard, Jr. Susan Sparks was born ca. 1792. She married Charles Palmer, ca. 1813, and they had two children. Susan and Charles Palmer died prior to 1845. Towles Palmer. Sarah "Sally" Palmer. She married R. F. Oliver on December 11, 1847, in Owen County, Kentucky. Fanny Sparks was born ca. 1794. (Her name may have been Frances, nicknamed was Fanny.) She married Madison Sparks in Woodford County, Kentucky, on February 11, 1818. Her father was named on the marriage record. Madison Sparks was born August 10, 1795, in Culpeper County, Virginia, and was a son of 21.1.5 Henry and Lucy (Clark) Sparks, thus he and Fanny were first cousins. (See pages 634-635 of the March 1962 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 37, for an abstract of the bounty land application made by Madison Sparks for service in the War of 1812.) Fanny Sparks died sometime after 1820; there were no children born to this marriage. After her death, Madison Sparks married Mrs. Winifred (Thomas) Stafford in 1827, by whom he had nine children. Mariah Sparks was born ca. 1796. On October 17, 1831, she married Thomas Jameson Sparks in Owen County, Kentucky. He was born October 10, 1804, in Virginia, and was a son of Robert and Isabelle (Ford) Sparks. (See the June 1967 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 58, for further details regarding this family.) Mariah died on March 24, 1855, in Henry County, Kentucky. Her father, Humphrey Sparks, was named on the record of her death. After her death, Thomas Sparks married Mildred Sparks, daughter of Martin and Caty (Middleton) Sparks. (See above.) Hilly Sparks was born ca. 1798. She was probably the Hilly Sparks, Jr. who was dismissed from the Forks of Elkhorn Church in 1818, after the family had moved to Franklin County. We have found no further records of her and she may have died while still a young woman. She apparently never married.

(A further note from the Editor: As can be seen from the information that we have given above regarding the family of Humphrey and Milly (Nalle) Sparks, there are many gaps and there are many dates on which it has been necessary to speculate. We are confident that there are descendants among our readers who have records pertaining to this family, including, perhaps, old photographs and letters. We would welcome any additional information that you could provide for us.)