January 18, 2020

Pages 2849-2851
Whole Number 133


(Editor's Note: Mrs. Dorothy R. Griffin, 1427 S. Highland Ave., Clearwater, Florida (33516), is searching for additional information about her great-grandfather, Solomon Sparks. She invites correspondence from anyone who can give her help.)

Q. Solomon Sparks was born ca. 1825 in Virginia. Among the death records of persons over age 15 in Carter County, Kentucky, from 1852 to 1859 is the following: "Solomon Sparks, aged 30; died [date not given]; born in Virginia; died at Grassy, Kentucky; parents, Allen and Mary Sparks." Other records indicate that he died in 1856. "Grassy" referred to in the death record was probably the Grassy Fork of Little Sinking Creek in southern Carter County.

We have searched for several years for another record of the parents of Solomon Sparks, but with no success. The given name of "Allen" was a not too uncommon a name, particularly among the Sparkses who left the Wilkes-Surry-Burke Counties area of North Carolina around 1800 and went to the Lee-Scott Counties area of Virginia. There were several Allen Sparkses from this section of North Carolina who were born in the early 1800s.

The first official record we have found of Solomon Sparks is on the 1846 tax list of Carter County where he paid a poll tax that year. (A poll tax was a tax, usually nominal, paid by all white males over the age of 21.) He also paid a poll tax in 1847 and in 1848 in Carter County, but in 1849 he paid a poll tax in Owsley County, Kentucky.

Solomon Sparks did not appear on the 1850 census of any county in Kentucky, but on September 10th of that year, he married Angeline Roister in Greenup County, Kentucky. John Holbrook was his bondsman. Angeline was born ca. 1834 in Kentucky, and she may have been a daughter of John Roister. According to information given on the 1880 census of Greenup County, her father was born in Canada and her mother was born in Kentucky. Her nickname was "Annie," but her surname was also spelled as Reister, Riester, Ryster, and Royster.

A son was born to Solomon and Annie in 1851, and the following year a daughter was born to them. by this time they were living in Owsley County where Solomon paid a poll tax in 1852. There, on Devils Creek, another son was born to them in 1853, but by 1855 Solomon was back in Carter County where he paid taxes that year and again in 1856. In all probability he died that year, for Angeline paid taxes there in 1857.

The circumstances surrounding the death of Solomon Sparks are not known, but a story handed down by his descendants relates that he "ran afoul of the law" and he died in prison. We have found no evidence that the story is true.

After the death of her husband, Annie returned to Greenup County. On the 1860 census, she was listed as a "domestic" in the household of John H. and Sarah Gibbs, aged 61 and 60 years, respectively. Annie's age was given as 25, and with her was a son, John J. Sparks, aged 5. She was still in Greenup County when the 1880 census was taken and was living in the household of her son, John J. Sparks. Their post office was Oldtown. John was now 28 years of age and his wife, Sarah A. Sparks, was 33. Angeline was listed as 57 years of age.

Descendants say that Annie Sparks remarried, and she may have been the Annie Sparks who married Charles W. Allen in Greenup County on December 15, 1893. If this was Angeline Sparks, widow of Solomon, she apparently re-assumed the name of Sparks prior to her death, for on her tombstone in the Mt. Vernon Cemetery near Dickson, West Virginia, her name appears as Annie Riester Sparks.

Solomon and Angeline (Roister) Sparks had three children.

Q.1 John Jefferson ["Jeff"] Sparks was born ca. 1851 in Kentucky. He died on February 20, 1931, in Greenup County. He was married twice. His first wife was Sarah Alice Curry. She was born ca. 1847 in Kentucky and was a daughter of James D. and Lucinda (Eastham) Curry. We have not learned the name of the second wife of Jeff Sparks. by his first wife, he had one child.

Q.1.1 Alanta W. ["Lanty"] Sparks was born August 21, 1880, probably in Wayne County, West Virginia. She married William James Hicks and they had eight children: Owen, George, Joe, Martha, Mary, Anna, Goldie, and Minnie.

Q.2 Elizabeth Sparks was born on February 8, 1852. She married Carter Prince, ca. 1873. He was born October 11, 1847, and was a son of Thomas and Mary (Jacobs) Prince. Carter died on April 3, 1905, and Elizabeth died on Christmas Day in 1928. They lived at Whites Creek, Wayne County, West Virginia.

An interesting story has been handed down through Elizabeth's descendants which may help to explain why so little is known about Solomon and Angeline Sparks. Carter Prince lost his eyesight while still a young man and for this reason, he and Elizabeth moved to Whites Creek. They lost touch with Elizabeth's mother and her brother, Jeff Sparks. One day in 1884, a drummer (traveling salesman) came by selling Wonder of the World Liniment and told Elizabeth that he knew a man named Jeff Sparks in Ceredo, West Virginia, just about fifteen miles away, and so Elizabeth and Jeff were brought together again. He brought their mother to see Elizabeth, and she lived with her daughter for several years.

Carter and Elizabeth (Sparks) Prince had ten children.

Q.2.1 Emma Prince was born April 24, 1874. She died in 1960. She married William P. Thompson and they had six children:

Q.2.1.1 Herbert Thompson,
Q.2.1.2 Roy Thompson,
Q.2.1.3 Margie Thompson,
Q.2.1.4 Rosella Thompson,
Q.2.1.5 Ethel Thompson, and
Q.2.1.6 Juanita Thompson.

Q.2.2 Nora Prince married Sherd Mullins of Shoals, West Virginia. She died on May 2, 1964. She and Sherd had six children:

Q.2.2.1 Lloyd Mullins,
Q.2.2.2 Dorothy Mullins,
Q.2.2.3 Usten Mullins,
Q.2.2.4 Curtis Mullins,
Q.2.2.5 Ralph Mullins, and
Q.2.2.6 Donald Mullins.

Q.2.3 Hearsten Prince married Modena Hutchinson in Wayne County, West Virginia. He died in 1923. He and Modena had three children:

Q.2.3.1 Floyd Prince,
Q.2.3.2 Anso Prince (daughter), and
Q.2.3.3 Charles Prince.

Q.2.4 George Prince married Ellen Ray. He died on New Year's Day in 1936. He and Ellen had five children:

Q.2.4.1 Dorothy Prince, who married Fred Griffin and who has been so helpful in the preparation of this query.
Q.2.4.2 Faye Prince,
Q.2.4.3 Earl Prince,
Q.2.4.4 Paul Prince, and
Q.2.4.5 Marie Prince.

Q.2.5 Anna Prince married Howard Woodburn. She died on February 7, 1965. They had six children: Loyzelle, Mildred, Iva, Mabel, Donald, and Harold.

[Note: An error was made in the above item. We do not know whether Anna Prince ever had any children; because of a typing error, six children were listed after her name. These children belonged to Anna's sister, Alice Prince. Anna Prince died in May 1966.]

Q.2.6 Alice Prince married Ed McComas. She died on February 7, 1965. They had six children:

Q.2.6.1 Loyzelle McComas,
Q.2.6.2 Mildred McComas,
Q.2.6.3 Iva McComas,
Q.2.6.4 Mabel McComas,
Q.2.6.5 Donald McComas, and
Q.2.6.6 Harold McComas.

Q.2.7 Ross Prince was born April 14, 1885, and he died on September 20, 1963. He married Mary Irby. They had no children.

Q.2.8 John Prince died when quite young.

Q.2.9 Ella Prince married Hamilton Spence and they had seven children:

Q.2.9.1 Sarah Spence,
Q.2.9.2 Minvel Spence (son),
Q.2.9.3 John Spence,
Q.2.9.4 Charles Spence,
Q.2.9.5 Donald Spence,
Q.2.9.6 Wilmer Spence(son), and
Q.2.9.7 Richard Spence.

Q.3 Andrew Jackson Sparks was born on October 30, 1853, in Owsley County, Kentucky. He died when quite young.