April 12, 2021

Pages 2790-2791
Whole Number 131


(Editor's Note: The boundaries of Denton County, Texas, appear to have remained the same since it was formed in 1846 from Fannin County. From its formation until ca. 1880, four different branches of the SPARKS family lived there. As far as we can determine, they were not related. We are also not sure that they even knew each other, although it seems evident that all of them settled in the same general area along the Trinity River. We present these brief profiles, prepared by Dr. Paul E. Sparks, in the belief that they will be of help to a number of our readers.)

1. James Lewis Sparks (1828 -1905). He and his two brothers, Jesse Isaac Sparks and William Sparks, came to Denton County ca. 1853. They were sons of William and Emmaline (Hyde) Sparks who had left Greenup County, Kentucky, ca. 1840 and had moved to Buchanan County, Missouri. James Lewis Sparks married (first) Mary Barbara Emerling, ca. 1855 in Denton County. They lived on Elm Fork of Trinity River, near the village of Lewisville where they were listed on the 1860, 1870, and 1880 censuses. (See pages 76-77 of the June 1955 issue of the Quarterly Whole No. 10, for further details of this family.)

2. Marquis de Lafayette Sparks (1830 -1915). He was a son of Samuel and Rebecca (Hudson) Sparks of Decatur County, Tennessee. He married Martha A. MNU in Wayne County, Tennessee, in 1851. They moved to Denton County ca. 1871 where their family was listed on the 1880 census. (See pages 2242-49 of the December 1980 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 112, for further details of this family.)

3. William Monroe Sparks (1846 -1893). He was a son of William and Emiline (Moore) Sparks of McNairy County, Tennessee. He married Frances Elizabeth Gatewood in 1864 in Prairie County, Arkansas, and in 1874 they moved to Denton County where they settled in the village of Lewisville. They were listed on the 1880 census of Denton County. (See pages 373-74 of the March 1959 issue and pages 790-807 of the March 1964 issue of the Quarterly, Whole Nos. 25 and 45, respectively, for further details of this family.)

4. Robert Thomas Sparks (1848 -1925). He was a son of John Stephen and Elizabeth Jane (Levi) Sparks. His father (commonly called Stephen) was killed in the Battle of Shiloh, Mississippi, in 1862 and his mother moved the family to Howell County, Missouri, after the close of the war. It was there that Robert married Amanda Caroline Collins in 1876, and shortly afterwards moved to Denton County where they appeared on the 1880 census. Amanda died in 1888 and Robert married (second) her sister, Ruth Isabel Collins. (See page 718 of the March 1963 issue; page 1144 of the June 1968 issue; and pages 2490-95 and page 2497 of the March 1983 issue of the Quarterly, Whole Nos. 41, 62, and 121, respectively, for further details on this family.)

To complicate matters further, during this same period of time, three other men named Sparks were involved in land transactions in Denton County. James Hawkins Sparks of McLennan County, Texas, a son of Richard and Elizabeth (Cooper) Sparks. owned a 1280-acre tract in 1858 on Hickory Creek, a tributary of Elm Fork of Trinity River. He sold 426 acres to J. A. Black in March 1858 and the remaining 854 acres to his brother, Stephen Franklin Sparks, of McLennan County, Texas, the following July. Several years later, Stephen Sparks sold the tract to his daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Rogers. (See the June 1985 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 130, page 2747, for further information on James Hawkins Sparks and the present issue, pages 2768-71, for further information on Stephen Franklin Sparks.)

The third person named Sparks who lived in Denton County, Texas, in the 1800s was a William Sparks who, on September 9, 1862, with his wife, Sarah, sold a 160-acre tract on Elm Fork of Trinity River to Scott & Goff of Bourbon County, Kentucky. There appears to be no record to prove any relationship of these Sparkses to the other men named Sparks enumerated above.