May 2, 2014
Whole Number 139
SHERWOOD E. SPARKS, A SUCCESSFUL COAL OPERATOR
Sherwood E. Sparks
We are always pleased to learn of the success of a member of the Sparks Family Association, but it is particularly gratifying when that individual is also an ardent supporter of our activities. Such a person is Sherwood E. Sparks, a charter member and our most enthusiastic supporter for the past thirty-five years.
Sherwood E. Sparks was born July 25, 1909, at Chatteroy, West Virginia, a coal-mining village on the West Virginia-Kentucky border. He was reared by his grandparents, Colby and Martha (Chaffin) Sparks, at Yatesville, Kentucky, but when he attained manhood, he returned to his native state where he began a successful career in mining. Starting as an apprentice coal miner, he rose rapidly to the positions of foreman and then superintendent. In 1961 he formed his own company, the Royal Sparks Mining Company, located near Beckley, West Virginia. Several years later, after success in this highly competitive industry, he sold his company to the A. T. Massey Coal Company, a giant among the coal corporations of America.
Mr. Sparks is a member of the Board of Trustees of Beckley College and a Director Emeritus of the Raleigh County [West Virginia] National Bank. He is a Methodist, a Mason, a Shriner, and an Elk. He and his wife, the former Martha Belle Short, reside at their home in Beckley. We are pleased to share this story of their success with our readers and to send congratulations to them. (For information regarding the branch of the family to which Sherwood belongs, see the December 1955 and the June 1969 issues of the Quarterly, Whole Nos. 12 and 66, respectively.)