June 25, 2019

Pages 2930
Whole Number 135 WILLIAM JASPER SPARKS, 1838-1908

In the Quarterly of December 1979, Whole No. 108, and that of the March 1980, Whole No. 109 (pp. 2152-66 & 2178-89), we provided a record entitled "Descendants of 17.2.7 Josiah A. Sparks (1761-1841) of Adair County, Kentucky," by Paul E. Sparks.

On pp. 2180-81, was included a sketch of the life of William Jasper Sparks, son of Josiah and Anna (Gilkey) Sparks. Born in Adair County, Kentucky, on January 17, 1838, William Jasper Sparks moved with his parents to southwest Missouri when he was a small boy, and it was there in January 1857 that he married Eliza Jane Duncan in McDonald County. Eliza Jane died on September 5, 1885, in Jasper County, Missouri, following the birth of her 12th child. In 1889, William Jasper Sparks moved to the new state of Montana, settling at Kalispell, Flathead County, where he married (second) Elizabeth A. (Smiley) Lampton. He died on February 17, 1908. A great-great-grandson of William Jasper Sparks, Alan R. Keeling of Austin, Texas, recently found an obituary of Sparks that had appeared in the Kalispell Weekly InterLake of February 21, 1908. We are pleased to publish this obituary as follows:

William J. Sparks, one of the oldest and best known residents of the county, died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Fred Lampton, at Eureka. Mr. Sparks had recently gone from the valley to live with his daughter, and in moving his furniture at Eureka ruptured a blood vessel, which resulted in his death.

Mr. Sparks was one of the pioneer settlers of the valley, and he had taken an active part in politics and in all public affairs. In the early days he was elected to the legislature as a populist, and served one term. With the decline of the populist party, he allied himself with the democrats, and in late years has been a prominent figure in the party conventions. He was seventy years old, and of late years his health has been gradually failing, which caused him to go to Eureka to be with his daughter.

He was a man of positive convictions, and in his advocacy of them he was at times inclined to be impatient with those who viewed things differently, but he was of unblemished character, and of the stuff from which good citizens are made.

The body was brought to Kalispell, and the funeral occurred yesterday afternoon from the Presbyterian church, the funeral address being delivered by Rev. Geo. McVey Fisher, his friend and acquaintance from the early days.

Alan Keeling, who provided us with the above obituary, descends from the daughter of William J. and Eliza Jane (Duncan) Sparks named Mary Elizabeth. She was born on November 7, 1870, in Sarcoxie, Jasper County, Missouri, and died on April 26, 1932, in Colfax, Whitman County, Washington. She married George Pleasant Keeling in Carthage, Jasper County, Missouri, on December 24, 1889. He was born on September 11, 1866, and died on September 1, 1948. They had three children: Orval, Roy, and Ruth.

Mr. Keeling believes that the "Mrs. Fred Lampton" mentioned in the above obituary was actually a daughter-in-law of William J. Sparks rather than his daughter.