Whole Number 119
(Editor's Note: Mr. Virgil Walker, Route 1 Box 469, Buchanan Dam, Texas, (78609) is seeking information about the descendants of Absalom Sparks, born ca. 1771, died ca. 1830 and would be pleased to correspond with anyone connected with this family. Mr. Walker is a great-great-great-grandson of Absalom Sparks, descending from Absalom's daughter, Lydia Sparks, who married Friend Boatright.)
22.214.171.124.2.6 Absalom Sparks was born ca. 1771 in Rowan County, North Carolina. He was a son of 126.96.36.199.2 Matthew and Sarah (Thompson) Sparks who probably migrated from Frederick County, Maryland, to North Carolina about 1758 and settled in Rowan County. About 1774, Matthew Sparks moved to Surry County, North Carolina, settling in that portion which would become a part of Wilkes County in 1777. He remained there until about 1784, when he moved his family to the Franklin-Washington Counties area of Georgia. There, in November 1793, Matthew Sparks was killed by Indians. (See pages 556-566 of the June 1961 issue of The Sparks Quarterly, Whole No. 34, for further details about the family of Matthew Sparks.)
188.8.131.52.2.6 Absolom Sparks, son of 184.108.40.206.2 Matthew and Sarah (Thompson) Sparks, married Lydia (or Mary? ) Elsberry, ca. 1790. She was born ca. 1774 and was a daughter of Benjamin and Francina Elsberry. The marriage may have taken place in District 96, of South Carolina, and the couple may have lived there for several years, but by 1802, Absalom Sparks was in Clarke County, Georgia. There he made a deposition about his property which had been stolen by the Indians about 1793.
Absalom Sparks continued to live in Clarke County until about 1807 when he (probably with his brother, 220.127.116.11.2.2 Matthew Sparks) moved westward to the Illinois Territory settling at the Big Creek Settlement in Gallatin County in what is now Pope County, Illinois. There, on December 6, 1812, Absalom and two of his sons, Elsberry Sparks and Benjamin Sparks, signed a petition to the President and Congress seeking permission to settle west of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. It was also in Gallatin County that four of his children were married in 1813 and 1814, and two of his sons saw military service during the War of 1812.
The Territory of Arkansas was formed in 1819 and Absalom Sparks, with other members of his family, went there and settled in Miller County. (Miller County was established in 1820 and embraced portions of present-day Texas and Oklahoma. It was absorbed by Texas in 1836, but was returned to Arkansas and re-established in 1874.) It was in Miller County, in 1821, that Absalom Sparks, along with his sons, Benjamin Sparks, Elsberry Sparks, and Matthew Sparks, petitioned the President and Congress to modify a proposed treaty with the Indians which would deprive them (the white settlers) of their homes without remuneration. A similar petition was sent on October 26, 1825, to the President. Among the signers were Absalom Sparks and his sons, Absalom Sparks, Jr., Elsberry Sparks, Matthew Sparks, and Willoughby Sparks.
Absalom Sparks may have died in Arkansas between 1825 and 1830 for, when the 1830 census was taken of Pope County, his son, Absalom Sparks, Jr., was listed as the head of a household which included a female, aged 50-60. This was the age category into which his mother, Lydia (?) (Elsberry) Sparks would fit, and she may have been this female and a widow. On the other hand, Absalom Sparks may have taken his dwindling family to Texas and may have died there, leaving his daughter, Edy Sparks, as the head of the family. In all probability, we may never learn when and where he died.
We do know, however, that Absalom Sparks left no will, nor have we found any records of the administration of his estate. In spite of the lack of .records, we believe we can name most, if not all, of his children, in part because of the extant records settling the estate of his daughter, Edy Sparks. Here is what we have learned about each of them. We do not know the order of their births.
18.104.22.168.2.6.1 Elsberry Sparks, son of Absalom and Lydia(?) (Elsberry) Sparks, was born ca. 1791 in Georgia. He was undoubtedly named for his mother's family. He was in military service during the War of 1812 for which he received bounty land. (See pages 501-502 of the September 1960 issue of The Sparks Quarterly, Whole No. 31, for details of his service.) He was married twice. His first wife was Polly -----, probably born ca. 1795. His second wife was Olivia LNUborn ca. 1810 in Tennessee.
Elsberry Sparks was in Miller County, Arkansas, in 1821 when he joined his father and brothers in petitioning the President and Congress to help them pages their property against the Indians. He also signed a similar petition in 1825. On July 31, 1828, he sold his "right to land entry" in Miller County to Chester Ashley. The deed was recorded in Pulaski County, Arkansas, on May 26, 1830, but the transaction was reconfirmed on November 4, 1831, when Sparks and his wife, Polly Sparks, conveyed 284 acres to Ashley.
According to the 1830 census of Sevier County, Arkansas, Elsberry Sparks was the father of eight children, all born between 1810 and 1830. by 1850, all of his children had left home and he was living with his wife, Olivia Sparks, in Crawford County, Arkansas. He was aged 58 and Olivia was aged 40. Living in the household were 2 youngsters, William L. McCabe, 17, and Eleanor McCabe, 11. They may have been Elsberry's grandchildren or they may have been his step-children (i.e., children of Olivia by an earlier marriage).
Elsberry Sparks was living in Scott County, Arkansas, when he sold his share of the estate of his sister, 22.214.171.124.2.6.8 Edy Sparks, for fifty dollars on November 27, 1851. His brother, 126.96.36.199.2.6.7 Willoughby Sparks, and his nephew, William Tidwell, witnessed his signature. (See part H of this sketch, the section on Edy Sparks, for further information on the settlement of her estate.) Shortly thereafter, Elsberry moved to Falls County, Texas, where he joined his brother, Willoughby Sparks, and his sister, 188.8.131.52.2.6.9 Lydia Sparks. Apparently, he was by himself. On August 13, 1855, he was living in Johnson County, Texas, where he applied for bounty land for his service in the War of 1812. He was listed on the 1860 census of Johnson County, but we have found no further record of him; he may have died prior to 1870. We have not learned the names of any of his children.
184.108.40.206.2.6.2 Benjamin Sparks was born ca. 1793 in Georgia. According to the Illinois Adjutant-General records, he served in the Illinois Territorial Militia during the War of 1812. On January 27, 1814, he married Dicey Tidwell in Gallatin County, Illinois, by the Rev. Reeves Carmack, a Methodist minister. The license was issued on January 15, 1814, by Clerk, J.M.S.
Benjamin Sparks apparently accompanied his parents to Miller County, Arkansas, and it was there that he, along with his father and brothers, signed a petition to the President and Congress in 1821. He entered land in Pulaski County, Arkansas, in 1836. This is the last record we have found of him. We do not know whether he and Dicey had any children.
220.127.116.11.2.6.3 Mary ["Polly"] Sparks, probable daughter of Absalom and Lydia(?) (Elsberry) Sparks, was born ca. 1795, since she needed her father's consent to marry in 1813. On November 12, 1813, a license was issued by J.M.S., Clerk of Gallatin County, Illinois, authorizing her marriage to Allen Miller. Polly's father (unnamed) gave his consent to the marriage which was performed on December 2, 1813, by the Rev. Reeves Carmack, a Methodist minister. We have no further record of this couple.
18.104.22.168.2.6.4 Frances ["Fanny"] Sparks was born ca. 1796. She may have been named for her maternal grandmother, Francina Elsberry. On June 6, 1814, she married Hiram Tidwell in Gallatin County, Illinois. Apparently this couple followed the migration of their respective families through Arkansas and into Texas where Fanny died. She and Hiram had at least two children, William Tidwell and Wesley Tidwell. They were living in Johnson County, Texas, in 1874 when they sold their mother's share of the estate of Fanny's sister, Edy Sparks. We have no further information about this family.
22.214.171.124.2.6.5 Matthew Sparks was born ca. 1797 in South Carolina. He was probably named for his paternal grandfather, Matthew Sparks. He married Elizabeth -----, ca. 1824. She was born ca. 1807 in South Carolina. Matthew accompanied his parents to Arkansas where he joined his father and brothers in signing petitions to the President and Congress in 1821 and 1825. In 1829, he was listed on a special census taken by the Sheriff of Crawford County, Arkansas, but by 1830 he was in Pope County, Arkansas. With him were his wife and three sons.
Matthew Sparks was apparently a member of the group of Arkansas settlers that went to Texas in 1833. There he received a League of land adjoining the land of his brother-in-law, Friend Boatright, in what is now Lee County, Texas. He may also have been given the Headright Certificate for the land granted to his sister, Edy Sparks.
by 1840, Matthew Sparks had moved to Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, where he was listed with his wife and six children on the 1840 census. When the 1850 census was taken he was in neighboring Sabine County, Texas. All except two of his eight children had apparently left home. The two at home were 126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Elizabeth Sparks, 10, and 184.108.40.206.2.6..5.8 Nancy Sparks, 7. On August 31, 1850, Matthew Sparks sold his share of the estate of his sister, Edy Sparks. The consideration was $500 which may indicate that he had the actual possession of her Headright Certificate. We have no further information about this family.
220.127.116.11.2.6.6 Sarah ["Sally"] Sparks was born ca. 1799, since she needed her father's consent to marry in 1813. She was probably named for her paternal grandmother, Sarah (Thompson) Sparks. On November 12, 1813, the Clerk of Gallatin County, Illinois, issued a license for Sally Sparks to marry Lewis Boatright. Her father (unnamed) gave his consent to the marriage which was performed on November 19, 1813, by the Rev. Reeves Carmack, a Methodist minister.
When the 1830 census was taken of Pope County, Arkansas, Lewis Boatright was listed as the head of a household. by 1834, however, he was in Texas. We are not certain whether he was accompanied by Sally, and she may have died. Lewis Boatright served in the Texas Army during the war with Mexico. In March 1845, he married Mrs. Lavinia Honeycutt. He died ca. 1858. He and Sally had nine children:
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Lewis Boatright, probable son of Lewis and Sarah (Sparks) Boatright, may have been their eldest son, and if so he was born ca. 1814. He may have been the Lewis Boatright who was listed on the 1850 census of Panola County, Texas, and who was a single man at that time.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52. Willoughby Boatright was born ca. 1815 in Illinois. He married Elizabeth ----- and they had at least five children. In 1850, he was living in Washington County, Texas.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 William Boatright was born ca. 1817 in Illinois. He died in 1882 in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He married Nancy Lawrence and they had at least four children. He was in Lavaca County, Texas, when the 1850 census was taken.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Levi Boatright was born ca. 1819 in Arkansas. He married Dicey Lawrence and they had at least five children. They were in Lavaca County, Texas, in 1850.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Thomas Boatright was born ca. 1825 in Arkansas. He married Mary A. Lawrence and they had seven children. He was in Lavaca County, Texas, when the 1850, 1860, and 1870 censuses were taken.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Lucy Boatright was born ca. 1827 in Arkansas. She married Warren F. Lyons and they had nine children. They were in Fayette County, Texas, when the 1850 and 1860 censuses were taken.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Mary Boatright, probable daughter of Lewis and Sarah (Sparks) Boatright, married Daniel Fritchett in Fayette County, Texas, in 1853.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Margaret Boatright, probable daughter of Lewis and Sarah (Sparks) Boatright, acted as an agent for "C.C." Alexander and received a substantial share of the estate of Lewis Boatright in 1871.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Henry Boatright was born ca. 1833 in Arkansas. He married Amanda Bridges on January 27, 1852, in Lavaca County, Texas. He died prior to August 1872, probably in Johnson County, Texas. He had six children.
18.104.22.168.2.6.7 Willoughby Sparks was born ca. 1802 in Georgia. He married Mary ["Polly"] Harrell, ca. 1825 in Arkansas. She was born ca. 1809 in Illinois. In 1821, Willoughby joined his father and brothers in presenting a petition to the President and Congress asking for their help in keeping possession of their land in the Arkansas Territory. When the 1830 census was taken, he was in Pope County, Arkansas, with his wife and three children.
On November 5, 1832, Willoughby Sparks and his wife, Polly Sparks, late Polly Harrell, of Hot Springs County, Arkansas, sold 320 acres of land which formerly belonged to Polly Harrell. The buyer was Elias Rector of Pulaski County, Arkansas. Willoughby Sparks paid taxes in Hot Springs County in 1834, and in Sevier County, Arkansas, in 1837 and 1838; however, when the 1840 census was taken, he and Polly were back in Hot Springs County with their seven children.
Willoughby Sparks apparently moved to Tennessee about 1841 where two of his children were born, but by January 1847, he was in Texas where he settled in Limestone County. It was there, on September 15, 1849, that he sold his share in the estate of his sister, Edy Sparks, for one dollar and other considerations. He was listed there on the 1850 census.
Falls County, Texas, was formed in 1850 from a part of Limestone County and Milam County, and Willoughby Sparks became a resident of the newly formed county. There, according to the school census of 1855, he was the guardian of three school children, John Nelson, Willoughby Nelson, and Manerva Jane Nelson, all probably his grandchildren. He probably died ca. 1860. He and Polly apparently had ten children.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Levi Sparks was born ca. 1825 in Arkansas.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 An unnamed daughter was born between 1825 and 1830.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 An unnamed daughter was born between 1825 and 1830. She may have married FNU Nelson by whom she had the three children for whom Willoughby Sparks was serving as guardian in 1855 (see above).
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 William Sparks was born ca. 1832 in Arkansas. He married M. A. -----and they had two children when the 1860 census was taken of Falls County, Texas.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 An unnamed daughter was born between 1830 and 1835.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Tillman Sparks was born ca. 1836 in Arkansas. He married Aley (or Alcey) Peaveyhouse in Falls County, Texas, in 1861, and they had at least four children.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Clarinda Sparks was born ca. 1840 in Tennessee. She married James D. Erskine in 1858 in Falls County, Texas.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Nancy C. Sparks was born ca. 1842 in Tennessee.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Bailey M. Sparks was born ca. 1847 in Texas. He married Mandy -----
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 John Sparks was born ca. 1848 in Texas. He married Rebecca Brown on December 29, 1870, in Falls County, Texas.
188.8.131.52.2.6.8 Edy Sparks was born ca. 1806. She was undoubtedly named for her father's sister, Edy Sparks, who is thought to have married Randolph Traylor, ca. 1785, and who moved to Lawrence County, Mississippi.
Edy Sparks may have moved to Texas with her parents, and they may have died there, leaving her as the head of the family. Whatever the circumstances, in 1833 she was given a land grant in Washington County, Texas, of about 4,600 acres as the head of a family. The grant was certified to her on March 22, 1838, after she had furnished proof that 1. she had arrived in Washington County in 1833, and 2. she was the head of a family.
The latter statement is puzzling in view of the fact that Edy Sparks may never have married. It is a matter of record that a license was issued on April 21, 1838, in Washington County, Texas, by John Power, a justice of the peace, authorizing the marriage of Edy Sparks and Drury McGee. Apparently, the license was never returned. Several years later, in 1874, affidavits were made by knowledgable persons that "Edy Sparks died without children."
Edy Sparks died prior to September 1849, and her estate was divided among her sisters and brothers. The administration of the estate took several years, and as late as 1874 affidavits were made to prove her heirs. That year, Benjamin Polk, of Johnson County, Texas, and Willis Sparks, of Bosque County, Texas, swore that Edy Sparks had died without children and that her heirs were: Matthew Sparks, Willoughby Sparks, Elsberry Sparks, Lydia Boatright, and Fanny Tidwell.
184.108.40.206.2.6.9 Lydia Sparks, daughter of Absalom and Lydia(?) (Elsberry) Sparks, was born ca. 1808 in Illinois. She married Friend Boatright, ca. 1824, and they went with the Sparkses and Boatrights to Pope County, Arkansas. Then, about 1833, they (along with their related families) moved to Texas. It was there that Friend Boatright died in 1848. When the 1850 census was taken, Lydia, now a widow, was in Lavaca County, Texas. Three years later, on March 5, 1853, Lydia sold her share of the estate of her sister, Edy Sparks, for twenty dollars. She was now in Falls County where her brother, Willoughby Sparks, and her nephew, Levi Sparks, witnessed her make her mark.
Lydia (Sparks) Boatright probably died ca. 1868. She and her husband were buried in unmarked graves near Oakland, Texas. They had at least ten children.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Elizabeth Boatright was born ca. 1824 in Arkansas. She married W. T. Charles on July 14, 1838, in Washington County, Texas.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199. Rachel Boatright was born May 16, 1825, in Arkansas. She married A. A. McNutt. She died on June 7, 1894, and was buried alongside her husband in the Boatright Cemetery just west of Grandview, Texas.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206. Martin Boatright was born October 27, 1826. He married Nancy Ann Simpson. He died on June 23, 1908, and was buried in Llano County, Texas.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168. Priscilla Boatright was born ca. 1829 in Arkansas. She married John C. Burke on November 4, 1858, in Fayette County, Texas. She died soon after her marriage, probably at the time a daughter was born to them.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199. Minerva Boatright was born ca. 1830. On January 22, 1855, she married Levi J. Robinson in Fayette County, Texas. She was apparently widowed during the Civil War. She had at least one child, Isabella Robinson, who married Thomas Medearis. Minerva was buried at Ranger, Texas.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206. John L. Boatright was born March 5, 1831. He married Rebecca Cole on March 2, 1854, in Lavaca County, Texas. He died on October 27, 1890, and was buried in the Pond Springs Cemetery in Williamson County, Texas.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168. William Boatright was born ca. 1836. He married Mrs. N. J. (Jane) Nibling on March 22, 1865. He died in Travis County, Texas.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 James Boatright was born ca. 1838. He married Anna Eckel at San An
tonio, Texas, on August 12, 1871. He died on May 5, 1916, at Garfield, Texas.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206. Mary A. Boatright was born ca. 1840. She married Seguin Stiffler on March 21, 1859, in Johnson County, Texas. She died in 1914 and was buried at Ranger, Texas. She was a great-grandmother of Virgil Lee Walker, Jr., who has helped so much with the data about this branch of the SPARKS family.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168. Charles H. Boatright married Mary Jane Robbins. He died in 1909 in Travis County, Texas.
22.214.171.124.2.6.10 Absalom Sparks, Jr. was born ca. 1810, in Illinois. He accompanied his parents to Arkansas where, in 1825, he joined his father and brothers in signing a petition to the President and Congress. He signed as Absalom Sparks, Jr. His father signed as Absalom Sparks, Sr. When the 1830 census was taken of Arkansas, he was listed as the head of his family in Pope County. He was born between 1810 and 1815. With him in the household were three females: one born 1815-20; one born 1810-15; and one born 1770-80.
Absalom Sparks, Jr. may have been the Absalom Sparks who married Emaline Thomason in Sevier County, Arkansas, in 1840. According to a record we have received from Marriage Book B-1, page 7, they were married on May 21, 1840, by John R. McCown, a justice of the peace, at the home of Nancy Boucher. The record indicates that Absalom was living in the home of George T. Borings while Emaline lived with Mary Boucher.