August 5, 2020
Whole Number 150
220.127.116.11.3.2 AMOS S. SPARKS (1823/24-1892)
OF ONTARIO, CANADA, ST. CLAIR COUNTY, MICHIGAN
AND LEAVENWORTH & ELLSWORTH COUNTIES, KANSAS
Whole Number 150
LUCETTA (SPARKS) HODGES
Daughter of Amos S. Margaret (Cummins) Sparks
With her Husband Ernest M. Hodges and her Daughter Ethel Hodges
[Editor's Note: The following record of Amos S. Sparks, who was born in Canada ca. 1823 or 1824 and died in Kansas in 1892, has been compiled by the editor from material provided largely by Carol R. Austin, Garden Grove, California, 92644. Mrs. Austin's husband is a great-grandson of Amos Sparks and his first wife, Margaret (Cummins) Sparks. Others who have contributed importantly in the preparation of this article have been Carville and Dorothy Sparks, Ellensburg, Washington, 98926; Della Wright, St. Louis, Missouri, 63136; Anita Salz Randall, Woodward, Oklahoma, 73801; and Wylma C. Pratt Simpson, Manhattan, Kansas, 66502.)
On page 3593 of the preceding article entitled "Some Descendants of John Sparks (Died April 9, 1710) of Windsor, Connecticut," reference was made to 18.104.22.168.3.2 Amos Sparks and to his brother, 22.214.171.124.3.1 Reuben Sparks. As was noted there, we have not found specific proof in any individual document that 126.96.36.199.3.2 Amos Sparks and 188.8.131.52.3.1 Reuben Sparks were sons of the 184.108.40.206.3 Reuben Sparks (born ca.1788, died 1836) whose widow, Lusetta (Rice) Sparks, applied for a pension based on his service in the War of 1812. We have convincing circumstantial evidence, however, to support this relationship. We hope that, with the publication of this article, we may hear from other descendants of Amos and Lusetta (Rice) Sparks and perhaps learn more about the parents and the youth of Amos S. Sparks and his brother, Reuben Sparks.
The elder 220.127.116.11.3 Reuben Sparks (ca.1788-1836), whom we are certain was the father of 18.104.22.168.3.2 Amos Sparks, was a son of 22.214.171.124 Thomas and Jemima (Fox) Sparks of Glastonbury, Connecticut (see page 3591). It is interesting to note that Amos named his first daughter Lucetta (doubtless for his mother) and his third daughter Jemima, probably for his grandmother. He named his first son Amos and his second son Reuben, doubtless for his father. 126.96.36.199 Thomas Sparks, grandfather of Amos, was born August 24, 1769, a son of 60.8.4 Reuben and Mary Sparks of Glastonbury (see p. 3590), this Reuben having been born ca. 1740. He (this elder Reuben) had written his will on April 25, 1826; his parents were Thomas and Sarah H. (Keeney) Sparks (see p. 3589). 60.8 Thomas Sparks was born ca. 1708 and died in Glastonbury in 1760; he was a son of 60. John and Dorothy Sparks. With these ancestral names, it is not surprising that Amos S. Sparks not only named children Lucetta, Jemima, and Reuben, but Mary, Sarah, and John as well. It is curious that no son was named Thomas, however.
As was noted on page 3592, Reuben Sparks (ca.1788-1836), whom we are certain was Amos' father, lost his own father at an early age. We believe that this Reuben, after spending his youth in Glastonbury, Connecticut, went to Jefferson County, New York, as a young man and from there to Ontario, Canada, follow ing the War of 1812.
Lusetta (Rice) Sparks, widow of Reuben, made application for a pension in 1875 as was noted on page 3592. In this, she claimed that her husband had served in the War of 1812 at Sackets Harbour, New York, in a company commanded by a Captain Bremner. She also stated that she and Reuben had been married on January 24, 1814, in Watertown, Jefferson County, New York. The War of 1812 was drawing to a close at that time.
It is probable that Reuben and Lusetta (Rice) Sparks moved to Ontario, Canada, soon after their marriage. Reuben has been found listed on no U.S. census.
When the 1850 census was taken, and again in 1860, Amos S. Sparks was shown as having been born in Canada, as was also his brother, Reuben. From family records, we know that the oldest child of Amos, named Lucetta, was born in 1845 in or near the city of Perth, which is the seat of justice in Lanark County, Ontario, Canada. Perth is almost straight north some 70 miles from Watertown, New York, where Amos' parents had been married in 1814.
It should be noted that, while the forename "Amos" has not been found in the Sparks family of Glastonbury, Connecticut, it is known that Jemima (Fox) Sparks had a brother named Amos for whom Amos S. Sparks was probably named. We have not discovered for what name his middle initial "S" stood.
Little has been learned of Amos Sparks's youth in Canada. About 1844, he married Margaret Cummins (sometimes spelled Cummings and Commins). She had been born ca. 1823 in Canada and was of Scottish extraction according to family tradition. Late in 1849 or early in 1850, Amos and Margaret moved with their four children to the village of Port Huron in St. Clair County, Michigan, where they were shown on the U.S. census of 1850. Amos was called a laborer; he owned no land. His age was given as 25; Margaret's age was given as 28 and she, like Amos, was recorded as having been born in Canada. Also shown on this census were their first three children, all born in Canada, including 9-month- old Jemima (her date of birth was August 7, 1849). Living with Amos and Margaret in 1850 was Amos' brother, Reuben Sparks, age 23, (he was probably older), and a man named William McLoud, aged 30, both also born in Canada.
From his entry on the 1900 census, it appears that Reuben Sparks was born in March 1824. While on that census, New York is given as his place of birth, we have no doubt that earlier censuses showing him born in Canada are correct. Little is known about him. He was single, apparently, when he was living with Amos in Port Huron in 1850. No trace has been found of him again until 1875 when he signed as a witness to his mother's application for a widow's pension based on her husband's service in the War of 1812. Reuben was then identified as a resident of the township of Arran, Ontario, Canada, as was his fellow witness, Abraham Neelands.
When the 1880 census was taken, Reuben Sparks was living in Mendocino County, California, in Ten Mile River Township --his age was 54 and he was single. On September 26, 1883, Reuben again served as a witness for his mother when she applied for a second time for a pension--she then being a resident of Westport, Mendocino County, California. On May 17, 1888, and again on September 19, 1892, he signed "the Great Register" as a resident of Usal, a small coastal community about 10 miles north of Rockport, California. In 1900, Reuben was listed on the census of Long Valley Township, age 76, born March 1824, and a widower. Earlier he had been listed as "single." In any case, we feel sure he had no children. On both the 1880 and the 1900 censuses, Reuben stated that his father had been born in Connecticut; in 1880 he stated that his mother had been born in Vermont, but in 1900 her birthplace was shown as Massachusetts. No record of death has been found for either Reuben Sparks nor his mother, Lusetta, in Mendocino County.
Perhaps note should be made that, while Lusetta Sparks appeared in her pension application as "Lusetta," the more common spelling of the name, and that given to the first daughter of Amos, was "Lucetta."
Amos Sparks and his family remained in Michigan for only a few years, during which time three more children were born: Amos, Jr. in 1851 or 1852; Jennie in 1853 or 1854; and Reuben on May 16, 1857. The family then moved to Kickapoo Township, Leavenworth County, Kansas, where their seventh child, Harriet, was born in 1859. (She was shown on the 1860 census as 11 months old, which would place her birth in July 1859, if correctly recorded by the census taker.)
According to family tradition, Amos Sparks served in the Confederate Army in the Civil War, although records proving this have not been found (The war in Kansas was particularly bitter, of course, because the state had been settled by slave-holding families from the South as well as families from the North who were strongly opposed to slavery, hence the term "Bleeding Kansas.") While living in Leavenworth County, some of the children of Amos Sparks attended school with the Cody children, becoming lifelong friends of Buffalo Bill and his sisters.
Sometime in the 1860s, Amos S. Sparks moved his family for the last time. They went west to the center of Kansas and settled on Elkhorn Creek (or River) in Ellsworth County, about 22 miles from the town of Ellsworth. There they lived in a log cabin, a tintype of which, taken prior to Amos' death in 1892, is owned by a grandson, Carville E. Sparks of Ellensburg, Washington. Mr. Sparks has kindly provided a photograph made from this tintype which is reproduced below. Unfortunately, it was not possible to show in this reproduction the figure of Amos Sparks who was sitting in a chair at the viewer's far right. The young lady who is visible was Polly Sparks (born 1873), daughter of Amos and his second wife, Elizabeth (Huddleston) Sparks. The young man seated in a chair was Polly's brother, Ben Sparks (born 1875).
Reproduction of a Tintype Showing
Amos Sparks's Log Cabin in Ellsworth County, Kansas
SIX OF THE CHILDREN OF AMOS S. SPARKS
|Standing (left to right):||Sarah (Sparks) Groves, 1889-1969
Martha (Sparks) Wilford, 1860/61-1919
Manica May (Sparks) Easterly, 1884-1964
|Sitting (left to right):||Amos Major ["Mace"] Sparks, 1881-1959
Nancy Bell (Sparks) Carr, 1879-1945
Reuben G. Sparks, 1857-1922
(Note: In the above photograph, it should be noted that the daughter named Martha (Sparks) Wilford and the son named Reuben G. Sparks were children of the first wife of Amos S. Sparks, Margaret (Cummins) Sparks, while the rest were children of his second wife, Sarah Elizabeth (Huddleston) Sparks.)
Amos S. and Margaret (Cummins) Sparks were the parents of nine children, the last, John Sparks, was born October 14, 1865. Two years following John's birth, Margaret died during the cholera epidemic of 1867. At least one daughter is known to have died at this time, and two other children probably died then also (Jennie, and Harriet). They were buried, according to Carville E. Sparks, in a family plot on the hill west of the Amos Sparks homestead where Amos' son, Reuben Sparks (born 1857), had homesteaded. Amos was buried in this family plot with his first wife and their children who had been lost in the 1867 epidemic. It is located near today's highway 70.
Amos Sparks was one of the first elected county commissioners of Ellsworth County, Kansas. In 1868, he helped to lay out the town of Ellsworth. At that time, the Indians were still troublesome, and on occasion he took his family to Fort Harker (now Kanopolis) for safety. Military reports from Fort Harker and Fort Hays in 1868 refer to "Scout A. S. Sparks."
On August 21, 1869, Amos S. Sparks was married a second time. His second wife was Sarah Elizabeth Huddleston who had been born in 1851 and was thus considerably younger than Amos. They were the parents of ten children, the last being only a year old when Amos died on September 30, 1892.
In all, Amos S. Sparks was the father of nineteen children. Following are their names and dates of birth; additional information about each will then be given.
Children of Amos and his first wife, Margaret (Cummins) Sparks:
188.8.131.52.3.2.1 Lucetta Sparks, born March 21, 1845.
184.108.40.206.3.2.2 Mary A. Sparks, born January 29, 1847.
220.127.116.11.3.2.3 Jemima Sparks, born August 7, 1849.
18.104.22.168.3.2.4 Amos Sparks, Jr. (the first with this name], born ca. 1852.
22.214.171.124.3.2.5 Jennie Sparks, born ca. 1854.
126.96.36.199.3.2.6 Reuben Sparks, born 16 May 1857.
188.8.131.52.3.2.7 Harriet Sparks, born ca. 1859.
184.108.40.206.3.2.8 Martha Jane Sparks, born in 1860 or 1861.
220.127.116.11.3.2.9 John M. Sparks, born October 4, 1865.
Children of Amos and his second wife, Sarah Elizabeth (Huddleston) Sparks:
18.104.22.168.3.2.10 Lillian Sparks, born in 1871.
22.214.171.124.3.2.11 Polly Josephine Sparks, born October 26, 1873.
126.96.36.199.3.2.12 Benjamin Sparks, born in 1875.
188.8.131.52.3.2.13 Burton Sparks, born in March 1876.
184.108.40.206.3.2.14 Nancy Bell Sparks, born September 18, 1879.
220.127.116.11.3.2.15 Major Amos ["Mace"] Sparks, born March 25, 1881.
18.104.22.168.3.2.16 Manica May Sparks, born March 5, 1884.
22.214.171.124.3.2.17 Revina Elizabeth Sparks, born in 1886.
126.96.36.199.3.2.18 Sarah Elizabeth Sparks, born October 23, 1889.
188.8.131.52.3.2.19 Myrtle Sparks, born January 1, 1891.
184.108.40.206.3.2.1 Lucetta Sparks was born at Perth, Ontario, Canada, on March 21, 1845. She accompanied her parents as a small child in their move to Michigan in 1849 or 1850 and then to Kansas in the late 1850s. She died on October 2, 1920, at the home of her daughter, Aimee (Hodges) Pratt, at St. George, Kansas. On November 21, 1863, Lucetta married Ernest Miltravis Hodges in Leavenworth County, Kansas, by a justice of the peace named George A. Sharp. (See a reproduction of the record of this marriage on the following page.)
Following their marriage, Lucetta and her husband settled down on a farm in Ellsworth County, Kansas. A granddaughter of Lucetta and Ernest (believed to have been Della Elizabeth Hodges) wrote the following:
Ernest Miltravis Hodges was born in Flint, Michigan, on September 16, 1842, and died at the home of his son, Elmer Ellsworth Hodges, on March 6, 1925. He was buried in the St. George [Kansas] Cemetery.
Marriage Record of
Ernest M. Hodges and Lucetta Sparks
When he was seven years old, Ernest M. Hodges' mother, Amanda Marie (Alvord) Hodges, died, and he and his three brothers (Jay, Clark, and Earl) were placed in foster homes. There was also a sister named Nancy Ann Hodges.
When our grandfather (Ernest M. Hodges) was in his early teens, his father, Norman Wheaton Hodges, who had gone to look for a place to settle, returned to a place sixty miles north of Detroit, picked up his four sons, and headed for Leavenworth, Kansas, where he had established a way station for pioneers. They travelled in a covered wagon drawn by a span of mules and crossed the Mississippi River at Cairo, Illinois.
Grandfather helped his father haul supplies to the gold mines and to Denver, Colorado. He knew all the rivers and trails across Kansas, and the Oregon Trail crossed some of the land he eventually acquired.
About 1858 or 1859, the Amos Sparks family moved from Michigan to Leavenworth, Kansas. Amos and his wife, Margaret (Cummins) Sparks, had several children, and our grandfather fell in love with their pretty daughter, Lucetta. They were married in Leavenworth, Kansas, on November 21, 1863, by George A. Sharp, Justice of the Peace, and settled down on a farm in Ellsworth County, Kansas.
Because of a cholera epidemic, our grandparents left Ellsworth with their four living children (Belle, Elmer, Linburn and Norman), their second child, Edwin, having died at the age of two, and moved to Pottawatomie County, Kansas. They settled on an eighty-acre tract of land purchased from the Tinion Pacific Railroad for $260.00.
Lucetta (Sparks) Hodges
Daughter of Amos S. & Margaret (Cummins) Sparks
A two-level, roomy house was built out of native stone, also a two- level barn for their live stock; a small stream flowed past both. An apple orchard was planted immediately.
The little farming community in which Ernest and Lucetta were now living was named Elm Slough and was six miles north of St. George, Kansas. A one-room rock schoolhouse and two churches were nearby.
Vanie, Aimee, and Ethel were born on this farm--they were the last three of nine children.
It was in the late 1800s that our grandparents decided on an amicable separation. Grandfather and their two sons, Elmer and Linburn, purchased land one mile north of St. George, Kansas, and a home was built for Grandmother one mile further north. Grandfather always provided for our grandmother, and she baked pies and goodies to send to him by their grandchildren.
Grandmother died in the home of her daughter, Aimee, on October 2, 1920. Grandfather died in the home of their son, Elmer, on March 6, 1925.
Ernest M. and Lucetta (Sparks) Hodges were the parents of nine children. A photograph of them with their youngest child, Ethel, born June 19, 1886, appears on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Belle Hodges was born on October 25, 1864, at Ellsworth, Kansas. She died on October 23, 1944, and was buried in the Columbia Cemetery, Boulder, Colorado. She married Richmond G. French; he was a native of Edinburgh, Scotland, and died on February 14, 1932. Because at least two of their children suffered from tuberculosis, the family moved to Boulder, Colorado, in the early 1900s. Their children were:
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1 Ernest French, born November 7, 1884.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.2 Glenn Wesley French, born 1887.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.3 Jennie French, born May 5, 1890.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.4 Scott French, born October 16, 1892.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.5 Lester Eldon French, born September 23, 1899.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.6 Russell Lloyd French, born November 5, 1904.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Edwin Hodges was born January 25, 1866, in Ellsworth County, Kansas, and died there on December 1, 1867.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Elmer E. Hodges was born April 6, 1867, in Ellsworth County and died at St. George, Kansas, on May 10, 1934. He was married in Topeka, Kansas, on January 16, 1897, to Annie Sees, who had been born in Ronnesburg, Germany-Austria, on April 14, 1876; she died at St. George on October 24, 1940. Their children were:
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1 Hester May Hodges, born December 30, 1897.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.2 Zella Lavine Hodges, born April 4, 1900.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.3 Della Elizabeth Hodges, born January 1, 1902.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.4 Earl Elmer Hodges, born October 14, 1903.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.5 Benjamin Franklin Hodges, born September 21, 1907.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.6 Edwin Martin Hodges, born November 11, 1909.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.7 Carl R. Hodges, born June 23, 1913.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.8 Loran Dale Hodges, born December 14, 1917.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Linburn ["Lem"] Hodges was born September 5, 1869, in Ellsworth, Kansas, and died on December 6, 1949, at Winfield, Kansas. He was married in 1895 in Mt. Zion Country Church near Elm Slough to Lucretia ["Lou"] Hafer who had been born on May 9, 1875, at Ned, Pennsylvania; she died in March 1944. He was a farmer. When a new schoolhouse was built in St. George, Lem Hodges bought the old one- room schoolhouse, moved it onto Main Street, and had the first roller skating rink for miles around. He and Lou had the following children:
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1 Etta Rae Hodges, born February 21, 1896.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.2 Edna Ellen Hodges, born February 10, 1898.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.3 Luvina H. Hodges, born December 4, 1901.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.4 Calvin Ernest Hodges, born March 22, 1904.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.5 Roy Lester Hodges, born March 18, 1906.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Norman Wheaton Hodges was born March 13, 1871, and died on February 19, 1936. He was married on December 30, 1895, to Minnie Maude Holmes who was born November 4, 1874, and died on March 29, 1959. They farmed near Elm Slough when first married, but later they moved to Wabaunsee, Kansas, where he worked as a "medicine man." He travelled with horse and buggy selling patent medicines, extracts, and whatever else was in demand at the time. He took his young son, Leslie, with him on one trip, and on their way home they stopped at a farmhouse near Topeka, Kansas, where they were invited to spend the night. Not long afterward, this farmer was found guilty of killing several men, mostly salesmen, and throwing their bodies to the dogs, then burying their remains in a manure pile. The story was told a few years later in a monthly magazine. In 1916, Norman moved his family to a farm near Palco, Kansas, where he spent the rest of his life. He and Minnie had three children:
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1 Leona M. Hodges, born April 28, 1900.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.2 Leslie Aaron Hodges, born April 7, 1902.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.3 Clark Hodges, born March 14, 1904.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Margery [or Marjorie] Hodges was born at Elm Slough, Kansas, on November 16, 1872. She died there on April 27, 1874.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Vanie Hodges was born January 14, 1875, at Elm Slough, Kansas, and died in 1949 at St. George, Kansas. She married Percy [or Perce] Post who was born at Emporia, Kansas, and died in 1970. Their three children were named Esther Post, Allen Post, and Alvin Post.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Aimee May Hodges was born January 27, 1877, at Elm Slough, Kansas. She died on March 18, 1950, at St. George, Kansas. She was married at Manhattan, Kansas, on February 2, 1910, to Joseph Newell Pratt who had been born on April 10, 1869, at Manhattan and died on Novem ber 26, 1930, at St. George. They had four children.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1 Chester Hodges Pratt, born January 25, 1911.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.2 Frank Edward Pratt (twin of flora Aileen), born August 11, 1912.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.3 flora Aileen Pratt (twin of Frank Edward), born August 11, 1912.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.4 Wylma Caroline Pratt, born March 10, 1915.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Ethel Dula Hodges was born at Elm Slough, Kansas, on June 19, 1886. She died at Wamego, Kansas, on October 30, 1969. She married Edwin James Dalton who had been born on November 7, 1881, and died on February 27, 1954. They had two children.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1 Robert Dalton, born 1906, died 1939(?).
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.2 Doris Marjorie Dalton, born January 2, 1915, died March 15, 1979.
Edwin J. and Ethel D. (Hodges) Dalton
With Children: Robert & Doris
22.214.171.124.3.2.2 Mary A. Sparks was born in Ontario, Canada, on January 29, 1847. She died on November 4, 1925. She was married on May 13, 1866, to Nelson M. Torrey who had been born on March 25, 1840, in the state of New York and died on January 19, 1894. They were living in Pottawattamie, Kansas, when the 1900 U.S. census was taken. They had seven children:
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Harry E. Torrey was born January 16, 1868, and died on June 29, 1937. He was married in 1899 to Maggie MNU
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Austin Torrey was born April 17, 1869.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Dudley Torrey was born October 17, 1870, and died on March 15, 1952. He was married on May 23, 1899, to Mary M. MNU, who had been born in Kansas on March 30, 1877, and died on November 5, 1949. Their children were:
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1 LaVerne Torrey, born March 30, 1900.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.2 Loretta M. Torrey, born October 1, 1903.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.3 Lucille M. Torrey, born October 26, 1905.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.4 Earl J. Torrey, born March 20, 1909.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.5 Nelson Torrey, born August 17, 1911.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.6 Mark J. Torrey, born September 5, 1916.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Nellie Torrey was born January 6, 1872.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Cora Torrey was born February 27, 1874.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Arthur Torrey was born September 13 [or 17], 1876.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Alice Torrey was born April 25, 1884.
184.108.40.206.3.2.3 Jemima ["Mina"] Sparks was born August 7, 1849, at Toledo, Leeds County, Ontario, Canada. It was shortly after her birth that the family moved to Port Huron in St Clair County, Michigan. As a small child, she accompanied her parents to Kansas a few years later. On November 23, 1868, she married John Orlando Austin as his second wife.
Jemima (Sparks) Austin (1849-1883)
Daughter of Amos S. & Margaret (Cummins) Sparks
Carol R. Austin, whose husband, Charles Ward Austin is a great-grandson of John O. and Jemima (Sparks) Austin, has written the following account of this couple. John Orlando Austin was born ca. 1835 in Dixfield, Oxford County, Maine, and was a son of Hosea and Vienna (Holland) Austin. His mother died when he was a small child, and his father then married Sophronia Marble, who was probably a cousin of his mother.
It is not known when John went West, but it may have been as a young man, for he was not shown with his father's family on the 1850 census or the 1860 census. A family legend is told that at one time John owned land in what is now downtown Denver, Colorado, but lost it when the safe which held the deeds was washed downstream during a flood on Cherry Creek of the South Platte River. According to a history of Denver, this occurred in May 1864. If the legend is true, John must have acquired the land prior to 1864, of course.
On February 5, 1864, John O. Austin married Helen Meginnis Coover, a Dixfleld girl, presumably in Dixfleld, and the two of them went west to Albuquerque, where they are supposed to have lived in Sheridan's house. It was here that their three children were born and where Helen died in childbirth, along with the youngest infant.
On January 19, 1867. John was left with two small girls, Maud, who had been born on December 10, 1864, and Mary Vi, born November 14 1865. Shortly thereafter, in March 1867, "Mr. J. O. Austin" was reported as returning to Boston via Junction City, Kansas [see the Kansas Historical Quarterly, Vol. 5, No. 1, p. 15]. One wonders if he was taking his children home to Maine to be cared for. Sometime during this period, he must have met Buffalo Bill, for in his autobiography, Bill described an incident in which he referred to him in 1868 as his "old friend Johnny Austin." It may have been Buffalo Bill who introduced him to a family friend, Jemima Sparks. John Austin and Jemima, called "Mina," were married on November 23, 1868. During this time, John was an interpreter and Chief of Scouts at Fort Dodge, Kansas [Quartermaster's Pay Records]. In May and June 1869, he was interpreter at Camp Supply, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).
Their first child, Freddie, was born November 14, 1869, in Ohio, according to the Austin family Bible. It seems more likely, however, that he was born in Oklahoma. "Ok." could easily be read as "Oh." (Freddie died on August 28, 1870.) Two daughters were born subsequently, birthplaces unknown, both of whom died as children. by 1875, the family was living in Detroit, for Charles Peck Austin was born there on June 9, 1875. They were still there in 1880 when the federal census was taken that year. John was working for the Grand Trunk Railroad.
Charles Peck Austin
Son of John and Jemima (Sparks) Austin
In 1883, Jemima died at the home of her sister, Martha (Sparks) WiIford. She probably died of cancer, for the story is told that she had a large abdominal tumor; she thought she was pregnant again and was making baby clothes. John took his two remaining children, Mary Vi and Charles Peck, home to Dixfleld, Maine, after her death. John died there on June 3, 1886. Mary Vi soon married Alvan C. Harlow and raised her young half-brother. The children of John O. and Jemima (Sparks) Austin were:
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Freddie Austin, born November 14, 1869, died August 28, 1870.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Addie Maud Austin, born February 12, 1871, died October 17, 1879.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Annie Richmond Austin, born June 15, 1873, died October 19, 1874.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Charles Peck Austin was born June 9, 1875, in Detroit, Michigan, and died on January 19, 1949, in New York. He was married on February 15, 1898, in Gardiner, Maine, to Florence Holmes, daughter of Philip Henry and Anne (Tobey) Holmes. She had been born in January 1876, in Gardiner, Maine, and died in Binghamton, New York. They had two children:
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1 Ruth Austin was born October 25, 1898, in Gardiner, Maine, and died on January 24, 1958, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She married Robert Lauder on November 12, 1921, in Binghamton, New York.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.2 Carl Philip Austin was born July 9, 1901, in Binghamton, New York, and died on May 18, 1938, in Seattle, Washington. He was married on June 24, 1926, to Mary Elizabeth Hurlbut who had been born on August 14, 1899, and died on July 10, 1960. They were the parents of Charles Ward Austin (born November 5, 1932) whose wife, Carol Lynne (Robinson) Austin, has done the research on which a major portion of this article is based.
220.127.116.11.3.2.4 Amos Sparks, Jr. was born in Michigan in 1851 or 1852. When the 1870 census was taken, he was shown as 18 years old and living in his father's household in Ellsworth County, Kansas. According to family memories, sometime after 1870, he was involved in a disagreement over a horse during which he shot and killed a man. He then left Kansas, was thought to have "gone West," but was never heard from again.
18.104.22.168.3.2.5 Jennie Sparks was born in Michigan ca. 1854. She was shown on the 1860 census as 6 years of age. It is known that she died young, probably in the cholera epidemic of 1867 at the time that her mother died.
22.214.171.124.3.2.6 Reuben G. Sparks was born May 16, 1857, in Michigan. Soon after his birth the family moved to Kansas. He died on December 31, 1922, in Ellsworth, Kansas. He was married at Ellsworth on April 20, 1879, to Nora Jane Keating who had been born in Indiana on May 17, 1857. She died at Ellsworth on July 5, 1927. They were the parents of nine children, all born at Ellsworth.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Charles H. Sparks was born in May 1880. He married a Miss Ratch, and they had sons named
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.1 Claude Sparks and
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.2 Paul Sparks.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Edward W. Sparks was born in February 1883. He is thought to have died young.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Ernest John Sparks was born March 27, 1885, and died at Ellsworth on June 20, 1958. He married Anna Maude Remley who had been born on July 1, 1888, and died on August 7, 1972, at Ellsworth. They had two children.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1 Reuben Albert Sparks, born November 27, 1909.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.2 Melvin Sparks, born February 11, 1911.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Maude M. Sparks was born in May 1893. She married E. O. Lacey, and they had four children.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1 Wilma May Lacey, born November 16, 1920.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.2 Donald Lacey, born August 25, 1924.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.3 Merle E. Lacey, born January 29, 1926.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.4 Virginia Lacey, born October 31, 1933.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Carrie E. Sparks was born in June 1895. She did not marry.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Albert A. Sparks was born in February 1900
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Emma Sparks. She died young.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Richard Sparks. He died young.
184.108.40.206.3.2.7 Harriet Sparks was born in Kansas ca. 1859. She was shown on the 1860 census as 11 months old. She died young, probably in the cholera epedemic of 1867.
Martha Jane Sparks, (1860-1919) With Husband, John Wilford
220.127.116.11.3.2.8 Martha Jane Sparks was born in either 1860 or 1861. She died on 25 June 1919. Her husband, John Wilford, was born in October 1844 in England. An obituary of Martha Jane (Sparks) Wilford appearing in the Kansas City Star has been preserved and reads as follows.
Funeral services for Mrs. Martha Jane Wilford, 59 years old, the mother of Loren F. Wilford, an artist for The Star, 4115 Forest Avenue, who died Saturday afternoon [June 25, 1919] of injuries received in an accident, in which she was run down by an unidentified motorist at Linwood Boulevard and Troost Avenue, will be held at Wamego, Kas. tomorrow afternoon. Besides Loren F. Wilford, she is survived by two other sons, B. M. Wilford, Junction City, Kas.; Roy O. Wilford, Wamego, Kas.; three daughters, Mrs. Maude Golladay, Junction City, Kas.; Mrs. Lottie Thornell, Chicago; and Miss Mabel Wilford of the home address; two brothers, Ruben Sparks, Ellsworth, Kas., and John Sparks, Woodward, Ok., and two sisters, Mrs. L. C. Hodges, Saint George, Kas., and Mrs. N. Torrey, Manhattan, Kas.
John and Martha Jane (Sparks) Wilford were the parents of the following children:
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Albert Melnote Wilford was born February 11, 1876, and died on June 22, 1940.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Maud Wilford was born in June 1877; she married FNU Golladay.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Mabel Wilford was born February 28, 1879, and died on June 24, 1967. Sometime after her mother's death in 1919, she married FNU Kensinger.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Lottie G. Wilford was born October 12, 1881, and died on 26 March 1970. She married FNU Thornell.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Roy G. Wilford was born February 6, 1887, and died on 19 March 1975. His wife was named Della MNU born 1887, died 1979.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Loran F. Wilford was born September 13, 1892, and died on December 4, 1972, in Florida. He was an artist for the Kansas City Star (news paper) when his mother died in 1919. His first wife was named Eunice and his second wife was named Laurette. He had three children, but by which wife, is not known.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1 Norman Wilford,
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.2 Gordon Wilford, and
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.3 Jarvis Thomas Wilford.
JOHN M. & MINNIE MAY (SEEVERS) SPARKS
with THEIR NINE CHILDREN
|Standing (left to right):||Amy May Sparks, born 1898
Viola Lahoma Sparks, born 1893
Waldo Hamilton Sparks, born 1892
Idena ["Deana"] Fay Sparks, born 1889
Leah Marjorie Sparks, born 1896
|Sitting (left to right):||Ada Bernice Sparks, born 1899
John M. Sparks (father) born 1865
Reuben Kenneth Sparks, born 1905
Minnie May Sparks (mother) born 1869
Otho Oran Sparks (on mother's lap),born 1907
Doris Pauline Sparks, born 1902
18.104.22.168.3.2.9 John M. Sparks was born October 14, 1865, in Leavenworth, Kansas. He was married in Ellsworth, Kansas, on November 15, 1888, to Minnie May Seevers, daughter of Hamilton Waldo and Sarah Marie (Palmer) Seevers.
Minnie May (Seevers) Sparks was born June 11, 1869, in Marietta, Washington County, Ohio, and died on April 9, 1911, on a train enroute from Woodward, Oklahoma. She was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery in Woodward. (It is said that it was Minnie May who chose "Morris" as the middle name for her husband.) John M. Sparks, who was a farmer and cattle trader, died on August 4, 1930, at Halstead, Kansas. The information about this branch of the family, including the photograph on page 3614, was provided by Anita Salz Randall of Woodward, Oklahoma. (See f.(10) below.) John Sparks made the Cherokee Strip "Run" on September 16, 1893, and homesteaded a claim. A fascinating account of this episode in the family's history was written by a daughter of John and Minnie May Sparks, named Ida Bernice (Sparks) Salz. This account appears separately in this issue of the Quarterly, beginning on page 3619.
John M. and Minnie May (Seevers) Sparks were the parents of the following children:
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Idena ["Deana"] Fay Sparks was born December 27, 1889, at Ellsworth, Kansas, and died on September 7, 1972, at Woodward, Okla homa. She was married on September 20, 1922, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to George Augustus Talbot. They were divorced in 1936.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Waldo Hamilton Sparks was born March 27, 1892, at Ellsworth, Kansas, and died on June 17, 1942, at Hutchinson, Kansas. He was married on March 5, 1911, at Woodward, Oklahoma to Hazel Arvilla Davis. She had been born on January 30, 1895. After Waldo's death, she married Willard Abner Pomeroy on September 2, 1944. Waldo H. and Hazel A. (Davis) Sparks had four children:
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1 Oren Ira Sparks, born July 12, 1912.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.2 Gerald Duane Sparks, born May 2, 1914.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.3 Gwendolyn Arvilla Sparks, born December 11, 1915.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.4 Deana May Sparks, born December 24, 1920.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Viola Lahoma Sparks was born November 25, 1893, near Pond Creek, in "L" [later Grant] County, Oklahoma. When she was 14 years old, she died of typhoid fever on July 30, 1908, at Woodward, Oklahoma.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Leah Marjorie Sparks was born November 28, 1896, near Pond Creek, Grant County, Oklahoma. She died on December 2, 1978 in San Antonio, Texas. She married John Alan Appelget on January 4, 1916, at Woodward, Oklahoma. He was born in December 1893 and died on October 1, 1948. They had two daughters:
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1 Eleanor Louise Appelget, born April 4, 1918.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.2 Dorothy Appelget, born June 14, 1921.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Amy May Sparks was born March 7, 1898, near Pond Creek, Grant County, Oklahoma. She died (single) on April 30, 1969, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Ada Bernice Sparks was born December 2, 1899, in Wichita, Kansas. She was married on June 28, 1922, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Herman Joseph Salz, who was born March 13, 1896, and died on July 14, 1974. They had one child:
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1 Anita Pauline Salz, born March 31, 1923. She married Kenneth Randal on August 1, 1946, and it is she who has provided us with the information given here on John M. Sparks and his family.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Doris Pauline Sparks was born August 25, 1902, at Ellendale, Woodward County, Oklahoma. She died on May 13, 1948, in Oklahoma City. She was married (first) on October 17, 1923, in Oklahoma City to Chalmers Donovan Carter. He died on April 23, 1926, and she married (second) Fred Dietrich in 1932.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Reuben Kenneth Sparks was born November 16, 1905, at Woodward, Oklahoma. He was an attorney and in 1954 he ran for governor of Oklahoma. He died on July 16, 1970, at Woodward. He was married on June 28, 1933, to Mary Sue Simpson. She had been born on November 8, 1913, and died on July 4, 1972. They had three children:
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1 Susan Alberta Sparks, born October 5, 1934.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.2 Reuben Kenneth Sparks, Jr., born May 24, 1936.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.3 John Otho Sparks, born April 7, 1939.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Otho Oran Sparks was born June 21, 1907, at Ellendale, Harper County, Oklahoma. He was married (first) in June 1936 to Judy Fulkerson in Anadarko, Oklahoma. They were divorced, and he married (second) Dorothy Wentz Healy in 1954.
As we have noted earlier, following the death in 1867 of Margaret (Cummins) Sparks, first wife of Amos S. Sparks, Amos married (second) Sarah Elizabeth Huddleston who had been born on February 2, 1851. She died on June 15, 1902, at Kalama, Washington.
The two eldest daughters of Amos S. Sparks and his second wife, Sarah Elizabeth (Huddleston) Sparks.
Polly Josephine Sparks on the left &
Lillian ["Lilly"] Sparks on the right (seated).
We are indebted to Dorothy and Carville E. Sparks for the following information on the ten children of Amos S. and Sarah E. (Huddleston) Sparks. (All were born in Ellsworth, Kansas.)
188.8.131.52.3.2.10 Lillian ["Lilly"] Sparks was born in 1871. She married William Thompson, and they had one son named
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Ben Thompson.
She died on February 16, 1902, at Salt Lake City, Utah.
18.104.22.168.3.2.11 Polly Josephine Sparks was born October 26, 1873, and died on February 16, 1963, at Kalama, Washington. She was married at Kalama on June 10, 1891, to Hardin W. Close, son of David and Frances Freeman (O'Neill) Close. They were the parents of four children, all born at Kalama.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Bert Close was born April 25, 1892. He married Helen Koeckritz, and they had children named
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1 Louise Close and
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.2 Ethel Close.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Anita Lillian Close was born January 6, 1896. In June 1922, she married Ben Watson Tidball who died in 1937. They had an adopted son,
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1 Ben O'Neill Tidball.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Lyle Close was born March 5, 1906, and died on June 11, 1988. He married (first) Laverne Macklin, and they had a daughter
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1 Elizabeth Close.
He married (second) Hannah MNU, and they had a son named
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.2 William Close.
He married (third) Veona MNU, no children.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Irene Close was born March 1, 1908. She married Francis Majors who died in 1963.
22.214.171.124.3.2.12 Benjamin ["Ben"] Sparks was born in 1875 and died in 1915 in Nebraska. He married Barbara Ann Cannon, and they had two daughters.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Mabel Sparks married Herbert Hunter.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Nola Sparks married Melvin Smith.
18.104.22.168.3.2.13 Burton Sparks was born in March 1876 and died in 1922 in Bellingham, Washington. He lived with his brother, "Mace" Sparks; he did not marry.
22.214.171.124.3.2.14 Nancy Bell ["Nannie"] Sparks was born September 18, 1879; she died on December 5, 1945, in Seattle, Washington. She was married twice. Her second husband was Henry Carr. She had no children.
126.96.36.199.3.2.15 Major Amos ["Mace"] Sparks was born March 25, 1881. He died on June 12, 1959, at Orofino, Idaho. He was married on April 30, 1997, at Leavenworth, Washington, to Pauline H. Sharp who had been born on October 24, 1889, and died on January 6, 1970. He was known as "Amos M. Sparks on the records of the Great Northern Railroad for which he worked for 46 years. (He may have assumed the name Amos.) Children:
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Carville Earl Sparks was born February 26, 1910. He was married on July 17, 1935, in Eflensburg, Washington, to Dorothy Frederick, daughter of Jacob and Anna J. (Lein) Frederick. She had been born June 2, 1911, at Ellensburg, Washington. They have three children. (As noted earlier, Carville B. and Dorothy Sparks have been most helpful in the preparation of this article and in providing photo graphs.)
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1 Roger Carville Sparks, born January 5, 1937.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.2 Frederick Donald Sparks, born May 29, 1940.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.3 Bradley Earl Sparks, born October 6, 1946.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Phyllis Pauline Sparks, daughter of Major Amos ["Mace"] and Pauline H. (Sharp) Sparks, was born September 20, 1913. She married John Stiger.
22.214.171.124.3.2.16 Manica May Sparks was born March 5, 1884, and died on July 22, 1964. She was married in Ellsworth, Kansas, to Charles Mason Easterly who was born July 10, 1881, and died on April 12, 1930. They had two children, both born at Ellsworth:
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Vernon Allen Easterly was born August 6, 1904, and died on June 9, 1965, at Ellsworth. He married Florence Shannon, and they had daughters named
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.1 Phyllis Easterly and
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.2 Joyce Easterly.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Dorothy Easterly was born October 29, 1907. She married Clarence B. Thomas who was born January 25, 1906. Their children were:
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.1 Ann Patsy Thomas, born October 22, 1934.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.2 Ellen Kay Thomas, born August 13, 1938.
126.96.36.199.3.2.17 Revina Elizabeth Sparks was born in 1886. She died in 1926 at Seattle, Washington. She married George Calahan.
188.8.131.52.3.2.18 Sarah Elizabeth Sparks was born October 23, 1889, and was reared near Manhattan, Kansas, by a family named Oppy. She died on May 30, 1969, at Hanford, California. She was married at Westmoreland, Kansas, to Ross Groves, who died on December 11, 1967. They had six children:
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Mildred Groves was born September 18, 1913, in Clark County, Kansas. She married Roy Taylor. They had no children.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Lenore Groves was born March 27, 1915, at Elkhart, Kansas. She married Harold Clark, and they had three children:
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1 Truman Clark, born November 26, 1935.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.2 Royce Clark, born August 18, 1938.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.3 Susan Clark, born March 27, 1944.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Don Groves was born in 1919 at Boise City, Oklahoma. His wife's name is Ann, and they have children named David, Mike, and Don, Jr.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Betty Groves was born in 1923 at Elkhorn, Kansas; she died on February 22, 1977, in Seattle, Washington. She married Richard Tindal and they had daughters name
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1 Janet Tindal,
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.2 Ronda Tindal, and
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.3 Marsha Tindal.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Elbie Leroy Groves was born in 1924 at Boise City, Oklahoma. He was married twice; by his first wife he had children named
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1 Jeanie Groves,
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.2 Elbie Lynn Groves,
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.3 Francine Groves, and
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.4 Patricia Groves.
His second wife's name was Frances; they were married in 1962.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Carol Groves was born in 1927 at Boise City, Oklahoma. He married Marjorie Parker, and they had two sons,
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1 Parker Groves and
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.2 John Groves.
184.108.40.206.3.2.19 Myrtle Sparks was born January 1, 1891; she died on March 17, 1920, at Peshastin, Washington. She was married (as his second wife) to Alfred Darlington on February 14, 1912. They had five children, all born at Peshastin, Washington.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Ned Darlington was born November 19, 1912; he died in March 1952/3. He married Zoma MNU, and they are said to have had three sons.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Helen Darlington was born May 30, 1914. She married Arvey Foley.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Richard Darlington was born November 23, 1915. He married Florence Mounter, and they had two sons and two daughters.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Ralph Darlington was born April 9, 1917.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Bernice Darlington was born July 23, 1918. She married W. Raymond Duncan, and they had a son named
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1 Roy Darlington.