Whole Number 140
by Russell E. Bidlack
(Editor's Note: Many members of the Association have contributed information and have assisted in the preparation of the article that follows. Dr. Paul E. Sparks, our President, has been the principal contributor. The others include Rula E. Barbee, IN; Mrs. George L. Briggs, deceased; The Rev. Jay B. Budd, OH; Marjorie D. Budd, WI; William Burton Davis, AZ; Marjorie A. Fischer, MN; Peggy Linam Lyne, OK; Nancy Moore, CA; Jack B. Sparks, WA; Jerry W. Sparks, KY; Robert M. Sparks, lo, CA; Dr. Sherman P. Sparks, TX; and Eleanor M. Worley, OH.)
32.4 Walter Sparks, son of 32. Richard Sparks, was born ca. 1760, probably while his parents were still living in Middlesex County, New Jersey, near the village of Cranbury. It is possible, however, that his birth may have occurred after the family moved west--"The West" to a resident of New Jersey at that time meant western Pennsylvania or western Virginia. Our last record of Richard Sparks, father of Walter, in New Jersey is dated February 6, 1758. On that date, he contributed toward the building of the parsonage for the Presbyterian Church in Cranbury. (This document is preserved today in the First Presbyterian Church on King George's Road in Cranbury.) Unfortunately, very few early records of this church survive, but we can assume that Richard Sparks, who was born ca. 1725, was a member.
by 1773, Richard Sparks and his family were living in that part of Pennsylvania that later became Allegheny County. We believe, however, that they had left New Jersey as much as a decade earlier, but exactly where they lived between ca. 1760 and 1773 has not be discovered. In 1971, we published a record of the known facts pertaining to Richard Sparks. This appeared in the Quarterly of December 1971, Whole No. 76, pages 1440-46.
We do not have sufficient evidence to identify the wife of Richard Sparks. There has been a family tradition that her maiden name was Applegate.
Richard Sparks was an executor of the estate of Benjamin Applegate, a resident of Nottingham Township, Burlington County, New Jersey (which adjoins Middlesex County). Benjamin Applegate's will was dated February 2, 1752, and he died prior to May 16, 1753.
Walter Sparks, subject of this sketch, had four brothers:
32.1 James Sparks, born in the early 1750s;
32.2 Benjamin Sparks, born in 1754;
32.3 Richard Sparks, Jr., born between 1756 and 1760; and
32.5 Daniel Sparks, born February 10, 1763.
We published an article on Walter's brother, Richard Sparks, Jr., in the Quarterly of September 1974, Whole No. 87, pages 1671-88. Richard was stolen by the Shawnee Indians sometime between 1760 and 1762 when he was three or four years old. He grew up as an Indian, but in 1775 he was returned to his family and subsequently became an officer in the United States Army. We have not been able to prove where the Sparks family was living at the time little Richard was stolen, although it was obviously somewhere on the frontier. One source gave Kentucky as the family's residence at the time, but the most reliable source gave "near Pittsburg." From available evidence, it appears that Richard and Walter were very nearly the same age - - perhaps two or three years apart. Richard was apparently the older of the two.
During the latter 1760s, a number of New Jersey families migrated to the area lying between the Youghiogheny and the Monongahelia Rivers, often called "the Forks of the Yough," in what is now western Pennsylvania. Members of the Applegate and Wall families, both closely associated with the Sparks family in New Jersey, visited "the Forks of the Yough" in 1766, and their glowing description of the area attracted so many of their New Jersey neighbors to join them in moving there that their settlement became known as the "Jersey Settlement." It comprised what is now Forward and Elizabeth Townships in Allegheny County, across the Monongahela River from Union Township in Washington County. Point Pleasant in West Virginia, where the Shawnees released their captives in 1775 following their defeat in Lord Dunmore's War, is about 100 miles from where the Sparks family lived at the time. Several members of the family, according to tradition, journeyed to Point Pleasant in 1775 to learn whether Richard, Jr. might be among the released captives, which he was. We can speculate that one member of that party may have been Richard's brother, Walter.
The earliest record that we have found thus far pertaining to Walter Sparks was dated May 25, 1778. It was his "Oath of Allegiance and Fidelity" to the American side in the Revolution. A brief explanation of this record is neccessary. Until 1785, both Virginia and Pennsylvania claimed and exercised jurisdiction of the area that is now included in the Pennsylvania counties of Washington, Greene, Fayette, Westmoreland, and Allegheny. Three counties were created by Virginia to include the same area, along with part of what is now West Virginia and a small strip of Ohio. The Virginia county that included what is now Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, was called Yohogania, and it is in the records kept for Yohogania County that we find the following item in the Minutes of the County Court for May 25, 1778: "Elijah Hart and Walter Sparks came into Court and took the oath of Allegience and Fidelity." (See RECORDS OF THE DISTRICT OF WEST AUGUSTA, OHIO COUNTY, AND YOHOGANIA COUNTY, VIRGINIA edited by Richard W. Loveless and published by Ohio State University, 1970, Part II, p. 221.)
by this oath, 32.4 Walter Sparks identified himself as a patriot. Virginia, like most other states, had enacted a law to identify Loyalists who had become enemies of the Revolution. It set the minimum age at which the oath would be required of male citizens - - at first it was 18, then it was reduced to 16. Thus we know that Walter Sparks was at least 16 on May 25, 1778, when he took the oath, so he could have been born no later than 1762.
It was not until after the Revolution that the U.S. Congress took up the question of the boundary dispute between Virginia and Pennsylvania. Before and during the Revolution, Pennsylvania, like Virginia, tried to exercise jurisdiction over the area that in 1785 was declared to be truly part of Pennsylvania. The Jersey Settlement, where the Sparks family lived, was, of course, included in Pennsylvania's Westmoreland County. Joseph Becket, a prominent and wealthy inhabitant of this area who believed strongly that Pennsylvania was the rightful owner, organized a company to help fight the British during the Revolution. This had been in 1782. A document has been preserved that has the heading: "A return of the classes drafted and ordered to randivous the 8th August 1782 out of Joseph Becketts Company." (See THE PENNSYLVANIA ARCHIVES, 6th Series, Vol. 2, p. 344.) Listed in the "1st Class" of soldiers named in this document was Walter Sparks. We have been able to learn nothing further, however, regarding Walter Sparks's service in the Revolution.
The township within Westmoreland County that included the Jersey Settlement, of which Richard Sparks and his family, including Walter, were a part, was called Rostraver Township. When Allegheny County was created in 1788, Rostraver Township became Forward and Elizabeth Townships in the new county.
The tax list for Rostraver Township for 1783 survives, and Walter Sparks was listed as owner of 150 acres of land. How he acquired this land has not been discovered. He was also taxed in 1783 on one horse, one head of cattle, and three sheep. The tax collector indicated that there were "4 white inhabitants" in Walter's household. His father, 32. Richard Sparks, was also taxed in the same township (170 acres), as was his brother, 32.2 Benjamin Sparks (200 acres). It seems probable that the four white inhabitants in Walter's household in 1783 were himself, his wife, and his two oldest children, 32.4.1 Richard Sparks and 32.4.2 Elijah Sparks. (See THE PENNSYLVANIA ARCHIVES, 3rd Series, Vol. 22, p. 379.) From later land records in Kentucky, we know that Walter Sparks's wife's name was Phoebe MNU. We believe that Walter and Phoebe were probably married ca. 1781. We have found no clue to reveal Phoebe's maiden name.
The tax list for Rostraver Township for the year 1786 also survives, but Walter Sparks did not appear on it. (See THE PENNSYLVANIA ARCHIVES, 3rd Series, Vol. 22, p. 431.) We believe that by 1786, Walter had followed his brothers, James and Daniel, to what was then America's new frontier, the region that had become known as Kentucky, although it was then claimed by Virginia as part of her territory. In 1833, 32.1 James Sparks (another of Walter's brother) stated in a pension application that he had moved from "near where Elizabethtown now is" to Jefferson County, Kentucky, "about the year 1782." (See the Quarterly of September 1954, Whole No. 7, pp. 39-45, for a transcription of the pension application papers of James Sparks based on his service in the Revolution.) We believe that Daniel Sparks probably moved to Kentucky at about the same time as his brother, James. Daniel's name appears on a poll list for Jefferson County, Kentucky, on April 2, 1782. (See THE FILSON CLUB HISTORICAL Quarterly, Vol. 3, pp. 133-4.)
The Sparks brothers who migrated to Kentucky were true pioneers. Just as their father had been an early settler of western Pennsylvania, so were three of his sons among the early settlers of Kentucky. It had been only in 1769 that Daniel Boone, John Finley, and a party or hunters had crossed the Cumberland Gap from the Yadkin Valley in North Carolina. The first permanent settlement in Kentucky had been made by James Harrod and a party of surveyors in 1774 at what became Harrodsburg. Kentucky County, comprising the entire region, had been established by Virginia in 1776. As white settlers moved into the area from Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the Carolinas in the late 1770s, the Indians became increasingly hostile. In January 1778, Daniel Boone himself was taken prisoner by a group of Indians and narrowly escaped with his life. by 1782, however, the Indian menace had largely ended and, with the close of the Revolutionary War, settlers flocked into the region. The Sparks brothers were part of this great migration. On June 1, 1792, Kentucky was admitted to the Union as the 15th state.
We can imagine the stories of adventure that Walter Sparks and his brothers told their children and grandchildren, but to the writer's knowledge none of these stories were recorded for future generations.
Jefferson County, where the Sparks brothers settled, had been created in 1780 as one of three counties carved out of what Virginia had designated as Kentucky County in 1776. The other two were called Fayette and Lincoln. In 1790, these three counties were subdivided further into nine counties, including Jefferson. Jefferson County was then comprised of what is today the north half of both Spencer and Bullitt Counties, all of Jefferson, Shelby, Oldham, Henry, and Trimble Counties, the north-west corner of Anderson County, and the west half of Carroll County.
Walter Sparks was taxed in Jefferson County in 1792; his tax was based on one poll (himself), one horse, and six cattle. He owned no land in 1792, but two years later, on March 31, 1794, Walter Sparks purchased a tract of 961 acres from William Crooks. (This was recorded in Jefferson County Deed Book 4, page 114. ) His tract was described in the deed as lying on Floyds Fork, a good-size stream that flows south into the Salt River. From later deeds and tax lists, we know that his land was on Broad Run, a small stream flowing into Floyds Fork in the south-east corner of what is today Jefferson County. Walter's tract had been part of a grant of 14,000 acres that had been made earlier to David Leach (often spelled Leitch in the early records).
On the day following his purchase, 32.4 Walter Sparks signed his name as witness to a deed (dated 1 April 1794) by which his brother, 32.1 James Sparks, bought 63 acres directly from David Leach (through an agent acting for Leach). James's land was also described as lying on Floyds Fork. (Jefferson County Deed Book 4, page 140) Earlier, 32.5 Daniel Sparks, brother of Walter and James, had acquired land in the same area, although his deed seems not to have been recorded. Daniel was taxed on 184 acres in 1792. In 1795, Daniel was taxed on a tract of 251 acres on Broad Run, another tract of 100 acres also on Broad Run, and 1000 acres that he had acquired on Clover Creek in Hardin County.
A roughly drawn map showing the general area in Kentucky where Walter Sparks and his brothers settled in the 1780s. The streams on which they owned land included Back Run, Broad Run, Dutchmans Creek, Goose Creek, Plum Creek, and Elk Creek. The dates of formation of the counties shown should be kept in mind. This entire area was included in Jefferson County from 1780 to 1784 when Nelson County was created from Jefferson. In 1792, Shelby County was formed from Jefferson. Then in 1796, Bullitt County was created from Jefferson and a portion of Nelson. In 1823, Oldham County was formed from Henry, Shelby, and Jefferson Counties, and in 1824 Spencer County was formed from parts of Shelby, Bullitt, and Nelson Counties. Jefferson and Oldham Counties adjoin the Indiana counties of Harrison, Floyd, and Clark, separated by the Ohio River.
Whether the tracts on Broad Run owned by the three brothers actually adjoined each other, we do not know, but the brothers certainly lived very near one another. All of their Broad Run tracts were in that portion of Jefferson County (the south-east portion of present Jefferson County) near which Shelby County was cut off in 1792. Then, in 1796, Bullitt County was created from Jefferson and Nelson Counties. (Nelson had been cut off from Jefferson in 1784.) Bullitt County lies immediately below Shelby County - - its border is just below Broad Run where Walter Sparks owned land. In fact, the line between Jefferson and Bullitt Counties ran through land owned by Walter's brother, Daniel. The line between Jefferson and Shelby Counties seems to have been so near to Walter's land that there may have been a question as to whether his residence was in Jefferson or Shelby. His name appears on the Shelby County tax list of 1800, 1801, and 1802 without any land, but in 1803 he was taxed on 60 acres located on Wolf Run, and in 1804 he was taxed for 150 acres on Plum Creek. We have not found recorded deeds for this Shelby County land. (The original tax records from which the above data have been taken have been examined personally by Dr. Paul E. Sparks.)
In 1804, when Walter Sparks purchased 50 acres on Broad Run in Jefferson County from Elaphat and Ann Caswell (Deed Book 7, page 272), Walter's residence was given in the deed as Shelby County, although we imagine he was still living on his 96½-acre tract that he had bought in 1794 and that there was confusion regarding the county in which the tract was actually located. He made this purchase on September 12, 1804, for 30 pounds, and on the following day, he and his wife, Phoebe, mortgaged the same tract to John Maple of Jefferson County for 45 pounds. (Deed Book 7, page 270) For both documents, the same three men served as witnesses: George Markwell, Elias Markwell, and Robert Donaldson. Both Walter and Phoebe signed this deed by mark.
We have found no other recorded deed by which Walter Sparks acquired land, although between 1814 and 1819 he was taxed on a total of 175 acres in Jefferson County. In 1821 and 1822, he was taxed on a tract of 100 acres on Back Run in Jefferson County. As seen on the map on page 3134, Back Run and Broad Run are very near to each other and actually join before they flow into Floyds Fork.
The federal census of 1810 listed Walter Sparks as a resident of Jefferson County. His household consisted of himself, aged over 45, and a female (doubtless his wife, Phoebe) also aged over 45; there were also two males and two females, all aged 10 to 16, as well as another male under 10 years of age. We can be sure that the male under 10 years was Walter's youngest son, 32.4.9 Walter Sparks, Jr., who was born ca. 1802. The two males between 10 and 16 were, we. believe, his son 32.4.8 Ezra Sparks, who was born ca. 1795-7, and his son 32.4.6 James Sparks, although from other records it would seem that James may have been slightly older than 16 in 1810. The two females between 10 and 16 were doubtless his daughters, 34.2.7 Johanna Sparks, born August 16, 1793, and 32.4.10 Elizabeth Sparks, born ca. 1802.
Walter Sparks was still a resident of Jefferson County in 1820, according to the federal census of that year. Besides himself and his wife (both of whom were enumerated as over 45), there was only one other person living in Walter's household, a male between 18 and 26. This was surely Walter's youngest son, 32.4.9 Walter Sparks, Jr., the only one of his children still living at home.
Between 1824 and 1825, Walter Sparks disposed of all his land by selling portions to three of his sons,
32.4.5 Daniel Sparks,
32.4.8 Ezra Sparks, and
32.4.9 Walter Sparks, Jr.
We can speculate that he was now a man well along in his sixties and that he was no longer able to farm his land by himself. His youngest son, Walter Sparks, Jr., had married in 1820, as had also his youngest daughter, 32.4.10 Elizabeth Sparks. We know that his wife, Phoebe, was still living because she also signed the deeds with Walter. On June 2, 1824, they sold 75 acres on Broad Run for $500 to their son, Ezra. The only witness was Robert Tyler, the county clerk. (Jefferson County Deed Book W, p. 266) Then, on December 20, 1825, Walter and Phoebe sold 16 additional acres to Ezra for $100. (Book Y, page 18) This tract was described in the deed as being "on Back Run, a branch of Long Run." Long Run, which also flows into Floyds Fork, is about 10 miles north of Broad Run; Back Run is not a branch of Long Run, as stated in this deed, and one wonder's whether, perhaps, Broad Run was intended for Long Run. These 16 acres were obviously part of the 100 acres on which Walter Sparks was taxed in Jefferson County in 1821 and 1822. According to the deed, these 16 acres were "a part of the plantation of which the said [Walter] Sparks now lives."
On the same date (December 20, 1825), Walter Sparks sold 50 acres to his son, Walter Sparks, Jr. (Book Y, page 19) Also on December 20, 1825, Walter and Phoebe sold a tract for which the number of acres was not specified to his son Daniel (Book Y, page 20). It is apparent that these three sons were all present when these sales were made because they served as witnesses for each other's deeds. Walter's and Phoebe's sons Richard, Elijah, and William are known to have moved to Indiana prior to the time Walter was selling his land, so they did not figure in these transactions. James Sparks, whom we believe was a son of Walter and Phoebe, was in Bullitt County at that time - - perhaps he lived too far from his parents to be interested in owning any of their land. One may speculate whether Walter actually required the cash payment from his sons as specified in their deeds, or whether these were considered debts that would be considered payable if Walter and/or Phoebe needed the money later in their lives.
Our last reference to Walter Sparks is found in a deed dated December 20, 1827, by which his son, Walter, Jr., who, with his wife Nancy, was living in Spencer County, purchased for $168 a tract of land from his brother Ezra Sparks of Jefferson County. The deed for this sale describes the tract as "part of the plantation wherein Walter Sparks, Senior now lives." (Jefferson County Deed Book BB, page 70)
Walter Sparks was not listed on the 1830 census of Kentucky. While he, as well as Phoebe, may have been living with one of their children at that time (only the names of heads of households appear on federal censuses prior to 1850), it seems probable that both Walter and Phoebe died between 1827 and 1830, or soon thereafter. We have found no record of their estate being settled.
We cannot be positive regarding a complete list of the children of Walter and Phoebe Sparks, but from a variety of records, which together constitute a preponderance of evidence, we believe that they had ten children, seven sons and three daughters, as follows: (Here we have limited our coverage to biographical sketches of each of these ten children, with a brief notice of their children. From these it will be seen that Walter and Phoebe had at least fifty grandchildren. In future issues of the Quarterly, we hope to carry the record of Walter's descendants further.)
32.4.1 Richard Sparks, believed to have been the oldest son of Walter and Phoebe Sparks, was born December 24, 1781, in what is now Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, although at the time both Pennsylvania and Virginia claimed the area to be part of their respective territories. On the 1850 census, "Virginia" was given as the place of Richard's birth, suggesting, perhaps, that the Sparks family was on Virginia's side regarding the boundary dispute. (The date of Richard's birth has been calculated by using his age at his death appearing on his tombstone in Vigo County, Indiana.) He was doubtless named for his paternal grandfather as well as for his uncle who had been stolen by the Shawnee Indians.
Richard Sparks accompanied his parents when they moved to Kentucky ca. 1785. Our earliest record of him on the tax rolls in Kentucky was his appearance on the 1806 tax list of Shelby County, Kentucky. He was married that same year - - his bond to marry Mary Smith was recorded in Shelby County on March 27, 1806. They were doubtless married within a few days of the date of the bond. Based on her age at the time of her death, Mary appears to have been born in 1786.
According to the Shelby County, Kentucky, tax list of 1806, Richard Sparks owned no land at that time, but he did have two horses on which he was taxed. He was listed as a resident of District 2 in Shelby County, as was also his brother, Elijah Sparks, and a Benjamin Sparks whom we have not yet succeeded in identifying. When the 1807 tax list of Shelby County was prepared, Richard Sparks was shown as the owner of 100 acres of land located on Plum Creek which had formerly been owned by a man named Applegate; Richard now also had 6 horses. No deed has been found indicating how he acquired this land, but there is the possibility that it had been inherited by his wife. At that time, a woman's property immediately became the property of her husband when she married.
Richard Sparks continued to be taxed on his 100 acres on Plum Creek until 1819 when the acreage was increased to 140 acres valued at $755. A deed was recorded in Shelby County indicating that on September 12, 1820, Richard Sparks purchased 45 acres on "Big Plum Creek" for $112 from Thomas Mc Gee of Jefferson County (Book R, P. 67). Daniel Sparks was a witness to this deed, along with John Carr. The tax lists for 1820 and 1821 show Richard Sparks as owning 145 acres on Plum Creek.
On May 15, 1822, Richard Sparks purchased still more land on Plum Creek, on this occasion from Hezekiah Applegate of Scott County, Indiana. (Deed Book S, page 326) We believe that this was the same Hezekiah Applegate who married Catherine Sparks, daughter of Daniel and Sarah (Bogard) Sparks, in Scott County, Indiana, in 1828. This Catherine Sparks was born February 13, 1812, and was a first cousin of Richard Sparks. The witnesses to this 1822 deed, as in 1820, were Daniel Sparks and John Carr. The number of acres were not indicated in the deed, but on the tax list of 1823 Richard Sparks was shown as now owning 164 acres valued at $1,050.
It is apparent that Hezekiah Applegate who sold Richard Sparks land in 1822 had moved from Shelby County, Kentucky, to Scott County, Indiana. Richard's brother, William Sparks, would make the same move in 1825/6.
In 1824, the part of Shelby County in which Richard Sparks lived was cut off to help form the new county of Spencer. Richard Sparks was taxed in Spencer County for 165 (rather that 164) acres on Plum Creek from 1825 to 1826. On March 10, 1827, Richard and his wife, Mary, sold 145 acres of their land to William McCrockin for $1.00. (Book B, p. 85) This was obviously a token of what these 145 acres were worth and must have in volved some kind of business arrangement with William McCrockin. How Richard disposed of his other 20 acres, we do not know. His name appeared on the 1827 tax list of Spencer County for the last time - - he was shown as owning 6 horses (valued at $250) but no land.
by 1830, Richard Sparks had moved to Vigo County, Indiana, where he was listed on the census of that year. He and his wife, Mary, spent the rest of their lives there. Mary died on January 30, 1847, and was buried in the Prairie Creek Cemetery. When the 1850 census was taken, Richard was shown as living in the household of his daugher, Pheby McCray, widow of Charles W. McCray (sometimes spelled "McRae"), and her two children, Ursuila (aged 5) and William (aged 4). Also living with Pheby was her sister, Richard's daughter, Elizabeth Sparks. On this census, Richard Sparks was shown as 70 years old, a farmer, with $600 of real estate.
Richard Sparks died on September 3, 1854, and was buried beside his wife in the Prairie Creek Cemetery in Honey Creek Township, Vigo County, Indiana. The children of Richard and Mary (Smith) Sparks were:
22.214.171.124 Hiram Sparks, born January 14, 1807, in what is now Spencer County, Kentucky. He died on July 16, 1890, in Vigo County, Indiana. He was married in Knox County, Indiana, in 1828 (the license was dated November 3, 1828), to Laura Tichenor, who was born August 28, 1809, in Kentucky, and died on April 14, 1874, in Vigo County, Indiana. Hiram Sparks purchased 170 acres of land in Vigo County on January 7, 1829, from Thomas and Sarah Pound for $340. (Deed Book 3, page 211) On August 2, 1834, Hiram and Laura sold 75 acres for $150 to his brother, Ephraim Sparks. (Deed Book 4, page 350) (A thorough search for possible later deeds involving Hiram has not been made.) Hiram's tombstone in the Second Prairie Creek Cemetery shows his age at death as 88 years, 7 months, and 4 days according to a report provided to the present writer. From census records, however, it appears that he should have been 83 at the time of his death, so we wonder whether his age was copied in error from his tombstone.
126.96.36.199 Ephraim Sparks, born September 25, 1808, in what is now Spencer County, Kentucky. Like his siblings, he came to Vigo County with his parents and settled in Linton Township. As noted above, he pur chased 75 acres of land for $150 from his brother, Hiram, on August 2, 1834. He married (first), on April 21, 1831, Elizabeth Pound (1813-1833). After the death of his first wife, Ephraim married (second) Elizabeth Budd on December 12, 1833. He died in Vigo County, Indiana, on April 18, 1849. and was buried in the Second Prairie Creek Cemetery, beside his first wife.
188.8.131.52 Owen [or "Oen"] Sparks, whose full name may have been Samuel Owen Sparks, was born ca. 1809-11 in what is now Spencer County, Kentucky. He married Lucinda Osborn in Vigo County, Indiana, on February 24, 1831. He and his family were in Vigo County, Indiana, in 1850, but later moved to Kansas. He died ca. 1859-60. They had at least one child:
184.108.40.206.1 Richard Sparks, born 1848 and died in 1910. He married Lydia Catherine Carlin. She was born in 1857 and also died in1910. They had at least one child:
220.127.116.11.1.2 Grace Sparks. She was born in 1891 and died in 1947. She married Alfred J. Gmeiner. He was born in 1891 and died in 1976. They had
18.104.22.168.1.2.1 Lavon Josephine Gmeiner, born 1906 and died in 1996. She married John D. Scalet. He was born in 1915 and died in 1994. They had
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Barbara K. Scalet, born 1941 and died in 2010. She married Richard Griswold who was born in 1940.
188.8.131.52 Smith Sparks was born ca.1813 in what is now Spencer County, Kentucky. He accompanied his parents in their move to Vigo County, Indiana, late in the 1820s and was married there on October 11, 1834, to Emily Tichenor. She was born ca. 1816. He died on May 11, 1860. His tombstone in the Second Prairie Creek Cemetery gives his age at the time of his death as 47. His wife, Emily, was also buried in the Second Prairie Creek Cemetery; her tombstone gives her age as 54 at her death on March 29, 1870. H. W. Beckwith, in his HISTORY OF VIGO & PARKE COUNTIES, INDIANA, published in 1880, page 435, stated that among those arriving "at an early day" in Linton Township, Vigo County, were Smith Sparks and his brothers, Ephraim and Herman Sparks. ("Herman" may have been a misprint for Hiram.) The will of Smith Sparks, dated May 4, 1860, was recorded in Vigo County in Will Book 1, page 101. He left the 80 acres of land that he owned to his wife with the recommendation that she sell 40 acres "to raise funds to defray the expenses of finishing a house now on hand at this time ... and to pay other debts that may arise for schooling my youngest daughter Mildred Caroline Sparks, to educate her up even with the balance of my children." He appointed David Miller and "my son Virgil A. Sparks" to be the executors of his estate.
184.108.40.206 (? Herman) Sparks. There may have been a son named Herman born ca. 1816. As was noted above, it was stated by an historian of Vigo County that "Herman Sparks," with his brothers, Ephraim and Smith, was among the first settlers of Linton Township, Vigo County. "Herman" may, however, have been confused with Hiram.
220.127.116.11 Letitia Sparks was born in 1818 in what is now Spencer County, Kentucky. She accompanied her parents in their move to Vigo County, Indiana, where she married Silas Tychenor on August 23, 1832. She died in 1849 in Vigo County.
18.104.22.168 Preston Sparks was born ca. 1820 in what is now Spencer County, Kentucky. He accompanied his parents when they moved to Vigo County, Indiana, in the late 1820s, and it was there that he was married on February ruary 13, 1840, to his first wife, Rachel Ann McCray (also spelled McRea) ; she was called Nellie. She died and he was married in 1857 to his second wife, Milly Mobley. He died on March 10, 1869, and was buried in the Second Prairie Creek Cemetery.
22.214.171.124 A daughter Sparks, not identified, appears to have been born ca. 1822.
126.96.36.199 Elizabeth Sparks was born ca. 1824. We have no record of her having married.
188.8.131.52 Phoebe Ann Sparks was born ca. 1826. She married Charles W. McCray (or McRae) on February 29, 1844, in Vigo County, Indiana. As noted earlier, she appeared as a widow heading her own household when the 1850 census was taken of Honey Creek Township, Vigo County.
32.4.2 Elijah Sparks, son of Walter and Phoebe Sparks, was born ca. 1783. We can speculate that, because Walter and Phoebe named their first son in honor of Walter's father, Elijah may have been named in honor of Phoebe's father. It was the custom among many families of this period for the first son to be named for his paternal grandfather and the second son to be named for his maternal grandfather. Our earliest record of Elijah Sparks was his marriage in Shelby County, Kentucky, to Dianna (or Dinah) Duncan; the marriage bond was dated March 1803. He was taxed in Shelby County in 1806 and 1808, but he appeared on the Jefferson County, Kentucky, tax list of 1809 and 1810. In 1811 he was taxed in Bullitt County. He lived on Dutchmans Creek in Bullitt County, but this area became a part of Spencer County in 1824. With his cousin, Orson Sparks (son of Walter Sparks's brother, Daniel) Elijah Sparks served in Capt. John Hornback's Company in the 2nd Kentucky Regiment of Mounted Militia from September 18, 1812, to October 30, 1812. This was called the "Campaign up the Wabash River."
Elijah Sparks came into possession of a large tract of land in Bullitt County, Kentucky, in 1811; he was taxed that year for the first time on 540 acres. We have found no record to indicate how he acquired this land - - perhaps it represented an inheritance from his wife.
On January 2, 1812, Elijah Sparks sold 112 acres on Dutchmans Creek to John Burdet, also of Bullitt County. This tract was described in the deed as adjoining land owned by Elijah's brother, William Sparks. The price was $1.00 per acre and the witnesses to the deed were Elijah's cousin, Orson Sparks, his uncle, Daniel Sparks, and David Collins. (Deed Book B, page 576) On September 5, 1812, Elijah sold 115 acres in the same area to his brother, William Sparks, for $60. Silas Osburn and his father, Walter Sparks, were the witnesses. (Book B, page 592) A year later, on September 11, 1813, Elijah sold a tract to James Sparks for $75--whether this was his uncle or his brother, we do not know. On this occasion, unlike earlier, Elijah's wife co-signed this deed as "Diannah Sparks." (Book C, page 93) Six years passed before Elijah sold more of his land. On August 14, 1819, he and Dianna sold 54 acres on Dutchmans Creek to Elijah's brother, William, for $55. The witnesses were Samuel Brown and Joseph Hedges. (Book D, page 170) Two days later, they sold 206 additional acres to Elijah Weeks for $460; this tract was described as "on Goose Creek of Salt River." (Deed Book D, page 173)
Soon after their 1819 land sales, Elijah and Dianna Sparks moved to Franklin County, Indiana, where Elijah was listed as head of a household on the 1820 census. On February 7, 1825, Elijah sold to his cousin, 32.5.4 Orson Sparks, a tract of 95 acres which he still owned on Goose Creek and Dutchmans Creek in Kentucky. In this deed, Elijah was described as "of Franklin County in the State of Indiana." by 1825, the area of Bullitt County that included this land had been cut off to help form the new county of Spencer, so this deed was recorded in Spencer County. (Deed Book A, page 195)
As in 1820, 32.4.2 Elijah Sparks was listed on the 1830 census as heading a household in Franklin County, Indiana. He has not been found on the 1840 census of Indiana, however, and we assume that he had probably died by that time. We believe, but cannot prove with documentary evidence, that one of Elijah's and Dianna's sons was Temple Sparks, born ca. 1819 in Kentucky, who married Mary Ann Rogers in Franklin County, Indiana, on March 26, 1843. When the 1850 census of Indiana was taken, Temple Sparks was living in Jennings County, and living in his household was "Diana Sparks," aged 64 (thus born ca. 1786), whom we believe to have been Elijah's widowed mother, by 1860, Temple Sparks had moved his family to Tama County, Iowa. Another probable son of Elijah and Dianna (Duncan) Sparks was Leonard Sparks, born in July 1821, who married Malinda Love on February 14, 1840, in Bartholomew County, Indiana. Leonard Sparks was in Jennings County when the 1850 census was taken and in Clay County, Indiana, when the 1870 census was taken. From census records it appears that Elijah and Dianna (Duncan) Sparks were the parents of four sons and five daughters.
184.108.40.206 Daughter1 Sparks born ca. 1804, probably in Shelby County, Kentucky.
220.127.116.11 Daughter2 Sparks born ca. 1807, probably in Shelby County, Kentucky.
18.104.22.168 Son1 Sparks born ca. 1809, probably in Jefferson County, Kentucky.
22.214.171.124 Daughter3 Sparks born ca. 1812, probably in Bullitt County, Kentucky.
126.96.36.199 Daughter4 Sparks born ca. 1814, probably in Bullitt County, Kentucky.
188.8.131.52 Temple Sparks (?), born July 8, 1819, probably in Bullitt County, Kentucky. See information given in the above account.
184.108.40.206 Leonard Sparks (?), born July 1821, in Franklin County, Indiana. See information given regarding him above. A son of Leonard, 220.127.116.11.x Francis M. Sparks, died from wounds in the Civil War; an abstract of his parents' application for a pension begins on page 3170.
18.104.22.168 Son2 Sparks born ca. 1823, probably in Franklin County, Indiana.
22.214.171.124 Daughter5 Sparks born ca. 1825, probably in Franklin County, Indiana.
126.96.36.199 Daughter6 Sparks born ca. 1827 in either Franklin or Union County, Indiana.
32.4.3 William Sparks, son of Walter and Phoebe Sparks, was born ca. 1785. Whether he was born before his parents moved to Kentucky from Pennsylvania or after their arrival, we do not know. We have not found a marriage bond for him, but from his sale of land in later years, we know that his wife's name was Rachel Ann. They were probably married ca. 1808. When the 1850 census was taken, her place of birth was shown as Pennsylvania and her age as 59 (thus born ca. 1791). On September 8, 1808, William Sparks appeared before the County Court of Jefferson County to swear that his father, Walter Sparks, had given William's sister, Hannah, permission to marry John Smith. (Permission of this nature was required for young people to marry who were not yet of age.) On September 13, 1813, William Sparks took the same oath on behalf of his father permitting his sister, Joanna, to marry Benjamin Lovelace.
On September 5, 1812, William Sparks purchased a tract of land (115 acres) on Dutchmans Creek in Bullitt County, Kentucky, from his older brother, Elijah Sparks, for $60. (Bullitt County Deed Book B, page 592) He bought additional land from Elijah in 1819. (Book D, page 170) In 1825, William and Rachel Ann sold their land in what had now become Spencer County and moved soon thereafter to Scott County, Indiana. There William purchased 40 acres in 1826 from his cousin, Hector Sparks (son of his father's brother, Daniel). (Scott County Deed Book A, page 468) He made several additional purchases of land in Scott County, some of which he then sold. In the latter instances, his wife signed (by mark) as "Rachel Sparks." His last deed was dated October 22, 1843. He died before 1850. His widow, Rachel Ann Sparks, was listed as the head of her family on the 1850 census of Floyd County, Indiana; her real estate was valued at $1,800. Her three youngest children were living in her household in 1850, William, Jr, Richard, and Hannah. William, Jr. served in the Civil War and died in service in 1863; beginning on page 3163 of this issue of the Quarterly is an abstract of his widow's pension application file.
On April 23, 1853, according to a deed recorded in Scott County (Book N, page 3), James Fidler and his wife, Rebecca, and Charles B. Sparks and his wife, "Martha" (intended for Meldanet), all of Vigo County, Indiana, sold to William Sparks [Jr.] of Floyd County, Indiana, for $100, a tract of land located on the line between Scott and Clark Counties, Indiana. The sellers were identified in the deed as "heirs of William Sparks, late of Scott County, Indiana, deceased." Rebecca, daughter of the elder William Sparks, had been married to James Fidler in Scott County in 1833 (bond dated February 26, 1833).
From census and other records, we believe that William and Rachel Ann Sparks were the parents of the following children.
188.8.131.52 Zachariah Sparks (?) was born ca. 1809 in Kentucky. He married Mary Rebecca Daugherty in Clark County, Indiana, on January 11, 1843. He is shown with his wife and three children on the 1850 census of Clark County. by 1860, however, Zachariah Sparks had moved to Wapello County, Iowa, and was shown on the census of that year as living in Columbia Township near the town of Eddyville; he was a "day laborer" and both he and his wife, whose name was given as Rebecca, were natives of Kentucky; she was 39 (thus born ca. 1821) and he was 50. Their four children at that time were named
184.108.40.206.1 Henry M. Sparks; he served in the Civil War; an abstract of his pension application papers is included in this issue of the Quarterly, beginning on page 3164.
220.127.116.11.2 Mary E. Sparks,
18.104.22.168.3 Martha A. Sparks, and
22.214.171.124.4 Richard Sparks, all born in Indiana.
126.96.36.199 Rebecca Sparks was born ca. 1812, probably in Bullitt County, Kentucky. She was married on February 26, 1833, in Scott County, Indiana, to James Fidler. She and her husband were in Vigo County, Indiana, by 1853.
188.8.131.52 Son Sparks, as yet unidentified, born ca. 1814, probably in Bullitt County, Kentucky.
184.108.40.206 Daughter1 Sparks, as yet unidentified, born ca. 1816, probably in Bullitt County, Kentucky.
220.127.116.11 Daughter2 Sparks, as yet unidentified, born ca. 1818, probably in Bullitt County, Kentucky.
18.104.22.168 Daughter3 Sparks, as yet unidentified, born ca. 1820, probably in Bullitt County, Kentucky.
22.214.171.124 Charles B. Sparks was born May 3, 1822, probably in Bullitt County, Kentucky. He married Meldanetta Sparks in Vigo County, Indiana, on October 24, 1848; she was born November 15, 1833, in Indiana and died on February 2, 1881, in Vigo County. She was doubtless related in some manner to Charles B. Sparks, but we have not been able to identify her parents. Charles died on June 17, 1880, in Vigo County. (There is a family tradition told by a great-great-great-granddaughter of Charles and Meldanetta, Peggy Linam Lyne, that Charles was involved in a heated discussion regarding Civil War issues in the Vigo County courthouse and that he "died from a 'helpful' fall from a courthouse window" following this "political discussion." by occupation, according to census records, Charles was a shoemaker. He and his family lived in Prairie Creek Township in Vigo County. Both Charles and Meldanetta were buried in the Second Prairie Creek Cemetery, and it is from their tombstones that their dates of birth and death have been taken.
126.96.36.199 Martha Jane Sparks was born April 11, 1826, probably in Scott County, Indiana. It was in Scott County that she married George James Monroe Applegate on March 21, 1849. He was born in Scott County, Indiana, on October 11, 1825, and died on March 10, 1895. She died on September 10, 1908. Both died in Scott County, Indiana, and both were buried in the Old Ox Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery there.
188.8.131.52 William R. Sparks, Jr. was born in 1829 in Scott County, Indiana. He died as a Union soldier in the Civil War on October 9, 1863. He married Elizabeth Williams on March 3, 1853, in Jefferson County, In diana. See the present issue of the Quarterly for an abstract of the papers pertaining to the pension awarded to his children in 1868, beginning on page 3163.
184.108.40.206 Richard Sparks was born ca. 1832 in Scott County, Indiana. He was in Floyd County in 1854 when he married his first wife, Ellen Thompson. In 1876 he married Caroline Kester in Vigo County, Indiana. Their children may have been
220.127.116.11.1 Ernest Eugene Sparks,
18.104.22.168.2 Louisa Sparks,
22.214.171.124.3 Nell Sparks, and
126.96.36.199.4 Hershel Sparks
188.8.131.52 Hannah Sparks was born ca. 1835 in Scott County, Indiana. She was in Floyd County, Indiana, in 1854 where it is believed she married John Davis.
32.4.4 Hannah Sparks, daughter of Walter and Phoebe Sparks, was born ca. 1789 in Jefferson County, Kentucky. She was married in Jefferson County to John Smith in 1808. The marriage bond, which was dated September 6, 1808, contained the statement: "Daughter of Walter Sparks, consent proved by oath of Wm. Sparks." This "Wm. Sparks" was, of course, Hannah's brother who acted on behalf of his father - Hannah was obviously under age at the time of her marriage. (Book I, p. 62) The marriage was performed by Reubin Smith.
32.4.5 Daniel Sparks, son of Walter and Phoebe Sparks, was born between 1787 and 1791 in Jefferson County, Kentucky. He died in Vigo County, Indiana, sometime before 1860. Although we have found no marriage bond, we know know from subsequent records that his wife's name was Jemima Gunn. She and Daniel were married ca. 1813, probably in Jefferson County. (See the Quarterly Whole Number 162 for more information on Daniel Sparks.)
(Addition Note: We are pleased to report now that one of our members, Marjorie D. Budd, WI has found the date of the marriage bond for Daniel and Jemima. (The marriage usually followed the date of the marriage bond in Kentucky by a very few days.) Mrs. Budd found this marriage bond in a publication entitled SHELBY COUNTY, KENTUCKY, MARRIAGES, 1792-1833, copied and published by Eula Richardson Hasskarl in 1983. On page 51 appears the following entry:
Daniel Sparks and Jemimah Gunn, father dead, raised by Benj. Wells; marriage bond dated 14 October 1811. Bondsman, George Wells.
We noted in this same article in the December 1987 issue of the Quarterly, that Daniel Sparks's death date had not been found. The Rev. Jay Budd of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, reports that there is a court record in Vigo County, Indiana, dated December 13, 1859, appointing Robert Gilcross to administer Daniel Sparks's estate, which doubtless means that Daniel had died earlier in 1859. (The name "Gilcross" came to be spelled "Gilchrist.") Robert Gilchrist was the husband of 184.108.40.206 Martha Ann Sparks, youngest daughter of Daniel and Jemima (Gunn) Sparks. The same record refers to a bill submitted by Robert Gilcross [Gilchrist ] for the expense of "boarding Daniel Sparks." This suggests that Daniel had lived with his daughter and her husband prior to his death.)
Jemima had been born in Virginia according to the 1850 census. As was noted earlier, Daniel was deeded a tract of 50 acres by his father on December 10, 1825. This land was located in Jefferson County. (Deed Book Y, page 20) Daniel and Jemima sold this land to Daniel's brother, Ezra Sparks, on September 5, 1828 - - "it being the same land where Daniel Sparks now lives." (Deed Book BB, page 192) Shortly after this sale, Daniel moved to Spencer County, Kentucky, where he purchased for $270 a tract of 96 acres on Dutchmans Creek. He bought this land from his uncle, James Sparks, and James's son, Stephen Sparks. (Spencer County Deed Book B, page 271) He sold this in 1830 and moved to Honey Creek Township in Vigo County, Indiana, where he was listed on the 1840 and 1850 censuses. The ages of both Daniel and Jemima were given on the 1850 census as 63, however, according to Jemima's tombstone in the Smith Cemetery in Vigo County, she was 63 when she died on April 24, 1854, thus born ca. 1791.
The earliest deed on file in Vigo County by which Daniel Sparks purchased land there was dated November 2, 1832. He bought a tract of 40 acres from Jonathan Hester. (Book 4, Page 76) On 1 May 1839, Daniel and Jemima sold 20 acres of their land to Thomas Campbell McCloskey for $200. Daniel signed his name on this deed, but Jemima signed by mark. (Book 7, page 573) Five days later, on May 6, 1839, Daniel purchased a tract from Silas and Lettisha Tichenor. Letitia (or "Lettisha") was Daniel's niece, a daughter of his brother, Richard Sparks. His brother, Hiram Sparks, witnessed this deed, along with John G. Mandell. (Book 7, page 538) This is the last deed we have found pertaining to Daniel Sparks.
As was noted, Jemima (Gunn) Sparks died on April 24, 1854, and was buried in the Smith Cemetery in Vigo County. Daniel was buried there also, but it has been reported that there is no date of death on his stone. Daniel's estate was settled in Vigo County in 1863. A document among his estate papers dated 1861 identified his children.
220.127.116.11 Lucinda Sparks, sometimes called "Lorinda," was born January 23, 1814, according to records from a Yeager family Bible in the Vigo County Public Library. She was married in Vigo County, Indiana, on January 1, 1835, to Madison Harrison Yeager according to the same Bible record. He was a son of William Henry Harrison Yeager and was born February 23, 1814, at Middletown, Ohio. Lucinda died on May 31, 1842, in Sullivan County, Indiana; William H. H. Yeager died there on June 1, 1893. Her heirs were mentioned in the settlement of her father's estate.
18.104.22.168 Walter Sparks was born ca. 1816. He was married ca. 1837 to Mary Jane LNUand was shown on the 1840 census of Vigo County heading a household consisting of a female aged between 15 and 20, who was doubtless his wife, and two male children under 5 years. His name immediately followed that of his father, Daniel Sparks, on this census. We have no record of him after 1840; he should not be confused with the Walter K. Sparks mentioned in the Quarterly of March 1983, Whole No. 121, page 2491, son of Walter and Susan (Prewitt) Sparks. 22.214.171.124 Phoebe Ann Sparks was born ca. 1819; she died in 1843 according to A. R. Markle, late historian and genealogist of Vigo County, Indiana. She was married in Vigo County to William Ray on March 7, 1839. In the settlement of her father's estate, there was reference to her heirs.
126.96.36.199 Eliza Jane Sparks was born ca. 1822. She married John Moses Budd in Vigo County, Indiana, on January 11, 1838. He had been born in Kentucky in 1817 and died on April 9, 1887, in Pleasant Springs, St. Clair County, Missouri. He was buried in the Pleasant Springs Ceme tery. Apparently Eliza Jane died in Vigo County before her husband moved to Missouri. She was living at the time her father's estate was settled early in the 1860s where she was called Eliza Jane, wife of "Mot" Budd. On January 27, 1866, John Budd married (second) Sarah Ann Copenhaver.
(Addition Note: That speculation has now been proved to be incorrect. Lily Budd, Box 67, Franktown, CO (80116) has found that on the 1860 census for Morris Township, Carroll County, Missouri, in the town of Mandeville, the family of John Moses Budd appears and Eliza Jane was listed as living then. This record is as follows, house no. 125, family no. 1, on page 18 (also numbered 47):
|" Eliza J.||38||(F)||"|
|" Daniel W.||14||(M)||Indiana|
|" William W.||12||(M)||"|
|" Rachel E.||10||(F)||"|
|" Smith S.||7||(M)||"|
|" Charles R.||4||(M)||"|
|" John B.||2||(M)||Missouri|
(The 7-year-old male whose name appears here as "Smith S." was Samuel Stowers Budd. The daughter of John and Eliza Jane named Jemima A. Budd shown as 18 years old in 1860 was living in the James C. Cox household. Her place of birth is shown as Indiana, but we believe that this is an error on the census, and that she was actually born in Kentucky. The daughter named Ruth E. Budd was probably married by the time this census was taken since she was not shown in her parents' household.)
188.8.131.52 Phoebe Ray (or Rae) born ca. 1824. Since there was no reference to her in the settlement of her father's estate, we believe that she probably died young.
184.108.40.206 Richard J. Sparks was born ca. 1826-28. He was married in Vigo County, Indiana, to Mary E. Heady on March 11, 1852. Mary died and Richard married (second) Mary E. Hoops on January 1, 1859, in Vigo County. When the 1860 census of Vigo County was taken his occupation was shown as "Dept. Sheriff" and he was a resident of Terre Haute. We have not found him on the 1870 census, but in 1880 he was again shown as a "deputy sheriff" and still a resident of Terre Haute.
220.127.116.11 Martha Ann Sparks was born ca. 1826. She was married in Vigo County on April 21, 1842, to Robert Gilchrist.
(Addition Note: Marjorie D. Budd also reports that she and her husband have found the graves of Martha Ann and her husband, Robert Gilchrist, in the Hull Cemetery in Vigo County, Indiana. The tombstone for Martha Ann (Sparks) Gilchrist gives her year of birth as 1824 and her year of death as 1897. The stone for Robert Gilchrist gives his dates as 1820-1907.)
32.4.6 James Sparks, believed to have been a son of Walter and Phoebe Sparks, was born ca. 1791. While we lack absolute proof of his parentage, there is, we believe, a preponderance of evidence supporting our conclusion that he was a son of Walter and Phoebe.
James Sparks served in the War of 1812 and his application for bounty land based on that service, which he filed only a few months before he died, is an important source of the information we have about his life. An abstract of the papers pertaining to his application which are preserved at the National Archives appeared in the Quarterly of March 1961, Whole No. 33, page 544. He made his application on 5 February 1851, as a resident of Marion County, Missouri. He stated that he was then 61 years and 6 months of age. He stated that had entered the military in 1813 (the War Department verified the date as August 26, 1813) while a resident of Jefferson County, Kentucky, in the place of a man named John Schrader. He served in Capt. Samuel Kelly's company in Kentucky's 8th Regiment commanded by Colonel Callaway. War Department records indicated that his service ended on November 9, 1813, but Sparks believed he had been discharged in Jefferson County on December 5th. He said that upon his completion of his service, he had given the written discharge he had received to John Schrader, since he had served in Shrader's place. (It is quite possible that Schrader paid Sparks to go in his place - a common practice then.) He indicated that he did not know what had become of Schrader.
James Sparks's application for bounty land was approved and he was issued a certificate for 40 acres (No. 36-581), but by the time the certificate was delivered, James had died (his death occurred on July 23, 1851).
James Sparks was a resident of Bullitt County, Kentucky, during the 1820s where he was taxed regularly on 30 acres of land on Floyds Creek, in the same area where his father and brothers owned land. His name appeared on the Bullitt County census of 1830 as heading a household consisting of a wife and seven children, three males and four females, born between ca. 1817 and 1829. From this, we can assume that he was married by at least 1815 or 1816. A former member of our Association, Mrs. George L. Briggs, now deceased, spent many years visiting and corresponding with descendants of James Sparks, and she determined that the maiden name of James's wife had been Nancy Kennet, a daughter of Joshua Kennet. She was often called by the nickname Anna. (Joshua Kennet had a sister named Rosanna who married FNU Fields.)
James Sparks appeared on the Bullitt County tax list for the last time in 1830. He moved his family shortly thereafter to Marion County, Missouri, the county seat of which is Hannibal. There, on April 30, 1831, he purchased from Joseph and Polly Hanner a tract of 25 acres described as the "South end of the west half of the north-west quarter of Section 5, Township 58. (Marion County Deed Book A, page 479) On the same day, he mortgaged this 25-acre tract along with 80 adjoining acres to William Robertson. (Book A, page 480) We have not found a record of how he obtained the 80-acre tract; records prior to 1831 were destroyed by a fire many years ago.
James Sparks was shown on the 1840 census of Marion County, Missouri, as a resident of Mason Township. His wife, Nancy, had died by the time that census was taken. Living in his household were three females and three males, doubtless his children. There were one male and one female aged between 15 and 20; also one male and one female aged between 10 and 15; and also one male and one female aged between 5 and 10. When the 1850 census was taken, James Sparks was a resident of Miller Township, though he probably had not moved; Miller Township had been cut off from Mason Township. He was 60 years old, a native of Kentucky, and his occupation was that of a "laborer." He owned no real estate. Living with him was his son-in-law, John L. McRae, whose wife Elizabeth (James's daughter) had apparently died a few months earlier after bearing a daughter, Nellie Ann McRae. Also living with James was his youngest son, Franklin Sparks, 15 years old, although the census taker mistakenly made ditto marks under "McRae" making it appear that Franklin's name was McRae rather than Sparks.
It happens that three different Sparks families, unrelated to one another so far as we can determine, lived in Marion County, Missouri, at an early date. See the Quarterly of September 1982, Whole No. 119, pp. 2449-50, for an article by Paul E. Sparks identifying these three families.
From the bounty land application file of James Sparks, we know that he died on July 23, 1851. Following his death, a son-in-law named Braxton Gilbert of Marion County, became the guardian of James's youngest son, Franklin Sparks. On April 15, 1854, Braxton Gilbert made application on behalf of his ward, now "about 18 years of age," for additional bounty land as provided by a new Congressional Act of 1855 increasing the amount of bounty land soldiers of the War of 1812 and their heirs might obtain. Gilbert returned the certificate for 40 acres which had been received after James Sparks had died, and a new warrant was issued to Franklin Sparks for 160 acres. Following is a list of the children of James and Nancy (Kennet) Sparks based on family records found by Mrs. Briggs and supplemented by census and other official records. Children of James and Nancy (Kennet) Sparks
18.104.22.168 Miranda Sparks was born in Kentucky, probably Bullitt County, ca. 1817. She married Braxton Gilbert in Marion County, Missouri, ca. 1838-9. He had been born in Kentucky ca. 1812 according to census records.
22.214.171.124 John Wesley Sparks was born ca. 1819 in Kentucky, probably in Bullitt County. He was married in Marion County, Missouri, to Margaret Minor on May 22, 1845. (Book A, p. 268) It appears that they had no children. John Wesley Sparks wrote his will on March 28, 1896, and it was proved on May 14, 1900. He stated that he had been a farmer near the village of Renessalear which is in Clay Township in Ralls County, just over the line from South River Township in Marion County, Missouri. Since his will was probated in Marion County, however, he must have lived in Marion County. He willed his property to his nephew, Jarvis Gilbert (son of his sister, Miranda) and to Jarvis' wife, Mattie.
126.96.36.199 Samuel Sparks was born ca. 1821 in Kentucky, probably in Bullitt County. He was probably the Samuel Sparks who married Mary Minor in Marion County, Missouri, on December 22, 1841. (Book A, page 194) We have not found him on the 1850 census of Marion County.
188.8.131.52 Hester Sparks was born ca. 1823 in Kentucky, probably in Bullitt County. She married William Benjamin Davis on November 10, 1841.
184.108.40.206 Elizabeth Sparks was born ca. 1825 in Kentucky, probably in Bullitt County. She married William McRae in Marion County, Missouri, on December 7, 1848. As noted earlier, she apparently died before the 1850 census was taken because her husband, with an 8-month-old daughter named Nellie Ann McRae, was living with James Sparks in Miller Township, Marion County, when the census taker recorded this household on September 18, 1850.
220.127.116.11 William B. Sparks was born ca. 1828 in Kentucky, probably in Bullitt County. He married Clarissa Jane Lee in Marion County, Missouri, on October 31, 1844. (Book A, page 248) She was a daughter of John B. and Elizabeth Lee. She was apparently called by her middle name. She was mentioned ("my daughter Jane Sparks, wife of William Sparks") in her father's undated will on file in Marion County, Missouri.
18.104.22.168 Catherine A. Sparks was born ca. 1830, probably before her parents left Bullitt County, Kentucky, for Marion County, Missouri. She married William Minor in Marion County on 1 May 1845.
22.214.171.124 Franklin Sparks was born ca. 1835 in Marion County, Indiana. His mother apparently died before he was five years old since she was not enumerated in James Sparks's household when the 1840 census was taken. Following his father's death in 1851, Franklin became the ward of his oldest sister's husband, Braxton Gilbert, and, as noted earlier, because he was a minor at the time his father died, he applied for and received a warrant to the 160 acres of bounty land to which his father was entitled as a veteran of the War of 1812 under an Act of Congress passed in 1855. He married Lydia LNU.
32.4.7 Joanna (or Johannah) Sparks, daughter of Walter and Phoebe Sparks, was born on August 16, 1793. She married Benjamin Lovelace on September 16, 1813, in Jefferson County, Kentucky. He had been born January 17, 1793. These dates have been provided to us by Marjorie A. Fischer who found them in an old record of the Lovelace family. The marriage bond for Joanna and Benjamin Lovelace is preserved among the records of Jefferson County, Kentucky; it is dated September 13, 1813, and contains the statement that Joanna was the "Daughter of Walter Sparks, consent proved by William Sparks." William was her brother; he had also testified that their father, Walter Sparks, approved of the marriage of their sister, Hannah, in 1808. Marjorie Fischer, a descendant of Benjamin and Joanna (Sparks) Lovelace, has also provided us with the following list of their children.
126.96.36.199 Mary Steel Lovelace was born September 21, 1815. She married Isaac Combs.
188.8.131.52 Sanford P. Lovelace was born September 28, 1817.
184.108.40.206 Walter Lovelace was born August 5, 1820. He married Elizabeth Collins in 1837.
220.127.116.11 William Ramsey Lovelace was born January 13, 1822. He died on May 15, 1913, in Heiskel, Tennessee. He married Eliza Ann Nott on November 12, 1845, in Clarke County, Illinois.
18.104.22.168 Reason Lord Lovelace was born October 13, 1824. He died on December 20, 1879, in Paynesville, Minnesota. He married Ann Marland Haddon on January 22, 1845, in Clarke County, Illinois.
22.214.171.124 Phoebe S. Lovelace was born May 2, 1827. She married (first) Hardin Hodges on March 13, 1844. She married (second) FNU Whitney.
126.96.36.199 Hannah Lovelace was born February 22, 1829. She married Charles Gilcrease. It is believed that they were divorced because she died using her maiden name.
188.8.131.52 John Holland Lovelace was born June 11, 1831. He married Ruhema Brown.
32.4.8 Ezra Sparks, son of Walter and Phoebe Sparks, was born ca. 1795-7 in Jefferson County, Kentucky. He died in Illinois between 1870 and 1880. He married Catherine Griffey in Jefferson County in 1819 (the marriage bond was dated March 22, 1819). Catherine was a daughter of Samuel and Hannah Griffey her father, according to the marriage bond, gave his consent to the marriage before the Jefferson County Court "in person"--this meant that Catherine was not yet of age at the time. Ezra Sparks appeared on the Jefferson County tax list for the first time also in 1819--he then owned two horses on which he was taxed in addition to paying his poll tax. Ezra was shown on the 1820 census of Jefferson County as heading a household consisting of himself, aged between 18 and 26; a female who was surely his wife, also aged between 18 and 26; and a female child under ten who was doubtless their infant daughter, Emily.
It is apparent from a deed recorded in Jefferson County Deed Book W, page 327, that Catherine (Griffey) Sparks owned a valuable interest in property in Jefferson County which, under the law at that time, became her husband's when she and Ezra were married. On August 12, 1824, Ezra and Catherine sold Catherine's interest to Catherine's brother, George Griffey, who also lived in Jefferson County, for $200. Catherine's sister, Letitia Griffey, also had an interest in this property, which consisted of 100 acres of land located on Harrods Creek. This tract, in the words of the deed, had been "conveyed to Hannah Griffy during her life and to George, Letitia, and Catherine Griffy, now wife of Ezra Sparks." In other words, Hannah Griffey had been given a life interest in this land. In conveying their interest to George Griffey, Ezra and Catherine specified that he should "not take.possession until the death of his mother."
In the previous spring, on June 2, 1824, Ezra Sparks purchased from his parents, Walter and Phoebe Sparks, for $500, a tract of 75 acres located on Broad Run of Floyds Fork. (Jefferson County Deed Book W, page 266) On December 20, 1825, a deed was prepared (and recorded in Book Y, page 18) in which it was stated that on May 9, 1824, Ezra had purchased from his parents for $100 land consisting of 16 acres on "Back Run, a branch of Long Run," on which Walter Sparks (Ezra's father) "now lives." On the same date, December 20, 1827, Walter Sparks, Sr. also conveyed land to his sons Walter, Jr. and Daniel. (Book Y, pages 19 and 20) Exactly two years later, on December 20, 1827, Walter Sparks, Jr. and his wife, Nancy, sold for $168 to Ezra Sparks "land on waters of Broad Run which empties into Floys [sic] Fork and is part of plantation wherein Walter Sparks, Senior now lives." This tract consisted of 43 acres. (Book BB, page 70)
Ezra Sparks made his largest investment in land in Jefferson County on August 1, 1834. For $850 he bought a tract of 184 acres on Floyds Fork from James McGee, also of Jefferson County. (Book OO, page 214) In the autumn of the following year, however, Ezra and Catherine sold all of their Jefferson County land in three separate sales: to Joseph Powers on September 24, 1835; to Martin Fidler on October 5 ; and to Abraham Eldridge on October 15. (Book QQ, pages 558, 559, and 560) Shortly thereafter, Ezra moved his family to Vigo County, Indiana, where his older brothers, Richard and Daniel had migrated a few years earlier. In fact, Ezra must have visited his brothers in Vigo County in the autumn of 1834; there is a deed on file there (Book 5, page 133) by which on November 1, 1834, Ezra purchased a tract of 40 acres from Lameth and Clarky Barbee for $155. On October 1, 1835, Ezra purchased an additional tract of 80 acres in Vigo County from Joshua and Elizabeth Junior for $350. (Book 5, page 208) Two months later, on November 27, 1835, he bought 81.16 additional acres for $350 form Joseph and Ruth Budd. (Book 6, page 111)
Ezra Sparks was shown on the 1840 census as a resident of the city of Terre Haute in Vigo County and heading a household that included seven children and young people whom we can assume were his children. On the 1850 census, however, he was shown as a farmer in Lost Creek Township in Vigo County with real estate valued at $500. His age was given as 55 and that of Catharine as 48. Four of their children were still at home, including six-year-old Isaac, their youngest child.
There are numerous deeds recorded in Vigo County showing Ezra Sparks buying and selling land in Vigo County during the 1830s and 1840s, but none in the 1850s. Sometime prior to 1860, Ezra and Catherine moved with several of their children to Cumberland County, Illinois, where they settled in Sumpter Township. Their post office in 1860 was Majority Point, which does not appear to exist today. In 1870 Ezra's post office was Mule Creek which likewise does not appear on a modern map.
According to a biographical sketch of Ezra's son, George W. G. Sparks, appearing in a history of Vigo County published in 1880, Ezra Sparks died in 1876 and Catherine died in 1879. While Ezra's name appears on the 1870 census of Cumberland County, Illinois (he was 73 and living with his son, Isaac), Catherine was not listed. We wonder, therefore, whether the date of her death (1879) given in this history may have been in error. Unfortunately, the Cumberland County courthouse burned in 1885, and the papers pertaining to the settlement of Ezra's estate were thus lost. There is on file, however, a document signed by Laura J. Sparks on June 19, 1886, following the fire, that she had served as the administratrix of Ezra's estate and that she had been appointed on February 11, 1885. We have not positively identified this Laura J. Sparks.
Following are biographical sketches of the children of Ezra and Catherine (Griffey) Sparks, so far as we have been able to identify them, based in part on census records. It will be noted that their oldest son remained in Vigo County, Indiana, when Ezra and Catherine moved with their younger children to Illinois ca. 1855.
184.108.40.206 George William Griffey [or Griffy] Sparks was born ca. 1820 in Jefferson County, Kentucky. He accompanied his parents in their move to Vigo County, Indiana, ca. 1835, and it was in Vigo County that he married Sarah ["Sallie"] Hodges who had also born born ca. 1820. Their marriage license was dated April 7, 1842, and according to a statement made by Sarah in 1887, they were married on the same day. She was a daughter of John and Alley Hodges.
Our earliest record of George W. G. Sparks buying or selling land in Vigo County was on May 4, 1842, when he sold 100 acres to Noah Eversole. We do not know how he had acquired this land, unless it came to him with his marriage to Sarah Hodges. Later the same year, on September 3, 1842, he purchased 40 acres for $110 from Henry Hatfield and Isaac Hatfield. (According to the deed, Isaac Hatfield had a wife named Priscilla.) (Vigo County Deed Book 9, page 452) The 1850 census listed George Sparks and his family in Lost Creek Township in Vigo County. They were still there when the 1870 census was taken; he was a farmer, aged 48 in 1870, with land valued at $7,200. In her application for a Civil War pension, his widow stated that throughout their married life she and George had lived on a farm "six miles southeast of Terre Haute." She stated that George had died there on April 25, 1880.
A short biographical sketch of George W. G. Sparks, written while he was still living, appeared on page 395 of the HISTORY OF VIGO AND PARKE COUNTIES by Hiram W. Beckwith published in 1880.
G. W. G. Sparks, farmer, Terre Haute, was born in Jefferson County, Kentucky, in 1820, and when he was fifteen his parents removed to Vigo County and settled in Lost Creek Township. His parents subsequently moved to Illinois where they lived until their death, his father dying in 1876, and his mother passing in 1879. They were both natives of Kentucky. In 1840 [the year was actually 1842] Mr. Sparks married Sallie Hodges, daughter of John and Allie Hodges. Mr. Sparks has been a member of the Baptist church 37 years and his wife for 39 years.
On March 8, 1865, George W. G. Sparks enlisted in the Union Army and was enrolled in Company C of the 11th Regiment Indiana Infantry. He was then 45 years old; his death in 1880 resulted from injuries received in the war. In 1887 his widow applied for a pension based on his service. An abstract of her application and supporting papers begins on page 3165 of the present issue of the Quarterly. An abstract of the pension papers of John Ezra Sparks, son of George W. G. and Sarah (Hodges) Sparks begins on page 3167.
220.127.116.11 Emily Sparks was born ca. 1821. She was living at home with her parents in Lost Creek Township, Vigo County, Indiana, when the 1850 census was taken. She was then 30 years old. We have no further information regarding her.
18.104.22.168 Samuel G. Sparks was born ca. 1823. (Was his middle name also "Griffey" in honor of his grandfather, Samuel Griffey?) He was married in Vigo County, Indiana, to Jane A Mandell in 1849--the date of the license was July 26, 1849. (Book CB, page 172) When the 1850 census was taken of Lost Creek Township in Vigo County, he was shown as a farmer living quite near his father and older brother, George Sparks. His land was valued at $300. He was 28 years old, which was also the age of his wife. He had been born in Kentucky, she in Indiana, according to the census. They had a one-month old child named Andrew.
Samuel accompanied his parents when they moved to Cumberland County, Illinois, in or ca. 1855. Their son Andrew had apparently died by the time the 1860 census was taken, but they had four other children by then. Samuel was living in Cottonwood Township when the 1870 census was taken of Cumberland County, with land valued at $4,000. He was still there when the 1880 census was taken, now aged 57 as was also his wife. It was noted that he suffered from "dropsy."
22.214.171.124 Dau1 Sparks & 126.96.36.199 Dau2 Sparks From census records, it would appear that Ezra and Catherine (Griffey) Sparks had two daughters born ca. 1825-28 whom we have been unable & to identify. Perhaps one was the Laura J. Sparks who apparently administered Ezra's estate, though we have not found her on census records after 1840 when the names of all members of each household were given.
188.8.131.52 Hannah Griffey Sparks was born in Kentucky (probably Jefferson County) on January 7, 1829; she died on October 6, 1909, in Vigo County, Indiana. She married Henry D. Christy in Vigo County in 1850 (the date of the license was September 12, 1850). They lived in Lost Creek Township in Vigo County all of their married life.
On the cover of this issue of the Quarterly, we have reproduced a photograph of Hannah and her husband. The original is owned by Dr. Sherman Paul Sparks of Rockwall, Texas. Dr. Sparks is a grandson of Bateman Sparks, a brother of Hannah Griffey Sparks. (See the Quarterly of December 1986, Whole No. 136, page 2985, for a biographical sketch of Dr. Sherman Sparks.) This photograph of Hannah and her husband is among the pictures preserved by Bateman Sparks and bears the label "Bateman Sparks' Sister and husband of Indiana." So far as we know, the only sister of Bateman to remain in Indiana was Hannah. We are most grateful to Dr. Sparks for providing us with a print of this photograph.
184.108.40.206 Ephraim Sparks was shown on the 1850 census as 14 years old and living at home with his parents. His place of birth was given as Indiana, from which we can assume that he was Ezra's and Catherine's first child born after their removal to Indiana in or ca. 1835. He accompanied his parents when they moved to Illinois ca. 1855. When the 1860 census was taken, he and his younger brother, Bateman Sparks, were found in Mattoon Township in Coles County, Illinois; they were working as "farm laborers," along with six other young men, for a wealthy farmer named James T. Cunningham whose real estate was valued at $140,000.
Ephraim Sparks remained in Coles County, Illinois, and ca. 1853 he married Mary MNU. He and his wife were shown on the 1860 census of Mattoon Township where he was a farmer with land valued at $5,000. He had two farm laborers working for him. He and his wife named their oldest son, born ca. 1854, Griffey. by 1880, Ephraim and Mary, with six children, were living in Mattoon City where he was a grocer in partnership with John Duncan. We have no further information.
220.127.116.11 Bateman R. Sparks was born on April 10, 1841, in Vigo County, Indiana. He was 14 years old when he accompanied his parents in their move to Cumberland County, Illinois. When the 1860 census was taken, however, he was shown as a 19-year-old "farm laborer" employed by a wealthy farmer named James T. Cunningham living in Mattoon Township, Coles County, Illinois. (Coles County adjoins Cumberland County on the north.) Bateman's older brother, Ephraim Sparks, was also employed by Cunningham, along with six other young men.
CATHERINE E. HABERMEIR
First Wife of Bateman R. Sparks
According to papers comprising Bateman Sparks's Civil War Pension file at the National Archives, it was while he was employed by Cunningham that he enlisted in the Union Army. He was enrolled on June 1, 1862, in Company A of the 54th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry commanded by Russell W. Williams. He was discharged near Little Rock, Arkansas, on May 30, 1865. At the time of his service, he was described as 5 feet, 7½ inches tall, with a light complexion, brown hair, and blue eyes. His younger brother, Isaac H. Sparks, joined the same company when he was enrolled on March 4, 1865. The two brothers served together until Bateman's discharge on May 20, 1865.
Bateman Sparks's grandson, Dr. Sherman P. Sparks, recalls a story told by his father, Ernest Melvin Sparks who was born in 1872. The following is quoted from a letter written by Dr. Sparks on April 3, 1975:
Bateman Sparks was in the Civil War and was under General Sherman [for whom Dr. Sparks was named]; he was captured by the South for a few hours. Just before his capture and while loading his musket, but before he could get the ball loaded, a Rebel on horseback charged him and he fired burning off the Rebel's shirt but was struck on the head by the flat side of the sword by the Rebel. He was caught, tied up and gaged, but in a few hours the Regulars came back and recaptured the territory my grandfather was tied up in and he was freed.
A detailed abstract of the pension application papers for Bateman Sparks was published in the Quarterly of September 1976, Whole No. 95, and a photograph of Bateman Sparks appeared on the cover of that issue. His basis for applying for a pension was that in August 1862 he had suffered a sun stroke during a march which had caused him to go temporarily insane. He had been sent home to his father to recover, and in 1864 he was able to rejoin his company. He claimed, however, that he had never fully recovered and had never been able to work in the hot sun. A number of his neighbors wrote in support of his application, and he was eventually given a disability pension. Before his pension was approved, however, a representative from the Bureau of Pensions came to Robinson, Illinois, near where Bateman lived, and interviewed several people who knew Sparks, including his brother, Isaac. Isaac Sparks, upon being asked whether there had peen other instances of insanity in the family, stated: "The only mem ber of our family who had been insane so far as I know besides claimant was another brother, but that was caused by his being thrown out of a wagon and run over by the wagon, which injured his back." Unfortunately, Isaac did not give this brother's name.
In his pension application, Bateman Sparks stated that for 10 years prior to his enlistment, he had lived near Toledo, Illinois, and that after the war he had continued to live there except for 4½ years; from 1873 to 1877, he had lived "about five or six miles south-east of Terre Haute [Indiana] ; one year of the above time I lived and worked at the Reservoir about fourteen miles south-east of Terre Haute - - I worked for Abner Daly, a Christian preacher at the latter place..."
THREE SONS OF BATEMAN AND CATHERINE (HABERMEIR) SPARKS
John R. Sparks (seated), Ernest M. Sparks (standing, left) and George A. Sparks (standing, right)
On July 5, 1898, Bateman Sparks responded to a questionnaire from the Bureau of Pensions regarding his family. He stated that he had been married to Catherine E. Habermeir on July 1, 1866, but that she had obtained a divorce from him on "Wed., November 22, 1876." The license for Bateman and Catherine to marry was recorded in Vigo County, Indiana. Four children were born to this union.
18.104.22.168.1 John E. Sparks, born May 19, 1867;
22.214.171.124.2 Isaac W. Sparks, twins, born March 17, 1870. He died July 26, 1870
126.96.36.199.3 George A. Sparks, twins, born March 17, 1870; and
188.8.131.52.4 Ernest M. Sparks, born September 3, 1872.
Dr. Sherman Sparks has stated that "Grandmother Catherine's father did not like Bateman and took her away from my Grandfather. She later married a man by the name of Hartley, and they lived east of Terre Haute. They had a daughter by the name of Anna Hartley who never married."
A photograph of Catherine Habermeir appears on page 3252, and a photograph of the three surviving sons of Catherine and Bateman appears on page 3253. These have been furnished to us by Dr. Sherman Sparks.
Following the divorce, Bateman Sparks married Mary J. Shup on February 22, 1876, in Cumberland County, Illinois. They had two children,
184.108.40.206.5 Henry D. Sparks, born August 4, 1879, and
220.127.116.11.6 Mary C. Sparks, born December 14, 1882.
Bateman Sparks died on April 29, 1918, at the Kankakee State Hospital in Illinois.
18.104.22.168 Isaac H. Sparks was born June 14, 1844, in Vigo County, Indiana. He was eleven years old when he accompanied his parents in their move to Cumberland County, Illinois, in 1855.
On March 4, 1865, shortly before his 21st birthday, Isaac Sparks volunteered to serve in the Union Army--in the same unit in which his brother, Bateman, had served, Company A of the 54th Regiment Illinois Infantry, commanded by Capt. Russell W. Williams. He was discharged at Little Rock, Arkansas, on October 15, 1865. He was then 5 feet, 11 inches tall, with a dark complexion, brown hair, and grey eyes. An abstract of Isaac H. Sparks's pension application and supporting papers based on his Civil War service appears in the present issue of the Quarterly, beginning on page 3169. The information given there will not be repeated in this sketch, except to note his three marriages.
Isaac's first marriage was to Nancy Jane Scott on March 28, 1869. She was called by her middle name, Jane. by her, Isaac had six children who were named in his pension application. Jane died on February 25, 1909, and Isaac then married a widow named Barbara Grisamore whose first husband, John Grisamore, had died ca. 1880. Barbara died on November 20, 1911. Isaac then married a third time, to Elizabeth Dressler, widow of James Dressler, who had died ca. 1903. Elizabeth died on January 25, 1915. Isaac Sparks died on October 7, 1917.
The photograph of Isaac H. Sparks, with his first wife and his only child to survive childhood, 22.214.171.124.1 Cora Sparks, appearing on page 3155 of this issue of the Quarterly, was provided by Dr. Sherman P. Sparks from among the photographs in his grandfather's (Bateman Sparks's) collection.
ISAAC H. SPARKS, 1844-1917
SON OF EZRA AND CATHERINE (GRIFFEY) SPARKS
With His First Wife, Nancy Jane (Scott)
And Their Daughter, Cora
32.4.9 Walter Sparks, Jr., the youngest son of Walter and Phoebe Sparks, was born in Jefferson County, Kentucky, ca. 1802. He married Nancy King in Bullitt County, Kentucky, in 1826 (the marriage bond was dated January 5, 1826 and we can assume the marriage took place within a few days). Nancy was a daughter of Alexander King and a granddaughter of Withers King, who had been a Kentucky pioneer having entered 600 acres of land in Jefferson County in July 1780. Nancy had been born, according to the inscription on her tombstone in the Shaver Cemetery in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, on May 6, 1803.
On December 20, 1825, perhaps in anticipation of his son's approaching marriage, Walter Sparks, Sr. deeded to Walter, Jr. a tract of land described as comprising 40 acres in Jefferson County, Kentucky. (Jefferson County Deed Book Y, page 19) On the same day, Walter Sparks, Sr. also deeded tracts of land to his sons Ezra and Daniel, as was noted in the sketches of these two sons, above).
Two years after acquiring his land from his father, Walter Sparks, Jr. sold it on December 20, 1827, to his brother, Ezra Sparks. (Book BB, page 70) The tract was now described as comprising 43 acres, and it was noted in the deed that it was located on the waters "of Broad Run which empties into Floyds Fork and is part of the plantation wherein Walter Sparks, Senior now lives." This may suggest that Walter, Jr. and his wife may have lived with Walter, Sr. during the first year or two of their marriage. According to this deed, however, by December 1827 Walter, Jr. has moved to Spencer County. The distance was probably very short, however. (See the map of this area on page 3134.) Walter Sparks, Jr. had been taxed in Spencer County for the first time in 1826 on 132 acres (valued for tax purposes at $698) which was identified as being located on Dutchmans Creek in Spencer County. He was also taxed for owning two horses. (At that time in Spencer County, in addition to paying an annual poll tax, men were also taxed on slaves, horses and land that they owned.) We have not learned how Walter Sparks, Jr. acquired this land in Spencer County, unless it had been in his wife's possession when they were married. The following year (1827), however, Walter Sparks, Jr. was taxed on only 82 acres on Dutchmans Creek. He sold these 82 acres on April 2, 1828, to Hezekiah Pounds of Jefferson County for $350. (Spencer County Deed Book B, page 149) Although spelled "Pounds" in this deed, the name was actually Pound and there were a number of family connections between the Pound and the Sparks families. For example, a son of Hezekiah and Esther (Morris) Pound, David Pound, married Massie Sparks; she was a daughter of the Rev. Samuel K. Sparks, a first cousion of Walter Sparks, Jr.
by the spring of 1828, Walter Sparks, Jr. was living in Bullitt County, but again his move had probably been a short one because he continued to buy & sell land in Spencer County. On April 2, 1828, the same day that he sold the 82 acres to Hazekiah Pound, Walter purchased a tract on Dutchmans Creek in Spencer County from Reuben Collings for $425. (Book B, page 149) The Bullitt County tax lists for 1828 and 1829 have been lost, but in 1830 he was taxed there on 120 acres and two horses. He was also shown on the census of that year as heading a household in Bullitt County. Only one deed has been found to account for how Walter had acquired his 120 acres in Bullitt County. On January 13, 1829, he had purchased for $200 a tract of 73 acres located on Floyds Fork in Bullitt County from William Cunningham. (Book G, page 43) On October 1, 1833, David E. Tylor of Bullitt County sold to Walter Sparks, Jr. a tract of 401 acres on Floyds Fork in Bullitt County for $1.00. (Book G, page 530) This may have represented a foreclosure of a mortgage by Walter Sparks.
The use of "Jr." in official records pertaining to Walter, son of Walter and Phoebe, was used only when the father and the son were mentioned in the same record, and after the elder Walter's death in the latter 1820s, it was never used. From this point on in this sketch, we shall likewise refer to him simply as Walter Sparks.
Sometime prior to December 14, 1836, Alexander King, father of Nancy (King) Sparks died; on that date, Walter and Nancy sold all of Nancy's "right, title and interest belonging to the estate of Alexander King, deceased, being in Bullitt County, and being an undivided eleventh part of all of said land." Walter and Nancy sold her inheritance to Yelverton King (probably a brother of Nancy) for $150. (Bullitt County Deed Book H, page 427) Then on May 20, 1841, Walter and Nancy sold for $2,000 to Nelson King a tract of 119 acres on Floyds Fork.
In 1840, as in 1830, Walter Sparks was shown on the census as heading his household in Bullitt County.
by 1846, Walter and Nancy Sparks had moved again, this time back to Spencer County, Kentucky. He was shown as "of Spencer County" when he purchased for $350 from Elizabeth McGee, also of Spencer County, 83 acres on Dutchmans Creek. (Spencer County Deed Book G, page 388) On the same day, he purchased from Joseph and Jane Miller a tract of 196 acres, also on Dutchmans Creek in Spencer County. For this he paid $1,000. (Book G, page 389)
32.4.9 Walter and Nancy Sparks, with their five youngest children, were listed on the 1850 census of Spencer County (William Sparks, a shoemaker, age 20; James B. Sparks, farmer, age 28; Sarah Sparks, age 16; Charles Sparks, also called a farmer though he was only 15; and Mary A. Sparks, age 11). It seems likely, however, that when the 1850 census was taken, Walter was making plans to move once again. During 1849 and 1850, he and Nancy sold five different tracts of land that they owned in Spencer County; among the buyers were William Davis, Christopher Patterson, and Henry Tyler. Walter's destination now was some 120 miles southwest to Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.
Shortly after his arrival in Muhlenburg County, Walter Sparks helped to organize a Baptish church, as shown in the following quotation from William L. Winebarger's HISTORY OF THE MUHLENBURG COUNTY BAPTIST ASSOCIATION IN KENTUCKY, published in 1966, page 99: "Bethlehem Baptist Church was organized on 28 May 1853 with Elder William Welch as pastor. During his pastorate, Bethlehem Church ordained her first Deacons: Thomas Page and Walter Sparks."
A great-great-granddaughter of Walter and Nancy Sparks, Mrs. Eleanor McCauley Worley, has done extensive research on Walter and Nancy among Muhlenberg County records. She has reported her findings as follows.
In January 1854, Walter Sparks bought 96 acres on Log Creek in Muhlenberg County from Joseph and Mary Hendricks for $400, which he sold to his son-in-law, John C. Markwell, in April 1855 for $250. Also in 1855, he sold 53 acres of Spencer County land to Christopher Patterson. In 1855/56, he bought land from B. J. Shaver of Muhlenberg County. On October 30, 1856, he and his wife, Nancy, sold 11½ acres on Big Creek, a branch of Cypress Creek in Muhlenberg County, to John M. Shaver, and he sold 190 acres on Big Creek to James Patterson. In June 1856, he bought 5 lots in Sacramento, McLean County, Kentucky, at auction for $23. He purchased 6 acres on Big Creek in Muhlenberg County on September 29, 1862.
In May 1869, Walter and Nancy Sparks sold Lots 71 and 72 in Sacramento to their grandson, 126.96.36.199.1 James W. Sparks (son of Alexander) for $25. In November 1875, they sold 33½ Muhlenberg County acres to their daughter, Mary Elizabeth, and her husband, John C. Markwell, "in consideration of one dollar in hand paid and further consideration of the love and affection we have for them and the care and attention we have received and may receive from them and their help in our support and maintenance ... the tract of land on which we now live." They retained a life interest. In May 1869, they sold the three remaining Sacramento lots.
In the April 1876 term of the Muhlenberg Circuit Court, Walter Sparks was plaintiff in a suit against his son, Alexander K. Sparks, and W. P. Baker, Assignee in Bankruptcy of A. K. Sparks. Judgment directed the Commissioner to sell 72½ acres on Big Creek in Muhlenberg County. Walter purchased this property for $1,000 at public auction.
Nancy (King) Sparks died in Muhlenberg County on April 19, 1876, and was buried in Shaver Cemetery. On October 9, 1877, Walter Sparks obtained a marriage license in Muhlenberg County (Book 11, pp. 207-08) to marry, as his second wife, Nancy Browning. His age appears on the license as 75; Nancy's age was given as 47, and this was her third marriage. We have not succeeded in finding the date of death for Walter Sparks, nor for his second wife. The children of Walter and Nancy (King) Sparks were as follows:
188.8.131.52 Alexander K. Sparks was born ca. 1827, probably in Spencer County, Kentucky. He became a shoemaker. He married Louisa Antle in Jefferson County, Kentucky, in 1846. The marriage bond was dated July 22, 1846, and we can assume that he and Louisa were married soon after obtaining the bond. According to the bond, Louisa had no living parents at the time of her marriage; she had "been raised by her grandfather, Samuel Griffy who consents [to her marriage] in person." (Book 4, page 111) Louisa Antle was a daughter of William and Sally (Griffey) Antle who had been married in 1824 - - Sally's father, Samuel Griffey (or Griffy) had given his consent to that marriage. Sally had been a sister of Catherine Griffey, wife of Ezra Sparks, uncle of Alexander K. Sparks.
In the June 1982 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 118, pp. 2424-5, appeared a query in which the children of Alexander K. Sparks were identified. Unfortunately, in that query, we also gave a list of the children of Alexander's parents, Walter and Nancy (King) Sparks, in which we incorrectly listed eight children whereas they had only seven. We listed a Richard Sparks, born ca. 1828, who married Mary E. Heady in 1852 in Vigo County, Indiana. We now know that this Richard was not a son of Walter and Nancy (King) Sparks. Readers are requested to make a correction regarding this on page 2424.
The first child of Alexander and Louisa (Antle) Sparks, 184.108.40.206.1 James W. Sparks, stated at the time of his marriage that he had been born in Spencer County, Kentucky, and, according to the 1850 census, their second son, 220.127.116.11.2 George M. Sparks, had been born in Kentucky ca. 1849. by 1850, however, Alexander and Louisa had moved to Vigo County, Indiana, doubtless to join a host of Sparks relatives who had made the same move over the years. Alexander's uncle, Richard Sparks, had moved there before 1830, and another uncle, Daniel Sparks, was there by 1832. His Uncle Ezra Sparks and wife Catherine (Griffey) Sparks, had moved to Vigo County ca. 1835. Alexander's occupation was given on the 1850 census as "Shoemaker."
Their stay in Vigo County was a short one, however. As a shoemaker, Alexander K. Sparks probably had to keep moving in order to seek new customers where competition was at a minimum. A granddaughter has stated that her father, Alexander's third son, John Samuel Sparks, was born in LaRue County, Kentucky, but the family was back in Spencer County, Kentucky, when their fourth child, Charles, was born in January 1853. They were still there when the 1860 census was taken, but there is some evidence that they returned to Indiana during the Civil War.
From the Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, Circuit Court record noted in the sketch on Alexander's father, we know that Alexander had followed his father to Muhlenberg County by 1876, where he apparently found himself in some financial difficulty involving his father. by the time the 1880 census was taken, however, Alexander was living in McLean County, which adjoins Muhlenberg County on the north. He and his family's home was then near the village of Sacramento.
JOHN SAMUEL & ANNA CORA (POWER) SPARKS
Married at Brooksville, Kentucky
April 30, 1891
We are grateful to Eleanor Worley for providing us with a copy of the above photograph of her grandparents. John Samuel Sparks, son of Alexander K. and Louisa (Antel) Sparks, was born July 9, 1851, and died in December 1918.
Mrs. Worley has written as follows regarding the later years in the lives of Alexander and Louisa Sparks.
Alexander did not appear on the McLean County tax rolls until 1879, at which time he was credited with two mules valued at $50, three children aged 6 to 20, 3,000 pounds of tobacco, 400 bushels of corn, and 70 bushels of wheat. In 1881, he owned two horses valued at $50.
Alexander K. Sparks probably died in 1883 for in March of that year, his wife, Louisa, purchased 19 acres of land on Cypress Creek in McLean County,. for $225 for which she paid $100 in cash and mortgaged the remainder with her son, James W. Sparks, who assumed half of the mortgage. (McLean County Deed Book K, page 273)
In January 1893, Louisa and her son James were sued in McLean County Circuit Court by John T. Glenn to recover $62.50, less a credit of $8.75 on March 16, 1884, and of $12.00 of September 6, 1886. It was ordered that as much as necessary of the 19 acres of land Louisa had purchased in 1883 be sold to satisfy the lien. (McLean County Circuit Court Orders, Book O, pp. 272, 298, and 353, Case 1551) Louisa probably died between 1893 and 1900; the 1900 census shows her sons, James and Peter, and her daughter, Louisa Annie, living together near Bremen in Buhlenberg County.
18.104.22.168 Walter J. Sparks, son of Walter and Nancy (King) Sparks, was born ca. 1829 in Kentucky, probably in Bullitt County. He was in Shelby County, Kentucky, in 1851 where he married Eliza Ann Terrell, daughter of A. B. Terrell. Their marriage bond was dated December 17, 1851. There is a record in Shelby County of a daughter named Isabel being born to W. J. and Eliza (Terrell) Sparks on March 31, 1857. We have found no record of the death of Walter J. Sparks, but his widow wrote her will in Shelby County on April 4, 1895; it was executed in May 1896. She left all of her property to her son,
22.214.171.124.x Albert A. Sparks, of Mount Vernon, Indiana, but she charged him with the support of his sister,
126.96.36.199.y Frances Isabel Sparks "during her natural life." She also mentioned a son named
188.8.131.52.z Robert Sparks to whom she willed $5.00.
184.108.40.206 William H. Sparks was born in April 1830. He was living with his parents in Spencer County, Kentucky, when the 1850 census was taken; his age then was 20, and he was a shoemaker. On February 21, 1855, he obtained a marriage bond in Bullitt County, Kentucky, to marry Lucy E. Pearce (or Pierce). She was a daughter of John and Matilda Pearce (or Pierce). They were married shortly after the bond was registered; the person performing the ceremony was the Rev. E. B. Samuel, a minister of the Baptist Church. (Book 1, page 133) When the 1860 census was taken, William was in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. Like his older brother, he was a shoemaker.
by 1870, William H. Sparks had moved his family to the village of Sacramento in McLean County. On that census, he was shown as a "Boot & shoemaker." In addition to his wife and six children, Lucy's parents, John and Matilda Pearce, were living in his household. John Pearce was then 81 years old and Matilda was 76; both were natives of Virginia according to the census.
In 1880, William H. Sparks and his family were living in Daviess County, Kentucky, where they were still living in 1900, their address being 933 Triplett Street in Owensboro. He was then 70 years old and still practicing his trade as a shoemaker.
220.127.116.11 James R. [or B.] Sparks was born ca. 1831 in Bullitt County, Kentucky. (On the 1880 census, his name was written as "James B. K. Sparks.") He was living with his parents when the 1850 census was taken in Spencer County; he was farming with his father. He moved with his parents to Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, and it was there that he was married by the Rev. William R. Welch to Mary Ann Tinkle on September 21, 1854, "at her mother's residence. "
Eleanor Worley, who has done extensive research on the family of Walter and Nancy (King) Sparks, has provided the following additional information regarding James.
The remaining information on James and his family was found in some census, deed, and tax records, none of which have been completely searched. The Muhlenberg County deed index shows that during 1857 - 59, James R. Sparks bought property from Henry Stobaugh and sold property to Dicy E. Nelson. Between 1859 and 1862, James and his wife sold property to Joseph Whitmer.
In 1860, "C. & James Sparks" bought 106 acres in adjoining McLean County. Perhaps the "C." was his brother, Charles. After this purchase, all of his land transactions took place in McLean County where he evidently moved around 1860. Also in 1860, James R. and Mary Ann sold 30 acres on Cypress Creek to William Tinkle, which was no doubt A part of the 106 acres he had purchased from E. A. Coffman. In 1865 and 1866, James R. Sparks was taxed in McLean County on 76 acres on Cypress Creek. In 1867, he bought another 30 acres on Cypress Creek from Louis L. Moore and was taxed on 106 acres in 1868 and 1869. He and his family were listed on the 1870 census of the Sacramento Precinct of McLean County - - he was 38 and his wife was 37. They had eight children. In 1870, James purchased 53 acres on Cypress Creek from S. M. Arnold and in 1871 another 2 acres from W. F. Henry. He was taxed in 1871 on 161 acres. The next year he sold 55 acres to his nephew, J. W. Sparks, which again reduced his acreage to the 106 acres listed on the tax rolls through 1879. After this, he did not appear on the tax records examined.
James was shown on the 1880 census of McLean County as "James B. K. Sparks," age 48, farmer. His wife, Mary A. Sparks, was 47. Living with they were their six youngest children.
18.104.22.168.x C. B. Sparks,
22.214.171.124.y John A. Sparks, and
126.96.36.199.z William Sparks
James's sons, were taxed in 1884 on horses, and C. B. was taxed also on farm produce. John A. was taxed on 43 acres in 1891. In 1901, John A. Sparks bought 120 acres from G. G. Grundy and sold him 43 acres. In 1905, the deed index shows an agreement between Linda C. Sparks as grantee and John A. Sparks as grantor. In 1906 there is a record in the deed index of a release from S. N. Arnold to James R. Sparks. This is the last listing of James R. in the McLean County deed records.
188.8.131.52 Sarah Ann Sparks was born ca. 1834. When the 1850 census was taken of Spencer County, Kentucky, she was living with her parents, age 16. She may have been the Sarah Sparks who married Charles James on January 8, 1856, in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.
184.108.40.206 Charles M. Sparks was born in September 1835 in Bullitt County, Kentucky. He was living with his parents in Spencer County, Kentucky, when the 1850 census was taken (his age was given as 15 and he was described as a "farmer"). He accompanied his parents when they moved to Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, and it was there, on December 12, 1859, that he obtained a bond to marry Sally Miller. (Book 3, page 351) They were married on the following day. His co-bondsman was Charles Carnes. Sally had been born in March 1841, according to the 1900 census.
When the 1860 census was taken, Charles and Sally were living with his parents in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky; he was farming with his father. When the 1870 census was taken, Charles (36 years old) and Sally (29) were farming land adjoining that of his parents in Muhlenberg County. Besides their four oldest children, a 25-year-old man named John Shank, a native of Kentucky, was living in their household. Charles and Sally had ten children--nine of them were living when the 1900 census was taken of Muhlenberg County. Charles died on July 17, 1921, in Muhlenberg County, and Sally died there on April 12, 1930.
220.127.116.11 Mary Elizabeth Sparks was shown on the 1850 census as the youngest child, eleven years old. When the 1900 census was taken, the month and year of each person's birth was one of the questions asked, and for this she, or someone speaking for her, gave March 1834 as her date of death. It should also be noted that on the 1850 census, her name appears as Mary A. Sparks.
A marriage bond, dated October 4, 1853, for Mary Elizabeth Sparks and John C. Markwell is on file in Spencer County, Kentucky. Her father, Walter Sparks, served as bondsman with John C. Markwell. (Book 2, page 54) They were married shortly thereafter by William P. Barnett "at the home of Walter Sparks." The witnesses were Milton McGrew and Samuel Harrison. If Mary Elizabeth was born in 1839, as her age (11) on the 1850 census would suggest, she would have been only 14 years of age at the time of the marriage. Although some girls did marry that young in those days, it was not common and may suggest that the 1834 birth data on the 1900 census was correct. She did not have a child for six years after her marriage.
Eleanor Worley, whose research on this branch of the Sparks family has been noted earlier, has reported as follows. In January 1854, Mary Elizabeth's father purchased 961 acres on the waters of Log Creek, a branch of Pond River, in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, for $400 at which time the family evidently moved to that county. Walter sold this property to Mary Elizabeth's husband, John C. Markwell, on April 2, 1855, for $250. On October 29, 1875, Walter and Nancy Sparks sold to Mary Elizabeth and her husband, John C. Markwell, 331 acres in Muhlenberg County "in consideration of one dollar in hand paid and further consideration of the love and affection we have for them and the care and attention we have received and may receive from them and their help in our support and maintenance ... the tract of land on which we now live ..." They retained a life interest in this land.
John C. and Mary Elizabeth (Sparks) Markwell were the parents of four daughters and one son. John died sometime before 1900; the census of that year listed Mary as a widow. She, or someone speaking for her, reported to the census taker that year that she had borne five children, all of whom were still living in 1900. In fact, all were still living at home. The son, William Markwell, was farming his father's land. The children were:
18.104.22.168.1 Alice Markwell, born January 1860;
22.214.171.124.2 Lissie Markwell, born August 1862;
126.96.36.199.3 William A. Markwell, was born in July 1867.
188.8.131.52.4 Ollie Markwell, born March 1868; and
184.108.40.206.5 Flora Markwell, born August 1875.
32.4.10 Elizabeth Sparks was born ca. 1802 in Jefferson County, Kentucky. She was married there in 1820 to John C. Smith. Their marriage bond, dated February 25, 1820, contains the statement: "Said Elizabeth being the daughter of Walter Sparks whose consent was certified." This means that she was not yet of age at the time of her marriage. (Book I, page 113) We can assume that the marriage took place soon after the bond was obtained. We have no further information regarding her.
(Editor's Note: This completes our record of the lives of Walter and Phoebe Sparks, including a record of their ten children. A brief record has also been provided for each of the grandchildren of Walter and Phoebe that we have been able to identify. We shall plan to carry some of these lines further in future issues of the Quarterly. There are doubtless errors in this account, and it is certainly not complete. We shall welcome corrections and added information from descendants of Walter and Phoebe Sparks.)