March 10, 2021
Whole Number 136
48. MAHLON SPARKS (1818-1892)
of BEDFORD COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
by Paul E. Sparks
There is yet another man named SPARKS who undoubtedly belonged to the Sparkses of Bedford County, Pennsylvania. He was 48. Mahlon Sparks who was born at Bloody Run (now Everett) in 1818. We have found no early records pertaining to him. He was not mentioned in any of the wills made by persons named SPARKS in early Bedford County. An analysis of the census records in Bedford County indicates that he may have been enumerated in the household of Solomon Sparks (1760 -1838) on the 1820 and 1830 censuses. Many years later in 1880, the census-taker of Livingston County, Missouri, was told (and he recorded on the census) that both of Mahlon Sparks's parents were natives of Maryland.
There seem to be several possibilities as to the parentage of Mahlon Sparks.
1. He may have been a son of Solomon and Rachel Sparks. Both of them were natives of Maryland, and he apparently grew up in their household. On the other hand, Rachel was about 54 years old when Mahlon was born, thus she was past the normal childbearing years. In addition, if Mahlon was a child of Solomon Sparks, would he not have been named in Solomon's will in 1821.
2. He may have been a grandson of Solomon and Rachel. If so, he would have been a son of Abraham, Jonah, Joseph S., or John. As far as we can determine, none of these men had a son who would fit the description of Mahlon Sparks.
3. He may have been a son of one of the daughters of Solomon and Rachel and have taken his mother's maiden name; however, we have found no bit of evidence to support this possibility.
At the present time, we are still puzzled about the identity of the parents of this man. Perhaps a reader can help us solve this puzzle.
Most of the information we have about Mahlon Sparks has come from his Civil War pension file. He was born November 10, 1818, at Bloody Run, Pennsylvania. He became a blacksmith. He is said to have lived in the household of John and Betsey (Disbro) Foor for a while, perhaps after the death of Solomon Sparks in 1838, and it may have been here that he met Mary Catherine Clingerman. They were married on December 8, 1839, by Harry M. Wilt, a justice of the peace. On the marriage record, Wilt wrote that they were both "of age." Mary Catherine was born December 19, 1818, and was orphaned at an early age; she was reared by Jacob and Susanna Foor.
A few months after his marriage, Mahlon Sparks purchased 131 acres of land in Providence Township from Abraham Disbro. The land was a part of a tract called "Mount Hope." When the 1840 census was taken, Mahlon and Mary Catherine lived in West Providence Township, not very far from Jonah Sparks and Abraham Sparks.
On August 3, 1841, Mahlon and Mary Catherine sold "Mount Hope" to John C. Foor. Their family continued to grow, and the fourth son, George Sparks, was born in Bedford County in 1845. by 1848, however, Mahlon had moved his family to Ohio where they settled in Richland County. It was there that the family was listed on the 1850 census (on July 24, 1850). Mahlon's age was given as 35. It was also about this time that Mahlon apparently got "gold fever" and went to California. (The instructions to census takers were to list people who had been members of a household on June 1, 1850, thus Mahlon may have left for California before the census-taker even came to his house.) Mahlon was listed again on the 1850 census of El Dorado County, California, as a miner, 33 years old. When he returned to Ohio from California is not known.
When the 1860 census was taken of Richland County, Ohio, Mahlon and Mary Catherine had seven sons and one daughter. by this time, the clouds of civil war had gathered and Mahlon and his sons were faced with probable military service. Son, John M. Sparks, was the first to go; he joined the 12th Battery of Ohio Light Artillery on June 8, 1861. Mahlon and his son, Henry H. Sparks, then decided to join the Union cause together, and they enlisted on October 1, 1861, in the 64th Regiment Ohio Infantry. Two years later, on May 2, 1864, Mahlon's sons, William W. Sparks and George W. Sparks, enlisted in the 163rd Regiment Ohio Infantry. (See pp. 670-673 of the September 1962 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 39, for brief abstracts of their military service.)
Mahlon Sparks, along with each of his four sons who served in the Civil War, later received pensions based on that service. Abstracts of the papers in their pension files in the National Archives appear in the present issue of the Quarterly, beginning on page 2978.
At the end of the war, Mahlon decided to move further west, and by 1868 he and his family were living in Livingston County, Missouri. It was there that he died on August 26, 1892. Mary Catherine survived him by eight years, dying on May 4, 1900. They were the parents of nine children.
48.1 Wesley William Sparks was born May 6, 1839, in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. He married Lucinda Lindley on April 11, 1861, at Mansfield, Ohio. He served in Company C, 163rd Regiment Ohio Infantry during the Civil War and received a pension for his service. (See the present issue of the Quarterly, page 2983.) He died on May 20, 1926, in Clarinda, Iowa. Lucinda died on or about May 4, 1900. They were the parents of four children.
48.1.1 Charles E. Sparks was born March 23, 1863, in Ohio.
48.1.2 William A. Sparks was born September 1, 1864, in Ohio.
48.1.3 Edgar N. Sparks was born July 9, 1866, in Ohio.
48.1.4 Roy L. Sparks was born June 26, 1872, in Missouri.
48.2 Henry Harrison Sparks was born February 13, 1841, in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. On February 14, 1861, he married Mary E. Miller in Richland County, Ohio. She was born ca. 1841 in Pennsylvania. Henry servied in Company A, 64th Regiment Ohio Infantry during the Civil War and received a pension for his service. (See the present issue of the Quarterly, page 2981.) He moved to Michigan after he returned from the service and settled in Barry County. He died there on February 3, 1913; his wife died there in 1917. They had six children.
48.2.1 Catherine Matilda Sparks was born August 19, 1862, in Ohio.
48.2.2 Phillip H. Sheridan Sparks was born November 2, 1864, in Ohio.
48.2.3 Bertie B. Sparks (son) was born July 30, 1869, in Michigan.
48.2.4 Albert Lorenzo Sparks was born November 29, 1874, in Michigan.
48.2.5 Eleanor ["Nelly"] Sparks was born May 28, 1879, in Michigan.
48.2.6 Ella Sparks was born February 22, 1842, in Michigan. She was a twin to Nelly.
48.3 Joseph Sparks was born February 22, 1842, and died in infancy.
48.4 John M. Sparks was born ca. 1843 in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the 12th Battery Ohio Light Artillery during the Civil War and received a pension for his service (see the present issue of the Quarterly for an abstract of his pension file, page 2982). On April 27, 1865, he married Artia Cirena Lindsey in Richland County, Ohio, by the Rev. J. C. Bright, M. G. John and Artia went to Livingston County, Missouri, after their marriage and settled near the village of Avalon where he was a blacksmith. John died there on September 11, 1903, and Artia died there on August 12, 1917. They had two children.
48.4.1 James E. Sparks was born October 23, 1866.
48.4.2 Zoa O. Sparks was born December 13, 1870.
48.5 George W. Sparks was born November 6, 1845, in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. He served in Company C, 163rd Regiment Ohio National Guards during the Civil War, and he received a pension for his service. (See pp. 2119-20 of the June 1979 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 106, for an abstract of his pension file.) After returning from the service, he accompanied his parents to Missouri where he married Orpha Amelia Scranton in Grundy County on December 27, 1869. They were married by the Rev. Benjamin Lockhart, M.G. Orpha was born March 11, 1840, and she died on April 3, 1898. George married (second) Olive Bender on May 17, 1903. He died in Grundy County on November 2, 1933. He and Orpha had two children.
48.5.1 Minnie Sparks was born April 9, 1871.
48.5.2 Mary Inone Sparks was born Decembr 26, 1873. She married FNU Waddell.
48.6 Martha J. ["Mattie"] Sparks was born ca. 1848 in Ohio. She married Charles C. Scranton on November 20, 1869, in Grundy County by the Rev. T. P. Hales, M. G., of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 48.7 Alfred M. Sparks was born in June 1851 in Ohio. He was 30 years of age and living in the household of his parents when the 1880 census was taken of Livingston County.
48.8 James Clayton Sparks was born ca. 1854 in Richland County, Ohio. He married Helen Beecher Arnold in 1882, probably in Livingston County, Missouri. They had at least three children, all born between 1882 and 1886, according to a descendant. We have learned the name on only one of these children. She was
48.8.1 Flora Sparks, born July 27, 1883, who married Albert Huron Young.
48.9 Sherman Sparks was born ca. 1860 in Ohio. He was 19 years of age and living in the household of his parents when the 1880 census was taken.