April 28, 2021

Pages 3507-3511
Whole Number 148

27.1.2 JESSE SPARKS (ca.1785-ca.1859)
(Webmaster Note:
Apparently this should read Grandson, not Son)

by Paul E. Sparks

[Editor's Note: In the September 1961 issue of The Sparks Quarterly, Whole No. 35, appeared an article about 27. Zachariah Sparks who died ca. 1781 in South Carolina. According to this article, Zachariah apparently had four sons, among whom was 27.1 Stephen Sparks, born ca. 1760. Stephen Sparks died on July 10, 1816, leaving eight children. One of the children, 27.1.2 Jesse Sparks, is the subject of this article.]

Jesse Sparks, son of Stephen Sparks, was born ca. 1785, probably in Newberry County, South Carolina, and it was probably there that he married Mary ['"Polly"] Ramage ca. 1809. She was born ca. 1790 in South Carolina and was a daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Ramage. Joseph Ramage was a captain in the South Carolina Militia during the Revolutionary War.

About 1815, Jesse and Polly Sparks moved to Shelby County, Alabama, where they appeared on the 1820 census. Only Jesse's name appeared on the census, of course. Enumerated in their household were four boys and two girls. When the 1830 census was taken, Jesse and his family were still in Shelby County, and their family, according to the enumeration of Jesse's household, had grown to include five sons and five daughters. Shortly after 1830, however, Jesse and his family seem to have disappeared from the usual records. We have been unable to locate him on any 1840 census. We do know, however, that he and his family moved westward, and by 1850 they were in Itawamba County, Mississippi, where they settled in that portion which became a part of Lee County in 1866. On the 1850 census, Jesse's age was given as 65 while Polly's age was given as 60 years.

Polly (Ramage) Sparks apparently died between 1850 and 1860. Jesse Sparks died in September 1859; however, his estate was not settled until fifteen years later. (Estate Settlement No. 332, 1874.) Apparently the first executor of his estate was his son, John B. Sparks, but when the estate was finally settled, the administrator was Newnan Cayce.

The Court's inability to find some of Jesse's heirs seems to have been a cause for the delay. Some of the heirs lived in Lee County, Mississippi, while at least one heir lived in Lowndes County, Mississippi. It is through some of the Court documents that we have learned the names of some of Jesse's heirs; however, the court named other persons whom we have been unable to identify. Among these unidentified heirs were Stephen Sparks (probably a son), Isaac Skinner (probably a grandson), and Julia Ann Spence and Martha Naomi Spence (probably granddaughters).

According to census records, court records, and information furnished by descendants, Jesse and Polly had ten children, five sons and five daughters. Here is what we have learned about them. (We should welcome any additional information which any reader might provide.) John B. Sparks was born November 22, 1810, in South Carolina. He went with his parents as a young lad to Shelby County, Alabama. It was probably there that he met and married Hulda MNU ca. 1832. She was born April 25, 1811. She and John moved to Mississippi ca. 1842. They had five children before her death, which occurred on September 7, 1845. When the 1850 census was taken of Itawamba County, Mississippi, John was listed as a widower in a household consisting of himself and his five children.

When Lee County, Mississippi, was formed in 1866 from Itawamba and Pontotoc Counties, John B. Sparks was one of the first school commissioners in the new county. He had married (second) Christinia Ramage on December 22, 1852, in Itawamba County. She was a cousin and had been born on December 22, 1829. She and John had two children. He died on November 25, 1889, and Christinia died on June 16, 1912. Children of John B. Sparks were: Sarah Frances ["Fannie"] Sparks was born ca. 1833 in Alabama. She accompanied her parents to Monroe County, Mississippi, where she married Wynn M. Mullins on September 20, 1854. He had been born July 13, 1808, and was a son of William W. and Frances S. (Williams) Mullins. He was also a widower with nine children (eight sons and one daughter) all by his first wife, Rebecca (Eubanks) Mullins. He was called "Major" Mullins because four of his sons served in the Confederate States Army during the Civil War. He was a cotton farmer near Nettleton, Mississippi, a village located near the Monroe-Lee Counties boundary.

Wynn Mullins died on December 24, 1883, in Monroe County. Fannie died there two years later, on August 30, 1885. They were buried in the Mullins Cemetery at Nettleton. They were the parents of six children, but only two of them lived to adulthood. Benjamin Franklin ["Frank"] Mullins, was born September 28, 1855, in Monroe County, Mississippi. He married S. Lamar on December 11, 1879, in Itawamba County. We have no further information about them. Frances Mullins was born December 15, 1856. She died as an infant and was buried in an unmarked grave in the Mullins Cemetery at Nettleton, Mississippi. Emily Virginia Mullins was born February 27, 1858. She died on May 1, 1878, and was buried in the Mullins Cemetery. John D. Mullins was born November 20, 1858. He died on January 15, 1859, and was buried in the Mullins Cemetery Lulu Tennessee ["Tennie"] Mullins was born November 29, 1859. She married William Wesley Lamar on August 17, 1886, in Itawamba County. He had been born on September 7, 1866, and was a son of Edward P. and Neva (Cotham) Lamar. Tennie died on February 25, 1926, and Willaim died on August 17, 1944. They were buried in the Sarepta [Mississippi] Cemetery. They had six children, including an unnamed infant. The five who survived infancy were: Fannie Lou Lamar, William Lamar, Maggie Lamar, Allie Lamar, and Estelle Lamar. Robert R. Mullins was born May 13, 1861. He died on August 10, 1864, and was buried in the Mullins Cemetery. Martha E. Sparks was born October 13, 1834. She died on November 23, 1882. Jane Sparks [her name might have been June], was born ca. 1838. She married Franklin D. Hood. She died in 1916. William F. Sparks was born ca. 1843 in Mississippi. He died in 1912. James L. Sparks was born ca. 1845 in Mississippi. He died ca. 1875.

Children of John and Christinia (Ramage) Sparks: Doctor Henderson Sparks was born in 1855. He married Ida Boyd. He died in 1903. John Metts Sparks was born in 1861. He died in 1879. Daughter Sparks whom we have been unable to identify was born to Jesse and Polly (Ramage) Sparks, ca. 1812. Joseph R. Sparks (the "R" may have been for Ramage) was born ca. 1815 in South Carolina, and was quite likely a baby when his parents moved to Alabama. He apparently went with them to Mississippi, but he settled in Lowndes County instead of going with them to Itawamba County. Joseph Sparks married Frances H. Sharp, ca. 1847. She was born in 1825 and was a daughter of Francis I. and Matilda Sharp, natives of South Carolina.

The first record we have found of Joseph Sparks is on the 1850 census of Mississippi. When the census-taker stopped at his home on September 7, 1850, he recorded that Joseph R. Sparks was 35 years old, a farmer whose real estate was worth $800. His wife was Frances H. Sparks, age 25. The birthplace of both was given as "So. Carolina." Their only child was Mary M. Sparks, age 2 years, born in Mississippi. According to a compilation of the Lowndes County census for 1850 by Betty Wood Thomas in 1978, in which she combined the separate census taken of slave-owners, Joseph R. Sparks was shown as owning two slaves at that time. The researcher whom we engaged twenty years ago to search the 1850 census of Mississippi failed to note the presence of Joseph R. Sparks in Lowndes County, so he was thus omitted from the March 1968 issue of the Quarterly (Whole No. 61) in which we listed persons named Sparks appearing on the 1850 census of Mississippi.

Joseph and Frances Sparks bought land several miles north of the town of Columbus near the Sharp family. The family recorded on the 1850 census just above that of Joseph P. Sparks was headed by John A. Sharp, age 35, a farmer born in South Carolina, whose real estate was valued at $300. Living with him was Matilda Sharp, age 50, a native of South Carolina, who was probably the mother of Frances H. (Sharp) Sparks. Also living in this household were Martha W. Sharp and Mary J. Sharp, both 18 years of age and natives of South Carolina.

It would appear that John A. Sharp was probably a brother of Frances, and that Martha W. and Mary J. were sisters. Also living nearby was James M. Sharp, age 34, with wife, Elizabeth J. Sharp and three small children. James M. Sharp may well have been a brother of Frances (Sharp) Sparks; although his birthplace was given as "Tenn."'

At a meeting held in the Hopewell Baptist Church in Lowndes County in September 1851, Joseph R. Sparks was elected as a member of the Board of Trustees of Township 17 School Fund. Others elected were William Covington, Joseph Thompson, Benjamin Clifford, and Titus Moore, all of whom appeared on the 1850 census of Lowndes County. Covington was appointed as the president, and Sparks was appointed clerk and treasurer. Sparks continued to serve on the board until his death.

An interesting custom followed by this Board of Trustees was to record the deaths of members of the board. According to the minutes which have been preserved, Joseph It. Sparks died between December 10, 1862, and January 10, 1863. His wife, Frances, died about ten years later. They had one child. Mary Bennie M. Sparks was born June 10, 1849, in Lowndes County, Mississippi. After her father's death in 1862, she lived with her mother and attended the Columbus [Mississippi] Female Institute. On the 1870 census of Lowndes County she was listed as a teacher.

In all likelihood, Bennie (as she was called) married shortly after her mother died. Her husband, Edward Waring, was a member of a well-to- do family of Lowndes County; however, the marriage did not last long and ended in a divorce. Bennie married (second) Alfred Perry Perkins at Christmas time, 1875. He had been born January 2, 1855, and was a son of Alfred J. and Keziah (Vaughn) Perkins. Bennie died on April 3, 1915, and Alfred died on July 19, 1937. They had six children, including two unnamed infants who died at birth. Joseph Clarence Perkins was born July 25, 1879. He married Gordia Lula Smith on February 3, 1907. He died on June 5, 1938. Clara Irene Perkins was born June 16, 1882. She married Charles Warwick Nickles on December 26, 1900. She died on November 5, 1915. Charles Perry Perkins was born July 3, 1885. He married Eula Ridgeway on March 12, 1911. Rubye Lucy Perkins was born August 2, 1888. She married Andrew J. Robertson on May 15, 1910. She died on July 19, 1952, and Andrew died on October 19, 1974. They were buried in the Rowan Cemetery at Caledonia, Mississippi. They had nine children: Jackson P. Robertson, Andrew Robertson, Mary F. Robertson, Rubye A. Robertson, Janie C. Robertson, Annie W. Robertson, Evelyn Robertson, Doris Robertson, and William Robertson. Jesse F. Sparks was born in Alabama abt. 1816. He married Mildred Murphy on January 17, 1851, in Itawamba County, Mississippi, and they had at least one child before his death ca. 1858. Mary Virginia Sparks was born ca. 1852. She married Thomas J. Clayton. Nancy J. Sparks was born October 26, 1817. She married James A. McMillan (or McMillian) ca. 1840. He was born in 1812 and died in 1868. Nancy died on August 4, 1865. She and James had ten children. Martha McMillan was born ca. 1842. She married T. F. Gullett. Mary E. McMillan was born in 1844. She married John Brinkley. She died in 1882. James McMillan was born in 1847. Hulda L. McMillan was born ca. 1849. She married E. W. White. Nancy McMillan was born ca. 1851. Indiana Dica (or Dicey) McMillan was born ca. 1854. She married Z. A. Herndon. Sarah McMillan was born ca. 1856. Benjamin McMillan was born ca. 1858. Laura McMillan was born ca. 1859. Elsie McMillan was born ca. 1862. Isaac E. Sparks was born January 20, 1820. He married Caroline P. Herring on January 7, 1858, in Itawamba County, Mississippi. She was born June 26, 1836. Isaac died on July 31, 1892, and Caroline died on March 7, 1901. They had six children. John McDonald Sparks was born in 1859. He married Martha Jane Gann. He died in 1938. William Stephen Sparks was born in 1865. He married Mary Josephine Morris ca. 1889. She was born in 1871. William died in 1938 and Mary died in 1951 in Lee County, Mississippi. They had five children. Vera Sparks was born ca. 1890. She died on October 22, 1961. Purd Ward Sparks was born December 17, 1892. He died on July 23, 1961. Lou Owen Sparks was born April 13, 1894, at Plantersville, Mississippi. He married Kitty Lee Fain ca. 1915. She was born August 17, 1893, and was a daughter of Thomas and Nancy Evalee (Claunch) Fain. Lou died on March 10, 1944, and Kitty died on January 11, 1960. They were buried in the Tupelo [Mississippi] Cemetery. They had two children: Robert Sparks and William Sparks. Annie Sparks was born ca. 1895. Ruby Sparks was born ca. 1900. Cordelia ["Delia"] Sparks was born ca. 1866. She married James Deaton. Joseph F. Sparks was born in 1869. He married Julie Morris. He died in 1911. Benjamin Sparks was born ca. 1873. He married Minnie Woods. James Carroll Sparks was born in 1879. He married Catherine ["Kitty"] Stevens. He died in 1945. He had at least one child, James Carroll Sparks, Jr., born January 26,1922, in Tupelo, Mississippi. A daughter of Jesse and Polly (Ramage) Sparks was born ca. 1822. She may have married FNU Skinner and had a son named Isaac Skinner who was named in the settlement of her father's estate in 1874. A daughter of Jesse and Polly (Ramage) Sparks was born ca. 1824. She may have married FNU Spence and had two daughters, Julia Ann and Martha Naomi, who were named in the settlement of her father's estate in 1874. A daughter of Jesse and Polly (Ramage) Sparks was born ca. 1826. A son of Jesse and Polly (Ramage) Sparks was born ca. 1828. He may have been the Stephen Sparks named in the settlement of the estate of Jesse Sparks in 1874.