January 23, 2019

Pages 2562-2572
Whole Number 124

(born ca. 1710-15)
(born ca. 1738)

by Paul E. Sparks

(Editor's Note: For a considerable period of time, we have collected data about the family of Levi Sparks (1787-1850) who was listed on the 1850 census of Daviess County, Indiana. Recently, one of his descendants, Mary Lee Konz, 21-B Pine Lake Drive, Whispering Pines, North Carolina (28327), shared with us some notes which were handed down to her aunt, Janibelle (Sparks) Daugherty. These notes indicate that the father of Levi Sparks was Nathan Sparks, Jr. of Queen Annes County, Maryland. Interestingly enough, these notes were preserved by Fannie Belle (Pile) Sparks, mother of Mrs. Daugherty, who was keenly interested in her husband's SPARKS ancestry.

The notes include portions of letters written by Clinton C. Sparks (ca.1820 -1901) on October 23, 1895, and March 23, 1899, to his cousin, Nathan Sparks, father of Mrs. Daugherty. Of the letters, Mrs. Daugherty wrote: "'These letters were written to my father. They were in very poor condition, written in pencil by a shaky hand and difficult to read. After I got what family information I could from them, I destroyed them, never - dreaming that they would be of any use to anyone. How I regret it, I do not have words to express."

Clinton C. Sparks stated in these letters that his father was Elijah Sparks (spelled "Elija") and that his grandfather was Nathan Sparks. Of the latter, he wrote: "I remember him and his sons. He was a large man, a farmer of Scotch descent. He lived and died and was buried in Queen Annes County." His statement was concurred in by another cousin, George W. Sparks, son of Levi Sparks, who stated that his paternal grandfather was Nathan Sparks. Since both men were born prior to the death of their grandfather, we believe they were knowledgeable and correct.)

Nathan Sparks, father of Levi Sparks and Elijah Sparks, was born ca. 1760 in Queen Annes County. He was a son of Nathan and Eliza (Bolton) Sparks and was a grandson of James and Elizabeth (Barkhurst) Sparks. James Sparks was undoubtedly a grandson of William Sparks who died in Queen Annes County in 1709.

1.2 William Sparks (died 1709) had four sons: 1.2.1 William Sparks, Jr.; 1.2.2 George Sparks; 1.2.4 John Sparks; and 1.2.5 Joseph Sparks; thus the James Sparks who married Elizabeth Barkhurst was a son of one of them. For reasons set forth below, it appears quite likely that James Sparks was a son of William Sparks, Jr. (See the March 1971 issue of The Sparks Quarterly, Whole No. 73, for an article about William Sparks (died 1709).

Item A. James Sparks was not a son of 1.2.4 John Sparks, for John made a will in 1731 in which he named all of his children. There was no child named James. (See page 1700 of the December 1974 issue of The Sparks Quarterly, Whole No. 88, for details of this will.)

Item B. James Sparks was not a son of 1.2.2 George Sparks, although George did have a son named James who was born ca. 1720. This James Sparks, however, married a woman named Rebecca and they had five children, including a daughter,Ursala Sparks, born on December 13, 1741, and a son, William Sparks, born June 4, 1751. This James Sparks died sometime after 1778.

Item C. James Sparks was not a son of 1.2.5 Joseph Sparks, for all of his children were named in the settlement of his estate in 1749 in Frederick County, Maryland, and there was no son named James.

Item D. For the reasons set forth in Items A, B, and C, above, it appears quite likely that James Sparks, who married Elizabeth Barkhurst, was a son of 1.2.1 William Sparks, Jr. and his wife, Margaret (Hamilton) Sparks. (See the references to William Sparks, Jr. in the March 1971 issue of The Sparks Quarterly, Whole No. 73.) James Sparks, probable son of 1.2.1 William and Margaret (Hamilton) Sparks, was born ca. 1710-1715. On February 9, 1737, he married Elizabeth Barkhurst in Queen Annes County, Maryland, and they had at least one child, Nathan Sparks.

Elizabeth apparently died sometime after 1740, and ca. 1760, James Sparks married (second) Juliana (MNU) Marydith, or Meredith, a widow with a daughter, Sarah. To this union, four children were born: John Sparks; Daniel Sparks; Henson Sparks; and a daughter whose name we have not learned. All of these children were apparently born between 1764 and 1770.

In 1775, James Sparks became ill and on March 21st he wrote the following will. (The spelling, grammar, and punctuation have been changed from the original will in order to make a more readable document.)

In the name of God, Amen. I, James Sparks, of Queen Annes County in the Province of Maryland, being sick and weak of body but of perfect mind and memory, thanks be to Almighty God for all his mercies, and calling to mind the uncertainity of this life, and knowing that it is appointed to all men once to die, constitute and appoint, make and ordain this to be my last will and testament, revoking and disannulling all other wills by me heretofore made, confirming this and this only to be my last will and testament, that is to say, principally:

Item, I recommend my soul into the hands of Almighty God, my Maker and Redeemer which gave it to me, and my body to the dust from whence it was taken, to be entered in a Christian-like manner at the discretion of my executors, hereinafter named, and as for such worldly goods it has pleased Almighty God to bless me with, I give and dispose in manner and form following:

Item, I leave unto my loving wife, July Sparks, the use of my house and fifty acres of land on His Lordship's Manor that is under lease, during her natural life or widowhood, or the lease holds good,

Item, I give and bequeath to my loving wife, July Sparks, two white mares known by the names of Flower and Pleasure. I give to my loving wife, Juley Sparks, two cows, one black and white named Blacky, the other a dark brindle with some white named Pretty. I give also to my loving wife, Juley Sparks, one feather-bed, the tick with broad stripes, and all the furniture there belonging. I also give to my loving wife, Julley Sparks, one bag of feathers containing six or seven pounds. I give to my loving wife, Juley Sparks, one white sow and seven shoats about four months old. I also give to my loving wife, Juley Sparks, seven hogs better than a year old.

Item, I give and bequeath to my loving son, John Sparks, one featherbed with a buckram tick and what furniture belonging to it.

Item, I give and bequeath to my loving son, Daniel Sparks, one featherbed with a plain linen tick and all the furniture there belonging.

Item, I give and bequeath to my son, Henson Sparks, one middle-sized pewter dish and six pewter plates.

Item, I give unto my wife, Juley Sparks, one iron pot holding six gallons. I also give to my loving wife, Juley Sparks, six yoes and lambs.

Item, I give and bequeath to Sarah Marydith, daughter of Juley Sparks, an equal part of the rest of my personal estate that is to be divided amongst all the rest of my children.

Item, I leave my loving wife, Juley Sparks, and my loving son, Nathan Sparks, my whole and sole executors of this my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have fixed my hand and seal this 21st day of March Anno Domini, 1775.

Signed, sealed and acknowledged in presence of                          his
James Rippoth, Jamima Rippoth and Caleb                    James   ---  Sparks
Sparks                                                                                                  mark

On the back of the foregoing will was written thus:

Queen Annes County, the 22nd day of April 1775. James Rippoth, Jamima Rippoth and Caleb Sparks, the subscribing witnesses to the within will being duly and solemnly sworn on the Holy Evangels of Almighty God, do dispose and say that they saw the testator, James Sparks, sign the same and heard him publish and declare it to be his last will and testament; that at the time of his so-doing, he was, to the best of their apprehensions, of sound and disposing mind and memory; that they did subscribe their respective names as witnesses to the same will in the presence of the said testator and at his request.

                                                                                        Before Th. Wright, Depy. Comr.

I, Nathan Sparks, one of the executors appointed in the last will and testament of James Sparks, late of Queen Annes County, deceased, do hereby refuse to act as executor of said will by virtue of such appointment and do therefore renounce all my right, title and claim to said executorship accordingly. Witness my hand this 22nd April 1775.

                   Taken before Th. Wright                           Nathan   S   Sparks

Juliana Sparks accepted the responsibilities of executor of the will of her husband, James Sparks, and made an "Inventory Report" of his estate for the Queen Annes County Court on March 15, 1776. The value of his estate amounted to a little over 150 Pounds. Shortly thereafter, Juliana married a relative of her late husband, Thomas Sparks, son of George and Elizabeth (Ricketts) Sparks, who had been born January 8, 1736.

We can only conjecture about the reason that Nathan Sparks refused to act as coexecutor with his step-mother; however, it seems logical that he was not pleased with the terms of his father's will. We do know that he signed the inventory of his father's estate as "Nearest Kin" along with John Sparks. We also know that he ultimately became the possessor of the 226 acres of land called "Lord Baltimore's Manor" which had belonged to his father. Nathan Sparks, son of James and Elizabeth (Barkhurst) Sparks, was born ca. 1738 in Queen Annes County. It was there, on February 20, 1759, that he married Eliza Bolton. They had five children: Nathan Sparks, Jr.; Simon Sparks; James Sparks; Isaac Sparks; and Benjamin Sparks.

All five of these sons were probably born between 1760 and 1775. Eliza apparently died about the time of the outbreak of the American Revolution, and Nathan married (second) a woman named Sarah. He seems to have served in some official capacity during the Revolutionary War. Like his father, he, too, made a will shortly before his death. Here it is with up-to-day changes in spelling, grammar, and punctuation:

In the name of God, Amen. The 15th day of September 1787. I, Nathan Sparks, of Queen Annes County and State of Maryland, farmer, being in health and of perfect mind and memory, thanks be given to God. Therefore calling unto mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last will and testament, that is to say;

Item, Principally and first of all, I give and recommend my soul into the hands of Almighty God that gave it, and my body I recommend to the earth to be buried in decent Christian burial at the discretion of ply executor, and as touching such worldly estate wherewith it has pleased God to bless me in this life, I give, demise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form:

Item, First, I give and bequeath unto my son, Nathan Sparks, a lot of ground whereon he now lives containing one acre more or less.

Item, I give and bequeath to my sons, Simon Sparks and James Sparks, all remainder of my land containing 226 acres more or less, being part of a tract of land formerly called "Lord Baltimore's Manor" to be equally divided between them. To begin at the line of a tract of land formerly belonging to Edward Tilghman and to run south east to the main road leading from Church Hill into the Beaver Dams Causeway.

Item, I give and bequeath to my two sons, Isaac Sparks and Benjamin Sparks, ten Pounds, current money, each to be applied to the use of educating them.

Item, My will and desire is that my personal estate shall be equally divided among all ray children as the law directs (except my son, Nathan Sparks only.)

Item, I give and bequeath unto my grandson, John Sparks, one young cow.

Item, I likewise constitute and ordain my two sons, Simon Sparks and James Sparks, cry sole executors of this my last will and testament, and I do hereby disallow, revoke and disannul all and every former testaments, wills, legacies and bequests and executors by me in any ways before named, willed and bequeathed, ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written.
                                                                                                       Nathan S Sparks

Signed, sealed, published, pronounced and declared by the said Nathan Sparks as his last will and testament in the presence of us the subscribers:

Samuel Burgess, Charles Burgess, Nat'l. Pence

On the back of the foregoing will was written thus:
"Queen Annes County, the 24th day of November 1787. Then came Simon Sparks and James Sparks and made oath on the Holy Evangels of Almighty God that the within instrument of writing is the true and whole will and testament of Nathan Sparks, late of Queen Annes County, deceased, that hath come to their hands or possession and that they do not know of any other.
                                                           Certified Sol Clayton, Regr. of Wills for Queen Annes County

"Queen Annes County, the 24th day of November 1787. Then came Samuel Burgess, Charles Burgess and Nathaniel Pence, the three subscribing witnesses to the within will and testament of Nathan Sparks, late of Queen Annes County, deceased, and severally made oaths on the Holy Evangels of Almighty God, that they did see the testator therein named, sign and seal this will and that they heard him publish, pronounce and declare the same to be his last will and testament; that at the time of his so-doing, he was, to the best of their apprehensions, of sound and disposing mind, memory and understanding; and that they respectively subscribed their names as witnesses to this will in the presence and at the request of the testator, and in the presence of each other.

"I further certify that Sarah Sparks, the widow, and Nathan Sparks, the heir at law to the deceased, were present at the time the above probate was taken and that they did not object to the taking of the same.

Certified by Sol Clayton, Regr. of Wills for Queen Annes County

"Queen Annes County, on the 24th of November 1787. Came Sarah Sparks, the widow of Nathan Sparks, late of Queen Annes County, deceased, and quitted her claim to the several bequests and devises made to her in the will of her said husband, deceased, and elected in lieu thereof, her dower, or third part of the deceased's estate, both real and personal.
                                                                                       Before Sol Clayton, Regr. of Wills
                                                                                       for Queen Annes County."

Simon Sparks and James Sparks, sons of Nathan Sparks and executors of his will, survived their father by only a few years. James Sparks died prior to November 1797, and left his share of his father's estate to his brother, Simon Sparks. In all probability, he never married. Simon Sparks, son of Nathan, married Sarah Nevitt (copied as Neute) on June 18, 1795, in Queen Annes County. She was probably a daughter of James Nevitt. Simon and Sarah had at least one child, a daughter, Harriet Sparks, born prior to 1797. Sarah apparently died shortly after Harriet's birth. On November 7, 1797, Simon Sparks made a will. As abstracted several years ago, he left his daughter Harriet "all my part of the lot of land that my father purchased out of Queen Annes Manor and all my estate of that part which belonged to my brother, James Sparks, late deceased, and also all other any property." Simon named his brother,Isaac Sparks, as his executor. Witnesses were: Geo. Finley, J. B. Hacket, and Thos. S. Burgess. The will was proven on December 29, 1797, proving that Simon died shortly after he made his will on November 7, 1797. Nathan Sparks was the only child of Nathan Sparks, Sr. to head a household when the 1800 census was taken of Queen Annes County. In addition to himself and spouse (both born between 1755 and 1774), there were fifteen other persons in his household. Their age enumerations suggest that, in addition to his own family, he was also taking care of the families of his deceased brothers. On the 1810 census, he and his spouse (born born prior to 1765) were in a household consisting of two males who were born between 1794 and 1800 and a male and a female who were born between 1800 and 1810. Also living in the household were fourteen free, white taxables with unspecified age enumerations.

In all probability, Nathan Sparks married ca. 1780. We have not learned the name of his wife, nor do we know the number of children they had. It appears likely that their oldest child was a son, John Sparks, who was named in his grandfather's will. According to descendants and relatives, other sons were: Elijah Sparks, Levi Sparks, George Sparks, and Robert Sparks. Here is what we have learned about them. John Sparks, probable son of Nathan Sparks, Jr., was born ca. 1780. Nathan Sparks, Sr. (father of Nathan Sparks, Jr.) mentioned "my grandson, John Sparks" in his will dated September 15, 1787. Elijah Sparks, son of Nathan Sparks, Jr., was born between 1775 and 1794, according to the 1820 census of Queen Annes County, Maryland, and we place his year of birth as close to 1780. He was born at or near the village of Church Hill. Most of the information that we have about him comes from letters written by his son, Clinton C. Sparks. In the letters, Clinton mentioned three marriages of his father, but apparently he was married a fourth time. (See the Editor's Note at the beginning of this article.)

The name of the first wife of Elijah Sparks was unknown to Clinton Sparks; however, she may have been Nancy Hinds, an heir of Isaac Hinds. She was named as the wife of Elijah Sparks in the disposition of land in Queen Annes County in 1802. The marriage probably took place ca. 1801, and only one child was born to this union. Mahala Sparks was born ca. 1802. She married William Clark on March 18, 1817, in Queen Annes County. We have no further information about her. [Webmaster Note: from Whole Number 67 and 172 we have names of children:] John Clarke was born September 22, 1823. George Clarke was born April 7, 1827. Samuel Clarke was born June 19, 1829. William Clarke was born in August 1832. Susanna Clarke was born March 26, 1835. Mary Ann Sparks.

Elijah Sparks married, second, FNU Davis, ca. 1812. To this union three children were born, two daughters and one son. Sarah ["Sally"] Sparks was born ca. 1814. Elmina Sparks, daughter, was born ca. 1816. Merritt Sparks was born ca. 1818, according to the 1850 census of Kent County, Delaware. He married Ann LNU and they had at least one child, William S. Sparks, who was born March 19, 1843. William S. Sparks served in the 4th Regiment Delaware Infantry during the Civil War and received a pension for his service. (See page 1917 of the June 1977 issue of The Sparks Quarterly, Whole No. 99, for an abstract of his pension file.)

The third marriage of Elijah Sparks was to Elizabeth Davis, ca. 1820. She was a sister of his second wife and the mother of his son, Clinton Sparks, mentioned above. Four children were born to this marriage, the oldest being Clinton. Clinton C. Sparks was born ca. 1820 at Church Hill. He married Susan Nabb on November 18, 1847, in Queen Annes County. He died on May 4, 1901, and Susan died on September 12, 1905. Clinton and Susan moved west to Indiana where they settled in Orange County. They had at least one child, a son, Charles R. Sparks, born ca. 1864.

Clinton served in the 49th Regiment Indiana Infantry during the Civil War and received a pension for his service. (See page 2056 of the December 1978 issue of THE SPARKS Quarterly, Whole No. 104, for an abstract of his pension file.) Levin Davis Sparks was born ca. 1822. He married Christiana Righter on July 9, 1846, in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. They had at least one child, a daughter, Julia E. Sparks, born on August 11, 1849. Levin Sparks served in the 66th Regiment Indiana Infantry during the Civil War and died in the Andersonville (Georgia) Prison on July 7, 1864. Christiana received a Widow's Pension. She died on April 18, 1893. (See page 2579 of this issue of The Sparks Quarterly for an abstract of this pension file.) Robert Sparks may have been the Robert Sparks, aged 28, who was head of his household on the 1850 census of Queen Annes County. With him were his wife, Emmeline, aged 28; a daughter, Georganna, aged 4; and a son, Daniel, aged 2. Henry Sparks was born between 1822 and 1827. We have no further information about him.

Elijah Sparks married fourth, Henrietta Davis on May 15, 1828, in Queen Annes County. We have not learned whether Henrietta was related to his other wives who had the name Davis. Elijah probably died sometime during the 1830's. Levi Sparks was born December 1, 1787, in Queen Annes County, Maryland. It is said that he was educated to be a physician. He was postmaster of Church Hill, Maryland, in 1828, and he also owned a general store in that community. In 1835, he sold his property, including his store, furniture and slaves, and went to Indiana where he built a large home near present-day Odon in Daviess County. It was there that he died on September 24, 1850. He was a Methodist and, according to a descendant, his house was a stopping place for the circuit-riding preachers of that conference. He was probably buried in the Churchyard of Talbot's Chapel, a church which has since burned.

Levi Sparks was married three times according to descendants. His first marriage was to Matilda LNU, ca. 1810. They had two sons who were born in Queen Annes County. George W. Sparks was born ca. 1812. He was married twice. His first marriage was to Harriet Lea on April 26, 1838. When the 1850 census was taken of Wilmington, Delaware, George, aged 37, and Harriet, also aged 37, had no children living in their household. After Harriet's death in August 1858, George married (second) Mary Elizabeth Moore on November 28, 1859. Her nieces and nephews referred to her as "Aunt Dolly."

Relatives say that George and Dolly (Moore) Sparks had several children, but we have found a record of only one of them. A daughter, Harriet King Sparks, was born March 15, 1861. According to a book entitled Ancestry and Posterity of John Lea published in 1906, Harriet married Edward Tatnall Betts on May19, 1781, in Delaware. Levi Sparks, Jr. was born November 21, 1814, at Church Hill, Maryland. He accompanied his father to Daviess County, Indiana, in 1836, but a year later, he went to Clark County, Indiana, where he settled in Jeffersonville and became a merchant. On January 17, 1843, he married Mary Heiskell in Clark County. She had been born ca. 1823 in Virginia and was a daughter of Isaac Heiskell. Levi and Mary had two children, George Sparks, who died in infancy, and Mary Matilda Sparks, born ca. 1847. She married Edwin E. Ennis on October 26, 1867.

After the death of his father, Levi Sparks, Sr. in 1850, Levi Sparks, Jr. brought his brothers, Thomas and Nathan, and his sister, Mary Jane, to live with him and Mary. His brothers eventually became partners with him in the mercantile business.

Levi Sparks, Jr. was a successful businessman and a most civic-minded citizen. For twenty-one years, he was connected with the city government of Jeffersonville. He was appointed postmaster there by President Franklin Pierce and was elected mayor in 1869 and again in 1871. He was commonly referred to as "General Sparks," but as far as we can determine, he held no military rank. He died on March 26, 1875. His wife had died earlier, on May 10, 1862.

After the death of his first wife, Matilda, Levi Sparks, Sr. married (second) FNU Simmons, and they had three children. Joseph Sparks was born ca. 1825 in Maryland, and was a young lad about ten years of age when he went with his father to Indiana in 1835. He remained with his maternal grandparents (the Simmonses) after his father re-married. Joseph Sparks married Phoebe LNU, ca. 1849 in Vermillion County. When the 1860 census was taken of that county, he and Phoebe had five children: Martha Sparks, Sarah Sparks, James Sparks, William Sparks, and Charles Sparks. Susan Ann Sparks married FNU Knight. Nathan Sparks died in infancy.

The second wife of Levi Sparks, Sr. apparently died ca. 1834, and after disposing of his property, he took his two small children, Joseph and Susan Ann, to their maternal grandparents (the Simmonses) in Vermillion County, Indiana, in 1835. He married Mary Rebecca Brooks Godwin in Daviess County, Indiana, on January 6, 1838. She had been born June 19, 1814, and was a daughter of Thomas and Mary (Brooks) Godwin. Levi and Mary had six children born to them before his death on September 25, 1850. After his death, Mary married Jacob Wesner on February 22, 1856. She died in 1873.

THOMAS SPARKS, 1836-1915
Photograph Taken About 1900
(View photograph) Thomas Sparks was born October 3, 1836. After his father's death, he went to Jeffersonville, Indiana, to go to school.

Thomas Sparks lived with his brother, Levi Sparks, Jr. and became a clerk in his store. When Levi died in 1875, Thomas and his brother, Nathan Sparks, became successors to the store. Thomas was quite prominent in the Masonic Lodge in Jeffersonville. He was a member of the Episcopal Church. On April 15, 1879, he married Orra McClure. She was born February 23, 1857, and died on May 24, 1905. Thomas died on June 10, 1915. They had two children, a child Sparks who was born August 18, 1883, and who died in infancy; and David McClure Sparks, born on April 30, 1885. He died on April 11, 1948. Nathan Sparks was born November 20, 1838, in Daviess County, Indiana. He, like his brother, Thomas, went to Jeffersonville to live with his brother after the death of their father, and he also became a clerk in Levi's store. After the death of Levi Sparks, Jr., Nathan and Thomas became owners of the store, and operated it for several years. Nathan was active in the Jeffersonville City Council, the Masonic Lodge, and the Methodist Church. On October 21, 1879, he married Fannie Belle Pile. She was born April 7, 1854, and was a daughter of Burdette Clifton and Mary Ann (Cunningham) Pile. Nathan Sparks died on August 30, 1924, and Fannie died on August 28, 1933. Photographs taken of Nathan and Fannie, the originals of which are owned by Mrs. George Konz, have been reproduced on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly.

SON OF 1854 -1933

(View photographs)

The originals of the above photographs are owned by Mary Lee Konz (Mrs. George) of Whispering Pines, North Carolina. They are believed to have been taken ca. 1879 when Nathan and Fannie Belle were married. (See page 2570 of the present issue.) Sarah Ann Sparks. She married Archibald Williams on December 9, 1858, in Daviess County. She died on September 27, 1863. She and Archibald had two children, George Williams and Ida Williams.

(View Photograph) Mary Jane ["Jennie"] Sparks was born on February 7, 1844. She died on July 17, 1897. She married James M. Phillips. They had no children. The above reprint from a photo graph taken in Columbus, Indiana, ca. 1885, has been provided by Mrs. George Konz. James Anderson Sparks was born November 11, 1847, in Daviess County. He died there on December 18, 1914. He married Martha Mead on September 28, 1876, in Daviess County. They had no children. Lydia Sparks was born June 17, 1850, just about three months before the death of her father. She died on November 10, 1863. George Sparks was born ca. 1790. He is said to have moved to New York where he married and had three children, George Sparks, Jr., Susan Sparks, and Mary Sparks. Robert Sparks was born ca. 1795. According to relatives, he married and had two children, Amos Sparks and Louisa Sparks. She is said to have married FNU Brian (or Bryan).

He was a farmer in Queen Annes County and was killed by being thrown from a horse. After his death, his widow married Shadrach Potts.