April 20, 2021

Pages 2644-2669
Whole Number 127 MATTHEW SPARKS (1759 - 1841)

by Johnella (Sparks) Boynton and Paul E. Sparks

(Editor's Note: In the June 1961 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 34, an article was published about Matthew and Sarah (Thompson) Sparks. This couple had left Frederick County, Maryland, ca. 1755 and had moved to Rowan County, North Carolina. They had eleven sons and two daughters. Articles about two of their sons, John Sparks (1755 -1831) and Absalom Sparks (ca.1771-ca.1830) have appeared in earlier issues of the Quarterly. See the March 1966 issue, Whole No. 53, pp. 960-68, for "John Sparks (Son of Matthew & Sarah Sparks) Born 1755, died 1831" and the September 1982 issue, Whole No. 119, pp. 2443-48, for "Information Sought Regarding the Descendants of Absalom Sparks (ca.1771-ca.1830)." Here we publish materials about the descendants of another son, Matthew J. Sparks.

The records of the descendants of Matthew Sparks have come from a variety of sources and have been assembled by several persons. Credit for most the following article, however, should be given to a great-great-great-granddaughter of Matthew Sparks, Johnella (Sparks) Boynton, who has spent many days collecting information and arranging it into readable form. She now lives at 4905 Framons Court, Atlanta, Georgia, 30338. She would welcome comments from our readers, in particular those pertaining to errors and omissions.) Matthew Sparks, son of Matthew and Sarah (Thompson) Sparks, was a real "mover" even for the early pioneer days when a person could keep moving for a lifetime to new lands. In 1832, he made application for a pension for his military service in the American Revolutionary War, and he gave an account of his travels and the many places where he had lived. From this account, he and his family obviously spent a considerable portion of their lives going from place to place along the frontier. Matthew Sparks was born in Rowan County, North Carolina, on January 20, 1759, and when he was about fifteen years of age, his father moved to Wilkes County, North Carolina, where he settled on New River in what is now Ashe County. It was here that Matthew served as a soldier in the American Revolution, joining in 1777 a company commanded by Capt. John Beverly in Willies County. For this service, he received a pension. (See pages 179 -182 of the December 1956 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 16, for a transcript of his pension file.)

Matthew probably married at the close of the Revolutionary War. We have found no record of the marriage. We do know that his wife's given name was Margaret MNU, for in 1794, he and his wife, Margaret, were witnesses to two deeds by which Matthew's brother, John Sparks, bought land in Greenville District, South Carolina. There has been some speculation that her maiden name was Traylor, and it is a matter of record that the Sparks family and the Traylor family were closely associated in Georgia. (A sister of Matthew Sparks, Edy Sparks, is known to have been married to Randolph Traylor and was living in Clarke County, Georgia, in 1807.) We also have not learned the date nor the place of the death of Margaret Sparks, but when the 1830 census was taken of Pulaski County, Arkansas, where Matthew J. Sparks was living at the time, there was no female enumerated in his household that was old enough to have been the mother of his children. Margaret Sparks probably died prior to 1830.

In all probability, the first child of Matthew and Margaret Sparks was a son, John Sparks, who was born June 26, 1784. It was also about this time that the family of Matthew Sparks, Senior, moved to Franklin County, Georgia, and settled near the present-day town of Athens. There, Matthew Sparks, Sr. was killed by Indians in 1793. Matthew Sparks, Jr. had also gone to Georgia with his parents and received a headright grant of 200 acres in Franklin County in 1792, but after the death of his father, he moved his family to Greenville District, South Carolina, where he stayed about eight years. He then returned to Georgia where he settled in Jackson County. There, he participated in the Georgia Land Lotteries in 1803 and again in 1806. In the latter draw, he won 39 acres of land located near the Baldwin-Wilkinson Counties boundary.

In 1807, Matthew moved to Livingston County, Kentucky, where he lived until ca. 1810 when he moved to the Illinois Territory where he settled on Silver Creek which is about ten miles from present-day Belleville. He stayed there until ca. 1815, when he moved to nearby Muddy Creek where he stayed about two years. Then in 1817, he moved "over into" Arkansas Territory and settled on White River where he lived until 1819 when he moved to the Arkansas River about forty miles above Little Rock. Two years later, he moved to the Saline River, a tributary of the Ouachita, where he stayed until ca. 1831. On the 1830 census, he was listed as the head of a household in Pulaski County.

In 1831, Matthew Sparks moved to Carroll County, Tennessee, where, on September 11, 1832, he made application for a pension for his military services during the Revolutionary War. (It was in his application for a pension that he described his movements noted above.) When the 1840 census was taken, he was living in the home of his brother, Isaac Sparks, in Carroll County, but on September 19th of that year, he appeared before Isaac S. Fainey, a justice of the peace of Henry County, Tennessee, to state that he had lately removed from Tennessee to Clinton County, Illinois, where he intended to remain with the family of one of his three daughters living there. He requested that in the future his pension be paid in Clinton County. Matthew Sparks died August 14, 1841, at the home of his daughter, Jane (Sparks) Steele, in Clinton County. He left no will. His grandson, Absalom Steele, was appointed as administrator of his estate. Only three documents are in the file settling his estate in the Clinton County courthouse. One is a statement of the date of Matthew's death; another is his grandson's administrator's bond; and the third is a statement from William Steele that he had brought his father-in-law from Tennessee to Clinton County in October 1840.

In spite of the lack of records of the settlement of the estate of Matthew Sparks, we believe that we can name his children. We believe he and Margaret had only five children, although a descendant who joined the Daughters of the American Revolution on the basis of his military service stated he had eight. This descendant named only five children, however. John Sparks, born June 26, 1784. He married Sarah Brooks. Jane Sparks, born ca. 1787. She married William Steele. Hannah Sparks, probably born ca. 1792. She married FNU Arnett. Margaret ["Peggy"] Sparks, born ca. 1797. She married Nathan Arnett. Matthew Jefferson Sparks, Jr., born ca. 1802. He married Polly MNU. John Sparks, son of Matthew and Margaret (MNU) Sparks, was born June 26, 1784, according to a Bible record kept by a descendant. He was only 52 years of age when he died October 18, 1836, but during his short life span, he had served as a soldier in two wars; he had lived in at least five states or territories; and he and his wife, Sarah, had reared eleven children.

John Sparks was born in Wilkes County, North Carolina, in that portion which became Ashe County in 1799; he was a small child when his father moved his family to Georgia. He was about ten years old when his parents moved to nearby South Carolina to escape the dread of Indian depredations, and he was a grown man when they returned to Georgia in 1802. There, in Jackson County, John married Sarah Brooks on March 20, 1806, and it was there that their first child was born the following year.

Sarah Brooks (sometimes called "Sally"], wife of John Sparks, was born in 1788, either on October 16th or November 16th. Her parents were James and Elizabeth (Traylor) Brooks who had been married in 1782 in Caswell County, North Carolina. Shortly after their marriage,James and Elizabeth Brooks had moved to Georgia where Sarah was born. James Brooks is believed to have served in the Georgia Militia during the Revolutionary War.

Shortly after the birth of their first child, John and Sarah joined his father in the Illinois Territory where their second child (also a son) was born in 1809. by 1811, however, John and his family were on their way back to Georgia and a third child (another son) was born to them in the spring of 1811 in Tennessee. In 1813, John was listed beside his father-in-law on the Putnam County, Georgia, tax roll.

(When John Sparks left the Illinois Territory ca. 1810, it may have been the last time that he ever saw his father. Years later, Matthew Sparks stated in his Revolutionary War pension application that his son (presumedly John) had taken the family Bible with him back to Georgia, and it could very well have been a gift made in the full expectation of never seeing each other again. Their separate travels (fairly well recorded) never indicate another meeting.)

After John and Sarah returned to Georgia, John volunteered his services during the War of 1812. According to the bounty land claim filed in the 1850's by his widow, he had enlisted in 1813 at Fort Hawkins in the Georgia Militia in a company commanded by Capt. Varner for a term of six months; he was discharged on or about March 1, 1814. (See pages 581-82 of the September 1961 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 35, for an abstract of his bounty claim file.)

Following his discharge from the Georgia Militia in the spring of 1814, John Sparks bought a tract of land from William Hunnicut in November of that year. The land, consisting of 1014 acres, was located in the 4th District of Jasper County, Georgia. The deed was witnessed by Thomas Honeycut and Benjamin King. Apparently John and Sarah moved to the newly-acquired land shortly thereafter, for when the 1820 census was taken, he was the head of a household in Jasper County. John Sparks was listed on the 1820 census as "Senior" which is a bit mystifying since he had no son designated as "Junior." In all probability, however, this designation was used to distinguish him from another John Sparks, also listed on the 1820 census, who was indeed "junior" in age to the above John Sparks. The second John Sparks was undoubtedly a son of John Sparks (1755 -1831), brother of Matthew Sparks and thus an uncle of John Sparks, our subject. (See the March 1966 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 53, for further details of the family of John Sparks (1755 -1831). At the time that article was written, we were not sure that John Sparks (1755 -1831) had a son named John, but we now have ample evidence that this was the case. John Sparks (1784 -1836) was the head of a household in Monroe County, Georgia, when the 1830 census was taken; he had probably moved across the Ocmulgee River after Monroe County was formed in 1821 from Indian lands. by 1836, how ever, he had moved to Tallapoosa County, Alabama. That year, he and his son, Francis Marion Sparks, were listed on the Tallapoosa County tax roll, and the same year he (and each of his four sons) enlisted in the Tallasee Guards of the Alabama Militia for military service in the Creek and Seminole Indian War. He served almost four months under Capt. John H. Broadnax, but, shortly after his discharge, he died October 18, 1836. Neither the cause of his death nor his burial place are known.

Sarah Sparks continued to live in the area after her husband's death. She was listed near her younger brother, James Brooks, Jr., when the 1840 census was taken of Chambers County, Alabama. With her were three of her daughters. by 1850, she had moved, along with her son, William, to Texas where they were both listed on the 1850 census of Titus County. She was listed as 61 years of age and the head of Household No. 445. With her were her youngest daughters, Martha Sparks, aged 20, and Sarah Sparks, aged 17. Living in the next household (No. 446) was her son, William Sparks, and his family.

As indicated above, Sarah Sparks applied for bounty land in 1854 based on her husband's military service and was awarded 80 acres. She applied for additional land in 1856 and received another 40 acres. When the 1860 census was taken of Titus County, she was living in the household of her son-in-law, James Denny, husband of her daughter, Sarah (Sparks) Denny. She died in 1865, but the exact date is not known. On a family record, the date is written as ----- 1st, 1865. Descendants believe she was buried in a "lost" cemetery about one mile north of present-day Cypress Cemetery in Franklin County, Texas.

The family record referred to in the preceding paragraph belonged to a granddaughter of John and Sarah (Brooks) Sparks, Mrs. Tinsy Paralee (Sparks) McClain. It was copied by a lead pencil and is now in the possession of a granddaughter of Mrs. McClain, Mrs. Eva Nelson Halberstadt of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Here is the family record in its entirety.

[Webmaster Note: I have added generation numbers to the hand-written list.] John Sparks, My Grand Father, was born June 26th, 1784.
Sarah Brooks, my Grand Mother, was born November 16th, 1788. Mathew Sparks, My Great Grand Father, was born January 20, 1759.
John Sparks and Sarah Brooks were Married March 27, 1806. William Sparks was Born January 24th 1807. James Brooks Sparks was Born January 31st 1809. Nathan Fowler Sparks was born May 16th 1811. Elizabeth Traylor Sparks was born March 5th 1813. Idris Sparks was Born December 7th 1815. Francis Marion Sparks was born February 4th 1818. Alfred Sparks was Born October 23rd 1819. Died August 6th 1820. Milly B. Sparks was born June 18th 1821. Miriam Beale Sparks was born February 10th 1824. Martha Naomi Sparks was born June 11th 1826. Sarah Jane Sparks was born January 4th 1830.

DEATHS John Sparks, My Grand Father, died October 18th 1836.
Sally Sparks, My Grand Mother, died ----- 1st 1865.

As shown above, John and Sarah (Brooks) Sparks had eleven children, five sons and six daughters. William Sparks, son of John and Sarah (Brooks) Sparks, was born on January 24, 1807, in Jackson County, Georgia. He appears to have been true to the tradition that the oldest son takes the leadership role in the lives of his family after the death of the father. After the death of John Sparks in 1836, William was the first of the family to leave Alabama and to head westward to the new land which was being parcelled out to citizens of the newly-formed Republic of Texas.

William Sparks was probably married three times. It seems likely that he was the William Sparks who married Rhoda Cooper on December 23, 1830, in Baldwin County, Georgia. Shortly after their marriage, they probably joined William's parents in Tallapoosa County, Alabama and there their first child, Elizabeth Sparks, was born ca. 1834. Rhoda apparently died shortly after Elizabeth's birth.

On May 4, 1836, William (along with his father and brothers) enlisted in the Alabama Militia to serve in the Creek and Seminole Indian War. He served until August 6, 1836, when he was discharged, and he returned. to Tallapoosa County. There, on February 2, 1837, he married Nancy McAlister by Judge Henry Thompson. (See the current issue (Whole No. 127) of the Quarterly, page 2672, for an abstract of his bounty land application file.)

Sometime after his marriage to Nancy McAlister, William Sparks disposed of four lots in the village of Tallassee to settle his indebtedness to Edward Hannack, and by 1840 he had moved his family to Titus County, Texas. There he qualified for a 640-acre grant (the number of acres to which a married man was entitled) which was surveyed for him in two 320-acre tracts in the southwestern part of the county. The allocations were awarded by the Board of Commissioners of Harrison County, Texas, on January 2, 1840.

Nancy (McAlister) Sparks apparently died ca. 1849, and when the 1850 census was taken of Titus County, William Sparks was listed without a spouse. With him were his four children: Elizabeth Sparks, 15; George Sparks, 12; William Sparks, 5; and Marion Sparks, 1.

The responsibility of caring for four small children must have weighed heavily upon him, for shortly thereafter (ca. 1853) he married Hannah A. Weeks. We believe this was his third marriage. Hannah was born on November 16, 1830, in Illinois and was a daughter of Andrew and Sophronia (Lankford) Weeks, natives of North Carolina and Kentucky, respectively.

Early Titus County records were destroyed in a courthouse fire in the 1890's, but by this time, William's land records were in Franklin County which was formed from Titus County in 1875. These records show that he had a fairly large number of land transactions. One interesting example shows that in 1857, he sold a tract of land to Spencer Shearer who, five years later, deeded six acres to the Cypress Baptist Church. Today, numerous descendants of John and Sarah (Brooks) Sparks rest in that church's cemetery. The land was originally owned by Charles McAlister, doubtless a relative of the second wife of William Sparks.

William Sparks retained ownership of several large parcels of land in Titus County, even though he moved to Cooke County, Texas, ca. 1860. Records of the latter county show that he continued to invest heavily in land and cattle prior to his death, which occurred ca. 1865. These records, as well as probate records, indicate that William Sparks had nine children.

(After the death of her husband, William Sparks, ca. 1865, Hannah (Weeks) Sparks married (second) Thomas Sparks on December 25, 1867, in Cooke County, Texas. He was a son of Jesse Hancock and Susan (Cornel) Sparks, and a grandson of Nathan Sparks, brother of Matthew Sparks; thus he and William Sparks were second cousins. Hannah and Thomas had one child: George W. Sparks, born on November 26, 1868.

Hannah died March 6, 1875. Elizabeth Sparks, daughter of William and Rhoda (Cooper) Sparks, was born ca. 1834 in Alabama. She was living with her father when the 1850 census was taken of Titus County, Texas, but no further record of her has been found. George Sparks, son of William and Nancy (McAlister) Sparks, was born ca. 1838 in Alabama. He served in the Confederate States Army. He was probably the George J. Sparks who entered into a cattle partnership with William Sparks (probably his father) in 1862 in Cooke County, Texas. (He should not be confused with the George W. Sparks, son of Thomas and Hannah (Weeks) Sparks, noted in the third paragraph on this page.) (Addition Note: George Sparks is believed to have died as a Civil War casualty.) William Sparks, son of William and Nancy (McAlister) Sparks, was born ca. 1844 in Texas. He is said to have been killed while serving in the Confederate States Army. Marion Sparks, son of William and Nancy (McAlister) Sparks, was born ca. 1848 in Texas. We have found no further record of him.

(Picture) Tinsy Paralee Sparks, daughter of William and Hannah (Weeks) Sparks, was born September 16, 1854, at Cypress, Texas. She died June 1, 1929, at Norman, Oklahoma. She married (first) Samuel C. Forsythe on May 29, 1872, in Cooke County, Texas. Shortly thereafter Samuel died. There were no children born to this marriage.

On January 6, 1876, Tinsy married (second) Charles Morgan McClain, a widower with a 10-year-old daughter, Mary Belle. Charles had served in the Confederate States Array and had been married (first) to Mary Catherine McMurray in Carthage, Tennessee. She had died September 4, 1866. Charles served as a member of the State Constitutional Convention to establish the state of Oklahoma, and McClain County of that state was named for him. He and Tinsy had five children. Addie McClain was born in July 1878; she died October 28, 1878. William Harkadine McClain was born July 9, 1880, at Gainesville, Texas. He died in 1969 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He married Vera Berry. They had no children. Catherine ["Kate"] McClain was born June 12, 1883, at Gainesville, Texas; she died May 29, 1973, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She married Dr. John A. Nelson on February 7, 1912, and they had three children: Eda ["Betsy"] Nelson, John McClain Nelson, and Mary Lee Nelson. Charles Roshell McClain was born April 1, 1890, in San Jacinto, California, He died December 31, 1981, in Oklahoma City. He married Rowena Henry in 1915 and they had one child, Charles Robert McClain. Harvey Lee McClain was born June 29, 1895, in Purcell, Oklahoma. He died in 1944 in Los Angeles, California. He married (first) Melrose Brown and (second) Betty Boyce. There were no children born to either marriage.

(On the back of a burro at the Grand Canyon.)
(Picture) James Buchanan ["Buck"] Sparks, son of William and Hannah (Weeks) Sparks, was born October 18, 1856. He died December 7, 1932, at Chickasha, Oklahoma. He was a well-known cattleman and owned several ranches in the Oklahoma Indian Territory, the last one located just east of Chickasha. He was married twice. His first marriage was to Nona Criner in March 1883. She was part Chickasaw Indian. She and Buck had two children before her death ca. 1890. From her, Buck Sparks inherited land just outside the City of Chickasha which she had received as her tribal allotment.

(Correction Note: The following information appears in the SQ at p. 3367:

"Nona (Criner) Sparks, wife of James Buchanan or "Buck" Sparks, did not die in 1890--that was the year she and Buck were divorced. After the divorce, Nona went to Purcell, Oklahoma, where she lived for a time with her sister, Mrs. Robert Love. She apparently took her two daughters with her. On December 12, 1894, she married James R. Shannon, a livery stable owner. He died in Purcell on March 4, 1907. Ultimately, Nona went to San Diego, California, where she died. She was buried there in the Greenwood Cemetery, probably in March 1936.

Buck Sparks married his second wife, May Dora Owens, on September 25, 1892, in the territorial county of Pickins, Chickasaw Nation, which was located in the southern part of the Nation. It is believed by the family that the story on page 2651 of The Sparks Quarterly (in reference to getting married in the middle of a river) refers to Buck Sparks's first marriage and that the river referred to was the Red River, which divided Texas from the Indian Territory, rather than the Canadian River.")

After the death of his first wife, Buck Sparks married (second) May Dora Owen on September 1, 1892. She was born October 1, 1874, at Sherman, Texas, and was a daughter of John W. and Betty (Sacra) Owen. According to a souvenir edition of the Chickasha Daily Express published in 1898, Buck and May Dora got their marriage license at El Reno, Oklahoma Territory, and their minister declined to perform the wedding ceremony at Chickasha for it was in Indian Territory. Accordingly, the "party repaired to the center of the Canadian River where, with the glittering sands beneath their feet and the midnight moon and stars as silent witnesses, the marriage vows were taken. Few modern ceremonies can equal such a romantic setting!"

May Dora (Owen) Sparks died January 11, 1953. She and Buck had four children. Buck Sparks was thus the father of six children. Nellie M. Sparks, daughter of Buck and Nona (Criner) Sparks, was born on December 17, 1885. She died January 26,1904, at the age of 19 years, while attending the William Woods College for Women in Missouri. Her grief-stricken father donated twenty acres of his Indian allotment land to the Oklahoma College for Women in her memory, so that Oklahoma girls might be educated nearer home. When the first dormitory was erected, it was named NELLIE SPARKS HALL.

(Correction Note: "Nellie M. Sparks, daughter of Buck and Nona (Criner) Sparks, died January 25, 1904, evidently at school, although the William Woods School at Fulton, Missouri, has no record of her ever attending that school. The obituary and funeral information in the Purcell (Oklahoma. ) Register states that Mrs. Nona Shannon and her sisters, Mrs. R. J. Love and Mrs. C. M. McClain, went over to Chickasha "to attend the funeral of Miss Nellie Sparks, daughter of Mrs. Shannon, who has been making her home with relatives in that city and died suddenly while at school. ")

The land donated by Buck Sparks for Chickasha College was from the Indian allotment of his daughter, Nellie Sparks. Land records show that Nona (Criner) Shannon deeded her interest in her daughter's estate to Buck Sparks on July 15, 1907. Although Buck Sparks gained citizenship in the Chickasaw Nation on his wife, he did not lose it after the divorce." Jessie Sparks, daughter of Buck and Nona (Criner) Sparks, was born in 1888. She died when quite young.

(Correction Note: " Jesse Arlene Sparks, daughter of Buck and Nora (Criner) Sparks, was born December 24, 1887, and she died October 18, 1890. She was buried in what is now the Purcell Hillside Cemetery (at that time, the Love Ranch), south of Purcell. The tombstone is in good condition.") Gladys Lacy Sparks, daughter of Buck and May Dora (Owen) Sparks, was born August 31, 1894, at Chickasha. On December 25, 1914, she married Zachary Taylor Fulmore, Jr. He was born January 26,1885, at Austin, Texas, and was a son of Zachary Taylor and Luella (Robertson) Fulmore. He died August 10, 1959, at Los Angeles. Lacy died April 6, 1971. They had two children, Buchanan Sparks Fulmore and Zachary Taylor Fulmore. Buchanan Sparks Fulmore has been most helpful in providing information about the family of his colorful grandfather, and he has furnished the picture of his grandparents on page 2651.

(Addition Note: "Gladys Lacy Sparks married Zachariah Taylor Fulmore, Jr. on December 25, 1914, at Flora, Mississippi. Her parents lived there from 1914 to 1916.") James Clifford Sparks, son of Buck and May Dora (Owen) Sparks, was born July 5, 1896, at Chickasha. He married Ruth List on March 28, 1936. He died November 8, 1946. Mary Elizabeth Sparks was born August 23, 1907, in Grady County, Oklahoma. She died November 16, 1979. She never married. Frank T. Sparks was born on October 15, 1910, in Grady County, Oklahoma. He married Luvena Smith on December 23, 1933. He died February 23, 1976. Andrew Roshell Sparks, son of William and Hannah (Weeks) Sparks, was born on March 25, 1858. He died March 25, 1916. He was a cattle raiser in Oklahoma. He married Ida Randolph, ca. 1889. She was born in Texas in September 1867. When the 1900 census was taken of the Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma Territory, Andrew and Ida lived in the City of Chickasha, not too far from the ranch of his brother, Buck Sparks. They had at least seven children. Lee Sparks was born in January 1891. Mabel Sparks was born in June 1892. Mary ["Dot"] Sparks was born in February 1894. She married Louis Vieux and they had two children: Basil Vieux and Mary Vieux. Gertrude Sparks was born in March 1896. Earl Sparks was born in February 1897. Brownie Sparks, a daughter, was born in May 1899. Edith Sparks was born Sometime after the census of 1900 was taken. Harvey Black Sparks was born on July 15, 1860. He died September 7, 1934, at Quanah, Texas. He married Mattie Sacra on November 6, 1890. She was a daughter of Edmond ["Ned"] and Mary (Wiggs) Sacra. Harvey and Mattie had five children. Clarence Sparks was born June 8, 1892, in Oklahoma Indian Territory. He married Ida Cude Cotham and they had a daughter, Catherine Sparks. Mary Sparks was born March 15, 1894. She married J. D. Carroll, Jr. and they had two children. Winnie Sparks was born December 5, 1898, in Texas. She married E. B. Chancellar and they had one child. Fay Sacra Sparks died at the age of thirteen. Martha Sparks was born September 18, 1906, at Quanah, Texas. Susan Idris ["Mittie"] Sparks was born May 17, 1862. She was married twice. Her first marriage was to James Sacra, a son of Edmond ["Ned"] and Mary (Wiggs) Sacra, by whom she had four children. Her second marriage was to Bink Sherwood. They had no children. Mittie Sparks died in 1917 at the age of 55 years. Jim Sacra married Robert ["Bob"] Whittenton; they had three children:Catherine Whittenton; Betty Lou Whittenton; and Ned Whittenton. Add Sacra married FNU Tanner; they had a daughter, Elizabeth Tanner. Fay Sacra married (first) Joe Whittenton and (second) Frank George. Richard ["Dick"] Sacra. James Brooks Sparks, son of John and Sarah (Brooks) Sparks, was born January 31, 1809, in the Territory of Illinois; he was a two-year-old child when his parents decided to return to Georgia. He was named for his maternal grandfather. He grew to manhood in Putnam and Jasper Counties, Georgia, and it was in the latter county that he married Mary Ann Cook on June 20, 1830. She had been born in South Carolina on September 3, 1812. She died May 31, 1857. They were the parents of seven children who grew to maturity.

by 1836, James and other members of his family had settled in Tallapoosa County, Alabama. Like his father and brothers, he served in the Alabama Militia in 1836 during the Creek and Seminole Indian War as a lieutenant in Webb's Battalion. He also served as a soldier during the Mexican War, and he may have been in the military service when he went to Texas ca. 1850. He was not enumerated with his family on the 1850 census of Tallapoosa County. (See the current issue of the Quarterly, page 2670 for an abstract of his pension file.)

Like other members of his family, James Sparks settled in the southwestern portion of Titus County, Texas, ca. 1852, in that part which became Franklin County in 1875. He was granted a patent for 320 acres of land just north of Big Cypress Creek on October 27, 1859. He continued to live in Franklin County until his death on January 2, 1899. Mary Ann had preceded him in death, dying on May 31, 1887. They were buried in the Cypress Cemetery. (A picture of his tombstone appears on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly.)

The children of James Brooks and Mary Ann (Cook) Sparks were: William James Sparks, son of James Brooks and Mary Ann (Cook) Sparks, was born ca. 1832 in Georgia. He became a lawyer and a newspaperman. He remained in the home of his parents until ca. 1855 when he went to Wood County, Texas. There, according to a History of Hopkins County, Texas, published in 1904, he established a newspaper at Quitman. He also worked as a printer on a newspaper called Flag of the Union at Henderson, Texas, and when the editor died, he assumed those duties as well. It was also about this time that he "read law" and became an attorney. When the 1860 census was taken of Wood County, he was listed as an editor/lawyer and was living in an inn kept by Martha Bates.

About 1865, William James Sparks married Mary Ann Herod, and when the 1870 census was taken, they were living in Titus County near other members of William's family. Mary Ann had been born ca. 1842 in Tennessee. William soon acquired several tracts of land, but by 1880 he had sold them and had moved with his family to Cooke County, Texas. There he continued his interest in newspaper work. He died January 31, 1895. Mary Ann survived him eight years, dying on August 10, 1903. They were buried at Montague, Texas. They had seven children. William James Sparks, Jr. was born October 20, 1866, probably in Titus County. He married Alice E. Booker on January 2, 1892, and when the 1900 census was taken, they were living in Chickasha, Oklahoma Indian Territory. They had three children, Albert Sparks, 7; Fannie May Sparks, 5; and John Sparks, 3,
all of them born in Texas. John Henry Sparks was born August 28, 1868; he died October 16, 1873. Corrinne Sparks was born November 10, 1870, at Montague, Texas, and it was there that she married Thomas Livingston on May 6, 1888. He was born September 3, 1866, and was a son of Samuel H. and Melissa Catherine (Martin) Livingston. Thomas died November 22, 1926, at Baird, Texas, and Corrinne died October 13, 1963 in Abilene, Texas. They were the parents of nine children: Clemence Clay Livingston, Eula May Livingston, Bonnie Ann Livingston, Ruby Livingston, Samuel E. Livingston, Oliver K. Livingston, Ryburn H. Livingston, David S. Livingston, and Idris Margaret Livingston. Thomas Jefferson Sparks was born July 19, 1876. He married Agnes MNU, and they lived in Arizona. They had no children; however, Agnes had a daughter, Claudia, by a previous marriage. Nathan Francis Sparks was born November 14, 1878. He married Doll Tomlinson and they had three children: William Sparks, Hazel Sparks, and Glenna Jo Sparks. Idris Louise Sparks was born January 28, 1882. She was married twice. Her first marriage was to Herbert Cleary on May 5, 1902. Her second marriage was to Narris Fenton McClellan by whom she had one child, Hugh Sparks McClellan.

Idris died in May 1961 and was buried at San Antonio. Allison Woodville Sparks was born September 20, 1874; he died October 11, 1874. Sarah A. Sparks, daughter of James Brooks and Mary Ann (Cook) Sparks, was born April 20, 1834, in Georgia. She married William B. Wylie, ca. 1858. He was born March 14, 1826, and he died March 12, 1911. Sarah died November 6, 1928. They were buried in the Cypress Cemetery. They had five children. Elizabeth Beatrice Wylie was born in September 1859. She married Cranbury Cowan who later became judge of Franklin County, Texas. When the 1900 census was taken of Franklin County, they were listed with seven children: Cora Cowan, Jessie Cowan, Clinton Cowan, Leslie Cowan, Wylie Cowan, Raymond Cowan, and Otis Cowan. J. W. Wylie was born November 5, 1862. He died October 13, 1867. John H. Wylie was born in February 1870. He married Dessa Robinson. They apparently had no children. Alvin P. Wylie was born August 1, 1872 (or 1873). He married Laura E. Lantrip on or about December 16, 1893, and by 1900 they had two children: Ota M. Wylie and Eva F Wylie.

Alvin died March 8, 1910; Laura died in 1940. They were buried in the Cypress Cemetery. Hugh A Wylie was born June 25, 1876. On or about July 9, 1908, he married Fannie Laura Arrington. She was born March 16, 1878. Hugh died January 4, 1971, and Fannie died January 22, 1980. They were buried in the Cypress Cemetery. John Napoleon Bonaparte ["Butch"] Sparks was born either in October or November 1836 at Tecumseh, Georgia, and was a lad of fourteen when we went with his family to Texas. At the outbreak of the Civil War, in the spring of 1861, he joined a company called the Titus Greys, later to be known as Company I, 9th Regiment Texas Cavalry. He was appointed as sergeant. (See the current issue of the Quarterly, page 2673, for an abstract of his Texas Confederate Pension file.)

After the war ended, Butch Sparks returned to Titus County where he married Sarah May Penn on March 15, 1866. She had been born on August 7, 1848, at Duck Springs, Alabama, and was a daughter of Nathan S. and Lura (Horton) Penn. The first three children of Butch and Sarah were born in Titus County, but by 1880 Butch and his brother, Allison, had moved their families west to Clay County, Texas. He stayed there for some time, but eventually moved his family back eastward to Hopkins County where he died on February 10, 1916. Sarah survived him nearly twenty years, dying on April 13, 1935. They were buried in the Weaver Cemetery in Hopkins County. They had nine children. Lula Sparks was born in December 1866. She died in 1935. She was a school teacher. She married Buster Lollar, ca. 1881. He was a member of a family of very large land holders in Hopkins County. When the 1900 census was taken, he and Lula had two children, Lillian Lollar and Pearl Lollar. James Buchanan ["Buck"] Sparks (obviously named for his father's first cousin, see item A,1,f) was born September 15, 1868. He was a physician and practiced medicine in Lamb County, Texas, where he died February 23, 1930. He is said to have married three times. His first marriage was to Elizabeth Henley on June 5, 1892, in Hopkins County. They had at least three children: two daughters, Ibby Sparks and Dollie Sparks, and a son, Tip Sparks. Elizabeth died in 1909 in Smith County, Texas, and Buck married (second) Mrs. Fannie Goodlet. They had no children. Buck's third marriage was said to have been to FNU Willeford. Fannie Sparks was born ca. 1870. She married Albert D. McLaughlin on November 17, 1897, in Hopkins County. Mollie Sparks was born ca. 1874. She married Ed B. Beck on June 6, 1894, in Hopkins County. Tom Mintie Sparks (daughter) was born in January 1877; she probably died before reaching maturity. Rosa Sparks was born in April 1881. She married Wiley Holmes. Dollie Sparks was born in April 1884, at Celeste, Texas. On December 8, 1901, she married James F. Stephenson in Franklin County. Tom Effie Sparks was born in January 1887. She married Frank M. Bell on June 14, 1905, in Hopkins County. Jack Sparks was born August 8, 1888. He married Cora Horn on January 15, 1910, in Franklin County. He died September 5, 1917, and was buried in the Weaver Cemetery beside his infant daughter and son. Idris Louisa ["Babe"] Sparks was born ca. 1837 in Alabama. She married John W. Weeks, ca. 1859. He was born ca. 1838 in Illinois and was a son of Andrew and Sophronia (Lankford) Weeks; he was a brother of Hannah Weeks, wife of William Sparks (see above). When the 1870 census was taken of Cooke County, Texas, John and Babe had three children. William C. Weeks was born ca. 1860. Lillian G. Weeks was born ca. 1863. James A. Weeks was born ca. 1866. Allison Woodville ["Tuck"] Sparks was born April 2, 1841, in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, and was a young lad when his family moved to Titus County, Texas. Like his brother, Butch Sparks, he, too, enlisted in a military company called the Titus Greys at the outbreak of the Civil War. (This unit was later known as Company I, 9th Regiment Texas Cavalry, Confederate States Army.) He served until the end of the war. (See page 1280 of the December 1969 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 68, for an abstract of his military record.)

After the war ended, Tuck Sparks returned to Titus County where he became a farmer, school teacher, and stock raiser. He also wrote a 394 page book which gave vivid accounts of his Civil War experiences and which is still considered to be among the best books written by a Texas author about Texans. The book, entitled Recollections of the Great War, can be found in the historical collections of some Texas libraries, including the Sulphur Springs Library in Hopkins County.

On June 20, 1869, A. W. Sparks married Fanny Turner in Hopkins County. She was born November 7, 1848, in Talbot County, Georgia. Tuck and Fanny moved to Clay County sometime prior to 1880, and they were listed on that census for that year. Later, they returned to Hopkins County where they settled at Saltillo. Tuck Sparks died November 7, 1912, and was buried in the Cypress Cemetery in Franklin County. Fanny died October 18, 1929, and was buried beside him. They were the parents of three children. Allison Woodville Sparks, Jr. was born in May 1872. On December 4, 1904, he married Bert Hill in Franklin County. John Turner Sparks was born in May 1874. He died in 1935 and was buried in the Old Saltillo Cemetery in Hopkins County. He married Nannie Ward. She was born in 1879 and died in 1954. She was buried beside her husband. They had six children: Winsome Sparks; Tollie C. Sparks; Fannie Joe Sparks; Ward Sparks; John T. Sparks, Jr.; and Dade Sparks. May Sparks was born in July 1877. She married J. Reiley Dodson on December 23, 1900, in Hopkins County. Mary M. ["Leona"] Sparks was born ca. 1842. She married FNU Hargrove. Angeline C. ["Angie"] Sparks was born July 11, 1846. She was married twice. Her first husband, Harrison Shearer, was born May 20, 1840, and died December 19, 1879. He was a son of Spencer Shearer. Angie's second husband was Jack Cranford. He was born December 18, 1832, and died October 24, 1900. Angie died April 3, 1930. She and her husbands were buried in the Cypress Cemetery. She had five children, the first four by her first husband and the fifth by her second. Mary Shearer was born in February 1870. She married John T. Hill in December 1885, in Franklin County, and they had at least four children:

Gertrude Hill, Ettice Hill, Hubert Hill, and Gary Hill. Ellen Shearer was born ca. 1873. Sarah Shearer was born ca. 1876. Fannie Shearer was born ca. 1876. She may have been a twin sister to Sarah. Fannie married W. L. Combs on January 5, 1896. Effie Cranford was born October 25, 1886. She married James Benjamin Sparks. He was born August 8, 1880, and was a son of William B. and Mattie (Caldwell) Sparks. (See below.) James died on February 20, 1954, and Effie died October 28, 1974. They were buried in the Cypress Cemetery. Their two sons, who were also buried in the Cypress Cemetery, were: / John Cranford Sparks and / Deryl Perry Sparks
. Nathan Fowler Sparks, son of John and Sarah (Brooks) Sparks, was born May 16, 1811, in Bedford County, Tennessee, according to statements he made many years later in applying for bounty land for his military service. His parents had apparently stopped in this section of Tennessee to visit relatives while on their way back to rejoin his mother's parents in Georgia, and Nathan was born in the Duck River area, probably in Bedford County. (Actually, Bedford County was written in parentheses in his application indicating, perhaps, some degree of uncertainity about the exact place where he was born; however, this area of Tennessee is where five of John Sparks's uncles settled in the early 1800's.)

The earliest record we have found of Nathan Sparks is that of his first marriage. On March 16, 1836, he applied for a license to marry Miss Sarah Elizabeth Taylor in Montgomery County, Alabama. They were married a week later, on March 24th, by L. F. Taylor, a justice of the peace. Elizabeth (she went by her middle name) was born ca. 1822 in Alabama. Shortly after their marriage, Nathan volunteered for military service in the Creek and Seminole Indian War, enlisting, along with his father and brothers, in Capt. John N. Broadnax's company of Tallassee Guards. Nathan Sparks was mustered into service on May 4, 1836, and was mustered out on August 6, 1836. At the time of his enlistment, he was 25 years old; he was 5 feet, 10 inches tall; he had blue eyes, light or sandy hair, and a light complexion; and he was a mechanic. (See pages 644-645 of the June 1962 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 38, for an abstract of his bounty land application file.)

Nathan Sparks appears to have been a building contractor, as well as a carpenter, during his youthful years. In 1841, according to a document in the Tallapoosa County courthouse, he contracted to build a new Methodist Church at Dadesville. For the sum of $275, he was to construct a building 44 feet long, 36 feet wide, with a 14-foot pitch. The contract also included 38 seats to be made, 30 of which were to have solid backs. Sixteen seats were to be seven feet long and fourteen of the remainder were to be fourteen feet long. Plans also called for eleven windows, the necessary number of doors, and the owners were to furnish the lumber and other materials.

by this time, Nathan was investing in land. In 1840, he bought some lots in Dadesville, and in 1842 he bought some acreage in Tallapoosa County. Apparently, farming was not to his taste, however, and the following year he sold the acreage to his brother, James Brooks Sparks, for a Negro boy valued at $400. by the time the 1850 census was taken of Tallapoosa County, he was listed as the owner of a tavern or hotel, an occupation which he followed when he went to Texas some years later.

Nathan Sparks was the last member of his family to uproot himself from Alabama and move to Texas. He was still in Tallapoosa County in 1851 when he applied for bounty land, but by 1853 he had moved to Texas where he stopped in Titus County, probably to visit with other members of his family. by 1855, he had moved southward to Anderson County where he made a second application for bounty land under a new Act of Congress. He had received a warrant for 40 acres by his first application, and by his second he received a warrant for 120 acres. These warrants were sold since they could not be used for land in Texas. (Texas retained its own system of disbursing land when it entered the Union in 1845.)

Elizabeth (Taylor) Sparks, wife of Nathan, died at Palestine, in Anderson County, Texas, on December 3, 1857, and on January 14, 1861, Nathan married Sarah ["Sallie") C. Swing in Dallas, Texas. She was born October 7, 1819, in Salem County, New Jersey. She and Nathan moved to Cleburne, Texas, where they kept the Cleburne Hotel. In an article written by J. B. Baillio in 1908, it was stated that the hotel was one of the best houses in that community and was built of post oak logs. He also referred to Nathan as "Major Sparks," but the title was probably an honorary one.

Nathan Sparks soon moved a few miles eastward in Johnson County to the village of Alvarado where he lived until his death on July 13, 1900, at the age of 89 years. His will, dated November 12, 1892, followed by several codicils, gives a great deal of information about his descendants. He and Elizabeth, his first wife, had four children who lived to maturity. He had no children by his second marriage. His widow, Sallie (Swing) Sparks, died October 24, 1906. Virginia Alice Sparks was born ca. 1837 in Tallapoosa County, Alabama. On April 10, 1856, she married James H. Gee in Anderson County, Texas. He had been born ca. 1830 in Virginia. When the 1860 census was taken of Anderson County, they were living in the Bethel community. With them were John Taylor Sparks, aged 2, a brother of Virginia, and Benjamin N. Gee, aged 3. The last record we have of Virginia (Sparks) Gee is an affidavit supporting her step-mother's application for a widow's pension in 1900. She was still a resident of Bethel at that time. Frances D. Sparks was born ca. 1839 in Alabama. She married Henry Pickins Teague on July 8, 1856, in Anderson County, Texas; however, they apparently lived most of their married lives in Kaufman County, Texas. She died ca. 1897. She and Henry had six children. Clarence S. Teague was born ca. 1857. Gertrude Teague was born ca. 1867. She married FNU Gibbs. George Lee Teague was born ca. 1869. He apparently died prior t o 1898. James N. Teague was born ca. 1872. Henry Pitts Teague was born July 11, 1874. Fannie Teague was born ca. 1877. She married FNU Peery. Nathan Fowler Sparks, Jr. was born ca. 1845 in Alabama. He married Mary G. Weaver on June 25, 1872, in Johnson County, Texas. She was born ca. 1852 in Texas and was a daughter of Dr. John C. Weaver. When the 1880 census was taken of Johnson County, Nathan and Mary had three children, two living in their household, and the other living in the home of his maternal grandfather, Dr. Weaver. A fourth child probably was born after 1880. Children of Nathan Fowler and Mary G. (Weaver) Sparks: Conda Sparks, a son, was born ca. 1875. Nellie Sparks was born ca. 1877. Eugene Sparks was born in April 1880. John Sparks probably was born sometime after 1880. John Taylor Sparks was born ca. 1857 in Texas. On July 31, 1881, he married Lorena Smith in Johnson County, Texas. He died there on November 11, 1930. He and Lorena had at least three children: Nathan F. Sparks. John C. Sparks. Sallie Sparks. Elizabeth Traylor Sparks, daughter of John and Sarah (Brooks) Sparks, was born on March 5, 1813, in Georgia. She married Samuel Coleman on March 1, 1836, in Tallapoosa County, Alabama. We have found no further information regarding this couple. Idris Sparks was born December 7, 1815, in Georgia. She married Lewis Underwood in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, on March 19, 1836. She apparently died a short time later, for Lewis Underwood married her sister, Milly, in September 1837. Francis Marion Sparks was born on February 4, 1818, in Jasper County, Georgia, and was about fifteen years old when his parents moved to Tallapoosa County, Alabama. He had just passed his 18th birthday when he enlisted, along with his father and brothers, on May 7, 1836, in the Tallassee Guards to fight in the Creek and Seminole Indian War. (See the current issue of the Quarterly, page 2669, for an abstract of his pension file.)

Francis M. Sparks was a farmer. His nickname was "Doc"; however, no one knows why. The nickname was later given to his first son, Lawrence Jackson Sparks, but the reason remains a mystery. On November 11, 1841, Francis M. Sparks ["Doc"] married Rebecca J. Holman in Tallapoosa County. Apparently she died shortly after giving birth to their only child in 1842; many years later, Nathan F. Sparks, brother of Doc Sparks, journeyed from Johnson County, Texas, to Franklin County, Texas, to make an affidavit that he was present when Rebecca Sparks died in 1842.

On October 30, 1845, Francis M. Sparks married (second) Mary Catherine Brown in Chambers County, Alabama, by Francis ["Frank") Callaway, a Baptist minister. Actually, the license was issued in Chambers County, but was recorded in Tallapoosa County, indicating that the couple lived near the county line. Many years later, Mary (Brown) Sparks applied for bounty land based on her husband's military service and testified that they had lived in Chambers County until they moved to Texas in 1848.

(Her application was denied because her husband had already received bounty land; however, she was granted a pension on July 27, 1892.)

When the 1850 census was taken of Texas, Francis ["Doc"] and Mary Sparks were living with their family in Cass County. He was shown as 33 years old and born in Georgia; she was aged 25 and born in Alabama. With them were: Mary C. Sparks, aged 6 (daughter of the first wife); L. J. Sparks, aged 4; and William B. Sparks, aged 2.

Doc was listed as a house carpenter. In all probability, he had a hand in building some of the beautiful old homes which make Jefferson, Texas, a modern-day tourist attraction.

In May 1857, Francis ["Doc"] Sparks bought a 124-acre tract of land from his brother, William Sparks, in Titus County for $1.00 per acre. The land was located in that portion of Titus County that became a part of Franklin County in 1875. That fall, Doc sold the land to G. S. Templeton for $300. Two years later, he bought another tract from his brother, William, consisting of 160 acres. This tract was located on the north side of Main Cypress Creek about thirty miles southwest of Mt. Pleasant and about a mile and one-half from the county line. It was in this general area that Francis M. ["Doc"] Sparks spent most of his remaining days, although he sold this particular tract of land in February 1862 to N. S. Penn.

Francis M. Sparks served in the Confederate States Army during the Civil war, but only one record of his service has been found in the National Archives. It is a muster roll of his company in the 2nd Regiment of Cavalry, Texas State Troops, for the period September 18, 1863, until December 21, 1863. He was elected 2nd lieutenant on September 18th and was paid $20.80 for the use of his horse during the period. A record in the Texas Archives shows that he enlisted at Cypress Church in a military unit called the Cypress Blues. (See page 1283 of the December 1969 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 68, for an abstract of his military record.)

After selling his land in Titus County in February 1862, Francis M. and Mary Sparks bought a 160-acre tract in eastern Hopkins County from Minyard and Metita Brown. It was located on Stouts Creek of the Sulphur Fork of Red River about 16 miles south-east of Tarrant. They were living there when the 1870 census was taken, and this is where Francis M. ["Doc"] Sparks died March 14, 1876. Mary Catherine survived him nearly 34 years, dying on January 18, 1910. They were buried in the Cypress Cemetery. A Masonic emblem is inscribed upon his tombstone. They had ten children. (A photograph of his tombstone appears on the cover page of this issue of the Quarterly.) Mary C. Sparks was born ca. 1842 in Alabama. She was six years old and living in the household of her father in Cass County, Texas, when the 1850 census was taken. We have no further information about her. Lawrence Jackson ["Doc"] Sparks, son of "Doc" and Mary (Brown) Sparks, was born August 21, 1846, in Chambers County, Alabama, and was a small child when his parents moved to Texas where he grew to manhood. The reason for his acquiring the nick name "Doc" is a mystery as is true also of his father. On December 19, 1869, he married Misalina Hazel Saphronia Richey in Hopkins County, Texas. She had been born September 4, 1849, and was a daughter of John Stewart and Elizabeth (Stout) Richey, pioneer settlers of the Republic of Texas and natives of Alabama and Texas, respectively. Her nickname was "Hazel Pony." "Doc" and "Hazel Pony" Sparks settled down in Hunt County, Texas, and continued to live there until ca. 1906 when they went to some new lands which had been opened up in the Territory of New Mexico. He died at Clovis, New Mexico, on August 10, 1932, and "Hazel Pony" died there two years later, on November 1, 1934. She had been bed-ridden for many years because of a broken hip. They were buried at Clovis; they had ten children. Mary Elizabeth ["Lizzie"] Sparks was born April 22, 1872. She married Charlie Ashley, and they had a daughter, Naomi Ashley, born ca. 1907. Lizzie died in the 1960's at Clovis. Naomi Ashley never married. William Marion ["Buster"] Sparks was born October 23, 1873. He was married three times. His first wife was Lee Rimmer whom he married ca. 1898. She was born in 1874 and died in 1901. Buster was married (second) to Rose Lee Lunsford on October 6, 1907. She was born June 17, 1890, and was a daughter of Albert and Sally (Riddle) Lunsford. She died in 1950. Married (third) Lula Huddleston. He died April 21, 1961, and was buried beside his second wife in the Daugherty Cemetery in Rains County, Texas, where he lived most of his life. He had thirteen children. by his first wife, he had: William Troy Sparks and Bessie Lee Sparks.

by his second wife he had: Polly Ann Sparks; Rufus R. Sparks; Charles Sparks; Clifton L. Sparks; William Sparks; Marian June Sparks; Fred P. Sparks; Elmer E. Sparks; Velma E. Sparks; Thelma C. Sparks; and Carl E. Sparks. James Allen Sparks was born on June 15, 1875, and died when he was young. Lawrence Benjamin Sparks was born on October 16, 1877. He was married twice. His first marriage was to Mary Hawkins on July 31, 1901, in Hunt County, Texas. She died tragically on December 8, 1903, when her clothing ignited as she was washing clothes in a kettle over an open fire outdoors. Lawrence Sparks married (second) Ellen Clarke. They were divorced in 1932. He lived most of his life on one of his father's farms near Celeste, Texas, part of which he later inherited. He died October 10, 1970, at Ft. Worth, Texas, where he had gone to live with a son. Ellen (Clarke) Sparks died April 26, 1965, at Lubbock, Texas. Lawrence Sparks had seven children. by his first marriage, he had a daughter Amy Sparks.

by his second marriage, he had: Eugene Sparks; Golden Sparks; Bonnie Sparks; Bertie Sparks; Venus Sparks; and Leslie Sparks. Nathan Tillman Sparks was born January 16, 1880. He married Nora Cardwell. He died ca. 1955 in Clovis, New Mexico. He and Nora had two children, Viola Sparks and Evelyn Sparks. Effie Lee Sparks was born August 8, 1882. She married Dee McDaniel in 1906. She died September 3, 1981, just three weeks after her 99th birthday, and was buried at Clovis, New Mexico. She and Dee had three children: Alfred McDaniel; byrna Ruth McDaniel; and Darney McDaniel. Perry Sparks, son of "Doc" and "Hazel Pony" (Richey) Sparks, was probably born ca. 1883 and died as an infant. John Walter Sparks, son of "Doc" and "Hazel Pony" (Richey) Sparks, was born December 21, 1884. He married Stella C. Fox on December 22, 1913, at Greenville, Texas. He died March 31, 1968. Stella (Fox) Sparks died December 2, 1977. They were buried in the Rosemound Cemetery at Commerce, Texas. They had three children. Belmont E. Sparks was born August 8, 1917. Alice Johnella Sparks was born November 30, 1927. She was married to Harry Gene Boynton on February 16, 1952, and they have three children: Amy Boynton; Brook Boynton; and Kim Boynton.

Mrs. Boynton is the co-author of this article and has furnished most of the pictures used in it. L. J. Sparks was born October 26, 1930. Alfred Berlin Sparks was born January 10, 1886. He married Della Cowan on July 17, 1920, in Franklin County, Texas. She was a great-grand daughter of James Brooks Sparks. (See Item 2, above) They had no children. Thomas Jefferson Sparks was born June 9, 1889. He married Beulah Cooke. He died in January 1973 and was buried at Milford, Texas. He and Beulah had no children.

Picture taken ca. 1910-1915)
(Picture) William B. Sparks was born in September 1848 in Cass County, Texas. On November 17, 1870, he married Martha J. ["Mattie"] Caldwell in Hopkins County, Texas. He died in 1920 and she died in 1941. They were buried in the Cypress Cemetery in Franklin County. They had five children. Nathan F. Sparks was born in November 1871. He married Rosetta H. MNU, ca. 1887. When the 1900 census was taken of the Choctaw Indian Nation in the Oklahoma Territory, Nathan and Rosetta had six children; they may have others born to them later. Those listed on the census were: Rube P. Sparks; Annie B. Sparks; Myrtie M. Sparks; Mary O. Sparks; John T. Sparks; and Dora E. Sparks.

(See page 2238 of the September 1980 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 111, for a transcript of this census record.) Mary Ruth ["Ruthie"] Sparks was born July 18, 1873. She married Robert L. King on December 13, 1891. He was born October 6, 1872, and was a son of Calvin and Cora (Lipscombe) King. Ruthie died August 1, 1953, and Robert died September 30, 1958. They were buried in the Cypress Cemetery in Franklin County. They had seven children: Jessie Lee King; William F. King; James H. King; Archie H. King; Mattie G. King; Emma M. King; and Calvin C. King. Sarah Sparks was born ca. 1876. She may be the Sarah Sparks who married J. L. McKay on August 14, 1898, in Franklin County, Texas. William M. Sparks was born on February 23, 1877. He married Maud A. Castle on October 28, 1900, in Franklin County. She was born July 28, 1879, and died March 25, 1935. William died October 23, 1962. They were buried in the Cypress Cemetery. According to the 1910 census of Franklin County, they had three children. There may have been others. These three were: Milton Sparks; Benjamin Sparks; Bertie Sparks. James Benjamin Sparks was born August 8, 1880. He married Effie Cranford, a daughter of Jack and Angie (Sparks) Cranford. (See above for further details.) James Alfred Sparks was born April 21, 1851, probably in Cass County, Texas. He is probably the James Sparks who married Alice A. Milstead on January 30, 1876, in Hunt County, Texas. She was born ca. 1854 in Alabama. When the 1880 census was taken of Cooke County, Texas, they had a daughter, son, Mary Marion B. Sparks, born ca. 1878. This family is thought to have moved to Oklahoma in later years. For additional information, see the March 1991 issue of The Sparks Quarterly, Whole No. 153 Nathan F. Sparks was born ca. 1854. On September 14, 1881, he married Nancy S. Richardson in Hopkins County, Texas. She died July 17, 1907, in Hopkins County. She and Nathan had ten children. J. Starling Sparks was born March 5, 1883. He married Fannie Burns on December 12, 1909, in Hopkins County. He died April 10, 1938, and was buried in the Pickton (Texas) Cemetery. William Henry Sparks was born in August 1884. Sallie Sparks was born in February 1886. She was probably the Sallie Sparks who married E. B. McClung in Franklin County, Texas, on September 11, 1910. Marion Walter Sparks was born in June 1887. Lester Sparks (this could be Luther) was born in May 1892. Lela Sparks was born in March 1894. James Davis Sparks was born in June 1896. Mary Lessie Sparks was born in December 1899. She may have married Joseph Baker. Dewey Sparks was born ca. 1901. Jewell Sparks was brobably born ca. 1903. Sarah J. Sparks was born ca. 1857. She was living with her parents when the 1870 census was taken of Hopkins County, Texas, but we have found no further record of her. Francis M. ["Frank"] Sparks was born ca. 1859. On August 26, 1886, he married Nannie Whisenant in Hopkins County. They had three children before Frank died in 1891. He was buried in the Cypress Cemetery. Sarah A. Sparks was born in June 1887. Mary L. Sparks was born in November 1888. She married James W. Turrentine on September 6, 1907. Stella Sparks was born in June 1891. On May 1, 1908, she was maried to Richard Joshua ["Josh"] Turrentine, a brother of her sister's husband. They lived for many years in Commerce, Texas, where Richard owned and operated a grocery store. Martha E. Sparks was born May 10, 1860, probably in Titus County, Texas. On November 28, 1878, she married Virgil C. ["Bud"] Black in Franklin County, Texas. He was born on July 15, 1849, and died September 20, 1933. Martha died August 19, 1939, and was buried beside her husband in the Cypress Cemetery. According to the 1900 census of Franklin County, they had six children. William R. Black was born November 23, 1879. He married Minnie MNU. She was born December 26, 1890, and died December 21, 1965. William died February 1, 1967. They were buried in the Cypress Cemetery. Lucy May Black was born in October 1882. Mary E Black was born in June 1886. Mattie E. Black was born in October 1888. Bertha B. Black was born in August 1892. Walter Virgil Black was born December 9, 1895. He died June 4, 1978, and was buried in the Cypress Cemetery. Benjamin Sparks was born ca. 1863. He apparently died when quite young. Lucy A. Sparks was born on January 22, 1865. She married Charles Henry Lindsey on November 30, 1882, in Franklin County. He was born April 4, 1860. Lucy died August 25, 1944, and Charles died November 6, 1949. They were buried in the Cypress Cemetery. They were the parents of eight (?) children. A son was born to Charles and Lucy in 1883 and died in infancy. Mary Bell Lindsey was born in January 1885. She married W. M. Hill on December 16, 1900, in Franklin County. Emma Lee Lindsey was born March 3, 1887. She married Charles Ed Turner on March 3, 1907. He was born August 5, 1882, and died March 6, 1949. Emma died June 25, 1960. They were buried in the Cypress Cemetery. They had at least two children, a son named Troy D. Turner and an infant son who died at birth. Mattie E. Lindsey was born in August 1889. Charles S. Lindsey was born in April 1892. Fanny G. Lindsey was born in August 1895. She married Perry C. Knotts on Christmas Day, 1916. Ella Sparks was born October 22, 1867. She married Ben D. Harrison on December 17, 1885, in Franklin County. She died January 8, 1900, and when the census was taken later that year, Ben Harrison was listed as a widower with six children. Living in his household was his mother-in-law, Mary C. (Brown) Sparks, who was probably keeping house for him. The six children of Ben D. and Ella (Sparks) Harrison were: Ruby Harrison, born in September 1886. Shelly Harrison, born in July 1888. In 1910, he was living with his aunt and uncle, Charles and Lucy (Sparks) Lindsey. Myrtie Harrison was born in August 1890. Iva Harrison was born in September 1892. She married Ed Brady in 1910. Francis M. Harrison was born in December 1894. Bessie Harrison was born in May 1896. Alfred Sparks, son of John and Sarah (Brooks) Sparks was born October 23, 1819. He died the following year on August 6th. Milly B. Sparks was born on June 18, 1821. She married Lewis Underwood on September 22, 1837, in Tallapoosa County, Alabama. He was a widower whose deceased wife, Idris (Sparks) Underwood, was a sister of Milly. (See above.) When the 1850 census was taken of Chambers County, Alabama, Milly and Lewis had four children and they may have been others born to them later. The four children were: Idris M. Underwood, born ca. 1838. Mary E. Underwood, born ca. 1842. Martha T. Underwood, born ca. 1845. Jane L. Underwood, born ca. 1848. Miriam Beale Sparks, daughter of John and Sarah (Brooks) Sparks, was born on February 10, 1824. She is probably the Maryann Sparks who married Israel Gambol on February 15, 1846, in Tallapoosa County, Alabama. We have no further information about this couple. Martha Naomi Sparks was born June 11, 1826, in Georgia. She married James T. Rutledge, ca. 1852 in Titus County. She died March 8, 1864, and when the 1870 census was taken of Titus County her children were living in the household of their uncle, James Brooks Sparks. All of them were born in Texas. Martha was buried in the Cypress Cemetery. Julia Elizabeth Rutledge was born ca. 1854. She married John Monroe Gandy and they had at least one child, Wiley Robert Gandy. Joseph Rutledge was born ca. 1856. Charles J. (or I.) Rutledge was born ca. 1861. Martha Rutledge was born June 14, 1863. She died January 4, 1945. She never married. Sarah Jane Sparks was born on January 4, 1830, in Georgia. She accompanied her widowed mother to Texas and was living with her when the 1850 census was taken of Titus County. She married James Denny, ca. 1851, in Titus County. He was born ca. 1817 in Tennessee. He and Sarah Jane had five children before his death, which apparently occurred ca. 1865. After his death, Sarah Jane married (second) John W. Hall on June 20, 1875, in Franklin County, Texas. They had no children. James R. Denny was born December 10, 1852. He died May 14, 1904. John N. Denny was born ca. 1855. William B. Denny was born ca. 1857. He married Lula Morris on December 23, 1880. Lela S. Denny was born ca. 1860. George W. Denny was born ca. 1863. Jane Sparks, daughter of Matthew and Margaret (MNU) Sparks, was born ca. 1787 in North Carolina and was a grown woman when she went with her parents to St. Clair County, Illinois Territory, ca. 1810. It was probably there that she met and married William Steele ca. 1811. He was born December 8, 1788, in Virginia and was a son of John and Catherine (Jarvis) Steele, natives of Virginia. In all likelihood, William and Jane lived in the portion of St. Clair County that became a part of Washington County in 1818 and Clinton County in 1824. Here they lived for the rest of their lives.

In October 1840, William Steele went to Carroll County, Tennessee, and brought his father-in-law, Matthew Sparks (then 81 years of age) back to Clinton County to live with the Steele family. William certified two years later (on December 31, 1842) that he had taken this action. This was in connection with the settlement of Matthew's estate and with the final payment of his military pension. Matthew Sparks died shortly after making the trip from Tennessee to Illinois.

When the 1850 census was taken of Clinton County, Illinois, William and Jane (Sparks) Steele were listed as Family 808. Living with them were their four youngest children, Nancy, William, Nathan, and Fielding. Jane died June 17, 1852, and William died February 22, 1858. They were the parents of ten children, all of whom were born in Clinton County. We are indebted to Mrs. Edith Steele Porter of Washington, Utah, for sharing information about them. Margaret Steele, daughter of William and Jane (Sparks) Steele, was born December 23, 1812. She died February 24, 1812. She died February 24, 1849. John Steele was born August 31, 1814. He died October 7, 1858. Catherine Steele was born on May 17, 1816. She married FNU Sloat. Matthew Steele was born May 9, 1818. He died April 19, 1897. Absalom Steele was born March 17, 1820, and was a 21-year-old man when he was appointed administrator of the estate of his grandfather, Matthew Sparks, in the fall of 1841. In all probability, the estate consisted solely of Matthew's military pension.

Absalom Steele was married three times. His first marriage was to Elizabeth Phelps on October 3, 1844, in Marion County, Illinois. She was born January 28, 1825, in Marion County and was a daughter of Frederick and Delilah Phelps. She died January 27, 1852, and Absalom married (second) Mrs. Sarah Jane Harrison. She was born September 27, 1829, in Tennessee. She died November 24, 1878, in Marion County. Absalom's third marriage was to Nancy W. Sugg, ca. 1880. He died July 27, 1893, in Marion County. He had thirteen children, four by his first marriage and nine by his second. Children of Absalom Steele by his first wife, Elizabeth (Phelps) Steele: Louvina Steele was born August 6, 1845. She married FNU Gilley. Margaret Jane Steele was born November 23, 1846. She died March 20, 1849. William Fredrick Steele was born March 20, 1848. He died April 18, 1928. He married Eliza Ann Talbert on January 23, 1870. Samuel Steele was born September 9, 1850. He died January 4, 1869.

Children of Absalom Steele by his second wife, Sarah Jane. Mary Elizabeth Steele was born October 21, 1853. She died October 12, 1855. James Steele was born February 8, 1855. He died July 19, 1855. Nancy Eveline Steele was born August 26, 1856. She died January 7, 1932. She married Jesse A. Woods. Hannah Steele was born December 3, 1858. She died May 1, 1935. She married John Woods. Sarah Virginia Steele was born April 18, 1861. She married James Carter. Louella Steele was born November 18, 1863. She died March 17, 1870. Laura Belle Steele was born February 26, 1866. She married FNU Johnson. Absalom Steele, Jr. was born October 5, 1868. He died February 27, 1902. Susan Jennette Steele was born July 24, 1873. She married John Bopp. Jesse Steele, son of William and Jane (Sparks) Steele, was born March 3, 1822. On February 17, 1846, he married Matilda J. Nichols. She was born in 1826 in Illinois and was a daughter of Thomas and Susan Nichols. Jesse and Matilda Steele had six children. James W. Steele was born April 12, 1847. He died December 18, 1852. William R Steele was born June 3, 1849. He died December 1, 1850. Nancy H. Steele was born in 1858. John Steele was born in 1860. Edgar D. Steele was born in 1865. Nathan E. Steele was born in 1867. Nancy Steele was born January 25, 1824. She married FNU Bassler. William Steele, Jr. was born on April 27, 1826. He married Sarah C. Johnson. Nathan Steele was born in 1828. He married Melinda A. Phelps on September 4, 1851. She was born in 1833 in Illinois and was a daughter of Fredrick and Delilah Phelps, and thus a sister of Elizabeth Phelps who had married Nathan's brother, Absalom Steele, in 1844.

(See Item above.) Nathan and Melinda Steele had three children: Delilah Steele was born September 29, 1852. She died September 26, 1853. Mary J. Steele was born in 1861. Emma Steele was born August 29, 1870. She died November 1, 1879. Fielding Steele was born November 24, 1828. He died September 20, 1855. He apparently never married. Hannah Sparks, daughter of Matthew and Margaret (MNU) Sparks, was born ca. 1792 in South Carolina. She married FNU Arnett, probably a brother or close relative of the Nathan Arnett who married Hannah's sister, Margaret Sparks. (See Item below.) When the 1850 census was taken of Twelve Mile Prairie Township, St. Clair County, Illinois, Hannah Arnett was 58 years of age and living in the household of Nathan and Margaret (Sparks) Arnett. We have no further information about her. Margaret ["Peggy"] Sparks was born ca. 1797 in South Carolina. She married Nathan Arnett. He was a Baptist minister. This couple was listed on the 1850 census of St. Clair County, Illinois. We have no further information about them. Matthew Jefferson Sparks was born ca. 1802, probably in Jackson County, Georgia. He married Mary ["Polly"] MNU, ca. 1820 in Arkansas. In 1829, he paid taxes (along with his father) in Pulaski County, Arkansas. When the 1830 census was taken of that county, he was head of his household which consisted of his wife, born 1800 -1810; a male, born 1815 -1820; a female, born 1820 -1825; a male, born 1825 -1830; and a female, born 1825 -1830. Living nearby was Matthew J. Sparks, Sr. enumerated as being between 60 and 70 years of age.

In the fall of 1832, Matthew Jefferson Sparks apparently became quite ill, or he may have suffered a severe injury, for on December 2, 1832, he made his will. It reads as follows:

I, Matthew Jefferson Sparkes, of the County of Pulaski & Territory of Arkansas, United States of America, have made this my last will & testament in manner and form following, that is to say:

1st, after my decease I desire that all my just debts & funeral expenses be paid.

2nd, after my just debts & funeral expenses are paid, it is my desire that my wife, Polly Sparkes, have all my estate whether real or personal or whatsoever kind there may be for the purpose to raise and educate my children, Peggy Sparkes, John Sparkes and Almira Sparkes. Also a posthumous child if there be one.

3rdly & lastly, I desire that my aforesaid wife be my executrix to this my last will & testament & to act as such without being bound to security or put to the trouble of appraising & making an inventory of my said estate.

In witness whereof, I, the said Matthew Jefferson Sparkes, have set my hand and affixed my seal this second day of December A.D. one thousand eight hundred & thirty two.

Attest:  his
Richard Graves, seal  Matthew Jefferson Sparkes
Casey James, seal seal
Rebecca Hudson, her mark  

The will of Matthew Jefferson Sparkes was proven on February 4, 1833, by Richard Graves and Rebecca Hudson; he had probably died shortly before the will was presented for probate. According to the will and to the census record, Matthew and Polly had four children. A son Sparks who died when quite young was born ca. 1820. Margaret ["Peggy"] Sparks was born ca. 1825. John Sparks was born ca. 1827. Almira Sparks was born ca. 1829