April 8, 2018

Pages 3042-3056
Whole Number 138

65. THOMAS SPARKS
OF EARLY LAWRENCE AND WALKER COUNTIES, ALABAMA

by Paul E. Sparks



(Editor's Note: We believe that our readers will find the reproductions of family photographs included in this article to be especially interesting. We are grateful to the following persons for sharing with us the original photographs from which these reproductions have been made: Sylvia J. Corry, Elaine Maxey, and Eugenia Messick. )

Thomas Sparks was born between 1790 and 1800, according to census records, and we have placed his probable year of birth as 1795. We have not learned where he was born, but there is a family tradition that he was born in Union County, South Carolina, and came to Alabama by way of Tennessee. He married Rutha White, ca. 1815. According to census records, she was born ca. 1799 in either Virginia or Tennessee.

There are a few clues that tend to place Thomas Sparks as a descendant of the Sparkses who went from Maryland to Pittsylvania County, Virginia, ca. 1775. Some members of this branch of the family went to Union and Spartanburg Counties, South Carolina. These Sparkses used the given names of Thomas and Samuel quite frequently. See the September 1955 and March 1956 issues of The Sparks Quarterly, Whole Nos. 11 and 13, respectively.

Another family that apparently went to Lawrence County, Alabama, at about the same time as did the family of Thomas Sparks was that of James Matlock Kitchen. (See Item B, below) He was born in Jefferson County, Tennessee, on the French Broad River near Dandridge on August 7, 1796. This is the same area where Sparkses from Pittsylvania County, Virginia, settled ca. 1800.

Thomas and Rutha Sparks came to Alabama probably when it was still a territory, and they settled in that portion which became Lawrence County in 1818. There, Thomas was a justice of the peace in 1824, 1825, 1828, and 1829. He was also listed on the 1830 census of Lawrence County and was a trustee of the Female Academy there in 1837. He apparently died sometime between 1838 and 1840, for on the latter census, Rutha was listed as head of her household. Descendants say that Thomas was buried near Moulton, Alabama.

Rutha Sparks was still head of her household when the 1850 census was taken of Lawrence County, but in 1856 she received a federal land grant (signed by President James Buchanan) which she homesteaded in Walker County, Alabama. It was located in Section 14, Township 14, Range 8 West. She moved there with her youngest son, Eli, and when the 1860 census was taken, she was living with him and his bride, Mary Catherine Sparks. Rutha Sparks died in 1873 and was buried in the Kings Chapel Churchyard at the village of Hillard, Alabama. (A photograph of her tombstone appears below.)

From census and family records, it seems apparent that Thomas and Rutha (White) Sparks were the parents of nine children, eight sons and one daughter. They were:

65.1 James Sparks 65.6 Thomas W. Sparks
65.2 Samuel Sparks 65.7 John C. Sparks
65.3 William Sparks 65.8 Stephen Green Sparks
65.4 Nancy Sparks 65.9 Eli Allen Sparks
65.5 Elijah Sparks  

65.1 James Sparks, son of 65. Thomas and Rutha (White) Sparks, was born April 11, 1816, in Alabama Territory. He became a farmer, but he was also a preacher in the Baptist Church. It is said that he broke away from the Stone Baptist Church at Belgreen, Alabama, because of a difference of opinion about secret organizations, such as the Masonic Lodge of which he was a member. In spite of this difference, however, he spent most of his life serving in the pulpits of Baptist churches in northwestern Alabama and northeastern Mississippi.

James Sparks was married three times, but we have found records of only two of them. His first marriage was to Rebecca ["Becky"] Thompson on March 20, 1834, in Lawrence County, Alabama. She was born ca. 1813 in Alabama Territory. When the 1840 census was taken of Lawrence County, James and Becky had one child, a daughter, born between 1835 and 1840. They were in Franklin County, Alabama, when the 1850 census was taken. On that census, James was listed as 36 years of age and born in Alabama; Becky was listed as 37 years of age and also born in Alabama; and they had two children, Ellen, aged 12, and Andrew J., aged one year.

The Rev. James Sparks, 1816-1904
(Picture)
Margaret (Dulaney) Sparks
(Picture)

Rebecca (Thompson) Sparks apparently died sometime between 1850 and 1857, for on February 17, 1857, James Sparks married Rhoda Dulaney in Itawamba County, Mississippi. She died about six months after they were married, and James then married Margaret Dulaney, ca. 1858. She was born in January 1836 in Alabama and was a sister of James's second wife, Rhoda Dulaney. When the 1860 census was taken of Marion County, Alabama, James and Margaret Sparks had two children living with them, James Sparks, aged 10, and John Sparks, aged one year. James Sparks's occupation was given as "O.S.B. Clergyman," meaning "Old School Baptist Clergyman."

James and Margaret Sparks were back in Franklin County, Alabama, when the 1870 census was taken. He was listed as 53 years of age, and Margaret was aged 34. With them were three children: John S. Sparks, 10; Alice Sparks, 6; and Lutecia Sparks, 2.

The last census record we have found of James and Margaret Sparks is the 1900 census of Prentiss County, Mississippi. James's age was given as 83 years and his birthplace was given as Tennessee. Margaret's age was given as 63 and she was born in Mississippi. With them was their 15-yearold son, Reuben Sparks. Also living in the household was Sarah Gunn, probably a sister-in-law of James Sparks.

James Sparks died on March 11, 1904, in Prentiss County, Mississippi. Margaret died ca. 1911 according to descendants. They were buried in the Friendship Cemetery in Prentiss County, Mississippi, near the Tishimingo County line. James's tombstone bears the emblem of the Masonic Lodge and his name is preceded by the title "Rev. " He was the father of at least ten children.

65.1.1 Elizabeth Ellen Sparks, daughter of James and Becky (Thompson) Sparks, was born March 16, 1838, in Franklin County, Alabama. She married John Wiley Stell, ca. 1862. He was born April 19, 1833. Ellen (as she was called) died on November 25, 1914, in Boonesville, Mississippi. John died on March 22, 1923. They had six children.
65.1.1. James F. Stell was born in 1863.
65.1.1. John Dennis Stell was born November 30, 1864. He died in 1930. He married Louisa Adeline Ables.
65.1.1. William C. Stell was born in 1868.
65.1.1. Thomas Stell was born in 1869.
65.1.1. Rutha Stell was born in 1871.
65.1.1. George W. Stell was born in 1879.
65.1.2 Andrew James Sparks was born ca. 1849 in Franklin County, Alabama. He was eleven years old and living in the household of his father when the 1860 census was taken of Marion County, Alabama. Relatives say that he was married more than one time, and apparently his last marriage was to Alice Bogart on November 27, 1910, in Dewey County, Oklahoma. We have no further information about him.

65.1.3 John Samuel Sparks, son of James and Margaret (Dulaney) Sparks, was born April 14, 1859, in Alabama. Some descendants say that he was born in Corinth, Mississippi, and that his middle name was "Stanley." On the birth certificates of two of his daughters, made many years after their actual births, his name was given as John Samuel Sparks, and we are inclined to agree with these.

John Samuel Sparks was probably about twenty years old when he married Fannie Lou Hallman ca. 1879. (At least one descendant says that her name was Lou Fannie Holman.) She was born in Franklin County, Alabama, on June 10, 1857. Sometime between 1894 and 1898, she and John moved to Texas where they settled near the village of Thalia in newly-formed Foard County near the Oklahoma Territory. It was probably there that John Samuel Sparks received a call to the ministry, and he was ordained a minister at a council of Baptist churches which convened at the Oak Grove Baptist Church at Burleson, Oklahoma, on October 15, 1899.

John was the pastor of the First Baptist Church at Electra, Texas, in 1909, but the following year he moved to Texmo, Oklahoma. This village disappeared the following year when a railroad failed to materialize, and most of the inhabitants moved quickly to the nearby village of Leedey. It was at Leedey that his wife, Fannie Lou, died on June 28, 1913, after she had been struck by lightening. Their son, John, who was helping his mother round up some chickens during a storm, was also shocked, but he recovered.

Fannie Lou Sparks was buried in the Leedey Cemetery. The following year, John became pastor of the church at Lenora, Oklahoma, and in 1916, he became pastor of the church at Taloga, Oklahoma. He died on February 20, 1918, and was buried beside his wife in the Leedey Cemetery. He and Fannie Lou were the parents of nine children.

Photograph of the John Samuel Sparks family
Taken ca. 1900
(Front Row, left to right, seated) Fannie Lou (Hallman) Sparks, Fannie Sparks, John Samuel Sparks, J. Angelo Sparks.
(Back Row, left to right, standing) Edith Sparks, Jennie Sparks, Tina Sparks, James David Sparks, John Howard Sparks
(Picture)

Children of John Samuel and Fannie Lou (Hallman) Sparks:
65.1.3.1 Edith Cederia Sparks was born December 29, 1880. She died on February 21, 1975. She married Samuel Milwee Lewis, and they had five children:Janie Lou Lewis, Rubye Lewis, Richard Henry Lewis, Martha Lewis, and Fannie Holley Lewis.

65.1.3.2 James David Sparks was born February 18, 1883, in Alabama. He was a farmer and also a miner. On June 28, 1901, he married Lucy Ozella Bruce in Johnson County, Texas. She was born March 15, 1879, in Somervell County, Tesas. She and James David had five children (all sons) before her death on January 15, 1925. After her death, James married Marian Sparks Phelps. They are said to have had two children, Cleo and Jack. James David Sparks died on June 28, 1966, in Wyoming. His children were:

65.1.3.2.1 Vertie Sparks,
65.1.3.2.2 Simmons Sparks,
65.1.3.2.3 Tobe Sparks,
65.1.3.2.4 James D. ["Dee"] Sparks,
65.1.3.2.5 Aubrey Sparks,
65.1.3.2.6 Cleo Sparks, and
65.1.3.2.7 Jack Sparks.

65.1.3.3 J. Angelo Sparks was born ca. 1885. He was accidentally killed by a gunshot while returning from a hunting trip in 1901, at the age of sixteen. He was buried at Glen Rose, Texas.

65.1.3.4 Jennie Cordelia Sparks was born 3 February 1888, at Booneville, Mississippi. On March 25, 1905, she married William Austin Beazley by her father. William was born in 1884 and died in 1962. Jennie married (second) N. E. Beck in 1971. She died on November 17, 1973. by her first marriage, she had seven children: Katherine Beazley, William Earl Beazley, John Beazley, Irma Lou Beazley, Frances Beazley, Alva Wood Beazley, and Ruby Faye Beazley.

65.1.3.5 John Howard Sparks was born October 5, 1890. He died on June 24, 1942. He married Gertrue [sic] Hughes Simmons, and they had at least three children:

65.1.3.5.1 James David Sparks,
65.1.3.5.2 John Sparks, and
65.1.3.5.3 Fern Sparks.

65.1.3.6 Fannie Ann Sparks was born January 11, 1893, in Marion County, Alabama. Many years later, on February 25, 1944, she was issued a "Delayed Certificate of Birth" by the Alabama State Department of Health which was based upon a Bible record in the possession of her sister, Edith (Sparks) Lewis. According to this record, Fannie's parents were John Samuel Sparks, born in Mississippi, and Fannie Lue Hallman, born in Georgia.

Fannie Ann Sparks became a school teacher. On July 31, 1933, she married Frank Ratliff in Cooke County, Texas. She died in December 1977. She and Frank had no children; however, her sisters, Olah and Lolah, lived with her until their deaths.

65.1.3.7 Mary Hazel ["Tina"] Sparks was born July 21, 1894, in Franklin County, Alabama. She married Joe Cantero at Leedey, Oklahoma, on August 7, 1911. He was born in October 1889 in Cuba. Tina died on November 21, 1952, at Weatherford, Oklahoma, and Joe died in June 1984 at Henryetta, Oklahoma. They had five children: Frank Cantero, Ralph Cantero, Kenneth Delbert Cantero, Nancy Lee Cantero, and Lolah Cantero.

65.1.3.8 Olah Sparks was born January 24, 1898, probably in Texas. She lost her hearing when she was about four years old after taking a drug for a childhood disease. The "cure" is said to have "burned her ears up." She never married and died on February 3, 1934. She always lived with her sister, Lolah, and they attended a school for the deaf in Sulphur, Oklahoma.

65.1.3.9 Lolah Sparks was born April 15, 1900. She had the same childhood disease as did her sister, Olah, and the "cure" also left her deaf. She is said to have been a very pretty girl, and she married Millard Boatman, who was also deaf and dumb. They had no children. Lolah died on July 16, 1933.

65.1.4 Alice McWhorter Sparks, daughter of James and Margaret (Dulaney) Sparks, was born December 5, 1864. She married FNU Trent, and they lived in Ida Bell, Oklahoma. Alice died there on November 20, 1936.

65.1.5 Daniel Sparks was born in February 1867 in Alabama. He married Bettie B. LNU, ca. 1887, and when the 1900 census was taken of Prentiss County, Mississippi, they had six children. They may have had other children born to them later.

65.1.5.1 Mollie A. Sparks was born in August 1888.
65.1.5.2 Lucy Q. Sparks was born in April 1892.
65.1.5.3 James A. Sparks was born in August 1893.
65.1.5.4 Walter Sparks was born in February 1895.
65.1.5.5 James W. Sparks was born in July 1896.
65.1.5.6 Minnie Sparks was born in December 1898.
65.1.6 Lutechia ["Tish"] Sparks was born in December 1869, in Alabama. She married Jordan S. Tipton in 1896. He was born in November 1858 in Mississippi and was a son of William J. Tipton. When the 1900 census was taken of Prentiss County, Mississippi, Tish and Jordan Tipton had four children; others many have been born to them later.
65.1.6.1 Carrie A. Tipton was born in April 1888.
65.1.6.2 Fannie L. Tipton was born in October 1889.
65.1.6.3 Sarah M. Tipton was born in March 1893.
65.1.6.4 James W. Tipton was born in September 1895.
65.1.7 Vincent ["Vince"] Sparks was born ca. 1871.

65.1.8 Sarah ["Sallie"] Sparks was born in February 1875. She married Harry Robinson, and they lived in Oklahoma. She died in 1903 at Antlers, Oklahoma. They had two children.

65.1.8.1 Alice Lou Robinson was born in 1894.
65.1.8.2 Zena Robinson was born in January 1895 and died at an early age.
65.1.9 Angelo Sparks was born ca. 1878.
65.1.10 Fannie Sparks was born ca. 1880. She is said to have married FNU Stidham.
65.1.11 Reuben Sparks was born March 7, 1882. He died on June 11, 1968, and was buried in the Belmont Cemetery in Tishimingo County, Mississippi.

65.2 Samuel Sparks was born ca. 1818 in Alabama Territory. He married Frances Kitchens ca. 1841 in Alabama. She was born ca. 1823 in Alabama and was a daughter of James Matlock and Sarah (Brown) Kitchens (James Matlock Kitchens was born August 7, 1796, on the French Broad River near Dandridge, Jefferson County, Tennessee. He and his wife were charter members of the Sulphur Springs Primitive Baptist Church in Walker Countv, Alabama.)

Samuel and Frances went to housekeeping in Walker County, and they were listed there on the 1850 and the 1860 censuses. He was a farmer. He died there ca. 1867, near Carbon Hill, Alabama, according to a descendant. We have found no record of the death of Frances (Kitchens) Sparks. She and Samuel had eight children:

65.2.1 Mary Sparks was born ca. 1842 in Alabama.

65.2.2 Thomas J. Sparks was born ca. 1845 in Alabama. During the summer of 1863, he enlisted in Capt. Kelley's Company of P. D. Roddy's Command of the Confederate States Army. After serving in that company for a short period of time, he (with others) left and went to Corinth, Mississippi, where they enlisted in Company H of the 1st Alabama Cavalry and Co. H of the 7th Regiment of Illinois Cavalry of the Union Army. An abstract of the papers pertaining to his pension will be published in the future.

After the war ended, Thomas J. Sparks returned to Walker County where he married Mary J. Shirley on January 8, 1867. They had four children before his death on July 24, 1874, at Kansas, Alabama. After his death, his widow, Mary (Shirley) Sparks, married 65.2.4 John W. Sparks, brother of Thomas J. Sparks, on February 14, 1875. She died on November 9, 1878. She and Thomas J. Sparks had four children.

65.2.2.1 Mary F. Sparks was born November 10, 1867.
65.2.2.2 Samuel Shirley Sparks was born January 8, 1869.
65.2.2.3 Sarah L. M. Sparks was born February 18, 1871. She married R. B. Castlebury on July 11, 1885, in Fayette County, Alabama.
65.2.2.4 Thomas Jesse Sparks was born December 30, 1872.

THE FAMILY OF
James M. and Martha Jane (Roberts) Sparks
(Picture)

65.2.3 James M. Sparks was born ca. 1847 in Alabama. He married Martha Jane (Roberts) Webb ca. 1871. She was born ca. 1849 and was a daughter of John and Elizabeth Roberts. She was also a widow with two small sons, George Webb and William Webb.

About 1884, James and Martha Jane moved their growing family to Prentiss County, Mississippi, where they settled near the village of New Site. There, James became a successful farmer. It is said that he developed a watermelon (called the "Sparks Melon") which is still prized in this area of Mississippi for its tenderness and superb flavor, and the descendants of his scuppernong grape cuttings are still growing in the orchards and gardens of his descendants.

James M. Sparks died in 1908. Martha Jane died in 1925. They were buried in the Old Friendship Cemetery near Bay Springs, Mississippi. Both of them were members of the Primitive Baptist Church. They were the parents of nine children. A photograph of this family appears on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly.

65.2.3.1 John S. Sparks was born in November 1873. He was a school teacher. He died, unmarried, in 1898.

65.2.3.2 James Thomas ["Jim Tom"] Sparks was born in December 1876. In 1893, he married Sallie O. Cunningham. She was born in 1878 and died in 1940. Jim Tom died in 1948. They had twelve children, including an unnamed daughter who died at birth. The other eleven children were:

65.2.3.2.1 John A. Sparks,
65.2.3.2.2 Maggie Lou Sparks,
65.2.3.2.3 Thomas B. Sparks,
65.2.3.2.4 Gulmer S. Sparks,
65.2.3.2.5 Charles A. Sparks,
65.2.3.2.6 J. Oliver Sparks,
65.2.3.2.7 Author E. Sparks,
65.2.3.2.8 Ruth E. Sparks,
65.2.3.2.9 Sally J. Sparks,
65.2.3.2.10 Jesse P. Sparks, and
65.2.3.2.11 William Sparks.

65.2.3.3 Abraham Green ["Abe"] Sparks was born in August 1878. He was a farmer and was a farm supervisor of the Fourth District of Prentiss County, Mississippi, for several years. He was married twice. His first marriage was to Missouri Wheeler who died in 1912. His second marriage was to Belva Sanders by whom he had four children. He died in 1937. His children were:

65.2.3.3.1 Missouri B. Sparks,
65.2.3.3.2 Mozelle Sparks,
65.2.3.3.3 Janie Mae Sparks, and
65.2.3.3.4 Eunelle Sparks.

65.2.3.4 Arthur Eli Sparks was born in January 1880, and he died in 1945. He was a farmer and also a teacher. He married Etta Eugenia Lee in 1903 and they had five children before her death in 1914. They were:

65.2.3.4.1 Jesse Ray Sparks
65.2.3.4.2 Besse May Sparks (twins),
65.2.3.4.3 Jewel Sparks,
65.2.3.4.4 Anna Lee Sparks, and
65.2.3.4.5 Mary Etta Sparks.

Arthur Sparks married (second) Lou Alma McCoy by whom he had two sons,

65.2.3.4.6 James William Sparks and
65.2.3.4.7 Arthur Bernard Sparks.

65.2.3.5 Jeremiah Shelton ["Jerry"] Sparks was born in October 1882, and he died in 1916. Like his brother, Arthur, he was a farmer and a teacher. He married Mattie Taylor, and they had two children,

65.2.3.5.1 J. C. Sparks(a son) and
65.2.3.5.2 Ida Lee Sparks.

65.2.3.6 Isaac M. Sparks was born in August 1884. He died the following year.
65.2.3.7 Martha L. Sparks was born in September 1886 and died in 1887.

65.2.3.8 Charles Ryan Sparks was born in June 1889. He died in 1951. He married Pearl Holley and they had four children, including an unnamed son who died at birth. The other three were

65.2.3.8.1 Fairy Quay Sparks,
65.2.3.8.2 Evelyn Estelle Sparks, and
65.2.3.8.3 Charles Holley Sparks.

65.2.3.9 Jesse L. Sparks was born in October 1891. He died in 1964. He married Maggie Bonds and they had three children:

65.2.3.9.1 Forrest Sparks (a daughter),
65.2.3.9.2 Nona Faye Sparks, and
65.2.3.9.3 John Lyle Sparks.

65.2.4 John W. Sparks was born December 10, 1850. He was married twice. His first marriage was to Mary E. (Shirley) Sparks, widow of his brother, 65.2.2 Thomas J. Sparks. (See above.) They had three children born to them before Mary died on November 9, 1878. John married (second) Grissia Jane Castlebury on March 4, 1880, in Fayette County, Alabama. She was born September 11, 1861, and was a daughter of Solomon Castlebury. John Sparks died on March 11, 1890, and Grissia died on April 27, 1892. He was the father of seven children.

65.2.4.1 William Angelo Sparks was born November 12, 1875, at Carbon Hill, Alabama. He served in the United States Army during the Spanish-American War and received a pension for his service. (See page 2037 of the September 1978 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 103, for an abstract of his pension file.) After he returned from the service, he studied medicine and became a physician. He died on March 29, 1940. William Sparks married Vera Mae McCollum on February 28, 1910. She was born February 6, 1889, in South Carolina and died on December 5, 1972. She and William had three children:

65.2.4.1.1 William D. Sparks,
65.2.4.1.2 Vera M. Sparks, and
65.2.4.1.3 James Sparks.

65.2.4.2 Miranda Sparks was born ca. 1877.
65.2.4.3 Lucinda Sparks was born ca. 1878.

by second wife:

65.2.4.4 James Solomon Sparks was born November 14, 1880. He died on January 28, 1927. He married Florence Armeta Dorcas Lackey.
65.2.4.5 Frances Sparks was born ca. 1882.
65.2.4.6 John D. Sparks was born October 3, 1884. He died on June 16, 1967.
65.2.4.7 Matilda Sparks was born in 1886.

65.2.5 Samuel Eli Sparks was born ca. 1856 in Walker County, Alabama. It was there that he married A. Zoda Leith on February 21, 1878. She was born ca. 1856 and was a daughter of Mitchell P. and Sisiline (Chilton) Leith. Samuel Eli Sparks died in 1915 and Zoda died in 1939. They were the parents of eleven children, nine who lived to adulthood.
65.2.5.1 Elizabeth ["Anna"] Sparks was born in 1879.

65.2.5.2 William Shelton ["Will"] Sparks was born in 1881. He was a member of the Alabama State Legislature and was also mayor of the town of Kansas, Alabama, for many years. He married Eula Lee Tesney in 1905, and they had five children:

65.2.5.2.1 William Howard Sparks,
65.2.5.2.2 Rudolph Sparks,
65.2.5.2.3 Everett Lee Sparks,
65.2.5.2.4 Glenn Tesney Sparks, and
65.2.5.2.5 Ruth Ann Sparks.

65.2.5.3 Whitt Sparks was born 6 February 1884, at Carbon Hill, Alabama. He married Vera Smith on October 21, 1926, and they had at least one child, 65.2.5.3.1 Samuel Robert Sparks, born at Fayette, Alabama, on December 24, 1928. Whitt Sparks died on October 1, 1948.

65.2.5.4 May Sparks was born in 1886.
65.2.5.5 Mary Sparks was born in 1889.
65.2.5.6 Idar (or Ider) Sparks was born in 1892.
65.2.5.7 Luther Sparks was born in 1894.
65.2.5.8 James Sparks was born in 1896.
65.2.5.9 Curtis J. Sparks was born in 1900.

65.2.6 Rutha T. Sparks was born in August 1859. She is said to have married FNU Shaw.
65.2.7 Margaret Sparks was born ca. 1864.
65.2.8 William Sparks was born ca. 1867.

65.3 William ["Bill"] Sparks was born March 31, 1821, in Alabama. On September 12, 1845, he married Elvira Hogan in Lawrence County, Alabama. She was born in 1825 in Alabama, and was a daughter of Richard Hogan. She and Bill lived for a while on her share of her father's estate, but later they moved to a new location near Eldridge, Alabama, where Bill was a farmer. He died on July 27, 1893, and was buried in the Tucker Family Cemetery in Fayette County, Alabama. Elvira died on August 13, 1897, and was buried beside him. According to census records, they had two children in 1850, and in all probability there were other children born to them after 1850.

65.3.1 Richard Sparks was born ca. 1846.
65.3.2 Elizabeth Sparks was born ca. 1848.

65.4 Nancy Sparks was born ca. 1823 in Alabama. She married Drury McVay in 1845 in Lawrence County, Alabama, and when the 1850 census was taken, she and Drury were living in a household adjacent to her brother, William Sparks, and her mother was living in her brother's household. With her were two children, and in all probability there were other children born to her later. It is said that she and Drury moved to Little Rock, Arkansas.

65.4.1 Zadock McVay was born ca. 1846.
65.4.2 Davis McVay was born ca. 1849.

65.5 Elijah Sparks was born ca. 1825 in Alabama. He married Elizabeth -----, ca. 1847. She was born ca. 1825 in Alabama. Elijah and Elizabeth lived near Jasper, Alabama, where he was a farmer. He was buried in the Brown Cemetery (now inactive) on the Holly Grove Road, west of Jasper, Alabama. Census records indicate that they had at least five children.

65.5.1 Nancy Sparks was born ca. 1848 in Alabama. She is quite likely the Nancy Sparks, aged 52, single, who was listed as "sister-in-law" in the household of John Groce on the 1900 census of Walker County, Alabama.

65.5.2 Mary Sparks was born in November 1850.
65.5.3 Rutha Sparks was born in 1855.
65.5.4 James Sparks was born in 1859.
65.5.5 Susan Sparks was born in 1861.

65.6 Thomas W. Sparks was born ca. 1828 in Alabama. He married Mary LNU. He became a railroad conductor and was killed when he fell from a train. Relatives say that some of his descendants live in and around Birmingham, Alabama.

65.7 John C. Sparks was born ca. 1829 in Alabama. He married Minerva O. C. Pope on July 26, 1848, in Lawrence County, Alabama. She was born ca. 1829 in Alabama. When the 1850 census was taken of Franklin County, Alabama, John and Minerva had a daughter, 65.7.1 Elizabeth Sparks, born in March 1850. In all probability this couple had other children born to them later. Relatives say they went to Texas.

65.8 Stephen Green Sparks was born ca. 1832 in Alabama. He was 18 years of age and living with his mother when the 1850 census was taken of Lawrence County, Alabama. We have found no further record of him.

65.9 Eli Allen Sparks was born January 22, 1835, near Moulton, Alabama, and was a small boy when his father died. He grew to manhood in a household headed by his mother and went with her from Lawrence County to Walker County in the early 1850s. It was there that he married Mary Catherine Baker in September 1858. She was born September 3, 1840, and was a daughter of Alvin and Susan (Kitchens) Baker. A descendant describes her as a small woman, about 5 feet, 2 inches in height and never weighing more than 120 pounds. She was quite active and had a good education for that time. She was a member of the Primitive Baptist Church.

Eli Sparks was drafted for service in the Confederate States Army, but his health was so poor that he was unable to serve. He died on July 28, 1872, and was buried in the Kings Chapel Cemetery near the village of Hillard, Alabama. Mary Catherine survived him nearly sixty years, dying on January 27, 1932. She, too, was buried in the Kings Chapel Cemetery. She and Eli had four children.

65.9.1 Alvin Samuel Sparks was born March 12, 1861. He married Mary Steadman, ca. 1886. She was born May 2, 1856, and died on April 6, 1926. Alvin died on April 10, 1916. They were buried in the Kings Chapel Cemetery. They had six children.

65.9.1.1 Myrtle Sparks was born in February 1886. She never married.
65.9.1.2 Floye Sparks was born in January 1890. She never married.
65.9.1.3 Susie Sparks was born in July 1892. She married Ether Green, and they had two children, Russell S. Green and Mary Ella Green.
65.9.1.4 Rubert Sparks was born in October 1894. He married Ellen Baird.
65.9.1.5 John B. Sparks was born in January 1897. He never married.
65.9.1.6 Earl Sparks married (first) Willie Hudson and (second) Jewel LNU. He had four children:

65.9.1.6.1 Curtis Sparks,
65.9.1.6.2 Howard Sparks,
65.9.1.6.3 Christine Sparks, and
65.9.1.6.4 Paul Sparks.

65.9.2 Thomas Eli Sparks was born May 29, 1866. In 1888, he married Lanie Caldonia Anderson. She was born May 17, 1871, and was a daughter of John Wesley and Sarah (Cannon) Anderson. Thomas and Lanie lived near Hillard, Alabama. They had six children before her death on January 22, 1904. Thomas married (second) Carlotta Davis. She was born in 1882 and she died in 1960. She and Thomas had three children. He died on October 9, 1913, and was buried in the Kings Chapel Cemetery. He was the father of nine children.
65.9.2.1 Josie Sparks was born in 1890. She died in 1931. She married Foster Boshell and they had nine children: Flora Boshell, Flossie Boshell, R. J. Boshell, Lanie Boshell, Thomas Boshell, Jack Boshell, Maxine Boshell, Willie Dee Boshell, and Foster Boshell, Jr.

65.9.2.2 Annie Mae Sparks was born November 9, 1892, and she died on October 18, 1975. She married George P. Cooper who worked for the Frisco Railroad. He died in 1962. They were buried in the Kings Chapel Cemetery. They had four children: LaTrevie Cooper, Preston Cooper, Reynolds Cooper, and Nina Mae Cooper.

65.9.2.3 Richard Allen Sparks was born September 16, 1895. He was a farmer and also a miner. He married Cleo Wright. He died on March 7, 1964. He and Cleo had four children:

65.9.2.3.1 Harold C. Sparks,
65.9.2.3.2 J. T. Sparks,
65.9.2.3.3 E. Jane Sparks, and
65.9.2.3.4 Glen Allen Sparks.

65.9.2.4 Mary Hattie Pearl Sparks was born March 6, 1898, at Hillard, Alabama. She married Elbert Lee Tubbs on September 16, 1916. It is said that they were married while sitting in a buggy at the south end of the McLain Bridge near Hillard, Alabama. Elbert was born June 6, 1896, at Oakman, Alabama, and was a son of Daniel Lee and Julia Ann Amanda (Phifer) Tubbs. Elbert and Mary Pearl were members of the Church of Christ. He died in 1952 and she died in 1975. They were buried in the Tubbs Cemetery near Oakman. They had six children:

65.9.2.4.1 Lambert Allen Tubbs,
65.9.2.4.2 Ethel Eulean Tubbs,
65.9.2.4.3 Coleman Anderson Tubbs,
65.9.2.4.4 Geraldine Tubbs,
65.9.2.4.5 Sylvia Jean Tubbs, and
65.9.2.4.6 Roseman Lee Tubbs.

65.9.2.5 John Wesley Sparks was born October 19, 1900. He married Sevilla Smith, and they live in Ensley, Alabama, where he was a barber until his retirement. He was also a lay minister of the Methodist Church. They have three children: Ruby Virginia Sparks, Thomas W. Sparks, and Merita Sparks.

65.9.2.6 Ethel Ruth Sparks was born June 15, 1903. She married Dewitt Mayfield, and they lived in North Carolina where Ethel died in 1980. They had seven children:

65.9.2.6.1 Aileen Mayfield,
65.9.2.6.2 Buddy Mayfield,
65.9.2.6.3 Leonard Mayfield,
65.9.2.6.4 Louise Mayfield,
65.9.2.6.5 Paul Mayfield,
65.9.2.6.6 LeFonda Ruth Mayfield, and
65.9.2.6.7 Barbara Mayfield.

by Thomas and Carlotta (Davis) Sparks:

65.9.2.7 Raymond Eli Sparks was born in 1906. He married Louvanna Knight, and they had two children, O'Neal Sparks and Gaynell Sparks. Raymond died in 1976.

65.9.2.8 Thomas Earl Sparks was born January 5, 1909. He married Hazel Knight, and they live at Saragossa, Alabama. They had one child, Vicki Sparks.

65.9.2.9 Samuel Elijah Sparks was born in 1912; he died in 1976. He married Gladys Cliff Sharon, and they lived near Washington, D.C. They had no children.

65.9.3 Ruth Susannah Sparks was born March 18, 1870. She married Wiley Davis. Wiley died in 1930; Ruth died in 1942. They had four children:

65.9.3.1 Sallie Davis,
65.9.3.2 Rufus Davis,
65.9.3.3 Robert Davis, and
65.9.3.4 Bryan Davis.

65.9.4 John Elijah James Sparks was born October 15, 1872, at Jasper, Alabama. He married Mary Frances [ "Mollie" ] McCleskey on December 29, 1895. He was a farmer and lived on and farmed the same tract of land which had been homesteaded by his grandmother, Rutha (White) Sparks, when she came to Walker County. John died on October 20, 1966, and Mollie died in 1970. They were buried in the Kings Chapel Cemetery. They had five children

65.9.4.1 Nellie Petro Sparks was born in 1896. She married Perry Black, and they had three children:

65.9.4.1.1 Annie Laurie Black,
65.9.4.1.2 J. E. Black, and
65.9.4.1.3 Gladys Mae Black.

65.9.4.2 Festus Lawrence Sparks was born in 1900. He married Lucy Rutledge and they had two children:

65.9.4.2.1 Charles Sparks and
65.9.4.2.2 Edward Sparks.

65.9.4.3 Gladys Mae Sparks was born in 1904. She married Richard Gilbert Wilkins, and they have one child, Elouise Wilkins. They live in Pell City, Alabama.

65.9.4.4 Jewel Sparks was born in 1910. She died in 1918.

65.9.4.5 Darlan McCleskey Sparks was born in 1919. He married (first) Lydia Blackwell by whom he had three children:

65.9.4.5.1 Sarah Frances Sparks,
65.9.4.5.2 William Elijah Sparks, and
65.9.4.5.3 Jack Eli Sparks.

Darlan married (second) FNU Wilkins. and he married (third) Deatte Self.

(Editor's Note: This concludes the article about the family of Thomas and Rutha (White) Sparks. This family was mentioned on page 986 of the June 1966 issue of The Sparks Quarterly, Whole No. 54, in an article entitled "Notes on a Sparks Family of Walker County, Alabama," and was based upon a History of Walker County, Alabama by John Martin Dombart, published in 1937. This article is shown below.

Unfortunately, there were two errors in that book which were repeated in the article. Subsequently, another article was published on page 2037 of the September 1978 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 103, about William A. Sparks, a Spanish-American War pensioner and a great-grandson of Thomas and Rutha (White) Sparks. That article was followed by a correction of the errors in the earlier article.)

Shown below is the corrected version of page 986.


Page 986
Whole Number 54

NOTES ON A SPARKS FAMILY OF WALKER COUNTY, ALABAMA


In the History of Walker County, Alabama, by John Martin Dombhart, published in 1937, on page 256, there appears a record of the family of 65.2 Samuel Sparks and Frances Kitchens. Frances Kitchens was a daughter of James Matlock Kitchens who was born in Tennessee on August 7, 1796. According to this sketch, Samuel and Frances (Kitchens) Sparks were the parents of the following children:

65.2.1 Mary Sparks, born ca. 1842;
65.2.2 Thomas Sparks born ca. 1845;
65.2.3 James M. Sparks, born ca. 1847;
65.2.4 John W. Sparks, born ca. 1850;
65.2.5 Samuel Eli Sparks, born ca. 1856, and
65.2.6 Rutha Sparks, born ca. 1859.

On his tombstone in King's Chapel Churchyard, Hilliard, Walker County, Alabama, Eli A. Sparks's name is given as "Elia Sparks"; the inscription reads: "Elia Sparks was born the 22 day of January 1835 & married N. C. Baker in 1858, departed this life the 28 day of July 1872 age 37 yrs. 6 months 6 days." His wife's inscription reads: "Mary C. Sparks, wife of E. A. Sparks, born September 3, 1840; Died January 27, 1932." In the same cemetery, there are stones bearing the following inscriptions:

"Mary S. Sparks, Born May 2, 1856; Died April 6, 1926," and "Alvin S. Sparks, Born March 22, 1861; Died April 18, 1916."

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