May 9, 2021

Pages 2687-2689
Whole Number 128

103. MARTIN SPARKS (ca. 1804 - 1862)

Sidney Sparks of Orlando, Florida (32817) is seeking information regarding the parents of his great-grandfather, Martin Sparks, who was listed as the head of his family on the 1840, 1850, and 1860 censuses of Jefferson County, Florida. Martin Sparks was apparently in Florida prior to 1830, although he did not appear on the 1830 census.

Information about 103. Martin Sparks has come from two principal sources: (1) census records and (2) records of the Confederate States Army. According to the latter, Martin Sparks enlisted on August 1, 1862, at Monticello, Florida, in Captain A. L. Bailey's Company A, 5th Regiment Florida Infantry to serve for the duration of the war. He died on August 21, 1862, at the Winder Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. His company commander, Captain W. K. Partridge, made out the report of his death. He stated that Sparks was 58 years of age; that he had been born in Tennessee; was 5 feet, 8 inches tall; that he had a dark complexion, black hair and black eyes; and that he was a farmer. His wife, Lydia Ann Sparks, filed claims for survival benefits in 1864 and in 1865.

The census records of Jefferson County, Florida, indicate that Martin Sparks was born in Georgia ca. 1804. He married Lydia Ann Smith on April 1, 1832, in Jefferson County. She had been born in Georgia ca. 1812 and may have been a daughter of Daniel J. Smith. She and Martin had seven children, all of them born in Florida. On the 1850 census, Martin was described as a carpenter.

Another source of information about Martin Sparks is a History of Jefferson County, Florida, 1976, written by Jerrell H. Shofner. On page 157 of that book is a statement that Martin Sparks and P. H. Scott acted as seconds for Enderman in the Gardiner-Enderman duel in 1829.

Here is what has been learned about the children of Martin and Lydia Ann Sparks.

103.1 Elizabeth L. Sparks was born ca. 1835. She married John C. Rowell on August 26, 1858, in Taylor County, Florida. He died at Lake City, Florida, on July 16, 1862, while serving in Company A, 5th Regiment Florida Infantry, Confederate States Army, the same unit in which his father-in-law served. When the 1870 census was taken of Jefferson County, Elizabeth was living in the household of her brother, William Sparks. She filed for a Confederate pension in Florida on October 14, 1899.

103.2 Thomas C. Sparks was born ca. 1837. He was described as a sawyer on the 1860 census of Jefferson County. He married Amanda J. MNU, ca. 1858. She was born in Florida ca. 1840. When the Civil War broke out, Thomas Sparks first enlisted in Company M, commanded by Capt. W. K. Partridge, of the 3rd Regiment Florida Infantry for the duration of the war. Subsequently, he joined Capt. A. Z. Bailey's Company A, 5th regiment Florida Infantry on May 1, 1862, the same unit in which his father enlisted three months later. At that time, he was 23 years of age; he was 5 feet, 10 inches tall; he had a dark complexion, black hair and black eyes; and he was a farmer. He died at Winchester, Virginia, on December 1, 1862, and was buried in the Confederate Cemetery there. (The grave marker shows his date of death as November 25, 1862.)

103.3 Florida A. Sparks was born ca. 1840, according to the 1850 and 1860 censuses of Jefferson County, Florida. She may have married William W. Chapman, who apparently died while in the service of the Confederate States Army.

103.4 William D. Sparks was born ca. 1842. He was a farmer. He married Minerva MNU, ca. 1860. She was born ca. 1838 in Florida. William served in Capt. Parson's Company A, Florida Militia during the Civil War. This unit surrendered on May 10, 1865, at Tallahassee, Florida, and its personnel were paroled seven days later.

William and Minerva were listed on the 1870 and 1880 censuses of Jefferson County and, according to those records, they had at least seven children. They were:

103.4.1 Charles E. Sparks, born ca. 1862;
103.4.2 W. John T. Sparks, born ca. 1866;
103.4.3 Arthur Sparks, born ca. 1868;
103.4.4 Cynthia J. Sparks, born ca. 1869;
103.4.5 James W. Sparks, born ca. 1870;
103.4.6 Martin H. Sparks, born ca. 1872; and
103.4.7 Walker J. Sparks, born ca. 1879.

Minerva Sparks apparently died prior to 1904 because on June 17, 1904, William D. Sparks married (second) Ellen Easters. He died in 1910 in Madison County, Florida.

103.5 John A. Sparks was born ca. 1845. On August 20, 1861, he enlisted in Captain Girardeau's Company H, of the 3rd Regiment Florida Infantry at Fernandina, Florida, to serve for one year. He was 16 years old and had been born in Jefferson County; he was 5 feet, 8 inches tall, had a light complexion with blue eyes and light hair; and he was a farmer. He was discharged on December 17, 1861, because of disability.

Subsequently, John Sparks joined Capt. Bailey's Company A, 5th Regiment Florida Infantry at Tallahassee on May 17, 1862. (This was the same unit in which his father and older brother served.) He served until October 12, 1862, at which time he was discharged at Richmond, Virginia, because of "pulmonary Phthisis" which rendered him incapable of performing his duties. We have found no further information about him.

103.6 Sidney Hammond Sparks was born August 17, 1850. (His given names were also spelled Sydney and Hampden, Hamden.) On January 14, 1875, he married Susan A. Letchworth. She had been born on August 20, 1854, in Florida and was a daughter of Frederick and Mary Ann Letchworth. Sidney died on July 21, 1886, leaving Susan with five small children. He was buried in the Emery Cemetery at Aucilla, Florida. Susan survived him over thirty years, dying on July 17, 1917. She, too, was buried in the Emery Cemetery. They were the paternal grandparents of Sidney Sparks; mentioned at the beginning of this query. They had five children:

103.6.1 Della Virginia Sparks, born on November 1, 1875;
103.6.2 Mary Lydean ["Annie"] Sparks, born on May 9, 1879;
103.6.3 Martin Frederick Sparks, born on May 29, 1881;
103.6.4 Ozella byrd Sparks, born on April 20, 1883; and
103.6.5 Minerva Donna Sparks, born on April 2, 1885.

103.7 James Martin Sparks was born in May 1855. He was described as a farm laborer on the 1880 census of Jefferson County, Florida. He married Mary L. MNU, ca. 1876 and, according to the 1880 and 1900 censuses of Jefferson County, they had ten children:

103.7.1 James Anon Sparks, born ca. 1877;
103.7.2 William A. Sparks, born ca. 1879;
103.7.3 Thomas Sparks, born in January 1881;
103.7.4 Calvin Sparks, born in April 1883;
103.7.5 Edward Sparks, born in August 1885;
103.7.6 Linton Sparks, born in April 1887;
103.7.7 Gracey Sparks, born in August 1893;
103.7.8 William Sparks, born in April 1895;
103.7.9 Richard Sparks, born in April 1897; and
103.7.10 Roy Sparks, born in December 1899.

(Editor's Note: It seems probable that there was a family connection between the above 103. Martin Sparks (ca. 1804 -1862) and 25. Martin Peeples Sparks (1786-1837) who was the subject of an article in the Quarterly of March 1958, Whole No. 21.

As noted above, 103. Martin Sparks (ca. 1804-1862), according to census records, was a native of Georgia, the same state in which 25. Martin P. Sparks lived most, if not all, of his life.

It is interesting to note that both named sons Thomas:
103.2 Thomas C. Sparks, son of 103. Martin Sparks.
25.2 Thomas Hunter Sparks, son of 25. Martin P. Sparks.

25.2.3 James Martin Sparks, son of 25. Martin P. Sparks
103.7 James Martin Sparks, son of 103. Martin Sparks of Florida.

Both also named sons William. D. Sparks (we know that the "D" stood for Daniel in the name of Thomas Hunter Sparks's son,
25.2.7 William Daniel Sparks, son of 25. Martin Sparks
103.4 William D. Sparks, son of 103. Martin Sparks

The second wife of Thomas Hunter Sparks was Ann Linton, their first son was named 25.2.4 Linton Sparks.
103.7.6 Linton Sparks (son of 103.7 James Martin Sparks), grandson of 103. Martin Sparks of Florida.

As was indicated in the 1958 article on 25. Martin P. Sparks, we have not succeeded in identifying his father, though we know that he was closely associated throughout his life with Carter Walton Sparks (1797-1877) who was a son of 70.1.1 Jeremiah Sparks who died in Morgan County, Georgia, in 1841. In his will, however, Jeremiah mentioned only his son, Carter W. Sparks, although we feel sure there were other sons.)

The parents of 70.1.1 Jeremiah Sparks were 70.1 Thomas and Margaret Sparks. 70.1.3 James and Nancy (Crain) Sparks.