April 20, 2021

Pages 2811
Whole Number 132

1843 -1915 1848 -1910
(Picture) (Picture) William Palmer Sparks, son of Hamlet Sparks and Elizabeth (Cheeseman) Sparks, and Anna Minerva Harding, daughter of Ransom and Nancy Caroline (Mitchell) Harding, were married at Moores Hill, Indiana, on October 13, 1866. The above photographs, which have been reproduced from the original tintypes owned by Kathryn M. Jennings, were taken at the time of their wedding.

The photographs appearing on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly are of William Palmer Sparks and his wife, Anna Minerva (Harding) Sparks. An abstract of his Civil War pension application file in the National Archives begins on page 2812.

We are indebted to Kathryn M. Jennings for the use of these photographs, which have been reproduced from the original tintypes dating from ca. 1866, the year in which William Palmer Sparks and Anna Minerva Harding were married at Moore's Hill, Dearborn County, Indiana. Mrs. Jennings reports that the original tintypes, measuring one and one-eighth inches in diameter, are in metal frames. "They are fragile; the one of Ann Minerva has (been)chipping and cracking which shows in the print, although her features are recognizable." William Palmer Sparks was born April 1, 1843, at Greenburg, Indiana; he was a son of Hamlet and Elizabeth (Cheesman [or Chisman]) Sparks, and a grandson of Elijah and Elizabeth (Weaver) Sparks. He died on April 15, 1915, at Ida Grove, Iowa, at the home of his daughter, Dorothy. His wife, Anna Minerva Harding, was born August 13, 1848, at New Marion, Indiana. She was a daughter of Ransom and Nancy Caroline (Mitchell) Harding; she died on May 10, 1910, at Grant City, Missouri. A record of this branch of the Sparks family appeared in the June 1973 Quarterly, Whole No. 82, pp. 1555-75. A record of the children of William Palmer and Anna Minerva (Harding) Sparks appeared on pages 1565-6.

The cameo that Anna Minerva (Harding) Sparks was wearing when this photograph was taken is now owned by a great-great-granddaughter, Diane Jennings. It was given to her by Ernestine Seiter, a granddaughter of Anna Minerva. Mrs. Seiter has provided an interesting account of how this brooch was nearly destroyed.

"As an evidence of the vagaries of family members with respect to cherishing family mementoes, I offer this story of the brooch which my grandmother is wearing at her throat in this picture: The youngest child in the family of Wm. Palmer and Minerva Harding Sparks had in her possession some of the keepsakes of her parents. One day she found on the floor of the garage the twisted and broken gold setting for this beautiful shell cameo, with its delicately engraved figures. She found that one of her daughters had pried the cameo out of its frame and had attempted to put in its place the picture of her boy friend. The cameo was also left on the garage floor."

"Years later my aunt gave me the cameo and its broken frame. I had a duplicate setting made for the cameo and gave the restored piece to the daughter of Kathryn Jennings, who treasures it."