February 3, 2021

Pages 3223-3229
Whole Number 142


by Paul E. Sparks

(Editor's Note: In the present issue of the Quarterly, page 3250, we present an abstract of the Civil War record of Phillip Sparks, born ca. 1842, died September 24, 1862. He was a son of 18.1.2 Thomas and Mary Elizabeth (Pearce ) Sparks. Unfortunately, in an article devoted to this family in the Quarterly of June 1958, Whole No. 22, pp. 293-307, this 18.1.2 Thomas Sparks was confused with a cousin, also named 18.4.3 Thomas Sparks. Both men were grandsons of 18. Josiah and Penelope (Brown) Sparks. The following brief sketches of these cousins' lives are presented with the recommendation that readers who maintain a back file of the Quarterly make the proper corrections on pages 296 and 298 of the June 1958 issue. Previous corrections to this article have been noted on pages 2857 and 2865 of the March 1986 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 133.)

[Webmaster note: The above note was placed in Whole No. 22, p. 293.]

18.1.2 Thomas Sparks (ca.1800-ca.1853),
Son of 18.1 Francis and Cassandra (Wright) Sparks

This Thomas Sparks was born ca. 1800 in Baltimore County, Maryland. It was there that he married Mary Elizabeth Pearce on December 24, 1824. They moved to Butler County, Ohio, ca. 1833 and were listed there on the 1840 and 1850 censuses. Apparently they died ca. 1853, for their children moved shortly thereafter to Jackson County, Indiana. Thomas and Mary Elizabeth Sparks had nine children, eight of whom we have identified. John Tolbert Sparks was born October 27, 1825, in Baltimore County, Maryland. He married Druscilla Baldwin, ca. 1856, in Jackson County, Indiana. She was born September 18, 1831, in Indiana and was a daughter of William and Permelia Baldwin. Druscilla died on March 12, 1887, in Jackson County. John died there on April 24, 1915. They were the parents of eight children.

(Photograph taken ca. 1914)

Seated: John Tolbert Sparks (1825-1915) holding his greatgranddaughter, Josephine FoxStanding: (left to right) Charlotte (Sparks) Davis & Nellie (Davis) Fox, daughter and granddaughter of John Tolbert Sparks Charlotte Cordelia Sparks was born October 24, 1858. She died on May 7, 1919. She married Martin A. Davis on March 7, 1877. He was born January 19, 1855, and was a son of William and Mahala (Madden) Davis. Charlotte and Martin had three children: Bruce Elmer Davis, Clarence Davis, and Nellie Davis. Nellie Davis married Benjamin H. Fox. She was the mother-in-law of Doris E. Fox who has been most helpful in the preparation of this article and who furnished the picture of John Tolbert Sparks appearing on the following page. William Baldwin Sparks was born April 11, 1860, in Jackson County, Indiana, and it was there that he married Sarah Virginia Hunt on October 15, 1881. She had been born July 9, 1863, and was a daughter of Samuel Hunt. William Sparks died on September 29, 1941. He and Sarah Virginia had eight children: John T. Sparks, Mary M. Sparks, Esther E. Sparks, Elizabeth M. Sparks, Thomas J. Sparks, Charles G. Sparks, William M. Sparks, and Phillip H. Sparks Missouri Sparks was born August 25, 1864. She died in 1933. She married Isaac Jackson. Jessie Sparks was born ca. 1865. She married John Prather. Alice May Sparks was born December 22, 1868. She died on August 3, 1891. She was probably the May Sparks who married Oliver Haskett on May 20, 1891, in Jackson County, Indiana. Minnie Sparks was born December 22, 1868, and was a twin of Alice May Sparks, above. She married Frank Swengel and they had eight children: Nola Swengel, Bessie Swengel, May Swengel, Lloyd Swengel, Glen Swengel, True Swengel, Dale Swengel, and Susie Swengel.

Minnie died in 1957. Samantha Sparks was born ca. 1871. On March 6, 1891, she married Ephraim B. Haskett in Jackson County, Indiana. They had at least two children, Mazie Haskett and Ivan John Haskett. Samantha died on October 24, 1904. Virginia ["Jennie"] Sparks was born ca. 1873. She married Ralph ["Tip"] Murray. Greenbury Sparks was born ca. 1828 in Maryland. He married Mariah MNU, ca. 1854 in Indiana, and when the 1860 census was taken of Jackson County, they were shown with two children. In all probability, there were other children born to them after 1860. These two children were: Mary Sparks was born ca. 1855 in Indiana. Edward Sparks was born ca. 1857 in Indiana. William Sparks was born ca. 1832 in Maryland. On May 20, 1854, he married Nancy Parker in Washington County, Indiana. She was born ca. 1836 in Indiana. William served in Company E, 52nd Regiment Indiana Infantry during the Civil War and received a pension for his service. (See the Quarterly, Whole No. 142, pp 3250-51, for an abstract of his pension file.) He died on June 7, 1886, in Jackson County, Indiana. Nancy died sometime around 1900. They had ten children, all born in Indiana. Alonzo Sparks was born ca. 1855. Elizabeth Sparks was born ca. 1857. Mary Emily [ "Emma" ] Sparks was born ca. 1859. Margaret Lou Sparks was born ca. 1861. Wilda Jane Sparks was born ca. 1863. She married William Deppert on March 15, 1881, in Jackson County. Dora Amelia [ "Melia" ] Sparks was born ca. 1865. Francis ["Frank"] Sparks was born ca. 1868. Burton Sparks was born ca. 1870. Cordie Belle Sparks was born in December 1870. Lawrence B. Sparks was born February 18, 1873. Cassandra Sparks, was born ca. 1834 in Ohio. FNU Sparks. An unidentified daughter was born to Thomas and Mary Elizabeth (Pearce) Sparks ca. 1837. Francis ["Frank"] Sparks was born ca. 1840 in Ohio and was a young man when he came with his brothers and sisters from Ohio to Jackson County, Indiana. When the 1860 census was taken, he was living in the household of his brother, John T. Sparks, in Jackson County. He became (perhaps unwittingly) a member of a local group of men headed by Frank Reno and referred to as the "Reno Gang." It was probably the first of the outlaw brotherhoods in the United States and included three brothers of Frank Reno: John Reno, William Reno, and Simeon Reno. Several accounts have been written telling the story of the Reno Gang, the latest being in the form of a book entitled THE FIRST TRAIN ROBBERY. This 235-page volume was written by Wilgus Wade Hogg and was published by the book division of the Louisville [Kentucky] COURIER JOURNAL in 1977. According to this book, in October 1866 the Reno Gang held up an Ohio & Mississippi Railway train at Seymour, Indiana, and took $15,000 from the Adams Express Agency car. Thereafter, for two years, this gang terrorized the Jackson County countryside by arson, theft, and murder, with perhaps a touch of blackmail. Finally they were captured, but never did come to trial, for most of them were lynched by local hooded men who took them from the officials. Frank Sparks was among those were were hanged on July 25, 1868.

A reporter for the DAILY LEDGER, a newspaper published in New Albany, Indiana, attended the burial of Frank Sparks on the morning of July 28, 1868, and wrote the following for his paper of that date:

Frank Sparks was 25 years old and was raised in this county. He made his headquarters with some abandoned women at Rockford. He was of a very respectable family, who, with all his faults, could not forego the duty of giving his remains respectable burying in the graveyard at Seymour this morning, about 600 persons attending mostly attracted to the place by the violence attending his death. He served two years during the Civil War in the 89th Indiana Infantry, but was not a good soldier as he was repeatedly taken to the front in irons as a deserter. His two brothers are rich and honorable farmers who are respected far and wide. He was a small man, about 5 ft. 4 in. height, black hair, dark complexion and a desperate appearance. Phillip Sparks was born ca. 1842 in Butler County, Ohio. (See the abstract of his Civil War military file on page 3250 of the Quarterly.) Sarah Sparks was born ca. 1844 in Ohio. Mary Eliza Sparks was born ca. 1847 in Ohio.

18.4.3 Thomas Sparks (1789-1856),
Son of Thomas & Rachel (Perdue) Sparks

18.4.3 Thomas Sparks, son of 18.4 Thomas and Rachel (Perdue) Sparks, was born November 7, 1789, in Baltimore County, Maryland. He served in the 41st Regiment Maryland Militia during the War of 1812 and received bounty land for his service. (See page 818 of the June 1964 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 46, for an abstract of his bounty land file.) After the war ended, he went to Indiana, probably to join his uncle, Matthew Sparks, in Franklin County. It was there that he married Jennie [ "Jincey" ] Harwood on November 12, 1818. She had been born in May 1803 in North Carolina.

Thomas and Jincey Sparks bought land in Franklin County in 1822, but they sold it two years later and moved to Montgomery County, Indiana, where they settled near the village of Alamo. They spent the rest of their lives at that place. Jincey died on October 30, 1850, and Thomas died there on May 9, 1856. They were buried in the Sparks Cemetery which is located about a mile south of Alamo. They had ten children, nine of whom we have identified. Lawson Sparks was born February 18, 1820, in Franklin County, Indiana. He died on June 21, 1840. He never married. Andrew J. Sparks was born January 2, 1825. According to information found in the 1850 census, he was born in Ohio. He became a physician, but died on May 1, 1851, at the early age of 26 years. He apparently did not marry. He was buried in the Sparks Cemetery near Alamo. Phillip Sparks was born February 13, 1827, in Indiana. On December 23, 1847, he married Mahala J. Copner. She had been born on September 16, 1827, in Ohio and was a daughter of Joseph T. and Elizabeth Copner. Phillip and Mahala lived in Montgomery County, Indiana, where he was a farmer and where he died on January 11, 1911. He was buried in the Sparks Cemetery near Alamo. He and Mahala had three children. George M. Sparks was born ca. 1849 in Indiana. Harris A. Sparks was born June 17, 1851. He died on October 8, 1852. Joseph T. Sparks was born July 3, 1853. He attended the public school at Alamo, Indiana, and then studied for three years under Dr. M. L. Bass of Crawfordsville, Indiana, before entering Rush Medical College in 1871. He was graduated there in 1874 with honors and began his medical practice at Annapolis, Indiana, in Parke County. Two years later he went to Moran in Clinton County, Indiana, where he married Sarah A. Butts. She was born in 1857. Joseph and Sarah Sparks settled down in Yeddo, Indiana, in 1882. He died there in 1926; Sarah died in 1932. They were buried in the Sparks Cemetery near Alamo. Rachel Sparks was born on November 17, 1829, in Indiana. She married Joshua C. McKinsey on August 5, 1848. He had been born on September 6, 1827, in Warren County, Ohio, and was a son of Samuel and Rebecca (Spray) McKinsey. Rachel died on March 21, 1887, and Joshua died on November 22, 1903. They had at least five children according to tombstone data from the Sparks Cemetery near Alamo. An unnamed son was born to Joshua and Rachel (Sparks) McKinsey on June 28, 1849. He died on August 28, 1850. & Twin sons (unnamed) were born to Joshua and Rachel (Sparks) McKinsey on August 14, 1850, and died at birth. Tilghman H. McKinsey was born September 6, 1851. He died on December 3, 1851. Emma E. McKinsey was born ca. 1861. She married Danson E. Barnes on September 6, 1882. We have no further information. Thomas Sparks, Jr. was born in 1832. He married Harriet Shafer on August 11, 1853, in Montgomery County, Indiana. He served in the 9th Battery of Indiana Light Artillery during the Civil War and was killed in a steamboat explosion on January 27, 1865, near Johnsonville, Tennessee. His widow, Harriet, received a pension for his military service. (See pages 2864-65 of the March 1986 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 133, for an abstract of this pension file.) Thomas and Harriet Sparks had two children: Evaline Sparks was born ca. 1854 in Indiana. Laura Sparks was born ca. 1857 in Indiana. Daughter Sparks was born ca. 1833. Jonathan Sparks was born March 29, 1834. He married Mary A. MNU ca. 1857. She was born October 8, 1839, in Indiana. She died on January 23, 1888, and Jonathan died on January 5, 1906. They were buried in the Sparks Cemetery near Alamo, Indiana. According to census records, it appears that they had six children. Wallace Sparks was born ca. 1859. He married Ethel Talbot. Walter Sparks was born ca. 1861. Hovey Sparks was born ca. 1864. Ella Sparks was born ca. 1867. Bettie Sparks was born in January 1870. Joy Sparks was born ca. 1872. Laban Sparks was born September 11, 1838, in Montgomery County, Indiana. He served in Company G, 10th Regiment Indiana Infantry and also in the 17th Battery of Indiana Light Artillery during the Civil War and received a pension for his service. (See page 3252 of the Quarterly for an abstract of his file.) He married (first) Mary J. Koonce and (second) Flora Helen (Smith) Decker. He died on February 24, 1915, in Lafayette, Indiana. Apparently he had no children. Joseph Sparks was born February 10, 1841. He died on April 10, 1842. Walter Perdue Sparks was born on March 29, 1842, at Alamo, Indiana. He served in Company B, 10th Regiment Indiana Infantry during the Civil War and received a pension for his service. (See page 3254 of the Quarterly for an abstract of his pension file.) He married (first) Martha J. Lisman in 1864. She was born in 1847 and was a daughter of David Lisman. She and Walter had two childen before she died on June 19, 1870. Walter married (second) Rebecca Jennie Curl on January 26,1871, at Merom, Indiana. She was born March 13, 1858, in Ohio and was a daughter of David Curl. She and Walter had four children.

Walter Sparks was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was also a member of the Masonic fraternity and he was a Republican in politics. He was a carpenter until 1909 when he was appointed postmaster at Merom, Indiana. He died on April 29, 1931, and was buried in the Merom Cemetery. He was the father of six children, the first two by his first wife and the last four by his second wife. David Lovell Sparks was born December 12, 1866, in Illinois. Thomas Sparks was born June 8, 1869, in Indiana. Carman Guy Sparks was born February 1,1873. According to a great-grandson of Carman Sparks (Christopher Sargent of Rohnert Park, California), Carman remained in Merom, Sullivan County, Indiana, "and learned the trade of undertaking. For his wife he wed Deborah Ann Ellis, who was orphaned at a young age but was reared by the Beagle family. Carman and Deborah had three children, all boys. Willard Phillip Sparks, Zelna Purdue Sparks, born March 25, 1897, Carman Guy Sparks, Jr." Helen May Sparks was born April 15, 1875. She married Dr. FNU Boone. She died in 1904, leaving a daughter, Helen Boone, aged three years. Clara Sparks was born August 9, 1880. She married Elmer Pinkston. Lula Sparks was born September 17, 1886. She married Walter Mahan.