April 24, 2021

Pages 3652
Whole Number 151


We have learned that John and Melinda Sparks, who settled in Jefferson County, Texas, in 1838, were honored by the Texas Historical Commission on November 15, 1989, when a state historical marker was unveiled at Port Arthur, Texas. The marker was placed on the site of the Sparks burial ground, a spot no longer identifiable as a cemetery.

The program for the occasion involved several community organizations including the Port Arthur schools, the Mayor's office, the Presbyterian Church, and the historical societies of Jefferson County and Port Arthur. The Sparks family was represented by J. Crindon Echels, Mildred Brown, Wilma Glazener, Grace Asbury, Melvin Sparks, and Jerry Sparks.

The inscription on the marker reads as follows:

Sparks Settlement Cemetery John and Melinda Sparks and their family came to southeast Texas from Tennessee in 1838. They set tled on the Jeremiah Mixon headright on Lake Sabine and later set aside land for a family burial ground. The land was acquired by the Port Arthur Land Company in 1896. Although Melinda and John Sparks, along with family members and neighbors, were buried in the cemetery, all that remains to mark the site is a monument of a ten- year-old child, Arthur Stilwell, who was born and died in May 1896. [Editor's Note: The Sparkses of early Jefferson County, Texas, have been the subject of two articles in the Quarterly. See the June 1980 and March 1989 issues, Whole Nos. 110 and 145, respectively.]