April 8, 2018

Pages 3219-3222
Whole Number 142

WILLIAM FRANCIS SPARKS (1849-1901)
and Five of Their Children
Left to Right, Standing: Levi Jackson, Alice May, and Curtis Henry Seated: Myrtle Bell and Benjamin Harrison
(Picture)
WILLIAM F with His Wife, ARVILLA ROXIEAN (FULLER) SPARKS



In the Quarterly of September 1977, Whole No. 99, we published an article on Addison Sparks (born ca. 1795) of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and Parke County, Indiana. His wife was Mary Watts. Also included in this article was a sketch of the life of Thomas E. Sparks, son of Addison, who was born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, on July 4, 1819, and died in Custer, Oklahoma, on August 8, 1909. He was married in Parke County, Indiana, on July 18, 1839, to Catherine Melton (1821-1892). They had eight children.

One of the sons of Thomas E. and Catherine (Melton) Sparks was William Francis Sparks. We had very little information regarding William Francis Sparks when we published the article cited above, but since then we have heard from Russell Sparks of 2870 W. 90th Place, Denver, Colorado (80221), who is a grandson of William Francis Sparks. The wife of Russell Sparks, (Beverly Sparks) has sent us the information given below as well as the photograph appearing on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly.

William Francis Sparks, son of Thomas E. and Catherine (Melton) Sparks, was born in Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana, on September 19, 1849. On September 1, 1872, he married Arvilla Roxiean Fuller. The marriage took place in Pawnee City, Nebraska, and was performed by a Rev. Turner. When the 1880 census was taken, they were living in Smith County, Kansas. He died on September 1, 1901. According to family records copied for us
by Beverly Sparks, William Francis and Arvilla (Fuller) Sparks had the following children

1. Myrvil Sparks, born in Nebraska on August 27, 1873, and died on the same day.

2. Eddie Sparks, born in Kansas on March 31, 1874, died on the same day.

3. Alice May Sparks was born in Harlan, Kansas, on August 20, 1876; she died on March 20, 1960.

4. Levi Jackson ["Jack"] Sparks, was born in Smith Center, Kansas, on December 5, 1878. The date of his death is not known.

5. Curtis Henry ["Curt"] Sparks was born in Topeka, Kansas, on January 9, 1880. He died on December 12, 1966.

6. Myrtle Bell Sparks was born January 9, 1882 (or 1883). She died on December 31, 1969. She married the Rev. George Latta in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

7. Benjamin Harrison ["Harry"] Sparks was born in Pawnee, Nebraska, on March 11, 1888. He died on March 23, 1987.

8. Stanley Eugene Sparks was born in Harlan, Kansas, on October 24, 1895. He died on August 24, 1897.

9. Emma Ivaloo Sparks was born in Partis, Kansas, on July 17, 1899. She is still living. Since she did not appear in the family photograph reproduced on the cover, a picture of her as a small child appears below.

]

EMMA IVALOO SPARKS

(Picture)

Stanley Sparks is a son of Benjamin Harrison Sparks, the seventh child of William Francis Sparks. Benjamin Harrison Sparks was called "Harry" by the family, but he also had the nickname "Sparky" in the community where he lived. He was married on September 16, 1906, to Elizabeth Albertson McCaskey in Shirley, Oklahoma. She was a daughter of Robert and Rozzella McCaskey and had been born December 27, 1891, at Milton, Missouri. She died on May 11, 1942. They were the parents of thirteen children.

According to an obituary of Benjamin Harrison Sparks appearing in an April 1987 issue of The Review published in Phillipsburg, Kansas, "he was a farmer and horse trader, spending most of his life in Kansas." Following the death of his first wife, he was married (in later years) to Maude Landreth. He was buried in the Marvin Cemetery, Glade, Kansas. The following poem, written by Betty Berney and entitled "Sparky," appeared with the obituary.

To say he liked horses
   Would be puttin' it mild,
'Cause he always loved them
   Be tame or be wild!
He bought them, he raced them...
   And they won their share,
"It sure was excitin'!"
   You'd hear him declare!
March the eleventh
   He turned ninety-nine,
And for bein' his age
   He did mighty fine!
He drove an old Chevy pickup
   'Til he couldn't no more,
But he could still walk his dog
   And walk to the store.
Maybe you've seen him
   On our city street...
Just a little old man
   On "His re g'lar beat!"
He'd stop at the Western Store
   Or Bill's Shoe Repair,
To rekindle his interest
   In the stories he'd share!
He liked to relate things
   His mind could recall,
But his walks came to an end
   When he took a bad fall.
He loved to sit in a rocker...
   Push his hat to one side,
And the horse stories he told
   Seemed to fill him with pride.
With his white bushy moustache
   And a twinklin' eye,
We'll remember of "Sparky" . . .
   That's what folks knew him by!!!

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