Whole Number 138
by Russell E. Bidlack
In the late 1700s and early 1800s, a branch of the Sparks family lived in an area of North Carolina that includes land on both sides of the dividing line between Surry and Wilkes Counties. Wilkes County had been cut off from Surry County in 1777. Because members of this family (brothers, uncles, nephews, and cousins) lived on both sides of the line separating the two counties, and because this branch of the Sparks family had a tendency to repeat the same forenames in each generation, names such as Solomon, John, William, Joseph, George, Matthew, and Jonas, it is difficult sometimes to distinguish one from another in the county records that survive. Their identification is further complicated by the fact that there was uncertainty during the 1790s regarding the exact location of the dividing line between the two counties. For example, in 1792 an adjustment was made in the line returning a portion of Wilkes County to Surry County. The same individual might be counted a resident of Surry County one year and of Wilkes County the next year, yet remain on the same farm.
Although the forename "Abel" was not as popular in this family as some others, there were two men named Abel Sparks who were closely related and who lived near each other in the late 1790s and early 1800s. The older of the two was a son (probably the youngest son) of 18.104.22.168 Solomon and Sarah Sparks. He was a brother of the 22.214.171.124 Joseph Sparks whose life story was told by Dr. Paul E. Sparks beginning on page 3057 of the present issue of the Quarterly. In this article, we shall refer to this 126.96.36.199.8 Abel Sparks as "Abel Sparks, the elder." The other 188.8.131.52.1.2 Abel Sparks, who was a few years younger than the first, was a grandson of 184.108.40.206 Solomon and Sarah Sparks through their son, 220.127.116.11.1 Joseph, identified above. Because Joseph was one of the oldest sons (perhaps the oldest) of Solomon and Sarah, while the first Abel Sparks was one of the youngest sons of Solomon and Sarah (probably the youngest), there were only about eleven years difference in the ages of the two. We shall refer to the latter as "Abel Sparks, the younger."
Unfortunately, when we began research on this family in the 1950s, we thought that there was only one Abel Sparks and that he was a son of 18.104.22.168 Solomon and Sarah Sparks. We stated this in the Quarterly of December 1958 (Whole No. 24), and ascribed events in the lives of the two men to the one who was actually the younger of the two. Members maintaining complete files of the Quarterly are urged to make a correction on page 337. This same error was repeated in the September 1972 issue of the Quarterly, (Whole No. 79), pages 1495-97, where we urge that members also make a correction.
In order to record in the most meaningful manner the information that we now have regarding these two men named Abel Sparks, we shall treat each one separately in the following sketches. We shall refer to the Abel Sparks who was a son of Solomon and Sarah Sparks as "the elder" and shall refer to the one who was a son of Joseph Sparks as "the younger."
We believe that there are hundreds of descendants of these two men living today, a number of whom are doubtless members of the Association, who have information regarding their Sparks ancestry which would further expand the records that follow. We urge such individuals to write to the Editor of the Quarterly and share the information that they have.
Several members of the branch of the Sparks family to which the two men named Abel Sparks belonged were regularly taxed in Surry County, North Carolina, during the 1790s in what was called "Captain Benge's District" (it became "Captain Wilburn's District" in 1795). On the Wilkes County side, the district in which members of this family owned land and were taxed was called "Captain Holloway's District" in 1795, although by 1800 it was called "Captain Johnson's District." These were actually districts for the training of the local militia, but they also served as geographical divisions for collecting taxes. All tax records of this period have not survived, nor have we been able to make a thorough search of all of those that are extant.
The earliest reference that we have found to the name Abel Sparks appears on the tax list of Captain Benge's District in Surry County for the year 1794. Abel was then taxed for 200 acres of land. Other Sparkses also taxed in the same district were:
William Sparks, Sr. (400 acres);
William Sparks, Jr. (350 acres);
Thomas Sparks (220 acres);
Reubin Sparks (300 acres);
George Sparks (220 acres);
Joseph Sparks (50 acres); and
James Sparks (100 acres).
The tax list for Captain Benge's District for 1795 does not survive, but that for 1796 does, although it was now called Captain Wilburn's District. 22.214.171.124.8 Abel Sparks (the elder) was taxed there that year on 150 acres. He was taxed in Captain Wilburn's District also in 1802 (poll tax only--he owned no land in 1802). We have not found him on subsequent tax lists of Surry County. We believe the reason is that he moved to Georgia in 1802 or 1803. When the 1800 census was taken, he (the elder Abel Sparks) had been listed as a resident of Wilkes County. We believe that the census taker had been unsure of the dividing line between Surry and Wilkes Counties, and that he included Abel in Wilkes County while the tax collector had included his land in Surry County.
The earliest surviving tax list for Wilkes County on which we have found the name of Abel Sparks is that for 1800--he was taxed that year in Captain Johnson's District for 60 acres of land in Wilkes County. 126.96.36.199.3 Reubin Sparks, brother of the elder Abel Sparks, was also taxed in the same district in Wilkes County, whereas, like Abel, he had been taxed earlier in Surry County. The same was also true of 188.8.131.52.2 John Sparks, brother of Abel and 184.108.40.206.3 Reubin (sic); John was taxed for 260 acres in 1800. We believe, again, that the taxing of these men in Wilkes County rather the Surry resulted from confusion over the county line.
220.127.116.11.8 Abel Sparks (the elder) married Elizabeth Benge. She was a daughter of Thomas Benge of Wilkes County, North Carolina, as is proved by the will of Thomas Benge dated January 21, 1811. Thomas Benge provided generously for his wife in his will; her name was Susannah and among the items left to her were three slaves. He specifically mentioned his daughter, "Elizabeth Sparks," to whom he left five shillings, as he did also to three other daughters, Ann Samuel, Sally Gray, and Susannah Martin. He left this same nominal sum to three of his sons, Micajah Benge, David Benge, and Thomas Benge, Jr. He was most generous to two daughters named Nancy Bryan and Mary Ray, and to two sons named James Benge and Richard Benge; he also provided for a grandson named Micajah M. Benge whom he identified as a son of William Benge. Thomas Benge was a wealthy man in terms of both land holdings and his possession of slaves. It is reasonable to assume that the children to whom he left only five shillings were those to whom he had made gifts at an earlier date. The will of Thomas Benge was filed for probate in Wilkes County on February 7, 1824.
The identity of Elizabeth (Benge) Sparks as the wife of the elder Abel Sparks is further proven by her own application for bounty land in 1851 and again in 1855, based on Abel's service in the War of 1812. She stated in her application that her maiden name had been Benge and that she and Abel Sparks had been married in Wilkes County, North Carolina, "sometime in November 1794 by one William Lewis, a Justice of the Peace." She made this statement on February 3, 1851, but on May 1, 1855, when she again signed a statement regarding her marriage, she said she and Abel had been married on Nov, 10, 1795, in Wilkes County by Wm. Lewis. In her February 3, 1851, statement, she gave her age at that time as 76, which would mean she was born ca. 1775. In her May 1, 1855, statement, she indicated she was now 79 years old. From these statements, we can probably assume that she was born in either 1775 or 1776. We do not know how to reconcile the two dates given for her marriage. Since she was much more precise about the date in her 1855 statement, we may speculate that she had found a written record of the event by that time.
When the household of the elder Abel Sparks was enumerated on the 1800 census of Wilkes County, it comprised himself and his wife (both aged between 26 and 45) along with two male children under ten years and three female children also under ten. If Abel and Elizabeth Sparks had been married in 1794 or 1795, as Elizabeth indicated when she applied for bounty land, some of these five children must have been twins, unless there were small children in their household in 1800 who were not their own. (There is the possibility, of course, that Abel Sparks could have been married previously.) A descendant of the elder Abel Sparks has reported that there is a long history of twins in the family.
The name Abel Sparks appeared in the Wilkes County, North Carolina, Court Minutes for the first time on February 7, 1800, when the following men were ordered "to view and lay off a road from Brooks road at Surry County line into the road that leads down the Yadkin on the south side: Richard Dowell, Humphrey Cockerham, ABEL SPARKS, William Hinchley, Jacob Hinchley, Joel Hall, John Martin, Jr., Thomas Thurmond, David Witherspoon, Esqr., John Bagby, Simeon Shores, James Kurt, Gabriel Loving, William Alford, John Parkes, James Gwyn, Thomas Bange [i.e., Benge], and William Correll." We cannot be certain whether the Abel Sparks mentioned here was the elder or the younger since the younger Abel reached his majority shortly before 1800.
As we noted earlier, on July 31, 1801, 18.104.22.168.8 Abel Sparks the elder was given a power of attorney by his brothers and sisters. In all probability, this power of attorney was intended to enable Abel to take the leadership role in settling the estate of their father, 22.214.171.124 Solomon Sparks. It also seems apparent that Abel was making plans at this point to move to Georgia, and, as noted above, there is reason to believe that his mother, Sarah Sparks, would accompany him. Perhaps this power of attorney was also intended to enable Abel to manage his mother's financial affairs more effectively.
On December 12, 1801, Abel Sparks purchased from Humphrey Cockerham (the name was also spelled Cochram, Cockram, Cochran, and Cockran) a tract of land in Wilkes County, North Carolina. We feel sure, however, that this was the younger Abel Sparks because his wife's maiden name was Cochran. Further details regarding this purchase will be given in the part of the article devoted to him beginning on page 3069.
The 1802 tax list of Surry County survives. In Capt. Wilburn's District, the following Sparkses were listed:
|Abel Sparks||1 poll||no land|
|Joseph Sparks||0 "||100 acres|
|Thomas Sparks||1 "||700 "|
|George Sparks||1 "||300 "|
Unfortunately, no tax lists are available for Wilkes County between 1800 and 1805. A man named Abel Sparks was taxed for 100 acres in Captain John Martin's District in Wilkes County in 1805. (Captains of districts changed frequently, so we do not know whether this was the district referred to in 1800 as Captain Johnson's District.) This was definitely the younger Abel Sparks.
Abel Sparks the Elder moved from Wilkes County, North Carolina, to Clarke County, Georgia, in either 1802 or 1803. He was taxed (poll tax) in Clarke County, Georgia, (Capt. Reynold's District) in 1803. He owned no land - - his poll tax was 31 cents and 2½ mills.
The Mars Hill Baptist Church was then located in Clarke County, Georgia. When Oconee County was cut off from Clarke County in 1875, the area in which the church was located became part of the new county. This Baptist Church had been constituted in 1799. According to the minute book of this church, as copied for us a number of years ago from a copy that had been placed in the D.A.R. Library in Washington, D. C., Abel Sparks was "received by Experience" as a member of this church on March 18, 1804. (There is no mention of his wife.) There is a further reference to him on April 19, 1806, and on June 14, 1806, he was "xcluded." This probably means that he either moved away from the area where the Mars Hill Baptist Church was located, or perhaps he simply joined another church.
Isaac Sparks and his wife Sarah were received into the Mars Hill Baptist Church "by letter" at about the same time as Abel, on April 14, 1804. Isaac and Sarah were "dismissed by letter" on March 15, 1806 (i.e., they were given a letter to present to another Baptist church showing that they had been in good standing at the Mars Hill Church.) However, on October 18, 1806, "Brother Isaac and wife Sarah [were] Excluded for disobeying Church." We feel certain that this Isaac Sparks was a son (probably next to the youngest) of 126.96.36.199.2 Matthew and Sarah (Thompson) Sparks who were among the first members of the Sparks family to move from Frederick County, Maryland, to Rowan County, North Carolina. A sketch of the family of Matthew and Sarah (Thompson) Sparks was published in the Quarterly of June 1961, Whole No. 34, pp .556-66 . The family of Matthew and Sarah Sparks had moved from Rowan County to Wilkes County, North Carolina, ca. 1775, and then in 1784 the entire family had moved to Georgia, settling on the Oconee River then within the county of Franklin. When Jackson County, Georgia, was created in 1796, this area was included in the new county, and when Clarke County was cut off from Jackson County in 1801 the members of the Matthew Sparks family yet remaining where they had settled found themselves in this new county. Although the elder Abel Sparks was a second cousin of Matthew Sparks. the family members appear to have maintained close communication while in North Carolina, and it seems possible that a reason for Abel having moved to Georgia was because of his Georgia relatives already there. There can be little doubt that as members of the Mars Hill Baptist Church, Abel Sparks and Isaac Sparks were well acquainted, even though they were rather distantly related. (Sarah, wife of Isaac Sparks, was his first wife; she was a daughter of William Nutt of Clarke County who named Isaac Sparks as his son-in-law in his will in 1818. After her death, Isaac married Wilmoth Noland or Knowland. )
In 1805, a land lottery was sponsored by the state of Georgia in order to encourage settlement in the new counties of Baldwin, Wayne, and Wilkinson. Authorized by legislation in 1803, but not conducted until 1805, this lottery entitled a bachelor over 21 to one draw if he was a citizen of the U.S. and had lived in Georgia for at least one year. The same residency requirements applied to others, but a married man, with or without children, was entitled to two draws. Women were excluded except widows with one or more minor children--they were also entitled to two draws. A minor orphan, or family of orphans, with father dead and mother dead or remarried, was entitled to one draw. In Baldwin and Wilkinson Counties, the size of the lots was 2021 acres; in Wayne County the size was 490 acres. There were five subsequent land lotteries in Georgia, but only for the 1805 drawing have the names of all those who registered been preserved; only the names of the winners of subsequent drawings have been preserved. Seven persons named Sparks were registered in Clarke County for the 1805 drawing. (Note that this was the county in which the Mars Hill Baptist Church was located until Oconee County was cut off in 1875.) One of the seven was "Garrot Sparks," but we are sure that this was an error and was intended for a "Garrot Spinks" whose name appears in other Clarke County records. The remaining six Sparkses were:
|188.8.131.52.8 Abel Sparks||2 draws|
|184.108.40.206.2.11 Isaac Sparks||2 draws|
|220.127.116.11.2.8 Jesse Sparks||2 draws|
|Sarah Sparks||2 draws|
|Theophelus Sparks||1 draw|
|18.104.22.168.2.3 William Sparks||2 draws|
22.214.171.124.2.11 Isaac Sparks, 126.96.36.199.2.5 Jesse Sparks, and 188.8.131.52.2.3 William Sparks were brothers (sons of 184.108.40.206.2 Matthew and Sarah [Thompson] Sparks), who had moved to Georgia soon after the close of the American Revolution. We have no knowledge of the Theophelus Sparks shown; it is a name not found among the North Carolina Sparkses nor in any other Sparks family of the time with which we are aware.
The Sarah Sparks shown as entitled to two draws may have been the mother of Abel Sparks if we are correct in thinking that she accompanied Abel to Georgia. To qualify, however, she would have had to have had at least one dependent child. On the other hand, she may have been Sarah (Thompson) Sparks, widow of Matthew, who had been killed by Indians in November 1793, though we do not believe that any of her children were under age in 1805.
Of the Sparkses from Clarke County, Georgia, participating in the 1805 drawing for land, only Isaac Sparks was lucky - - he won lot 25 in the 5th District of Baldwin County, which district became part of Morgan County in 1807. Isaac Sparks sold half of this lot on November 2, 1806, to William Motherhead of South Carolina for $200 (Morgan Co. Deed Book B, p. 369). Isaac was described in the deed as a resident of Baldwin County, so he must have gone to settle on his land, selling half of it as noted in 1806. This deed was witnessed by William Nutt and James McKelroy. (William Nutt was probably his father-in-law. ) In 1808, Isaac Sparks witnessed a deed in Morgan County involving the sale of land by David Hubbard to John B. Whatley. (As noted above, the district within Baldwin County in which Isaac Sparks drew his lot became part of Morgan County in 1807.)
A militia roster of Morgan County dated between 1808 and 1812 shows Abel Sparks as a member of Capt. Conner's District (see They Were Here, Vol. 4, June 1968, p. 676). In 1813, Abel Sparks was listed as a private in Captain Henry Lane's Company of Morgan County Militia. This militia unit was called upon to give service in the War of 1812. 220.127.116.11.8 Abel Sparks the Elder began his service in that war on November 21, 1814, as a member of Captain Henry Lane's Volunteer Rifle Company. He reported for duty on November 21, 1814, at the rendezvous (later information shows this to have been Fort Hawkins, and he was discharged there on May 6, 1815.
According to the military file for Abel Sparks the Elder at the National Archives, Abel's residence was about 60 miles from Fort Hawkins. The records show that he served a total of 5 months and 23 days, which apparently included the eight days that it took for him to travel to and from Fort Hawkins. These records show also that his compensation for this service was at the rate of $8.00 per month and that he drew a total of $46.65, including 72 cents for subsistence. The 72 cents appears to have consisted of nine cents a day for the eight days that it took him to reach Fort Hawkins and to return home. The records also indicated that he drew one "red stript" blanket which appears to be the charge of 18 cents shown as the contract price of rations.
At the time that Abel Sparks the Elder lived in Georgia, Morgan County adjoined Clarke County on the south. Adjoining both Clarke and Morgan Counties was Walton County, and it was in Walton County that Abel and his family were living when the 1820 census was taken. While it would appear that Abel moved around a good deal between 1803 and 1820, the distances were not great even though three different counties were involved. His family was enumerated as follows in 1820:
1 male over 45 years of age (himself)
1 female over 45 (his wife, no doubt)
2 males aged between 10 and 16 (thus born between 1804 and 1810)
3 females aged 16 to 26 (thus born between 1794 and 1804)
1 female under 10 years (thus born between 1810 and 1820)
No other Sparks has been found on the 1820 census of Walton County, Georgia, nor was anyone named Sparks listed on the 1820 census of Clarke County.
In the Quarterly of December 1980, Whole No. 112, page 2258, we published a query regarding 18.104.22.168.8.y Uriah Sparks, born ca. 1797 in North Carolina. He was the father of 13 children. It is striking that his service in the War of 1812 was exactly the same as that of 22.214.171.124.8 Abel Sparks, the Elder. Furthermore, a David Sparks also served in the same unit for exactly the same length of time. We believe that Uriah and David were both sons of Abel, perhaps a reason for Abel serving at the age of 47 was to look after his two sons. When the 1820 census was taken, however, neither Uriah nor David was living in the same county as Abel as heads of households. David Sparks was in Morgan County, Georgia, when the 1820 census was taken; he and his wife had three small children at that time, two males and one female, all under ten years of age. We know from the records preserved by a descendant (Mrs. Ellen McKay George, OH) that 126.96.36.199.8.x David Sparks was born May 19, 1794; he died November 10, 1862, in Talladega County, Alabama, in that area that is now Clay County. He married Permelia ["Milly" ] Medlock in the 1820s; she was born February 15, 1791, in South Carolina, and died December 3, 1876, in Delta, Clay County, Alabama. Our information regarding David Sparks's family is quite limited, but we know that he had at least two children: 188.8.131.52.8.x.1 Abel Tomlin Sparks, born November 10, 1827, who married Nancy Ann M. Newsom on December 12, 1850, and 184.108.40.206.8.x.2 Malinda Sparks, born in 1833 who married Jesse Jackson Dempsey.
220.127.116.11.8.y Uriah Sparks, whom we believe also to have been a son of Abel Sparks, the Elder, was born in 1797 in North Carolina. As noted above, we have not found him on the 1820 census of Georgia, but we think it likely that he was the Uriah Sparks who married Polly Pinhinter on July 4, 1821, in Montgomery County, Alabama. He was living in Newton County, Georgia, in 1830 and in Carroll County, Georgia, in 1840 and 1850. It was in Newton County that he married his second wife on December 8, 1831; she was Sarah Whatley, daughter of Solomon and Polly (McLendon) Whatley. She was born in 1807 and died in 1850. Uriah's third wife was named Mahala Browning. He had four children by his first wife and nine by his second. Their names were:
18.104.22.168.8.y.1 George W. Sparks, born ca. 1822;
22.214.171.124.8.y.2 Green Sparks, born between 1820 and 1835;
126.96.36.199.8.y.3 William Sparks, born ca. 1826;
188.8.131.52.8.y.4 an unidentified son, born ca. 1825-30;
184.108.40.206.8.y.5 Mary Sparks, born June 6, 1833;
220.127.116.11.8.y.6 Martha Sparks, born ca. 1835;
18.104.22.168.8.y.7 Simeon Sparks, born ca. 1837;
22.214.171.124.8.y.8 Sarah Sparks, born ca. 1839;
126.96.36.199.8.y.9 C. Napoleon Sparks, born ca. 1841;
188.8.131.52.8.y.10 Joseph Sparks, born ca. 1843;
184.108.40.206.8.y.11 Andrew Sparks, born ca. 1844;
220.127.116.11.8.y.12 Dennis M. Sparks, born November 1844; and
18.104.22.168.8.y.13 Nancy Sparks, born March 4, 1850.
More detailed information regarding these thirteen children was given in the query noted at the top of this page, in the December 1980 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 112, page 2258.
In 1821 Georgia's fourth land lottery was conducted. As noted earlier, records have been preserved naming all participants in only the first lottery of 1805; in subsequent drawings (1807, 1820, 1821, 1827, and 1832), only the names of the winners have been preserved. Among the winners in 1821 was Abel Sparks of Walton County-3n, fact, he won lots with both of his draws (2021 acres in each), one being in the 6th District of Houston County and the other in the 12th District of Henry County.
On July 24, 1822, 22.214.171.124.8 Abel Sparks, the Elder, still of Walton County, sold for $275 to Hinche Mitchell, also of Walton County, the lot (No. 153) that he had won in the 12th District of Henry County located on Paris Creek (Deed Book 1, p. 236). Elijah Shaw and John Campbell witnessed the deed.
When Elizabeth (Benge) Sparks applied for bounty land initially on February 3, 1851, she stated that her husband, Abel Sparks, had died in Henry County, Georgia, on June 18, 1824. In her second application (for additional land under a new federal law) on May 1, 1855, she stated that her husband had died June 25, 1823. We have found no record from any other source to verify which of these dates is correct. Henry County had been created in 1821 from a portion of Walton County along with Indian lands. It was in Henry County, as noted above, that Abel Sparks had won one of his tracts of land in 1821, but he sold it the following year to Hinche Mitchell. Abel and his family may have lived in that portion of Walton County that became Henry County, or they may have moved there in 1822 or 1823.
When Elizabeth, widow of Abel, applied for bounty land in 1851 and again in 1855, she was a resident of Fayette County, Georgia, which then adjoined Henry County. Although a search has been made of the 1850 census of the state of Georgia, Elizabeth Sparks's name has not been found. Ten years earlier, when the 1840 census was taken (listing just the name of the head of each household), Marberry Sparks, believed to have been a son of 126.96.36.199.8 Abel and Elizabeth, appeared on the census of Coweta County. Coweta County is located west of Henry County, with Fayette County lying between Henry and Coweta. Marberry Sparks's age category was given as 30 to 40 (thus born between 1800 and 1810) as was also that of his wife. Two male children between the ages of five and ten were enumerated, along with a female child aged ten to fifteen and two other female children under five. Also enumerated was a female aged between 60 and 70. We believe that this was probably Elizabeth, widow of Abel.
When Elizabeth (Benge) Sparks applied for bounty land in 1851, she did so with the assistance of a justice of the peace named Franklin Landrum--she signed her application by mark. A man named Archibald McEachran testified that he knew that Abel and Elizabeth Sparks had lived together as husband and wife. Elizabeth was still a resident of Fayette County when she applied for additional bounty land in 1855 (she had obtained 80 acres with her first application). On March 3, 1855, Marberry Sparks and Thomas Sparks witnessed her signature (by mark) and testified to the fact that she was the widow of Abel Sparks. William Watson and William M. Landrum also signed an affidavit to the effect that they had known Elizabeth Sparks for the past twenty years and that they knew also that she was the widow of Abel Sparks.
We feel certain that 188.8.131.52.8.z Marberry Sparks (spelled "Marbry" on the 1850 census of Fayette County) was a son of Abel and Elizabeth (Benge) Sparks. His age on the 1850 census was given as 45 (thus born ca. 1804-05) and his place of birth was given as Georgia. His wife, Sarah Sparks, was 49, and she also was a native of Georgia. Living with them were the following, doubtless their children:
184.108.40.206.8.z.1 Melissa Sparks, born ca. 1830;
220.127.116.11.8.z.2 James Sparks, born ca. 1831;
18.104.22.168.8.z.3 Thomas Sparks, born ca. 1832;
22.214.171.124.8.z.4 Frances Sparks, born ca. 1834; and
126.96.36.199.8.z.5 Adaline Sparks, born ca. 1838. All were born in Georgia.
Twenty years later when the 1870 census was taken, Marberry Sparks, aged 65, was living in Fayette County, Georgia, a "farm laborer." His wife Sarah was listed as 69. Living with them were two of their daughters, Melissa Sparks, age 40, and Frances Sparks, age 36.
We have records of three Sparks marriages in Fayette County, Georgia, in the 1820s. These may have been children of Abel and Elizabeth (Benge) Sparks:
Sarah Sparks to David L. Wilkins, May 18, 1823
Elizabeth Sparks to John Dent, July 15, 1825,
Ettiene Sparks to Elizabeth Lyle, December 24, 1826
Another son of Abel Sparks, the Elder may have been named Matthew. A Matthew Sparks was listed on the 1840 census of Coweta County, Georgia, and was living very near Marberry Sparks. Born between 1800 and 1810, this Matthew Sparks headed a household consisting of a female in the same age category as himself (doubtless his wife), along with six children: 2 males under 5 years; 1 male between 5 and 10; 1 female between 10 and 15; and 2 females between 5 and 10. There was also a male between 20 and 30, perhaps he was a hired man or he may have been a relative of Matthew or his wife. (Could this have been the Matthew Sparks who married Nancy Sparks in Newton County, Georgia, on March 11, 1828?) We have not identified this Matthew Sparks on any 1850 census.
When the younger Abel Sparks died in 1872, his age, as given on his tombstone, was 94. When his wife, Sarah Sparks, died in 1853, her age was given as 74. If these ages at the times of their deaths are correct, Abel was born in 1778 (possibly 1777 or 1779) and Sarah, his wife, was born in 1779 (possibly 1778 or 1780). Census records confirm the near correctness of these dates.
As noted earlier in this article, we are quite certain that this 188.8.131.52.1.x Abel Sparks, whom we have called "the Younger" in order to distinguish him from his uncle, Abel Sparks, the Elder, was a son of 184.108.40.206.1 Joseph Sparks, a biographical sketch of whom appears on pages 3057-60 of the present issue of the Quarterly. We believe this in part because the age of Abel Sparks, the Younger matches the age of a son of Joseph Sparks enumerated on the 1800 census of Surry County, North Carolina. No other man named Sparks living in Surry or Wilkes Counties of North Carolina had a son born in or ca. 1778 whom we cannot otherwise account for.
|ABEL SPARKS||SARAH (COCHRAN) SPARKS|
|Born ca. 1778, Died 1872||Born ca. 1779, Died 1853|
Abel and Sarah Sparks were married in Surry or Wilkes County, North Carolina, ca. 1799. While we have found no record of their marriage, there can be little doubt but that Sarah's maiden name was Cochran. Descendants have always believed that this was her name. (Cochran was spelled in a variety of ways in the Wilkes County records, including "Cockerham. ") We believe that it is significant that on December 12, 1801, Abel Sparks purchased a tract of 150 acres of land in Wilkes County, North Carolina, from Humphrey Cochran. (Deed Book E, p. 703) While in this deed, Humphrey's name was spelled "Cockerham," his name appears in some Wilkes County records as Cochran (also Cockran). A daughter of Abel and Sarah (Cochran) Sparks, Frances Sparks, who married Francis Creswell Kirkpatrick, named her first son James Cochran Kirkpatrick. This may suggest that Sarah's father was named James Cochran, though no one of that name has been found in Wilkes County records.
In the Quarterly of December 1958 (Whole No. 24, p. 337) we published a record of the children of Abel and Sarah (Cochran) Sparks from a family Bible then owned by the family of George William Wagner (who died in 1955). George William Wagner descended from a daughter of Abel and Sarah named Mary. This record pertains to Abel Sparks, the Younger, although at the time (1958) that we published the record we did not realize that there were two different men named Abel Sparks living in the Surry-Wilkes Counties area in the 1790s and early 1800s. In transcribing this Bible record for the Quarterly from a hand-copied sheet sent by a member of the Wagner family, we noted that the dates of birth given for Abel and Sarah Sparks (both being 1767) seemed strange in relationship to the dates of birth of their thirteen children; if born in 1767, both Abel and Sarah would have been 33 years old when their first child was born in 1800, and both would have been 60 years old when their last child was born in 1827. Rarely, if ever, has a woman borne a child at the age of 60.
We assumed in the 1958 article that this was the same Abel Sparks known to have been a son of Solomon and Sarah, as noted earlier. Since that time, however, evidence has been found to prove that the birth date (1767) given for the younger Abel Sparks and his wife Sarah was wrong (see the records given above for their ages at their deaths appearing on their tombstones). Rather than being a son of Solomon and Sarah Sparks, Abel Sparks (whom we call "the Younger" here) was a grandson of Solomon and Sarah.
Since the publication of the 1958 article, we have obtained a photostatic copy of the family record in the Wagner Bible. From this it is clear that the names and dates of birth of Abel and Sarah Sparks, along with those of their thirteen children, were all written in the same hand and at the same time, that is, this record was copied from an earlier record. Perhaps it was taken from a family Bible once belonging to Abel Sparks, himself. What is especially interesting is the fact that the birth dates of Abel and Sarah were written originally in the Wagner Bible as follows:
"Abel Sparkes was born january 8th Anno Domini 1789
Sarah Sparkes was born May lth Anno Domini 1789."
At a later date, in a different hand, the following was written in the Wagner Bible record above the entry for the birth of Abel Sparks: "corrected Born 1767" and above the entry for Sarah Sparkes was written simply "1767." Why was this correction made? We can speculate that someone, at some point, must have realized that if Abel and Sarah had been born in 1789, as originally written in the Wagner Bible, they would have been only 11 years old in 1800 when their first child was born. While the date "1789" was obviously wrong, subsequent events (e.g. their ages given on census records and their ages at death on their tombstones, as well as the fact that no woman could bear a child at age 60) prove that "1767" was likewise wrong.
Where did the date "1767" come from? Since this seems to be very nearly the date of birth of the elder Abel Sparks (son of Solomon and Sarah), we wonder whether the person who made the change in the Wagner Bible record may have had access to the record of the births of the children of Solomon and Sarah Sparks and assumed, as did we in 1958, that there had been but one Abel Sparks.
In our earlier discussion of the elder Abel Sparks, reference was made to the 1800 entry in the Wilkes County Court Minutes for an Abel Sparks being one of a group of men charged with laying out a road "from Brooks road at Surry County line into the road that leads down the Yadkin on the south side." While we cannot be certain, we think it probable that this referred to the younger Abel Sparks. (It is interesting that in this list of men charged with building this road, the name of Humphrey Cockerham (or Cochran) immediately precedes that of Abel Sparks.)
It was on December 12, 1801, that Abel Sparks purchased from Humphrey Cockerham (or Cochran) a tract of land in Wilkes County consisting of 150 acres. (Book E, p. 703) Both Humphrey Cockerham and Abel Sparks were identified in the deed as residents of Wilkes County. Abel Sparks paid Cockerham "One Hundred Pounds Courantcy." The tract was described in the deed as follows: "... lying and being in the County of Wilkes beginning on the East fork of Swan Creke on Timothy Sisks line running with the sd line South to a stake in James Foxes line then East running with sd line to a white oak on the County line thence North with the County [line] to the Long Glade Creek thence running down sd crick with the various Courses of the stream to the beginning." The witnesses to this deed were Mordecoi Samuel and James Dowell. Though signed on December 12, 1801, this deed was not recorded in the Wilkes County Courthouse until February 1805.
Unfortunately, no tax lists are available for Wilkes County between 1800 and 1805. Abel Sparks was taxed for 100 acres of land in Captain John Martin's District in Wilkes County in 1805. Since the elder Abel Sparks had been in Georgia for at least two years when this tax list was prepared, we have no doubt that this refers to Abel Sparks, the Younger.
While the Wagner Bible record quoted earlier regarding the family of Abel and Sarah (Cochran) Sparks was obviously in error regarding the dates of birth of both Abel and Sarah, the record of the births of their children seems to be accurate, according to descendants. This record reads as follows:
220.127.116.11.1.x.1 George Sparkes, born October 14, 1800
18.104.22.168.1.x.2 Hannah Sparkes, born May 9, 1802
22.214.171.124.1.x.3 Frances Sparkes, born Octobr 27, 1803
126.96.36.199.1.x.4 Elizabeth Sparkes, born April 13, 1805
188.8.131.52.1.x.5 Ann Sparkes, born June 7, 1808
184.108.40.206.1.x.6 Martha Sparkes, born 1 April 1811
220.127.116.11.1.x.7 Solomon Sparkes, born September 5, 1812
18.104.22.168.1.x.8 John Sparkes, born March 25, 1814
22.214.171.124.1.x.9 Mary Sparks, born October 25, 1815
126.96.36.199.1.x.10 Sarah Sparkes, born September 13, 1817
188.8.131.52.1.x.11 Abraham Sparkes, born July 27, 1821
184.108.40.206.1.x.12 Rebecca Sparkes, born December 27, 1825
220.127.116.11.1.x.13 Jane Sparkes, born July 19, 1827
Our last record of Abel Sparks, the Younger that we have found in North Carolina is dated 1807. The Wilkes County court records indicate that Abel served on a jury there on August 5, 1807. He again served on a jury in Wilkes County on September 21, 1807. (See the Winter 1982 issue of the quarterly publication [it has no title] of the Wilkes Genealogical Society, Vol. 16, No.
4, p. 10.)
Abel Sparks, the Younger moved with his family to Tennessee sometime after September 1807, where they remained until at least 1815. He was taxed in Franklin County, Tennessee, in 1812. (See Index to Early Tennessee Tax Records by byron & Barbara Sistler, published in Evanston, IL in 1977.) by 1820, however, Abel Sparks had again moved his family, this time to the new state of Illinois, settling in Bond County according to the federal census of that year. Abel Sparks did not appear on the 1830 census of Illinois, however, because by that time he had taken his family to Crawford County, Missouri. In fact, the move to Missouri probably came no later than the summer of 1827 because Abel's youngest daughter, Jane, who was born July 19, 1827, gave her place of birth in later years as Missouri.
Abel Sparks, the Younger made one more major move in his lifetime - - sometime before 1840. In this instance, however, he may have simply accompanied a son in his attempt to better himself. Abel's son John was living in Grant County, Wisconsin Territory, when the 1840 census was taken, while his son George was in Iowa County of Wisconsin Territory. From the enumeration of the household of George Sparks on the 1840 census, it appears that his parents were then living with him.
When the 1850 census was taken of Grant County, Wisconsin, Abel and Sarah Sparks were listed (on November 2, 1850) as living with their son 18.104.22.168.1.2.7 Solomon Sparks, near the town of Lima. (The 1850 federal census was the first to list each member of each household by name.) Solomon Sparks, son of Abel and Sarah, was identified as a farmer, 40 years old, with real estate valued at $1,200. His place of birth was given as Tennessee. Abel and Sarah, both shown as born in North Carolina, were listed as 70 years of age. Also listed in the same household of Solomon Sparks (who never married) was 23-yearold Lucinda Sparks (thus born ca. 1827) whose place of birth was given as Missouri. We believe that this was intended for Jane Sparks (born July 19, 1827), the youngest daughter of Abel and Sarah Sparks - - perhaps her middle name was Lucinda, or the census taker may simply have misunderstood her name. Also living in the household of Solomon Sparks were three males who were probably hired men or boarders. They were: William Wagner, age 15, laborer; Jesse Crow, age 27, miner; and Jasper Wilkerl, age 20, larborer.
In 1853, Sarah (Cochran) Sparks, wife of Abel, died. She was buried in Grant County, Wisconsin, about one mile south of the hamlet called Arthur. Located on land owned by a McReynolds family today, the cemetery is called the McReynolds Cemetery. (Two daughters of Abel and Sarah Sparks married men named McReynolds, Nancy and Jane.) The inscription on Sarah's tombstone reads: "Sarah, wife of Abel Sparks, Died August 12, 1853, Aged 74 years."
When the 1860 census was taken, Abel Sparks, 82 years old, was again listed by the census taker as living with his bachelor son, Solomon Sparks, in Grant County, Wisconsin. The census taker, however, mistakenly wrote his name as "Abraham"; in the column for occupation, he wrote "Gentleman." In 1870, Abel Sparks was again listed by the census taker as living with his son Solomon; he was now 92, and under occupation this time the census taker wrote "keeping house."
According to the inscription on his tombstone in the McReynolds Cemetery, Abel Sparks died December 27, 1872, at the age of 94. He was buried beside his wife, Sarah.
When 22.214.171.124.1.2.7 Solomon Sparks, son of Abel and Sarah (Cochran) Sparks, died in 1880 without issue and without leaving a will, his brother, 126.96.36.199.1.2.11 Abraham Sparks, requested the county probate judge to appoint Thomas Watson as administrator of the estate. A man named George Clementson was directed to identify the heirs of Solomon Sparks. His report contains helpful data regarding the descendants of Abel and Sarah, as will be noted below.
188.8.131.52.1.2.1 George Washington Sparks, was born October 14, 1800, in North Carolina. He was still living when his brother, Solomon Sparks, died in 1880. We know that he came to Wis consin Territory, as did his parents, and that he was living in Grant County when the 1850 census was taken. At that time, he was a miner with real estate valued at $1,500. Living with him in 1850 was Philena Sparks, age 26, whom we assume was his wife, although she was much younger that he, having been born in or ca. 1824 in Illinois. On the 1860 census, however, his wife's name appears as "Thelura Sparks." The one-year-old child, Albert Sparks, on the 1850 census was born in Wisconsin ca. 1849 and was doubtless a son. When the 1860 census was taken of Lima, Grant County, Wisconsin, George Sparks's family was listed as follows:
George Sparks 59 Male North Carolina Thelura " 35 Female Illinois Albert " 10 Male Wisconsin John " 9 Male " Sarah L. " 7 Female " Benity (?) " 3 Male " Mary " 2/12 Female "
184.108.40.206.1.2.2 Hannah Sparks was born on May 9, 1802, probably in North Carolina before the family moved to Tennessee. In the list of heirs of Solomon Sparks prepared in 1880, his sister, Hannah, was identified as being deceased, her married name having been Glenn. Her heirs (children and several grandchildren) in 1880 were identified as follows:220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 William Carroll Glenn of Mifflin, Iowa County, Wisconsin.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 George W. Glenn, of Cory, Dade County, Missouri.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Jonathan S. Glenn, of Cory, Dade County, Missouri.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Nancy J. Glenn, married FNU Johnstone; of Cory, Dade County, Missouri.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Sarah E. Glenn, married FNU Johnson; of Spring Valley, Madison County, Arkansas.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Julia Ann Glenn, married FNU Harris. She had died before 1880 and her children were listed as:
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 John B. E. Glenn, deceased. His children were identified as:22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1 James M. Glenn and188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Martha A. Glenn, deceased. She married FNU Sullenger and had the following children:
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.2 Frances M. Glenn, both of Hineville, Madison County, Arkansas.22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1 J. M. Sullenger, and188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 James B. Glenn, deceased by 1880. He had one living son in 1880, George W. Glenn, Jr. of Cory, Dade County, Missouri.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.2 J. C. Sullenger. Both were of Joplin, Missouri.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Taylor Glenn, deceased by 1880. According to the papers settling the estate of Solomon Sparks, Taylor Glenn's children "are supposed to be somewhere in Kansas," but Mr. Clementson, the administrator of Solomon Sparks's estate, could not locate them.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Louisa Jane Glenn, deceased by 1880. She had married FNU Harris, and they had a daughter named Lucy Ann Harris who had also died by 1880. Lucy Ann Harris had married FNU Colclasure and had three children (who were thus great-grandchildren of Hannah [Sparks] Glenn). Their names were:220.127.116.11.1.2.3 Frances Sparks, daughter of Abel and Sarah (Cochran) Sparks, was born October 27, 1803, probably in North Carolina before the family moved to Tennessee. (Some of Frances' descendants have long believed that she was born in Davidson County, Tennessee; we know, however, that Abel Sparks was still in Wilkes County, North Carolina, as late as 1807; furthermore, her place of birth was given as North Carolina on the 1850 and 1860 censuses.) She married Francis Creswell Kirkpatrick on October 10, 1822, in Jackson County, Missouri. He had been born on February 4, 1803, and died June 3, 1877. Frances was called Frances Kirkpatrick in the papers settling the estate of her brother, Solomon Sparks, in 1880, though she is known to have married FNU Scott as her second husband. She died on January 19, 1881. The children of Frances Sparks and her husband, Francis Creswell Kirkpatrick, were:18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1 George Washington Colclasure
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.2 Susan Ann Colclasure; and
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.3 John Colclasure who was born in 1880.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 George A. Kirkpatrick was born August 18, 1823, and died November 25, 1823.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 James Cochran Kirkpatrick [his nickname was "Jamison"] was born in Mina Burton, Washington County, Missouri, on December 24, 1824, and died in Roberts, Wisconsin, on December 16, 1910. He married Mary Mundon on February 25, 1846. An obituary preserved by an aunt's descendant contains the following: "Mr. Kirkpatrick has been a resident of Wisconsin continuously since April 4, 1827, with the esception of one year spent in the California gold fields, to which he, in company with the late Hugh Livingston, Sam Livingston, and William Kirkpatrick, drove overland with wagon outfits in the spring of 1850, returning to Wisconsin in Nov, 1851. He attended the winter terms of the common schools in his early boyhood and later followed the business of lead mining to some extent. For many years he was an extensive farmer, giving much attention to the breeding of fine horses and cattle. After leaving the farm, he came to Rewey where for several years he was the popular landlord of the Kirkpatrick Hotel, which was justly famous as one of the best in southwestern Wisconsin. ..."The children of James Cochran and Mary (Mundon) Kirkpatrick were:184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.1 Frederick M. Kirkpatrick, born May 5, 1847;18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 George W. Kirkpatrick was born April 5, 1826, and died June 16, 1864. He married Rachel Woodward on April 14, 1855. She was born December 2, 1834, and died September 2, 1867. They are known to have had two sons:
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.2 Jesse Kirkpatrick, born April 1849;
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.3 Frances Kirkpatrick, born 1853;
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.4 James Dyer Kirkpatrick, born 3 February 1855;
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.5 Walter Kirkpatrick, born August 18, 1860;
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.6 George W. Kirkpatrick, born July 19, 1866; and
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.7 Frank Leslie Kirkpatrick, born October 19, 1868.
(Note: The above record of the family of Frances (Sparks) Kirkpatrick has been compiled from family records supplied by two descendants: Nellie E. Heward and Mel Kirkpatrick. A list of contributors appears at the end of this article.)126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1 Frank Kirkpatrick; and184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Sarah J. Kirkpatrick was born July 10, 1828, and died June 18, 1832.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.2 James H. Kirkpatrick, born January 10, 1856.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 William Dennis Kirkpatrick was born February 22, 1830, and died April 15, 1903. He married Jeanette Bacon on May 20, 1856. She was born October 17, 1836, in Ohio; she died July 7, 1914, in Wisconsin. Their children were:184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.1 Jerome Kirkpatrick;18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Elizabeth A. Kirkpatrick was born October 18, 1831, and died March 31, 1914. She married Jesse S. Jones on October 9, 1850. He was born December 21, 1831, and died March 14, 1910.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.2 Frank Chrystle Kirkpatrick;
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.3 Fanny Kirkpatrick;
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.4 Cora Kirkpatrick;
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.5 Kitty Kirkpatrick;
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.6 Mary Kirkpatrick;
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.7 Nell Kirkpatrick;
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.8 Emma ["Bae" ] Kirkpatrick;
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.9 Lottie Kirkpatrick;
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.10 John William Kirkpatrick; and
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.11 Richard Kirkpatrick.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Vance L. Kirkpatrick was born July 3, 1834, and died December 18, 1902. He married Mary Hannon on May 25, 1862. She was born August 15, 1846, in Ireland; she died June 5, 1905. Their children were:18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1 Susan Kirkpatrick;126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Martha E. ["Nellie"] Kirkpatrick was born November 29, 1836. She married William D. Bull and they went to California in 1849.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.2 Vance M. Kirkpatrick; and
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.3 Delphine [or Dalphine] Kirkpatrick.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Elvira ["Vie"] Kirkpatrick was born October 23, 1838. She married Harry [or Hyde] Pauley.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Frances Creswell ["Frankie" ] Kirkpatrick was born October 22, 1840, and died June 8, 1917. She married William W. Gunsaulis on May 25, 1862. He was born August 14, 1840, and died December 11, 1880. Their children were:18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1 Frances Anna Gunsaulis ;126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Francis Marion Kirkpatrick was born July 4, 1843, and died October 4, 1910. He married Catherine Hannon on December 23, 1863. Their children were (order not known and not a complete list):
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.2 Frederick Alvin Gunsaulis;
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.3 Mary Theresa died as an infant; and
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.4 Sarah Ellen ["Nellie"] Gunsaulis.184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.1 Jessie or Jesse Kirkpatrick;18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Frederick C. Kirkpatrick was born October 23, 1845, and died October 22, 1890. He married Julia A. Crosby in 1870.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.2 Ella Kirkpatrick;
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.3 William Wesby Kirkpatrick;
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.4 Frank M. Kirkpatrick;
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.5 Catherine ["Kitty"] Kirkpatrick;
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.6 Ernie Kirkpatrick; and
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.7 John Kirkpatrick.
126.96.36.199.1.2.4 Elizabeth Sparks was born on April 13, 1805, probably in North Carolina. She married John McMannus (or McManus) in Washington County, Missouri, on April 24, 1828 [or 1829?]. The marriage was performed by a justice of the peace named Airs Hudspeth.Elizabeth (Sparks) Hudspeth had died prior to the settlement of her brother's estate in 1880. Three surviving children were identified in those estate papers
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Charles McMannus. He was living in Lima, Grant County, Wisconsin, in 18220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Ann Sparks was born June 7, 1808, probably in Tennessee. She was called Nancy in the estate papers of her brother, Solomon Sparks, in 1880. (Nancy may have been a nickname of Ann, or Nancy may have been her real name with Ann a nickname; the Wagner Bible record shows her as Ann.) She married Isaac W. McReynolds who moved to Freeborn County, Minnesota, settling on a farm west of Albert Lea in 1856. She was referred to as "Nancy McReynolds" in her brother's estate papers. Isaac W. McReynolds had been born in North Carolina in 1806. We have no record of their children.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Ann McMannus. She was living in Dubuque, Iowa, in 1880.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Ellen McMannus. She married FNU Rose and was living in DeWitt, Carroll County, Missouri, in 1880.
220.127.116.11.1.2.6 Martha Sparks was born 1 April 1811, in Tennessee. A great-great-grandson of Martha (Orval L. Woodard) has supplied information regarding her and her family. He reports that her tombstone in Buckwheat Ridge Cemetery in Grant County, Wisconsin, carries the inscription: "Born 1 April 1811, Died 30 June 1886." We know from the papers settling the estate of Martha's brother, Solomon Sparks, that she had married FNU Costley. Mr. Woodward informs us that his name was Pierson Costley, and that they were married in Crawford County, Missouri, in 1831. His parents were William and Margaret (Hunter) Costley who moved from Christian County, Kentucky, to Missouri, and then to Greene County, Illinois, in 1819. Pierson Costley died in 1850 in Missouri leaving Martha with a very large family. Word of his death was sent to her family in Wisconsin and a brother (probably Solomon) came for her and brought her and her children to Grant County. These children were18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Sarah Costley was born November 21, 1832; she died in 1886. She was married twice, first to Philip Matheson on March 2, 1851, and, second, to Nathaniel Wayne. Her residence was given as Crawford County, Wis consin, in her uncle's estate papers in 1880. One of the four children of Sarah by her first husband was Rebecca Mattison (the name was spelled both as Matheson and Mattison). Rebecca's father died three months prior to her birth. She was Orval L. Woodard's paternal grandmother.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Margaret Costley is believed to have been a twin of Sarah, born November 21, 1832. She was not listed as an heir in the estate papers of Solomon Sparks in 1880.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Elizabeth Costley was born February 16, 1834. She married Samuel Wayne. Her residence was given as Crawford County, Wisconsin, in 1880.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Mary Costley was born ca. 1835. She married Solomon Harleoad in 1856. She was not listed as an heir in the estate papers of Solomon Sparks in 1880.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 William Costley was born ca. 1837. His residence was given as Arrapahoe, Nebraska, in 1880. He married Amanda Reed.184.108.40.206.1.2.7 Solomon Sparks, son of Abel and Sarah Sparks, was born September 5, 1812, in Tenessee and died March 17, 1880. He was buried in the McReynolds Cemetery near his parents. The inscription on his tombstone reads: "Solomon Sparks, son of Abel and Sarah, died March 17, 1800, aged 67 years, 6 mo., 12 das." He left an estate valued at $15,000 which was divided among his three living brothers, his five living sisters, and the heirs of his four deceased sisters. So far as we know, Solomon Sparks never married.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Melissa A. Costley, born ca. 1838. She married, first, Robert Neeley and, second, Dr. Albert Anderson. In 1880 her name was given as Melissa Henderson of Clifton, Grant County, Wisconsin.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Francis Costley was born ca. 1840. He was killed in the Civil War.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Rebecca Costley was born ca. 1841. In 1880 her name was given in the papers settling the estate of Solomon Sparks as Rebecca Kinney of Crawford County, Wisconsin.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Joseph D. Costley was born ca. 1842. His residence was given simply as "Nebraska" in the settlement of Solomon Sparks's estate in 1880.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Polk Costley [he was called "Dallas"] was born ca. 1844. He died before his uncle's estate was settled in 1880 and in the papers settling that estate, his infant children were identified as "Clara Costly who resides at Ellenboro, Wis., with John Cannon, Samuel Costly who resides at Woodman, Wis. with John McLemans, William Jo Costly who resides at Nora Springs, Floyd Co., Iowa with R. Rowley, Mildred M. Costly and Sarah J. Costly who reside at Meroa, Mitchell Co., Iowa, with Michael Brackes."
188.8.131.52.1.2.8 John Sparks, son of Abel and Sarah (Cochran) Sparks, was born March 25, 1814, in Tennessee. He married Mary ["Polly" ] Ann Kirkpatrick who died on September 9, 1876; she was buried in the Kirkpatrick Cemetery in Iowa County, Wisconsin, near Rewey. She was a sister of Francis C. Kirkpatrick who married Frances Sparks. He was probably the John Sparks shown on the 1830 census of Morgan County, Illinois, with a household of two males and one female. On the 1840 Territorial census of Wisconsin, he was listed as living in Grant County; in 1846, he was living in adjoining Iowa County where he was also listed in the 1850 census (in Mifflin Township). From census records, we believe that he had the following children:184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Sarah E. Sparks, born ca. 1838.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Columbus Sparks, born ca. 1841.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 John M. Sparks, born March 11, 1843; he died January 8, 1873, near Correctionville, Iowa, during a blizzard - - he and a neighbor who had gone after wood became lost. He served in Company E of the 30th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers in the Civil War. He married Caroline Hake in Grant County, Wisconsin, on March 8, 1866. She was still living in 1929 when, at the age of 87 and a resident of Pierre, South Dakota, she applied for a pension based on her husband's service in the Civil War. She identified their children as:184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.1 Wesley B. Sparks, born January 18, 1867;
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.2 William L. Sparks, born April 17, 1868;
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.3 Nellie E. Sparks, born November 6, 1871; and
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.4 John E. Sparks, born September 28, 1872.
MARY (SPARKS) WAGNER BROWN
Daughter of Abel and Sarah (Cochran) Sparks
Born October 25, 1815, Died May 10, 1879
18.104.22.168.1.2.9 Mary ["Polly"] Sparks, daughter of Abel and Sarah (Cochran) Sparks, was born October 25, 1815, in Tennessee. She died May 10, 1879, in Hampton, Franklin County, Iowa. She was married twice and had children by both husbands. According to a descendant, Dorothy L. Creely, there is a marriage record on file in Cooper County, Missouri, dated September 26, 1830, for Jacob Waggoner and Polly Sparks. "Polly" was, of course, a common nickname for Mary, so this is definitely the record of marriage of Mary, daughter of Abel and Sarah Sparks, to her first husband, Jacob Wagner. According to this marriage record, Mary Sparks was from Callaway County, Missouri, when she married Jacob Wagner in Cooper County. Although the 1830 census indicates that Abel Sparks and his family were living in Crawford County, Missouri, when the federal census of 1830 was taken, the fact that Abel's daughter, Mary, was married in Missouri in September 1830 (she lacked a month of being 16 years old), provides further proof that Abel Sparks had moved to Missouri from Bond County, Illinois, sometime between 1820 and 1827. (Jane Sparks, the youngest child of Sarah and Abel, was born in Missouri on July 19, 1827.)
Jacob Wagner, first husband of Mary Sparks, had been born in Palatine, New York, on August 24, 1807. He was a farmer living in Grant County, Wisconsin, when, ca. 1844, he was killed by a neighbor who struck him on the head with a fence post. It was winter and there was a great deal of snow; Jacob Wagner had taken down this man's fence in order to take a short cut home.
Mary (Sparks) Wagner married, as her second husband, Joseph Brown who had been born ca. 1810 and died ca. 1860. He was a Quaker, born in Pennsylvania, and lived his adult life in Grant County, Wisconsin. A photograph of Mary (Sparks) Wagner Brown appears on page 3079. The original of this photograph was loaned to the Editor by the late Lucia A. Stephens.
The children of Mary Sparks by her first husband, Jacob Wagner, were:22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Elizabeth Wagner was born January 22, 1832, and died March 17, 1923. She married Samuel Wanamaker. A photograph provided by Dorothy Creely appears on page 3081.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 George Wagner, born May 1, 1833, died March 9, 1863. He did not marry.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Sarah Jane Wagner was born May 22, 1834; she married Jake Wire in Platteville, Wisconsin, in 1853. They moved to Hampton, Iowa, in 1867. Sarah Jane died in Claremont, California, on December 12, 1921; Jacob Wire died [in Claremont] on April 12, 1905. They had four children: three sons named Ira F. Wire, Vinette Wire, and Frank Wire, and one daughter named Advia (Wire) Smith. A photograph of Sarah Jane (Wagner) Wire appears on page 3081 with her four children and their spouses along with a number of grandchildren. Sarah Jane is the elderly lady seated in the top row, second from the right.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Jesse William Wagner, born June 28, 1835, died June 1, 1922. He did not marry. (He appears in the photograph on page 3083 with the family of his brother, Jacob Harrison Wagner.)
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Emdine Catherine Wagner, born January 9, 1837, died February 1, 1929. She married Scott Vincent.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Solomon Wagner, born August 20, 1838, died January 20, 1924. He was married five times. His first wife's name was Sullivan and his second wife's name was Pricella Ice Ward. The names of the others are not known. He was buried in or near Stockton, California.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Jasper Newton Wagner, born November 4, 1839. He never married. He was lost during a storm from a wagon train going west.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Jacob Harrison Wagner, born February 28, 1841, died February 25, 1929. He married Margaret Horning and they lived in Albert Lea, Minnesota. Their children were:220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1 May Belle Wagner, born March 3, 1868;
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.2 Adda Blanche Wagner, born May 26, 1869;
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.3 Charles O. Wagner, born July 14, 1872;
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.4 George William Wagner, born September 18, 1874;
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.5 Cora E. Wagner, born October 19, 1877;
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.6 Nellie Vearl Wagner, born September 30, 1880;
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.7 Jay H. Wagner, born September 3, 1884;
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.8 Birdie Wagner, born November 1, 1888; and
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.9 Henry Ross Wagner, born December 4, 1890.
The children of Mary Sparks by her second husband, Joseph Brown, were:220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Apame Ann Brown, born March 25, 1845; died May 1909. She married Bentley Wheeler. In 1880, according to the estate papers of her uncle, Solomon Sparks, she was living in Hampton, Iowa.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Minerva Brown, born November 14, 1846, died in June, 1921. She married Charles Humphrey. In 1880, according to the estate papers of her uncle, Solomon Sparks, she was living in Hampton, Iowa.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 John Brown, born July 23, 1848; died August 24, 1920. He married Mary Ann Gullickson. In 1880, according to the estate papers of his uncle, Solomon Sparks, he was living in Yankton, South Dakota.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Dave Brown, born August 20, 1850; died in February 1914. He married Evelyn Medley. In 1880, according to the estate papers of his uncle, Solomon Sparks, he was living in Yankton, South Dakota.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Marques De Lafayette ["Mark"] Brown, was born June 14, 1852, and died December 26, 1899. He married Agnes Nowell.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Phoebe Brown, born July 9, 1854, died June 4, 1855.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Mary Idell Brown, born February 21, 1858, died December 18, 1933. She married Dr. John Pride. In 1880, according to the estate papers of her uncle, Solomon Sparks, she was living in Whittemore, Kossuth County, Iowa.
Elizabeth (Wagner) Wanamaker
Daughter of Mary (Sparks) Wagner
Below: Family of Sarah (Wagner) Wire
The family members appearing in the photograph at the bottom of page 3081 have been identified by Dorothy Creely as follows: Top row, left to right, Frank Wire, Charlotte Wire, Adria (Wire) Smith, Lucinda (Chryst) Wire, Sarah (Wagner) Wire, and Kennth Smith; middle row, left to right, Ira L. Wire, Dallas Wire, Charlie Wire, Lela Wire, Lola Wire, Marvel Wire, and Kenneth Smith; bottom row, left to right, Ira F. Wire, Harold Wire, Madge Wire, Lela Collins, Marie Wire, Musette Wire, John Collins, Blanch Collins, and Vinette Wire.
Family of Jacob Harrison & Margaret (Horning) Wagner
(Jacob and Margaret Wagner are seated; standing at the left is Jesse William Wagner, brother of Jacob. Jacob and Jesse Wagner were sons of Mary Sparks by her first husband, Jacob Wagner.)
(Editor's Note: Much of the information regarding Mary [Sparks] Wagner Brown was supplied a number of years ago by Olive W. Harris of Clearfield, Utah, a great-granddaughter of Mary. Photographs of other members of this family appeared in the Quarterly of September 1972 [Whole No. 79], pp. 1495-97.)
22.214.171.124.1.2.10 Sarah Sparks, daughter of Abel and Sarah (Cochran) Sparks, was born on September 13, 1817, while the family was still living in Tennessee. She married William Dennis. She was still living in 1880 when she was identified in her brother's (Solomon Sparks's) estate papers as "Sarah Dennis."
When the 1860 census was taken of Grant County, Illinois, William and Sarah (Sparks) Dennis were shown as having four children:126.96.36.199.1.2.11 Abraham Sparks [he was also called "Abram"] was born July 27, 1821, in Bond County, Illinois. He married Susannah Caroline (Kirkpatrick) Mundon, widow of Frederick Mundon. (She had been born ca. 1811 in Georgia, according to census records.) She was some eleven years older than Abraham and had four children by her previous marriage when she and Abraham were married. Their names were William, Martha E., Hosea, and Theodosia L. Mundon (sometimes spelled Murdon). From census records, it appears that Abraham and Susannah were in Iowa County, Wisconsin, in 1850 at which time they had one child, James Sparks, born ca. 1849. Whether there were additional children, we do not know. Abraham was still living in 1880 when his brother's (Solomon's) estate was settled.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Robert Dennis, born ca. 1845;
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Stephen Dennis, born ca. 1846;
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Mary J. Dennis, born ca. 1847; and
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 John J. Dennis, born ca. 1850.
220.127.116.11.1.2.12 Rebecca Sparks was born December 27, 1825. She married William Andrews. She was still living in 1880 when the estate of her brother (Solomon Sparks) was settled. We have no information regarding her family.
18.104.22.168.1.2.13 Jane Sparks was born July 19, 1827, in Missouri. She married Hugh W. McReynolds and was still living at the time of the settlement of the estate of her brother, Solomon Sparks, in 1880.
The following brief sketch appears in a History of Iowa County, Wisconsin, published by the Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1881, page 925: "H. W. McReynolds, dealer in general store; was born in Bond Co., IL., in 1825; came to Wisconsin when quite small with his parents, who are both dead; when old enough, he worked in the mines; then went to Grant Co. in business; then to Rewey in Oct, 1880; he owns 160 acres of land in Sec. 31, finely improved; his wife, Jane Sparks, was born in Wisconsin, in 1845, daughter of an old settler; they married in 1861, and have five children: Celiste, Ulysses, Eva, James, Syrina; a member of I.O.O. F. and A., F. & A.M." [Editor's Note: We cannot account for the date of birth of Jane Sparks and the date of her marriage given in this sketch; these dates must be in error unless this is a different Jane Sparks.)
[Editor's Note: A number of descendants of the two men named Abel Sparks have contributed valuable data for the preparation of this article, including the following: George C. Burdette, Stone Mountain, GA 30083; Dorothy Creely, Santa Cruz, CA 95060; Ellene McKay George, Kent, OH 44240; Olive W. Harris, Clearfield, UT 84015; Nellie E. Heward, Aurora, CO 80011; Mel Kirkpatrick, Bloomington, IL 55431; Dorothy Stephens Heider, Palm Desert, CA 92260; Nadine Sparks Stevenson, Fairfield, CA 94533; and Orval L. Woodard, Colfax, CA 95713.]